My speech on the EU Withdrawal Bill

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Vauxhall (Kate Hoey): we have no legal obligation to pay more money, and there is no moral obligation. There is also no diplomatic advantage in offering money; indeed, if the EU gets the idea that we might pay it a bit of money, it will be even more unreasonable, because that would be the way to try to force more money out of us.

What I wish to say in this very important debate is that the Bill should satisfy most remain voters and most leave voters. I understand that it does not satisfy some MPs, who have their political agendas and political games to play, but they should listen to their constituents, and they should think about the mood of the country—the mood of business and those we represent.
We have had crocodile tears shed for myself and those of my right hon. and hon. Friends who wanted leave and who are very pleased with leave by those who tell us that we must surely understand that we are not getting the parliamentary democracy we wanted as a result of this piece of legislation. I would like to reassure all colleagues in the House that I am getting exactly the piece of legislation I wanted, and it does restore parliamentary democracy.

What is in the Bill for leave voters is that, once the Bill has gone through and we have left the European Union, the British people will have their elected Parliament making all their laws for them. We will be able to amend any law we do not like any more, and we will be able to improve any law. We were not able to do that.

What we like about the Bill is that it gets rid of the 1972 Act, which was an outrage against democracy, because, as we have heard, it led to 20,000 different laws being visited upon our country, whether the people and Parliament wanted them or not, and whether their Government voted for them or against them—the Government often voted for them reluctantly because they did not want the embarrassment of voting against them and losing. This is a great day for United Kingdom democracy. A piece of legislation is being presented that will give the people and their Parliament control back over their laws.

Ruth George (High Peak) (Lab): Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

John Redwood: Let me just explain why this is good for remain voters and then I will give way to someone who is probably of that faith. It is good for remain voters because during the campaign a lot of them were not fully convinced either for or against the European Union, but on balance thought we should stay in. They quite often liked some elements of European legislation, standards or requirements. In particular, the Labour party and its supporters liked the employment guarantees that were offered by European employment law, and other parties and interests liked the environmental standards. This Bill guarantees that all the things that remain voters like about European legislation will continue and will be good British law, so they will still have the benefits of them, with the added advantage that we might want to improve them, as well as full assurances from the Government that we do not wish to repeal them.

Ruth George: I am very surprised that the right hon. Gentleman is saying how delighted he is that so many rights and responsibilities will now come under delegated legislation. I am not sure if he recalls that on 1 September 2012, as a member of the Delegated Legislation Committee on the criminal injuries compensation scheme, he, with all the other Conservative members of the Committee, called for the then Minister to withdraw the measure before them, and that did not happen. A second Committee was set up—

Mr Speaker: Order. Forgive me, but colleagues must have some regard to each other’s interests. There are a lot of people wanting to speak. Interventions must be brief; they should not be mini-speeches.

John Redwood: Let us come to the secondary legislation point. First, all statutory instruments are subject to a parliamentary process. I am quite happy that there is parliamentary control. If Ministers seek to abuse the power under the legislation that they are offering to the House, then all the House has to do is to vote down the statutory instrument. If it is a so-called negative resolution instrument, surely the Opposition are up to being able to say, “We intend to debate and vote on this issue.” I remember doing that as a shadow Cabinet member. I called in things that the then Government were trying to smuggle through and made sure that there was a debate and a vote. If it is the view of Parliament that Ministers have misbehaved, then they will lose the vote and have to come forward with something else.

That is parliamentary democracy, and I do not understand why my colleagues find it so difficult to understand. Ministers will be bringing forward bits of secondary legislation in areas where they are fairly sure that it is the will of the House that they go through because they are technical, or sensible, or obvious. They will all be in pursuit of the fundamental aim, which is to guarantee all these rights and laws, which are often more admired by Opposition Members than Conservative Members, but which we have all agreed should be transferred lock, stock and barrel, and which in certain cases are protected by pledges in manifestos. For example, my party, as well as the Labour party, has promised to keep all the employment protections and improve on them, because that is something we believe in. We offered that to the British people as part of our manifesto for the last election.

Lady Hermon: The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that those who voted for remain, as I did, should be happy with this Bill because it brings over all EU legislation. Yes and no. On the stroke of midnight on exit day, we lose the general principles of EU law such as proportionality, non-discrimination, and respect for human rights. [Interruption.] No, with respect—the general principles go. Does he agree that we should lose those very sound, good, valuable general principles?

John Redwood: I think that those excellent principles are already reflected in both European law and British law and will therefore be built into our statutes. They will be inherited from European law through this Bill, and they will often inform the judgment of our judges. I am very happy to trust our Supreme Court rather than the European Court of Justice.
The Supreme Court has not always made judgments I like. I did not like one of its judgments quite recently, but we accepted it and lived with it. We are now in a stronger position as a result, as it happens, because we had a nine-month referendum debate in this House after the country had made its decision. I am pleased to say that after a very long and extensive rerun of the referendum—day after day we were talking about the same subject, having been told we never did so—Parliament wisely came to the decision, by an overwhelming majority, that it did have to endorse the decision of the British people and get on with implementing it.

Joanna Cherry: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

John Redwood: I am afraid that time is now rather limited.

I am very much in favour of our Parliament making these decisions. The admirable principles we are discussing will often be reflected in British law. They are already reflected in many of the bits of legislation that are the subject of this Bill, and our judges will often be informed by them. If the judges start to use a principle that we do not like very much, it is in the hands of those of us who are in Parliament to issue new guidance to those judges— to say that we are creating more primary legislation to ensure that we have a bit more of this principle and a bit less of that—on our area of disagreement with them. In a democracy, it is most important that we have independent courts, but also that, ultimately, the sovereign people through their elected representatives can move the judges on by proper instruction; in our case, that takes the form of primary legislation.

Much has been made of how we implement whatever agreement we get, if we have an agreement, at the end of the now 19-month process in the run-up to our exit on 29 March. I think people are making heavy weather of this, because the main issue that will eventually be settled—I fear it will be settled much later than the press and Parliament would like—is how we will trade with our former partners on the date on which we depart.

There are two off-the-shelf models, either of which would work. In one, the EU decides, in the end, that it does not want tariffs on all its food products and cars coming into the UK market, and it does not want us creating new barriers against its very successful exports, so it agrees that we should register our existing arrangements as a free trade agreement at the World Trade Organisation. That would be a ready-made free trade agreement.

I do not think that there is time to make a special free trade agreement that is not as good as the one we have at the moment. Either we will have the current arrangements, as modified for WTO purposes, when we are outside the Union, or we will not. If we do not, we will trade on WTO terms when we are on the other side of the EU’s customs and tariff arrangements. We know exactly what that looks like, because that is how we trade with the rest of the world at the moment as an EU member.

The EU imposes very high tariff barriers on what would otherwise be cheaper food from the rest of the world, but if it decided on that option, its food would, of course, be on the wrong side of that barrier as well. We would have to decide how much we wanted to negotiate tariffs down for food from other countries around the world, which may offer us a better deal. It would be quite manageable; food is the only sector that would be badly affected by the tariff proposals under the WTO. More than half our trade would not be tariffable under WTO rules, and services obviously attract no tariffs. I have yet to hear any of the other member states recommend imposing tariffs on their trade with us, or recommend a series of new barriers to get in the way of other aspects of our trade. We will have to wait and see how that develops.

Nicky Morgan: Is my right hon. Friend saying that one of the largest and most basic amounts of its income that any household spends—the part that it spends on food—could be affected by these proposals, but that that is okay?

John Redwood: I am saying that either way, we could get a good deal. If the EU decides that it wants to impose tariffs on its food exports to us, we will be able take tariffs off food that comes from other parts of the world. Under WTO rules, it is always possible to take tariffs off. We could start getting from the rest of the world food that is cheaper than that which we currently get from the EU, even though it does not attract tariffs. I want to look after customers.

The other thing is that if we just accepted the full WTO tariff rules, we would have about £12 billion of tariffs, and I would recommend that all of that £12 billion be given back to our consumers. They would be no worse off at all, because we would return the money to them. They might even be better off, if we did free trade deals that brought down the price of food from other parts of the world.

My final point to the Government is that there is an issue about how we decide the date of our departure. I think it is clear that our date of departure will be 29 March 2019. It will definitely be so if we do not have an agreement, which is still quite possible, but I think we should aim to make sure that we leave on that date even if we do have an agreement. We still have 19 months left, and that should be the transition for most of the things that need it. That is, surely, what the time is there to achieve. I recommend that we have the argument of substance over that date now, and that it be put in the Bill now. I recommend very strongly that we aim for 29 March 2019, because in one scenario that will be the date of our exit anyway, and in any other scenario it would be highly desirable.

People are always telling me that we need to reduce uncertainty. If we told them not only that all the laws would remain in place—getting rid of any uncertainty about the law—but that the date of our exit would definitely be 29 March 2019, we would have taken a lot of uncertainty out of the system. I think that that would be very welcome. I find that businesses now, on the whole, just want to get on with it. They are very realistic, and they want to know what they are planning for. They have got some of the details, but they want as many details as possible. If we put that firm date in, we would make it easier still, so I would recommend that change to the Government.


  1. Simon
    September 8, 2017

    The obvious weakness in your case is this: The sheer volume of SI’s we are going to see over a short timetable. The Labour Party does not have the resources, the skills or the admin support in place, or the legal advice in sufficient quantity, or indeed the wit generally; to monitor, understand and by implication approve by not obstructing; the vast mass of material about to be produced by the combined resources of our huge civil service.

    In these circumstances the negative approval system is woefully inadequate. To describe those same chaotic arrangements as the traditional and long standing processes of Parliament is absurd. The bill is unprecedented. It requires a new mechanism of oversight.
    The Ultras are not going to get the keys to the wine cellars they would like.

    1. NickC
      September 8, 2017

      Simon, The EU Withdrawal Bill simply patriates the EU’s Regulations to the UK so we have legal continuity.

      These are the same laws we must obey now. There is almost nothing of which to approve or disapprove because the specific aim is not to change anything.

      Indeed it will be easy for Labour to spot any underhand moves by the government precisely because they can compare any particular EU Regulation with its patriated UK counterpart.

      1. Simon
        September 9, 2017

        This is incorrect. The act will be followed by about 1,000 Statutory Instruments at least. These are vaguely described as necessary corrective measures but they are couched in very broad terms. Including the right to change any other act of parliament including the Withdrawal Act itself.

        I also mention in passing that the bill contains a provision that our actual leaving date will be determined by a Govt Minister ie the Govt could bring forward, delay or alternatively cancel Brexit entirely without further reference to Parliament.

    2. Denis Cooper
      September 9, 2017

      I am hoping that JR will publish my other comment further down thread, referring to an article by a professor of law entitled:

      “Hypocritical Remainers are misleading the public with their new-found opposition to secondary legislation”

      Inter alia he condemns:

      “… the way that Parliament has, in a strong sense, abandoned its own responsibility for secondary legislation, for it could readily have done otherwise if it had given accountability and legality greater weight in its procedures.”


      “The European Communities Act 1972 took this process to the apogee, or nadir, of actual self-abandonment of Parliamentary sovereignty.”

      I would agree with him, and you, in that regard.

  2. Outraged Briton
    September 8, 2017

    YOU said” we will trade on WTO terms when we are on the other side of the EU’s customs and tariff arrangements. We know exactly what that looks like, because that is how we trade with the rest of the world at the moment as an EU member.”

    That is a lie, pure and simple. We trade with the rest of the world at the moment as an EU member on the basis of hundreds of bilateral and multilateral deals made by the EU. We lose the advantage of every one of those deals on Brexit day, unless the third countries in question agree to let us carry on – so we are utterly in their hands. Taking back control my foot.
    You are a scoundrel for trying to mislead Parliament and the people in this way

    Reply The other countries of course want to carry on trading with us. name one that doesn’t and wishes to cancel administrative arrangements for trade!

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2017

      “unless the third countries in question agree to let us carry on”

      Well, maybe there will be some who take the attitude:

      “We have never really wanted to trade with the UK but unfortunately we were forced to do because the UK was in the EU and so under its protection. Now the UK is leaving the EU that will at last give us the very welcome opportunity to cut off all trade with them, and that is what we will do.”

      As JR says, name one country which might take that stupid attitude.

      You might prefer to choose a country which has not signed up to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

      Note that the EU, and all its member states, are signed up to it.

    2. Outraged Briton
      September 8, 2017

      Japan has made it very clear that if the UK leaves the single market, then NO DEAL!

      1. David Price
        September 8, 2017

        Your assertion does not agree at all with the report in the Guardian on 31st August of a formal joint statement by Mrs May and Mr Abe which says: “As the UK exits the EU we will work quickly to establish a new economic partnership between Japan and the UK based on the final terms of the EPA.”

        Are you mistaken by accident or on purpose?

      2. Richard1
        September 8, 2017

        ?? No it hasn’t at all. Where did you get that from?

      3. Edward2
        September 8, 2017

        That’s wrong.
        Japan has said it’s prepared to do a deal with the UK.
        Japan like many other nations trades in Europe without being in the EU nor agreeing to freedom of movement nor allowing the EU to make its laws.

        1. Jason Wells
          September 8, 2017

          Saying that you are prepared to do a deal is a long way from having a deal lined up. Japan is not going to mess up its new relationship with the EU to make trade deals with the UK just like that. That is not how the world works

          Reply Not what Mr Abe said to Mrs May. They do want a trade deal with us.

    3. Dennis
      September 8, 2017

      JR, your Reply to O.B. says exactly what he wrote that we are ‘in their hands’ so is not a reply. Also you did not respond to his accusation of your ‘lie ‘ of how we trade outside of the EU.

      It seems he has you there.

      Reply Not at all. We will trade with the EU as we currently trade with the rest of the world if there is no deal. They will want customs and b order arrangements that work as we will provide.

      1. Simon
        September 8, 2017

        Er no John we won’t. The EU are not going to trade with us at all unless a huge number of pre conditions – all of which are in the public domain are met. So we will not be trading as we trade with the RoW. We will be trading as a third country with the EU. They are not China. Or similar.

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 9, 2017

          Unless we stay in the EU inevitably we will be trading with the EU as a third country, there is no way around that.

          1. Simon
            September 11, 2017

            Of course. So a proper comparison or benchmark is how third countries find trading with the EU. Not, as persistently promulgated; how we currently manage to trade with the RoW.

      2. Anonymous
        September 8, 2017

        Dennis – Dr Redwood need not publish any of these exchanges, least of all the accusations and the personal insults.

        “…has you there.”

      3. JonP
        September 8, 2017

        Don’t know how JR knows that the EU will want to facilitate us with new customs and border arrangements etc so easily. Right now the EU side are thoroughly pissed off with our efforts so far and their patience is wearing thin- they may not be so accommodating as some of us like to think after and after March 2019 there could very well be a bleak time for a few yearst with no interim arrangement in place

        Reply Because we will decide how our customs and borders work, and they can only have a system for their borders and customs which treats us as well as the rest of the world.

        1. Henry Spark
          September 9, 2017

          Mr Redwood, have you actually seen how EU borders and customs deal with the rest of the world? Bureaucracy, checks, safety inspections, delays, tariffs … None of this we face as members of the EU, all of it we face when we leave. You are condemning our exporters to massive costs, all to feed your blind extreme ideology of “Britain first”

          1. Denis Cooper
            September 10, 2017
        2. Denis Cooper
          September 9, 2017

          So the EU can sign up to a new WTO trade facilitation treaty, but still seek to deliberately disrupt its trade with the UK.

          And according to the Remoaners we should want to remain subjugated to this untrustworthy vindictive organisation …

        3. Simon
          September 9, 2017

          The RoW is not exporting anything like the volumes or range of products to the EU that we are. If the EU do indeed deal with us as per their own rules it is going to require a vast uplift in infrastructure at all EU ports, and the Chunnel all of which would take years and cost billions to implement. At the Tunnel there is simply not the space available anyway. And who is going to pay for it? Re jigging the computer systems on both sides is a decades worth of work right there. None of this work is being planned for. We are simply sailing on hope.

    4. Anonymous
      September 8, 2017

      Outraged Britain – If trade is to stop on Day Zero then, actually, we should see that happening long before. Like now ?

    5. Chris
      September 8, 2017

      Maybe you should go back to the basics of what trade is, OB.

    6. Leslie Singleton
      September 8, 2017

      Dear Outraged–“Unless the third countries…agree to let us carry on” is an odd way to put it when you have no basis for implying that there is a significant risk, indeed any identifiable risk at all, that they would not let us carry on. One could I suppose imagine that there might be one or two special cases; but even then it is hard to believe that whatever troubles them cannot be negotiated away. Very hard to understand how you can write such tripe–Are you perhaps saying that the rest of the World is going to show loyalty to the EU by being unhelpful to us? Even that is surely unlikely when their own trade would suffer.

    7. Tom Rogers
      September 8, 2017

      @Outraged Briton,

      The impact will probably be sectoral. Trade will continue in areas where NTBs are easy to surmount or circumvent or have already been negotiated under pre-Brexit arrangements; some trade may slow due to NTBs that can no longer be surmounted easily. The issues are sector-specific, in my view. We must remember that trade within the Single Market itself, among Member States, is not without obstacles. The Single Market is not a perfect free-flowing market, contrary to what we are sometimes told.

      All in all, I have confidence in what Mr Redwood is telling us. He’s resting on commercial reality and I agree that’s sensible. A lot of the people who criticise this ironically don’t fully understand how trade works. They forget that the political frameworks for trade are not actual trade and that exchange will continue regardless of what the politicians are doing. Business finds a way. That’s just how the world works. You need to have been out and done things in the real world to appreciate this.

    8. John
      September 8, 2017

      I counted about 34 EU trade deals most of which are with small countries.

      Can you refer me to where you come up with hundreds??

      There are about 195 countries on planet Earth, if that is the planet you are referring to?

      I noted earlier this year that Donal Tusk said that the Canadian deal may be the EU’s last due to the difficulty of them for the EU.

      Reply There are around 50 EU trade deals and they will all novate to the UK and to the residual EU when we leave

      1. Simon
        September 9, 2017

        The relevant EU databases show nearly one thousand trade deals of all descriptions EU / RoW. And as I keep telling JR novating is far from automatic.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          September 10, 2017

          Dear Simon–Any contract being novated does of course need by definition to have the consent of the parties and (of course) does need to go through the legal paperwork including (of course) signature of all affected parties–In that sense the contract (of course) does not novate itself so is not literally automatic but I am not sure where that gets us–It is true IMH experience (admittedly only of loan agreements being novated) that Xmas comes early for the lawyers but that’s about it if the parties agree. The onus is on you to give reasons why the parties would not agree and it is hard to see any. Precious little of any substance changes. Automaticity if there is such a word has nothing to do with it.

          1. Simon
            September 10, 2017

            Because there is absolutely no reason why any country which has been forced to negotiate and offer terms for the purpose of gaining access to the large and wealthy EU SM should want to offer us – a much smaller nation – the same terms.

            Secondly the EU will also not wish us to enjoy the same terms with other third countries that they do.

            Finally the EU itself may have already entered into agreements with third countries which lock out or prohibit the same country offering the same terms to anyone else.

            The idea that novating the vast array of deals which cover much of the nitty gritty which lubricates trade is just going to go through on the nod as it were is part of the Governments – and Mr Redwood’s – Brexit fantasy.

  3. LordBlagger
    September 8, 2017

    . If the EU decides that it wants to impose tariffs on its food exports to us,


    You’ve got the basics wrong.

    Countries impose tariffs on their imports. The EU can’t impose tariffs on UK imports.

    Reply If they get us to leave without a deal then the tariff schedule will be their schedule aimed against their exports to us!

  4. Taigh
    September 8, 2017

    “…. if we just accepted the full WTO tariff rules, we would have about £12 billion of tariffs… ”

    Yes, and our exporters would face these tariffs in export markets, and would become totally uncompetitive as a result. I do not think you understand the first principles of international trade

    Reply We would face an average tariff of 3% into the EU, after experiencing a 15% devaluation against a strong Euro – so we would still be more competitive. I have run exporting manufacturing businesses – have you?

    1. Bob
      September 8, 2017

      Good reply Mr Redwood.
      It’s a numbers game, and the remainers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that the EU holds all the cards. If the EU decide to play dirty, they may be making a rod for their own back.

      EU businesses will need to maintain market share after Brexit and heaven help anyone who tries to stand in their way to make a political point.

      1. BartD
        September 8, 2017

        wrong assumption Bob – Eu business including Car makers and wine producers etc will take their cue from the EU- in this case that means ‘politics trumps economics’ as far as the EU is concerned – no question about that

        1. Bob
          September 9, 2017


          “politics trumps economics”

          Ahh! the Venezuelan approach !
          If you’re right then, the EU contains the seeds of it’s own demise.

    2. hefner
      September 8, 2017

      Taigh, please look at and to see the various positions that Mr Redwood has been occupying over the years in various companies, as corporate affairs director, non-exec chairman and chairman.

  5. Denis Cooper
    September 8, 2017

    As somebody has accused JR of lying I will repeat what I said yesterday, that Keir Starmer resorted to a brazen lie in his Commons speech:

    It is now getting to the point where I can barely watch the stream of untruths and half truths paraded by Remoaners in Parliament and then uncritically repeated in the media. These are people with as little respect for the truth as they have for democracy. Yet David Davis still lets them have free run rather than countering them.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 8, 2017

      “Keir Starmer’s objections to the Bill centred around the powers it gives Ministers to make secondary legislation – the so-called Henry VIII powers – with Starmer claiming that it would give the Government the power to implement laws relating to Brexit with no oversight from Parliament, particularly Section 9 on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, which allows for amendment of the Act itself.

      Had he done his homework, however, he would have dug down to Schedule 7 of the Bill, which states that such wide-ranging secondary legislation cannot be passed under Section 9 before it receives affirmative resolution from both Houses of Parliament – that is, a full vote in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.”

      Of course Keir Starmer had done his homework, and he knew perfectly well that what he was saying was not correct.

  6. Lifelogic
    September 8, 2017

    JR you are surely quite right. We are certainly better off cleanly out. But can this actually government deliver it through the Commons and the Lords?

    Also can T May and P Hammond be made to understand the need for massive cuts in red tape, cutting energy costs, cutting out the endless waste, lower simpler taxes, smaller government and real competition? Or is she just going to continue as Corbyn light?

  7. Tabulazero
    September 8, 2017

    “I understand that it does not satisfy some MPs, who have their political agendas and political games to play, but they should listen to their constituents”

    That’s a bit rich knowing that Wokingham voted Remain at 57%… but from what I have read from your Twitter account, all the Leave voters happened to reside in your parliamentary constituency by some statistical fluke apparently. Amazing !

    Thank you for making me laugh today.

    Reply The voting figures you cite are for the Council area not for my constituency.

  8. mickc
    September 8, 2017

    A good speech setting out the position precisely.

  9. Peter
    September 8, 2017

    Getting it all through parliament is now the main worry.

    Opposition looking to derail or delay at every opportunity.

    I like the parliamentary jargon though – “will the honourable member give way?”

  10. Denis Cooper
    September 8, 2017

    Interesting, some person called Billy Hayes has just been on TV promoting the Labour campaign for unlimited and uncontrolled mass immigration, but apparently only from the EU because that is what his friends in the CBI prefer:

    “We are Labour members and supporters united in our commitment to defending and extending the free movement of people in the context of the debate around Brexit.”

    Well, then, go out and tell Labour voters that you don’t care what they think!

  11. Ed Mahony
    September 8, 2017

    For most people, it’s about the economy not sovereignty.

    The Conservative Party will pay a price for failing to understand what people really want.

    1. getahead
      September 8, 2017

      Ed, I think not. When people voted in the referendum to leave, the economy was not uppermost in their minds. Recovering our sovereignty was and still is far more important. The economy will survive, even do better free of the restrictions of single market.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2017

      Restoring sovereignty and restoring some real democracy is a vital for a stronger economy.

      1. Ed Mahony
        September 9, 2017

        ‘Restoring sovereignty and restoring some real democracy is a vital for a stronger economy’

        – Says who?

        Certainly not lots of UK businesses ..

        Politicians love sovereignty (maybe!) but the evidences is that most people care more about the economy than sovereignty.

        You’ve got to go with what businesses and people REALLY want. In the end, trying to shoehorn politics onto people, won’t work. In the long-run, you’ll get caught out, and there will be consequences e.g. we let the socialists in increasing the long-term decline of country, we return to the EU under worse conditions than before, and the long-term decline perhaps disappearance of the Conservative Party. In other words, the unintended consequences of Brexit (history, indeed human life in general, is full of unintended consequences).

        1. Ed Mahony
          September 9, 2017

          ‘Politicians love sovereignty (maybe!)’

          – Obviously a lot more than just politicians. But sovereignty isn’t the main reason people voted to leave. It was immigration. Plus the evidence shows that Europe is way down the list of people’s concerns, including people who voted leave. Plus the evidence shows that most people care about the economy, including people who voted leave.

          So all you need to get is some decline in the economy for a few years (whilst no dramatic reduction in immigration) and you’ll get people clamouring for another referendum.

        2. David Price
          September 9, 2017

          What evidence?

  12. Bryan Harris
    September 8, 2017

    Nice speech
    We’ve already debated trade on here, but here is a different question:

    It’s recently been reported that Germany receives EU money to support Eastern Germany as a deprived area – If that is the case, then surely Germany doesn’t contribute on balance so much to te EU, if it needs UK money to help Eastern German?

    What is the actual situation – in terms of how much EU money goes to E Germany?

  13. Bryan Harris
    September 8, 2017

    JR – We need a better way to ask you questions unrelated to your articles

  14. Tabulazero
    September 8, 2017

    “The other thing is that if we just accepted the full WTO tariff rules, we would have about £12 billion of tariffs, and I would recommend that all of that £12 billion be given back to our consumers.”

    Have the British, farmers who are traditionally Conservative voters and voted for Brexit, realised yet that under your plan they will be wiped out by non-EU imports ?

    Farm subsidies were put there for a reason: insure that the EU can feed itself. It protected British farming which at current global prices is unprofitable.

    Cattle breeders in Herefordshire are going to have a fun time competing against Argentinean or US exporters. They are not going to like it and neither will the British public once it realises that food standards have come down as breeders adapt to the more competitive environment.

    Reply No plans to do that!

    1. John
      September 8, 2017

      Hi Tabulazero

      I like the fact you are concerned about cattle breeders in Heredfordshire. That’s a good sign because in the EU, trade is governed by the EU Commission, an un elected body that you / we have no say in.

      Had the US trade deal gone through with Obama, you would not have had a say. That’s the point of taking back control, democratic accountability, able to influence.

      With Brexit these concerns you have you have full democratic accountability restored. Are you not happy about that?

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 9, 2017

        Especially as he’s not British!

  15. formula57
    September 8, 2017

    Remaining in the EU beyond March 2019 would be an outrage.

    Mr. Cameron told us all during the referendum that he would very promptly issue an Article 50 notice to withdraw in the event of a Leave outcome and of course what we had instead was nine months of dithering (at a net cost of c. £9 billion). Reneging further on the understandings given when voters made their choice would be to attack our democracy.

    #Stop the Quislings.

    1. getahead
      September 8, 2017

      Did Cameron run or was he pushed?

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        September 8, 2017

        Undoubtedly ran away scared.
        An embarrassment to himself and to the country.

      2. James Matthews
        September 8, 2017

        Cameron called a referendum which could have two possible outcomes and completely failed to prepare for one of those outcomes. He did exactly the same thing at the time of the Scottish independence referendum. With Scotland he was lucky, the outcome for which he failed to prepare did not happen. Not so lucky with the EU referendum.

        He ran, rather than deal with the consequences of his own gross irresponsibility.

  16. Beecee
    September 8, 2017

    I am surprised that the Nicky Morgans of this world are not aware that the EU protects its ‘borders’ and farmers etc. from the import of cheaper food and goods from the rest of the World by imposing tariffs. If she does know then she clearly thinks this is a good thing for the UK.

    The higher cost of food in the EU and these tariffs have been estimated to cost the ‘just about managing’ up to £30 pounds or more per week; the ones whose food bill is a larger share of the weekly income.

    If Corbyn really cared by the lower paid and less wealthy in our society then he would be pushing for Brexit like mad, as would the Unions.

    What? they did until last month then changed their minds?

    Goodness, whatever next?

    1. zorro
      September 8, 2017

      She clearly is willingly refusing to accept the true nature of the Customs Union and Single Market – both highly regulated areas created to protect rather than facilitate open trade.


    2. hefner
      September 8, 2017

      If one (JAM or not) spends an additional £30 or more per week on food, one really needs take a course in household economy, as one is clearly throwing money through the window. And I do not think the main culprit is the EU, but much more likely one’s stupidity.

      Reply If we impose tariffs on food we can give the tariff money back to consumers so they wont be worse off

    3. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2017

      Indeed Nicky Morgan really does not seem to understand that the cost of food will fall significantly once we leave the EU and get rid of the damaging common import tariffs. Many World food prices are about half the UK prices.

      1. rose
        September 8, 2017

        I suppose she is too young to remember how low food bills were before we went in, and how they rocketed up when we joined. Or not bright enough to check it.

  17. Anonymous
    September 8, 2017

    “The right hon. Gentleman has suggested that those who voted for remain, as I did, should be happy with this Bill because it brings over all EU legislation.”

    Whoever thought in 1975 that there would even be such a thing as EU legislation ?

    1. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2017

      Anyone who listened to and trusted the wise words of Enoch Powell, Peter Shore as I did in my teens.

  18. Ed Mahony
    September 8, 2017

    Rather than Hard Brexit and Hard Capitalism, this country needs to strive for a reformed EU, soft capitalism and the virtues that have made this country great. Namely:

    – Work ethic (as best exemplified by the Quakers and the great companies they ran).
    – Patriotism. The dog-eat-dog world we live in and which hard capitalism promotes even more, kills patriotism (love of one’s people, love of one’s nature, love of one’s arts). Patriotism is closely linked to work ethic. People need to feel they’re part of some kind of community. That the rich should be rewarded but not excessively / unfairly. Whether we like it or not, too much difference in wealth leads to violence and strife in general (just look at the 20th century).
    Not just that but hard capitalism also leads to extreme boom and bust—like the great crash of 1929. Which led to the great depression, the rise of the Nazis, and WW2.

    Lastly, most people in this country are soft capitalists not hard capitalists, and care more about the economy than sovereignty or Europe especially when our country is still being pulled down by a large national debt. Therefore Hard Brexit can’t work, long-term.

    This is the reality whatever people may wish or want.

    1. James Matthews
      September 8, 2017

      So patriotism is a key virtue but, according to your unique insight into the minds of the British people, the Economy trumps self-government (AKA sovereignty).

      You see no contradiction there and your willingness to trust hope over experience leads you to believe that the UK might reform the EU. Both positions are seriously unconvincing.

      We can make our own choice on hard or soft capitalism when we regain self government. “Hard” Brexit (more accurately, meaningful Brexit does not preclude either.

      1. Ed Mahony
        September 9, 2017

        I’d say about 10% of the country (if that) feel strongly about sovereignty (more than the economy) and about 90% of the country feel strongly about the economy (more than sovereignty). In other words, if economic decline goes on for to long (whilst government fails to bring down immigration dramatically), there will be a call for a referendum to re-balance the economy. Human nature.
        – Common sense.

        1. Ed Mahony
          September 9, 2017

          ‘– Common sense’

          – I might be wrong of course (and willing to be persuaded). But that’s how the evidence/argument stacks up to me right now.
          I want the best for my country, and that includes avoiding unintended consequences (and history, and human life in general, is littered with unintended consequences).

      2. Ed Mahony
        September 9, 2017

        ‘We can make our own choice on hard or soft capitalism when we regain self government.’

        – Most people already have. Most voters are soft capitalists (as opposed to hard capitalists or socialists – soft capitalists who vote Tory, Liberal Democrat or Labour, varying in their degree of soft capitalism but basically soft capitalists).
        There is a strong over-lap between those who support Hard Brexit and hard capitalism (and ironically, socialism – at heart, a majority of socialists hate the EU).
        Again, it’s a case of some trying to shoe-horn their political beliefs onto a majority. It won’t work in the long-term. And there will only be unintended long-term consequences.

  19. Ed Mahony
    September 8, 2017

    Another problem is that people are overly focused on (EU) bureaucracy. There is bad bureaucracy. But there is also good bureaucracy. Germans love bureaucracy. They’re pretty successful. If you want to grow from a small high-tech company to a global player such as IBM, then you’re inevitably going to have increase (good) bureaucracy. The same if you become part of a large organisation such as the EU in a globalised world.
    Yes, there’s bad bureaucracy and the EU needs challenging and reforming on this. But there is also an important price to be paid when you’re more cut off from your nearest geographical neighbours in a globalised world, and where weaker businesses depend on their geographical neighbours for business (don’t believe me, just look at what UK companies are saying up and down the country about leaving the single market).

    The Conservative Party is meant to be pro business. If it alienates much of its business community, as well as much of its younger to middle-aged population (with the older generation just getting older and dying off whilst the younger generation, unaware of the 1950’s and more outward-looking towards Europe than previous generations), then it is simply going to find it harder and harder to win elections, until it will become diminished, perhaps, even redundant, with new political parties emerging to meet the wishes and demands of moderate right-wing and moderate left-wing voters (easily, the vast majority of voters in the country).

  20. James Matthews
    September 8, 2017

    Thank you Mr Redwood. An excellent contribution.

  21. NickC
    September 8, 2017

    JR, An absolutely superb speech. You covered all the basics, and reassured both Leave voters and Remain voters.

    We are leaving, plain and simple. The EU can make it awkward (as I have long suspected they would), not least by ignoring their own rules. The deal we get is their choice. We are negotiating in good faith, provided the principle of the UK being fully out of the EU is observed.

  22. Terry
    September 8, 2017

    Points well placed but I am surprised you were not heckled on the way.

    I just cannot fathom it. Why would these Remoaning MPs wish their country to be contiued to be governed by a Foreign Oligarchy?
    Think not of what the EU can do for you but ask what you can do for your Country. OUR Country, OUR independent Nation.

  23. Bert Young
    September 8, 2017

    Well said John . All the points you raised were valid and cogent ; no-one in their right mind could disagree .

    1. jackH
      September 8, 2017

      All very well Bert..but i wonder what Boris and Michael Gove are really yhinking now. Tjetes no point in asking aboit Fox or IDS..because their views have bern well aired. IDS still thinks that Mrs Merkel is going to savr us..God bless his merry heart

    2. Lifelogic
      September 8, 2017

      Alas the house is stuffed with sheep, dopes, career politicians and people in their left minds.

  24. acorn
    September 8, 2017

    Countries impose import tariffs to protect their domestic economies and from globalisation in general. If you have, basically, nothing domestic to protect from foreign competition, then you don’t need any import restrictions by price or volume. This is the Singapore option, you import everything and spit it out when you have finished with it; particularly one million foreign workers that you treat like s**t.

    Imports are a benefit to the importing countries. The UK gets to play with stuff and eat stuff, we don’t make, in exchange for a bag full of UK currency. As long as the foreigner is prepared to SAVE our currency in cash or UK assets, no problem. The UK, in effect, is importing would be unemployment in the foreign country that made the stuff and sold it to us; the UK is exporting Pounds Sterling in exchange, which cost us nothing to make.

    The snag with being one of the worlds largest long term importers is, foreigners end up owning your country, unless your economy is so big that everybody uses your currency as the world’s “reserve currency”, US Dollar style.

  25. Ed Mahony
    September 8, 2017

    Sorry, for being a pain. I respect your opinion. I think the UK is the best country on Earth. But i also love Europe. Not the EU or its bureaucracy. But European culture, cities, beaches, beer, wine, Tintin, cathedrals, traditions, languages, and women (my first girlfriend was from Seville and she was beautiful). I think, like a lot of people in business, there are big advantages to the single market. And that a prosperous Europe is good for us. But there is a lot wrong with the EU as well and it needs reforming.
    I think that lots and lots of people aged 24 to 49 (and over) think the same as me about Europe.
    Best wishes.

    Reply Yes I too want a prosperous continent and enjoy many aspects of European life and cultures. There are considerable draw backs to the single market as they define it, as it is hostile and protectionist to the rest of the world and often entails wrong headed regulation of crucial industries like fishing which has proved deeply damaging to UK interests.

    1. Ed Mahony
      September 8, 2017

      (I did switch from remain to Brexit but i think Brexit doesn’t have the leadership or the support in the country anymore, and with time, and as the economy diminishes, that support is only going to diminish more and more)

    2. Ed Mahony
      September 9, 2017

      ‘as it is hostile and protectionist to the rest of the world’

      – hostile?


      – What’s wrong with that?
      We live in a dog-eat-dog world. Why let more dogs into Europe? (and thereby diminish our prosperity and everything that supports: security, arts, culture and so on).
      I don’t get your argument. Not forgetting, of course, that other countries around the world create treaties with other countries and would love to be part of the single market if they could.

  26. John
    September 8, 2017

    Thought of an interesting stat. Going on the last audited exports from EU to UK of £290 bn and that UK population of 65m and 26.7 million households then;

    Every person in the UK buys approx £4,461 per annum from the EU

    Every UK household buys circa £10,861 pa from the EU

    That deserves another read, Every UK household buys circa £10,861 pa from the EU

    That’s a lot of business that they could start to loose.

  27. Ticking clock
    September 8, 2017

    Before the start of a Star Trek episode tonight, a caution was spoken ” This deals with adult themes”. BBC Parliament in the Brexit debates never issues such a warning and with good reason when you listen to all the Remoaners

  28. SecretPeople
    September 8, 2017

    Well done, John, I just hope the opposition listened to what you had to say. I don’t think they are doing anyone any favours with their current stance, since businesses that are (as we keep being told) seeking certainty will surely fail to prepare, thinking there is a chance we will stay in the SM and/or CU – then act like they’re surprised when we end up with WTO arrangements.

  29. Caterpillar
    September 8, 2017

    Dr Redwood,

    The lawyersforbritain site indicates that member states, inc UK, not just the EU are signatories to existing trade agreements with non EU countries. Some contributors here seem to disagree, could you confirm/deny (1) is it true that UK is a separate signatory so agreements can continue if other party does not object ( – presuming no pressure from EU), (2) is this the same with Canada-EU agreement, (3) would UK be party to Japan agreement if it happens before 2019?

    Hopefully, thanks for clarifying.

    Reply The UK is a member of the WTO and pays the sub. It is a cosignatory to the EU trade agreements as a member and therefore the agreement transfer both to the UK and residual EU when we split unless the other non EU country signatory to the agreement blocks it. No countries will seek to block the transfer of these agreements to the UK. I don’t know if the same will be true for the rest of the EU, but they will probably all transfer to them as well.

    1. Lawyer
      September 9, 2017

      This is simply false, Mr Redwood. The UK is NOT a signatory to deals which fall within the exclusive competence of the EU (which covers all trade deals) and the Uk loses all benefits of them on Brexit day.

      Reply You do not understand how treaties novate to participants when they split

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 9, 2017

        So, “Lawyer”, how come that each of the EU member states is a separate, listed, party to this trade deal with South Korea?


        between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part





        Contracting Parties to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Member States of the European Union’,



        of the one part, and

        THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, hereinafter referred to as ‘Korea’,

        of the other part … “

        1. Lawyer,s clerk
          September 9, 2017

          Because that treaty goes beyond exclusive competence, Denis. Please inform yourself before you make yourself look so silly

          1. Denis Cooper
            September 10, 2017

            Your boss claimed:

            “The UK is NOT a signatory to deals which fall within the exclusive competence of the EU (which covers all trade deals)”

            and here is an EU trade deal,“FREE TRADE AGREEMENT “, where the UK is a signatory, so who is it who looks silly and uninformed?

      2. Simon
        September 9, 2017

        Er yes. We do in fact know very well how treaties novate (or not). As pointed out in many cases we are not in fact signatories at all. Where we are it requires the consent of all parties (incl the EU obviously). That will not be forthcoming on identical terms. Why should it? And how long will it take ? And what staff do we have ?

        1. David Price
          September 10, 2017

          Why would the EU have to consent to the UK and other parties continuing on the same basis and, if that is even true, wouldn’t we have to consent to the EU enjoying the same privilege.

        2. Denis Cooper
          September 10, 2017

          Why should it not?

      3. David Price
        September 10, 2017

        Yet according to the UK is a co-signatory in the ratification of many trade agreements and deals over a period of time including South Korea, South Africa, Israel, Chile and Mexico so clearly the EU does not have exclusive competence over all trade deals.

        If as a co-signatory we automatically lose access to those agreements if we leave the EU, why wouldn’t all co-signatories lose access also?

        The EU is in the process of negotiating others and we won’t have access to those, but the USA and Japan have stated they would support rapid conclusion of trade agreements with the UK and Mr Abe of Japan specifically stated it would be based on the EPA.

    2. Caterpillar
      September 9, 2017

      Thank you.

  30. John
    September 8, 2017

    Nicky Morgan appears not to have any grasp of the arguments. Shame.

    I suspect that the commons was filled with many Remoaner activists wanting to have their day but when it comes to the second vote the bulk of the MPs will vote and this will be passed.

  31. VotedOut
    September 9, 2017

    The people we are negotiating with are not accountable to anyone so any argument about lost trade is unlikely to gain any traction. This ‘might’ change once the German elections are done since Brussels is a proxy for Berlin and currently the Germans are focused on an election – where they themselves don’t want to raise Brexit !

    Further, all this talk of uncertainty damaging business is tiresome. As someone who currently runs a small business I have no certainty. Amazingly, that has been the case for the last 10 years I have run the business. All businesses will have had 33 months to prepare. If they are not ready after that period they should perhaps consider if they really are running their businesses properly at all.

  32. Freeborn John
    September 9, 2017

    Excellent points about the merits of WTO trading including how much net tariff revenue we would raise under that regime and that UK food prices will fall with FTAs with the rest of the world. Any deal has to be better than the walk away position and the EU is a very long way from offering that or even recognising how good a WTO deal would be for us. Much more work needs doing to educate British public opinion that the ‘cliff-edge’ is a gentle walk to sunlit uplands.

  33. Mick
    September 9, 2017
    I see the flip flop tree hugging Libs are out in a few numbers in you guessed London, just try it up north and you would be given your marching orders, these deluded sheep lead by the old lib leader and as been couldn’t sing for toffee Geldof need to understand the word democracy, we voted out so get over it, if you love the eu that much pack your bags and go live in Europe, I want Britain back and run by who we elect democratically

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    September 9, 2017

    One of Kipling’s less well known poems is entitled ‘Dane-geld’. Versus one and four are:

    It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbour and to say:-
    “We invaded you last night – we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we’ve proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

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