The EU bill or leaving present

The government has been very clear that it will pay what we owe. It seems equally clear we only owe the regular contributions up to the date of departure.

Those who argue we will have to pay something more are arguing for an ex gratia payment or leaving present. We received no credit or down payment when we joined to reflect all those liabilities the existing members had signed up to, so we owe nothing for future liabilities when we leave.

Those who say you don’t leave a restaurant without paying the bill are right. But once you have left the restaurant you do not have to pay for other people’s meals who are still dining, nor do you get sent a bill later for the staff pensions.

Were Ministers to want to go beyond just paying what we legally owe they will need new primary legislation. Ministers in the UK do not have the power to give our money away to other governments or institutions without an express legal power from Parliament to do so.

The 9 month delay in sending the Article 50 letter has already cost us around £9bn of extra net contributions or ££15bn of gross contributions. Those who wish to delay our exit are wanting UK taxpayers to have to pay more to the EU.

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  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    This is what the transition period is all about. Extend our tribute so 6 years have elapsed under the yoke of Brussels and continuing to finance the whole crooked entity.
    The people aren’t stupid and will be very angry if we’re still paying after March 2019.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      The people are very clearly not stupid but can that be said of our politicians?

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        “The people” have shown themselves to be very stupid (or at least easily duped)on a number of occasions – politicians have relied on it!

        Perhaps it is different now,let’s hope so!

        • Chris
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          The people do not actually have a lot of power in this situation: it is either May or Corbyn. If May does a fudged Brexit then there is an even worse alternative, and of course that is what the politicians are relying on, I fear. So the EU would win both ways.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Totally agree but when did politicians listen to, let alone care what the people think?

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Reply. Actually it is about UK businesses being well prepared to do business with the EU and the rest of the world and therefore a potential transitional period and I am sorry but who are the crooks here?

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Business will be ready on 31st March 2019. They have had plenty of time to adapt.
        Just because the CBI and BBC want open ended transition period the 95 % of the country that doesn’t deal with the EU are ready.
        We are leaving so get over it.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          we all got over it but business needs more time and if ou are not able to understand that challenge with the rest of standing on the coal-face that is your problem not mine, get over it

      • zorro
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        ‘Crooked entity’ – perhaps that might refer to an organisation’s double dealing/less than fraternal dealings with another member or perhaps an intinsic inability to be fully auditable/accountable for far too many years…

        Crooked is, well, like a bit bent, not on the straight and narrow, opaque…..


        • hans christian ivers
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          reply: so EU and Westminister together?

          • zorro
            Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

            We can do something about the Westminster ones….


          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:42 am | Permalink

            Fix the EU first, as in leave this appalling self-serving establishment. Then fix Westminster!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Alas about half the Tory party, half the Cabinet and almost certainly the Chancellor are still remainers (closet or otherwise).

      Your restaurant analogy is not quite complete. We have also been paying to build this (admittedly rather foul and loss making) restaurant (thank to all the government form Heath onward) – they should have to buy our share of it back from us?

      A great shame that “Cast Iron” (I am low tax Conservative at heart – but alas never in any actions) once again failed to keep a promise. That of delivering the Article 50 letter the next day. Clearly the government should have been prepared for either outcome and the letter drafted ready for delivery that morning. This especially as the PM had “promised” to do so. Perhaps Sir Jeremy John Heywood KCB CVO just knew it was only a promise from Cast Iron (to try to deceive the public in the referendum) and so it could just be ignored?

      Perhaps he could clarify or explain why the letter was not prepared if that is so?

    • Andy
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I agree. Enough is enough. It is very amusing to read that a UK Official took apart the EU’s payment list line by line yesterday. Per the Torygraph the EU side were flabbergasted. I bet they were.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Where did you read that? I’d like to read it too.

        • rose
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          In DT and DE of today. Google “Brussels fury at 3 hour rebuttal….” No mention of it by the broadcasters who kept showing us footage of the EU with piles of papers opposite Davis with none. They are brazen in their EU partisanship and should be put in the Tower.

    • acorn
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Have you lot worked out yet who has got whom by the short and curlies?

    • Martin
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      What “crooked entity” are you talking about? The commonwealth (so called), infested by tax dodging islands and job stealing (out-sourcing) like India.

      Yes we should have stopped subsidising this organisation years ago,

      Leave the commonwealth extra Billions for all.

  2. Iain Moore
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The EU’s case is ridiculous , when you consider the case of a country in receipt of EU largess who decides to leave. Would the EU consider it their obligation to carry on paying them when they were out of the EU? I don’t think so.

  3. Duncan
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    It is blindingly obvious to all and sundry that this appalling PM and her equally appalling pro-EU chancellor do not possess either the political conviction nor the political courage to follow through on the EU referendum result and fully implement the wishes of the British people

    Why did the Conservative Party elect the pro-EU May as their leader when it was obvious she was simply not the right person for the position?

    The Conservative party will pay a heavy price for their vacillation and deliberate attempts to con the British people and should they fail to honour the divine wishes of this nation’s people then who knows..

    You expect duplicity from the other side but from the Tories?

    God forbid, what is happening to the party I voted for? It seems many in the Tory party think this is a game we’re playing here. We don’t want to see Ministers and Tory MPs smiling like Cheshire cats. The people want to see defiance, action and a determination to defend this nation against the threat of EU action..

    • Chris
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      I share much of your frustration and anger. I do not think many politicians realise just how serious Brexiters are. Just because we have been a silent majority does not mean that we do not feel very strongly, nor that we should be taken for granted. That was one of Theresa May’s huge mistakes with her election manifesto, I believe. She thought she had us all on board so that she could divert to some nonsensical social transformation policies, which were experimental at best and ludicrous at worst. I am surprised that Nick Timothy has the gall to write as he does in The Daily Telegraph. He seems that he was probably one of the principal reasons for May’s disastrous election result.

  4. formula57
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “The 9 month delay in sending the Article 50 letter has already cost us around £9bn of extra net contributions…” – Quite!

    I would ask (as is the modern fashion) to whom do we look for an apology? But of course any fool can apologize and we would remain billions out of pocket. Luckily though, there is plenty of money to spare and who better to subsidize than an Empire that does evil daily?

    • Mark
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      It was the cost of the government having failed to prepare properly either for Cameron’s negotiations (where a properly worked out exit position would have been a substantial negotiating lever), or for a vote to leave.

  5. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Very well put John. All they want us for is more money for a venture which has been a disaster. Why should we fund their future visions? Leave now as it is obvious they are not going to play ball and want to string this out so we pay yet another years contributions. We don’t need to.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      actually is has been a great success for all countries in Europe both in terms of peace and prosperity over the past 40 years but please do prove me wrong?

      • sm
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Cough, cough, Serbia/Bosnia conflict, Greece, youth unemployment, criminality, cough, cough.

      • DaveM
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Wait a while……or ask someone from Italy or Greece.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          or ask most of northern, middle and central Europe

      • getahead
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Not sure that all countries have benefited from EU membership. Youth unemployment in Italy, Spain and Greece is appalling by any standards. In the long run, Britain would probably have done better had it not joined the Common Market.
        As for the EU bringing peace, that is total nonsense.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Poland Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, .

          An internal Yugoslavia conflict is not caused by the EU get a perspective

          60 years of peace

          • Andy
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            It was the EU, or to be more exact the arrogant Germans, who threw the match that started the Balkan War.

      • rose
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        It hasn’t been a great success for us. Our population is now so large we are greatly impoverished – environmentally and in every other way. Our GDP per capita is now below Ireland’s. If we had remained a smaller population we could have raised education and housing standards as well as health. Our prisons would not be overflowing and in a state of almost permanent insurrection. Crime would be much less. Our infrastructure would be better. It is no good people pretending we have to have a huge overpopulation in order to get things done. How did we manage to run the Empire?

        As for peace, the EU is threatening that with its no borders extremism and its overweening foreign policy. The peace it is threatening has been kept by NATO which the EU is now undermining.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink


          So why have we got a housing crisis?

          An NHS that does not work?

          Poorer then the Irish?

          So Shengen has not been good for the EU countries?

          EU is the foundation with NATO for peace in EUROPE

          So, we ourselves are not to blame for our own economic and housing crisis but all the foreigners whoa have arrived?


          • rose
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            If you add millions to the population without the receiving country having a say, you are going to have problems housing and educating everyone. Have you not heard of the law of supply and demand? Similarly with hospitals and GP surgeries; with roadspace and trains; with water, energy, and farmland. Then there is the extra sewage and rubbish to take care of, and the added congestion and pollution.

            Schengen has been a disaster for EU countries but you would need to ask an ordinary person about this, or a policeman, not a politician. Thank goodness we and the Irish had the sense to opt out.

            The ranking of countries’ GDP per capita can be looked up.

            The foreigners are not to blame for any of this. They did not take the decisions involved. Why do no borders extremists always try to attach the blame to the foreigners?

      • Chris
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        You must be in jest. Bosnia. Terrorist attacks now commonplace in the EU. Huge social unrest, with rape attacks in certain areas commonplace. Southern Europe with record youth unemployment e.g. Greece, over 50%. Endemic “hysteresis” a feature of large areas of the EU – poor growth, huge debt, stagnation, unemployment, poverty, with little hope of breaking out of this vicious circle.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink


          Can I recommend you read the latest statistics on the majority of economic progress in Europe before you start looking in the rear mirror of what you read two years ago

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink


        That depends on what you call success. Is Greece successful or Spain and Italy? Germany certainly is thank you very much. France hangs on their coat tails and we have paid for much of it.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          all of northern Europe is much more successful than we are

          • fedupsoutherner
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Well when we haven’t got the EU sponging off us maybe we can catch up. I think it all depends on what you call successful. Many Germans cannot even pay their extortionate electricity bills because of Merkels ridiculous ‘green’ dream. Taxes are much higher in northern Europe too and suicides.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:48 am | Permalink

        NATO.. Please keep up!

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:51 am | Permalink
      • stred
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        Expanding into the Ukraine, with the help of US neocons, didn’t do a lot for peace and prosperity did it? Dave gave the game away when he mentioned plans to expand to the Urals. Now they are creating their own armed forces. Hans off please, as we used to say 70 years ago.

      • anon
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Such a success the EU demands funds where with no legal basis.
        Such a success it is unable to reduce spending to meet its income.
        Such a success it does not fully utilise the euro to spend to finance transfer to weaker euro area.
        Such a success it is impossible to negotiate.

        We probably should walk away and repudiate all the treaties, this is a waste of time , effort.
        We no doubt have opportunity costs of lost & delayed trade with other non eu trade partners, who probably would like us to just do the deal, once we have unemcumbered ourselves.

  6. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I believe I detect a hardening of Mr Redwood’s writing on this subject. Mentioning the need for parliamentary approval is welcome and will concentrate minds and may cause a stir. It is something we need to hear from government in their rejection of any ex-gratia demands.

    I read that Mrs May has repeated the other day that ‘no deal is better than a’. which I am pleased to hear.

    • eeyore
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      This isn’t the first time JR has drawn attention to the need for parliamentary approval for supererogatory payments. I doubt many MPs will fancy explaining to their constituents – or the tabloids – why they voted to give Johnnie Foreigner a sackful of taxpayers’ money for nothing.

      For that reason, my guess is it’s not going to happen.

      • matthu
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Labour members have never had any difficulty at all explaining to their constituents why they were in favour of giving away sacksful of taxpayers’ money.

        Add to that number any number of other MPs not intending to stand at the next election: anyone already over 70, for example.

    • Dennis
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      “I believe I detect a hardening of Mr Redwood’s writing on this subject. Mentioning the need for parliamentary approval is welcome”

      If he is right.

      • eeyore
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        David Davis tells us today that Britain will honour its “moral” obligations. This sounds worrying. When politicians talk of morality those who pay should start counting their spoons.

        I hope that more responsible MPs, like our host, lose no time reminding Mr Davis of his best interest.

  7. Graham Wood
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    IW. Agree, and just to emphasise the point so well made yesterday on this blog – the “transition period” is NOW – ie. from the point of invoking Art. 50 to our departure in 2019.
    Thus we do not need another artificially generated period which is merely procrastination and an opportunity for Remain politicians to confuse clear issues.
    The 2016 vote most certainly did not endorse any such transition – only ‘leave and go’

  8. Bob
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    For those people that want to contribute to the EU more than the Treaty liabilities why not set up a trust fund, so that those people can voluntarily contribute some of their surplus wealth to support the EU through its straitened position post Brexit?

    This would help to guarantee the salaries and pensions of thousands of people that work in Brussels, the Kinnock family and Lord Mandelson.

    Ken Clarke and Lord Heseltine (he was on Radio 4 again this morning) could be trustees. That would maintain them in good stead with the Brussels fraternity.

    I’m pretty sure Gina Miller would be happy to top up the kitty from time to time.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      totally unproductive response it does not make any the wiser or better informed

      • Bob
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        @hans christian ivers

        “totally unproductive response it does not make any the wiser or better informed”

        Funny guy… 😂

        But seriously, I think people that wish to fund the EU post Brexit should be given the facility to do so with their own money.

      • lp
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        much like your reply then.

      • Chris
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        On the contrary, Bob’s post makes clear the huge disparity in wealth between the haves and the have nots of the EU i.e. the political/corporate elite contrasted with the low income/unemployed individuals. The divide between rich and poor has probably not been greater, “thanks” to the EU.

  9. Helen
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Absolutely nobody on the EU side is asking for any ex gratia paynent. Quite why you keep saying we will not pay what we are not being asked to pay is mysterious

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      What planet do you reside on.

    • zorro
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      As mysterious as the legality of any demand for money by the EU (settlement whatever they want to call it) beyond our club fees up to 31/03/2019!


      • graham1946
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Well, I’m not quite so sure. I don’t want to pay anything either and I have moaned endlessly here about the Article 50 delay costing us money. However, in 2013, we did agree to fund the EU budget up to 2020 when the next one is due to be reckoned, so it could be argued that we are on the hook for contributions to that time, or maybe UK honour doesn’t matter anymore? As we will not be a full member getting anything back or with any ‘influence’ which we never really had anyway, maybe a reduced contribution would be the way to go to maintain our promise. I hate it too, but Dithering Doris has already cost us 9 billion, which was not the EU’s fault for once.

        • Andy
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          We agreed to the EU budget as a member but under the Treaties. Look at it like this. If you are a member of a Gold Club, sit on the committee you might agree to a new club house roof. Perhaps before he work commences you resign or, worse, die, does this mean you or your estate is liable for a share in the cost of the new roof ? See. It is arrant nonsense. the EU financing is subordinate to the EU Treaties and once you are no longer a signatory you are no longer liable.

        • matthu
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          No, we did not agree to fund the EU budget up to 2020.

          We agreed to limit the spending of the EU up until 2020, something we and they have spectacularly failed to do year after year.

          We only agreed to fund the EU to the full extent of our legal obligations, and no more. These cease on Brexit.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink


          So if we are to pay up to 2019 I make it that is one more year at around 10 billion but a far cry from the 100 billion that is being bandied about.

          • graham1946
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            Yes, that’s what I would think. Far better than a ‘transition’ where we pay for maybe another 3 years.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      So when is your side going to produce an itemised invoice with legal justification for every line? Until that is done it just looks like another EU con.

    • margaret
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Ok taking your stance Helen . If the EU is not requesting an ex gratia payment and we are not prepared to pay , then firstly where is this information coming from which is
      highlighted in the news and secondly as a ‘people’ of the UK can we not take it upon ourselves to ask Claude Juncker to put this in writing and clarify it publically .
      Why do we have to wait for these imbeciles to mess around with the UK’s money ?

    • John
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Their bill is near £3000 for every UK working person. I think we want to know what we are getting for that payment and what the legalities of it are.

      After all we are dealing with an outfit that cannot get its own accounts audited and we are talking about public money afterall.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Helen, That’s strange as they were talking about a divorce payment tonight on the BBC. Have you been listening?? I think some ludicrous amount of 100 billion euros was mentioned. Not much if you say it quickly. Don’t for get we will have to pay interest on that.

  10. Mark B
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    This is a faux argument much like Dr. Liam Fox MP’s claim of impending trade deals. The government is just twiddling its thumbs as it is clearly looking for something to keep it in whilst looking like its leaving.

    Clueless. That is how they all come across, and I doubt that I am wrong.

    • zorro
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      There is a lot of preparatory groundwork going on with a number of countries so that we can engage in deals once legally out of the EU by the government’s chosen route.


      • Qubus
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Why don’t we just start the trade agreements now. What would the EU do about it? I am sick to death of reading about M. Barnier, a previously almost insignificant French politician, and his ridiculous demands. These trumped-up bureaucrats are leading the UK a merry dance. Would that that Mrs Thatcher were still on the scene, she would put him in his place.

        • Helen
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          You have no clue. No one wants to do a deal with the UK. We are too small. As small asLiam Fox

          Reply Is that why Japan confirmed a UK/Japan trade deal yesterday?

        • zorro
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          EU Treaty agreements currently do not allow EU countries to sign FTAs which would contravene/undermine the Customs Union arrangements, so we have to wait until we are out. However, there is no restriction in discussing the groundwork so that we can speedily sign once outside the Customs Union – the main reason whu we must leave it quickly.


          • Mark
            Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            We can sign agreements, just so long as they are only effective upon our leaving the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Says who ?

        • zorro
          Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Believe me or not – why should I not be factual? Liam Fox has already admitted that they are happening.


  11. rose
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    We need someone like Mrs T to keep going on the box and repeating it until even the dimmest remainiac has understood.

  12. Bert Young
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    John – as you have said before ” Zilch ” is the answer !. The point you have raised about having to invoke primary legislation to approve any extra money to the EU is a very good one ; I trust the Government will abide by this rule if necessary .

    • zorro
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      They need to have a legal basis with which to make such a payment just as we do with overseas aid disbursements.


      • graham1946
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        There may well be one as I outlined above.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      The Government have already said although they are not legally bound to pay any exit fee, ‘morally’ (whatever that means) they are prepared to make a payment.

  13. Beecee
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Do we not also contribute c. £3bn a year from VAT?

    This seems to be forgotten

    • graham1946
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      And another 3 billion a year for Customs Duties our people pay for imports of non EU goods. These things are never mentioned even by Brexiteers – don’t know why. Maybe it is just ignorance.

  14. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink


    What are the potential advantages to business in Pounds for an orderly and timely transition?

    Reply Always better and has even bigger advantages for the EU side

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Reply. that is why we as UK businesses also have made big investments around Europe so thank you for informing about that aspect as well, John very helpful

  15. Michael
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    The only basis upon which an Article 50 payment can properly be made is one of legal liability. If there is no legal liability there should not be a payment.

    After BREXIT horse trading may result in various arrangements where payments and benefits of one kind or another flow between the EU and the UK and we need to make sure of two things.

    First, we get value for money

    Second, there is a clear cut way of terminating any particular arrangement that turns out not to be working to our advantage.

    BUT remember all of these complications are avoided if we leave the EU without a deal.

  16. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Extortion: the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.
    This sounds like a good description of the EU’s stance. The government must not surrender to these demands from the EU, despite any support the EU may receive from those in the UK who have more loyalty to the EU than to the UK. Supporting a foreign power over that of one’s own country was once regarded as an act of treason and the perpetrators traitors.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      get a life and get real we are talking about 420 million European that we have worked with for hundreds of years for mutual benefit and you talk about treason, get into teh real world and stop talking rubbish

      • stred
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Quite true Hans. We have worked with the Germans, French, Italians, Spanish, Austrians, Dutch and Serbs for hundreds of years and somehow managed to win most times, despite our Lord Haw Haws. Currently, we have a lot. I am listening to LBCs confused leprechaun starting his broadcast at the moment.

  17. Captcha King
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Where I do see that we owe money is this:

    The UK partook in long term policy decisions whilst in the EU.

    This was on the reasonable assumption that we’d be there to contribute and to see them through when their costs (or benefits) arrived.

    Either way, we bear some responsibility.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      That’s fine if we also receive the benefits when they arrive. So far as I can see, we are leaving all the benefits which are housed in other EU countries behind, despite us being net contributors to these. Those Spanish roads- will we get a return on the toll charges? Those EU research projects-will we accrue benefits on the outcome? So far as I can see, we should have been arguing from Day 1 i.e. June 24 last year, that the EU owes us rather than vice versa. Unfortunately we had a complete fool as a PM who agreed to hold a referendum to leave 3 years after agreeing a 7 year budget, presumably without placing any caveats in that signed agreement. FOOL. Then reneging on his promise to issue the A50 letter a day after the referendum. LIAR.
      We now have Mrs Equivocation, Prevarication and May-be.

    • Helen Taylor
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I believe I read somewhere that since article 50 was presented the EU has stopped giving us money for UK projects in the pipeline leading up to 2019 exit Forgive me John if I am wrong , can you clarify on that.

      • Mark
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        If so, we should propose to deduct any shortfall in their spending on the UK from what we pay them.

      • Dennis
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        No I can’t.

    • Andy
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      So if you belong to a Gold Club, sit on its committee and colectively you decide to reroof the club house you ‘bear some responsibility’ ? Suppose you resigned your membership or even died does this mean you have ‘responsibility’ to pay a sum to the Club for the new roof, which you voted for, after you left or your estate has to pay if you have snuffed it ? Absurd.

      What you and a lot of other people forget is that the EU is financed through the Treaties – it is laid out how in black and white. That is subordinate to the Treaties not a separate matter, and so all teh Treaty applies not just the bit you want. Further anything the UK has agreed to it has done so as the ‘UK being a member of the EU’ and thus acted in accord with the EU Treaties, so it is not the UK agreeing to finance this, that or the other. It was the UK agreeing as a member how the EU spent its budget.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        If you merely agreed as a member that the roof should be done then o.k.
        If on the other hand you had agreed to pay your share for it and then decided after the plans were drawn and work started and was 7/6th finished that you didn’t fancy it and wanted to leave? Any moral responsibility? Do the other members have to cover the bit you promised but failed to deliver? We agreed to how the money would be provided, not just spent. Doesn’t seem like the action of a golfer to me – more like the cheats who play football.

      • Captcha King
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Andy – a club is not a useful analogy. Resigning from a business partnership would be a better one. Especially after ripping down the fences of the local borstal and jointly deciding to leave the business gates unlocked.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, except this is like us belonging to a golf club which has decided by popular vote to change to playing petanque.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:30 am | Permalink

        Surely, when we originally paid those vast sums of money over four decades, there was a clear premise the UK would at some time in the future be a net beneficiary. Our money as demonstrably benefitted many European countries up to now, but I struggle to see where the UK benefitted….certainly not in equitable trade!

        Therefore, as we will no longer be a net beneficiary in the future after we leave, why should we continue to contribute post-Brexit to the benefit of others that have so kindly enjoyed the UK taxpayers money up to now, with little for the UK to show for it?

  18. stred
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    We could offer to pay the pensions of British commissioners and officials, then we would be free to tax them at 80% as undeserved earnings.

    Whoever thought to opt out of the directive allowing owners of assets in EU states to use their own country’s inheritance laws, should be held to account. Many British owners of houses in France have to sell and return because of their arcane inheritance laws. Citizens of other EU countries are free to make their own wills to who they wish.

    The bad advice to Mrs May to use citizens as bargaining chips, presumably not having noticed that we voted for Leave and UKIP- both of whom stated the opposite, is another example of incompetent service from officials. They should pay for their mistakes.

    • Andy
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Confiscate Mandys and Kinnocks pensions ! What a delicious thought !!!

  19. backofanenvelope
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Why not cut to the chase? We want free trade, no ECJ and control of immigration. How much money do they want?

  20. Peter
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Delay is a strategy that suits the EU not the UK.

    Unfortunately there are no signs that our leaders are prepared to walk away soon.

    So the EU will continue with their strategy. The status quo suits them – not us.

    • Mark
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      The EU’s delay strategy only works if they can persuade the UK to stay. I don’t think that their bullying stance encourages any change of opinion. If we don’t ask to stay on, then it will be the EU that is faced with burning the midnight oil on last minute negotiations for which they will not have prepared adequately, while the UK side appears to have already done much more serious work than they have.

  21. Iain Moore
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Today I gather Blair has gone into talks with Junker. This is pretty outrageous stuff, how dare someone like him go behind our backs when EU Brexit negotiations going on. Blair should be hauled in font of Parliament and demand he accounts got his actions, and what he said to Junker.

    • Captcha King
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      If Blair isn’t made to account then we know he has tacit approval to represent Britain.

      • Qubus
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Mr Blair has a flair for getting things wrong.

    • Mark
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Neither of them has any authority to negotiate anything.

  22. a-tracy
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The pensions in the EU should have been invested ‘put up’ as the staff earned the money as they are in private business in the UK? Yet another massive under-appreciated work-force pension scheme that accrues pension pots that can’t be achieved by private sector workers. When business calculates this cost to get anywhere near public sector pension pots you would have to put in 25% of gross wages over the lel (that’s in addition to NI employee/employer contributions) to guarantee a safe final salary pension at 60/65 that you can transfer.

  23. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Dear John–Is it established common ground that an express legal power would be necessary? One can easily imagine a split on this, same like usual, with EU maniacal lawyers deciding to maintain there is some kind of implied power. If it is indeed established as I hope (certainly sounds reasonable) why no mention of it so far elsewhere to throw in to the pot against paying a penny.

  24. alan jutson
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Another very clear post today John

    I hope our Prime Minister shares your view.

  25. bigneil
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “Paying for other people’s meals” ?? we have many many people who have come here courtesy of the EU, who are not only having their meals on us, they are also having their housing, their healthcare and their children’s schooling all on us as well. The difference is that those of us who have no choice about paying taxes HAVE to keep paying for the ever increasing number – WE cannot “leave the restaurant”. Not only do we have to pay for our own lives – we have to pay for theirs as well.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Ex gratia, leaving present, goodwill payment … but for whom?

    I would only consider making any payment over and above the legal minimum – which could be zero, depending on whether or not the last regular budget contributions were counted into it – if it was made perfectly clear that this was a token of goodwill towards the ordinary people in the other EU member states, the taxpayers who will have to pick up more of the tab for the EU’s profligate spending.

    Not a token of goodwill towards Barnier or Juncker or Verhofstadt, or Merkel.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I say don’t pay them anything, but if it helps, give the citizens of Europe vouchers they can spend in UK shops when they visit.
      The shops can then present them to HMRC against tax owed – sorry multi-national coffee shops.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Lateral thinking, and not a bad idea!

    • forthurst
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      As soon as the precedent has been established that the UK government is so lily-livered that it can be browbeaten into paying money which is simply not due, the EU will be ready for its next essential demand before we agree a trade deal
      “We need to keep you fish because otherwise our fishermen will become unemployed whereas you don’t have a fishing industry”, “We need to have free movement for a further ten years whilst we are expending Eastwards because the UK is an important destination for EU states that wish to off-load migrants and their own people who are unemployed and the state cannot afford to support because of the Euro” etc

      We owe them nothing beyond our statutary contributions. We owe them no part of our sovereignty over our borders, our fishing grounds or our laws. We are not a rich country; people who claim that we are rich because we have the fifth largest GDP do not understand the difference between turnover and profit. In fact we are a failing conglomerate run by a snivelling accountant who keeps selling off divisions to keep the wolf from the door. We cannot afford to give the EU what it is not due and to do so would be a betrayal of our country and all those who now support a clean Brexit.

  27. Epikouros
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    It appears the EU negotiating position is to present unsubstantiated claims regardless of their legality, logic or fairness. On the basis that they have always done so in the past as they have always presented themselves with success as the final arbiters. They be little and disparage the UK’s negotiators and their position on the grounds that however fair and reasonable their case may be if it does not fit in with the EU’s demands then it will be rejected as no one can challenge their decision.

    The EU is right so Brexit negotiations are a waste of time and energy. So unless we are to leave only on conditions that the EU and remainers dictate then it is best that the UK negotiating team pack their bags and come home now. This will either result in a no deal or concentrate the minds of the EU to act very much more reasonably. I suspect it will be the latter as the former will do the EU a considerable amount of harm but the UK only a small measure of inconvenience.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Too true 🙁

      The EU do not “negotiate”, they say what they want and expect the other party to meekly fall in line.

      True negotiation requires each party to move from their opening positions, the skill of the negotiator is to get the other party to move more than you do…

      Come on DD pull that rabbit out of the hat…

  28. Kenneth
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I agree strongly with your comments Mr Redwood.

    Obviously it would be absurd to pay other countries taxpayer money when we don’t need to and even more absurd that taxpayers’ money is draining away while we delay exit.

    Those responsible for losing our money in this will be held accountable at the ballot box.

  29. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    So why isn’t the government’s message unified on this point?
    Time, money and effort are being squandered by equivocation and delay. Delay in submitting Article 50, delay and equivocation on if and how much we are prepared to donate.
    A good tactic might have been to ask for repayment of all loans to Eurozone countries before we even sat down to discuss anything else.
    A business run like this would rightly have gone bust by now.

  30. Stephen Felce
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    It is outrageous that Britain has been asked what we are prepared to pay on leaving , when the only consideration ought to be what we owe and a meticulous case from the EU to support that.

    The way Brexit negotiations on this and other issues are going, increasingly it looks likely that there will be no Brexit deal. This is unfortunate but, by my reckoning, world opinion will mostly be that this is because the EU is dysfunctional, not the fault of Great Britain.

    I was all for leaving the EU a long time before talk of a referendum, let alone the vote. That is because we never joined other than to be part of a common market and the EU is rampant with fraud and excess.

    • Qubus
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I am far from happy about the situation. I understood that the referendum was advisory, but now, that seems not to be the situation. In any case, we have a representative democracy here, or are supposed to. However, the vote was to leave and all the politicians should speak with one voice on this, otherwise we simply play into Barnier’s hands. The time for discussion is when the final conditions are established.
      I despair that people whom we have considered as friends and allies are treating us like this. They seem to have totally forgotten that ca. 70 years ago they were all at one another’s throats and it was the British, who at enormous cost in lives and an economic blow from which we never really recovered, went to their rescue. We never started their damned wars, we just had to sort it all out.
      In 1972(?) I voted to join the EEC; in 2016 I voted to leave the EU. It is difficult to believe that anyone can present an un-itemised bill and expect it to be paid. If we give in to this blackmail, I don’t think that I shall bother to vote again, there would simply be no point in it. Our politicians are making such a mess of it.

      Reaply The Referendum was not advisory and Parliament voted overwhelmingly to send the Article 50 letter as well

  31. Prigger
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    It is accepted the delay in leaving is a tactic of Remoaners to keep us in the EU. They may deny this. Let us be extreme in our charitableness in listening. But the voter, Leaver and Remainer alike, perceive it so. Tactic or not, EU-ers in Parliament as individuals are thought by their whole electorates as lacking trustworthiness in all matters going forward. Even if it suits some of them on the EU issue, now.
    “Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive”

  32. Eh?
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    The EU knows it cannot win the payment issue even with their allies Labour, LibDems and SNP in the UK Parliament. Our people will not have it “explained” to them.

  33. Tom Rogers
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The more this circus rumbles on, the more astonished I become that we ever threw in our lot with these people in the first place. There have been three major pinch points in the EEC/EU’s history that should have signalled to Britain that it was time for our departure: 1986 (Luxembourg), 1992 (Maastricht) and 2007 (Lisbon). On each occasion, the direction of travel was made clear to us and we could have adopted something along the lines of what is now known as the Flexcit Plan and smoothly disengaged from this Leviathan. In fairness, successive governments have pursued a Flexcit-like strategy to a very small extent: both Major and Blair negotiated various opt-outs that amounted to disengagement in all but name.

    However that sort of tinkering approach is, I think, predicated on an underlying faith in Schumanisme and its culturally-fluid, cosmopolitan vision that is characteristic of some Continental thinking, especially German, but doesn’t belong in Britain with its more insular sensibility. It’s too late for us to be trying to carefully negotiate our way round that juggernaut. We are in danger of getting sucked in. Under present circumstances, I agree with the government: it has to be a clean break.

    On the point in question, I don’t believe the EU is overly-concerned with contributions. Even if we go for a ‘soft’ exit involving the Norway Option or something similar, we will probably end up paying much the same – or even higher – contributions to the EU over a period. The real reason for this tactic and calls for a formal ‘transition’ is to muddy the waters, confuse and demoralise Britain, and push us towards the safe harbour option: i.e. EFTA and continued EEA membership, meaning SM/CRA participation. That’s Plan B, for the EU’s negotiators, and also for the domestic collaborators here in Britain who have cleverly co-opted much of the Leave side into pushing for this. In Britain’s case, if we adopt that structure it will be with all the bells-and-whistles, so the referendum will have been for nothing.

    Looking to the future, I don’t believe we can negotiate a full FTA by March 2019, even if that is desirable (which is a debate in itself), but an interim agreement is possible. It’s going to be messy. I’m tempted to say we should take the traditional British approach to this – just leave and rely on market realities, informality and de facto arrangements.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need to negotiate a full FTA by March 2019, we already have one and have been using it for 40 odd years. All we need is for the EU to say we can carry on without the Budget payments the ECJ, Freedom of Movement and the other bits that don’t apply to any other third country with an FTA. A simple ‘yes’ would do it.

      • Tom Rogers
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 4:11 am | Permalink

        “Carry on” with what exactly? You need to define what the *what” is that you want to ‘carry on’ with for me to make any sense of your comment. That’s the crucial thing: there’s a substantive element to this that needs to be defined and agreed.

        If you mean Britain as a third country and comity of standards assumed between Britain and the EU, then I will agree with you, as this is what I would like to see as well. But is it realistic when you consider who we are dealing with?

        Informality is the British way, but we’re dealing with Continentals here. The EU may agree to allow us free access, but not without mechanisms in place to ensure standards. It’s just not the Continental mentality to set up arrangements without extensive bureaucracy and superintendence.

        I think the EU want us out and I think the result of the Brexit referendum was privately greeted with relief in Brussels. It suits the French and the Germans to see us gone, as their elites want integration and close economic management we were a strong countervailing influence against this. However, the ideal result for the EU will be Britain still within the EEA, so they can exercise influence over us as we will remain tied to them institutionally and financially. They will probably be working closely with Kinnock, maybe the Norths, to promote an EFTA/EEA solution, but that now looks less likely, so what the EU will be aiming for instead is ongoing trade facilitation with Britain, which is almost as good because it potentially ties us to their standards, requiring that we remain in lock-step with them.

        Personally, I think it should be up to business to comply with EU standards if they wish to export to the EU, and vice versa. That’s the normal arrangement. Anything else is (in my view) an unacceptable infringement on national sovereignty, not least because Britain will agreeing standards internationally anyway.

        I didn’t say we need to negotiate a full FTA, either by March 2019 or at all. Actually, I think the value of free trade to a country like Britain is debatable and in my view there is a case for not signing FTAs at all, with anyone, and simply relying on the market but with restrictions on capital flows where this goes against the national strategic interest (which is how the free trade thinker, Ricardo, envisaged free trade would work in practice); but the Single Market is not a pure free trade arrangement anyway, even on its own terms. There are still regulatory barriers to export/import within the bloc in some industries and especially in services.

  34. ian
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    As i understand, the uk still has to sign up to every new law that made in the eu while under article 50 and any transition period, which will include joining the euro and new banking system, and the new european army, with what ever else they come up with during that time, are you really telling the people of the uk that the uk gov is going to let that happen. Also i understand, that once the article 50 was triggered, it cannot be withdrawn, but the uk can still leave at any time during article 50. To me, they the eu are trying to blackmailing the uk people, and it gov into something that nobody hear wants, apart from rudd and co.
    A few years ago, this would been seen as a declaration of war by the eu, but at this time not the other states. Juckers think he is napoleon, sitting in his eu HQ paid for by the uk people. The question is, what’s may gov going to do about it or are the people of the uk just going to have to sit back and take what ever nnapoloen want to throw at them, with their own gov sitting there doing nothing as usual.

  35. Jason Wells
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    If we invite people into the restaurant and promise to pay for their meals for some future period of time, for whatever reason, then ‘yes’ we are obliged to pay, whether we are in the restaurant or not and especially if we want personal access to that particular restaurant again. Also if we want to keep a good name with other restaurants in the area we will see to it that all our obligations are met- I can’t see it any other way!

  36. margaret
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    If we put it in very simple language perhaps they will understand.
    I wonder if these commentators who keep talking about 60 billion etc are under the influence of recreational drugs or worse still EU businesses. Dr Redwood has experience with (named company I have not worked for since 1989) . Does he think that there is some covert organisation trying to misappropriate money froM the UK.
    There aren’t any children to look after once we have divorced . We will pay the rent up until we leave . We don’t want to live in their house we have rented any more . We do not like their way of housekeeping any more and are not prepared to pay the letters any more.

    Reply No, no covert organisation, just the EU trying to get our money

  37. Captcha King
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Britain did partake in some expensive EU policy decisions. We also caused the Med crisis by deposing Muammar Gaddafi.

    • rose
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      “We also caused the Med crisis by deposing Muammar Gaddafi.”

      This only accounts for the illegal African immigration through Italy, not the Asian through Greece. Berlusconi resisted the African invasion but was toppled by the EU, and ever afterwards there has been this problem. It predates the Anglo-French misadventure but I agree it exacerbated it.

      • rose
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        And it doesn’t account for the illegal immigration through Spain – which has now granted six amnesties to illegal immigrants. This illegal immigration across the Mediterranean has been going on for decades.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      Let’s draw a line under historical mistakes, and try not to make more in the future!

  38. ian
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Just heard that the uk gov has caved in to blackmail by napoleon, and are going hand over money to the eu. !8 to 19 billion so far, but could go a lot higher as napoleon takes more as he goes on with his blackmailing talks.

  39. Peter
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Barnier was just saying they would not change ‘one iota’.

    This is an ideal opportunity to leave on the ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ justification.

    We would have the moral high ground.

    More importantly, we would be free sooner. No Danegeld would then need to be handed over for entirely spurious reasons.

  40. LenD
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    We, along with other EU countries, were collectively responsible for bringing in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland etc etc, we committed ourselves to supporting these countries into the future to bring them up to speed with the EU norm. Now we are taking the stance that we have no more responsibility for these countries after march 2019 because we are leaving and think that we can walk away from our obligations without consequenses..alsolute nonsense

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Not what the lawyers say …

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      “we committed ourselves to supporting these countries into the future to bring them up to speed with the EU norm”

      I though that joining countries had to have economy running at a level in line with the EU norm. That clearly didn’t happen, look at the EU funds that are haemorrhaging to Poland and some other countries, why?

      How long are we meant to have an obligation to give money that we [the British] are having to borrow in order to give away?

    • Helen
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      It is nonsense, but it is the sort of irresponsible little Englandism that Redwood foments

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Helen, I would prefer to call JR a patriot as many of us are. Proud to be English. This is our problem. People like you think it’s wrong to be proud of your own country. Well, you know what people like you can do.

    • Mark
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      By providing jobs for so many A8 and A2 nationals, the UK is contributing way beyond its share, and will continue to do so after Brexit.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Why should we have an eternal obligation to these countries?Since joining they have received enormous transfers to invest in infrastructure ;a capitalist culture has been introduced and their people have also been able to work abroad for higher wages and remit savings to their home countries.

      Time for sink or swim-either Germany continues to subsidise them,they accept their (reduced) lot or they go back to Mother Russia.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      I think these countries have had enough largesse from the British taxpayer as we are the second largest contributor. We can now hand over the baton to the other countries ton up their payments if they wish to continue.
      There is absolutely no justification for paying a single bean after 31st march 2019.

    • lp
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      We have already contributed more than our fair share over 40 odd years to the failing EU project and have no future obligations to any EU Member State after we leave.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      And what about all the other countries listed as waiting in the wings to join – Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldovia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine ?

      Are we to pay for their structural and cohesion funds ?

      We have been net payers into the EU budget for over 40 years and we have surely paid more than enough.

      This is not even taking into account how we have supplied over a million of eastern Europeans with jobs, many subsidised by the UK taxpayer via working credit, free/non contributory schooling and healthcare.

  41. agricola
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Having just listened to the end of session report to the press I got the impression that Barnier has just invented a new language called “Fog”. he emphasised that leaving the EU means leaving the single market and customs union, something we are very clear on. Henceforth the EU is either a customer or a supplier, and must decide whether they wish to trade tariff free or on WTO terms. He muttered about us not being able to shape the market, but then I cannot imagine we wish to. We only shape our home market as does every nation in the World.

    David Davies was clearer, saying there had been progress in some ares, but that there was still a long way to go. I can see Barnier’s problem, he has to speak from the script that the 27 have handed him, he does not appear to be able to negotiate. I predict that progress will continue to be slow and a point will be reached where we have to say we are leaving on or before the end of March 2019, agreement or not.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    David Davis:

    “On the financial settlement – the central point, I think, of Michel’s comments – the Commission has set out its position and we have a duty to our taxpayers to interrogate it rigorously.

    At this round we presented our legal analyses. On on-budget issues, on off-budget issues and on the EIB (the European Investment Bank).

    It is fair to say, across the piece, we have a very different legal stance. But as we said in the Article 50 letter, the settlement should be in accordance with law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU, and I repeat the phrase, in accordance with the law and the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU.”

    But of course the EU doesn’t like the idea that “the settlement should be in accordance with law”; their plan is to extort money with menaces, as much as they can:

    “… EU Brexit negotiators were left “flabbergasted” on Wednesday after their British counterparts launched a legal deconstruction of the so-called “Brexit bill” … “

    • graham1946
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      The ‘legal’ bit doesn’t worry me, but the ‘in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU’ does – seems like he is softening towards paying for their agreement rather than just what we actually may owe. Before we pay, it may need testing in court, but then which one?

  43. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    It seems one compromise is for us to pay full fees for the transition period to obtain access to the single market – that would be the single market we have a massive trade imbalance with. Interesting idea. Would we also insist the EU continues to fund projects in UK during the transition ?

  44. Derek Henry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Excellent John !

    Sums it up perfectly.

    Apart from the last sentence which is hogwash. It would only be tax payers money if we still used the gold standard. We don’t and haven’t for decades now.

  45. graham1946
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The delay in sending article 50 and the bill of 9 billion was due entirely to the Great Ditherer and the blame must be laid at the door of your government, it was not just something that happened. Many of us think it was deliberate to give the Remainers a chance to get up a head of steam and so it seems to have turned out. We could have been half way out by now had Cameron been a man of honour instead of running away and welching on his promise to do it immediately. You’ve cost us a lot of money JR (your team that is, not you personally).

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Common sense might suggest that both sides should appoint suitable persons, mainly accountants, to a joint working party, perhaps with a neutral chairman, to sort out whether either side is going to end up owing anything to the other side.

    And while that group did their careful number-crunching and legalistic work on the sidelines others could press ahead with matters of much greater importance, such as trade.

    But then the EU has never been famous for common sense.

  47. Mark
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Barnier seems annoyed that the EU bluff has been called on the exit bill and our Brexit intention. Now he will have to do some real work getting a proper negotiating mandate from the EU Council, not an endorsement for a set of proposals that were designed to avoid the serious internal negotiations that are needed to resolve how the EU tackles in budget and spending once the UK leaves, and aimed at scaring the UK into agreeing to remain. The clock is ticking, and the EU still haven’t begun the serious work, and may not do so even after the October EU Council meeting (surely they need to meet sooner on this?). That leaves DExEU in the strong position of having all the real drafts to table, and having done the real thinking. The EU have played their hand very poorly so far.

    Credit to the DExEU team for having worked out the correct strategy of a dead bat to begin with, before hitting the EU claims that have no legal backing for six. Delighted that they aren’t throwing their wickets away. The EU needs a bowling change, and a revised field placement.

  48. Mark
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I doubt David Davis’ statement will get full or proper attention in much of the media. It is worth reading to see that in fact there are a number of areas in which substantial progress has been made, and that the UK approach is in fact far better angled towards real negotiation than the EU’s.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Mark, thanks for posting the link, a useful read

  49. blakeb
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    So now we have Mrs May out in Japan putting on a show for the EUs benefit i presume, playing hard to get, as if anyone in Brussels is paying one blind bit of attention, seeking to get a new trade deal between uk and Japan, which really means cars and fridges etc from japan to uk, although not sure what we are going to export to them?, is maybe a good idea except for the huge shipping distance, a matter of 5 weeks sailing at least with extra warehousing costs etc etc..and then just who is going to pay for all of this?? the british consumer i suppose- more nonsense

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      We export quite a bit to Japan and if you hadn’t noticed there are and have been for years many Japanese items available to purchase.
      If they are not competitive, they will not sell.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      My father did about 50% of his business in Japan for many years. He said the Japanese were incredibly difficult to do business with. Not because they were bad but because they were complicated. (And my father only did well there thanks to good fortune not because he was smarter than everyone).

      It’s far easier for Joe Blogs businessman to sell say into say the Netherlands than Japan. Why?
      1) Much cheaper and quicker and cheaper to fly to and stay in the Netherlands
      2) Much quicker and cheaper to export to the Netherlands
      3) Above all, it’s much easier to communicate with Dutch businessman and understand their business regulations than in Japan.

      This is from my personal experience, once removed.
      It’s also just common sense.

      Lastly, Japan’s GDP per capita is only 41% – 1% behind the UK. The Japanese really want a bridge into the Single Market. One reason they were investing in the UK. And why they wrote that punchy / snotty letter about why they don’t want the UK to leave the Single Market.

      Logic. Pragmatism. Realism. Strategy. Common sense.

      • miami.mode
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        …….The Japanese really want a bridge into the Single Market……..

        Ed, you commented on our host’s post yesterday on inward investment by Japan. In view of this current comment, did you comment yesterday without reading it?

      • Terry
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        And I suppose there is a daft reason for the Japanese to be increasing their stake in UK factories and in UK workers in spite of our leavening the Brussels cabal?

      • Prigger
        Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        So what you saying is that the EU is threatening via its stance to undermine and destroy billions of Japan investments in the UK which were made on THEIR ( Japan’s own ) strategy and understanding they would be able to piggy-back on us into the EU? So, do you think Japan will declare war on EU-nation states given this threat or will they wait for it to materialise into billions of losses then and only then send their bombers over Berlin? They could of course withdraw much of their investment in the EU-nations in retaliation but the end would be the same don’t you think?
        So, the EU now has Japan, the UK and America to consider with its treading water on a proper trade deal. Their cuckoo clocks are ticking their economy away. Actually there are other countries external to the EU who will lose out if the EU does not buck up its ideas.

    • lp
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Whiskey, fashion, luxury vehicles, sport, scientific expertise, entertainment, services. Why would the British consumer pay for Japanese exports?

  50. Peter
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. May is deluded if she imagines she will lead the Tories into the next election. It could just be a ploy to dampen the hopes of ambitious MPs of course.
    Mrs mays role is useful scapegoat to carry the can for impending flak and to atone for her sins in the last campaign. I had thought she was loyally doing just that. Holidays seem to unhinge the woman.

  51. Tabulazero
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    We should stop this circus and move straight to the negative report Barnier will give in October and the cessation of talks.

    • anon
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      As long as we then declare “force majeur” abrogate all treaties fortwith, including contributions.

      We can then prioirtise non-eu trade relationships , now that we are no longer bound by treaties which prevent & impede such deals.

      Obviously we want a good trading relationship with the EU states , but we recognise the difficulties and pragmatically will adjust.

  52. ian
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    That’s a another fine mess you got me into olly.

  53. Simon
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Immediately after the presser and EU wonk helpfully confirmed that any payments in the transitional period are a separate item and can not be netted off against the so called divorce bill. They are just gangsters.

  54. Turboterrier.
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Good post John and in its way it highlights the nonsense of the EU argument.

    Have just read on line that some DH from the EU reckons that it will require two lots of payments!!!!

    Well the joke has gone on for far too long and now it is just getting ridiculous. Stop FA and just walk away or otherwise they are going to try to bleed us dry. At this rate no deal is looking like the best option. What do they care every week we stay in they take our money.

    Time for our PM to put her foot down with a very firm hand

    • stred
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      Bending forwards, not backwards, and wearing her best trousers.

  55. John
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I read that the EU has largely stopped funding projects for the UK. I assume our Brexit Secretary would be looking to subtract those amounts that were meant to be spent in the UK from any final bill?

  56. ian
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Parliament should be suspended to this crisis is over.

  57. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just heard on the six oclock news that the UK is paying something when they leave. Can you clarify John? I thought we were paying nothing as there is nothing legal saying we have to. I am seething right now. When are the BBC going to tell us that legally we owe nothing?

    Reply There is no agreement on any exit bill

    • Helen
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, keep watching, keep listening. You have been spun a fairy story by the brexiteers. We will pay big. The NHS will suffer

      • Know-Dice
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink


        That’s the issue, money paid as “moral obligation” to the EU is money that will not be used to fund the NHS, Social Care etc. etc. in the UK.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink


        We will pay big by staying in too and more over the years ahead to prop up every other nation. If you want Merkel and co telling you how much tax etc you are going to pay then move to Europe. Why bother to live in a country where another one is telling you what to do?

  58. Caterpillar
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Apart from the lawyers for Britain assesement of the legal obligations, are there any others?

    • rose
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      The House of Lords Brexit committee took evidence from many experts, including both British and Continental lawyers, and came to the conclusion that legally we owe nothing. The H of L is not known for its love of Brexit.

  59. Terry
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    It must be abundantly clear to everyone who is not a Professional Politician that the EU is desperate for British money. There are very few other EU members, if any, who will want to step in and cover the shortfall in their income left by Brexit in 2019. What will Brussels do then? Force everyone to pay a proportion or cut back on the Brussels expenditure, like normal people?
    What? Brussels cut back on those Private Jets and gallons of Claret for lunch? Of course not. They are not normal people. They will, as always, rely upon the dumb European plebs to pick up the tab just as they have been doing since its inception. I suppose one day the plebs will see the light.

  60. Prigger
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Why is our media looking upon the EU as our employer and the Brexit team as our militant uncooperative trades union? The Employer, the EU, says they are waiting for us to agree to this that and the other, they are open to talks but the agenda is we work double shifts on half pay and pay a fine covering any loss of profit for the employer in years to come because we have handed in our notice?
    We should tell the EU to…well …” go whistle” has been mouthed by Boris. Personally I’d recommend more robust activity for them and to do it as quietly as possible so intensifying their moment.

  61. Martin
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    If we don’t agree the divorce settlement by March 2019 is there not a danger that some International Court could get involved?

    Some on here may hate this but if we wish other countries to sign deals with us we have to be seen in good stead with the international community. If not we will be left to trade with North Korea. Now where is Mrs May today?

    • Andy
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      In answer to your first point it is NO. People just don’t seem to grasp the basic principles here. Any payment can only be made under the terms of the Treaties, not because Juncker needs more cash to pay the Wine Merchant. It has to be according to the Law.

      Secondly, are you saying we should pay countries so they will sign deals with us ? How about we demand a huge wad of cash from the EU to allow them to trade with us ? That a fair idea ??

  62. Simon Coleman
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    The so-called Divorce Bill is largely about paying our share of what we have promised to pay for FUTURE projects. The other 27 countries invested on the understanding that 28 were paying. So, the UK’s departure has created extra costs for the 27. They are simply saying that we should pay our share of the costs. After all, we made those commitments when we were a member…and the costs have been created by Brexit. So, why are they unjustified in asking for a bill? You’ll say there’s nothing legally binding – maybe, but there are such things as obligations that are not properly covered by law. We’ve got to negotiate with these people anyway, so wouldn’t finding a compromise be better than ‘No, no, no’?

    And as for the 9 month delay in triggering Article 50 that you’re complaining about – it was due to the mind-boggling complexity of the Brexit negotiating process. We had to recruit 1000s of negotiators and legal people and reorganise Whitehall departments. We weren’t ready. And we weren’t ready because the whole idea is so crackers that nobody possessing an iota of pragmatism and realism believed it could ever happen.

    Reply The EU will have 3 years of our contributions after we decided to leave, plenty of time to adjust its budgets for after we have gone.

    • stred
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      The other 27 countries invested in future projects on the understanding that 28 were paying in. They now find that a member is leaving and they have to spend for 27. 27 is less than 28. They need to adjust expenditure for a reduced EU. Why is this difficult to understand? Why do you wish your country to pay for EU expansion?

      A50 could have been sent the day after the election and the detail sorted later, as is happening now. At great cost, Dave welched and resigned, while the army of pro-EU lawyers, bankers and big business got in their early legal challenges. They could not allow the flow of cheap labour and easy GDP to end. They are fighting as ‘insurgents’ all the way, to use the expression of Mr Clegg.

      • Simon Coleman
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 12:02 am | Permalink

        The EU budget runs to 2020. It’s unclear whether UK liabilities end in 2019 or 2020. Then there are the pensions for EU officials (whose work we have benefited from), relocation costs of EU agencies, debt liabilities for various countries etc. We were enmeshed in it all for over 40 years – there is no withdrawal without some kind of bill, as we have made so many commitments. Brexit was sold to you as a simple, painless process – taking back control while apparently giving nothing away. Have you wondered why the government is now trying to negotiate back all the benefits that Brexit is making us give up?

  63. NA
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    No idea what planet TM is on? It’s a miracle she hasn’t gone already.

  64. VotedOut
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    In March 2017 the House of Lords EU financial affairs sub-committee reported that there was no legal case for paying anything to the EU. It was therefor clear from that moment that Parliament would need to agree ANY payment to the EU As Mr Redwood says.

    Based on ICM polls, £30 billion is a number the public cannot accept – so Whitehall’s ‘signal’ to the EU that around £30 billion is OK for the British to get a ‘deal’, is clearly NOT. Even £10 billion is unpopular.

    So, if you object you should write to your MP to prevent any such vote.

    But, this is all tiresome. Can we just leave please?

    Reply Yes that is true. I see now the EU is trying to get us to pay overseas aid to third countries – UK Ministers do of course have powers already to pay overseas aid in specified forms to low income countries. Overseas aid provisions cannot be used to pay countries in the EU which are by definition richer.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      God, we’ll be funding virtually the whole world soon

  65. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    If we do start to concede that we owe money when legally we don’t then the EU will see us as a soft touch and God only knows what we will be blackmailed with at a later date. We have to show strength of will and know when to walk away.

  66. ChrisS
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately our preference for there to be no Brexit bill has been rejected by David Davies himself :

    It has been reported this evening that David has recognised that there are obligations we will have to honour – both legal and moral obligations.

    I would certainly have refuse all demands for payments that are not contractual and legally binding.

  • 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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