Let’s try negotiating with the EU rather than ourselves!

At last today the UK will start negotiating with the rest of the EU. Some in politics and the media have been making our country look stupid by persisting in having a negotiation amongst ourselves over how weak a negotiating stance we should adopt in Brussels. Some do this because they do want to wreck our negotiation proper. Others do so because they do not understand how a serious negotiation is best handled, and doubt the underlying strength and fairness of the UK position.

We have heard siren voices tell us we need to pay large and maybe continuing sums of money into the EU. Of course not. There is no legal requirement to do so. The rest of the world trades happily with the EU without paying budget contributions or one off payments.

Some say we have to stay in the single market and or Customs Union. Of course not. Most countries that trade with the EU are in neither. We do need to leave both bodies, as the Manifesto of both Labour and Conservative made clear in the recent election, in order to negotiate better trade deals with the rest of the world. The rest of the EU stated categorically we cannot stay in the single market without accepting the laws, freedom of movement and budget contributions that go with it. In other words to be in the single market we would need to be in the EU.

Some say the UK cannot expect to get a free trade deal with the rest of the EU when we walk out. Why not? We have a comprehensive free trade deal with them at the moment, and the UK is happy to offer continued easy access to our market. The rest of the EU sells us so  much more than we sell them. Why would they want to lose some of that?

Some say you cannot negotiate a  free trade deal in 20 months. That is probably true, but we don’t need to negotiate one. We merely need to renew one that exists already.

Of course it is possible the rest of the EU will want to harm their trade with us. In that case the negotiations will take the form of the EU proposing barriers to their trade with us and ours with them, whilst we urge them not to. We will also of course be pointing out they cannot do so against WTO rules, which will greatly limit their scope to do damage. It will mainly come down to them imposing large tariffs on agriculture where WTO does allow such practises, and us retaliating. The UK can once out also remove tariffs on agricultural products from the rest of the world that we cannot produce for ourselves.

Tomorrow I will talk about a new range of stories the media could pursue on this topic, to get us away from the boring and repetitious “Lets water down and undermine the UK position” pieces that they all have been running for a year.




  1. Peter Wood
    June 19, 2017

    Good Morning,

    I think your penultimate paragraph needs clarification; .. the EU “central bureaucracy” will want to harm…., but the ‘member states’ and companies there domiciled, do not.
    And this is OUR problem; we are talking to the WRONG people if we want sensible continuing trade relations.

    1. alan jutson
      June 19, 2017

      You can only talk to those who are given the power to talk to you, rest assured once the German car workers, French, Italian, and Spanish wine growers, Belgium Chocolate manufactures and all others who sell us Millions of Euro products get a hint of tariffs against their exports to us, things will start to move forward.

      1. Julien Tabulazero
        June 19, 2017

        No because the German car workers, French, Italian, and Spanish wine growers, Belgium Chocolate manufacturers know that the EU trade internally 5.0x what it trades with the UK.

        Let’s not even get into the economic benefits of 60 years of continuous peace in Western Europe.

        Bottom-line: the EU is too important to let the UK have its cake and eat it regardless of what your trade links could be.

        1. alan jutson
          June 19, 2017


          Suggest you do your homework on BMW, Audi, VW, and Mercedes Benz sales volume to see what percentage goes to the UK compared to elsewhere before you make further comment.

          Thought it was NATO which had kept the peace, but now the EU want to set up their own Army with Germany in control, because they do not like paying their full share into NATO.

          Etc ed

        2. getahead
          June 19, 2017

          So why would the EU want to stop trading with Britain even if it is “important”? Why would the EU countries want to give up 17% of their trade?

        3. Anonymous
          June 19, 2017

          You’re forgetting Nato prevented war, and the fact that Germany was divided for most of it with half occuped by the USSR. The problems have come since reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall as this is not the Union we first signed up to.

          The Nato budget which protected Western Europe was funded disproportionately by Britain and America.

          I hope this fact gets remembered in negotiations.

          1. rose
            June 20, 2017

            “I hope this fact gets remembered in negotiations.”

            We recently had a graceless assertion from Frau Merkel that they could no longer rely on their allies – i.e. the two who have been providing most of the defence.

        4. libertarian
          June 20, 2017

          Julien T

          Oh dear another naive remainer substituting wishful thinking cliches for hard facts.

          Since the establishment of the EC there have been 35 wars, revolutions, armed uprisings, coupes and violet armed separatist struggles in Europe .. What peace?

          1. Julien Tabulazero
            June 21, 2017

            Within the EU ? yes please list them.

    2. Len Grinds
      June 19, 2017

      But the whole point of the EU is that it routes its negotiation with third countries through its central bureaucracy, the Commission, in order to prevent member states being played off against each other. That is rule 1 of EU trade policy. The UK might want to talk to Member States – but it can’t.
      Even now, a year after the referendum, and you don’t even grasp this basic and simple point! Brexit truly is a triumph of the ignorant

      1. Peter Wood
        June 19, 2017

        Clearly I do know that the EU negotiates with one voice; otherwise I wouldn’t have made the point. The problem is that the EU bureaucracy/commission does not have an electorate who can tell them to do a better job of agreeing trade terms (you may know that the commission member are appointed). Their only interest is their own survival and political project.
        People trade, politicians frustrate trade. There should be no trade barriers between the UK and the members of the EU. Lets see who frustrates trade.

      2. Edward2
        June 19, 2017

        There is regular contact between the UK Government and European nation’s governments.
        You suggest the EU rules every member nation.
        They don’t

      3. Narrow Shoulders
        June 19, 2017

        That central bureaucracy is charged with acting in the interests of the member states and not itself.

        One year on and still no fear of ever closer union.

        Contrary to how we are charachterised it really is about regain sovereignty.

      4. Hope
        June 19, 2017

        They already have and it was a point made before. The EU/Germany would only like us to talk to the EU, but reality prevails it cannot stop countries talking to each other. The same applies to the world at large despite the tantrums of the EU.

        Your version highlights the dictatorship the EU is and why we want to leave. Good point highlighted Len. I suppose we could apply to join the USSR, but not in this lifetime despite Marxist McDonnell and all he professes.

      5. John C.
        June 19, 2017

        And the defeat of the arrogant.

      6. libertarian
        June 19, 2017

        Len G

        Thanks for absolutely nailing one of the main reasons to leave the EU. You may be finally waking up to reality

      7. getahead
        June 19, 2017

        If you are so clever Len why do you have to be insulting?

  2. Tabulazero
    June 19, 2017

    Today is the day your convictions meet the hard wall of reality.

    We are about to find out over the coming months if all the assertions you have built your Brexit case are true or not. Personally, i think you and many followers of this blog are in for a surprise… but we will see. Time will tell.

    Good luck and may the best team win.

    1. Bob
      June 19, 2017


      “Good luck and may the best team win.”

      This is not a game, it’s about a future relationship.
      With the right attitude all parties can benefit, but with your attitude it could make everyone worse off.

    2. matthu
      June 19, 2017

      You clearly discount any possibility of a win-win outcome then?

      1. Julien Tabulazero
        June 19, 2017

        Yes. Totally.

        Seen from the Continent, Brexit is a lose-lose situation. That’s pretty much how it was presented to the population.

        It is a bit of information that I think is sorely missing from Mr Redwood analysis.

        1. getahead
          June 19, 2017

          Well the EU will certainly lose our contributions.
          I cannot see what Britain can lose.

      2. Hope
        June 19, 2017

        Clause 8 Lisbon Treaty applies does it not. Neighbourless with joint prosperity?

    3. DaveM
      June 19, 2017

      “and may the best team win”.

      Congratulations, you’ve just summed up the attitude of all pro-EU/globalist fanatics. And at the same time summed up why over 17 million UK citizens voted to leave.

      1. Julien Tabulazero
        June 19, 2017

        Theresa May’s government had 12 months to build some kind of relationship or rapport with the rest of the EU and its population and utterly failed to do so.

        I am not sure if this was a conscious decision or a matter of personality.

        The result is that UK’s public foreign diplomacy on Brexit is non-existent.

        1. Anonymous
          June 19, 2017

          Internal divisions. Internal divisions.

          Including the appointment of an overrated Remain Prime Minister to conduct Brexit.

          Most people I know here like Europeans.

          In fact it is internal divisions and the failure of Europhile politicians to tell the British people the truth which caused disatisfaction with the EU. For example – the EU was always blamed by politicians for the failure to remove terrorists and hate preachers.

    4. Mark B
      June 19, 2017

      It’s a marathon, not a sprint !

      And look whose on your ‘team’.

      Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta & France. All massively in debt and getting poorer.

    5. Terry
      June 19, 2017

      ‘ground’ zero! This is no silly game where ‘the best team wins’. Frivolous talk detracts from serious considerations.
      Our leaving the EU is a serious matter for the future of this country and for the freedom from foreign domination for ALL of our citizens, those current and for those in the future. we give them liberty and independence.
      The last time we were able to to make such a choice over who actually governs this country was in 1939.
      NB The 1975 referendum was about a Common Market and not our capitulation to the politicised EU, which was an hidden agenda at that time.

      The outcome of Brexit decides whether Britain is to rule itself or be ruled by the unelected and unaccountable “Kings” of Europe.
      These new Royals of the EU are there by stealth design and not by strength of armies.
      And, as us British have done so repeatedly in the past, we will now again commence the liberty of ALL Nations across Europe. We are leaving but their choice will be their own. They have no such clear choice under EU laws.
      Hopefully, this time, we will get there without the bombs and the bullets and the terrible loss of life we have had to endure in the past. What say you?

      If you cannot accept that we, the British, have decided, democratically, to remove ourselves from the chains that are holding us back: The same chains that mean the EU is allowed to govern our lives , although we citizens have never elected any one of their leaders to do so and also to enable them legally, to dictate our laws and to control our own borders, then you cannot be a Brit. A true Brit, that is.
      You know. One whose psyche dates back to the Anglo Saxons learning from the Roman Empire and developing through the dark ages and thence 1000+ years to the British Empire, the World wars 1 and 2 in Europe and those others besides.
      Fighting for OUR rights and the rights of our friends and our allies over two thousand years has evolved with our DNA . We ALWAYS fight against tyranny.

      It’s what made us Great. If you cannot accept our DNA, our ways you can always become perpetually subservient to Brussels, as long as you keep paying them handsomely to run your own life. If that is what YOU really want. Good luck because YOU will need it. They are just there for the high life you pay for, mug.

      As far as we are concerned Britain is just about to come out of its modern “Dark Ages” and into the light shining on the Rest of the World and its 6 billion customers.

    6. Anonymous
      June 19, 2017

      We have been well informed by a variety of contributors to this blog. We will be less surprised than most.

  3. fedupsoutherner
    June 19, 2017

    Surely, if they put tariffs on agricultural products then ours could be cheaper to buy from home. Or, if we didn’t apply tariffs on our goods to them they might find our good cheaper? As you say, it is good we are at last getting somewhere with talks.

    1. Know-dice
      June 19, 2017

      ” Or, if we didn’t apply tariffs on our goods to them”

      I don’t think it works like that 🙁

      We could/would only apply tariffs on goods coming into the UK.

      But, bear in mind at the moment the EU gets 80% of the tariffs paid on goods coming in to the UK/EU, whereas after Brexit we (the UK) would get 100% of any tariff applied.

      I think it was said that at the moment raw coffee beans attract 0% tariff whereas processed coffee attracts 7%, so this wonderful “Customs Union” that people want to keep is protectionist in its function and discriminates against third world countries. So let these countries, typical Africans countries stand on their own two feet trade wise and maybe they will need less in the way of International Development Aid…:-)

    2. Andy
      June 19, 2017

      I believe there is a tariff of 200% on Garlic ! There is a tariff of 16% on Oranges, and on and on the list goes. You can think of any product and like as not the EU slaps a huge tariff on it. It is a Customs Union, is highly protectionist and not interested in Free Trade.

  4. sakara gold
    June 19, 2017

    David Davis would do well to listen you you on the Brexit issue. I’m concerned that the party is still very divided, if we are not careful the EU negotiators will try and exploit this. DD should invite you onto his team, I cant imagine why he hasn’t!

    1. Lifelogic
      June 19, 2017

      Davis also stripped of David Jones sacked by T May for some reason and replaced by remainer Baroness Aneley – who sounds dire. Why?

      1. rose
        June 20, 2017

        Apparently DJ told someone the PM was the best one we had at the moment. So with supreme judgement and intelligence the PM sacked him.

    2. nigel seymour
      June 19, 2017

      Agree, JR should have been offered at least a ministerial position. For what it’s worth, I still support the PM and as a member would vote for her again tomorrow, and the next day,and the next day and the next day… PH is off my radar and can resign as Chancellor whenever he wants and replaced by AR. MG was a positive appointment but would have liked to see IDS returning along with Mark Harper.

      In the words of Elizabeth Cree “Here we are again”

  5. eeyore
    June 19, 2017

    Alas, government is so damaged by its self-inflicted wounds that it needs general support. That means unhelpful clarity during negotiations and much noisy debate. Our hand, which was strong, is weak, our voice hesitant and even our will uncertain.

    I believe JR’s position and goals are plain good sense. Others don’t. Some are genuine in their differences, but many are not and may even hope to vindicate past opposition by ensuring future failure. The Conservatives are riven again. Labour’s position seems opaque but opportunistic. Parliamentary arithmetic will dominate all.

    Only those who spiritual home is a sinking ship can feel at ease.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 19, 2017

      And reportedly damaged by wounds self-inflicted on the advice of the President of the EU Commission, for God’s sake …


      “The Observer has learned that May took the fateful decision to call the election having been urged to do so by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

      It is understood that Juncker had advised May to call an early general election as a result of his concerns that the 17-seat majority she had inherited from David Cameron would not be enough during the pinch points of the negotiations, including over the issue of the UK’s divorce bill, estimated to be as much as €100bn.”

      Reply Mrs May did not call an election to please the EU!

      1. Anonymous
        June 19, 2017

        Reply to reply: Did she take advice from Mr Juncker ?

  6. Turboterrier.
    June 19, 2017

    For many years you have been a thorn in the side of the party over the EU, but for the country embarking upon its biggest mission to remove ourselves from the shackles of the European Parliament, it actually begs belief that you and a few like thinking members have not been elevated to the negotiating teams. It is time for the hatchets to be well and truly buried and send people with knowledge and experience of how the EU thinks and operates.

    Hope you have a suitcase packed just in case!!

    1. getahead
      June 19, 2017

      I can help wondering who pulls Theresa’s strings. She does nothing to help herself.

  7. Lifelogic
    June 19, 2017

    Exactly as you say:- We don’t need to negotiate one. We merely need to renew one that exists already. The only real object to this is some EU bureaucrats, who clearly want to injure their members own interests.

    This to try to keep their EUSSR project on the road. Most thinks these bureaucrats do are alas against their members interests. The Euro, fishing, agriculture & the CAP, the energy agenda, over regulation of virtually everything, the land fill and recycling rules ….

  8. alan jutson
    June 19, 2017

    Talks to start at last, thank goodness.

    Now we will really see what the EU thinks of us.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 19, 2017

      Indeed always remember they can do us far more damage if we are subject to their laws, rules, fines, fees and courts than if we are out and free of them.

      Trade can be switched to other markets, if they really want to play silly buggers. But trade is in their interest more than ours anyway.

      1. Ed Mahony
        June 20, 2017

        ‘Trade can be switched to other markets’

        – Not that easy. Japan’s in the Pacific Rim – its economy been in decline for years (its GDP per capita is 41% compared say to Netherlands at 51% and 50% and Germany at 48%.).
        1) trade deals take time.
        2) A) Weaker businesses always find it much easier trading nearby, B) with cultural similarities C) and more stream-lined business regulations that we enjoy in Europe.
        3) With huge national debt we don’t have savings for shock to our economic model

        Whilst we try and pay back national debt, and with shock to our economy short-to-medium term, Labour, no doubt, would get back into power – ruining everything (for Brexiteers and country in general).

        Success of economy also based around social / economic values. Our workers want 5 weeks holiday unlike American’s at 2 weeks. Too much of a shock here, would lead, again, to Labour getting back in (and ruining everything).

        Change is needed, but it must be gradual not shock. And the best change is to try and get the EU reformed.

  9. Caterpillar
    June 19, 2017

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s direction.

  10. Len Grinds
    June 19, 2017

    You write: ” In other words to be in the single market we would need to be in the EU”.

    Norway is in the single market. It is not in the EU. It is perfectly feasible, and in line with the referendum result, for the UK to be in the same position as Norway. You might not like that, but that is a matter for debate. What is not open for debate is your claim that “to be in the single market we would need to be in the EU”. That is a palpable untruth.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 19, 2017

      Norway is not in the EU, as far as the EU is concerned Norway is a “third country”. Nor is Norway a member of the EU’s Single Market, and it does not even have unfettered access to the whole of that EU Single Market. And nor is Norway in the EU customs union, itself a prerequisite for membership of the EU Single Market. Just as Turkey is not a member of the EU customs union but as a third country has a customs agreement with the EU’s customs union, so Norway, and Iceland and Lichtenstein have the EEA agreement with the EU and its member states providing for extensive but not complete mutual market access, but at the price of accepting all four of the EU’s “four freedoms” plus other disadvantages.

    2. Beecee
      June 19, 2017

      Norway pays about £140 per head of population to be a member of the Single Market. On that basis we would have to pay about £12Bn gross to be a member of it. Why we should pay to be in it when we have a trade imbalance with it of c£80Bn a year is beyond my comprehension.

      Norway has also to agree to free movement of people and also goods and services. They are also bound by most EU laws.

      This so called ‘soft Brexit’ would apply to us also and is what the Haseltines and the EU loving Remainers want.

      The Norway situation is the wrong solution if we truly want control of our borders, Finances and Law making back.

      1. Denis Cooper
        June 19, 2017

        Well, I’ve been looking in the EU treaties for some kind of derogation, maybe enshrined in a protocol, which would allow the three EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein to be members of the EU internal market, as is sometimes claimed, but yet be exempt from Title III TFEU on Agriculture and Fisheries, which starts with Article 38 TFEU on page 51 here:


        “1. The Union shall define and implement a common agriculture and fisheries policy.

        The internal market shall extend to agriculture, fisheries and trade in agricultural products … ”

        Because we know that under the EEA Agreement those three EFTA countries have not granted the EU legal powers over those sectors:


        “What is the EEA Not?

        The EEA Agreement does not cover the following EU policies:

        Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies (although the Agreement contains provisions on various aspects of trade in agricultural and fish products);

        Customs Union … ”

        But I don’t find any provision in the EU treaties to the effect that Norway et al are allowed to be in the EU internal market, but with a special status whereby it does not apply to those sectors.

        It may seem to be just a matter of semantics, but I don’t see how the claim that “Norway is in the single market” can really be upheld when there is restricted mutual access for some parts of that single market, and indeed there are still tariffs on some of the products in those parts.

      2. Andy
        June 19, 2017

        Norway is in such a poor position because its political class have been desperate to join the EU, and Norway is a relatively small country and the EU is a bully. I wish we could revitalise EFTA.

    3. libertarian
      June 19, 2017

      Len G

      Just keep spouting the same nonsense over and over doesn’t make you right.

      How many times do you need to be told that a majority of us DO NOT want to be in the so called “single Market ” at all , under any circumstance as its actually a crock

      1. fedupsoutherner
        June 19, 2017

        Agree Libertarian. We want to be free to trade with whoever and wherever we want to.

      2. Len Grinds
        June 19, 2017

        That is fine, libertarian – you don’t want to be in the single market, that is your view, and you are entitled to it.
        My objection is to Mr Redwood’s claim that being in the single market is the same as being in the EU. That is not a view anyone is entitled to hold, because, as the case of Norway proves, it is not true.

        Reply Not quite what I said. The UK and EU agree that we will leave the single market, as they think it comes with freedom of movement and budget contributions attached.

        1. libertarian
          June 19, 2017

          Len G

          You need to actually check your facts. Norway is in fact NOT in the full single market , it has partial access in return for full acceptance of 4 Freedoms and large payments. Not quite the same thing

    4. DaveM
      June 19, 2017

      We know that. But as you are no doubt aware we would have to accept FoM and various ECJ measures as well as not being ‘on the board’. Leave was about sovereignty, not the SM.

    5. Jumeirah
      June 19, 2017

      Yes Len but remind me how much Norway HAS to contribute to the EU Budget over which she has no control or say? How much would we have to pay if we were “half in’? Oh yes forgot the ‘price’ is worth paying because there’s 500m Customers out there all lining up to sell to us.

  11. Nig l
    June 19, 2017

    Spot on about the negotiations. Add to the pot, hubris, egos and an over inflated view of self worth encouraged by a media not seeking news but controversy. David Davis is a serious player. Let’s hope that that HMG shows some corporate responsibility for a change supported by an aggressive Alistair Campbell type figure to get their message over.

  12. Taimanov
    June 19, 2017

    If we are in such a good position because the EU sells more to us than we sell to them, then obviously they should be offering to pay us to continue to trade.
    Why do you think this is not happening, Mr Redwood?

    1. getahead
      June 19, 2017

      If the Commission paid us, they wouldn’t be able to afford the window cleaners for their magnificent building(s).

  13. Harold Street
    June 19, 2017

    You say we should merely renew the agreement that exists already. Incredible! I thought you wanted to leave the EU, but now you are happy to sign up to the current deal – unlimited immigration, power of the Court in Luxembourg … what an amazing conversion!

    1. Ajay Gajree
      June 19, 2017

      He was only talking about the Tariff free trade we currently have.

  14. Ian Wragg
    June 19, 2017

    The trouble is John, Britain leaving the EU is a body blow to the movers and shakers of this world.
    The Goldman Sachs and Bilderburger of this world so desperate to do away with Western culture and diminish our standing are outraged.
    The Paris accord designed to transfer hundreds of billions from the developed world to the basket cases under the guise of saving the planet is just another EU type con trick.
    We have more to fear from those wihin, never mind Brussels.

    1. Turboterrier.
      June 19, 2017

      @ Ian Wragg

      Very well said.

      It is the elephant in the room and it is known as Agenda 21

  15. Richard1
    June 19, 2017

    There is apparently now majority public support for: ‘soft’ brexit (undefined); staying in the customs union;and a second referendum on the deal. All positions incompatible with getting a good deal under brexit. How can this have happened? Part of the explanation must surely be the total failure of the government under Mrs may both during the election and before to offer any positive vision of brexit beyond platitudes.

    What for example has happened to Liam Fox? We haven’t seen or heard from him for months. Are no Countries interested in trade deals with the UK or is Dr Fox just not competent to have made any progress he can report on them after a year in his position?if the first maybe people are right we are better off in the customs union.

    The Conservatives need to start fighting the campaign they just didn’t do in the election, including a positive vision of brexit and a robust debate on the economy.

    1. Anonymous
      June 20, 2017

      Why are you looking at polls ?

      The data supporting full Brexit is in last year’s referendum, the Miller case and this year’s general election in which 82 % voted for full Brexit parties and in which the one party offering a second referendum lost aeats and two of its stat players.

    2. IgnoreThePolitics
      June 20, 2017

      No there isn’t. 84% just voted for manifestos that stated we would leave the CU. The parties offering a second referendum lost spectacularly.

      Meanwhile the majority voted last year for (a) removing ECJ from any control and (b) UK sovereignty over immigration and legislation is higher than at the referendum. This is a ‘clean-break’ BrExit. This remains what people want. If we get a new trade deal then it will be ‘softer’, if the EU is not interested in a deal then it is ‘harder’. Hard or soft is not a UK policy and misses the point of what was voted for – twice; it is the EU’s response to a request for a trade deal as is typical between them and third parties (and their demands for money to plug their budget deficit).

      Liam Fox is in the USA starting trade negotiations there …

  16. Bert Young
    June 19, 2017

    I trust David Davis takes Johns’ thoughts with him to Brussels today . Facing the threat of a “huge fine” from the EU is intimidating and unrealistic . The countries in Europe would face a considerable drop in their income / jobs were they to lose the benefit of our market and many have voiced their concern at the stance the EU has indicated it wishes to take .

    A calm and diplomatic approach is needed and I hope this will be the case .

  17. Sir Joe Soap
    June 19, 2017

    We now have to imagine a Commission headed by …. Sir John Major….. almost a guarantee that nothing will happen whatsoever, except that he will manage to get A50 revoked and say that he’s done a wonderful deal to get us into the Euro via an ERM arrangement.
    Desperate stuff still by Remainers.

  18. Mike Stallard
    June 19, 2017

    The EU wants to become one single state. The “common market” is a part of that state. It is policed and judged by the single state. The Directives affect the single state. The Commission and General Directory regulated and governs the single state as far as it feels its right.
    If we leave the common market, we are no longer governed by the EU and therefore we cannot trade with the EU without special arrangements which are specific and detailed. They take years and years. Mr Redwood, you know that is all true.
    We have got a couple of years, at most.

    However, there is a way out. We leave the Single Market (EU/EEA) and join EFTA/EEA. It is by no means perfect, but it is an excellent and established negotiating platform which frees us at once from blind acceptance of EU Directives, the CFP, the CAP, the ECJ, defence and foreign policy of Federica Mogherini, and which allows us to negotiate freely with all the other countries in the world and all the standards organisations too.
    The EFTA-EU joint committees provide an excellent negotiating platform for us to go forward and free ourselves entirely from this cancer.

    Please do not confuse long term and short term strategy.

    Reply The rest of the world trades with the EU without belonging to its customs union.

  19. JoolsB
    June 19, 2017

    May’s stance is correct – NO deal is better than a bad deal. If the EU know we will accept a bad deal, this is what we will get. Philip Hammond was wrong to undermine her yesterday by saying the opposite. If the EU want to punish us by imposing tariffs, they will be punishing themselves more. We need strong leadership in the talks with the absolute aim of coming out of the single market, customs union and NO divorce bill – no ifs, no buts.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 19, 2017

      But Hammond didn’t really say the opposite, he acknowledged that while no deal would be a very very bad outcome a bad deal could be even worse:


      “… Mr Hammond said: “No deal would be a very, very bad outcome for Britain, but there is a possible worse outcome and that is a deal that is deliberately structured to suck the lifeblood out of our economy over a period of time.”

      He could have said that no deal would be a very very bad outcome not just for Britain but for all concerned, but even so it is possible to conceive of worse outcomes. It is just a matter of imagining how far the leaders of the other EU countries could go in making excessive demands. If they proposed a deal which had us paying a market access fee of a trillion pounds a year in perpetuity then even Starmer would have to agree that it would be better to walk away with no deal at all.

      1. forthurst
        June 19, 2017

        I cannot see how no deal would not be immensively beneficial for our farmers and fishermen. It also means the government would need to subsidise our farmers less in order to match the CAP. As for the motor industry, where there is a lot of tooing and froing of piece parts, without a trade deal we could still have arrangements whereby approved manufacturers’ goods could be fast tracked on the basis that their manifests would be trusted without routine inspection by customs.

  20. Chris S
    June 19, 2017

    I have little to add to this very good summary of the real position.

    People like Clegg, are being entirely disingenuous in claiming we should and could remain on the SM and CU.

    By contrast we heard a sensible and coherent position from Labour in the form of Starmer’s interview with Marr on Sunday. McDonnell and the Momentum mob must have been furious that the shadow Brexit Secretary missed an oportunity to attack the PM. Perhaps there is some hope for Labour after all.

    Unfortunately while I write the last paragraph and after excellent interviews with Michael Gove and Boris, the Today programme interviewed Clegg.

    The BBC needs to realise that the man is now a nobody, he’s lost his seat and like Mandleson who they interviewed earlier, he has no official position.

    They only turn to them because, unlike Starmer, they can be relied on to follow the BBC’s disgraceful policy of attacking its own Country’s negotiating position.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 19, 2017

      Indeed Major, Heseltine, Ken Clark, Paddy Ashdown, Clegg, Cable, the Green MP, the SNP lot, even Clegg’s wife – all kept in some BBC cupboard to be wheeled out endlessly to talk the usual BBC think drivel on the EU, the economy, the green religion, taxation and the likes.

  21. Michael
    June 19, 2017

    It is difficult to see how David Davis can bargain in Brussels with confidence when Hammond & Co desire a deal at almost any price and behave as a fifth column. Any deal arrived at under such circumstances is unlikely to survive for long.

    The result is it has become more likely we will leave the EU in March 2019 without a trade deal and without Theresa May as PM.

    1. IgnoreThePolitics
      June 20, 2017

      Hammond didn’t say that. He is simply worried about the unknown, i.e. how much economic pain will come from leaving the SM and CU (which he agrees we must do; it is in the manifesto after all). People who voted to leave are happy to take this pain (and expect that in the medium-term it will be outweighed by the positive impact from trade deals with RoW). Hammond, May, Davis and Boris are on the same page … with differing levels of nervousness (and differing levels of willingness to countenance an interim deal or pay a fee to leave with a free trade agreement, as opposed to simply throw in the towel and leave without any deal).

      You are at risk of accepting the media’s lazy interpretation (or desire to make it appear like there is much division when in fact it is minor). See John R’s article of today. The media is floundering, and asking the wrong questions while misinterpreting every word that is uttered.

  22. Lord Muck
    June 19, 2017

    It all seems a grand plot to make sure the Britsh people never ask for or get a referendum on any subject again.
    Undermining the democratic vote every day, several times a day by MPs who should have first been put under a legal oath NOT to undermine the Will and Vote of the people.
    Putting a cross on a piece of paper and having it honoured has never been so tortuous in the history of the UK Parliament

  23. acorn
    June 19, 2017

    “Grenfell Tower disaster, a symbol of broken Britain.” Headlines Politico. Everything you need to know about how badly managed the UK has been for the last three decades, is summarised in the the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

    “Five minutes walk away from the block of council flats, a five bedroom semi-detached family home is for sale. Asking price: £15 million. Side by side, oligarchs and uber drivers. One set living in the most expensive streets in Europe, the other in rented flats owned by the local council, who opted not to retrofit a sprinkler system in the homes of its poorest residents.”

    Our amateur Punch & Judy parliament has not considered it necessary to build a national civil defence system for Grenfell tower type incidents; like the US FEMA system for instance. There are a lot of Grenfells about, they are mostly occupied by the bottom 30% income groups. Groups that have no interest whatsoever to a 1% serving, neo-liberal conservative government.

    1. APL
      June 19, 2017

      acorn: ” One set living in the most expensive streets in Europe, the other in rented flats owned by the local council, who opted not to retrofit a sprinkler system in the homes of its poorest residents.”

      Flats in Grenfell tower were on the rental market at over £1600 pcm.

      Even if you were renting, they weren’t cheap. If you are paying £1600 per month in rental, then you need to be bringing home at least £3,000 per month to cover your other expenses.

      Gas, electricity, Council Tax, ( based on value of property in London and location, I’d say Grenfell tower apartment council tax would be another £1,000 pcm ), food, gas and electricity. Government takes another £1000 tax and NI.

      Fag packet estimate, I’d guess you’d need to be on at least £50,000pa just to be able to live in that block of flats.

      Oh!, No social life and you walk to work too.

      1. acorn
        June 20, 2017

        The average Kensington and Chelsea local authority weekly rent is £123.91 2015/16, according (DCLG Table 702)

        One of these days, Brexiters will come up with a number that is factually correct!

        1. APL
          June 21, 2017

          acorn: “Brexiters will come up with a number that is factually correct!”

          I can’t speak for the council, because they never get value for money out of anything as it seems, a matter of policy. But £1600, was the price for a privately owned flat in Grenfell tower.

          1. acorn
            June 22, 2017

            APL, sorry for slow reply, busy week.

            I have been trying to find out how many flats had been sold under Right-to-Buy (RTB). Tenants can cash in buying a flat, tarting it up and renting it out. £1,900 a month has been advertised for a two bed Grenfell Flat. Currently, in that area have a rental yield of circa 3.3%. That would imply the flat would sell for circa £700,000.

            The Lakanal House fire in 2009 highlighted the fact that RTB modified flats were not assessed for any added fire risk they added to the buildings integrity.

            It is worth having a read of the Kent Uni’ article “Expert comment: Grenfell Tower – the part of Right to Buy and lessons not learned”

      2. Anonymous
        June 20, 2017

        Typical costs for a SE home these days.

    2. Richard1
      June 19, 2017

      clearly an absurd and twisted effort to somehow blame a tragic fire on the {relative} economic liberalisation which has done so much to improve prosperity, living standards and life chances across society in the UK since Thatcher began her reforms in the 1980s. £10m just got spent on this building – the question that needs to get answered by the enquiry is on what, and was that the best use of the £10m.

      The left are extraordinary – can anyone imagine if this terrible incident had happened in a Labour borough or under a Labour government, the right would be seeking to blame them? Still that’s the Marxist playbook I guess, we better get used to it with Labour as now taken over.

    3. libertarian
      June 19, 2017


      Of course the left hasn’t been calling for decades for “low cost” housing . Whilst I agree politicians are the problem in general, the proximity of high value properties next to social housing happens EVERYWHERE . Thats the sodding point of “low cost” social housing. What idiot lefties always miss when bleating about wealth is that blocks like Grenfell and the Worlds End and North End Road tower blocks are social housing in very wealthy , gentrified areas or are you now demanding ghettos? One moment of grown up thinking would show you that social housing in wealthier burroughs is likely to enjoy better general infrastructure benefits.

      In terms of the tragedy at Grenfell, bet wait for the accident investigators initial report first and actually find out what was the cause and why the Fire & Rescue Tower Block procedures failed this time

      1. Lifelogic
        June 19, 2017

        It was because they spend money very foolishly indeed, cladding the building and making it more dangerous not less. Driven doubless by the green crap religion. It was a huge failure by government at EU, UK and local levels and by building control and fire regulators. Nothing to do with saving money, just simple stupidity and a lack of a sensible engineers in control. Nothing whatever to do with neoliberalism not that we have seen any of that in the UK – unfortunately.

        They spent nearly £100K per flat making the block more dangerous.

      2. Lifelogic
        June 19, 2017

        The cause is surely fairly clear from the filmed footage.

    4. Edward2
      June 19, 2017

      Every major city in the world has problems of inequality and expensive housing.
      It’s not unique to London.

    5. Terry
      June 19, 2017

      Questions should have been asked why such a tower with low cost accommodation was sited in a very expensive area, in the first place. It must have been a difficult task to shop locally for its inhabitants. Normally, persons on low incomes gravitate towards areas with many discount stores and markets in easy reach as we have had to.

      1. libertarian
        June 19, 2017


        Er Grenfell is in LONDON , a major city with endless shops of all kinds . Also its in North Kensington which is NOT a particularly up market part of the Borough. Try looking it up on a map

        You obviously have never been to London. Oh and within 1 mile of Grenfell are branches of LIDL, Primark, 2 x Tesco Express, loads of independent shops and market stalls as well as WestField Shepherds Bush, Portobello Road market, Shepherds Bush Market and the whole area around Wormwood Scrubs.

        There are loads of council tower blocks in West London , they were mostly all built BEFORE the areas became gentrified ( I grew up in one) . All over Fulham, Kensington, Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush

        1. stred
          June 20, 2017

          If I found myself growing up in a tower block re-clad in what may be the wrong type of insulation, I would quietly take a small piece of it out, take it somewhere safe and try to set light to it. And if it burned, then tell the residents association and keep buckets of water everywhere.

        2. Terry
          June 20, 2017

          Duh London is a large city with many boroughs and with varying costs of living. I used to live in Putney or is that not London anymore? I now no longer live anywhere near thank goodness as the London I did know was a more friendly place that is appears today. As for the locations of various shops today. Why would I know these? And you missed the point of a huge tenement block being built instead of proper housing with gardens for families. An impossible wish for London though because they would be too expensive to build there. Get it now? But some points always fall on stony ground. Such buildings are an eyesore on the landscape, are claustrophobic and hold too many potential dangers. But are a cheaper, convenient way of stacking people into a city. But why do they have to be there?Why not further out where there is more space?

          1. hefner
            June 23, 2017

            Yes, indeed, brilliant idea, like moving to Reading. It will cost only £5k for an annual season pass Reading-Paddington + 6 tube zones. Average property price in Reading, £317k. Median UK salary £28k. No problem. Who said “Duh”?

    6. acorn
      June 19, 2017

      EU Data Miners and Number Crunchers have had quite a day today. Every body is trying to find out what the Brexit bill is. At the moment, anywhere between €40 billion and €100 billion.

      I am going with the lower figure of €40 billion. With a little luck and judgement, it could be less than than that. The word is the EU will settle for about €8 billion a year minimum “access fee”, for any form of UK “associate membership” of the EU.

      1. libertarian
        June 19, 2017


        Hmm I’m going to plump for in round figures ……. zero

        Luckily we dont need of want associate membership and the EU are prevented by WTO regulations from charging an access fee.

      2. forthurst
        June 19, 2017

        “The word is the EU will settle for about €8 billion a year minimum “access fee””

        …otherwise there would be job losses in Brussels not least in that vital part concerned with the cullinary excellence of ‘working dinners’

      3. Chris S
        June 19, 2017

        £8bn pa is a ridiculous and unacceptable figure being only £1bn lower than our current net contribution !!!

        Can anyone tell me why should there be an “access fee” for us to sell them a great deal less than they sell to us ?

        If there has to be any “access fee” it should surely be payable by both parties based on a percentage of the gross sales each way with only the net access fee being paid over by the party in surplus.

        On the current ratio of trade, any fee demanded of us would look like nothing more than extortion.

        1. acorn
          June 20, 2017

          Chris, I will bet your first sentence is correct and that is exactly where that number comes from.

      4. IgnoreThePolitics
        June 20, 2017

        The EU is simply looking to plug the £8bn gap in their annual budget that will appear once we stop contributing. How about they spend less instead? Cut their cloth accordingly. Would the USA pay an access fee?

        This is opportunism on their part. Our liability will be negligible compared to this figure (and not ongoing). In reality any liabilities will be less than our share of the assets, or the EU is technically insolvent.

    7. Anonymous
      June 20, 2017


      We are not allowed to discuss the unforseen population boom.

      No country could cope with it.

  24. Leslie Singleton
    June 19, 2017

    Dear John–Excellent–But as ever I’ll bet it’s not in the Sun–For what very very little it is worth I have never heard of the Jeremy Vine Show–practiCes BTW (for 2nd time of asking & with apologies to LL)

  25. Shieldsman
    June 19, 2017

    The EU despite what Juckner and Barnier might say, they were not and are not ready to negotiate a mutually advantageous exit agreement. They never thought it would happen and Article 50 was an afterthought with no guidance as to the terms of the negotiations.

    The first reaction of the Brussels Commission has been of shock to the loss of the second greatest financial contributor, creating a black hole in its already stretched finances. It has taken a dog in the manger attitude that we have to pay to leave before discussing trade which is vital to both parties.

    Michel Barnier and the Brussels bureaucrats have taken on a task that you could liken to that of Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey Appleby at the Department of Administrative Affairs. There is also a lack of a awareness in the Commission bureaucracy that the onus is on them to return the negotiating rights they have acquired on our behalf, during our membership.
    This particularly applies to Civil Aviation which operates through bi-lateral agreements. The Commission may act as a negotiator and administrator, but the Airspace and the right to fly into it and through it rests with the member States. Brussels does not have the authority to rescind our ATA’s with third Countries. An air transport agreement (also sometimes called an air service agreement or ATA or ASA) is an agreement which two nations sign to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories.

    The bilateral system has its basis under the Chicago convention and associated multilateral treaties. The Chicago Convention was signed in December 1944 and has governed international air services since then. the convention also has a range of annexes covering issues such as aviation security, safety oversight, air worthiness, navigation, environmental protection and facilitation (expediting and departure at airports).
    I am sure the UK will be quite happy to honour past bi-lateral ASA’s and Air Traffic management agreements made prior to and since our Membership on our behalf on a full reciprocal basis. I am sure the Flag carriers of EU member states will wish to continue air services with the UK.

    The Commission has been quite handsomely rewarded for its administrative duties, is good at producing paperwork, so should be quite capable of regulising the return of our rights.

    The border between Eire an EU member and the non member UK (Northern Ireland) presents a knotty problem which only the EU Commission can solve. The UK wishes to continue its the long standing arrangements with the Government of Eire made since 1922.

  26. Newmania
    June 19, 2017

    I had not noticed any negotiating with the rest of the UK. We are getting Nigel Farrage`s Policy agenda inflicted on the rest of us despite clear signs it has ever less support and was sold with pack of lies in the first place
    My anecdotal evidence of leavers is that they are finally starting to understand they are not going to be richer they have endangered their relatives jobs and that the sort of extreme Brexit we are embarked on is nothing like the adjustment many actually wanted. They see the NHS will be getting less not more that Turkey is not joining and that the rest of the EU is only marginally concerned with the UK`s act of self-harm
    From the start this has been driven only by internal Conservative Party need and now said Party dare not go to the electorate it is determined to drag the country down with it.

    We are locked into this nightmare by the weakness and unpopularity of its sponsors not to say their incompetence . I notice that many Conservative members begin to realise the wild gamble with the Party they have chosen to play

    Consensus is not telling everyone shut up whilst they are dragged backwards through a Bush of Brextremist design

    1. Anonymous
      June 20, 2017

      The LibDems withered despite standing on the offer of a second referendum.

  27. Peter Lavington
    June 19, 2017

    John – Just a quick question for you – Is it true that a percentage of VAT receipts raised in UK goes directly to Brussels? I’ve heard 10% but I can’t find anything in writing to confirm. Thanks

    1. graham1946
      June 19, 2017

      As you didn’t get a reply, let me try.

      VAT was introduced to pay our subs, currently net about 10 billion so 10 percent is about right, it raises approx 105 billion per year, so even when we leave the politicians are so wedded to wasting the 90 percent it will remain in place. We used to have Purchase Tax on ‘luxury’ products which VAT was supposed to replace except now it is on a far wider range of products and was to integrate with the EU. They have never liked our zero rating of some things.

      More important than VAT is that all import duties on goods we import from Third countries are remitted to Brussels less a small collection fee, so the 10 billion membership fee often quoted is actually very much lower than we actually pay.

      1. Jagman84
        June 19, 2017

        In figures (from the EU) for 2014 the membership fee was 2/3 of the total amount sent to the EU. Incidentally, that makes the Vote Leave battlebus £350 m claim quite an underestimate. I worked it out to be ~ £428 m per week.

    2. Beecee
      June 19, 2017

      A percentage does wing its way to Brussels and is on top of the calculation based on % of GPD less of course Mrs Thatchers rebate which Blair had reduced for EU promises which were not delivered.

      I think that in 2014 our total bill, before rebate, was between £20Bn and £21Bn (as you note, it is difficult to get real details), which therefore included VAT of c. £3Bn .

    3. zorro
      June 19, 2017

      Try this for size….. https://fullfact.org/europe/does-uk-pay-fifth-vat-going-eu-budget/

      And this….. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2015109/VAT-1-EU-plans-grab-bigger-slice-UK-budget.html

      They will lose serious amounts of cash, we need to remind them!


  28. Kenneth
    June 19, 2017


    “Soft Brexit” = Remain

    1. IgnoreThePolitics
      June 20, 2017

      Yes. Possibly also “leave eventually but after an interim deal”.

      The interim deal either being acceptable and consistent with the EUref vote (fingers crossed) or a disaster. A slope rather than a cliff-edge. But a slope to where and with what gradient? I’d like a fairly steep one that quickly ends up at the same place as a hard BrExit. I’d be happy to pay £1bn a year for two years for free trade, but without any involvement in ECJ or acceptance of limitations on our authority. Or some similar token amount. After that either they want a free trade deal for free or they want to punish a leaving country.

      In reality who knows what “soft” means!

      What we want is a “clean break” BrExit and a new trade deal, on equal terms.

  29. Peter
    June 19, 2017

    ‘Tomorrow I will talk about a new range of stories the media could pursue on this topic, to get us away from the boring and repetitious “Lets water down and undermine the UK position” pieces that they all have been running for a year.’

    Most of the media are determined to put their own anti Brexit spin on all news, unfortunately. The Marr interview with Mr. Hammond being just the latest example.

    Good luck with a more positive narrative.

  30. hans chr iversen
    June 19, 2017


    The EU ahs also made it clear this is not just about renewing the existing trade regime and therefore business needs more then the 20 m0nths to adapt to the new and changed regime.

    The problem here is you either do not know the facts or you are just so ideologically blinkered that you are not able to get out of your anti EU posturing that you have agitated for the past 20 years.

    John, either stop posturing or become better informed

    Reply Im not stopping the EU setting out how it wishes to make our trading arrangements worse. The sooner they do that the better then we can debate with them the folly of such an approach. I do not hear the member states wanting to move to a tariff and barrier based system

    1. Helena
      June 19, 2017

      The member states have no intention to move to a tariff and barrier based system – amongst themselves.
      But if a state chooses not to be a member anymore, then of course it will face tariffs and barriers, just like every other country in the world that is not in the EU faces. And that is 45 per cent of our export trade made more difficult and more expensive.

      Reply Not so. Much of our exports to them are tariff free under WTO rules. They have the bigger problem as they sell us so much farm produce which does have high tariffs.

    2. Mike Wilson
      June 19, 2017

      I do not hear the member states wanting to move to a tariff and barrier based system

      And what does what the member states want have to do with anything? A Greek finance minister was interviewed on the radio earlier (sorry, didn’t catch who it was) – he said negotiating with the EU is like walking through quicksand. Apparently, when you think you have got somewhere and have a deal, it has to go to Merkel and whoever is in charge of France at the time, for them to say yes or no. Member states mindful of jobs in their own country will have no say. Do you think the people running the EU give a toss about car workers in a factory in Eastern Europe?

      1. Andy
        June 19, 2017

        Greek Finance Minister would be Yanis Varoufakis. He has a book out on the Greek Crisis. On dealing with the EU he is probably right and trying to negotiate with them is a waste of time. However my Athenian friends detest him with a passion.

  31. eeyore
    June 19, 2017

    Acorn – if Politico think Britain is “broken” because it has communities in which rich and poor live side by side, perhaps they should come clean and demand ghettoes. Though if we had ghettoes no doubt they’d demand mixed communities.

    If it is outraged that the 1%, who pay nearly 30% of the income tax already, do not pay yet more, why don’t they call on those who are both wealthy and of their mind (like Mr Corbyn himself) to set an example by volunteering extra contributions to HMRC? Or is making demands the privilege of socialists but obeying them the duty of Tories?

    When indignation and resentment become ends in themselves, as so often with the morally elevated Left, it is very difficult to know what will please.

  32. adam
    June 19, 2017

    Suddenly May is capable of speaking to the nation. I wonder what could have motivated that

    1. The Prangwizard
      June 19, 2017

      They say ‘jump’. She asks ‘how high’.

    2. alan jutson
      June 19, 2017


      Perhaps she has decided to stop seeking too much advice and decided to follow her own gut feeling.

      Better to fail or succeed in your own skin and be comfortable with yourself, than fail in someone else’s form, and regret it for ever more.

  33. James neill
    June 19, 2017

    It all depends.. if you are well off like some of our politicians and news media barons then it matters little about how the talks turn out. If you are a farmer depending on cap payments to keep your business going then you might be a little more concerned and if you are already engaged with exporting a large part of your produce to EU countries you should be very concerned. ‘Taking back control’ does not include provision for exporting anything we like to the eu countries following brexit nor does it mean we can go and work in europe and live anywhere we like either,, so we will just have to learn to stay at home and live like we used to back in the 1950’s.. even in the 1950’s we could emigrate to australia if we so wished but that avenue is closed off to us now. So whats that you were saying about just ‘renewing our existing relationship’ with the EU?.. no chance of that!

    Out is out..there will be no cherry picking allowed.. neither will there be any side deals allowed with individual eu countries. The UK will not be allowed to be better off in its future dealings with the eu from outside than from the position that already pertains- that has already been made very clear to us from the start.

    Today is just the start of talks and right at this moment david davis is starting to hear the truth, so by another few weeks the penny will have dropped..it is not the eu that is changing its position.. it is the uk that wants to change so therefore any upset or price or inconvenience has to be for the uk account. If some people choose to label this a punishment deal then it is brought about by uk alone..by politicians dishonestly peddling little englander sentiments and by the uk gutter press whinging on for years insulting and demeaning european institutions.. we will not renew our trade relationship we will not be allowed…. we might make some new trade deals but we will not be allowed to renew anything.. and that is a certainty

  34. Andy Marlot
    June 19, 2017

    No lets not negotiate because that is just a way for the pro EU factions to have their way. We tell Brussels they can have free trade with us if we do with them. Otherwise it’s WTO rules. Same applies to all the other “problems”. We’ll co operate if they do, but no free movement, no European courts, no dictats from Brussels on any subject whatsoever. Repeal all the EU laws don’t just make them our laws. The excuse that parliament can modify or repeal them is just BS, laws are very, very rarely repealed once they’re on the books. Get rid of them now. Fishing waters returned to Britain and only British fishing boats allowed to use them. Bring forward the leaving date to the end of this year. In addition remove all British military bases and soldiers from European soil. That would be a good start. After that we can work on building a navy and military we actually need to defend the British Isles and an economic policy that brings freedom and prosperity to Britain. Make us the beacon of freedom and small government the EU so fears it will become.

  35. Antisthenes
    June 19, 2017

    UK negotiators whilst talking to EU officials who will initially at least be making outrageous and totally unrealistic demands they will also be virulently attacked by many at home who are opposed to their objectives or wish to wreck them. These elements must be seen as wholly anti-democracy as they are opposing the democratic will of the people. Also as unpatriotic, mendacious, malicious, spiteful as we have seen them openly without any shame vitriolically heap scorn on Brexit. Spreading false rumour and making false claims and resorting to actions of dubious merit.

    Chief amongst these anti-Brexit protagonists are the Lib-Dims., anti-leave groups, Guardian, a cohort of other media outlets that should know better and of course the BBC. All but the latter have their progressive ideology and vested interests as legitimate reasons for opposing even if the more reasonable of us believe they are misguided. The BBC can not fall back on the same excuses as whatever her employees feel the law prohibits them being other than impartial and present balanced opinions and news. In their case the law is an ass as they are not being sanctioned for disobeying it. Until that situation is reversed then the BBC will continue to flagrantly break it’s charter and the people of Britain will continue to be denied fair and truthful information that the BBC was set up to deliver.

  36. Andrew Whitchurch
    June 19, 2017

    Thanks for trying to insult people’s intelligence. Two questions for you:

    1) Has it ever occurred to you that other countries might be happy outside the single market and customs union because 55% of their trade isn’t with the EU and it wouldn’t be worth their while;

    2) How on earth is it possible that democratic dissent can weaken Britain’s trading position any more than May making a series of impossible demands and threatening to walk away before negotiations even began?

  37. margaret
    June 19, 2017

    Tell me about it! The negative discussions show far too much fear of the unknown . We are not weak . It will be fine.

  38. Terry
    June 19, 2017

    JR again with sound argument and logical thinking.

    Can he please now confirm (or deny) that he and his fellow Brexiteers in Parliament been consulted on the methodology , points of interest and the strategy of these negotiations?

    It would be pleasing to learn that the plan being put forward is the result of a large group think rather that of a mere half a dozen Team members.

    Reply Yes there has been extensive consultation and discussion. You have seen some of it, as Parliament has had many debates and Question sessions on all this over the last year.

  39. Mike Wilson
    June 19, 2017

    The rest of the EU sells us so much more than we sell them. Why would they want to lose some of that?

    You keep making that point. And the very simple answer is that the people running the EU will happily sacrifice other people’s jobs on the alter of their EU ideology. Let us, at least, be honest. If we leave, get a free trade deal and make little or no contributions to the EU budget and, out of the Customs Union can do other trade deals – then half the countries in the EU that are net contributors will follow us out.

    Sorry, but is disingenuous bluff and bluster to argue that the volume of trade will facilitate a common sense deal. The EU leaders CANNOT allow that.

    Reply Let’s see. Anyway, we can trade OK with them under WTO rules if they do wish to self harm.

    1. Mike Wilson
      June 19, 2017

      Sorry, ‘altar’ not ‘alter’. Typo, not ignorance.

  40. hefner
    June 19, 2017

    This week-end I finished what I think is a very informative book: All Out War, by Tim Shipman, 2017, 2nd ed. revised and updated, William Collins ed., about the various events and actors during the period 2011 to September 2016.
    Particularly informative on the positions, changes, tractations that produced Brexit and its immediate aftermath. Particularly interesting when “the things were not as it seemed” or as it was reported.
    A first try at some historical analysis?

    1. outsider
      June 20, 2017

      Dear Hefner, You would need to back a lot further than 2011. eg
      1)Policy reactions to the banking crash. Unemployment moderate here, horrendous in much of the less obviously affected eurozone. Harsh treatment of Ireland.
      2)The UK’s unilateral open-door EU migration policy of 2005.
      3) The (self-induced) failure of the UK’s membership of the ERM 1990-92.
      4) The Maastricht Treaty of 1992, which sent UK on a path of divergence and isolation while EU institutions ignored “subsidiarity” principle.
      5) All parties failing to control net immigration from outside the EU but blaming the EU.
      6) The UK’s unilateral (and unreciprocated) open door to takeovers of UK multinationals by EU rivals, leading to unbalanced rationalisation of British factories, organisations and HQ’s in the Midlands and the North.

  41. Back from the future
    June 19, 2017

    6pm British Time. the negotiations are…no-one knows where…but yet another Press Conference.
    If Press Conferences were negotiations we would have negotiated leaving Europe at about the time of the landing of Caesar in Southern England

  42. Iain Gill
    June 19, 2017

    Quite why the media and some politicians think the people “want” continued open doors from countries like Romania is beyond me.

    Why hire or train a Brit when you can bring them in cheaper from abroad?

  43. Paul Cohen
    June 19, 2017

    Watching the TV news this evening I was surprised to see we seem to be in line for a daily running commentry, followed by a question session. The usual culprits are in place with their snide and insulting questions. Why we have to put up with this I don’t know – surely these talks should be closed sessions and with perhaps an update on progress at suitable times? Tonight that cheer- leader Keir something or other used his spot to load in more of his depressing negative thoughts. Tell him and his ilk to leave the stage to stop this turning into a farce.

    1. rose
      June 20, 2017

      We have to put up with it because the EU has worked out it is the best way of dividing us and alienating the rest of the world.

  44. Ed Mahony
    June 19, 2017

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    I think the best future for the UK is the UK in a REFORMED EU.
    We’ve never tried to reform the EU (just get concessions from it).
    Although an Olympian task, it is possible. And I believe that YOU would be essential in that, along with a handful of others (in particular, David Davis + Boris Johnson, and others).
    Many in the EU want the EU reformed.
    I have no doubt, Churchill and Mrs Thatcher would be going for the reformed option (Mrs Thatcher was too busy battling socialism to try and reform the EU).
    We’re all born for nobility / noble acts. I’m not saying being a Leaver (or a Remainer) is ignoble. Of course not. But neither position is particularly heroic either. But trying to REFORM the EU would be heroic. Would be noble.
    I urge you and others to try and reform the EU. That would be best for the UK’s future (and for Europe).
    Whether you do or you don’t, I still wish you well and blessings.


    1. Ed Mahony
      June 19, 2017

      ‘Although an Olympian task, it is possible’

      – Don’t forget, Mrs Thatcher was a strong believer (Methodist / traditional C. of E.). She didn’t just believe in her natural abilities to get her through, but also in the power of the Divine. If people pray (and I certainly will), God will give our politicians the gifts they need (intelligence, imagination, persistence, patience, and so on) to achieve a reformed EU – the best outcome for the EU I’m sure (again, I’m not saying Leave or Remain are necessarily ignoble or bad, but nor are they particularly heroic positions to take either – but REFORMING the EU would).

  45. Garretg
    June 19, 2017

    Disasterous that’s what it’s going to be..just listening to some senior tory types still trying to dress it up with spin and bluster..simple..easy..cheaper food, cheaper clothes, people will be so much cheaper and so much better off, everything will be cheaper. Of course it wont matter to the tory types.. they will not be put out by any of this.. taking back control..so just what does that mean? Who is going to have the control? Where is the 350million per week we were promised for the nhs.. in fact where is the red bus ? Simple easy fabulous terrific, taking back control of our laws, taking back control of our borders..on and on and on.. unfortunately it all adds up to very little

  46. Ed Mahony
    June 19, 2017

    *** President Macron has called for the EU to be reformed ***

    – Already, there, you have an important ally in trying to persuade Mrs Merkel to agree to EU reform. I’ll stop there.

    1. Chris S
      June 20, 2017

      You are forgetting that almost nobody in power in the 27 will support the EU being transformed into nothing more than a trading group which is what we thought we were joining but we all now know that we were conned by our own politicians.

      Those on the Brussels Gravy Train are not going to give up their very lucrative privileges, none of them would be required for a trading group.

      Reform is never going to be allowed.

      1. Ed Mahony
        June 21, 2017

        ‘Those on the Brussels Gravy Train are not going to give up their very lucrative privileges’

        – No – Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron are ultimately in charge, not the bureaucrats.
        We should also should be in the driving seat, but for some strange reason, we gave that up over the years, looking for concessions instead of reform.
        It is possible. Although it does require imagination, persistence, drive.

    2. rose
      June 20, 2017

      Macron’s reforms go the opposite way from the ones we would want. He is a little Bonaparte and has grand designs for a European army and a central government. He does not believe there is such a thing as French culture so he would not be giving anything up. And he wants no borders.

      1. Ed Mahony
        June 21, 2017

        ‘He does not believe there is such a thing as French culture’

        – I’m sure he does, but he’s probably just reacting against the narrow nationalism of Little Frenchmen (just as people here react against ‘Little Englanders’).

        It’s narrow, shallow but dangerous nationalism that created the Nazis and WW2 and the Holocaust. It would be folly to suggest that only the Germans and Austrians are capable of being corrupted by mass, hysterical nationalism. There’s nothing like that in France (or the UK) at the moment, but there is a form of narrow nationalism, that has the embryonic form of something much bigger and uglier.

  47. Community
    June 19, 2017

    Hard Brexit
    Soft Brexit
    Hate speech
    Regulation of Social Media
    TV Licence Fee
    Are just some of the words, terms and concepts which post-Brexit we should not hear again, hopefully.

  48. bratwurst
    June 19, 2017

    So Davis appears to have conceded that the talks will first concentrate on EU citizens’ rights, Britain’s divorce bill, and Northern Ireland’s border. He has successfully avoided ‘the row of the summer’.

  49. Freeborn John
    June 19, 2017

    Why has David Davis backed down on what he called “the row of the summer” on including trade talks along with Ireland, EU exit fee and Citizens rights. When he capitulates like this on the first day he is indicating he will capitulate again. By not walking out now he has de facto agreed to pay the massive EU exit fee. It would have been much better to walk today than be walked all over for the next 21 months.

  50. Caterpillar
    June 19, 2017

    So it appears that the first items on the EU timetable are,

    Residents in each other’s borders, and
    A leaving bill.
    Since both of these are independent of any future relationship as defined by the EU, then they should be agreed within a day.

    The first is a matter of picking a date and agreeing reciprocal rights.

    The second is the legal minimum as identified by Lawyers for Britain.

    Anything beyond this is presumably part of the future. If the EU cannot agree with these two simple areas, and thank the UK for all its contributions then there is something seriously wrong with EU thinking …

    1. Chris S
      June 20, 2017

      There is most certainly something seriously wrong with EU thinking !

      David Davies gave away nothing yesterday because he confirmed in the press conference that NOTHING will be agreed until EVERYTHING is agreed.

      This was not challenged by Barnier so a financial deal might be agreed in outline but it will not be binding if we offered an unsatisfactory deal on trade and the future legal framework.

  51. PaulW
    June 19, 2017

    David davis by his body language is well out of his depth. Barnier will suck him in and blow him out in bubbles

  52. Ted
    June 20, 2017

    We have to face facts, our political class have capitulated to the political class of the US and Germany. We are not and never will henceforth be a country anymore.

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