The walk away option is real

The EU has constantly underestimated UK unhappiness with the EU and our resolve to leave as a result.

They are in danger of doing so again. They are determined to believe just leaving is impossible, because it does not suit them. No worry that it forces them into their own Project Fear. No worry that it means trying to think of ways to harm themselves.

Leaving without a deal is always going to be better for us than a punishment deal. What is bizarre is the number of politicians in the UK  who are on the EUs side,actively promoting the idea that the UK has to pay a fortune to the EU to leave when there is no such legal or moral obligation on us. The BBC also claims to have found government officials who want to undermine the walk away option. So they too want to weaken the very strong UK position.

The EU should not overplay its hand by believing the UK woukd not dare to just leave if there is no deal that makes sense.

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  1. eeyore
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    We learned yesterday from Laura Kuenssberg that the EU intends to put all its cards face up on the table before the Brexit talks because it can’t trust its 27 members, or even the Commission itself, to keep them secret.

    If this is true (and it must be because the BBC says it) this is going to be a very odd negotiation indeed.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I love Laura Kuenssberg’s new coats. She has a lovely different one for every broadcast.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Courtesy of the Tele-Tax

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Does she not get them free as a promotion? Or is that vorbotten by BBC rules!

          Interesting to hear James O’Brien on LBC the man is absurdly pro EU so ideal for the BBC it seems.

      • ian wragg
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        She’s far too over promoted. Full of her own importance. Typical BBC left whinger.
        BTW I had to go through 19 pages of Captcha to submit

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          That must be a record. My best is a mere 5 goes.

        • APL
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Ian Wragg: “BTW I had to go through 19 pages of Captcha to submit”

          Yes, it’s quite something when you have to spend more time clicking pictures than actually composing the damn post.

        • Hope
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          BBC does not report news it reports the personal opinions of their presenters. Fake news.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          All the BBC employees are left wingers, the sole exception Andrew Neil who is about centre ground. No one to the right of him has any chance at all of employment at the BBC.

          They also have to believe in climate alarmism, ever higher taxes, the dire NHS (& so probably be an dopey arts graduate rather than a rather more questioning science graduate), believe in magic money tree economics, the tooth fairy, that government “invest”, the gender pay gap and be insufferably PC all the time.

        • Chris
          Posted March 31, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          It is getting to be rather a game. There is little logic in it, either!
          Problem is, that even thought I get through the Captcha I am failing the moderation, with the briefest and most innocuous comments. Help!

    • Mark
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      It seems that they are only going to discuss the ten of clubs, and claim that there are no other cards in the pack. I suspect that it will be very transparent that their initial “negotiating” position is nothing of the sort, and is merely an attempt at delay with two aims: trying to give themselves time to negotiate among themselves as to what they can agree on, as they haven’t spent time on it so far, in case they find that Brexit really does mean Brexit; or perhaps rather wasting negotiating time in the hope that the UK will beg to stay on rather than face the uncertainty of leaving without an agreement in place.

      We may need to remind them that Article 50(2) requires them to negotiate and conclude (not filibuster and frustrate) the withdrawal agreement, and that they do not escape that obligation if the UK meanwhile leaves under the guillotine. Indeed, our journalists should be putting this to them in press conferences.

    • John Probert
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has its own agenda telling stories and lots of drama
      You must not let the facts get in the way of a good story !!!

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    It is indeed bizarre. The BBC today reporting that the government is having second thought on accepting a bad deal.

    However I have no confidence in the dithering, socialist ex(?) remainer T May nor the misguided, grudging U turner, P Hammond. Their decisions and dithering so far have been dire and totally misguided.

    They still think more tax, more red tape, more white elephant projects, more expensive energy and more government everywhere is the answer. Just how dim are they to get to 60 and still think that?

  3. MickN
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The EU should not overplay its hand by believing the UK woukd not dare to just leave if there is no deal that makes sense.

    They don’t seem to learn from their mistakes do they?
    They didn’t believe that we would dare to vote to leave their club and in all truth had they given Cameron a few scraps of concessions that he could sell to the Great British public we would probably still be there. Patting him on the head and sending him on his way to tell us what a good deal he had got when we could all see the Emperors new clothes were as Jacob Rees-Mogg said “thin gruel”. He asked for nothing and came back with less. I have a bottle of English sparkling wine on ice for tomorrow.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Mick, never have been sure that if David Cameron had got more from renegotiations, the result would have been different. But I am sure that renegotiation at all was a mistake by Mr Cameron. If he thought that the EU was a good thing, why did he not just say that and ask us to vote on it? Months spent trotting round European capitals trying to water down EU directives could hardly ever paint the EU in a good light.

      Why Mr Cameron did it remains a mystery to me. Was he hoping to emulate Harold Wilson’s renegotiation in 1975 and the subsequent thumping majority for Remain? Maybe, but Mr Cameron then forgot Wilson’s standing back during the referendum campaign so he could continue as PM, whatever the result.

      I have a bottle of my best beer ready for tomorrow. Actually, it’s German wheat beer – just to show no hard feelings!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Yes, no doubt he was hoping to emulate Harold Wilson’s renegotiation in 1975, but he forgot a) that times had changed and b) that a sizeable chunk of the voters were fooled once but were not going to be fooled again.

        If the 2004 enlargement had involved long term restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons, and if Blair had decided to apply them, then the balance of public opinion would probably have still been to stay in. And likewise if the EU had agreed to give Cameron meaningful concessions on the freedom of movement of persons. The EU and its UK supporters have helped to bring about our departure.

  4. EU Agent
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    “What is bizarre is the number of politicians in the UK who are on the EUs side,actively promoting the idea that the UK has to pay a fortune to the EU to leave ”
    Yes they do seem hope our economy hits a brick wall.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Dear Agent–These liabilities, who is, er, actually liable for them? One assumes it is the EU just as if a Cricket Club were, in the simple case, to buy a new roof. Now if the Cricket Club concludes it cannot afford a new roof, as it well might, it could ask for donations (I was once made a Vice President of our Village Cricket Team on just such a basis) or maybe it could ask for Guarantees to be given to the roofers. Is that it: have we given Guarantees, otherwise I don’t see much to talk about. On any basis it cries out that the EU spent more than it should have done. Even if we did give Guarantees, which I doubt, why would that involve a (huge) cash payment (before any primary Liability had not been paid when it should have been)? Tell the EU to get knotted.

      • Mark
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Whilst we remain a Member we have to provide various guarantees – some of them are even joint and several. These add up to a potential liability that is of the same order of magnitude as the National Debt if we exclude the possibilities for limitless calls. They all fall away once the Treaties no longer apply to us.

        There is an excellent detailed examination of this in this paper from the Bruges Group:

      • Dennis
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        How is it with all the talk of commitments the UK owes the EU that no one has said what these are. Is there no department keeping a tab on what we owe with no one asking about this?

        Also is David Davies going to ask to see the EU audited finance books to check if it is accurate on what we owe? Oh yes they (most) haven’t been audited so we don’t pay until they are.

        Also Mr Gerard Lyons has many interesting things to say about why it is better to be out of the EU but he has never been on BBC TV or radio as far as I know – I have to see him on a 30 min interview on RT TV which is so much better than those on BBC.

        Also those we will pay, will we enjoy their use after we leave until they expire? These simple questions are never asked.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        According to some lawyers, including one in particular who gave evidence to a Lords committee, if we leave without an agreement then we be under no legal obligation to pay anything. There could be political consequences if we stood our ground on that, but that is a different matter.

  5. agricola
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    For sure , if they decide to punish us for having the temerity to leave, then the walkaway option is real, and it should be made very clear to them. I have my doubts about many of the noises off emanating from people in the EU. They are possibly creating a position from which they can fall back and hope that we are grateful.

    Anything less that a free trade deal is more harmful to the EU than to us. Do not allow yourselves to be drawn into a pick and mix deal, by which I mean that the car trade and agriculture stay trade free but other items do not. It would be a dogs breakfast leading within a short time to vomit on the carpet.

    I would appreciate forensic comment on a supposed WTO clause that allows participants in a free trade agreement, on withdrawal, to retain free trade status for ten years after withdrawal. If the EU are stupid enough to wish to trade by WTO rules and tariffs, then such a clause would provide a sensible cooling down period within which good sense might prevail.

    • ChrisS
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I have seen references to this “ten year”WTO rule. It seems that existing arrangements are allowed to continue for “a reasonable period” and that there is at least one precedent that this could be up to ten years.

      If this rule exists, it transforms the potential consequences of walking away. I’m constantly amazed that so much of our news is based on assumption, skimpy knowledge and a lack of diligent research. This should have been discussed at length during the referendum campaign and wasn’t mentioned last night on the Brexit Question Time programme. ( It was pleasing to see David Davies come over so well and how Clegg appeared to be in a highly frustrated and angry mood throughout. Perhaps he has finally realised he’s lost !)

      I’ve thought for some time that Merkel and Juncker will make a further miscalculation as they did in sending their strongest ally, Cameron, away empty-handed.

      Like Clegg, they regard it as unthinkable that a member state could leave their wonderful organisation but that Brexit might be the precursor to the opening of the flooodgates.

      In other words, their confidence in the organisation is skin deep yet they continue down the path of “Ever Closer Union” despite evidence this is the opposite of what EU voters want.

      We need some intensive research on WTO continuation rules.

      Over to you Denis……………

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      I too read about that provision for interim deals, here:

      It does require the consent of all parties to the deal, while giving them protection from objections which be raised by other WTO members.

      I point out again that provided nobody objects the strict terms of treaties including trade treaties can be bent or even broken, and that is true for the WTO treaties as for the EU treaties. Otherwise, for example, the EU would be in trouble for not having updated its WTO schedules to reflect its 2004 and later enlargements.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Have you any idea how complicated a “free trade deal” is? We are looking at thousands (yes) of pages of legal language agreed to by 27 different countries each with its own desires, its own challenges, its own historic views of Britain, its own language (mistranslation anyone?) The meetings take place about three times a year in a room full of translators, advisers and self important politicians and experts, each of whom has to have her own – his own say.
      It takes years. And then some years. Meanwhile all trade simply stops when the computers are switched off. We will be in the same position on March 29th 2019 as any other “third country” with no trading relations hip at all. No country that trades with the EU does so on a “WTO basis”.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink


        It does not have to be complicated.

        It is made complicated by politicians on both sides.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink


        Sorry mate , that just drivel from start to finish

      • Andy
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        It takes years for the EU to do a ‘free trade agreement’ partly because the EU isn’t actually interested in free trade – it is highly protectionist. Everyone else can manage to do them in a matter of months.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Agree, we must remain strong, no deal is better than a punishment deal.

    Unfortunately we have many politicians who are acting like traitors in trying to undermine our negotiation position before even talks have begun.
    Criticise if they must, but not before we have even started talking.

    Let us hope the population remember them at the next general election, whenever that is called.

    • Tom William
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      There is also the BBC, who warn of the possibility that “no deal” would lead to massive delays at the channel ports due to customs paperwork leading to severe trading problems. Why do they never say that the same would apply to the EU?

    • Tweeter_L
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Yes, nothing less than traitors: they are so keen to be proved right they don’t seem to care it’s their own country they’re talking down.

      (I, like MickN have a bottle of bubbly chilling ready for tomorrow!)

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I voted Brexit but you’ll find no hubris or celebration here. I’m braced for a very rough ride indeed and anyone who isn’t has no idea of what they have done.

        • a-tracy
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

          It is going to be nasty and our politicians best wake up instead of fighting a lost battle. We will have 70 odd MEPs looking for new jobs for a start and if we want this Independence to be a success we need to make sure the most informed and qualified of them are utilised properly by a government that only has 19 of them. If we don’t find something useful for Farage to do in the renegotiation then he will be on the outside shouting in.

          The Greens betrayed the Union yesterday that shouldn’t be forgotten in the rest of the UK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          I’m expecting some turbulence and think we should take the precaution of fastening our seat belts, but I’m not expecting the plane to drop out of the sky so I’m not going “Brace! Brace! Brace!”.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 29, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            This is a buttock clenching moment. I don’t care what you say.

            I still think we’re doing the right thing.

  7. Julien Tabulazero
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir,

    It is quite likely that there will be no deal that makes sense if on one hand you have the Brexiter politicians that only view the EU as a free trade zone and on the other hand the continental politicians that see it as a political project first and foremost. The apparent inability of each side to understand the other makes it unlikely that some form of compromise can be easily reached. Reading the continental press and comparing to what is written in the Daily Mail or the Telegraph about the upcoming negotiation strongly reinforces this belief.

    As for who will be hurt the most, I draw comfort from the fact that the EU27 economy is 5.0x the size of the UK economy. Any negative impact will be diluted over a bigger economy and shared across multiple countries. There is no overplaying of the EU hand or malice here. Just a simple statement of facts.

    Best regards

    • DaveM
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      “The apparent inability of each side to understand the other….”

      Brexit politicians understand the EU’s intent completely – that’s why they’re Brexit politicians!

    • sm
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Many of us, myself included, voted Leave precisely because we understood that the EU was much, much more of a political project than an economic one. Far too many politicians from Edward Heath onwards successfully projected the lie that the UK’s membership was ‘all about trade’.

      I can, to some extent, understand the desire of communities that have suffered centuries of wars, invasions and switching of identities to come together in a political Union that might do away with disastrous rivalries.

      What I would like to see in future is that the EU and the UK behave as co-operative and friendly neighbours, who are nevertheless each accorded the privacy and courtesy of running their own lives.

      • Andy
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        I doubt the EU will do that. It is not in the nature of the beast.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink


      It is this “we’re OK” attitude of the EU when hurting others (particularly much of the African continent) that was one point that swayed my referendum vote.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Well, I recall that Napoleon made a simple comparison between the populations of France and Britain and drew an incorrect conclusion.

    • Hope
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      We read today the U.K. to be fined £100 million for failing the EU directive on procurement for having a nuclear plant dismantled! When will the govt stop this nonsense. We do not have £100 million to waste on the EU. Say no we will no longer be fined or pay. Equates to 4500 nurses so we read.

      All these threats show me why it is correct to leave the authoritarian and totalitarian EU regime. Created for a few self indulgent elites who create wars and is trying to prevent them from creating more wars. They forget it is the politicos who create wars not ordinary people.

      There is no need for a two year tortuous negotiation while the nonentities that we did not want nor vote for, like Clegg, War mongering Blaire, Campbell etc rant on. Bring this to a swift conclusion by letting the EU know this from the outset. Remain firm and stick to it. If there is a sign of intransigence walk away even if this means on the first day of the negotiation. We are leaving so leave. And yes, remainers, we did vote to leave in its full entirety.

      Before negotiations start, tomorrow, send a missive to the BBC that it will need to change and buck up or go private.

      • Hope
        Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Julian, you forget that for some of us this more than a political project for the elite, a new world order by elite or economic argument. An Independent Free nation is more important. Look at all those former colonies who wanted an independent free nation. I would rather be free from being a tax slave to the EU which I have no say or control over than be shackled to a political project to enrich a few deluded greedy self induldgent (people ed)

      • Mark
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        I think we can expect that the ECJ will be encouraged to fast track any case that could impose large fines on the UK while we remain subject to its jurisdiction.

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink


      Whilst on the surface what you say is not inaccurate, I think you are underplaying proportion of trade we do with the main “power brokers” of the EU, namely Germany & France and the influence these countries will have on the direction of negotiations.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      The UK simply wants free trade and the EU wants political union.

      Brexit should, on the contrary to what you say, make things easier. The UK has always been a thorn in the side of the EU over this difference and without us you can integrate politically as far as you want, Euro and all and the UK can get on and do trading deals wherever it wants. Both sides can have what they want.

      The EU is obviously much bigger than the UK alone, but the majority of members are supplicants and without the UK contribution to the budget, the whole thing will become more difficult and may even fail and will have to get used to living a bit lower on the hog.

    • Chris
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Our politicians are perfectly well aware of EU intent, and because the people of the UK rejected the EU project, the politicians are enacting the voice of the people, as expressed in the Referendum. Where the failure in understanding takes place is among the eurocrats and some Europhiles, who simply cannot accept that people do not want to be in the EU and have rejected its core principle of ever closer union, and the associate four freedoms.

    • Mark
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I too read the Continental press, who seem to be just as unaware of the EU’s treaty obligations as much of the British press, and who seem to have failed to notice the point that there is no basis in the Treaties for the supposed “exit bill”. They are of course rather more concerned about the other problems within the EU, and therefore are inclined to put a gloss on things that amounts to burying their heads in the sand. Reality will bite quite hard when it hits.

  8. Richard
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    David Davis confessed to the Select Committee that the no deal option has not been costed. It follows that to claim no deal is a viable option is pure speculation and utterly irresponsible.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      ‘Irresponsible’ would be trying to punish the UK for leaving. The other nations are not going to leave – they are in it for different reasons, mostly to do with their history of tyranny which the UK does not have, having been independent for a thousand years.

      The calculations have not been done because of negligence, but because the government credits the EU with more sense than the Remainers do.

    • Jagman84
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      The no-deal option has not been costed as the UK Government expects the EU to be more pragmatic than their rhetoric suggests. It really is in their interests to broker a non-punishment trade deal. Walking away is better for us than the rotten deal we currently endure.

    • John Probert
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Its probably almost impossible to cost with so many variables
      Have confidence We will make the best of it

    • Mark
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Plainly the EU has costed it as being at least €60bn better than the kind of deal they have in mind.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      He actually said there had been no new attempt to cost it since the referendum, and judging by the unreliability of the efforts made before the referendum it may not be worthwhile trying to pursue that line.

    • getahead
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure that a no deal option has been costed. Perhaps not by David Davis himself but I’m sure he only has to ask.
      Your implication that reverting to WTO terms cannot be better than a bad deal is implausible.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        It was costed as part of Project Fear.

  9. Bert Young
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I am amazed that the EU is threatening punishment . I see this as a statement of fear . The EU economy is in a mess and there is no way it can continue without the Germans releasing their purse strings . Talk of taking us to the Hague is like a snowflake trying to stay alive in hell – all psychological jitters .

    Negotiations ought to start with calm and rational heads on both sides of the table ; I sincerely hope we will stay diplomatic . If worse comes to worse , we will have to walk away with our heads held high and our pockets intact . Good character always wins in the end .

    • Mark
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Once we have left the EU there is no legal forum in which they could pursue a complaint which has any jurisdiction. Until then, there’s the ECJ.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      ‘Negotiations ought to start with calm and rational heads on both sides of the table’

      – Well said.

      At end of day, the EU needs us (according to many, many business leaders around the EU). And we need the EU (according to many, many business leaders around the UK).

      An acrimonious divorce could seriously damage, economically, both the UK and the EU, taking years to recover.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    They are at it again this morning. The BBC quotes EU diplomats asserting that the UK government itself now recognises that the walk away option will be too expensive to contemplate. Well they, both the EU diplomats and the BBC, would say that wouldn’t they?

    I hope that Mrs May will be made of sterner stuff than to kowtow to the even heavier barrage of negative narratives which can be expected now that Article 50 notice is finally about to be served. No doubt those in charge understand perfectly well that these comments are intended to frame the debate in the interest of the EU not the UK. It is especially notable that the BBC is among those leading the charge to undermine the UK position in the minds of the UK public.

    My review remains the same. There are many shared interests between the UK and the EU that are capable of being resolved sensibly. It seems to me that the UK has stated its position in clear and reasonable terms. What can, and probably will, upset a settlement is the intervention of political points scoring and resentment at the temerity of the UK voters to decide to exit the EU. At the moment I put the failure to agree a sensible outcome and a reversion to WTO terms at about 50%.

  11. Mick
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Somehow I don’t think Mrs May or Mr Davis are going to pushed around by the Europeans, and still we have the remoaners marching for staying in the eu, I’ve said it before if the young ones want to live in the eu then go, by the way when you get to your beloved eu land of milk and honey be prepared to be conscripted into a eu forces, no matter what cleggy tells you there is going to be one and you will be forced to join, still want to be in the eu now, thought not, Muppets

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      ‘I’ve said it before if the young ones want to live in the eu then go’

      – No. The older ones have had enjoyed good times here in the UK, and it’s time the young ones should enjoy living in Britain and being British.

      I say more of the older ones should hand over more of their savings so that the more young one can buy houses and bring up their families here in the UK.

      And then more of the older ones can go abroad, and live in sunny Spain or Italy, where’s it cheaper, and the food and wine, better, and life, generally, more relaxed.

  12. DaveM
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The term “Project Fear” has reached its stale point I think. I probably speak for a huge chunk of the population when I say that I have absolutely no fear of any bureaucrats who threaten to “punish the UK”. Bring it on Eurocrats – read your history first though, and check out what happened to all those others who tried to threaten or intimidate us. Do they not realise it is exactly the same pigheaded sentiment which saved them from Hitler that caused millions of people to extract the UK from the EU? They truly do not understand us.

    With regards to all those MPs trying to undermine Brexit, is it worth asking them (next time there is a vote in the HoC) whether they intend to honour the vote or if they will spend the next 3 years trying to overturn it?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      For goodness sakes.

      We are not the same people anymore.

  13. Richard1
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I watched the Question Time on Brexit, it was a tedious discussion. David Davis is not an articulate advocate for Leave, I hope he is better in negotiation than he is in these kind of discussions. The argument ought to be a simple one: the UK would like friendly political relations with the EU including easy travel for business, tourism and study, free cooperation in numerous areas (which ones to be discussed and confirmed in our exit process) and free trade. We do not want political union nor the tools of political union – the euro, uncontrolled immigration and subjugation to EU institutions. If the EU says you can’t have one without the other then there are 2 choices – (1) move to WTO rules and impose reciprocal tariffs, a process which results in higher tariffs paid to the U.K. By the EU than vice versa or (2) (better) make a unilateral declaration of free trade, cut all tariffs to zero and benefit from lower prices, higher growth, higher tax receipts etc.

    Someone needs to summarise these simple arguments for ministers so they can make them in a convincing way.

    Can we also see some private sector expertise brought in to assist ministers, it does not feel like the civil service alone is going to be adequate.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      If the EU persists in demanding £50bn, response options include demanding repayment for the present value of the UK’s share of EU assets based on our pro rata historic contributions, demanding repayment of the overpayments made by the U.K. Since Blair and Brown gave back Margaret Thatchers rebate, on the grounds the payments were ultra vires as they reneged on the commitment to a referendum, and (if the first two don’t work) ganging up with Donald Trump and supporting a request for Germany and others to repay €100bns due to underpayment for defence in recent decades. It should be possible to settle this one, and there should be no agreement until everything is agreed, including trade.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I hope that Theresa May’s letter will make it clear that she is notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to withdraw using the Article 50 procedure, but without prejudice to any general right of withdrawal under wider international law. They should know from the start that we are not binding ourselves to stick with that procedure if they try to mess us about.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Moreover I can’t see why the letter should run to even seven or eight pages, let alone a hundred pages:

      There is nothing in Article 50 TEU laying down that when a country gives its notice that it intends to leave it must say why it intends to leave or say what it is proposing instead of EU membership or anything at all beyond the bald statement:

      “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.”

      • Mark
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        I agree. When playing chess you simply push P-K4 and await the response. You do not announce that you trust your opponent will play the English Opening. Since it’s the EU perhaps you also need to remind them of the rules of the game, rather than let them think they can play chequers. In this case it is not speed chess, so although there is a time limit on the first moves the game continues afterwards. Neither is it poker, with a need to pay into the pot to raise the stakes to see the cards.

  15. Shieldsman
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I watched Bumbleby by accident last night, not by intention. As usual nothing conclusive came from the panel just all their known different opinions.
    Alex Salmond may have been a little careless in pointing out that the Scots had no reason to vote to leave the EU on the grounds of excessive immigration. Historically he said Scotland has always suffered from an emigration problem.

    • Beecee
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      If he gets his Independence/EU way then Scotland will be inundated with EU Migrants who will then queue on the Border waiting to cross into the more fertile land to the South!

    • DavidMR
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Regarding Mr Shieldsman’s observation about Alex Salmond’s historical Scottish emigration problem, this might just possibly be mitigated by an influx of English businesses with strong European connections once the terms of the Brexit deal become clear. Quite a few of them will be contemplating the possibility of a move if the Scots decide to quit the UK but remain within the EU – so it’s really a question of whether the Scots WANT their beautiful country inundated by Sassenachs, isn’t it?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Salmond has his own view on mass immigration, but the majority of Scots have their view on mass immigration which is the opposite of his and in fact not that far removed from the view of the English. To parody the Remoaners, the Scots did not vote to stay in the EU so they could continue to enjoy uncontrolled and unlimited mass immigration.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Alex Salmond…does anybody really give an ounce of credence to this man’s puerile rhetoric nonsense anymore?

  16. Iain Moore
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Its no surprise to find we have , how would you describe them..a fifth column perhaps… for we have had decades of hearing them tell us how worthless were are , what useless workers we are, how our culture is only made tolerable through enrichment, how our country has been built by immigrants, how the NHS is run by immigrants , so to find them worrying themselves silly about the rights of EU migrants to live here, but seemingly not care about the status of British nationals living in the EU, or playing up the hand of the EU in our Brexit negotiations while trying to helpfully undermine our own , is really just more of the same. It does show why we voted Brexit, that they have clearly failed to understand why we voted Brexit, and that we have voted Brexit makes them an irrelevance , which is probably why we are seen a nine month tantrum from them as they cannot reconcile being told to get lost with how highly they regard themselves.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Well put.

  17. Bob
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    “What is bizarre is the number of politicians in the UK who are on the EUs side,actively promoting the idea that the UK has to pay a fortune to the EU to leave when there is no such legal or moral obligation on us.”

    Bizarre indeed Mr Redwood. A fact that the voting public will need to be made aware of at the next general election. The voters decided to leave, and all MPs should therefore accept the decision has been made and work for the best outcome for their own electors, not work for the benefit of foreign powers. It is disgraceful, that the remainers are acting like some kind of fifth column within the UK. No wonder Tony Blair was so keen to dilute the punishment options available for Treason.

  18. Bob
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    After Brexit, will the EU be liable to cover pensions for the likes of Lords Mandelson, Patten, Kinnock (& family) and Nick Clegg?

    Or will Mrs May agree on behalf of the UK taxpayers to pick up the bill? – and she does, will those pensions be fully taxable in the UK at UK tax rates?

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      They were EU employees and as such it was up to the EU to make provision for their pensions at the time.

    • Dennis
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Any answers Mr Redwood?

      • APL
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Dennis: “Any answers Mr Redwood?”

        Frankly, I’d be happy to tell those named individuals where to go for their pensions, they already qualify for very comfortable pension provision from HM government anyway.

        Mandleson is a multimillionaire – and can easily do without a pension at all. Same for Kinnock.

        Frankly it would be to the Tories electoral advantage to be seen to play hard-ball on this issue.

        No ordinary man or woman in the street are going ‘over the top ‘ to fight for the right to pay a multimillionaire’s pension obligations!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Indeed you just leave the club and stop paying the fee the pensions are not out liablity (unless we signed up to pay them for evermore and we have not). We agreed just to pay the fee for the two years, alas now extended to two years nine months due to Cameron failing once again to keep his promises and lots of subsequent & pointless government dithering and silly extremely expensive, legal actions and foolish judgements.

      The pensions are not deserved anyway either the EU pay them or they do not get paid. They certainly should be taxed in the UK if the live here at the normal rates or perhaps even higher.

    • Andy
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Technically the EU is responsible. As far as I know there is no provision in the Treaties nor in International Law for the UK to contribute to the EU after March 2019. After all Article 50 clearly states that after 2 years the UK will leave regardless and the ‘treaties will cease to apply’. However, I notice with all this talk of ‘liabilities’ there has never once been mention of ‘assets’. As the UK has been a net contributor in every single year save 1973 the UK is entitled to a large chunk of those assets, so lets see some proper accounts and valuations. The EU can’t have it all their own way.

      • Mark
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        The assets we can lay claim to include retrospective repayment of our rebate for our final period of membership and refunds of our paid up shareholdings in the ECB and EIB.

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    “Leaving without a deal is always going to be better for us than a punishment deal. ”

    Mr Redwood, please take your head out of the sand.
    1. Nobody wants to stay in the EU as it is moving at its usual glacial pace towards either complete breakdown or to the USSR of Europe.
    2. Nobody wants “Associate Membership” where they tell us what to do and what we owe and then insist that we obey. Sort of colonial status of the worst kind.
    3. Nobody wants to become a “third country” where we are simply cut off from the European computer system and where all trade simply stops dead in its tracks on 29th March, 2019. That indeed will cost the Conservatives the next election, opening the door to the Labour rabble. Hugo Chavez – Hamas – IRA – all Mr Corbyn’s dreams come true.
    4. We have to remain in the Single Market (now called the EEA) by joining EFTA. That way we get all Mrs May’s demands and keep the trade. Please explain why this option is not the best one while we negotiate. Nobody has so far.

    • Know-dice
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink


      Your number 4. May [sic] happen, but it is essential at this stage that the other party (the EU) believes that the UK walking away is a real option.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink


      There are none so blind than those who refuse to see.

      But keep up the good work.

      Personally, I think some brinkmanship / Game Theory is going on. 😉

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Mike, as already explained to you at least twice, if nobody wants the UK to become a “third country” then that means nobody wants to leave the EU.

      If you won’t believe me then maybe you will believe your friend Barnier when he recently referred to:

      “… the interests of third countries closely associated with the EU, such as Norway and other EEA countries, Iceland and Liechtenstein”.

      Likewise the various reasons why EFTA/EEA is not a satisfactory option have been repeatedly explained to you, but you choose to simply ignore what is said.

    • getahead
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      The EEA is based on the same “four freedoms” as the European Community: the free movement of goods, persons, etc. One of the main reasons people voted to leave the EU was to discontinue the free movement of persons which is seen as unfair to British workers and British taxpayers.
      Membership of the EEA costs about two thirds the price of full membership which is also a bad deal.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        And it does not in itself solve the problem of customs barriers.

        There is a section here:

        about the customs arrangements between Sweden, which is in the EU and the EEA, and Norway, which is in EFTA and the EEA.

        “6.3.1 Norway-Sweden border cooperation

        Customs checks cannot be wholly eliminated between Norway and Sweden, as this is one of the external borders of EUCU. However, both partners have agreed to the imposition of light-touch customs checks. Along the 1,640-Km border, only ten customs checkpoints exist in Norway, each at major border crossings. These are operated jointly by Norwegian and Swedish authorities,removing the need for double border checks. There are many more passenger crossings. In 1995, Norway estimated the savings to economic operators from shorter waiting times and the waiving of
        double border stops at approximately USD 39 million per year.

        Furthermore, customs crossings are only required for commercial vehicles: private vehicles enjoy essentially undisrupted movement along all other uncontrolled border crossings. Security is ensured by the creation of a juxtaposed control zone, which encompasses a 15km radius either side
        of the border and allows Swedish customs officers to carry out spot-checks on private vehicles up to 15km into Norwegian territory and vice versa. This helps to move inspection procedures off the border to prevent bottlenecks and delays at crossings (see Annex I for further details).”

        Reply The UK has customs checks available at all arrival ports and uses them for non EU, so what is the problem?

  20. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I think what the EU fatally has misjudged is the fact that the more they posture and bully the UK the greater the support amongst the public for the walk-away option is.

    As a side issue, whatever the government says about our negotiating stance the BBC by default disbelieves them (such as a walk-away being a viable option) but whatever the EU says they immediately believe (such as the EU will demand Euro 60 billion before they even start negotiating). The BBC know nothing about real negotiations, other than their own rather successful one to maintain the license fee of course.

  21. forthurst
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The government must not negotiate with the EU at all; it must tell them free trade as now or WTO rules. If they refuse to deal, then sobeit, but almost certainly, in that case, they would be back at the eleventh hour with a cave-in because of the damage a WTO deal would do to the economy of Germany, the EU’s only future paymaster. We have a large trade deficit with them so we have all the cards.

    • Jon p
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      We should send them, the EU, a final letter breaking off all communications and tell them that we will not pay a red cent towards any brexit costs until they come to their senses and agree to do things our way- it’s either “our way or the high way” tell them! – and only then will we be sure to get the best trade deals possible with the different 27 remaining countries as we see fit, the deals that suits us and on the very best terms that suits only us, because they need us much more than we need them – and so we will have taken back control- May and Davis please note

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The EU is demanding money from us for leaving it what some people refer to as a ‘divorce’. Surely in a divorce, if one party puts in a claim for money, the first thing the lawyers do is to put forward a counter-claim by the other party.
    The problem is that the UK always wants to be seen as being ‘nice’ and none of our diplomats or negotiators seem to have any clue on how to negotiate. In response to the EU claim, we should be lodging a multi-billion claim for our share of the EU assets which we’ve paid for over the years, for example a share of all the buildings and contents.
    We shouldn’t simply say we’re not paying in response to their claims for money, we should be lodging our own, even bigger claim.

    • Beecee
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Jape or not I read that Mr Trump gave Ms Merkel an invoice for $300bn he calculates they have underpaid the USA for the defence of Europe.

      We should have his team lead our Brexit negotiations, particularly as most politicians are only interested in a compromise if the alternative is to walk away. As Mr Cameron should have done last year before the Referendum.

    • Andy
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      As I say above such a claim would run to billions. I believe the accounts show assets of over 153 billion Euros. as the UK has been a net contributor in every year of membership save 1973 I wonder how those assets can be properly divided up.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        I am fairly sure there must be roads in Poland, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal et al that we must now be entitled to put toll booths on and schools and factories in the same countries that we could claim rent from as it is our money that built them.

        Where there are only liabilities reported investigation usually turns up misappropriated assets.

  23. Antisthenes
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I have long suspected that the majority of us have not progressed much beyond the school playground when it comes to our thinking and actions. Brexit has reinforced that view as we are assailed on all sides by the mealymouthed actions of remainers and the EU commission. Spoilt brats comes to mind when they so obviously show their ire and contempt for the democratic will of the majority because they are denied what they want. Grown ups which they are obviously not accept failure with good grace and if they protest at all do so honourably. Not make dire threats and use exaggerated and aggressive behaviour.

  24. alastair harris
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I find it hard to believe that they will get any deal agreed between the 27. The only way forward is if they can stitch something up under a majority vote. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. Tariff free trade in goods and serviced using the existing border protocols, and agreement to continue current arrangements over all aspects of security, plus reciprocal rights on residency for those already in situ.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Don’t hold your breath. This would be for the EU to admit that the political project is an irrelevance.

  25. Oggy
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The EU’s intransigence is legendary so we shouldn’t be surprised that ‘no deal’ will be the likely outcome. Personally this does not worry me or anyone I know who voted to leave the EU. We all feel it would be better to make a clean break than remain shackled in any way to the EU corpse.
    I see Keir Starmer stated in Labour’s 6 Brexit points that unless the EU/UK deal gives the same benefits as we receive presently as an EU member that labour wouldn’t support it. In other words they aren’t going to support any deal.

  26. bigneil
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The aim of Germany/EU is to destroy the UK – and take it’s money. It does not care if we are in the EU or not, so long is it achieves that aim.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      ‘The aim of Germany/EU is to destroy the UK – and take it’s money. It does not care if we are in the EU or not, so long is it achieves that aim’

      – Most Europeans I know love the UK and the British, and are just not like the villains you make them out to be. I don’t know where you’re getting your information from except i think the media here has spun a lot of stories about the EU in order to sell more copies of their newspapers.

  27. James Neill
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    The EU have known for decades about a certain type of English/Tory led unhappiness with the EU so how could they not know with the intemperate language used and the material that has been written about them over the years in some of the rag tabloid newspapers. Who also could ever forget the amount of abuse and insults hurled across the EU parliament floor by British MEPs at European parliamentarians and officials- so how could they not know about English unhappiness

    I’m sure the EU negotiators have their homework done and are well prepared which is more than I can say for the UK side- if after looking at last nights BBC programme from Birmingham is anything to go by- if we crash out it will be nothing but our own fault

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Ban the rag/tabloid newspapers.

      They sow dissent with the EU.

      Now about those EU accounts…

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        I wish people would just stop buying newspapers here in the UK. The whole bloody lot of them (newspapers). And instead spend the money on something else until the newspapers here get their act together and be more honest and give readers something more substantial to read.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          I disagree. On the whole the newspapers do a good job and have been the true opposition party for many years.

          (Opposition to Blairism and spin.)

    • Andy
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      You are naive. David Davis has experience of the EU having been Minister for Europe. He negotiated with them so is well aware of what they are like. You ought to have more faith in him.

  28. A Briton
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    We need to ‘walk away’. No longer part of an all consuming Super State in which in years to come there will be total subjugation of Nation States replaced by governance by a Central Government in Brussels the officials of which will be appointed by an EU Committee. There will be no Nation States and no need for them. No National identity other than some kind of European I would find appalling.

  29. Alan
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Brexiters have constantly overestimated and fomented UK unhappiness with the EU. In actuality the EU has been beneficial to the UK and would have continued to be so. Most people would have been content with this.

    Now the Brexiters are seeking scapegoats for what is likely to happen. They need to blame others. They want to set up a “them versus us” mentality so that we will feel we are being badly treated. They will attain their own aims at the expense of the bulk of the population and blame the EU for the UK not attaining the results they have promised.

    Reply Nonsense. It is the EU Commission who have been using the unpleasant language

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      “Most people would have been content with this.”

      We had a referendum, the result of which showed that they weren’t.

      Even if the result had been Remain, the fact that we even had a referendum also showed that they weren’t. (Many who voted Remain were discontent with the EU too.)

    • Chris
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink


      That really is quite high up the ‘what a load of absolute tosh’ list!

      • Chris
        Posted March 30, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        IMPORTANT The above comment about “load of absolute tosh” supposedly from “Chris” is NOT from me. PLEASE Mr Redwood, can you sort out the security of ID on this site so that regular posters (for many years in my case) are not attributed with comments they did not make.

        Apologies are also due to Alan above to Chris made the impolite reply. It was not I who made it.

    • Richard
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      An excellent post, Alan. Mr Redwood is one of several Leavers terrified they will be fingered for their misrepresentations once the economic horror of “no deal” is unleashed, so they are trying desperately to push the blame on to the EU, which is simply abiding by its own rules.
      Mr Redwood, it is the UK that has made this mess, not Brussels!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 29, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Actually I agree with your last statement insofar as we should never have joined in the first place. The other governments cannot be absolved of all blame, but we should not have signed up to something that we didn’t really believe in as a nation, with some of our politicians going along with that in the hope that we could manipulate it into something more acceptable. And by the same token we should not now seek to stay in the EEA, because apart from other issues it is based on the same four freedoms as the EU when we only want three of them. In my view it would be dishonest to sign up to that knowing that it is not what we really want while planning to try to reshape it to our preferences, if necessary by abusing the agreement.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Ted Heath believed in it. The people would not have voted to join had they been told the truth.

    • getahead
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      “In actuality the EU has been beneficial to the UK.”
      Not so.
      Forget Single Market Myth | Norman Lamont

  30. Kenneth
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I agree that the eu should not underestimate our resolve to walk away but we should also not underestimate the power of a mass media organisation with several tv stations and countless radio stations and a heavily promoted website along with a massive budget.

    The eu’s artificial payment demands are part of their opening gambit. That’s to be expected. However, it suits the BBC to use its considerable political power to elevate them to red lines.

    The BBC is already trawling to find voices that will back its political philosophy and heavily promote those voices.

    Who will oppose these voices? The eu sceptics are rarely on the BBC airwaves these days and so that avenue is virtually closed.

    It is clear that the government will face a barrage of relentless hostility over the BBC airwaves if it even contemplates WTO rules.

    The question is: does the government have the resolve to stand firm in the face of this political power?

  31. John Probert
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    When the British people voted to leave they accepted the risk and the

    The walk away option will be good enough

    Anyone in the government or representing the government found
    undermining the process should be removed

  32. acorn
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Denis C. See following regarding citizenship of EU requiring member state citizenship as a pre-requisite and the references to Article 50. I reckon they rushed this one out.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Of course, the treaties do not yet provide for free-standing EU citizenship.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    To my mind the more ridiculous and harsh the terms the better (if a sensible deal cannot be proffered.)

    The world will see who has been unreasonable and our decision will be decisive for it.

  34. John
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I can see a need for a government public information program. One that would spell out in simple terms with help of graphics and charts spelling out:

    Our current terms with the EU and rest of the World (as in tarrifs)
    A no deal terms for the EU and rest of the world
    A tariff free deal with the EU and guestimate trade deals with rest of the world

    Just in terms of tariffs and EU contribution. It could be quite simple and required to be aired on the BBC for a few weeks at prime time.

  35. a-tracy
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    The minister said Mr Trump’s plans would force the tax system to be changed around the world. Ms Zypries told Deutschlandfunk radio: “The other option is that we file a suit against him at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) – there are procedures laid out there because in the WTO agreements it is clearly laid out that you’re not allowed to take more than 2.5 per cent taxes on imports of cars.”

    I think the WTO terms need explaining to the UK citizens if they are being used by the BBC to try to worry us. Just what are they?

  36. Michael
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Whether there is a trade deal or not remoaners will continue trying to keep us in the EU. On and on they go.

    Triggering Article 50 does not make it certain that we will leave but it makes it most likely. If there is no trade deal what is the alternative? It cannot mean we stay in the EU.

    You mention there are some in the EU who might believe “the UK would not dare to
    just leave if there is no deal” By triggering Article 50 that becomes a real possibility.

  37. backofanenvelope
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    It is a great pity we can’t have a second referendum. This time the question would be – do you want to endure two years of bad tempered negotiations, or would you rather just leave.

  38. Newmania
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    The walk away option is a lie because the people who misjudged the deal available will pay for it .If the last few months have taught us nothing else it is that the average Tory MP will change his mind on a weekly basis if it saves his job

  39. Graham
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    If we knew who these ‘Gov’t Officials’ were leaking to the BBC then we should get rid of them immediately before they can contaminate the leaving process.

  40. Vanessa
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    There is isn’t a country in the world which trades solely on WTO rules – they do not cover everything.
    To “walk away” with no agreement would be a disaster for the UK – equivalent to a multi-car pile-up on an enormous scale. The queues of trucks at Dover would be unimaginable as all our produce (perishable food included) would be subject to “visual checks”. A man would have to open crates to check what is inside. This would take WEEKS and so most of our trade would die. Every label has to be scrutinised. This is the most stupid idea a COUNTRY decided on. It would bring the UK economy crashing down around our ears. We should stay in the EEA which would mean we had left the EU but not the single market. It would mean we had 90% control of our borders and immigration; that we would only accept 30% of laws from Brussels and we would not pay anything like the billions we do now. Switzerland is a member of the EEA but NOT of the EU. For the UK this would be a TEMPORARY or rather a transitional arrangement while we sorted out and agreed much of the easier stuff we need to – perhaps 2 years. Once everything is in place and all is running smoothly we LEAVE the EEA for good. A very easy procedure.

  41. ian
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Like i have said before you come out first and then you have talks if needed on somethings other wise they can take you to the eu court which can be bias against you because you still in the eu and come under their rules so i do not see how you can have talks while leaving yourself in a position like that, it might suit the 500 odd liberal in parliament who would like to stay in the eu but it would not suit me or people wanting to come out, as they have decided to have talks under these terms i would tell them that if they hear of any type of threat they should have a letter ready to give to them right away of the uk has just left the eu the minute that threat come into the talks, any type of threat at the talks is not on.

    • Vanessa
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      You just show that you do not run a company or manufacturer anything or contribute to our economy at all.

  42. margaret
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Let us make it ? unreal for a moment and ask why they are on the side of the minority. Do they not have any feeling for their native Country the UK or are they aligning themselves with the Germans , Slavs, Spanish , Greek etc. Are they more loyal and can empathise more strongly and readily with the immigrants and refugees ? If so why is this the case? It does not seem normal to give up an identity and heritage which has kept us alive and safe for so many years , which has allowed us to get health care free for the many. It does not seem normal to say we want to be like you who are suffering and finding situations in a 27 country federation difficult and unfair.
    Why is this perception of giving everything up more appealing ..unless.. influence is coming from those who are in the midst of crisis and they want better and therefore objective sight lost in a line of subliminal desire to find better. It is not normal to want worse when we have better!

  43. Martin Reed
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The EU desperately needs a tariff free trade deal, not the UK. But the question is – why does this government not tell the public that is the case loudly and often? As a result all the discussion in the media is on the basis of that misapprehension, i.e. that the UK must fear Brexit and not not the EU.

  44. Prigger
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood on BBC Daily Politics today. Same topics re Brexit

  45. Ed Mahony
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Let’s press on with Brexit, but not isolate ourselves from Europe.
    The EU doesn’t bare any grudges. It just doesn’t want the EU to collapse if other countries followed the UK out. Therefore they’re going to make that option unattractive to them by being tough with us. This is just realpolitik.
    If people are serious about Brexit, we’re going to have to do a deal with the EU. The UK simply isn’t rich enough not to. We also have large debt hanging over us that has to be paid off. If we endanger our long-term trade with the EU, then we COULD end up in serious economic trouble.
    Play our cards right, and we could have a very successful Brexit.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      The EU is obsessed with the indivisibility of its four freedoms. Above all else it is that quasi-religious dogma which has led to the present schism.

  46. ian wragg
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I love to hear threats from within the EU. Today Sweden says we must continue to fund the EU mistakes.
    Don’t they realise they are helping the Brexit side enormously by their perceived intransigence.
    They may recall that the same attitude meant Britain stood against Hitler in 1939.
    Web don’t rock bullies.

  47. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    BBC World Tonight 10pm last night – that programme is off my agenda normally but I made the mistake of listening to the one sided Remoaning BBC in action about the dire consequences for Scotland and N.I. – no counter arguments.

    Nigel and A.Campbell on ITV today, view on Telegraph clip, the only thing I can say about Campbell is I admire his gall.

    Sturgeon’s New Edinburgh Dictionary (apologies to OED:) compromise = surrender.

    I fear a general election is inevitable well before 2019.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Mr Campbell said to Mr Farage “You didn’t give up in 1975” as to why Remainers are still campaigning.

      Well actually this is untrue. We gave the EU a good go – a clear run of nearly 40 years in fact.

  48. Original Richard
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    “What is bizarre is the number of politicians in the UK who are on the EUs side,actively promoting the idea that the UK has to pay a fortune to the EU to leave when there is no such legal or moral obligation on us.”

    Possibly even more bizarre was to watch our previous PM twice stand smirking whilst the head of a foreign government threatened us with reprisals for voting to leave the EU.

    Also bizarre would be the EU not wanting to continue a free trade deal with the UK when there is a £100bn/year trade imbalance in their favour.

    The EU recognises this and this is why they are saying the UK must pay a £50bn bill before the trade negotiations can begin. They know their position on trade is weak and are trying to get this payment agreement in advance. The government should of course call the EU’s bluff and refuse to make any payment what-so-ever.

    However, the EU may prefer to punish the UK rather than act in the best commercial interests of both the EU and the UK and this is why the government should announce they are fully prepared for there to be no (free trade) deal other than on WTO terms.

    The UK has been threatened before for breaking with (the Treaty of) Rome and we survived, as we will this time, despite some of our own nationals and institutions acting “bizarrely”.

  49. Jason wells
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    There is something fundamentally wrong with the psyche of the people of this country if we think that by turning our backs on a trading bloc of up to 27 countries right on our own doorstep, with 500 million people, and charging off into the unknown is a sensible thing to do. Just what do brexiteers think is going to emerge from this choice- i mean do they think that the british empire is going to be reestablished and we are all going to be saved.. well i’m afraid that those days are well and truely gone..even the commonwealth is long in decline and is there for nostalgic reasons only.. so just where are we going to get these new trade deals talked about by Liam Fox? maybe from the USA.. but i think not – not with Trump there…maybe from africa? yes maybe. From australia or NZ? because both countries are too far away geographically and it would not make much economic sense in todays i would like to know just where the new trade deals are going to come from as it’s clear now that the EU remaining countries will only agree to trade on their own terms as a EU bloc and the way things are going it doesn’t look good so that option is very soon going to be closed off. The slogan we hear very often is that ‘They need us more than we need them’ has also been well heard in Brussels..and the EU team is ready and well prepared so very soon we’ll see who needs who the most.

    • Oggy
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Well we don’t need people like you with negative attitudes like that.

      • hefner
        Posted March 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Oggy, the problem with your response is that quickly this blog will become even more of a cult. Is it really what you want, only posts that go on congratulating JR for whatever he says, or mantra-like comment telling us everyday how ‘leftist/communist’ the PM, Chancellor or BBC journalist are.
        And I thought that free speech was something to be nurtured. Am I wrong?

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      “There is something fundamentally wrong with the psyche of the people of this country if we think that by turning our backs on a trading bloc of up to 27 countries right on our own doorstep, with 500 million people, and charging off into the unknown is a sensible thing to do.”

      Jason, it was never about trade or economics as far as the majority of Brexiteers were concerned. It was about sovereignty, the ability to elect and remove our own governments and to be able to have control of our laws, borders and assets.

      The country voted to leave despite being told by the government, the corporates, the EU, the BBC, the IMF, the OECD, the Governor of the Bank of England, the financiers, the wealthy and entertainment elites etc. that to do so would bring economic ruin to the country. It was even costed precisely at £4300/family/year.

      But we still voted to leave and preferred freedom to a few pieces of silver.

      Finally, remaining in an undemocratic, dysfunctional EU with its insatiable appetite for expansion to include ever more countries, some of whom are not even considered to be European, is the far bigger long term risk than leaving.

  50. Freeborn John
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    This is where we learn that Theresa May is a latter day William Hague, pretending to be a EU-sceptic and hinting at measures she has no intention of delivering. If the BBC reports are correct she is being much more cooperative with Brussels in private than her public pronouncements would have indicated. I do hope you will vote against her sell-out deal when it comes before Parliament.

    • MUG
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Exactly John, for how much longer do we have to put up with these communists?

  51. lojolondon
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Also, John, the Remainders, the BBC and the rest of the MSM keep saying the ‘negotiations are going to be very difficult’. Totally ignoring the fact that we hold every single card, we are walking away, and we are keeping our money and our resources (like fishing grounds). I believe the negotiations are going to be very easy, but only if our team realises we have the whip hand.

  52. Martin Conboy
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    In 1945 the RAF used its bomber fleet to drop food supplies into Holland and other Benelux countries. The retreating fascists had stripped their livestock, warehouses and grain stores bare of everything moveable. The people were starving, and we gave the assistance that we could and that was needful. In 1948/9, again we stepped up and took a major part in the Berlin air-lift, providing necessary food and other assistance to the population of a German city that was being systematically starved. These acts involved quite some sacrifice for the British people, there were shortages at home. We had food rationing in force as it had been for many years. Don’t even get me started about the self-sacrifice involved in picking a fight with what was then the greatest military power in the world, because they were bullying the people of Poland, with whom we had a treaty. And so now these same Europeans are going to punish us, out of spite, for wanting our democracy back… ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 29, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      That was when bread was put on ration, for the sake of the Dutch.

  53. Chris S
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Tuesday’s Newsnight reached heights of pro-EU / anti-Brexit bias. First we had to listen to both Soubry and presenter trying to outdo each other in attacking Bernard Jenkins. At one point he had to intervene saying “one at a time, please !”

    Then we had a film by Clegg about S Wales asking why they voted Leave when oodles of EU cash has been spent there. He was told it had mostly been spent on vanity projects, not on new job creation schemes.

    Of course lots of images of EU signs on shiny new buildings but he never once mentioned it was our money that the locals told him had been wasted !

    No doubt Mrs May will ensure that in future our money will be spent much more wisely.

    Reply I refused to do Newsnight as they were determined to do Conservative versus Conservative and replay the referendum arguments

  54. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    If and when the UK moves to WTO status with the EU (pushed into it)….for example would this really impact Brits purchasing German cars, I doubt it? There are several ways to decrease the cost of BMW ownership, simply lowering the base price springs to mind! Ignoring Politicians, businesses will always look for a pragmatic solution to retaining their hard fought for market share.

    There are many countries around the EU that need access to the UK, in particular with regards to food stuffs! Should there be a need for the UK to purchase foodstuffs from around the globe it is simply a matter of business to business transaction and would, most probably, bring down the costs to the average household.

    When you start to dig deeper into country by country commercial dependency, it is clear the UK has the upper hand!

  55. Freeborn John
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    The FT is reporting that May is surrendering already on the role of the ECJ and payments to the EU! Why can’t UK government officials negotiate seriously rather than simply making useless unilateral concessions which the EU will simply pocket and demand more in the face of what it interprets as weakness?

    There will have to be a whole new campaign to get us out of the bad relationship that May is conceding.

  56. Ed Mahony
    Posted March 29, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    One thing I’m certain about is that if we’re going to make a success of Brexit, then we need to pray for it to Christ / Blessed Trinity (And that includes being as nice as we can be to our neighbours in Europe, and that we all try and unite as a country). (That is if you’re of a religious bent, if not, then apologies for imposing my views, and also, apologies for being arrogant / unkind in any of my comments, not intended).

    I believe this country can have a great future. And there’s no harm in patriotism as long as it doesn’t develop into idolatry – love of something or someone over God). And big thanks to Mr Redwood for allowing me to comment on his blog.

  • 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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