Economic assessments of leaving the EU

I have been sent a few copies of a lobby letter concerning the EU Withdrawal Bill which will have its Report stage in the Commons this week. The letter asks me to vote for an amendment that demands a full official economic assessment before MPs vote on any deal which may be agreed between the UK and the EU.

I see no need for more official  economic forecasts and assessments. There have been many of them, including several official ones prior to the referendum and more official forecasts since the vote. The official UK study – assisted by  the IMF and World Bank – prior to the referendum wrongly forecast falling output, employment and house prices in the year after the vote if we voted Leave. More recent official forecasts of the UK economy estimate continued growth by the UK across the period of our departure, which seems to me to  be more realistic.

The UK growth rate 2019-22 will depend much more on domestic policies pursued, and on the world economic background, than on any particular form of Brexit. If the UK government sets a sensible tax and spending policy, and with the Bank of England allows a reasonable expansion of money and credit, the economy will perform fine. As the world economic background is likely to be expansionary with tax cuts, fiscal stimulus, banking deregulation and more energy coming from the USA, easy money in the Euro area and Japan, and decent growth from the emerging market economies, that too will help.

It is difficult to see how the forecasters of gloom could   believe voting to leave the EU would damage our growth, or why actually leaving will damage our growth. They wrongly thought consumer confidence would collapse, and now have unrealistic views that we will lose trade because the EU will wish to invent ways of stopping their exports to us so they can damage our exports to them. They need to understand that the EU and the UK will remain under WTO rules whatever deal or lack of deal is achieved. These rules and low tariffs or no tariffs outside agriculture have allowed a good expansion of trade in recent years for countries accepting the WTO system.

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  1. Helena
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Non tariff barriers. You really don’t understand them, do you?

    Reply Yes I do. Do you understand the Facilitation of Trade Agreement from the WTO that now binds us and the EU?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      If she knows about it and understands it, JR, then presumably she believes that the EU will simply ignore those international treaty provisions, just as in the past it has often ignored inconvenient provisions in its own EU treaties and is now proposing to ignore a whole raft of such provisions relating to trade.

      This list of relevant EU treaty provisions is not necessarily exhaustive:

      and three of them specifically refer to:

      “the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade”.

      That does not say “tariffs”, or “quotas”, it says “restrictions” in general; which must include the “non tariff barriers” which some Remoaners now fall back on, knowing that in general tariffs are no longer the big issue they once were.

      To be honest the attitudes of some dyed-in-the-wool supporters of the EU stagger me, either they are totally ignorant or they are totally hypocritical.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Most of these ‘non-tarriff barriers’ are in reality disguised protectionism – eg Dyson’s vacuums cleaners which don’t quite meet the EU emissions standards, unlike those of Bosch-Siemens which coincidentally do. Check out Dan Hannan’s excellent analysis of the Australia-NZ FTA, which is based on extensive recognition of equivalent standards. That’s the template we should follow for the EU – and the rest of the world.

      • Chris
        Posted January 17, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Dyson’s vacuums were tested under real life conditions I understand whereas the EU energy ratings tests were performed under lab conditions/hypothetical situations which are not met in “real life” James Dyson wins vacuum cleaners appeal at European Court
        “Sir James Dyson has won his appeal over a case that argues European suction tests favour his competitors’ vacuum cleaners. In 2015, he lost a major legal battle in his bid to prove the tests gave misleading higher efficiency ratings to rivals’ appliances. This successful appeal against that ruling will see the claim sent back to the original EU court for judgement.

        A spokesperson at Dyson said they were “shocked and delighted”. Sir James, a high profile campaigner for Brexit, had previously argued that EU law discriminated in favour of his company’s rivals, which include Germany’s Bosch and Siemens.

        His argument rests on the fact that current EU efficiency tests deceive customers because they are conducted when the appliances are operated in “pristine” conditions in laboratories and do not test them in real conditions, where suction may be lost as the bag fills with dust. Sir James’s appliances are bagless and are sold as cleaners that do not lose suction as they fill up with dust, as do those that use a bag….”

    • Helena
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, John, I do. Imagine that tomorrow France decided the cars we export to them don’t meet French standards. The European Commission would immediately step in to challenge France, and a British car exporter would be able to go straight to the French courts and get an order requiring trade to continue. That is the beauty of the EU single market. Now, imagine the UK has left the EU, and is relying on the WTO. Kindly talk me though how the WTO would help in the event that France did this, and how long it would take.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        A straw man argument. Why would any rational government wish to disadvantage its own consumers in this way? In the unlikely event it happened, the choices would be 1) seek remedies through the WTO process 2) retaliate in kind or 3) (best) ignore such foolish and trivial behaviour.

        I’ve yet to hear any reasoned case against Patrick Minford’s universal declaration of free trade proposal, which seems increasingly attractive.

      • John Soper
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        These seem to be very good questions from Helena. But no answer from Mr Redwood

      • Edward2
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        Simple solution Helena to your very unlikely scenario.
        The UK bans imports of French cars on equally spurious grounds until the French come to their senses.

        • Iso
          Posted January 16, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          Ah a trade war! Brilliant!

          • Edward2
            Posted January 16, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            Not for long.
            Just a response of such a threat would lead to sense to return.
            Bear in mind this was a project fear fantasy scenario by Helena.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted January 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            “A very unlikely scenario”. Really? Look at what’s happening with Bombardier in the USA. 300% tariffs imposed at the beginning of October with no resolution in sight.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink


      It would actually help if you bothered to read the WTO rules on Non tariff Barriers , its on their website and the EU and UK are both signed up to it.

    • acorn
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      The TFA is binding on the UK while we are in the EU. The EU voted as a bloc for all its members, not for each member individually. It is not really a non-tariff barrier; it just cuts some red tape for developing economies, but only when they can afford to implement it.

      Anyway, you have to remember that the muppets that did all the Brexit gloom predictions, are the same mainstream economist muppets that advised George Osborne and his EU equivalent, on the application of neo-liberal austerity, back in 2010.

      All the data now available says the flat-lining, in REAL terms, of the UK economy, is 10% Brexit and 90% George Osborne’s neo-liberal “austerity”. May’s government is continuing the Osborne plan to obtain a budget surplus, early in the next decade. This is the very last thing the UK economy needs now; and absolutely; totally, not needed post Brexit.

      It is not possible for the UK to have a large net import bill and a household (private sector), that wants to spend less to save/ reduce debt; unless, the government “deficit” spends, to fill the fiscal gap and stop the economy from shrinking.

      This government’s Treasury, displays the fact that it has no understanding of how a fiat currency sectoral balance equation works. Even though the guys at ONS have been trying to tell it for some while now. See Figure 3 at

      Assuming Brexit is inevitable, this ain’t the way to do it fiscally! 😉

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        The point is that the TFA is binding on the EU now and will continue to be binding on the EU after the UK has left the EU, and it is no way compatible with the idea of deliberately disrupting trade to punish the UK. But then we know from experience that while the EU claims to be founded on the rule of law it has no scruples about breaching its own treaties, and so it would be no more than another example of EU hypocrisy if it breached the TFA.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:40 pm | Permalink


      Please catch up on WTO|Trade Facilitation Agreement…a very good read!


  2. Mick
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink
    I’m getting a little bit cheesed off with all these bloody traitors to democracy, if they don’t want to start a civil war in this country then they had better back off with there hidden agenda to thwart the will of the people , this is why we need a mass demonstration for leaving the eu so that these traitors and Brussels know the true feeling of the British people to run our country

    • Hope
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      These Tory MPs need to be deselected. Moreover why has May not stopped this nonsense? May is utterly useless and does not represent a conservative vision, value or strategy. Nor does she stand up for them, counter false claims by remainers. In short she has no interest because her aim is to keep the UK in the EU by another name. Lancaster speech to rally her troops, EU Florence speech that she read to change direction and phase one of talks to capitulate to achieve that goal of remaining by another name, while technically left

      Raheem Hassam (Breitbart) needs to be appointed communication officer to the govt. As he pointed out, 38 of the 42 crime indicators for London have now reached double figures with youth homocide increased by 70 percent in the last year. London has the worse record for acid attacks, knife and other serious crime spiralling out of control. Khan has reduced police numbers by 2,000, against his pledge not to do so. Why are the Tories or govt not exposing this? May stood up for him for his wrong condemnation of Trump against Johnson!

    • Peter Wood
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you are correct, the question is why. As Mr. Farage has said, the remainers are making the running on arguments, ably assisted by certain quarters of the MSM and particularly the BBC. So the question for our host is: why has the PM and cabinet not made a concerted effort to make the benefits of Brexit more widely appreciated? The lack of a convincing and broad based argument for Brexit, be it on WTO terms or better, is disturbing to those who voted leave, and obviously causes confusion to those who have less conviction. Our host could contribute greatly to this task.

    • william cox
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree with you Mick ! There were demonstrations in London over the weekend, in favour of Brexit, but our national media news choose not to report, or show them, as they think it’s not what we want to hear, or rather that it does not fit in with their political persuasion.
      An awful lot of talking going on in Brussels that we are not being informed about. We as the governments employers, should be privy to all discussions concerning our exit from the EU, and no decisions should be made without our approval.

    • Prigger
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Mick, I understand you. But so long as these people go to Brussels at their own expense and do so by booking a holiday-day or two from their MP jobs/terms of service, then there is no harm done.
      It should be noted however by their respective electorates that they are keen above and beyond the call of duty. But lacking in requisite knowledge and wisdom in that they should be expected to know in advance their journey and time would be profitless.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      democracy and civil war in one paragraph. Maybe some quiet reflection required?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink


      Being in or out of the EU isn’t as important as you make out to be. I can think of lots of things that are more important. In other words, let’s get our priorities right for the sake of our country’s sanity:

      1. Great sex life with one’s spouse
      2. Happy married life
      3. Great family life in general with one’s parents, children, brothers and sisters
      4. Great social life with lots of good, loyal friends
      5. Getting on well with neighbours and people at work
      6. Job satisfaction
      7. Enjoying all the great wine, beer, food, and entertainment in general as well as gardening and enjoying our amazing natural world
      8. Enjoying all the great arts out there, as well as far-flung places to travel to and enjoy. Mozart. Bach. Shakespeare. Tolstoy —– travelling on a moped through Vietnam or whatever.
      9. A UK where people talk to each other more / more friendly to each other, less crime, less national debt, less vulgar TV, and so on.
      10. A world with less poverty, war, disease and so on.

  3. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Who’s going to be making the official economic assessment?
    Perhaps you should vote Yes on condition that it is you or a team led by you, and attach your CV with a short precis of recent IMF/OBR/Treasury assessment figures compared to your own and actual outcome. Put a link or copy of the figures on this site too please.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Dear Sir Joe–Exactly what I thought, viz if it’s the Treasury doing the assessment how could there possibly be any point given that they have blown their credibility for a generation? Disgraceful that they marched so readily to Osborne’s tune

    • Chewy
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Precisely. It’s easy to see the attraction for Labour and Conservative Remainers in voting for this measure. Use the event of a bad forecast, despite the inaccuracy of so many other such forecasts to water down or thwart a meaningful Brexit. Bet yer any bad news will be treated as gospel by that lot.
      Important who is appointed and what parameters they’re given. For instance it’s no great surprise that Sadiq Khan’s and Nicola Sturgeon’s impact studies painted a picture of doom. What odds could I have got on anything else considering the viewpoints of the architects?

    • eeyore
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      What’s the point? Can you think of an official forecast that hasn’t been wrong? “For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert” (Fort).

  4. Duncan
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    ‘before MPs vote on any deal which may be agreed between the UK and the EU’……This alone guarantees that the UK will never leave the EU in its entirety. If Grieve, his clique and the opposition can defeat the government then you can be damn sure they will defeat the government on any vote regarding a UK-EU deal

    It all reeks of government-opposition collusion. May and Hammond are Europhiles therefore the UK government is Europhile. Grieve’s success to amend the EC Withdrawal Bill to include a clause allowing MP’s a vote on the deal was far too convenient.

    The Grieve victory felt contrived, organised and deliberate. Yes, it was presented as a defeat for the government but I suspect behind closed doors the mathematics were carefully calculated by May-Grieve-Labour-SNP to ensure a victory for Grieve

    And today’s nonsense is just another roadblock to frustrate and exhaust us all

    We have a government and a Parliament that is lacking in dignity, respect for democracy and respect for the will of the people.

    May and her pro-EU allies will circumvent the EU-ref result and prevent a full UK withdrawal from the EU

    • Hope
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      May and the rotten parliament are trying to exhaust the electorate (and electoral democracy) into submission to accept staying in the EU by another name while having technically left to make disingenuous claims to keep in office. far too much emphasis on trade. This theme is being used as a huge distraction, we voted leave in its entirety with or without a trade deal. Certainly not giving way to allow the EU its four pillars of control over us i.e. substantial sums of money, ECJ, Freedom of movement and customs and single market. We voted no to this, May has agreed to continue this under phase one of her talks. May needs to be ousted.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


      At its peril!

  5. Mark B
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    There will be some economic impact as the UK, the EU and the rest of the world readjusts. But most of this i think would be down to the UK not having all the necessary admin and agreements in place in time. This can be put down to the government under CMD not doing its job. If it had done its job we would be in a better position.

    I voted Leave knowing that there would be some economic impact, at least in the short term. There was also, and still remains, a potential for BREXIT to impact me personally. But knowing all this I still would never have, or shall, change my decision to leave the EU. Leaving the EU was never about economics or trade. It is about governance ! The right to have those we ‘elect’ to act for and on our behalf, create, amend and repeal our laws, and hold those same persons to account for at certain periods in the electoral cycle. I do not believe that having some, High Authority or Commission to be in our national interests or, to allow others to set budgets via QMV that the majority would clearly benefit from. The UK leaving has set the, ‘cat amongst the pigeons’ with the likes of certain Swedish MEP’s expressing concerns for the first time, now that they face being a net contributor, at the size of contributions member countries have to pay. Oh the irony 🙂 And only if they gave CMD / Oliver Twist a little bit more than thin gruel 🙂

    I see not point in further muddying the waters, but I think it right that, if the UK is to pay a high price, then the people of the UK must also give their consent. I voted to Leave the EU and become a sovereign nation once more, any deal that does not deliver that is one I do not want !!

    • Hope
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Voting leave was not about trade. Cameron and Osborne, individually and collectively through govt departs told us of the economic gloom if we left. We accepted their view and still voted leave. No one gave May a mandate to are HER terms in phase one of HER talks to keep the UK IN the EU by another name. Her underhanded behaviour needs to be brought to an end. If that means Labour getting in so be it. But I suggest the electorate will vote for the party who guarantees leave. May has made it difficult for the Tory party because she has proven to be untrustworthy.

  6. LenD
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The only problem with WTO rules is that it can take years to settle trade disputes also i believe there is a distinct lack of democracy about its make up and hearings and decisions are taken in secrecy. Fof instance it is well known that the weaker less developed countries do not get the same treatment as the richer ones and as we will be new kid on the block again it might take us years to blow off the dust from those old uk papers filed away there in the Geneva vaults. I doubt government is even working yet at resurrecting our precense at WTO..and most of the younger civil servants will never even of heard of it before. What you’re advocating will be a mou tain to climb.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    “If the UK government sets a sensible tax and spending policy” well that would be very nice but clearly not at all likely with the absurdly and increasing high tax rates and endlessly idiotic complexity from Hammond.

    “They wrongly thought consumer confidence would collapse” – did they really or was this just propaganda from project fear to get their own way?

    Brexit in name only (which is clearly what this government is heading) is not what in needed. We must get fully free of the EU straight jacket. Then we must get a working compass and brain transplant for T May. Then replace P Hammond with someone economically literate, lower (and simplify) tax rates significantly, stop wasting money hand over fist, cut regulation and reduce the size of government.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Britons “want to the keeps European economic model” says Hammond in an interview according the the Times today. They certainly do not unless they are idiotic. The economy needs it like a hole in the head.

      What a dangerous dope this man is. The last thing the UK needs is the one size fits all “European model” of ever higher taxes, ever more government, CAP, the common fishing policy, landfill lunacy, ever more regulation, ever more unemployment, expensive intermittent energy, a single currency and endless government waste – such as HS2, Hinkely C and all the green crap lunacy.

      Replace the 15% stamp duty, landlord and tenant mugger now. The IHT threshold ratter and tax increasing at every turn merchant does huge damage. His failed attacks on the gig economy were hugely damaging, as we saw at the last breathtakingly incompetent election.

      Can we have a sensible conservative chancellor with real some vision please? Kwasi Kwarteng, JR, Rees Moog or similar please.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      If you lower taxes significantly, what spending would you lower as well? Further borrowings are not responsible.

      • Andy
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        He would be the first to object if the service he needs are not there when he needs them.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        HS2, Hinkley C, all the EU payments for nothing, all the “renewables” subsidies and about half of the inefficient and pointless (or damaging) things government does. The state sector is also remunerated (when pensions are included) by about 50%. We should also encourage people to have private health care and charge for the fairly appalling NHS (this rather than making them pay three times over as they have to currently).

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink


      ‘cut regulation’ – the evidence shows that regulation is not necessarily bad. Switzerland and Netherlands have very high regulation and very successful economies.

      ‘reduce the size of government’ – the evidence shows that size of government is not necessarily bad. Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have big governments and very successful economies.

      What the UK needs, i think, is for the government to have a better vision for supporting the high tech industry which provides great jobs / productivity / revenues. And we need to emphasize the importance of work ethic, patriotism and public duty (reflected, in different ways, in the successes which we can see in the Scandinavian countries, Netherlands and Germany (with Germany enjoying much higher productivity than us and exports).

      On which country / countries do you base all your views. You have to have a model, otherwise your commentary is just ideology / wishful thinking. ~

      If we look at:

      – Japan. Japan has very low public sector but relatively low GDP per capita compared to say the Scandinavian countries.
      – USA obviously has a strong economy (and a lot we can learn from it). But it has a woeful social problems. And it relies heavily on its high tech industry for its success (something that we could learn something from and would be great to hear more Conservatives discuss).

      Lastly, don’t forget, most Brits see themselves as Europeans, not Americans or Asians when it comes to culture (in every sense including work). So we would do well to look at, in particular, what Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany are doing well in regards to their strong economies with relatively less social problems than the say the USA.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Odd that the Remoaners are only demanding an economic assessment – why not a sovereignty assessment, an immigration assessment, a security assessment etc. ? All those issues which influenced the vote. Well, we know why.

    Matthew Parris in the Times on Saturday was gloating that the Brexiters have already lost and that we are heading for “the softest of soft” Brexits. He’s probably right. However, if that includes full freedom of movement the consequences may not be to his liking.

    • Andy
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Bring it on. Our Parliament was always sovereignty. Immigration has been a huge benefit to our country. We are less secure out of the EU too.

      Whatever assessment you do Brexit will be worse than what we have no. But who would do these assesssments anyway seeing that Leavers reject experts.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        The same experts who have been proved wrong in their pre referendum predictions on growth levels, exports, domestic retail sales, employment growth and unemployment levels.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted January 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Sovereignty assessment. That’s easy. Nothing will change. Most of us were ignored before Brexit and that will continue after Brexit.

      Nothing will change until the antiquated 19th century model the UK currently uses (68% of votes cast in 2017 did not count for anything in the outcome of the general election) is replaced by one where we all have a voice and where our votes actually matter (and therefore become worth using no matter where you live or who you wish to vote for).

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I see that the tax payer is to fund the failed politician Nick Clegg with £115,000 annual expenses allowance (previously only granted to former Prime Ministers).

    The electorate roundly rejected him and his “wrong on every issue” pro EU, green crap party very conclusively indeed. Yet now voters still have to pay for him it seems. Giving him more time to write books like:- How To Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again) one assumes.

    Make Britain Great (I assume) as an undemocratic, subservient, hugely over taxed and over regulated region of the socialist, declining and profoundly anti-democratic EU. Ruled by EU bureaucrats and EU judges, with no interest in the success of the UK at all. Not even any control of who may or may not live here.

  10. Richard1
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It is certainly the case that what matters for U.K. economic performance in the coming years is the overall world economic outlook and domestic tax, spending and monetary policies. One thing’s for certain: if there is a dark cloud on the horizon for the UK’s it’s the potential election of a Corbyn-McDonnell Labour Government. The reason the world economic outlook is positive, is there are very few counties now which have Corbyn-type governments.

  11. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    That is preferring to make a decision on the basis of intuition to one on the basis of plausible analysis. The only “analysis” that supporets a hard brexit is Minford’s and that one is hardly plausible if one takes the trouble to look at it, rather than the tabloid headlines referring to it. All other ones, including recent and respectable ones from IMF and RAND corp (hardly friends of essentially protectionist (externally, not internally) structures like the EU or USA. In both cases the ask the question: what type of brexit will be chosen? Because the consequences on trade but especially investment, vary. From a political point of view, a wise government in a competitive democracy makes sure that major decisions are at least taken on the basis of facts that are shared. Even if those facts consist of expert analysis. The Americans have a term for this: CYA .

    • mancunius
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Minford’s economic analysis is detailed and not only plausible but credible and extremely convincing. I note you quote not a single word of his to justify your post.
      Roger Bootle is another expert analyst who has concluded that (as long as we ensure basic MRAs are in place) ‘the prospect of trading with the EU under WTO rules should hold no terrors for the EU.’
      Bootle also states that ‘the only really robust strategy for the UK government to pursue is one that requires absolutely no approval whatsoever from the EU.’
      The IMF has irremediably compromised its reputation by financially supporting Greece and other indebted countries of the EU who will never repay their debt, without insisting that Greece leaves the euro and devalues – one of the the IMF’s basic recovery tools – and it did so simply to politically support the EU’s single currency. It has been completely wrong in all its forecasts for the UK’s post-referendum period so far.

      • mancunius
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Sorry:typo correction – the first quotation from Roger Bootle should of course read ‘the prospect of trading with the EU under WTO rules should hold no terrors for the UK.’
        I’d strongly recommend a close reading of the whole of Chapter 6 (‘Negotiating
        Brexit’) of ‘Making a Success of Brexit’ Bootle’s updated (post June 2017) edition of his classic book ‘The Trouble with Europe’. Bootle shows exactly how we can benefit economically from a hard or ‘clean’ Brexit from the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      The most important conclusion is that it doesn’t matter much either way. My guess is that in the long term we might be a bit better off out of the EU, but I am not expecting it to be a bonanza any more than I am expecting it to be a catastrophe. I get tired of repeatedly submitting comments with evidence from a wide variety of sources that the overall economic effects of EU membership have been marginal. Those who strongly want us to stay in the EU for political reasons will just ignore or distort the evidence and carry on grossly exaggerating the economic importance of the EEC/EC/EU as they and their kind have been for more than half a century. Even when I cite what Michel Barnier published in his previous incarnation as EU Commissioner for the Single Market it makes no difference to supporters of the EU, they just ignore it and carry on with their pretence that the UK is desperately dependent on the EU for its prosperity.

    • Prigger
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      “The only “analysis” that supporets a hard brexit”… There are no such things as hard and soft Brexit. These terms nor their unstated meanings if any, were not part of the Referendum Campaign . The options , agreed democratically in Parliament cross-party much before the vote, were Leave or Remain.
      “Analysis” and “support” are inappropriate. British democracy operates in businesses, political and trade union meetings also in even hobby meetings like a town’s photographic society, on non-personnel matters, important, is a majority vote. If that majority is achieved then that is that. The matter is closed, ended, finished, the parrot is dead.

  12. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Our fortunes are connected directly to government policy.
    Whilst we have the ruinous energy policies and flagrant waste of foreign aid, we are unlikely to prosper.
    Add to that Mays full regulatory alignment with Brussels and we will probably sink.
    There are many in government who would love us to fail for having the temerity to vote for leave.

    • Andy
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      Foreign aid helps those with nothing. It treats the sick and stops poor children from dying. You’d prefer it if the little brown kids die? Of course you would, you’re a hard-right Tory. Your wing of the Conservatives has lots all of its humanity – if it ever had any.

      Oh, and for reference, your personal contribution to the UK aid budget is almost certainly less than 50p a week. Despite your irrational, selfish rantings you almost certainly contribute next to nothing.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Err…it was the Conservatives who enshrined overseas aid at 0.7% of GDP as a permanent commitment.
        Happy to help pay towards dictators limos and India’s space programme and pop records being made in Africa.

  13. Prigger
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Economic assessments of leaving the EU. These were done by the Remain Campaign.

    They will be first to agree, surely, that their predictions, assessments were painstakingly thorough. In fact, they had the whole of the civil service exclusively providing the Remain Campaign with assessments which they made to the very best of their ability.
    The BoE and the Treasury and experts in the fields of economics …surely…making assessments using well salt and peppered wisdom??? They are experts!
    So, in the event, we all know they got it wrong. Dreadfully wrong. There you go. The very opposite of their assessments is therefore THE Assessment. Nothing more to add unless they forgot something prior to the Referendum . Did they lose important data on a disc left in a taxi or similar? If not then Remainers should cease wasting everyone’s time . Time is money.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      They did not get it wrong. Brexit did not happen (yet).

      • Prigger
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 12:12 am | Permalink

        They did get it wrong. They said an Emergency Budget would be required on 24th June 2016 if we voted Leave. It did not happen. Then they said “You’ll see, all will collapse before Christmas 2016. It did not happen. Then they said AFTER Christmas. It did not happen. Then in April 2017. it did not happen. Then November 2017. It did not happen. The stock market soars. The Pound is rising. An increase over Christmas of one billion pounds shopping. Do you think people are panic-buying an hoarding food ready for doomsday? I bet you do don’t you!! 🙂

  14. Bert Young
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Economic forecasts from the “experts” so far have been a long way from reality ; it would be foolish to come to any conclusion and subsequently be obliged to vote on them . The two sectors of the economy – services and manufacturing are in good shape and well able to adjust to any potential strain ; there is no sign of a significant disaster on the horizon so I don’t see why one should be planned for.

    I do accept that there are several steps at our fingertips that can – and should be adopted ; a low taxation system is one of them ; sadly Hammond does not seem to want to use this approach . Motivation is the key to any successful business together with experienced and efficient management . The skills and talent that exist in the Public sector should be encouraged to move .

  15. Prigger
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The Remainers behaved somewhat oddly directly after the Leave vote. It was in fact genuine hysteria. In one sense, it was refreshing for the electorate learning that those MPs who lost it from an emotional standpoint did so because they actually truthfully believed in something.

    They should however now wipe their tears and act responsibly. The democratic vote was made. Time wasting assessments hoping to find a straw to clutch onto so as to stop Brexit is childish at best and treasonable at worst. Luckily their genuine hysteria at losing shows they are too young to be considered for hanging or being in any other way responsible for their actions.
    They now are into more hysteria in the form of Russian bogeymen and “asteroids” burning up our atmosphere. An obsession too, typical of hysteria of seeing filth, badness, in some form or another even when all proof points to the opposite in overwhelming proportions. No I’m not joking. They are ill. They really did believe!!!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink


      “They really did believe”……yes, because they were ignorant of the true facts….40+ years of living in a Westminster kindergarten protected political bubble, without real responsibility or authority; creates political paralysis, personal uncertainty and an innate inability to think clearly!….though they all seem to have an innate ability to CYA, so poignantly described by Rien Huizer

      As Drucker said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it!” or perhaps better would be ” if you won’t measure it, you can’t fix it!”

  16. alan jutson
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    You have been asked to sign up to a letter that will simply end up delaying things further, those Mp’s who want such an assessment, clearly are incapable of working out their own figures in their own minds, are are really economically illiterate.
    That in itself is not a problem if it were just a few of them that did not understand economics, as they may well have other talents in other fields.
    What worries me now and in the future, is that so many of our MP’s simply do not seem to have a clue about trade, negotiation, economics or finance at all, and are happy to use existing systems which have given them the wrong answer for decades.

    Perhaps a few more of them should read your daily blog.!

  17. BOF
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I think that the majority of your correspondents are in full agreement with you John. These ‘assessments’ are not for good sound reason, but are all part of the deliberate efforts to weaken or preferably to prevent the UK leaving the EU. All part of the remainer plan by many in Parliament and the Lords.

    First we had Nigel Farage saying we may have to fight another referendum, and I see that Boris has said that we may end up with a deal so bad that it could be better to stay in! I believe that both clearly see the direction of travel and it is a direction I have personally been expecting since Mrs May became PM.

    I do not normally agree with John Humphreys but last week he said, when interviewing Tony Blair, that there could be unrest on the streets(cannot remember the exact words) if Brexit were reversed. This could indeed happen and directly to blame will be the treacherous anti-democrats who have acted against the interests of the country. They will claim otherwise.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Unrest in the streets should be dealt with by the police, regardless of what excuse the perpetrators have. The UK is not a banana republic.

      • anon
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        I disagree – a lot of influential remainers & non elected powers and institutions do not accept Brexit and Leave and hence may yet deliver a gross betrayal of democracy.

        The history of deceit, lack of prior referendums to gain consent, and even recent delays to this day bears witness to the actions of our so called sovereign parliament in a democracy.

        The anti-democratic forces of remain are still strong .If they prevail then economic collapse will be more likely, as many will see no point in voting or working. (e.g. the collapse of communism)

  18. Alan
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    We are about to leave one of the richest free trade areas in the world. That will almost certainly make us poorer than if we had stayed.

    It doesn’t mean we won’t get better off, it just means we won’t be as well off as we could have been if we had stayed.

    Also there will be a loss of political influence, whilst, since our internal market is smaller than the EU’s internal market, we will be offering less to other countries with which we wish to make trade deals and consequently we will make lower profit than if we had stayed in the EU. These effects in turn mean that we will have less ability to make our own decisions – less sovereignty you could say.

    Then there is the damage we have done to the aim of making Europe a rich, peaceful, democratic, and politically influential continent. The world is a bit more likely to be driven by American and Chinese views.

    Mr Redwood is quite right: there is no need for any more economic forecasts to tell us in broad terms what the consequences of Brexit are likely to be. We know Brexit will be damaging. It has already damaged us and others, and it will continue to damage us and others.

    Well, that’s what I think anyway.

    Reply The figures showed no gain from entering the EEC and completing the single market, so why any loss on exit?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      We are about to leave a free trade area with which we have a huge trading deficit – why will that make us poorer ?

    • Alan
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood quotes figures that say there was no gain on entering the EEC and “completing” the single market. I think there are other analyses that do show gains, particularly from the single market.

      The single market is not complete. It has a long way to go and things could have got a lot better for us. Ironically we may get some gains from that even from outside the market, but not as many as if we had stayed in.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      It may be one of the richest free trade areas in the world, but the net flow of money is from us to them. Even so, we are not saying that we want to impede the present two way trade, notwithstanding that overall the balance is in their favour; on the contrary it is your friends in the EU who want to do that for geopolitical, not economic, reasons and in clear contravention of their solemn treaty commitments. I honestly don’t know how you can bear to align yourself so closely with them, have you no shame?

    • Dennis
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Alan : What a greedy outlook and obviously you have no idea where economic wealth fundamentally comes from and what that means.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      JR: it is scientifically impossible to show “no gain’ so that argument is meaningless. But it is possible to show that leaving the single market and EEA will have certain costs while benefits to compensate for the costs are highly uncertain.

      The only credible pro-brexit arguments is that the UK does not want to be part of the political and legal structures that accompany the single market. That is a benefit for which I would not like to pay myself but I would respect others who would, as long as they would not make me pay for their benefit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        You have a weird idea of what is “scientifically” possible and impossible.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


      The EU IS NOT a free trade area its a Customs Union, so we can safely ignore the rest of your post

  19. Doug Out
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    In truth there are quite a few bright Labour MPs. Barry Gardiner for one. But you cannot see him part of any Labour Government with the likes of Corbyn, Thornberry, Abbott and McDonnell.
    Could any European nation’s Foreign Secretary let alone anyone of any party’s President in the Whitehouse hope to speak rationally about Security in the world with any or all of these people?

  20. JimS
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Not only have the economic forecasters been wrong but our MPs have continually voted to pass more control to the EU.

    I am sure most ‘leavers’ voted to repatriate that control so I’m not sure that our MPs are the right people to be approving ‘the deal’!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Dear Jim–Apart from what I see as the baloney about ‘representative democracy’ (justified solely by “that’s the way we do it”) I cannot see what MP’s have got to do with it–There is no reason at all to believe that (most of) our MP’s have exceptional judgement or intelligence–They are voted in for completely different reasons–Once there was no other way but for my money their time should have come–Let’s hear it for more direct democracy

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    You are being deliberately drawn into a quagmire of obfuscation designed to disrupt and delay the process of leaving the EU with the clear intention of ensuring it never happens and that the result of the referendum is rendered meaningless and reversed. The future of our democracy is in the balance and those who wish to destroy it are making the loudest noise.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      You are absolutely right but as far as I know now, the EU as an organisation does not expect the UK to reverse its decision and would certainly not be happy if the UK would stay in after all whilst maintaining its exceptions. The UK lacks the credibility to agree to long term commitments that might antagonize even a small portion of the UK (especially English) electorate.

  22. ian parkinson
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Now that we have the requirement for parliament to vote on the negotiated deal it seems to be very important that there is a very clearly articulated no-deal proposal. If the vote is EU-deal or uncertainty then MPs will be able to claim that they had no choice and an opportunity will have been lost to get MPs to state what future they believe in rather than just complain. Debating and producing such a public plan b seems a much better use of time and resources than an economic analysis which – as always – says more about the choice of inputs than the future.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Labour have stated they will vote against any deal which does not include exactly the same benefits we have now from the Customs Union and Single Market. So that means ANY deal. As a few Tory malcontents will support them then that means the deal will not be approved whatever it is. One interesting question someone should ask Starmer is whether he sees freedom of movement as being a “benefit” of Single Market membership.

      • anon
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        I disagree – a lot of influential remainers & non elected powers and institutions do not accept Brexit and Leave and hence may yet deliver a gross betrayal of democracy.

        The history of deceit, lack of prior referendums to gain consent, and even recent delays to this day bears witness to the actions of our so called sovereign parliament in a democracy.

        The anti-democratic forces of remain are still strong .If they prevail then economic collapse will be more likely, as many will see no point in voting or working. (e.g. the collapse of communism)

  23. Epikouros
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The economic effects of leaving the EU will if we try to measure them before the event will be nothing but speculative guess work. The result of which as we have already been notified; those who compile it who are against leaving it it will be outrageously and highly inaccurately negative. Those who compile it who are for leaving it will show that there will be some disadvantages but considerably more benefits. Not mentioned are what a social assessment would tell us. That is not of course the least bit speculative because freedom from foreign rule and intervention is priceless. So is self determination, sovereignty and control over our own laws, commerce, borders, fisheries, agriculture just to name a few that now Brussels decides not us.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    My longstanding, personal, common sense, economic assessment of leaving the EU is that overall it will have only a marginal effect one way or the other.

    Given that since the mid-1950’s the natural growth rate of the UK economy has averaged about 2.5% a year, without any marked change either when we joined the EEC in 1973 or when the EU internal market was created in 1992:

    I’m inclined to think that a small loss or gain when we leave the EU will not make much difference in the medium to long term.

    To put that another way, I doubt that in January 2030 people in the UK will be looking back and saying with bitter regret that if only they had listened to the wisdom of Sadiq Kahn in January 2018 then they would now be significantly better off, but instead they might have to wait until May 2031 to achieve that higher level of prosperity:

    This is not to say that I am casual about the short term disruption and economic loss which could occur if the actual process of leaving the EU was badly managed, which is why I am prepared to consider devices such as transitional provisions to smooth the process, but not a ridiculous oxymoronic “status quo” or “standstill” transition where nothing changes as proposed by Labour.

  25. FrankW
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    There is more to life and living than trade deals and balance sheets..what about living itself..the ease of life..relationships education etc etc
    .all will be disrupted because of this brexit thing

    Reply Not so. We have no plans to stop family visits, people becoming students here etc!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Any such disruption would originate with the eurocrats not with us, and if you really believe they would be prepared to descend to such depths of viciousness why should you want them to have any hand in the government of your country?

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Frank….Notwithstanding the responses from JR and Denis, there was recently an indication that the EU may demand some sort of travel visa from outside the EU such as the ESTA requirements for the USA, but as both Canada and Australia now have ESTA-type requirements, this is obviously the way the world is going.

    • Len Stanton
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      We? Who is this “we”?

  26. Original Richard
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Having lost the argument on the need for sovereignty the UK’s EU supporters are still “spewing the falsehoods” that leaving the EU would bring dire economic consequences and that by remaining in the EU we could somehow reform it.

    But they forget that 17m+ people still voted to leave despite being told in no uncertain terms by Mr. Cameron, Mr. Osborne, the Governor of the BoE, the CBI, the BBC, the bankers, the corporates, the financiers, the hedge funds, the IMF etc. etc. that we would be poorer if we even just voted to leave. There was even a precise figure given for the additional unemployment which would result immediately.

    Clearly sovereignty and freedom trumps dire economic forecasts.

    Those on the other hand who voted remain in the expectation that we could somehow reform the EU from the inside should have realised by now that this is impossible given the way that both Mr. Cameron before the referendum and Mrs. May after the referendum have been treated by the EU and observing the EU’s new ambitions since we triggered article 50 (further integration and less national sovereignty, EU army, immigration from the Middle East and Africa etc.)

  27. Kenneth
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Looking back, it seems that the Remainers had a campaign ready to go in the event they lost the referendum.

    Duly, the day after the vote they ran on three main themes:

    1. They invented “Hard Brexit” (leaving) and “Soft Brexit” (remaining)
    2. They promoted the idea of “complications”
    3. They continued the theme of economic woes (e.g. today’s lobby letter to Mr Redwood)

    They supplemented this with outlandish stores (which seemed to run on week-long short burst campaigns) on stories such as lost fishing capacity, planes that could not land or filled up Dover lorry parks.

    I’m not sure the quick grab scare stories worked, but the three main themes have been quite successful according to the evidence that I can gather.

    They have had almost continuous lines coming from (i) quangos (usually with some eu funding if you trace it back); (ii) civil service & eu leaks (“BBC learns” stories) and remain MPs (“I voted remain but…”).

    It has been a very polished operation and the BBC has played a large part, promoting the Soft/Hard Brexit, “crashing out” & “complications” comments and almost constant bad vibes over the economy. It has also kept many Leave voices off of the air.

    I would like the PM to call out this froth for what it is in a press conferences dedicated to denouncing this propaganda campaign and citing specific examples where the remainers – including remain mass media – have attempted to push their messages.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      We voted on the Thursday, the outcome became clear on the Friday, and the first application for judicial review was banged in on the Monday. Maybe it would have been the Saturday or the Sunday if the courts had been open.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Kenneth, I agree the Remainers have won the narrative until now and yet they haven’t seen a big swing to them. It is time for the PM to grasp control of the narrative and put it back on good deal or WTO footing.

  28. agricola
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The World is a volatile place , physically and politically. Consequently making future trade forecasts is not an absolute either way. The most important thing is to have a positive attitude to the future of trade, what I would describe as “Can do” rather than what if. Under WTO rules we trade in credit for 67% of our total trade. Only the 43% with the EU is in debit.

    I would ask the EU this. Do you want to disadvantage your surplus of free trade and access to our financial services just to satisfy a political desire to punish the UK. Alternatively do you wish to be grown up and build on the commercial relationship to the advantage of all your citizens. Whatever you decide the UK will thrive, we are great survivors.

    The essence of leave is a return to the UK of it’s sovereignty, so I would emphasise to our negotiating team that I do not wish to see our future trade and financial agreement being conditional. They are not free to give away our maritime borders or fishing rights, the supremacy of UK courts in the UK, the involvement of our armed forces in anything other than NATO in respect of Europe, control of our borders, or any other dilution that the EU may have in mind. By mid 2018 we should know whether we are to get a sensible deal or not. If not , it is an end to talking , reversion to WTO rules and no period of two years compliance with EU jurisdiction.

    • James Snell
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Agricola..truth is that eu politics economic sense in all of this just as with our referendum the public threw caution to the wind and also voted for politics over evonomics

  29. ian wragg
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Why is Barnier talking with Grieve, Sourberry etc. Have they any official standing in the negotiations.
    What do these people have to do to have the whip removed.

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      ian…..apparently they are going along with Umunna plus a couple of other Labour MPs. Shades of when Clarke and Heseltine sat down with Blair waffling on about joining the euro. As Lifelogic might say – wrong about everything!

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I noticed that last Wednesday’s meeting of the Commons committee on International Trade was being broadcast this morning, so I put it on briefly to see Lord Hannay, a former ambassador to both the EU and the UN, whining away that the UK government had not been doing enough to stroke the egos of governments around the world.

    Yes, he acknowledged that the other witness sitting next to him had spent the best part of a year travelling around the world talking to numerous governments about what kind of trading relationship they would like to have with the post-Brexit UK, and how to get a smooth transition etc etc, but in his view that was not enough, it should have been the Prime Minister doing that …

    But of course whatever the government did it would never be enough for Remoaners like him, or the Labour party, or the SNP, or the trolls who are inexplicably allowed to post their eurofederalist rants on this blog, while on the other hand there would never be any response from the Department for Exiting the EU.

    I looked to see whether there had been any rebuttal of his comments, of course as usual that department could not be bothered to defend the official policy which had brought it into being in the first place. When is David Davis going to wake up?

  31. Alison
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning! For all Leave voters I know, the primary reason for leaving the EU was and is sovereignty. By miles. The economy is a secondary matter – although economic health follows sovereignty. Control of borders was and is a big part of sovereignty, of course.

    I strongly agree that there should NOT be an ‘official’? economic assessment ahead of any final vote: there are so many variables and iffy projections underlying and incorporated into such an assessment, and each individual choice – inclusion, exclusion, assumption, projection – will incorporate bias, and we know there will be bias on the remain side. Having such an assessment subtly changes the focus, by providing a ‘solid’ (if sure to be deeply multiply flawed) document, rather than the intangible but core fundamental of the right to govern ourselves (and not the drip drip out of powers to Brussels). This is not about economic forecasts, this is about the ability to run our own country and control our own borders, for the good of our people. The proposal is a cunning ploy to undermine Brexit, whatever shade. We need some ploys of our own in parliament.
    PS I’m increasingly worried that Brexit is being stitched up on multiple fronts. The only blessing is that Brussels’ heart will sink if the pesky Brits stay in, although they desperately want the Brits’ £17bn (rebate gone).
    The composition of the Cabinet is a big problem. Mrs May has been a disaster. The SNP government is bringing out a paper which claims that a ‘hard’ Brexit will cost Scotland £12.7 bn a year – this needs countering, and I will do my bit. But the UK govt is quoted on the Holyrood page saying “A UK Government spokesperson said: “Rather than trying to undermine the result of a democratic referendum, we urge the Scottish government to work with us to ensure, as we leave the EU, we protect the UK’s vital internal market.””Scotland trades four times as much with the rest of the UK as it does with the EU, so it is vital that we ensure that market continues unimpeded.” That’s not very helpful (if not inept), the point is export trade.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      The last time I looked Scotland was being subsidised by the English. Last time I was there Scotland seemed to be completely unaffected by mass immigration.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        Correct anonymous. There is no mass immigration here, no hoards of new homes being built and no crowded roads. Virtually everything to do with health is free and if the BBC is to be believed England has a second rate dental service compared to Wales and Scotland. Yet all I hear the Scots do is moan about their lot. They don’t know they’re born.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Another comment missed for moderation …

  32. Peter
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Now Boris has said he fears a stitch up on Brexit. Too many politicians and civil servants fighting against it.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      So, what’s he going to do about it ?

    • Len Stanton
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      He is trying to avoid blame for his many lies. I did not think anyone would fall for it. You did!

  33. English Pensioner
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    In that most of the economic assessments published in the media both prior to and subsequent to the Brexit vote have been wildly out, what if the point of spending money on further assessments unless there is some reason to believe that there will be some significant improvement in their quality?
    The old joke comes to mind “Astrologers were invented to make economists look good”, although these days, perhaps it should be the other way round.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Yesterday morning Andrew Marr interviewed Emily Thornberry, as I mentioned here:

    and the transcript is now available here:

    On page 3, part of her justification for vilifying the President of the United States even if that risked making him less inclined to agree a favourable trade deal:

    “Thirdly, we have been trading perfectly successfully with the United States for a very long time, they are our biggest trading partner outside the EU without a trading deal anyway.”

    So there we have the new Labour party policy, namely that we don’t actually need any trade deal with the United States to trade “perfectly successfully”, we’ve been doing that “for a very long time” and apparently basic WTO terms are just fine for that, and therefore it doesn’t really matter how much our politicians and others indulge in gratuitous public insults to the current President, but on the other hand it would be catastrophic if we left the EU without any special trade deal.

    I think you should make a note of this, JR, and every time Labour throws David Davis’s foolish “exact same benefits” into your face just throw back these words.

  35. Jason wells
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know what you’re talking about..the UK is never going to leave the will always be connected in one form or another..if things don’t work out now as the technocrats want they will devise some halfway deal to get us through to the next generation when people will be chastened through the experience of trying to leave and probably more enlightened..why would anyone want to leave the richest economic trading bloc on the planet where we have full benefits so that we, the ordinary people, can pretend we have something with whom? Trumps ametica? African countries? The Far East..its all madness..concocted by Boris Gove and Fox to name a’ll always be there so you forget about this WTO nonsense

    Reply We will carry on trading with the EU once we have left! Its not an either or. They are very keen to go on exporting to us

  36. Christine
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m proud the British people have stood firm under the constant bombardment of negativity since the vote. I’m sure the EU thought we would change our minds. Listening to Nigel Farage on the LBC show this week he cleverly teased out of Adonis that the plan is to offer the British people a vote on the final deal. We will have the choice of accepting the deal (which I expect will be very bad) or staying in the EU. As we have already voted to leave, the choice should be to accept the deal or walk away. Our Brexit voices need to be heard now before it’s too late and it’s time for the Leave side to rally the troops and give us some direction. We need to come together to fight this travesty on democracy.

    • anon
      Posted January 16, 2018 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      Without an agreement we exit by default.

      So remainers & allies must therefore frustrate the referendum by ensuring a “fake” agreement and hence a fake leave.

      Its that simple and transparent.

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 16, 2018 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      “We need to come together to fight this travesty on democracy.”

      The REAL travesty on democracy is the fact that 17m people were allowed to decide the future of 65m.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Would you have said that if the vote had gone the other way?

  37. Alte Fritz
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    May we have an impact assessment of what will happen if we remain a member of the EU?

    Given the humiliation which would surround a reversal of the referendum vote, what would be our negotiating position in future? Would we really remain outside the Euro?

    What is the forecast for continued economic problems in Greece and other countries damaged by the Euro? What will be the effect of continued instability in Catalonia? Will the EU continue to make unhelpful inventions in the Ukraine?

    I can still remember the “Jobs for the boys” posters in 1975, so can guess what such an study would say.

  38. Derek Henry
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Bravo John an excellent summary of the situation !

    The UK growth rate 2019-22 will depend much more on domestic policies pursued.

    Nails it. However, if you keep reducing the budget deficit then you are in big, big trouble as the UK sectoral balances shows quite clearly.

    Budget deficit = Private sector suplus.

    Budget surplus = Private sector deficit.

    It’s not rocket science. The days are over that Conservatives can grow an economy built on private debt. Supply side monetarism doesn’t work John.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 16, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      China has a budget surplus yet the private sector is booming.
      Germany has a thriving private sector with a smaller state deficit than the UK

  39. Chris
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    This reported comment by Philip Hammond is appalling and should be immediately be squashed by May, by those in Cabinet and our MPs charged with delivering the Brexit we voted for. Hammond appears to be saying that the results of the referendum have been overruled in favour of a softer approach, using the election result as the justification (the election result was poor for May because she was perceived as dithering, weak, uninspired, not getting on with Brexit as she was really a Remainer, and because of the
    “non Conservative” manifesto, apparently crafted largely by Nick Timothy, which focused on more taxes):
    Britain will keep a ‘European-style’ economy after we leave the EU despite pressure from hardline Brexiteers, says Philip Hammond. “The Chancellor said that ‘WHATEVER THE PEOPLE SAY say’ the election result ‘made it very clear’ the British people want to stick with the current system

    “Philip Hammond told a German newspaper Britain will stick closely with Europe
    It will anger Brexiteers like Boris Johnson who wants UK to diverge from the bloc
    The brewing Cabinet row comes as the Brexit Bill returns to Parliament this week…”

  40. nigel seymour
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    For all the remainer dim wits out there –
    The economy is performing robustly in the face of a Brexit process which is still incomplete. The sooner the negotiations with the EU can be successfully concluded the better in terms of general confidence factors. As I have argued elsewhere, the UK would do well under ‘No Deal’, indeed it would in purely economic terms do better than with a Canada-plus trade deal, in that there would be a quicker movement to free trade and a big gain in our net financial payments to the EU. However what is important is that a united government proceeds to deliver its current clear policy to get agreement with the EU and non-EU trade partners on free trade, with the UK resuming control of its domestic regulations and its borders. That will pave the way for a decade of faster growth. (prof Patrick Minford)

  41. Peter
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Conservative Brexiteers have failed to unseat Mrs. May either through lack of numbers, or fear of change, or lack of resolve.

    May is emboldened and looking to reinforce her position.

    There will be an interminable Brexit process with concession after concession and the UK will end up in the worst position possible.

    All arguments for and against are to a large extent irrelevant. Political clout will determine our fate.

  42. John Dodds
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    If we had a Prime Minister who honestly wanted to win the Brexit battle it would help tremendously.Unfortunately it would appear that we are being led up the garden path ever so gently with the intention of being tricked. All the people who voted to leave the EU will never forget this treachery and the rebellious MPs who helped in the betrayal!

    • Andy
      Posted January 15, 2018 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Alas – the total mess that you are getting is exactly what you voted for. You should have read the small print.

  43. Dennis
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    No one seems to mention that the UK is a ‘developing’ country and somewhat 3rd world in respect of the UK needing foreign aid to keep its economy going by importing foreign workers let alone the enormous debt the UK is in.

    Also one may add that in the UK there are about 50 million too many people. A population of 10 or not more than 15 million would make the UK a sane and pleasant place to live in and rid it of the plague of problems it currently suffers from.

    Any agreement on this? Probably many noes but give reasons.

  44. Richard Butler
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Fellow Brexiteers, we must relentlessly push the following line;

    EU, in collusion with Remainers will offer the worst possible deal in order to blackmail us into remaining, if they know a second referendum is on the horizon.

    As such a further referendum would be completely invalid as extortion would be at play.

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Some German chappie has been allowed onto BBC TV to ridicule the British for supposing that the EU is intent upon giving them a “punishment beating” for wanting to leave the EU, whereupon a europhilic Labour MP on the programme agreed that this was a typically nonsensical europhobic British and especially Brexiteer self-deception.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to go back a couple of years to January 2016, before the EU referendum, when a certain fanatically pro-EU Labour MP, the son of a previous Labour MP and leader who became an EU Commissioner, and whose wife was once the pro-EU Prime Minister of Denmark, first came up with that phrase:

    “Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that a withdrawing state is therefore liable to suffer what would amount to a punishment beating to dissuade others from withdrawing, and that therefore there is no such thing as a soft Brexit?”

  46. Prigger
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I do not recall such “assessments” being made before we entered the Common Market…in 1973. In fact, it is not mentioned….. The vast majority of Remoaners think we did. WORSE Remoaners think we had a Referendum BEFORE we joined the Common Market. WORSE STILL. Remoaners believe, ask them, that in the non-existent Common Market Entry Referendum 1973 that we voted YES.
    Let Remoaners make an assessment of why they mistakenly believe we had that vote to join!!! Then be quiet! We have voted to leave. Full-stop!

  47. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Are you surprised at delaying tactics ?

  48. ChrisS
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    We are rapidly approaching the point of highest risk to Brexit.

    The diehard remainers sense the tide might be turning in their favour if a bad deal is offered. They are mistaken : the worst the deal on offer, the more determined the British people will to turn their back against the EU. If asked, they will vote again for Brexit in larger numbers.

    In the meantime, the heads of agreement following grand coalition talks in Germany shows that both the main parties are seemingly committed to a headlong rush towards full integration although I suspect that the enthusiasm amongst the CDU/CSU and Free Democrats will stop well short of a fiscal union with the inevitable collectivisation of debt that this would entail.

    In the short term we must make sure that Mrs May does not sign up to join any part of their ludicrous EU army project.

    I would go further, if they want the UK to join in with any of one of their proposed military projects and we agree because it meets our own strategic aims, Brussels will need to pay any costs incurred by the UK which are over and above the average amount of money contributed to that operation by each of the 27 member states.

    • anon
      Posted January 16, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      They want to subsidise EU industry via procuring all equipment in the EU using our money and thereby disadvantaging any UK supply chain.
      They will not except for a few countries meet their commitments to Nato at 2% of GDP.

    • Chris
      Posted January 16, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      We are already in far deeper than you realise with the EU army project/defence and have apparently signed up to agreements/cooperation on this project in the last few years, including since the referendum.

  49. mancunius
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    If you look at the funding of most economic forecasters, they receive EU funds, directly or indirectly. They are also endemically as left-leaning as their academic predecessors who in the 1980s wrote to the Times (384 of them) to criticize Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies. And they were all wrong.

    You can bet that any civil service ‘economic forecast’ would be ‘managed’ by the eurofanatic senior bods at the Treasury, and no forecasts would be commissioned from – for example –
    Capital Economics or the Adam Smith Institute – who would not obligingly tell the Treasury what it wants to hear. What is required by Sir Humphrey is the same alarmist language (such as ‘crashing out’) and the same wild pseudo-stats that the Treasury tried on before the Referendum.

    So far, this confirmation bias has not convinced the democratic majority of the people. As somebody of academic background myself, I am thoroughly disgusted with the patronising and sneering contempt with which so many dons treat the democratic process, and question the common sense of the voters – and not just at High Table after a couple of glasses.

  50. David Smith
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    A good deal is great, a no deal is even better just walk away from the E.U. don’t need to say more than this.

  51. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Is this true?

    “… the ONS has just (December) discovered a large error (£3.6 billion) in its estimate of net exports in Q3: on its own, correcting this would add 0.7% to Q3 GDP, nearly tripling the Q3 quarterly growth rate! We await the next revision of Q3 GDP.”

  52. Duncan
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    We don’t believe a word Theresa May says. Those who have followed her career over the years are now informed enough to conclude she will capitulate, give way and sell us out to the EU. She’s Tony Blair in a dress

    May sold her soul to the liberal left years ago and now she’s doing exactly the same thing with Brexit voters

    This woman is a danger to the UK’s independence and a threat to the future of the Tory party

    Our party needs a strong leader to confront the EU and the rise of hard-line socialism under Labour and the unions

  53. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    JR, have you seen this?

    “… the most likely offer to the UK from the EU27 would seem to be free movement of goods and some concessions on services – with the UK formally outside the Single Market and probably the Customs Union too – but with the UK having to continue to accept nearly all the legal and regulatory obligations currently in place. These would almost certainly include substantial annual net contributions to the EU budget, free movement of people, significant jurisdiction by the European Court of Justice, constraints on the UK’s capacity to negotiate trade deals on its own, and continuing membership of both the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.”

    So, remind me, why did we have a referendum, and why during that referendum were we given the unequivocal promise that the government would implement what we decided, and why did Theresa May then loudly proclaim that “Brexit means Brexit” and “No deal would be better than a bad deal”, if in reality she would be willing to capitulate to the EU and accept that kind of rubbish offer?

  54. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Browsing around, as one does, I came across this from February 2017:

    “The EU Single Market: Impact on Member States”

    Firstly I note that there is no mention of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein anywhere in the 136 pages of that report, even though some persist in the fallacy that those countries are members of the EU Single Market, for example only yesterday:

    “Smith said: “I find that slightly puzzling, because it is clearly possible for us to be outside the EU and inside the single market, as is Norway and other countries.””

    Secondly I note that the numbers given for the economic benefit of the EU Single Market are distinctly unimpressive, for example:

    “The resulting estimates show that EU GDP per capita is 1.0% higher than it would have been without an increase in integration since 1995.”

    and they give a figure of 1.3% for the UK.

  55. Volga Reboot Man
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s increasingly hard for TV journalists to keep a straight face when grown MPs in sensible suits and ties appear on TV speaking of Russians planting fake stories on social media in order to interfere and influence the Brexit vote. I wonder how much Moscow is paying these MPs to show themselves up as fools?
    Russians who went over to Poland and subsequently moved into the UK by courtesy of EU law, lived alongside MPs parents, neighbours and played the balalaika ( in truth it was and still is rock music..I can take you to the addresses. Oh I mean this literally!!!!) all night long and had very very noisy drunken vodka parties, could have had more to do with influencing Comrade Briton to vote Brexit than a Twitter tweet one sentence long.
    MPs are expected to have at least one brain cell and be adults! They obviously drink too much!Or, something.

  56. Stevie
    Posted January 15, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink


    It is time for Brexiteers to get back into a Maastricht mindset.
    Patriots remain a minority in the House of Commons. You need to start fighting dirty, for the sake of the future of our country.

  • 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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