We owe the EU nothing

There is general agreement that there is no legal requirement for the UK to pay the EU anything on exit. There is no provision in the Treaty for an exit bill. We received no payment on joining to deal with liabilities the other members had already incurred. No one suggests if a net recipient country wanted to leave they would receive a leaving bonus. No one in the referendum campaign said we would face a bill.The EU has never produced a legal base for a divorce bill.

Some seem to think we should nonetheless pay something to get a deal. It is most important that this is always called an ex gratia payment or gift, as the UK must not by its language and promises create some legal obligation under EU law that does not exist at the moment. There is a danger in seeking some signed promise of trade talks in return for some written offer of money in turn. Under EU law we could create a legal obligation if we use the wrong words where there is none at the moment. There is a danger that making a contingent offer subject to getting a good Agreement will just be banked by the EU.

Trying to keep discussion of payments to general indications and headings will not stop the EU putting a figure on any indication and applying moral pressure on us to pay that amount. Nor would it stop them trying to get that money without a good Agreement.

As we dont owe anything the best thing to do is to offer nothing. The public show in polls that they have no wish to pay large sums to the EU. It is time to spend the money at home instead.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink


    As you say the best thing to do is to offer nothing. If they want free trade with the UK they need to reciprocate, that anyway is in their interests.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink


      One way or the other we will have to pay the EU if we want to have proper access to the single market (whilst getting control of our borders which must happen to meet the demands of most Brexit voters).

      If we don’t have proper access to the single market, we’ll be pay considerably more than £40bn through loss of trade / decline in our economy. This is pure logic. I think you’re putting on and taking off your logic hat when it suits ..

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Why on earth should we pay for the privilege of running a chronic, massive trade deficit with the rest of the EU? If anybody is going to pay any access fee they should be paying us for access to our lucrative domestic market.

        And what makes you think that access to the Single Market is so important to our economy? Can you not understand that the 1% or possibly 2% of GDP we may have gained would be equivalent to less than a year’s natural growth of the UK economy, and that moreover there are arguments that in fact the overall economic effects have been negative not positive?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          ‘Why on earth should we pay for the privilege of running a chronic, massive trade deficit with the rest of the EU?’

          – Sorry, but the premise of your argument is illogical.

          If we’re not exporting enough to the EU then we don’t resolve that problem by putting ourselves in a position where we can export even less (by being outside the single market …)

          If we’re struggling to export to our nearest geographical neighbours as it is, then we’ll be struggling even more after we leave the single market. We then have to very quickly bridge the gap by exporting even more outside the EU, when Liam Fox, Brexit Trade Sec, says the real problem is that British businesses aren’t exporting enough in general! (Compared to Germany who is already a huge exporter in general, including to outside the EU!).

          If we can’t bridge that gap really quickly and our economy declines quickly, then people will vote with their feet, demanding changes to our relationship with the EU so we can get exports and our economy back up quickly.

          ‘It’s about the economy, stupid’ (as someone said to Bill Clinton). Therefore Hard Brexit hasn’t the legs (not forgetting Hard Brexit doesn’t have a proper strategy, no real leadership to implement it, we have a large national debt, relatively low productivity, the young suffering from high house prices, and so on …).

          Hard Brexit goes against all down-to-earth, logical, good British common sense.

          (If people want Hard Brexit, fine, but first we need to prepare for it properly, choose the right time to do it, with a strong leader in place – like you would in any big project whether in business, science or the military, and even then, no guarantee of success).

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            And we can meet the demands of the EU Referendum by getting back control of our borders, but we’ll have to pay for that – to think you can get that and for free, as Boris Johnson suggests, is just bonkers, as it is to insult British Business as Liam Fox did recently about British businesses not exporting enough – and they have no idea, no vision, about how to re-tweak our economy to get exports up except to go for some kind of retro, 1980’s economic solution of just trying to build up the financial services industry even more when we need to diversify our economy, focusing on particular, on the extremely lucrative and well-paid-jobs tech industry).

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            (I might be wrong of course, but so far this is where the evidence leads me).

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            My premise is entirely logical; the stated purpose of the EU single market is to facilitate and so increase trade, but as that trade has been to our disadvantage for the past four decades it would actually be better for us to reintroduce impediments to trade. We are not proposing to do that, but the suggestion that we should pay to participate in easy trade leading to a chronic, massive trade deficit is ludicrous. Oddly enough we usually run a trade surplus with the rest of the world.

          • NickC
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            Ed, I don’t think you are being logical. All the other countries in the world (that are not in the EU), have control of their own borders. And they don’t pay the EU for that. So it is “free”. There is no reason why we should be any different.

            All countries in the world (ex EU, ex EEA) have access to the single market, without being controlled by the EU. They may pay the EU tariffs for their exports to the EU, but they charge EU countries tariffs when they import from the EU. There is no reason why we should be any different.

            There is no such thing as “hard” Brexit, or “soft” Brexit, they are both Remain propaganda words. There was a massive debate, then the Referendum, and we decided to leave. We are not going to stay in bits of the EU (provided Mrs May doesn’t appease); and there is no reason why we should.

            We already sell to the rest of the world using WTO rules, a lot more successfully than we do to the EU under their rules. So WTO trade it is – that is the simple, straightforward, common-sense, easy way to leave.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


            You make some good points. I never agreed with those on the remain side who exaggerated / lied about the Remain position. I believe the UK could trade well outside the single market but that it would take years to re-jig our economy to do that and it is during this time you have all the problems and why leaving the single market NOW (as opposed to at another time under more favourable economic conditions in general – e.g. debt paid off, high productivity, high export trade in general etc – with a proper strategy and under a strong leadership) is fraught with serious problems.


          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink


            But leading Brexiter Liam Fox is arguing the UK is bad at exporting in general (not just the EU) therefore, making a logical inference from this, the problem is down to business culture here in the UK not our relationship with the EU.


      • getahead
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        “more than £40bn through loss of trade”

        You’re guessing. Under WTO rules we might even show a profit.

        • Rex
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          We cancelled my wife’s replacement German car last week. We have just had enough of the EU style bullying/domineering. As a country, we are massive importers from across the Channel, and we can switch off our purchasing quite quickly. Our cancellation is but a dot on the order list, but such dots may well add up quite quickly if the EU doesn’t stop its baleful and overbearing approach to these negotiations.

          • Lloyd Barnes
            Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Interesting comment.

            We just bought a new car a couple of weeks ago, and where we would normally buy German, we deliberately switched to a UK made car. Just couldn’t bring ourselves to buy German any more. I wonder how widespread that feeling is?

          • Jane4brexit
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

            Lots of people doing this will add up on small items too. I tried Somerset brie a year or so ago, for the same reasons, and found it to be much nicer anyway than French (gooier and no hard centre) so I only buy that brie now.

          • Yossarion
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:31 am | Permalink

            My last two 61 & 64 plate BMW and Merc The 68 plate will be from home turf

          • Timaction
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            Well done, good for you. We’re doing the same with all purchases! Home first, anywhere other than the EU next!

          • David Price
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            Another despicable dot here.

            I am replacing my 56 plate merc next year, it will not be manufactured in Germany, Italy or France. Nor will some white goods coming up for replacement.

        • rose
          Posted November 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          We ran out of porridge oats and I went to get more, but on finding only a shelf full of unbought Southern Irish oats decided we would go without porridge till the Scots ones are back in stock. It rather looked as if other people felt the same.

      • zorro
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Really? Pure Logic?…. OK, I’m going to call you out like all other proponents of this very hoary chestnut….. Show me how…. “we will pay considerably more than £40bn through loss of trade/decline in our economy”.

        1) Our trade with non EU countries is increasing at 12% per annum as opposed to 6% with the EU….
        2) The SM has made diddly squat difference to our long term growth rate
        3) Services make up 80% of our economy…. There is NO effective SM for services in the EU
        4) We already pay nett £10bn to access this nonsense each year, and you can bet your life that no matter what bribe May offers, the EU will continue to charge huge sums to be involved with this nonsense in the future
        5) Benefits?? – In 2012 the EU Commission claimed the Single Market had raised EU GDP by 2.13% in 20 years… In effect, 0.1% per year, compared to a UK average of 2.5% p.a. over the last 60 years……
        6) Costs?? – Up to 4% of EU GDP, twice the estimated benefits of the Single Market, according to Lord Mandelson when EU Trade Commissioner. Up to 7% of EU GDP, according to the then Chancellor Gordon Brown, referring to “barriers to external trade and investment – such as tariffs, quotas and unjustifiably restrictive standards”…..6% of EU GDP (or €600 billion) according to the EU Commission in 2006 and again in 2009. “These administrative costs reflect activities directly related to the compliance with information requirements contained in legislation, such as the time and effort in filling out forms.”
        7) Jobs?? – In the 16 years to 2008, “The Single Market helped to create 2.77 million new jobs – a 1.3% increase in total EU employment.” (EU Commission)
        That’s only 16,500 UK jobs per year, compared to 434,000 jobs created by the UK in the last year…… UK created 26 times more jobs than the Single Market managed.

        So…. The costs of the Single Market are 2-3 times the supposed benefits. In the last year the UK has created 26 times more jobs than the Single Market has.

        So, Ed, I am really, really, really (yes really) interested how you can justify that we will pay considerably more than £40bn through “loss of trade/decline in the economy” and on what models you can base that on…. Because, based on the historic evidence it is nothing more than a load of old tut!


        (figures from http://facts4eu.org/brexit_and_the_single_market.shtml but based on original EU documents)

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Not it is not “pure logic” at all. We can switch our production to home or other markets, we can trade on WTO terms or we can agree something sensible on trade – which would benefit them at least as much as it would benefit us.

        Their choice.

      • Jagman84
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        We do not export to the ‘EU’. We export to member nations of an undemocratic political construct. The EU is a protection racket of the highest order. It is parasitic in nature and can be so with impunity.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      ‘that anyway is in their interests’

      – we’ll continue trading with the EU but OBVIOUSLY they’re not going to make it easy for us because otherwise others would leave the EU, the EU would unravel, and would cost the major EU countries far more than an ideal trade agreement with the EU. Again, simple logic.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        (Sorry to be the pain-in-the-ass reminder of logic but you can’t break the laws of logic for a bit of romantic nationalism – which i enjoy a bit of as long as it doesn’t screw up our economy and national way of life for the next 20 years or more, depending on severe Hard Brexit is).
        All the evidence points to this if only more people would put on their logic hats.

        • Little Englander
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Ed- don’t be sorry to be “the pain-in-the-ass” Stop being one and get over yourself!
          Have a Merry Xmas

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          I suggest that you take off your logic hat for the moment and instead put on your reading glasses to see what Michel Barnier himself said about the benefits of the EU Single Market back in 2012:


          “20 years of the European single market”

          On page 13 it is stated that:

          The collective GDP of the EU member states in 2008 was 2.13% higher than it would have been if the Single Market had not been launched in 1992.

          Over the same period, the Single Market helped to create 2.77 million new jobs, a 1.3% increase in employment across the EU.

          The UK government is well aware of these numbers.

          • Yossarion
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 2:39 am | Permalink

            only because we believed in free trade worked both ways. the Euro was just a devaluation of the DM that has crippled the economies in the Med. We here of the EUSSR Army, well you only have to look at the Leopard two Tanks leased out to the suckers that bought into the project, They even tried putting the Rein Metal smoothbore on the Chally 2. luckily it did not work. been just great having to buy the ammo from the (Germans ed)

          • Andy
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            Aye, the numbers are pathetic. And since 2008 the EU has destroyed a third of the Greek economy etc.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahony

        “All the evidence points to this if only more people would put on their logic hats”

        ….what you really mean is if only everybody would agree with your misplaced logic?

        Logic is not being used in these negotiations, far from it. It is a game of simple bullying by the EU! In any case, your guesstimates are only as good as anybody else’s?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          ‘It is a game of simple bullying by the EU!’

          – The EU thinks it has been the one giving concessions to us, in the UK, over and over again over the years and that is has had enough. It can’t go further. And if they did, they fear the EU would unravel, leading to economic and political turmoil on the continent.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            If we want to leave the single market, fine, but we have a responsibility, above all for our own people, to choose the right time, when Europe’s, and above all, our economy is strong, causing the least trouble to Europe’s economy, and above all, ours.

            Pointing the finger all the time is really futile, it doesn’t getting people far far in negotiating a complicated, international trade arrangement just as it doesn’t get a a married couple very far in working out their own personal relationship …

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            I stand by my original comment!


            If the EU is so wonderful, why would the EU be so concerned about its unravelling by Brexit? Don’t the other existing members and wannabee members just love its benevolence?

            If the EU construct is so appealing, so modern, so progressive why are they so upset and childishly belligerent towards the UK leaving….couldn’t be the loss of money could it?

            The UK set out its stall in a friendly and co-operative manner. The EU, on the other hand, comes across as a playground bully that has just had its sweets taken away!?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Far better to get it over with as quickly as possible. I am now even turning against the idea of transitional provisions which I previously supported, since some people started talking about a standstill or status quo transition – an oxymoron and in effect merely an extension of our present subjugation. It’s appalling that such undiluted nonsense can be so uncritically spread around by journalists who apparently lack dictionaries.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Dennis Zoff

            ‘If the EU is so wonderful’ – sorry, but this is strawman. Never argued that.

            ‘If the EU construct is so appealing, so modern, so progressive why are they so upset and childishly belligerent towards the UK leaving….couldn’t be the loss of money could it?’ – because they believe they’ve made loads of concessions to the UK over the years already.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            Ed Mahony

            Ah yes, the typical Remoaner get-out clause to distract from a simple question?

            Let’s draw a line under all previous comments, and I ask you politely, what are the tangible benefits of remaining in the EU?

            First, my argument:

            1. Annual deficit £96 Billion
            2. Annual £9 Billion net for club membership
            3. The EU is extremely profligate
            4. The EU is not Democratic
            5. Not aware of any real EU benefits…

            …but I am happy to listen to you about EU benefits and you may be, right?

            Please list them below…..

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        If uk must be punished to prevent others leaving, it is logical to conclude there is something terribly wrong with the EU. so uk’s choice is how much pain should it bear to gain freedom instead of remaining captive.

      • David Price
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Your “logic” fails you, if the EU are obviously going to make things difficult for us to dissuade others from leaving then no amount of money will improve such a relationship.

        Logically, we should pay nothing.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      this is not as simple as free trade for example there are 34 agencies with standards built up over 40 years that we do not have the people nor the background to set up by ourselves from scratch like the agency for nuclear energy etc.

      Therefore not offering anything and just being left with an WTO agreement will just make Britain poorer in a World where size and interrelationships are key to success, so stop this foolish offer of nothing as it will come back to haunt us, we are financially weak enough as it stands.

      • getahead
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Hans your last paragraph is a contradiction. You say we are poor (agreed) but you want us to pay billions of pounds to, presumably, access the single market.
        Why don’t we simply do what every other non-EU country does? After all the Single Market has been of no advantage to the UK for the last 40 years.

      • NickC
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Hans, The “beauty” of the EU system is they make the laws, but each country administers them and provides the infrastructure. That is how Remains can claim that the cost/size of the EU is no more than Wimbledon, or whatever. So actually we already do the work, we just don’t get the credit.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Interrelationships means two way relationships. We have contributed in skills and expertise to these regulatory bodies. Where important to us as a nation, eg Euratom, we can continue to supply skills and expertise if others want us to. If others do not, we clearly need to set up our own bodies. Just paying to keep them going without our input doesn’t seem a sensible option.

      • David Price
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        There are 3 European standardisation bodies (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and 37 decentralised EU agencies. ETSI is involved in ICT standards and is recognised as a competent authority by the EU but is not an EU agency. ETSI is a global organisation comprising companies, R&D groups and other standards organisations world wide who do the actual work.

        Of the 37 decentralised EU agencies many would not be applicable to our internal or global affairs (eg Frontex, FRA, EASO, EIT, ETF etc), we already implement a national agency that does the actual work (eg FSA, BoE, NATO) or could subscribe to specifically if deemed necessary (eg EASA, EMSA).

        • Peter D Gardner
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Remainers seem to be unaware that all Western countries have their own standards bodies and are free to make their own or adopt those of other countries as they choose. Perhaps they don’t know that we all communicate freely and that standards are published so they can be read by everyone.

          • David Price
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            Quite so. It would appear many act unaware through ignorance or design.

    • Hope
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Police to lose over £400 million pounds Rudd stating any request to fall on deaf ears, defense secretary having to find £2 billion and lose 12000 army personnel, ships in harbour because they cannot afford to be set to sea, dementia tax proposed by May because she will not make provision for the elderly, while Hammond just introduced another stealth tax on savers for long term saving plans! However, May can give away £13.4 billion last year in overseas aid, £453 million going to Pakistan which has a space programme and nuclear defense system! £159 million in aid to European countries! On top of the £2 billion which it gets from overseas aid budget. Now looney tune govt wants to give the EU £40 billion to trade with it while having an £82 billion trade deficit! And spend £82 billion ,now likely to be £132 billion n A EU infrastructure project called HS2 with arch remainer Odonis in charge who is working against govt policy to leave the EU. Please explain and justify your govt’s economic madness when we have to spend £8 million an hour in interest payments on the debt we have, and the deficit still present. So any money to the EU will be borrowed and given away the like rest above! Idiots, complete idiots.

      • zorro
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        The are utterly hopeless and utterly useless!!


      • Chris
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        We are also, according to May yesterday, giving £50,000 from our foreign aid to Ukraine for them to counter “Russian propaganda” (all part of the great defence plans of the EU – yesterday’s defence conference – we seem to be committed far more than people realise). There is no justification for this money for the Ukraine, and I suggest May starts allocating resources to tackling some of our huge problems at home due to the unsustainable population increases that we have suffered and are apparently going to continue to suffer.

      • dennisambler
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        We are also doubling our funding to the UN IPCC, to keep the climate farce running now that Trump is pulling out of the Paris “Accord”.

    • NorthbyEast
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic..how do you know whats in their interests..despite what many here think politics trumps economics. They have never spelled out what kind of trade they want with us in the future..IDS promised that the Bavarian car workets would be putting pressure on the german government..that hasn’t happened neither has michael goves and luam fox ideas of new deals with countries far away come true..we don’t know where we stand now or where we’re going..walking away without settling our account is out of the question. But it is not the only thing..the question of the irish border will have to be fixed and also yhe future movement of people through europe..and it will all have to be done in the coming week?

  2. Sean
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Then you should still that notion I to Mrs May’s, thick head. She isn’t listening.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      May and her puppetmasters want to continue to pay because they know that much of Eastern Europe will move back into the Russian orbit if the EU falls apart – the eastern states are more interested in the financial transfers they get from the west than so-called “European values”.


      “We know what you are doing”

      • getahead
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        Well she doesn’t !

      • Mark B
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Great post. But why is it we have to pay and what do we get from all of it ? Not much from what I see.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Another conspiracy story!

        • NickC
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Rien, The EU is a conspiracy!!

        • David Price
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

          How is that a conspiracy theory? Mitchel is merely offering his analysis of government’s motivation just as you have of Leaver motivations and consequences.

          I tend to give far more credence to Mitchel’s analysis than your euphillic rants.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Dear Sean–Based on her betises in the past I for one have long lost faith in Mrs May’s judgement and I do not see why it should be any different now–She should explain to the rEU that when it suits them their Treaties and their ultra-Law-based construct (down to the straightness of bananas, remember) are the Be-All-And-End-All, but also when it suits them they aren’t, they reckon, going to let the lack of anything relevant in the Treaties or anywhere else hold them back. Best to get totally out whereupon we will become their largest and hottest prospect (Exactly what happens when a customer is thrown out of a bank–no matter what that customer has done, if it is of any size another part of the bank and/or other banks start calling almost immediately).

    • Hope
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      It must be clear to JR and her cabinet May is trying to keep the UK as close to being in the EU. There is no other explanation. Any person with a modicum of self respect would not to,estate insults and leaks from a Junker, Tusk and Barnier. Trade is only one aspect of leaving- Iceland had more courage than May, as for security I fail to understand why she is giving away anything for nothing in return.

      • zorro
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Why are two former communists running EU Defence and foreign Policy and NATO??

        Why is Mrs May so keen to ensure that no EU country ‘loses out’ but is quite happy to sell out her country, make us pay for nothing, and then cut services at home? Why??

        Why do we 17.6% to the EU Defence Agency? Why is no British person on the management board?

        Why is May guaranteeing to fund this and EU security for absolutely nothing in return? It is simply outrageous!!


        • Timaction
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          She and the Tory’s are outrageous. This is nothing new and has been since Mrs Thatcher, 27 years ago. They’ve relied on previous beliefs and reputation in what they are for whilst acting in the opposite manner. Mass Migration, foreign aid, EU aid, anything diverse or foriegn and anti English!

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath is spot on again today.

    The problem is that the Tories don’t believe passionately in a smaller state any more: they are reducing the size of the state out of necessity, not because they think it will improve the economy. They see spending cuts as akin to tax hikes: a means by which the deficit can be reduced, an accounting exercise rather than a device to re-engineer society and shift the relationship between individuals and politicians. It is this tragic lack of principles that will prove to be the Tories’ undoing.


    Do T May and P Hammond believe passionately in anything much? Perhaps, tackling the gender pay gap (which does not actually exist), wasting money on HS2, Hinkley C, endless greencrap and the likes, not leaving the EU cleanly & properly, having more religious schools (to exacerbate the cleavages in society one assumes), building on EU workers “rights” and spewing more red tape everywhere. This and going into elections brandishing a punishment manifesto.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Plus continuing with the dire, unworkable, virtual state monopolies in health care and education of course.

  4. Prigger
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    “As we don’t owe anything the best thing to do is to offer nothing”
    Given your argument, yes.

    The EU is trying it on. They would wish an immediate rejection of their waiters’ bill so their ally Labour would profit by our seeming British obstinacy and so win the day for them. We should keep saying “We’ll see” and at the last hurdle say “Get stuffed!” in French and German or “Go Whistle” which, one is sure loses in translation.

  5. Freeborn John
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    The government have to learn to say No. The EU currently believes the Uk will always concede and that they never have to make any concession of their own. The lamentable British negotiators prove them right making one goodwill gesture after another which the EU always pockets before demanding more. This predictable and catastrophic British behaviour means this EU deal can already be guaranteed to be worse than no deal. May has to be brought down to save us from this concluding this terrible, terrible deal.

    • Peter
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      There does not seem to be either the numbers or the will to bring May down.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Freeborn John

      You are obviously so well informed about the outcome already that you know much more than everybody else, who is your source?

      • NickC
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Hans, Because the current government is doing the same as the Heath government on entry: “Swallow the lot, and swallow it now”. The difference is we don’t need a free trade deal with the EU. That’s how Freeborn John can see what’s going on. Most of us can, too.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink


          that is to my best understanding a fantasy which will not be good for Britain , you or I

          • NickC
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            Hans, That is your opinion only. The difference is my opinion is backed up by real world evidence: we trade more successfully with the rest of the world under WTO rules, than with the EU under EU rules.

            Instead of just leaving, our useless Remain government appeases and bribes the EU – for what? no one (in the UK at least) knows. You may think that “punishment” is preferable to the WTO deal which we already use, and which gives us everything we want, but few others do.

    • Hope
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Wevtead and hear about U.K. Concessions and demands and ultimatums. What has the EU conceded or exchanged? We read Barnier states EU assets not divisible including the European bank holding £56 billion some of it ours! Legally the UK owes nothing and it is from that point the EU needs to legally justify why it gets a penny when the U.K. was a net contributer for 40 years. All those EU countries in net receipt of our taxes/money have to face austerity like UK citizens living in the U.K.! In short the U.K. has been insulted, embarrassed, threatened and the EU not legally complying with article 50 to hold future relationship in tandem to any legal debt the U.K. might owe. Junker even allowed a leaked insult about our PM after a private chat with her! Not enough, May then let the EU write/edit the Florence speech to say how much the U.K. Should give the EU! Then it wants to impose ECJ and continue freedom of movement and makes threats about the Irish borde. Any organisation, body or person would not entertain any further talks especially as leaving was not primarily or sourly about trade.

      • Timaction
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Indeed. They act as our enemies, yet May keeps saying the 6 pet phrases like a puppet on a string!!! A good and special relationship, grovel, grovel grovel etc! Get rid of this quisling!

    • Chris
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      The EU has always won in all negotiations, and in all the shenanigans over rerunning referenda. It does not expect to lose, particularly when we seem to have such a weak PM, plus all the europhile politicians who keep going over to Brussels to undermine us, and the constant attempts at undermining, misrepresenting, and running down of Brexit apparently by the BBC, much of the media and the celebs. Also there is some serious financing of all this opposition to Brexit, and any good journalist worth his salt would get on to that straight away. EU tactics have been plain for all to see over the years and it shouldn’t have needed Varoufakis to speak out and warn Britain.

    • Jane4brexit
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      It is as if May and the Remainers in power have a type of Stockholm Syndrome, they seem unable to understand that leaving means that we do not have to do anything the EU tells us to, as we can do whatever we like including nothing for now yet they seem scared to even consider the options of being free. We could announce WTO terms for trade now, providing certainty and 16 months notice, with no further transition period and not even decide immediately about things we are conceding. No decision might even be better for many things and we have about 4 million EU nationals here but only 1.2 million of us in other EU countries, the EU needs decisions sooner than we do. That would also leave us free to retaliate against later bad behaviour by the EU and as John said in the article, any firm agreements can and no doubt will be used against us so we should agree to nothing. Surely there is some legal way to depose a government when it is working so blatantly against it’s citizens instructions and interests.

  6. Excalibur
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Nailed it in one, JR, as usual. Why are you not Prime Minister ? Perhaps you could encompass two portfolios, to included Chancellor of the Exchequer……..

    • getahead
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely, John could take over from Hammond who is clearly May’s controller.
      May will simply continue to follow instructions.

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Barnier gives us a 10 day ultimatum . We are a strong and capable nation and shouldn’t give in to threats.
    It’s beginning to look like national humiliation.
    Walk away now or be consigned to history.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Ex gratia, sweetener or bung. It’s still extortion and blackmail
      Very demeaning.

      • Andy
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        And morally and legally wrong.

        • Chris
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          …and totally unnecessary, Andy.

    • Peter
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Unless it is a very clever plan to make the EU appear completely unreasonable before walking away.

      However, I don’t think this government is that well organised or crafty.

    • Atlas
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately Ian, the actions of Mrs May’s Government are reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement to another bully boy.

      I have contacted my MP on several occasions recently to express (politely but firmly) my anger at these pay-out antics, but have yet to receive a reply. The MP is a Conservative too.

      • getahead
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Not sure that Neville Chamberlain offered Hitler any money.
        And in the end after trying to avoid it, he did declare war on Germany.

        • rose
          Posted November 30, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          I think Chamberlain was playing for time. Preparations were being made under his administration, including civil defence.

      • Chris
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Mine hasn’t either, and there are 2 letters sent recently. Nice thought, perhaps they are overwhelmed with complaints about how things have been handled. Will they get the message, though.

  8. Pensioner
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    JR wrote “No one suggests if a net recipient country wanted to leave they would receive a leaving bonus.”
    But we should …receive a bonus! Our contributions to various institutions and matters in the EU were made as a contribution to a common pot. As with pension contributions. If we work for a firm for 30 years and then leave without guarantees our pension will paid at all then we should seek some percentage at least of the contributions. I had a return of some contributions from the NCB for working like a dog down a dark animal hole instead of a relatively small pension carried forward for years.That seems fair.

    We joined what was the Common Market in 1973…that’s 44 years of contributions to a Common Fund, the “benefits” of which they praise and, importantly acknowledge, we would have received daily until the end of time.
    The EU member-states will benefit from 44 years of our contributions for ever. So, they should come up with some cash.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Our gross contributions have been about half a trillion pounds in current terms.

      • Chris
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Quite staggering, and we are a country that was quite content not so very long ago let old people in hospital drink water out of flower vases. Totally unacceptable behaviour and priorities by our government.

  9. Duncan
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    This would not be happening if we had a PM, Chancellor and a Civil Service who were not pro-EU.

    I believe that this government and its team of UK-EU negotiators will try in some small way to keep the UK legally and constitutionally attached to the EU by creating legal obligations or some other method that will remain obscure and hidden in the details of any deal

    It is a direct consequence of having two non-committals at the helm in May and Hammond.

    Every single Tory MP who backed May as leader is directly responsible for the blackmail that my country is now being held too.

    The political jealousies, infighting and lines of loyalty that exist in the Conservative party should be put to one side for the betterment of the UK.

    We need a government who returns this nation’s legal and constitutional sovereignty and independence to its rightful place

    If we submit to this blackmail it will stain our nation’s reputation
    for decades to come

    • Chris
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      I completely agree, Duncan. Seems that our MPs are paralysed by our many years of membership of the EU. Many are still on automatic pilot, it appears, and don’t want to act, or take responsibility for the deceit in how the whole EU project was inflicted upon us. there seems to be an inertia with very few displaying any get up and go qualities or entrepreneurial spirit. We need MPs who are bold, and who have a vision, not based on blowing with the wind politics but on a firm ideology and a firm grip on exactly what a new UK could look like. Boldness, and vision. That’s what I want, and what we should expect from MPs whom we pay to represent us and the country in Parliament.

  10. matthu
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    We are not really planning for driverless cars in the UK as the government indicated in the budget this week: what we are actually about to witness is driverless delivery trucks (or goods trains) along motorways.

    The M3 will be first – I drive along this motorway every day and have been marvelling at how long the construction has been taking.

    A large well-known book distributor will be first to use this technology. This is why they have has just recently built a really massive warehouse in Wales, supported by millions in Welsh government subsidy, but are planning to staff it almost entirely with imported truck drivers. Why not truck drivers, considering the local government subsidy?

    Because what is being planned will cause rapid mass unemployment amongst conventional lorry drivers and this (and the low pay) is almost certainly why most drivers are already imported: they can easily be sent back (under the pretext of Brexit) when they are no longer needed.

    The argument about money is all about who will fund this ongoing project, virtually guaranteed to transform the UK into a global social experiment of low salary wages, massive mainly male unemployment and potential unrest.

    • matthu
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      What could threaten this move towards driverless trucks?

      Well any permanently employed local truck drivers could bring the road network to a crippling halt, so they have gradually been replaced by the imported variety who face being returned to their local habitat if they cause such disruption.

      Taxi drivers might also feel threatened and could organise themselves into crippling London traffic hence why a very well-known app-based company has recently been prevented from operating in London by stifling them out of operation with regulation and compliance issues.

      HS2 high speed train is a bit of a diversionary tactic. It was almost certainly never going to be just a super-duper commuter train saving 20 minutes of journey time between Birmingham and London, especially if most office jobs have to go. Instead, it may morph in time into another VERY high speed driverless goods train to justify the VERY high 100+ billion price tag.

      What has accelerated all of this is Brexit – although it was going to happen anyway. The delay in Brexit is while they work out how it is all going to happen without causing an uprising.

      • Jane4brexit
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:38 am | Permalink

        HS2 is part of the vast road, rail, air and water Trans European Transport Network and as you say the reasons given for HS2 don’t add up, so might the network have been planned at least partly for transporting the EU army or something else the EU plans? We were told to build HS2 in 1996 by the EU and our confirming we would still build it after the referendum, for so little gain, was when I started having doubts we really were leaving.

    • David Price
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      I am confused. If a first major use is by a distributor in Wales, why the effort on the M3 which connects London to Southampton/Portsmouth rather than the M4 which connects London to Wales?

  11. eeyore
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Calling it a “gift” doesn’t make it any better. Why is Mrs May giving away a shedload of our money? She owes us an explanation. It better be a good one.

  12. matthu
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Have you ever wondered why the roadworks on feeder roads leading towards the M3 have all been taking so very much longer than usual?

    A329M, Nine Mile Ride, A322 roundabout. My guess is that even here they are preparing for driverless transport feeding onto the M3.

    Meanwhile, the congestion is getting you used to what to expect on local roads as all conventional trucks are eventually forced off the smart motorways. Plus, there will be little need for diesel lorries along smart motorways, so don’t expect any service stations to stock diesel much longer.

    What will happen to all the diesel? That will be used to drive generators generating all the electricity that will be needed for the smart motorways. But what about climate change? This was never mainly man-made: it was being used to justify the transition to renewable energy, which unfortunately has failed the test, hence why green subsidies are being cut.

    Sorry, green lefty types. But you will still witness the biggest drift towards socialism that the world will ever see, and it’s all happening on our little island. Within the next very few years.

    That is why the negotiators are taking so long to thrash out the final details about who will be picking up the can for the rapid acceleration of this massive project.

    • stred
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Yep. Nudge Nudge. Beyond Authorithy.

  13. Richard1
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Well if this is right the govt seem to have sold the pass already on this issue. So it seems we will be making a gift to the EU. It is most important that the ‘gift’ is only made when there is a comprehensive deal in place – including financial services. Otherwise the money shouldn’t go. Sending money for talks is absurd – the talks could still go nowhere. I suggest David Davis is replaced eg by Dominic Raab, he seems much more capable of getting a result. It is not nearly clear enough from the govt – as opposed to from other sources – what the walk away option looks like and that the govt are prepared to do that. No wonder the EU are playing it tough!

  14. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    If Mrs May does cough up £40,000 million, then that is another nail in the coffin of the Conservative Party.

    Instead, she should be joining EFTA now and negotiating the two year extension as a member of EFTA/EEA. There is no reason at all why we should not do this.

    Certainly no Danegeld!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      From his latest article:


      it seems that Christopher Booker is still under the illusion that Norway is part of the EU’s Customs Union.

      Not so; despite being in EFTA and the EEA Norway is not in the EU Customs Union, while neighbouring Sweden is in the EU and its Customs Union.

      • Bratwurst
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Are you sure you have linked to the right article? The one you link to makes no mention of Norway nor the EU Customs Union.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          Yes, it is the right article, the one which claims:

          “… if only we remain in the EEA, a huge number of other far more serious problems would not be bedevilling our seemingly stalled negotiations, including that potentially insuperable difficulty we face over the Northern Irish border.”

          and which has a picture of spoof British customs officers stopping all vehicles including cyclists at the border.

          Norway is not in the EU, is in EFTA and thereby in the EEA, and for a fee it has easy but not complete access to the EU Single Market, however it is not in EU Customs Union. So staying in the EEA would do nothing to solve the “potentially insuperable difficulty we face” with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

          • Bratwurst
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            Think you are getting a bit confused. Customs Union is not the issue with the NI border but leaving the single market is. I would recommend a very good research website to you but I know you already read it.

            I always thought your posts were great spoofs.My apologies, I now realise you have been trying to be serious!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            Having run out of arguments you resort to a bit of personal abuse, so be it … the clue is in the word “customs”, as in the signs displayed in the picture in the Telegraph, and as in the term “Customs Union”.

          • Bratwurst
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 5:01 am | Permalink

            Thanks for confirming that your unfounded criticism of Booker was not based on what he wrote but on your interpretation of a stock library photo that was almost certainly picked by the paper’s editorial team without reference to him.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 27, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            My criticism of Christopher Booker is based on what he has been writing ever since his “researcher” realised that we are not going to leave the EU according to his pet multi-stage process and so went over to the other side, as others have noted.

  15. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    100% agree, Dr Redwood. We had been very surprised at the lack of use of the words ‘ex gratia’ in the government’s statements to date. The legal position that we owe nothing must not be confused by poor use of language.
    Your media performances recently have been excellent. Thank you for your continued efforts which are appreciated by so many people.
    Best wishes, the Facts4EU.Org Team

  16. Caterpillar
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    If there is no legal obligation to pay the EU, the UK should not dignify any payment, we should call it what it is so that precedent is clear. If the a payment is extortion by the EU we should name it such – ‘the extortion payment’, if it is the UK offering a bribe for trade then – ‘the bribe’. I think these terms are much more transparent in showing what is happening, and moreover signalling the behaviour that EU and UK will find acceptable for any individuals or businesses to follow in the future.

    Personally I would prefer the UK and EU to signal ethical behaviour to the world, it is not too late for both to reflect and realise that blackmail and bribery are bad. It is remarkable to think that not so long ago the UK was principled enough not to pay ransoms for hostages but what we now witness seems to indicate how quickly such principles can erode.

    No to extortion. No to bribery. Yes to decency .

  17. Nig l
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The why does it appear TM is giving away something she doesn’t need. I look forward to Gina Miller challenging any payment in the high court as unlawful, obviously in the interests of balance. I wonder why I do not think she will?

  18. Mick
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    How much longer do we have to put up with this farce , just tell them to bugger off we are leaving, no money, a hard boarder in Ireland if that’s what’s needed, and if you can’t give our 1.2 million brits the same rights as the country there in then you can have your nearly 4 millions back, put that in your pipe and smoke it, we are British and nobody pushes us around

  19. APL
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    JR: “and applying moral pressure on us to pay that amount. ”

    I think the term you intended was “immoral”.

    There is nothing ‘moral’ about extortion.

  20. James Doran
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    It’s too late to offer nothing. It was clear from the start that the EU were not acting in good faith and at that point the UK should have walked away. By not doing so they took on the role of supplicants.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s too late. It would have been better to have said from the start that any payments above those due in strict legal terms would be made as an act of goodwill, but on the other hand the unscrupulous greed of the EU has gradually become more and more obvious both to UK taxpayers and the wider world and the UK could now offer a very reasonable explanation for walking away.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        “Unscrupulous greed of the EU” what should that mean? Is greed claiming that your counterparty pays his debts?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:03 am | Permalink

          Dear Rien–Try again to grasp the difference between what the rEU wants and what it is legally entitled to–They are very different things

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          Greed is greed, including trying to make your counter-party pay more than is legally due from him, which as we know could be nothing at all in this case if we left without an agreement.

  21. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    We should be focussing far more on the rest of the world. Mrs May should be showing herself to be too busy with this to attend countless dressing-downs in Brussels.

  22. Peter Dennis
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    So the EU would have made plans for the future based upon income from various places. Those plans would have been agreed too by various parties, including the UK ? Therefore is there not an obligation to continue with those promises ? Or are you hinging on the phrase ‘no legal requirement’ ? Also where is this ‘general agreement’ by whom, with whom ?

  23. David Murfin
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    “Some seem to think we should nonetheless pay something to get a deal”
    Isn’t that contrary to WTO rules?

    • acorn
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes it is. Further more, recent learned opinion is saying, Article 50 is lex specialis only as regards the procedure for withdrawal. It preserves the customary international law rule in Article 70 VCLT (1) (b) that the rights and obligations of the treaty parties prior to withdrawal are untouched. And importantly, this includes the UK’s financial obligations arising out of its EU membership.

      It gets worse.

      First, the CJEU could be requested to give a preliminary ruling on the UK’s financial liability prior to the critical date [withdrawal date]. Second, with respect to infringements proceedings, the central question is whether the UK “has failed to fulfil an obligation under the Treaties”. Arguably, a dispute concerning whether the UK has discharged its financial obligations arising prior to the critical date, fall within the CJEU’s jurisdiction under Article 259 TFEU. Moreover, the dispute on the UK’s exit bill due to its EU membership would likely have arisen before the critical date. (Michael Waibel)

      • NickC
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, Budgets are not financial commitments.

  24. Cobwatch
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The EU is more important than British citizens. Their requests take priority. Something that is objectionable to the British people is brushed aside so as not to upset the mighty EU. We have already seen in the Budget small print billions allocated to the EU through to the mid 2020’s. It has already been decided and set as policy. The rest of the World looks on in amazement at the situation, how the EU has cowed the UK into trembling submission. Any other country, having learnt from the Greek humiliation would know what to expect, and of course ignore the EU’s brazen threats and demands. As the NHS struggles french farmers prosper…that is the reality of May’s cowardice and subservience, that is her preference.

  25. JoolsB
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Pathetic May should remind the EU that the UK has paid 40 years of net contributions handing over billions each year that we never got back. If anything they owe us. It is worrying that the ones doing the negotiating on our behalf are willing to double the already too much twenty billion. It’s humiliating and makes us look weak and desperate. We need to walk away now but unfortunately that will not happen with the bunch of useless negotiators we’ve got, May included.

  26. Rob Jump
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Nothing is the exact figure we should pay but the trouble is the British establishment has been and still is infested with people that hate Britain. They delight in selling us out, paying more and giving away power. These people are easy to spot and should be hounded out of their cushy jobs for their duplicity and bad faith. Nobody in any position of power should ever argue against the interest of this country. Yet they do and get rewarded with more cushy jobs, knighthoods and huge pensions whilst we suffer falling wages and devaluation of our money.

    • Bob
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      “the British establishment has been and still is infested with people that hate Britain”

      and that will continue unless the electorate turn their backs on the Establishment parties.

  27. Peter
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Agreed. The main issue is getting the government to act along these lines. DUP seem like-minded already.

  28. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Reading the papers regarding the Irish border I fail to see why it is our problem.
    It is Brussels that wants a hard (clean) Brexit.
    They have absolutely no interest in a free trade agreement because they get so much of their income from the CET.
    May has compromised enough. They are nothing more than a bunch of charlatans.
    Enough prevarication.

  29. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Very clearly put John.

    When are our so called politicians who clamour for us to pay large sums of money wake up to what is really going on?

    It is one big sting working on the premise that fools and their money are soon parted.

    Only problem is of course it is our money they are giving away.

  30. Duyfken
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    This makes me wonder whether any gift of money as is contemplated, would be lawful. Would that somebody might seek an injunction against the government to scotch any such offers. If only.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I think we should crowd fund an injunction against any payment without a verified itemised Bill. I’ll put a good deposit down.

      • Melvin Cornwell
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        Already organised………..


        They are commited to ensuring May does not ilegally hand over OUR money to the EU.

    • APL
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Duyfken: “This makes me wonder whether any gift of money as is contemplated, would be lawful. ”

      Pretty much any activity at the international level is ‘lawful’ if the sovereigns say it is. The EU is lawful at the international level, it’s just when it contradicts domestic law, that’s where the problem lies.

      A problem compounded when our own domestic politicians through ignorance or culpability conspire to conceal the issue.

  31. oldtimer
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I am in the pay nothing group.

  32. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    We must hope that Mrs May and her colleagues are not as cravenly feeble and capitulatively compliant as they are portrayed in the media. It is irksome to watch and listen to the EU behaving as a form of protection racket and bullying our government whilst our representatives appear obsequious in response.

  33. stred
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Mrs May was shown going to Brussels alone except for our EU ambassador. She was keen to come to an agreement to start talks and Mr Junker seems to think they may be getting somewhere. It was like watching a teenager who had taken the parent’s credit card and gone shopping on Black Friday in a dodgy store full of salesmen with promises and deals.

    For the good of the nation’s finances please some conservative MPs persuade her to hand over to someone competent who does not rally want to remain in the EU.

  34. DaveM
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Defence needs about 1.6 billion to balance the books, the NHS needs about 4, I don’t know how much all the other govt depts need but I doubt it all adds up to much more than 40 billion.

    The PM’s willingness to hand over our money willy nilly is – imo, another example of her doing what she’s been told. She has become obsessed with FTAs for some reason. She went to Japan where she could have discussed a deep relationship with a country which has very similar geopolitical characteristics to the UK, and yet all she talks about is FTAs.

    There was a good article in Con Home yesterday from a young lady who just wants to be listened to by the top echelons of the party. This, and many of your recent blogs suggest that once again the PM has closed in to a tiny bubble of people who tell her what to do. She is becoming an embarassment but worse still she is making our country look weak and allowing us to be bullied by bureaucrats who have no damn right to do so.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      The thing about our current PM is, that her one and only skill, is the ability to climb the greasy pole. Now there it us clear she hasn’t the ability to do anything with it.

      • BobE
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        Dithering Doris

  35. acorn
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “… the EU’s liabilities and commitments amount to €724 billion by end-2018. Assuming a UK share of 12 percent, this would amount to a gross liability of €86.9 billion. We compute EU assets and contingent claims of €192.6 billion, giving a possible share of €17.7 billion for the UK under the divorce scenario. We also compute EU spending commitments in the UK (corresponding to the €580 billion EU-wide post-Brexit spending commitments) amounting to €28.9bn, plus a rebate of €4.6 billion after the UK’s contribution to the EU’s budget in its last membership. Depending on the scenario, the long-run net Brexit bill could range from €25.4 billion to €65.1 billion. Upfront UK payments could reach €109 billion, followed by significant subsequent EU reimbursements.” (Brueghel and at Corvinus University of Budapest)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Why “Assuming a UK share of 12 percent” after we have left? According to the preponderance of legal opinion it should be a UK share of zero percent.

  36. am
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Yes and as been pointed out by Andrew Lilico if a recipient country left the EU on the terms that the EU says UK owes a divorce bill a net recipient country would be due to be paid by the eu when leaving. Of course they wouldn’t do that which is just another element of the fraud.
    May wearies the nation. Her statements that no one will be poorer in the EU for Britain leaving omits the fact that the UK citizens will be poorer by her give away. Give away May needs to go.
    Since Florence she has been on the slippery road of concessions. Yesterday was a complete humiliation for her with Tusk banking what she is offering and then saying it is not enough and she needs to do more. Surely the line will be held now and they realise that you cannot negotiate and be generous with the EU. I could not bear the humiliation of another emergency cabinet meeting to give another concession to a bark by Tusk.
    If she gives on Ireland the dup will withdraw and there will be an election. But maybe that is what she wants.
    Your view seems principled. Your like minded mps should run a leadership challenge before she has gone too far. David Jones for prime minister I say.

  37. sm
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I do wonder if the PM realises that, should she yield to the demands of Mr Tusk, Mr Junker and Mr Barnier, the Remainers will sneer at her for not throwing in the towel sooner, while the Leavers will never forgive her or the Conservative Party.

    That is sadly most unfair to you John, and to several of your past and current MP colleagues.

  38. George
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The delay to issuing Article 50, the unclear position and objectives of the UK side and the abject capitulation of Theresa May in the Florence speech must be causing despair and misery among Brits hoping for a clear Brexit. Now we hear she is planning to offer the EU even more of our money for nothing more than a start to trade talks; talks which may lead to nothing. Why is May so incompetent at negotiating?

    Even more worrying is her repeated statement that she is seeking a “partnership” with the EU. What does that mean? Will we end up tied into the EU in a way which curtails the future freedom of the UK to negotiate and trade with other countries and to make independent decisions as a sovereign country?

    We are now deeply worried as to the ultimate objectives of May’s negotiating.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Most likely we’ve seen nothing yet! Who would be surprised if she agreed to pay an annual fee until the end of the century – and back date it to 1972!
      She is insulting all who voted LEAVE.

      JR, as you wrote recently, the vote to leave was a political decision, not an economic one. Agreed, so why all the Danegeld payments for future trading arrangements?

      The universal mantra for trade is that ‘Quality Sells.’ If the UK produces quality goods and services, these will sell ANYWHERE! Bearing this in mind, the EU has to answer the single question “Free Trade, or WTO Rules?” End of!

      • Doug Powell
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        “All we have to fear, is fear itself!”

  39. Anonymous
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    It would be really odd, wouldn’t it ? If we turned up at John Lewis to do our Christmas shopping but had to pay a hefty entrance fee to get in and be able to buy things on our credit cards.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      The EU wouldn’t budge even slightly on a key issue and our then PM came back humiliated.

      The same key issue is causing the rise of the far right across the EU and has left Mrs Merkel’s government floundering.

      It is not just a ‘little Englander’ thing.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        If May caves in the Tories will be finished as a serious party and a proper right wing party will rise from the ashes.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Dear Anonymous–Speaking as someone that detests the EU, please don’t entirely blame them as regards Cameron’s humbling–He very much humiliated himself, coming back and talking twaddle about wanting to stay in a “reformed” EU without anybody having a clue whether he meant that he thought he had achieved reform or that reform could be achieved–either as I say complete twaddle–and from the British PM.

      • APL
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Anon: “The EU wouldn’t budge even slightly on a key issue and our then PM came back humiliated. ”

        Yet, David Cameron came back with the most wonderful deal, just by asking.

        Somebody was telling porkie pies.

  40. Epikouros
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    If there is no legal basis for the EU demanding money then demanding it as a precondition to start talks on trade, cooperation, the Irish border etc., is probably nothing short of extortion. As it is demanding money by force of threat. This tells us a lot about those who run the EU. They are acting like not very nice people and and we could be forgiven if we thought that they are no better than gangsters and racketeers.

    As you say once we give into extortion then we open the way for a never ending demand for more. There are many reasons why we should be leaving the EU and those at the top of the EU have demonstrated yet another one. Who would want to be banded together with such a collection of villains who are motivated by gain however nefariously obtained. It is not that we have not observed similar behaviour in the past. Their riding rough shod over the rights of member states and democracy especially in the rejection of democratic processes when they do not result in an outcome that Brussels agrees with. Also the imposition of uniform standards regardless of how detrimental or unfair they may be to individual members.

  41. Bert Young
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The public have no wish to pay anything to the EU full stop !. The EU have a huge problem on their hands with dissent of one sort or another and they see no solution other than to play their cards as if they had the power and nothing untoward will disturb them . EU’s central bureaucracy cannot prevent individual country members saying and doing what they wish – there is plenty of evidence of this at the moment . Macrons’ efforts to assert himself as the EU’s new leader has been received with hilarity in his own country let alone the rest of Europe ; his timing of a proposed centralised taxation system was described as foolhardy .

    Our resources need to be applied to our own domestic concerns ; if we do have a responsibility to honour obligations , fair enough but , to go beyond this point is totally irresponsible and our politicians should remember this with their votes in the HoC. As things stand we are short on leadership and there is disarray in the ranks ; this has to stop if we are to make any sort of progress and gain respect in the eyes of the world .

  42. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The big picture is how much do we need the EU for economic reasons?
    If not at all, then we won’t be giving them money.
    If they are important to our economy then we will be giving them money to have as much access to their single market as possible.
    The decision we make will ultimately be political or economical.
    If political, then our economy will sink. ‘It’s about the economy stupid’ therefore people will demand, by a second referendum or elections, a new ‘deal’ with the EU to protect our economy.
    Economics will always trump politics. That’s just the way it is, has always been, and will be.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Or else Brexit will help the EU unravel, but then the UK will fall with the EU, whether in or our or something inbetween, and there will be economic turmoil, and possibly for more, for decades to come in the country.
      Either way, the evidence points that Hard Brexit can’t work (and lots of leading Brexiters argued before and during the Referendum that Brexit wasn’t about leading the single market). And even if the Referendum wasn’t clear, a decline in our economy would sing bring on a second referendum, or else the UK’s relationship with the EU would be re-negotiated after elections with new governments.
      Either way, the evidence points that Hard Brexit hasn’t the legs to survive the long-run. But that a deal with Europe with controls of our borders and as much access to the single market (but we will have to pay for this) has a much stronger chance of working. And then in 10 or 20 years times we can consider Hard Brexit (if the country votes for it which i doubt).
      Sorry to be pain in the ass, but if i am right, then it is worth it (and the evidence is all pointing to me being right, although open and happy to being contradicted).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        “… the evidence points that Hard Brexit can’t work …”

        “… the evidence points that Hard Brexit hasn’t the legs … ”

        What evidence?

        As I’ve said before, where there is the political will there is almost always a legal way, and in the rare cases where there is no legal way immediately available it is usually possible to turn a blind eye for the time being. The core problem is that the EU has little political will to contribute to the creation of new and more suitable treaty arrangements with the UK and therefore they are not negotiating in good faith. Which in my view does not mean we made a mistake by voting to leave the EU, on the contrary every passing day it shows how we were right to want to get out of it.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink


          I never said we shouldn’t leave the EU … (plus i don’t love the EU, it has lots of problems).

          Nor did i say we should completely leave the EU (plus i never said the EU doesn’t have its benefits!).

          I just don’t share other people’s black-and-white / polar / ideological views about the EU. And i think we need to be pragmatic about how we lead. This is just common sense, surely. Nothing mysterious about this approach.

          • NickC
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            Ed, No it’s not common sense, it’s just your opinion.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Dr Redwood is discussing the manner in which monies are paid.

      Ex gratia or a legal obligation (with further commitment) ?

      If it is a legal obligation and we continue to be under the influence of EU laws then we will not have left the EU. People will know. This cannot be hidden.

      I’m fine with that as a second best to real Brexit. Proof that Westminster is a sham.

      I fear, however, the public are going to demand a cut back (and I mean a truly dramatic one) of the Lords and the Commons if they insist on relinquishing control to the EU against the will expressed in the referendum.

      It may be the only thing that will save the country from disintigration in that event. There will have to be something in return.

      If so then let us be the first EU nation to go for direct Brussels control.

    • Dennis
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      “Economics will always trump politics.”

      This is wrong otherwise Britain would not have declared war on Nazi Germany. With no war we would have a booming economy with Germany without the fear of invasion, losing the war, no deaths of tens of thousand of our people and the sought of regime change in Russia getting rid of that terrible dictator. Also no massive debt to the USA – what not to like?


  43. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Are you prepared to resign the whip over the payment Mrs May is planning to make? Are you still totally loyal to her? How much betrayal are you prepared to take to destroy your life’s work?

    I see Mr Ellwood seems to be prepared to resign as Minister over yet more defence cuts. Is this one area where the money for grovelling to the EU is coming from?

    • Oggy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      ‘Is this one area where the money for grovelling to the EU is coming from?’ – You can be sure it won’t be coming out of the 13Bn foreign aid budget.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Dear Prang–Better yet, John could just resign, period, and fight his seat as an Independent Conservative.

  44. Bob
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I agree with our host’s position. What justification has the PM put forward to justify this unnecessary squandering of taxpayers money which could have been used to fund the NHS instead.

    If she insists providing subsidies to foreign governments, then at least call it what it is, foreign aid!

  45. Bob
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The Ministry of Defence are facing brutal cuts in a security review scheduled to be announced next year.

    You could be forgiven for thinking that our govt is controlled from Brussels.

  46. James Dell
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I see the Daily Mail is suggesting May will now accept a role for the ECJ after Brexit. If that is true, that only leaves NI for her to “deal” with and the sell-out will be complete.

    What on earth is going on with our government? Red lines are being crossed left, right and centre and no one is showing any gumption. Its embarrassing to watch.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      It seems also that after leaving we will be bound by the EU quota sharing. Why if we have left the EU should they have anything to do with what we import and from where.
      It appears that on all fronts, after we have left, the EU is going to dictate policy.

      Any comment John??

  47. Pat
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    IF, the money were indeed due, then the EU would be able to itemize commitments that justify this together with the minister who signed them off and the date thereof. In this case it is clear that our annual subscription was going to be raised considerably to meet these commitments, since the EU spends virtually all its income on current expenditure.
    Otherwise nothing should be paid.
    Paying for goodwill would be stupid- how do we get our money back if we are dissatisfied with the good will delivered?
    I wonder DD has given up on a good deal, and is instead allowing a deal to form so bad that Parliament will reject it, resulting in no deal

    • Oggy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Pat – I hope talks collapse and it will be a WTO deal. It’s our only way of avoiding May’s total capitulation, sell out and humiliation.
      Who was it said ‘Brexit means Brexit’ – absolutely laughable now.

      So what are YOU and the other Brexiteer MP’s going to do about this total betrayal and sell out of our country Dr Redwood ?

      • Oggy
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

        According to some of todays papers some backbench Tory MP’s have warned Mrs May not to cross the ECJ red lines. If you were one of them John – thank you.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      “Paying for goodwill would be stupid” Not entirely! If the UK is seen by the rest of the world as welching on its commitments then nobody will trust our word on anything for years. A fine balance has to be struck.

      Interesting thought in your final paragraph. I think that could well be the case.

      • stred
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        You welch. We don’t. If you want to make enemies you are going the right way about it.

  48. Edward2
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Any MPS that vote in favour of the UK giving our money away to the EU ithout legal requirement should be surcharged one years pay to be sent to the EU as well.
    Will we now be getting an apology from Clegg now the reality of an EU defence force is being openly planned in the EU ?

  49. Paul Cohen
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    What is the accrued sum now of the rebate Blair gave away in return for reform of the CAP?

    In a demonstration of bad faith this was never delivered by the EU so I trust this is to be taken into account when the final “bill” is presented?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Dear Paul–Did the EU ever comment on this or is the matter simply as plain bad as it seems, viz a clear broken promise (for value)? In that light I struggle to understand why we would even think about offering money just to start (repeat start) trade talks. Even if these talks were to produce agreement, what is to prevent the 27 changing their mind?

  50. NHSGP
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    It is most important that this is always called an ex gratia payment or gift,


    If you do expect to be sued, surcharged and made bankrupt.

    Even MPs are subject to ultra vires.

    • Peter
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      What are you on about?

      Do you really believe the EU has a veto on what language can be used now?

  51. Tad Davison
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Agreed, and I am left to wonder if and when we leave the cursed place, if any payment over and above what we legitimately owe them might set a dangerous precedent. Give in to the EU’s demands, and other countries with whom we would like to do a trade deal post Brexit might also try to lean on us to give them something up front as a ‘bribe’.

    I am comforted by the thought that other countries aren’t likely to be as morally corrupt as the EU, but in the first instance, I would feel easier if we had a leader with some bottle who would just tell these demanding self-important charlatans in Brussels where to get off!

    If the UK side doesn’t quite know how to do that, they should give me a call and I’ll put them right. It’s ever so easy really, I can’t see why they are so reticent. A one-word answer would do.

    Tad Davison


  52. cornishstu
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It is not just large sums it is anything and the sooner those that are supposedly negotiating on our behalf realise that the better. I don’t think anyone would have problems with continued payments for ongoing joint projects such as research which were signed up to voluntarily where we will still reap any benefits but that is as far as it should go. It is not free trade if we have to pay for it no matter how you label the bribes. If they will not talk without money we need to walk away and spend our money, as you say at home.

  53. piglet
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more, John. But try telling that to Theresa May, not us.

    Frankly, I consider the idea of money for talks to be immoral and repugnant. It is an improper use of public funds. I am beginning to wonder whether we, as taxpayers, have any redress under law…

  54. Bill
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Tell it to Teresa the appeaser.

  55. charlesD
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Once again we see JR off on a rant..but it is much too late now to change direction- all of the indicators show that we want a deal with the EU..the question is now do we want a good deal with lots of goodwill or do we settle for a lesser deal that comes with sour relations, because if we go for a bad deal it won’t be JR and his right wing pals that will pay the price but the long suffering public trying to pass disgruntled pissed off french customs and immigration officials for instance.

    At this stage we know that the money question is largely settled, about 40 billion, the other two things have yet to be agreed and in the next week if we are to make progress to the next stage. As regards Ireland there is no government north of the border and it now looks like the minority led government in the south is about to collapse- so it looks like Barnier and Junker will have to face up to that border situation alone with May and Tusk.

    Also we havn’t heard a word lately about the other problem of the movement of citizens- so it’s going to be a busy week- but if this is not agreed at this time then I suggest that we are heading into downtime- things might not get going again until after Easter- if you consider that the summer break will not be far away then..well you can see where all of this is all heading-

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      It will be heading towards a pretty spartan form of Brexit. Apparently that is what the folks on this blog want and by now some EU countries (I would hesitate to use the term “EU” because the matters around Brexit are for the individual states to decide, unanimously, except a few minor issues. Barnier negoriates on behalf of the Council, not the EU bureaucracy) want as well because they are fed up with this charade of a completely disorganized country trying to convince others that it is a fit partner for negotiations. Britain is not. It is an inherently unreliable partner because any deal struck will be criticized by zealots with a variety of agendas. Satisfy one group, another comes up and blackmails the odd member into forcing the government towards breach of contract.

      • NickC
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Rien, The reason that people commenting on this blog are tending to the WTO deal is because it is the only one available.

        It is also because they are fed up with this charade of a completely disorganized EU trying to convince us that it is a fit partner for negotiations. The EU is not. It is an inherently unreliable partner because any deal struck will be criticized by zealots with a variety of agendas. Satisfy one group, another comes up and blackmails the odd member into forcing the government towards breach of contract.

        And then of course the EU’s demands for a bribe haven’t even got the figleaf of an itemised bill.

  56. Drice
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    The PM seems to me to be speaking ‘Leave’ but acting ‘Remain’. She doesn’t listen to you but to her husband, Remainer-dominated cabinet, Civil service and backbench ‘mutineers’. Her actions all bear this out, ‘despite’ her Brexit words. She is being ‘a bloody difficult woman’, but in the wrong direction – against a clear clean Brexit and into continued EU entanglement post Brexit. Very worrying.

    • Peter
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Her demeanour, actions and words suggest that rather than being ‘a bloody difficult woman’ she is a frightened woman who is completely out of her depth.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I did not campaign and vote to leave the EU so a UK government could continue to meekly bow the knee to the EU, or kowtow to any of its governments including the Irish.

    In the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum it was necessary to reassure our neighbours, and indeed the rest of the world, that the vote did not mean we were intending to retreat into isolationism but merely sought changes in our international treaty arrangements to take back control over our money, laws and borders, as the Leave side put it, control that should never have been ceded in the first place.

    However that phase has long passed, our government has been emollient to the point of nauseating smarminess, and it has all just been thrown back in our faces. And as far I am concerned it is simply not acceptable to have headlines about the arrogant EU setting deadlines for the UK to make progress on this or that, such as:


    “EU stands firm on Brexit deadline as Irish border remains unsolved”

    “Theresa May has been given 10 days to offer further concessions on issues including the Brexit divorce bill and the complex matter of the Northern Irish border if she wants European Union leaders to agree to trade talks.”

    However optimistic they may try to be it should be clear to Theresa May and David Davis by now that the EU does not want any kind of “deep and special” trade deal with us; we should never have been prepared to pay for the privilege of running a massive trade deficit with them; and we should never have entertained for even one moment the idea of paying them just to get trade talks started.

  58. Rien Huizer
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “There is general agreement that there is no legal requirement for the UK to pay the EU anything on exit. There is no provision in the Treaty for an exit bill”

    There is no specific provision in the Treaty that refers to and defines the term “exit bill”.

    That does not mean that the UK and the EU do not have mutual obligations that must be met.

    The UK obligations range from straightforward to ambiguous and from payable at short notice to very far into the future (for instance the contigent liabilities in connection with EIB loans.

    To dismiss the “exit bill” in this manner can mean only two things: (1) to make people believe that the UK can walk away, not honour its obligations and keep its credit rating intact (pretty important for a country with twin deficits and a debt/GDP level even the Minfordians consider too high) and do that for some political reason, in essence a demagogic reason. Or (2) to cover a retreat from the “no payment” direction under the guise that whatever is paid is not an “Exit Bill”

    What will it be?

    • Andy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      You don’t seem to grasp the simple facts. Please read the EU Treaties and tell us all where it says that a departing member is liable for this, that and the other. The reality is the ORD and MFF are subordinate to the Treaties and have no legal force beyond the treaties. So where is your legal case ?? Secondly it is not the UK that has committed to spend x, y or z but the EU which has its own legal personality. It is open to the EU to adjust its spending now in the light of the new realities of a reduced budget. As to the EIB the UK is a shareholder, so the other shareholders (because only EU members can be shareholders) have a clear choice: either buy the shares back or amend the Articles of Association. Up to them.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        My humble apologies. Apparently my reading of the treaties was not good enough. However, you may agree that there are mutual obligations (and not all equally strong) and they are either met or not. A week or so ago the FT had a useful article about the various claims and their status.

        As to the EIB’s sharehol;der structure: the UK is a shareholder with appr 13% of the total but these share have not been fully funded and all shareholders (also the UK) face an obligation to supply additional capital to support future creditor claims. That is not an obligation the UK can negate unloilaterally. In other words, the bulk of the UK’s relationship is a contingent liability, not an asset that can be “bought back” The UK would have to provide security for those contingent claims.

        Reply They will not want us in the ECB once we have left. Tge capital is only paid up if you join the Euro

        • NickC
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          Rien, Budgets are not financial liabilities. The dysfunctional EU needs to adjust its budgets rapidly; that is not our responsibility.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            I did not say that, but most of those liabilities stem from agreements to spend to which the UK is/was a party.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          JR: do you mean the ECB or the EIB. EIB shareholdeship is separate from EUR membership.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Page 62 here:


      “23. It follows that, under EU law, Article 50 TEU allows the UK to leave the EU without being liable for outstanding financial obligations under the EU budget, unless a withdrawal agreement is concluded which resolves this issue. (This advice does not address the political consequences of the UK withdrawing from the EU without settling outstanding payments to the EU budget and related financial instruments.)”

    • Edward2
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      The Govt has said repeatedly that it will “honour its obligations”
      Perhaps the EU should explain what they think they are.

      • John O'Leary
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Quite! Perhaps if DD turned up to meetings with the EU negotiating team for more than an hour or so at each monthly session perhaps he might find out.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          I very much doubt it.
          After months still no response from the EU.
          More hours in meetings is unlikely to alter the EU and its refusal to come up with any details of what they want.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          There is this thing called “writing” which is quite widely used.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      We have met our obligations for 43 of the past 44 years, the EU has made commitments without the means to honour them.
      We are leaving according to Article 50 in the Lisbon Treaty. I am all for paying our bills but no one, absolutely no one would pay an undefined bill on the whim of the EU.
      Provide us with an itemised and justified asset and liability breakdown and we can take it from there.

  59. Cheshire Girl
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Its all over the papers today, that a deal has been reached. I cant find anywhere though, what it is. I’m sure exact details will come out, and that we wont have paid too much. Thats probably a vain hope!

  60. Malcolm White
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink


    I couldn’t agree with you more. I am sick to my stomach hearing that we are apparently prepared to up our offer in exchange for trade talks. Did those in Government not learn any lessons from David Cameron’s failed negotiations? The EU Commission is not interested in anything other than its political project and the impending shortfall in their budget. The Irish border question is unresolvable without knowing what the trade arrangements are going to be and is EU mischief making in the extreme.

    Mrs May should have drawn the red line after her Florence speech and said enough was enough. I’m marginally OK with continuing payments in this current budget period, but they should not include payments for future items that line the pockets of the EU elite and their cronies at the expense of the EU tax payer.

    Jean-Claude Juncker suggested that the Brexit bill was analogous to a bar bill and inferred that the UK were trying to leave without paying. Carrying on with the analogy, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we don’t pay our share for the hire of the hall, the set meal and the drinks in the bar up until the time we left. What we object to is the apparent intention to also include items, such as the dancing girls, who were discussed – but not booked, the champagne breakfast and other extravagances that were indulged in without our participation.

    The EU Commission keep extending the deadlines in an apparent attempt to keep us on the hook and extract more from us. It’s about time our Government dug in and stopped trying to placate the egos of those in charge by playing their game.

    Let’s get out now and wish them a Merry Christmas.

  61. Ralph Hulbert
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Imagine if Theresa May interrupted EastEnders with a national announcement and framed the payout in the following way:

    “My fellow Britons. This morning, the cabinet decided to approve a further $20 billion in aid to the EU. Today, I come to you with an explanation for this increase. It is, after all, your money.

    “Our efforts to support Europe financially for decades have failed. They continue to need our money each year to survive economically. But, in a referendum, Britain has decided to look to its own financial means. The government respects this decision.

    “However, Europe is on the cusp of failure. Already, divisions inside the EU are growing about the budget fallout from Britain’s departure. Like drug addicts, they seek our funds and break into panic if they are no longer forthcoming. Spain alone stands to lose more than €36 billion in EU funding.

    “Thus, political turmoil has struck from Greece to Germany. Economically minded separatist movements are growing in many regions of Europe, putting our own Brexit into perspective. Populism is on the rise, threatening the very existence of the euro in Italy and other nations. Euroscepticism of a dark kind is growing in the East. Government budgets are straining, despite years of British aid.

    “Given the failure of the European project, some want our money back. This is understandable given how it was spent. But to avoid being blamed for a serious crisis inside the EU, Britain must live up to its outstanding obligations – the promises we made in the past to help Europe in the future. This nation is not a saboteur of the EU project. It merely seeks to be a left a spectator rather than a victim.

    “The increased aid payment of $20 billion not only fulfils these obligations and promises, but proves our good faith to keep the EU project alive a little longer.

    “They will have no one to blame but themselves.”

    Can you imagine how the negotiations would go down after that speech?

  62. Nigel
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I wrote to my (Conservative) MP on this very issue. His response was that “the political sum of £20-£60 bn is a relatively small sum to pay in the grand scheme of things”

    We now hear that the ground is being prepared for the ECJ to have some ongoing role.

    We are moving towards a Brexit in name only. This Government is betraying the electorate, in favour of appeasing MPs.

    • Peter
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      That is the big worry.

    • anon
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      20-60 billion small beer? If that was a 10% profit it would amount to £200-600 billion turnover. Thats a 1/3 of the UK GDP.!!

      Sounds like someone who is overpaid and overcomfortable spending other peoples money when there is no benefit to the UK of doing this.

      Did you ask him how many MP’s we could get for that? Hopefully a few numerate ones.

  63. Cynic
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    No doubt those with vested interests want us to pay up, as they think they will benefit from an E U deal. Pressure will be applied to achieve their aim.

  64. hans chr iversen
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    the Brexit report from the House of Lords committee talk of a moral obligation till December 2020, which is what we have signed up for as members.

    SO no there is no legal obligation but the is a moral obligation, if, You had come up with something better than a WTO deal as an alternative to a deal with the EU , which will be very expensive for Britain, then we might take your proposals a bit more seriously , but as it sands that is very difficult as it stands.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Some argue that although there is no legal obligation there is a moral obligation. Their argument would have rather more force if the EU was negotiating in good faith, which it clearly is not prepared to do.

      • John O'Leary
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Denis, for once we can agree. Stupidly the government fell into the obvious trap of agreeing to the sequencing of negotiations. Given that NI has always been an extraordinarily difficult issue for the UK I am quit sure the EU were aware that including in it phase 1 would seriously delay progress. Similarly the money issue could settled if we had an itemised bill, which they seem unable to provide.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

          Dear John–Very much agree about the sequencing–Having agreed to their timeline (for reasons that escape me) we now find ourselves seeking to disagree with it. There is no alternative but to walk away now

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          It’s good to agree for once!

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m pleased you are writing as “we”. This removes any doubt that you are in fact an employee of Brussels.
      The EU is a treaty based organisation so deals in legal, not moral obligations.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        no but we do so in Europe

  65. Mark B
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Some seem to think we should nonetheless pay something to get a deal.

    Someone needs to tell the Government and the Leader of his party this. We already know !

    The way to deal with this is simple. Let the EU threat of the forth comming deadline arrive. When it does, say or do nothing ! Let it pass. Then say all offers previously made are now recinded and, if the EU want any monies they will have to show what we owe. We should also state that trade talks, which is a sham by the way as we cannot do one until AFTER we have left, are not in our interest.

    Then see them come running.

    The EU 27 is in disarray. Germany has no government. France is in semi-chaos and the rest know that the EU is going to demand more power with less cash. Others like Sweden are already wispering disquiet.

    I voted to return the UK back to the international family of nations. I am happy with being considered a Third Country by the EU if they are happy for me to consider them one.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Spot on – its so obvious yet the Parliamentary thickos just don’t seem to get it – or is the Civil Service?

      • Timaction
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        They get it. Just don’t want to deliver the wishes of the people. They are Federalists one and all. They just forgot to tell us or campaign on it, publicise their intentions or put it on a manifesto or give us a referendum until forced by UKIP!

  66. rose
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    The Florence speech was, as Mrs Leadsom is said to have said, disastrous in parts. It used the word commitments and spoke of honouring them. How on earth was this allowed to happen? We are given to understand the PM gave the Cabinet half an hour to read the speech and then two hours to discuss it. All of this that you are now describing has flowed from that. Who wrote that speech? There is gossip that it was written in parts by the Commission. Why are the Opposition being so useless? If ever there was something to oppose, this is it. But there is an overwhelming silence except from a few backbenchers on the Conservative side. The public know it is wrong to throw billions at the Commission when we owe nothing and will probably get nothing in return, but they are not hearing any leadership on the point. Now the EU is looking as if it is going to try and pocket our tariffs.

    As for the fake news on European City of Culture, why doesn’t anyone point out that it is the European Capital of Culture, not the EU Capital of Culture, and that a city doesn’t have to be in the Protection Racket to win – as Istanbul has already proved. As usual, they are breaking their own rules in order to spite us.

  67. NickC
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    JR, What the EU is demanding is a bribe. No more and no less. And it just shows up the EU for what it is: a mafia. Thank God we are leaving. The main thing that worries me now is that, in the future, our establishment will make us help rescue Europe again, this time from the ideology of European nationalist bureaucracy.

  68. Michael
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I hope this is not news to HM Government.

  69. bigneil
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Owe them nothing John ? Great. . .but it seems some of your workmates are fixated on throwing the EU billions of our taxpayers cash, hoping they will be looked on favourably for employment in the future EU.

  70. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    “The EU has never produced a legal base for a divorce bill.”

    And nor has the EU ever produced a properly detailed, itemised bill, as far as I am aware, and I cannot understand why MPs have not insisted on being furnished with any such bill if it does actually exist. They voted to force David Davis to publish what may or may not be assessments of the possible impact of Brexit on various sectors of the economy, and they have even muttered about personal penalties for breach of parliamentary privilege, but it seems they are not so bothered about the government promising the EU however many billions of taxpayers’ money that they want to know the precise whys and wherefores and insist that no such promise should be made without their prior authorisation.

  71. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I think probably we shouldn’t be concerned about May offering 40bn because someone in the EU or more likely the national governments will reject it and demand more. I doubt the cabinet or HoC would approve or vote through a higher figure. So talks collapse.

  72. Simon
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    How is your simple Brexit going now John ?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      I dont recall anyone saying it would be simple.

    • NickC
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      It’s being sabotaged by Remains in the government, Remain Labour, Remain LibDems, the Remain civil service, and the Remain establishment. That’s what’s making it far more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t forget most countries in the world are not in the EU and get by just fine.

  73. Prigger
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    21st November The US State dept told the EU Spanish olive producers of category “Ripe Olives” it would impose tariffs of 2.31%- 7.24% . The EU expects more tariffs from the US .
    The main EU agri-food export market is the USA.
    The EU will fight the tariffs on the grounds that WTO rules allow it to subsidise unfair competition if ALL EU industries an sectors are similarly treated. Trump is blamed. The BBC will blame Brexit once it learns of the news sometime next year.

  74. majorfrustration
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Yes yes and yes but why is it that the other Parliamentary thickos don’t understand this. If the UK finishes up paying anything to the EU then the Tory party can say goodbye to any chance of running the country for the next ten year’s or more. Also I seem to remember somebody saying on BBC Today that our capital from the ECB will not be repaid until 2054 – is there a lesson here. The UK should not be seen as a soft touch – Tory party read my lips.

  75. ian
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Con party voters always stand for the three card trick.

  76. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic, I’m rather amused by the multiple misinterpretations of the results of this recent opinion poll:


    Especially this one:

    “Continued membership of the single market was the most popular option for Britain after Brexit, with 24% backing this outcome”

    Eh, yes, 24% did indeed favour the option “Stay in the Single Market, with free movement of labour as now but with some additional constraints on access to UK benefits” – that should be “persons”, not “labour”, and in my view access to benefits was always a secondary issue, in fact something of a red herring, but of course David Cameron had a go at that and came back with nothing significant – but then 42% preferred one of the three other options which would not involve staying in the Single Market.

    So the real picture according to that opinion poll is, page 39 here:


    Stay in the Single Market – 24%
    Leave the Single Market – 42%
    Not sure – 34%

    Excluding the last category, 64% to 36% in favour of leaving the Single Market; which also reflects the balance of public opinion about the need to reduce immigration.

    Having said that, those who want a clean break still have a lot of work to do to disabuse the public of the implanted notion that the EU Single Market has provided the UK with significant, or even indispensable, economic benefits when in truth the economic effects have been marginal, a few percent of GDP either way.

  77. graham1946
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Did you not, on this site tell us a long time ago that the government has no mandate to pay any of this money which is not due and if I remember well, you said it would actually be illegal to do so? Have I got that wrong, or were you wrong then?

  78. Andy
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    ‘We owe the EU nothing’ the Brexiteers scream.

    And yet we will end up paying many tens of billions because it turns out we need the EU after all.

    I would happily split this bill 17.4m ways – you voted for it, you pay for it.

    With each day – on every issue – it becomes 100% clear that Brexit is a car crash.

    It will make our country poorer, if has turned generations against each other and in the case of Northern Ireland and Scotland it will split our country up.

    You can live in blissful white Christianity in your pathetic rump of a Little England if you like. The next generation prefers 2017 to 1950.

    Faced with this car crash young people want to get out of the vehicle.

    Remainers want to press the brake.

    You lot want to accelerate with zero regard for the consequences.

    I for one have zero qualms if you hurt yourselves in the resulting carnage. Your call. You voted for it, you deserve it.

    But you are crashing a car with your kids and grandkids in it too – and you will hurt them as well.

    If they survive – and they may not – then they will forever loathe you for it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      You agrred to accept your share of the bill when you took part in the referendum.

    • Oggy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Whinge, whinge, whinge. Now you know why you are called remoaners.

    • NickC
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Andy, You owe me for my subsidising the EU for near 45 years.

  79. Peter gardner
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I understand the Cabinet have agreed to to offer the EU a compromise on ECJ jurisdiction whereby UK courts refer to the ECJ cases for which there is no precedent in ECJ case law. It is reported that this is OK because referral would be. UK court’s decision. But what would be the status of the ECJ’s decision – advisory? No of course not.
    We are in such a trustworthy state now that any possible deal made by Mrs May’s government will be a bad deal. If correct UK would be better off walking away without any kind of deal on withdrawal arrangements and leaving consideration of a trade deal until well after Brexit.
    Failing that we need a change of government. Even if Cornyn became PM he would probably stand up to the EU better than Mrs May.
    Mrs May is still trying to reach a deal that satisfies the 48 percent Remainers. Even for the Leavers she wants a close relationship as deep and comprehensive as membership but called something else. No wonder she concedes every demand made by the EU. It is clear that Mrs May will not ever accept that Brexit means not having a deep relationship equivalent to membership. She and her government must go.

    • Peter gardner
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Ignore the above – typos.
      I understand the Cabinet have agreed to to offer the EU a compromise on ECJ jurisdiction whereby UK courts refer to the ECJ cases for which there is no precedent in ECJ case law. It is reported that this is OK because referral would be the UK court’s decision. But what would be the status of the ECJ’s decision – advisory? No of course not.
      We are in such a cringeworthy state now that any possible deal made by Mrs May’s government will be a bad deal. UK would be better off walking away without any kind of deal on withdrawal arrangements and leaving consideration of a trade deal until well after Brexit.
      Failing that we need a change of government. Even if Cornyn became PM he would probably stand up to the EU better than Mrs May.
      Mrs May is still trying to reach a deal that satisfies the 48 percent Remainers. Even for the Leavers she wants a close relationship as deep and comprehensive as membership but called something else. No wonder she concedes every demand made by the EU. It is clear that Mrs May will not ever accept that Brexit means not having a deep relationship equivalent to membership. She and her government must go.

  80. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, Kate Hoey knocking the Irish Prime Minister for six:


    “Leo Varadkar needs to stop the hypocrisy and remember who Ireland’s true friends are”

    “The idea that Northern Ireland should stay in the Customs Union and the internal market while the rest of the UK leaves is a total non-starter and I am glad that David Davis ruled this out so immediately and strongly. What upsets most people in Northern Ireland, even if they voted to Remain, is seeing the EU Commission use the Belfast Agreement as a tool for their demands in the negotiations.”

    “The Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into the land border. A recurrent theme of practically everyone we see, especially from other non-EU countries which have borders with EU countries, is that – if there is political will to make it work – cross-border trade can be seamless.”

    • Andy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Completely untrue. Without regulatory convergence – which you voted against – cross border trade can not be completely seemless. There will always have to be checks (however minimal), by both sides to protect their interests. This is the case at the EU’s existing borders with Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. It is the case at every border in the world and, because of Brexit, it will be the case for Ireland too.

      If you voted for Brexit then you voted for a hard border. The impending queues at Dover are an inevitable consequence of your vote. Future long lines at airports are what you voted for. If you ask me these are all pretty dumb but that’s down to Brexiteers. It is what taking control looks like.

      You can scream, whine and moan all you like (and you no doubt all will) but during your 30 year campaign of hate against the EU not one of your ever bothered to figure out an alternative. Now that you have to the complete and utter ridiculousness of your arguments is evident to all.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

        Dear Andy–There was no hatred initially–That grew over the years and is now the main driving force, at least it is for me–This may be a surprise to you but I don’t want something I hate telling me what to do. Hard to believe how we have glossed over for so long the increasingly profound differences that we have with what after all are just foreigners. Yes, there will be consequences but we will get through them. Even if we don’t there are few greater joys for me than telling my American friends that we will soon not be in the wretched EU. We did have a Referendum you may remember.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        If “however minimal” is carried to its natural conclusion then it can become seamless for all practical purposes, which is what matters. There is certainly no need for queues at Dover or at Calais, and if that does happen it will only be because your friends in the EU have chosen to make it happen. These are the despicable people you support, who claim to be committed to the rule of law and who put high flown language into their treaties but then simply disregard any provision which they find is getting in the way of what they want to do. We even have an Irish EU Commissioner today forgetting the solemn oath of office he took that he would serve only the EU and put aside the narrow interests of Ireland, merely “the country he knows best”.

  81. MPC
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May keeps saying she wants a ‘deep and special partnership’ – if we’d wanted that we’d have voted Remain. You can’t blame the EU for persisting with ‘requiring’ a divorce bill on the basis that if the UK wants a partnership deeper than the EU has with any other 3rd country then ‘good – we’ll make them pay for it’.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily; if you look at Article 8 TEU here:


      it starts:

      “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries … ”

      so that’s the “special” bit, and then:

      “characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”

      “close” is not far off the “deep” bit.

      However the other EU leaders clearly do not intend to obey this, and indeed other, provisions in the EU treaties as far as trade is concerned, so there seems to be little point in us trying to pursue it any further, and certainly no point in paying them to allow us to even try to pursue it.

      As for paying a “divorce bill” to get a better trade deal, their false claim is that they are only asking us to meet liabilities arising from our membership.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      MPC. Yeah, like Greece has a ‘special’ relationship with the EU. LOL.

  82. fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    The EU are demanding more and more and it looks like Mrs May is buckling under pressure. The way I see it is that we will pay and the EU will stall with talks and demand more at a later date. I also see them having a say in how much trade we can do with the rest of the world and dictating to us even though we have ‘left’. We must walk away now with our dignity or face being the laughing stock of the world. Those of us that voted leave in a democratic vote will not look kindly on this government bunging the EU billions.

  83. Treacle
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Mrs Thatcher wouldn’t have given them a penny. Never was that great lady more needed than now.

    • Andy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t vote for a referendum. I didn’t vote for a party that wanted a referendum. The country did not want this mess.

      This entire fiasco is the creation of small band of increasingly irrelevant Tory right-wingers whose only lasting legacy will be the destruction of their party and the permanent diminution of their country.

      • Original Richard
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        “This entire fiasco is the creation of small band of increasingly irrelevant Tory right-wingers whose only lasting legacy will be the destruction of their party and the permanent diminution of their country.”

        You seem to have forgotten that at the last European Parliament elections (May 2014) UKIP gained more votes and more seats than any other party.

      • Cupcake
        Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        The “mess” is defined by Remoaners. I do not see any mess…just the slow ticking of the clock until we are free. Free for the first time in decades.All the Remoaners are worried about is that we may not get a Dutch egg for breakfast.

    • Andy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Thatcher created the single market. She would no doubt weep if she could see that those claiming to act in her name are actually seeking to destroy her greatest achievement.

  84. PaulDirac
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Fully agree.
    When are you writing your letter to the 1922 committee?

  85. Potwalloper
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The real reason we should be walking now is that the EU have shown clearly by their behaviour so far that they are not going to negotiate in good faith for a mutually beneficial trade deal, if the negotiations ever progress to that stage.

    Instead, the EU will offer a substandard deal and demand another series of unacceptable conditions for it, which will leave us with worse trading conditions combined with no control over regulatory, tax, environmental or competition policy. They will doubtless try to keep free movement going as well.

    On recent form the government will cave in to all these demands. Mr.Redwood and others now have a very grave responsibility to stop this happening.

  86. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Today’s comments appear rather unified, understandably. Unshackling the UK from the dead horse EU27, soon to implode anyway like the USSR before, cannot be all that expensive. Once the EU27 looks at its its huge trade surplus, it will realize its very weak negotiation position and will cave in.
    Strangely enough, continental views are quite different. No legalistic approach following from Article 50, but striving for a political agreement, in order to ensure an orderly instead of disorderly UK withdraw from the EU28. For instance, the Commission sees the issues at stake as quite simple: “Britain made legally-binding financial commitments to the EU.” The EU-27 are confident Britain will eventually pay, because it expects the costs of a disorderly Brexit to be much higher. It will be interesting to see how this process will enfold.

    • rose
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter

      I didn’t think even the Commission was using the phrase “legally-binding.” Where is this?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        If you really believe that somebody is legally bound to pay you something then usually you just demand that they pay it, it would be unusual to ask them to make you an offer of how much they would be prepared to pay. The fact that the EU has been asking the UK to make an offer and then a better offer itself suggests that they are making it up as they go along.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        On the cer.eu site, search for “how to disentangle”
        (Britain from the EU budget) to find the report, from which I took it as a
        direct quote. The Centre for European Reform is a well known think tank, clearly a pro-EU think tank but not bad on factual matters as far as I know.

        • rose
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Peter. I can understand why you are possibly a little bit hesitant about this source!

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Peter VAN LEEUWEN

          cer.eu site “The Centre for European Reform” is an oxymoron!

    • Prigger
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Hungary cannot even use a European Arrest Warrant to stop one single invader/burglar, thief, trespasser,uninvited guest, but has had to consult bi-laterally with the Czech, Slovak and Polish Republics to send soldiers and policemen. AND THEY DID!!!!!!!!Do you not understand what that means?????????????????????????

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        @Prigger: No idea what you are referring to, doesn’t seem Brexit related to me.

    • Chris S
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      They are only “striving for a political agreement ” for us to pay up because they know there is no basis for a legal one !

      If Brussels does not effectively blackmail the UK to pay the equivalent of our net contributions over the next budget period, Juncker and Tusk know they are in real trouble.

      The resulting arguments over cutting the money net recipients will get or taking an extra £50bn from the small number of net contributors will expose the reality around the concept of “ever closer union” which is, of course, is that it does not exist.

      Far from the myth of a strong Union of member states, It will be every country brutally jostling to get the best deal for themselves at the expense of all the others.
      As always.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        @Chris S: The EU27 defend their interest, that was to be expected.
        I experience that at least over the last 50 odd years the European peoples have grown a little closer. Every country for its own interest is sort of woven into that too. Why otherwise were their multiple bids for hosting EBA and EMA?
        I could imagine that UK cities compete among themselves as well.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          P.S. In the Netherlands there is hardly any opposition anywhere in net-contributing to the EU, knowing that this will benefit e.g. Central European countries.
          Our national statistics office (CBS) reports: “Between 2000 and 2015, the Netherlands was on average the largest net contributor to the EU relative to all other EU members” (those are of course per capita contributions)

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Even if the UK pays less, getting rid of the hassle of having the UK within the Group should be worth it. Within the overall scope of ten trillion revenue in the EU member states during the next three years (and probably a trillion more), somewhere between 10 and 15 billion is pocket money.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        @Rien Huizer: I agree with you, but the EU also needs time to adapt to having 12% less regular income (UK is about 12% I believe).
        That is why it should be welcome that the UK will honour its commitments for the current (7 year) budget period, which lasts until end of 2020 and for which all kinds of private and public entities (e.g. developers, companies, local autorities) have running projects and contracts with the EU.

        • NickC
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

          PvL, Budgets are not financial commitments. The EU needs to revise its budgets sharpish, otherwise, without our subsidising you, you will run out of money. And that is your responsibility.

  87. Chris
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Correction to above commen, last sentencet:
    “….they display a fundamental MISunderstanding/analysis of where the real risks/threats to world security are”.

  88. gregory martin
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    We should designate our expenditure to meet our assessment of the needs of supporting Brexit, in a mutually beneficial manner. Our “commitment ” should be to evidence that we are looking to support our farmers,fisherfolk and industry, to meeting our support to our population, homeborn and adopted and to defend our borders,to the advantage of those on either side.
    This could be shown to equal £40billion over the next few years.
    Part of this could be to complete the AJAX (scout) vehicle system, by ordering the remaining options and bringing back the turret work from Rhinemettal. Such vehicles could enhance and secure the land borders, with co-operation with Eire.
    It could enable provision of additional naval presence to monitor British and neighbouring fishing grounds and assist in strengthening Europes’ northern flank .
    What we must not do is gift to the EU, nor allow a precedent to be set for any of our fellow states who may very well decide to leave, and become more closely allied to our views and values.

  89. Dennis Zoff
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Until now, all we have had from our Government is the stereotypical Politician’s delusive “no substance” weasel comments!

    However, we are now coming to the business end of the Brexit/EU discussions and I, for one, am wholly in favour of Donald Tusk demonstrably pushing the UK Government for a final official answer on the three main issues, with a subsequent Trade deal requirement from the UK thrown into the bargain?

    We would then, at last, understand what our Government is actually going to “officially” commit to? I trust it will be something like this:

    The Three main EU issues and their solutions, as outlined in this paper, are contingent on a successful UK Trade Deal, as outlined in this paper!

    ….then watch the fireworks if our Government has patently reneged on its mission to fulfil the Nation’s mandate/obligation, for a fully unambiguous UK exit from the European Union….without intolerable penalties!

  90. James Matthews
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    As always, I agree. Not sure that any of this ever gets through to the people responsible though. Unwise financial and political commitments have already been made. Most recently Mrs May has reaffirmed that the common travel area with the Irish Republic will be maintained and that there will be no hard infrastructure on the border, apparently without any reservations as to time or circumstances.

    Is this prudent, or just virtue signalling which offers a major hostage to fortune? What if Ireland eventually joins Schengen (which it will almost certainly be forced to do)? What if, even outwith Schengen,, it becomes a transit route for unlawful migration or if there is a renewed upsurge in terrorism?

    Any government serious about controlling migration or about keeping its citizens safe would reserve its position. Of course I am probably being very naïve. The most recent figures for grants of permanent residence to non-EU migrants as well as the soft treatment of returning jihadis give a pretty good indication that this government is serious about neither. Meanwhile it plans to build houses on a scale which will permanently reduce everyone’s quality of life, rather than admit that we don’t have a housing crisis, we have an immigration crisis.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      I am sick of voting Tory to keep Labour out. Never again.

      It will be Corbyn by default.

  91. getahead
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    “The public show in polls that they have no wish to pay large sums to the EU. It is time to spend the money at home instead.”

    Take note Mr Hammond, you EU stool-pigeon.

  92. Peter
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    More humiliation. Barnier does not want us to be free of the EU until the transition period is over:-


    If May and her team put up with this, God help us. It really is Brexit in name only.

  93. Peter
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    The punishment scenario we were promised.

  94. Peter
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    EU must believe clean Brexiteers do not have the numbers to do anything about the increasing demands. May and the shambles will be allowed to muddle along losing face and wasting our money to placate Remainers.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 26, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      EU believes that the UK made the right decision to leave, because the UK does not belong due to political circumstances. Cameron’s failed attempt to get far reaching concessions was probably the last straw and in hindsight the EU should be glad that the refendum outcome was (unexpectedly) leave. Now the UK can get a more fitting position vs the EU, as a friendly third country with trading arrangements along the Canadian model. That means that all the investment made in the UK to capitalize on intra EU economic integration will have to be reassessed and that is something many foreign companies have done already. The future UK location factors will have to be attractive, be it in a different way, to keep these companies and if possible make then grow. Likewise, a high percentage of new jobs created in the UK (or replacements for retiring Brits) went to foreigners, despite the fact that those are not always cheaper. Given the simultaneous effect of a push factor (UK no longer welcoming EU immigrants) and a pull factor (Germany and its neighbours have a fast growing demand for labour, will be paying better as the Pound depreciates and continental labour scarcity rises), it is very unlikely the UK will be able to attract the EU labour it needs.

      But those are not the EU’s problems. The EU’s problems are to find a solution for Ireland (unification, in an economic sense, would be preferable, political unification will happen anyway on the basis of the Good Friday agreements unless trends break) and for the temporary budget disturbance. Both the UK (with a GBP 700 bn plus annual revenue base) and the EU (not the EU as a body but the member states with a combined revenue base of over 3.5 trillion EUR) should be able to overcome this through a combination of budget cuts and staggering of the required amounts. The latter would also allow for tweaking the published numbers so that the sometaimes ignorant UK media do not again rekindle WWII emotions.

  95. Chris S
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May appears to have increased the offer of money to €40bn and still the 27 seem unlikely to allow talks to move on to discuss trade.

    The obvious way to resolve the impass over the issue of the money is to move to independent arbitration, which would have to be binding on both sides. A form of arbitration and a time scale should not be difficult to agree on.

    After all, Brussels has stated that there is no question of us being asked to pay a fee to discuss a trade deal and the EU side has also stated that the money they are looking for is only to cover amounts that we are obliged to pay towards programmes that have already been agreed.

    Everything applicable to the money issue must be recorded in writing in the relevant treaties so the legal situation should be cut and dried. If there is any ambiguity, it can be settled by the arbitration committee after they have considered submissions from lawyers representing each side.

    The only other matter holding up progress appears to be the Irish border issue. There has already been a suggestion that Eire could be given a rolling veto which they could employ further down the line if they are not happy with the border solution that has been established once the shape of the final trade deal is known. That would also conveniently get round any delay that might be caused by a general election in the Republic.

    What possible reason could either side have for not agreeing to move forward on this fair and reasonable basis ?

    After all, a deal is in the interest of both sides and both are saying that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed

  96. Lloyd Barnes
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more John, yet our Conservative government seems determined to ignore this advice. It’s deeply frustrating.

    This is a pivotal moment in our country’s history, and the opportunities if we get this right are game changing. We literally stand on the cusp of being able to take our nation forward to a new golden era and yet here we are missing the entire point, grovelling in front of the EU for a trade deal after we voted to step away from this deeply flawed organisation. The lack of vision is heart breaking.

    Am I alone in starting to get angry at this? Doesn’t the Conservative party understand that we want them to stand up tall and proud for our great nation with a vision for our future, not more plastic, “strong and stable” politics.

    As a Conservative voter I’m literally desperate for someone to take over the leadership of this once great party and find their inner Churchill or better yet Thatcher. If that happens we truly will see a landslide at the next election.

    • Eagle
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

      @Lloyd Barnes
      But who though ?

    • Oggy
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      You aren’t alone in getting angry Lloyd, most of us here would completely agree with everything you said.

  97. anon
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Part of leaving the EU is about restoring democracy.

    Enter our parliament to the under the spotlight , the whole world watching how they deliver Brexit.

    Anything less than a complete exit will be viewed as an affront to democracy and proof positive that we are not, for the whole world to see.

    Lets have a decisive clean break and immediately exit the EU and revert to WTO trade. Now.

    Walk dont talk.

  98. rick hamilton
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    We already pay for our memberships of international bodies such as the UN, NATO, WTO, OECD, IMF, and probably many others. It is reasonable to expect that we will continue to pay long term into any EU agency that is useful to our country. Scientific research, nuclear energy, student exchange and criminal data systems come to mind. I doubt that anyone would object as long as we participate in decision making.

    However paying a fee to escape from the political nightmare of the EU is just insane and May should never have offered. Paying to let the EU dictate the matter of an open Irish border – which we created in the first place – is insane. Paying upfront to have access to the market is insane. Paying upfront to trade tariff-free is insane. Trade is a two-way street.

    Of course when we leave we will have no say in the regulations they impose. We have no say in regulations in the USA or Japan but that doesn’t stop us selling cars to them. The US is the biggest single export destination for British cars, followed by Germany. We might choose to keep on E-marking our cars even in the UK because it is more convenient for manufacturers and in any case many of the rules originate in the UN these days, but that is our decision not an EU one.

  99. Hristo
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    So let me summarize this comment section : you want the benefits of the EU but don’t want to be part of it, neither pay for it? Interesting, and this comes from a Bulgarian who isn’t coming to steal your job.

  100. Prigger
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Eirexit chaos? Election likely as government falls! Just one more EU nation state like Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Greece ( Have I missed one?) in chaos. It is good we are still in the EU or we would have real problems wouldn’t we?! 🙂

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted November 27, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I was not aware of the chaos on Italy, Germany, hungary please tell us what chaos you are thinking about?

  101. David Murfin
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    What we are doing at the moment is offering money we do not owe in order to conduct talks.
    We are not even paying for a trade deal, only to talk about a trade deal.
    We should tell the EU that their negotiators are welcome to come to London to talk about all aspects of our future relationship at any time before March 29 2019. When they come we shall give them a cheque for our current liabilities as members.

  102. Peter Dennis
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    What should be done about Euratom ?

  103. Original Richard
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Against Article 50 rules the EU is refusing to negotiate. It believes that by not negotiating and with the help of the UK’s EU supporters that Brexit can be cancelled.

    If Brexit finally cannot be stopped then the EU’s position is summarised by Mr. Hollande’s view on Brexit 07/10/2016 :

    “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price….”

    No exit bill has been published.
    Firstly because any bill would be fraudulent as Article 50 says we owe nothing.
    Secondly because if they do not specify any amount then they can keep rejecting any offer made.

    There will be no outline future trade agreement before Brexit because to do so would enable a solution to be found for the Irish border question.

    There will be no final agreement on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and vice versa because they will continue to insist that the ECJ has jurisdiction in the UK after Brexit (and for us even to adopt new EU rules during a transition period).

    I hope that our government’s continued concessions in the “negotiation” with the intransigent and bullying EU is to prepare the country for the inevitable “no deal” (WTO) option just as appeasement in the 1930s gave the country time to prepare both mentally and materially for WW2.

  104. Edwardm
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I agree totally with you – you are quite correct.
    Mrs May needs to take heed and stand firmly for the UK, and not appear to give credence to the EU’s crude attack on democracy and self determination.
    The EU’s financial demands have no basis – as you say no-one previously mentioned it – and as far as I know no such scale of expenditure has been agreed by vote of the HoC.
    What is known is that Tony Blair increased our contributions in 2007 in return for CAP reform in 2014. This has not been delivered so we are due a total refund.
    No deal is the only answer to the warped minds of the EU.
    All power to you and like minded MPs in your endeavours on our behalf.

  105. Richard
    Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    With the UK’s huge net EU contributions, much of which has been concealed from us Brits, it is hard to understand any “moral obligation” for a further ex-gratia payment.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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