A short reply to Lord Bridges

Lord Bridges, the Minister in the Lords who recently resigned from the Brexit Department, advises us we should offer continuing contributions to the EU for a transitional period. He tells us Brexit is very complicated.

There is nothing complicated about what we are doing. We had a long debate. The public decided to leave. We notified the EU or our intention to leave in accordance with the Treaty, and we will leave on March 29 2019 automatically under the rules of the Treaty. All that is easy. One of the main things we need to do is to spend our current EU contributions on our priorities from March 2019.

We are willing to discuss our future relationship with the EU and await their pleasure in doing so. If they do not want to agree a special relationship then we will have a relationship with them based on international law and World Trade rules. We wish to be friendly and positive about our future relationship and have no plans to cancel features of our current trade and collaboration. We are not proposing to take any action to damage their trade or transport links with us. After all the arguments and rhetoric we have no idea if they do want to damage their trade with us, which they can only do within WTO rules. The EU itself has to abide by the strong and complex framework of international law designed to stop states harming each other.


  1. MickN
    September 13, 2017

    It always amazes me how difficult the remoaners are saying it will be and that thousands of our laws are intertwined with the EU. I am sure I remember Nick Clegg telling us all before the vote that EU influence on our laws was very small. Couldn’t have been lying could he?

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 13, 2017

      I think it must be seeping into public consciousness that we have taken a huge volume of laws from Brussels and those who said otherwise were lying. But their next line of defence is that most of these 12,000 EU laws are jolly good laws which we are lucky to have and everybody except the Tories will definitely want to keep them.

      1. Hope
        September 13, 2017

        Clegg and co must be thoroughly embarrassed today after your comment Dennis and the speech by Junker making it absolutely clear about the EU being one, having an army 2025, every country must be in the Euro, every country must be inAchengen etc etc. All this confirming the lies of the fanatical remainers.

        Meanwhile over at the Evening Standard, Guido and others report concern over Osborne’s comments about May- wanting her chopped up in bags in his freezer. Perhaps he has taken mind changing substances or a throw back from his uni days. Already we lament how didthis rich kid who does not know the price of milk become Chancellor?

        Again, good to see and hear Farage lay it out as it should be to Junker and Co at Brussels. Time for firm action over the comments Junker and Barnier make. The U.K. Should not keep accepting their threats, smears while giving them our money. As for the latest news the U.K. Will continue to give them a proportion of our overseas aid is madness.

      2. Lifelogic
        September 13, 2017

        Most of these laws are a disaster and should be scrapped, and certainly not incorporated automatically into UK law. Most of these laws just generate parasitic work for lawyers, bureaucrats and other essentially parasitic workers who depress living standards and make the UK less able to compete.

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 14, 2017

          They have to be retained for the time being. It is that phrase, “for the time being”, which is not being used enough. Once we are out of the EU the government can run an annual “Which of the laws we got from the EU do you think should be changed?” event and work through them in the rough order of the pain they cause.

    2. Mike Stallard
      September 13, 2017

      The trouble is that the Remoaners were not looking at the big picture. And a lot of them were on the EU payroll one way and another.
      I am not on that payroll. I also voted LEAVE.
      I loathe the EU and all it stands for.

      However, as with a cancer growth, if we just cut it suddenly out, the patient will die. We need thought and care. And that is why we need EFTA as an interim solution.

      If we just walk out “under WTO Rules” then trade with the continent will simply cease on 30/3/2019 or shortly thereafter. Why? Well, there will be no equivalence. That means that our goods will not be acceptable in the EU. the computers will be switched off.

      Think about it.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 13, 2017

        I have thought about it, and realised that EFTA is no solution.

        1. ChrisShalford
          September 13, 2017

          Absolutely right Denis, although EFTA without the EEA would give us access to four non EU countries: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

      2. Edward2
        September 13, 2017

        Our goods are acceptable now in terms of quality and safety and CE marking today so they still will be the day after we leave.
        It is simply ridiculous to say trade will cease or the computers will be switched off.

      3. Bob
        September 13, 2017

        “under WTO Rules” then trade with the continent will simply cease on 30/3/2019

        Why Mike?
        Do you anticipate that the EU will have an embargo on UK trade?
        Is it possible that you’ve fallen for “project fear”.

        If businesses want to trade, they will (and they do). The EU can try to disrupt normal commerce, but in the end the market wins every time.

        1. Anonymous
          September 13, 2017


          Blair hasn”t fallen for it either
          Look at the amount ofUK property he holds.

      4. Duyfken
        September 13, 2017

        You make it sound like the Millenium bug, and I reckon it will be just as elusive. I much prefer the Redwood reassurances and feel confident that the sky will not fall in. FTAs are better than being bound to an EFTA.

      5. John
        September 13, 2017

        Are you sure you voted leave, did you understand the question?

      6. getahead
        September 14, 2017

        Mike you are talking absolute tripe.
        If our goods meet EU standards today why should they not meet those standards when we leave?

    3. Leslie Singleton
      September 13, 2017

      Dear Mick–Slip of the tongue–He meant that our influence on EU Laws was very small

  2. Ian Wragg
    September 13, 2017

    Excellent post John. One thing worries me is the pledge to let the EU use our military assets after Brexit including contributing to an EU procurement fund.
    This would see us using taxpayers money to purchase French and German equipment marginalising UK industry.
    The EU is being totally intransigent in the negotiations so why should we prop up their defences when they refuse to spend their own money.
    No one has yet described what a transition period entails except staying in the EU longer and continuing to finance Brussels. A sneaky way of giving them the £50 billion.
    The people are watching.

    1. Mitchel
      September 13, 2017

      Yes this military decision needs further probing.If,for historic reasons,Germany does not want larger armed forces and greater military capabilities of her own,she should nevertheless be funding others inside the union to provide them.

  3. Duncan
    September 13, 2017

    There’s one simple solution to all of this uncertainty. We need a PM who is full square behind the UK and its people’s decisions to leave the EU.

    God forbid if my party and this appalling PM commits an act of treachery and caves into the EU vested interest (in the UK and in Brussels). If she reneges and defies democracy and the will of the people I will never vote conservative again, EVER

    It is now incumbent on decent Tory MPs to issue direct threats against May and Hammond. She must be made aware of her precarious position and the damage she is doing to my party. Her pandering to all sorts of leftist pressure groups is deeply troubling for many tory voters.

    The UK should be turning our attention to trade with the ROW

  4. MickN
    September 13, 2017

    Regarding your short reply to Lord Bridges – I have a shorter one – only two words.

    1. Iain Gill
      September 13, 2017

      Agreed, and a sentiment endorsed by the vast majority of real people (outside the bubble) I know.

      Indeed the same applies when it comes down to cutting down on immigration too, stopping the deficit, and so very much more…

    2. Oggy
      September 13, 2017

      That made me chuckle MickN.

  5. Nig l
    September 13, 2017

    Maybe you know the direction Theresa mays speech will take but Lord Bridges is very much a siren voice and cynical me is certain that Hammond and the Treasury will latch on to it, they may have even encouraged him to say it.

    Reply Im n ot sure there is going to be a PM speech on the EU negotiations any time soon. Don’t believe all you read in papers.

    1. Atlas
      September 13, 2017

      Comment on the reply:

      I do hope you are right. I’m fed-up of Remoaners getting all the air-time.

    2. hefner
      September 14, 2017


    3. Denis Cooper
      September 14, 2017

      Well, she is, and the worry is that she will go back on what she said before.

  6. Bert Young
    September 13, 2017

    Like so many of the non-elected members of the HoLs Bridges has got it wrong ; whether this is a sign of dotage and failed memory – often related to old age ( myself excluded ) , I do not know . Bridges makes a bad mistake in announcing his palliative and he ought to recognise that no-one of any responsible thought will be influenced by him .

    1. ChasE
      September 13, 2017

      But what about the other two Lords, Lawson and Lamont, who had plenty to say before the referendum, but we’ve not heard a peep since. I would just love to know what their prognosis is now and what words of pearly wisdom they might have to give?

      1. hefner
        September 14, 2017

        Lord (Norman) Lamont has just published an article in the October issue of Prospect.

  7. Richard1
    September 13, 2017

    Mr Juncker has called for the EU to open trade talks with Australia and New Zealand. Indeed it should. Perhaps it should think of opening trade talks with the UK while they are about it?

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 13, 2017

      Presumably Australia and New Zealand have paid whatever ransoms were demanded by the EU and so now trade talks can commence.

      1. graham1946
        September 13, 2017

        More likely they just want to try to put one over on us. I doubt the Aussies and Kiwis are as stupid as our government. They certainly aren’t when it comes to immigration.

      2. jonP
        September 13, 2017

        Denis..we are not going to be trading with NZ and Oz..we have a new deal pending with Japan? according to Liam Fox

        1. Denis Cooper
          September 14, 2017

          We are already trading with them!

  8. formula57
    September 13, 2017

    I trust his lordship is not an example of the timid too timid, myopic, self-defeating type to whom you perhaps referred in your post earlier today. Whether he is or not, with the view he now expresses, thank goodness he is out of government.

    1. CharlesV
      September 14, 2017

      So constructive to throw some insults about.

  9. Michael
    September 13, 2017

    Mrs May should use this as the basis of her big speech on the EU expected later this month.

    1. Mike Stallard
      September 13, 2017

      She is going to tell us that we are going to leave the EEA. This is economic suicide.

      Please would you do me the favour of remembering that I said that?

      1. Edward2
        September 13, 2017

        You tell us almost every day Mike.

        Odd how so many nations trade happily with Europe without agreeing to freedom of movement nor being in the single market.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        September 13, 2017

        Dear Mike–Sure–Just so long as you yourself remember what you just said–Why aren’t the well over a hundred other countries not in the EEA not already dead??

        1. Soft Brexit
          September 14, 2017

          ‘Why aren’t the well over a hundred other countries not in the EEA not already dead’

          Because they weren’t in it to start with. No country has ever left the EEA. If you think about it for a second, you’d realise that, and notice we are in entirely different circumstances. A unique situation in fact. Saying ‘other countries do it!’ really isn’t applicable.

          And as much as John claims it is ‘oh so simple’, it’s really not, for a whole variety of reasons discussed beyond this echo chamber, related to customs and much much more. Mr Redwood should do better than mislead his readership, who fall for this stuff about ‘WTO rules’. Unfortunately, you are one of those I assume.

          1. Leslie Singleton
            September 14, 2017

            Dear Soft–Look beyond your nose–Concentrate on those broad sunlit uplands (“Look Westward the land is bright” and all that), which will arrive, admittedly perhaps after a period of difficulty, when we will be the EU’s largest, not to mention closest, customer or potential customer; no matter what, in a while (crocodile), on any basis we will become at the very least the EU’s hottest prospect.

          2. NickC
            September 14, 2017

            Soft, However hard it is to extricate ourselves from the myriads of EU laws (cf: europhiles claiming we weren’t run by the EU), once we are out of the EU we are in exactly the same trading position as the other 164 countries in the rest of the world, most of which are signed up to the WTO.

            As an independent state and also as a member of the WTO the UK can novate existing RTAs and develop new ones. We only sell to the EU about 10% UK GDP. It’s time to think of the other c90% of our economy that doesn’t need the EU’s complicated trading rules.

          3. Edward2
            September 14, 2017

            Tell us then SB how so many nations currently trade successfully with Europe without being in the single market nor in the EEA nor do they agree to open borders nor to they agrare to the EU having legal supremacy over them.

        2. Leslie Singleton
          September 14, 2017

          Oops–One too many nots

      3. ian wragg
        September 13, 2017

        I think it’s time you had counselling Mike, uttering the same nonsense every day will not make it so.
        Does your scenario envisage that only UK trade will suffer but EU/UK trade will continue as before?

      4. NickC
        September 13, 2017

        Mike, You are backing your opinion with an incorrect statement. The UK is in the EEA by virtue of being in the EU. When we leave the EU we automatically leave the EEA, unless we subsequently sign the EEA Agreement. The only route for that (so far) is: leave the EU; re-join the EFTA; sign the EEA Agreement. In that order.

        Even if the EU lets us, signing the EEA Agreement would be entirely pointless. We would still be run by, and paying, the EU. We voted to leave the EU. Why is that so difficult to accept? The c10% of our GDP that consists of our exports to the EU is far less important than the c90% of our economy that is domestic or exports to the rest of the world for which there is no need to comply with EU rules.

  10. Dismayed of Dover
    September 13, 2017

    You told us that German carmakers would make sure their government offered us a good deal. Untrue.
    You told us we would pay nothing. Davis caved in on that on day one.
    You told us we would do deals with countries all round the world. We aren’t even talking. (Where is Mr Fox, by the way?).
    Your vision of Brexit does not exist.

    Reply You are wrong on all three counts.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 13, 2017

      Another eurofederalist troll hiding behind a pseudonym ….

      1. hefner
        September 14, 2017

        S/he might be an eurofederalist, but for the time being I have not seen any tangible proof that any of these three statements is either right or wrong. Just plain uncertain.
        It might be satisfying for you Denis to shoot from the hip, but how does that contribute to make these statements right?

  11. ferdinand
    September 13, 2017

    It is revealing how so many friends fail to see that Brexit opens up opportunities. As you say they feel protected by the EU in a sort of comfort zone where no effort is required to maintain present life. They are happy to surrender all control to the EU. And also as you say many are lawyers. Their reasons are slightly different from large business men ( I assume business men in large businesses) who simply ‘talk their book’ – keep the easy life and avoid major changes however profitable. But I feel the mood slowly changing now that forecast post referendum disasters have failed so far to materialise.

  12. Mark
    September 13, 2017

    You might have thought that the EU also has to abide by its own rules on being a good neighbour and pursuing free and fair trade contained in the Lisbon treaty – exemplified by Article 3(5) and Article 8 (Denis Cooper’s fuller list recently was excellent). But it seems that reading the Treaties has escaped Lord Bridges and many journalists, and it seems, EU negotiators and senior officials.

    Perhaps it is time they were reminded of their obligations.

  13. Kenneth
    September 13, 2017

    I feel that the unelected power in the UK is now rivalling the elected power.

    The alliance of unelected politicians like Lord Bridges, civil service, BBC, the eu, many pressure groups and charities etc is a formidable challenge to the authority of the People and Commons that represent them.

    Ironically much of the fuel for this unelected movement comes from the funding they receive and the elected sector has an opportunity to reduce or cut this off.

    There is plenty of scope to reduce the budgets for the Lord, the bloated civil service, the BBC (which can go subscription-only) and charities which surely should rely on their own means.

    We have made a start with the eu. I think we should finish the job.

    It seems absurd for taxpayers to fund those who campaign against them.

  14. zorro
    September 13, 2017

    Yes, very good reply to someone who clearly doesn’t have the stomach for the job. It is about time that ministers and civil servants understand that they work for the British people and not as EU proxy dictation takers. Unfortunately, they have fallen a little bit into the EU trap of the EU dictating surrender terms and reparations so that we can leave. As you quite rightly suggest, we are leaving with or without their permission as a sovereign country, and the EU will do well to abide by A8 TEU in their dealings with us. They MUST act within WTO regulations at worst, and it is about time some of the remainer apologists who post on here direct some of their fire at the EU for singularly failing to engage in meaningful and equal negotiation, rather than demanding compliance with their diktats.

    I am not one for holding grudges but I despair at how the carping continues at the UK approach but nothing is levelled at the EU intransigence.


    1. Kenneth
      September 13, 2017

      I think plenty are complaining about the eu’s approach but he media (and especially the BBC) renders them invisible by not reporting their comments but elevates comments such as those by Lord Bridges to top billing.

      Plenty of people are saying plenty of things but the people with the power to pick and choose what we see and hear is the media

  15. Bryan Harris
    September 13, 2017

    The EU will only be content if it can damage the UK in the process of us leaving, such that the bad effect lingers…. that has to be pretty clear.

    As for anybody suggesting we should carry on paying the EU for something imaginary, then they fall into the category of frightened little people who should move aside – we don’t need people like this!

  16. CharlesV
    September 13, 2017

    I thought his final paragraph was wise:

    “Let me conclude by saying this. Just as the Government will need to make compromises in the negotiations in Europe, so too will people in Britian, who hold passionate views, on both sides of the argument. Future generations will not forgive us if we put dogma before fact, or party before country. At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, all of us have a part to play.”

    You’ve won the war, we are leaving. An extra year of contributions in return for a more united party and the potential to make a face saving deal with the EU is a very very small price to pay.

    You may be right, it could all be terribly simple. Unfortunately for you, a lot of people disagree with you however much you repeat yourself. You can carry on saying the same thing and so can those who disagree with you. The time has come for some compromise, pragmatism and swallowing of pride all round.

    As Lord Bridges says, a failure to do this won’t be forgiven.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 13, 2017

      But where do you get “the extra year”? According to Keir Starmer the transitional period could possibly continue forever.

      1. CharlesV
        September 14, 2017

        Suggest you actually read what lord Bridges wrote “My suggestion is this.First, we should clarify that, as part of the Article 50 process, we want to agree – at the very least – on an extensive heads of terms of our new relationship with the EU: and, crucially, that this new relationship would begin – I suggest – at the end of 2020.

        Second, we should be clear that we want to negotiate a bridge – I am obviously keen on bridges – that takes us from March 30 2019 to when that new relationship begins.”

    2. Roy Grainger
      September 13, 2017

      The “compromise” being stay in the single market, stay in the customs union, keep free movement and continue annual payments ? In what sense is that a compromise ? Isn’t it just staying in ?

      1. CharlesV
        September 14, 2017

        You haven’t read what he suggested: a transition period that lasts until 2020.

    3. anon
      September 13, 2017

      We voted to leave , the first opportunity in 40 years.

      The EU as a state is talking like a hostile power.

      We need to be very firm and exit as quickly as possible with no deal.

      There can be no good deal from them so why bother?

      Lets be free of this nonsense defending an essentially bankrupt Brussels gravy train.

      The remainers have already forced an extra 9 months of delay. By frustrating a simple bit of letter writing.

      We are talking billions of pounds, which could be better spent in the UK on UK needs.

      Time for a clearout of the HOL, BBC, Civil Service etc.

  17. Denis Cooper
    September 13, 2017

    Brexit itself is simple, it’s the ramifications of Brexit which are complicated … in a way that it exemplified by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill:


    which starts with a very short first clause:

    “The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day.”

    but then runs on to a total of 66 pages, with 19 clauses and 9 schedules.

    Still, the Scotland Act 1998 also starts with a simple statement:

    “There shall be a Scottish Parliament”

    and then runs on to 132 sections and 9 schedules, and that didn’t stop it happening.

    I don’t remember the SNP, or indeed Labour, saying that it was all too complicated and so it would be better not to attempt it.

  18. eeyore
    September 13, 2017

    Rather OT, if JR will permit: there is another Minister in the Brexit department, Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe, who seems exceptionally sound and capable. I beg to draw him to others’ attention, and to hope he has a successful future in government.

  19. Tweeter_L
    September 13, 2017

    Regarding our future relationship with the EU, I keep reading about the UK’s intentions to stay intertwined with the EU’s seemingly grandiose plans for an EU defence force e.g. http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml and find it all rather perplexing. I wrote to my MP about this and got a fairly bland response from the MOD including the phrase “we are leaving the EU, not leaving Europe”. Can you shed any light/offer any reassurances on the Government’s intentions, Dr JR? How can we run our own foreign policy if we are to be so closely involved with the EU on defence?

    1. Bob
      September 13, 2017

      When Nigel raised the prospect of an EU army on the live TV debate, Nick Clegg said that was a “dangerous fantasy”.

  20. jack Snell
    September 13, 2017

    Here we go again- it’s all “we..we we” and as far as WTO and future trade relations are concerned, they will be “bad..bad..bad”.. but not at the level of government and the boardroom, but at the customs frontiers where long queues of ordinary decent people and trucks will form up. In the airports lines of people of goodwill will stand patiently waiting the pleasure of immigration officials to stamp their passports- maybe three kiosks might be open and nine closed. We’ve seen it all before when local officials decide to be difficult-
    so please don’t give us the spin about the EU having to abide by a strong and complex framework etc. Our host then writes “there is nothing complicated about what we are doing” may heaven help us all

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 13, 2017

      Why would you order only three kiosks to be open?

    2. zorro
      September 13, 2017

      I don’t see you directing your fire at the EU or other member states who might threaten these actions. Are you pepared to kowtow to anything because you are scared of threats?


      1. jack Snell
        September 13, 2017

        Zorro..I’m just telling you the way it will be because I remember the 1960’s and early seventies and the way it was, it was never easy getting past customs and immigration..in fact it was an awful intimidating experience on both sides of the channel..customs in particular were bastards then especially over very small and petty things like your wedding ring or wristwatch and where did you buy it, how much did it cost and have you a receipt? A g’d awful time..sorry to say..Jack

        1. Edward2
          September 14, 2017

          You have a different experience to me.
          I travelled all over Europe in the 70s and never had any trouble nor any delay at borders.
          Waved through onany occasions.

    3. Oggy
      September 13, 2017

      Woe, woe and thrice woe ! – the end of the world is nigh !

    4. Roy Grainger
      September 13, 2017

      So let me get this straight, you think EU countries will only open three immigration kiosks and so punish all travellers from USA, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, India etc. etc. who are visiting the EU simply to punish the UK travellers amongst them ? That is a bizarre idea even for Project Fear. Just incidentally, I travel a lot around Europe, generally the slowest time to clear immigration is on arrival back at Heathrow.

      1. jack Snell
        September 14, 2017

        If they have three or four kiosks open for USA OZ people etc and just only one open for UK passport holders then you will know. There is a lot of bad blood and bad feeling especially in France.

    5. anon
      September 13, 2017

      With modern communications, notably shipping & air transport we are quite able to trade exclusively with non-eu countries if push came to shove.

      Its not going to happen but we could reach out to other trading partners to work through any short term difficulties so as to ensure we can continue to imports goods and services from the ROW.

  21. acorn
    September 13, 2017

    Assuming this government maintains the amounts the EU currently disburses to both the UK public sector and the UK private sector, it will have about £8 billion left from its gross annual contribution to the EU.

    The OBR is assuming the government will spend £12.7 billion to compensate for the loss of EU payments in post Brexit 2019/20

    In fiscal 2019/20, the government is planning to spend about £830 billion plus public sector depreciation. Brexit savings would add less than 1% to that figure; assuming it and the £12.7 billion, do not end up contributing to deficit reduction madness, by the Chancellor.

  22. Denis Cooper
    September 13, 2017

    At one time I was prepared to assume that we could have reasonable negotiations with the EU over the financial arrangements around our withdrawal, probably with a joint working party of accountants and lawyers set up to sort out the details on the side in parallel with other more important negotiations, for example on trade.

    Clearly that is not to be, the EU having decided to adopt a stupid and destructive attitude, even with a comment about the “salty” bill with which we will be presented before we can leave. So my reaction to that is, fine, if that is how you want it then give us your detailed invoice with a full justification for every item, and we will rip it up and throw it back in your face …. or, as David Davis puts it, we will “rigorously interrogate” it.

    And we will do that in the knowledge that according to the preponderance of legal opinion we will have no legal liability to pay anything at all when we leave, if we do pay something it will be a token of goodwill towards the taxpayers in the other member states.

    For God’s sake, there was less trouble agreeing the financial settlement to accompany the union of England and Scotland:


    and if we British could manage that three hundred years ago so why are those running the EU totally incapable of adopting a similar sensible approach now?

    1. zorro
      September 13, 2017

      You are right, but I have always suspected this and the EU’s idea of ‘negotiation ‘ was confirmed with Greece. There will come a time, and sooner the better, when we must withdraw from talks and prepare plans for WTO implementation mode in good time for exit day having offered to continue barrier free trade with them. It is then, and only then, that the EU will be encouraged or feel the pressure from others to negotiate properly.


      1. majorfrustration
        September 13, 2017

        Spot on. But why waste further time with the EU negotiators other than to show we have taken all reasonable steps. Yes we are wasting our time but we tried.

      2. stred
        September 13, 2017

        We should be planning for computer systems presently used for trade with ROW to be used for EU trade on the day after exit. The need to be made available to any firms not trading outside the EU as soon as possible. Many tariff will be low or may not apply to components in assembly. There is no reason why this cannot be done in 6 months.

        The pressure will be on the Commission when continental manufacturers realize the UK is not giving in to their disgusting extortion racket. They may then negotiate sensibly.

  23. NickC
    September 13, 2017

    What worries myself and my friends as Leave voters is that the government will yet again give way to the frantic demands from the EU that are designed to hustle us into a deal to suit them not us. Resisting the EU’s, and Continuity Remain’s, project fear, will be hard but it must be done. The repercussions will last for decades.

    For 45 years (bar Mrs Thatcher’s rebate) the British have failed to understand the continental approach to negotiations. Consequently we have always lost in negotiating with the EU. Lord Bridges parrots that useless British establishment compromising style.

    Our independence is not up for negotiation, only a trade deal is. Three years (2016 – 2019) is enough transition; no payments once we leave; no single market/customs union membership (which is in the EU in all but name); full control of our own laws and courts; control of borders and fishing; etc.

  24. Bob
    September 13, 2017

    Bridges is a John Major protégé.
    Why was he ever appointed to the Brexit team? he’s obviously not working for the interests of the British people.

  25. The PrangWizard
    September 13, 2017

    We voted out. We gave notice to be out in March 2019. That is when expect to be out.

    There must be no transitional period. No payments after March 2019.

    We do not need weak talk from adult snowflakes, why do so many always want to lean on others?

    We want to stand on our own two feet and solve our own problems.

  26. LordBlagger
    September 13, 2017

    After all the arguments and rhetoric we have no idea if they do want to damage their trade with us, which they can only do within WTO rules.

    UK and France, both WTO members are bound to use WTO jargon.

    Barriers to trade and tariffs can only ratchet down.

    Here’s a simple strategy.

    Go to Ireland. State the UK will put 500% tariffs on Irish butter post A50+2Y.

    Ireland approaches the WTO for a judgement on the basis UK and Ireland are bound.

    UK, says, its a fair cop, we are bound, we won’t implement.

    Now you have the precedent, and free trade as it is now with the EU. Nothing the EU can do about it but beg.

    Just say no. The UK then becomes the conduit though which goods subject to EU protectionist tariffs are passed into the the EU. We profit, and the walls come tumbling down for the good of all.

  27. backofanenvelope
    September 13, 2017

    During the last few weeks I have heard lots of EU “persons” saying that the four principles are not for negotiation. This includes freedom of movement. If this is the case – what is the point of negotiating? Unless the UK government intends to cave in.

  28. BillyElliot
    September 13, 2017

    To put it simply it is just to leave.
    Unfortunately the world we living is slightly more complex.
    For example: the parts that are used in car industry do go back and forth to continent. With WTO there are quotas. And as you probably are aware after certain quota has been reached tariffs get higher.

    Now it is not just about us. Many countries have invested – hundreds of billions – to UK because they have seen UK as gateway to EU. If there starts to be some way too high tariffs (or JOT disturbed because of customs) they wont be happy.

    We will be seen as some sort of Judas.
    We don’t want that do we?
    WTO tariffs are not really an option – government has to get us a deal.

  29. Denis Cooper
    September 13, 2017


    “Jean-Claude Juncker’s EU expansion plans make a powerful case for Brexit”

  30. Denis Cooper
    September 13, 2017

    At last we’re getting the Department for Exiting the European Union actively seeking to promote the idea that we should, and we will, exit the European Union:


    We will leave the EU on March 29th 2019, and then we will be outside the EU Single Market, with a new mutually beneficial customs agreement, after we leave the EU Customs Union, just as the Prime Minister previously said in her Lancaster House speech …

    Now what we need is a bit more aggression against the halfwits in Brussels, and with no more concessions of any kind until they come to their senses.

  31. BertD
    September 13, 2017

    Listening to Nigel Farage tonight on sky news I know now that we are sunk..the EU side will spin this out until the very last moment when Nigel, his cohorts and the rest of the brexiteers will get their wish on the 29th March 2019. There will be no transitional arrangement either because none is contracted or was promised from the EU side, talk about transitional periods is that, only talk, and mostly coming from the UK side, and so we’ll be free then to pursue new trade deals with Japan and others around the world .. WTO rules will apply to start with

    It is clear now that these EU Europeans have had enough of british loud mouth stuff and are very determined to spell their answer out to us in the only way they know how and that is going to hit home- and so as they believe it has to be clearly demonstrated-It will be a hard brexit- engineered if necessary.

    So brexiteers relax for very soon you’re going to get your wish and we’ll be completely free forever from the EU to follow other pursuits – hopefully Dr Fox is out there already preparing the way- can anyone else see it differently?

  32. Simon
    September 13, 2017

    The fundamental weakness of all these posts by JR is that they are misguided. The persistent narrative is that the EU might seek to punish us. In turn that punishment is limited by the WTO. But there is no good reason says JR why we should not just carry on as normal. We are not seeking he says to disrupt our trade or other collaboration with the EU ? What ? We are in the process of leaving. Every trade deal, every collaboration, every EU deal with third countries, the treaties, the protocols, and the off treaty deals all END. That is not disruption?

    We become a third country. The EU does not need to punish us. All and every consequence will flow from us leaving and starting from scratch as a third country. Anything better than that requires an EU “deal”. It will years to sort out.

    The WTO only covers a very limited range of products, no services, does not touch on our agency relationships, and obviously has no bearing on non trade collaborations.

    And yet JR refuses to admit our forthcoming third country status, the consequences thereof, what will be needed to ease it – and the very serious treaty framework of the EU / SM which severely limits their flexibility.

    And all of these ideas of JR’s are entirely consistent with the Legatum Institute’s view. No surprise there then.

  33. larryB
    September 13, 2017

    What ever happened to the DUP, supposedly the NI conservative and unionist party..looks like they’ve had their cake and now are coming back for some more

    1. James Neill
      September 14, 2017

      Or maybe it’s a case of “don’t feed the crocodiles etc”- a famous line from their leader Arlene Foster

  34. Ken Moore
    September 15, 2017

    ‘There is nothing complicated about what we are doing’

    Could I refer the honourable gentleman to the blog of Dr Richard North.

    Really Dr Redwood, for a man of your credentials your tabloid analysis of Brexit will not do. Time to up your game sir.

  35. Simon Coleman
    September 16, 2017

    You are the only person in the UK who thinks Brexit won’t be complicated. You may recall that David Davis described it as more complicated than the moon landings. He’s the guy heading our negotiating team, you may also remember. But, maybe there’s a silver lining here. As the lunar landings never actually happened, perhaps the same will be true of Brexit.

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