Parliament rejects possibility of membership of the single market and customs union again

Those who want the UK to stay in the single market and customs union tried to amend the Queen’s speech in 2017 to require this. They lost by 322 to 101 votes.

They tried again with an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons. They lost again by  322 to 99, by a slightly wider margin.

On each occasion the official Labour position was to abstain, as they seem to be very divided over this matter and unable to make up their minds on a single united view.

Both the official Leave and remain campaigns made it quite clear leaving the EU meant leaving the single market and customs union. The government also pointed this out before the vote, and the EU has consistently stated you cannot be in the single market and customs union whilst refusing freedom of movement and ceasing  to make budget contributions.

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  1. Prigger
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink


    • Hope
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Where in the debate did anybody raise the issue of regulatory alignment and what that means to the U.K. In the future? Are you all hiding something? Is it dishonestly being swept under the carpet like all matters EU previously to the referendum?

      Can we have an open honest debate of whatregualtory alignment means please and if this is keeping the U.K. In the single market and customs union by another name? Why wa it allowed to be agreed and binding before the debate and vote? Does this not make a mockery of what happened and what you are saying?

      • Chris
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Agree Hope.

      • Northerner
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 5:02 am | Permalink

        An excellent point, Hope. In December Mrs May committed to long term regulatory alignment with the EU in order to solve the Irish problem. So we are staying in the single market! But not a peep from Mr Redwood, do you think he did not notice? Detail is not his strong suit

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          No, we will not be staying in the EU Single Market, we will simply be continuing the current position of automatically accepting all EU laws, including the 80% or so which are not actually related to the EU Single Market, for the whole of the UK and its economy, including the 90% or so which has nothing to do with exports to the rest of the EU, for the duration of an oxymoronic “status quo” transition period when nothing will actually change and which period will continue in perpetuity.

          • John O'Leary
            Posted January 20, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            That’s why EFTA/EEA was always going to be the least worst option.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 21, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            It now seems the least worst, or rather the best, option would be not to waste time trying to get any special trade deal.

  2. Prigger
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink


  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    One of the very few points of amusement in yesterday’s debate was Steve Baker’s aside showing up the eurofederalist Streatham Labour MP Chuka Ummuna as dishonest with his repeated false claims that the Single Market was never mentioned in the referendum campaign, Column 960 here:

    “… a rather fetching photograph of the hon. Member for Streatham posing with a remain campaign poster pointing out that the leave campaign had said that we would leave the single market. If any Member wishes to see that, I might tweet it later.”

    He hasn’t but I wish he would, in fact we need a lot to tweets exposing the Remoaner lies as they crop up day by day and hour by hour.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Chuka Umunna

      • mancunius
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 12:41 am | Permalink

        Should be named: ‘Um and Ah’.

    • Jane4brexit
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      If you look up ‘David Cameron !! 28 TIMES !! “Leave Single Market” ( June 2016)’ on youtube it tells us this 28 times during one event, the same fact we were told many other times too including 15th June PMQ’s, it also says as part of the 17th time (at 1.2 minutes in) that “..we have 2 years to negotiate at the end of 2 years you are out and you have to operate under WTO rules.”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Thanks, duly noted. Please keep saying it!

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      That’s funny…what about all the Vote Leave lies??

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Such as?

  4. Mick
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Agree with all you say, a lot of your fellow MPs of all parties kept up the argument that we the public didn’t know what we were voting for because it wasn’t on the ballot paper, what a load of tosh we would have needed a ballot paper the length of the Bayeux Tapestry to have put everything on it, we knew what we were voting for, all households had a leaflet delivered fully setting out mainly a negative outlook to leaving, cannot wait till the next GE so Westminster is full of British loving MPs

    • Mark B
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Good post ! 😀

  5. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    An entirely predictable result and one that will contribute to clarity on the other side as well. That will make Barnier’s task easier: repeat the EU negotiating mandate until the end of the year and then, no transition (at least not one on EU terms and on different terms the Council would not be able to agree, imo) and then, a simple change to the status of third country. Straightforward. Losers within the EU are likely to be compensated while the UK will lack the budgetary space to do the same (without further risk to UK credit rating).

    It may not sound very nice to the UK median voter (who is probably more inclined to remaining than to leaving, but who knows) or to EU idealists who thought the UK was essential to the EU, but I guess that an exit “without a deal” is the optimum result, given the structure of the game.

    • Hun
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      The referendum offered 2 options. A binary decision. there was no option for a ‘median’ response.

      Your attempted sophistry is quite pathetic. Get back to your EU cave.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Dear Rien–How tiring and repetitive listening to this continual drivel about “no deal” or “without a deal”–Try and comprehend that all we want to happen is for us to become like any other country–The clear-thinking way to consider it is in two stages, viz, First, we become arms’ length and, Secondly, once that is established we may or may not be able to agree a dreaded deal, just as any other country would have to. In the unlikely event (unlikely because of the hostility against us) of those two steps being accomplished at once, fine, but if not the sky is not going to fall in. There will be a period of difficulty extricating ourselves of course, but Say not the struggle naught availeth…….Look Westward the land is bright.

    • Ms Minnie Womplet
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Rien Huizer
      It’s funny but I watch American business TV and apart from cheerleading their always “Great” companies they say they are heavily investing in the EU because the EU is on the “up and up”.
      Then I look up individual companies on the different exchanges ..examining performance and the share price charts. France, Germany, Italy, Spain. Not a great many signs of massive amounts of anyone’s money pushing their share prices upward at all. The reverse in fact even Germany. I did buy a few shares in the best ones from Germany and France but they’ve all gone down.
      I don’t know how long America will feel it militarily politic in attempting the support of EU industry against the Russian bear but I bet it is not for much longer.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        American companies are important beneficiaries of the EU’s single market and have made many acquisitions there.

        The reason that for instance, German companies/exchanges show different results may be that their managements are less effective, costs are too high etc.

        There is another reason of course in that US stcok market performance may well be influenced by the prospect of permanently lower taxation on US profits and a more favourable repatriation regime. Finally, if you would look at EU stock prices converted into USD, you would see a much better performance.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      ” Losers within the EU are likely to be compensated ”

      With the EU already facing a big hole in its budget, even bigger as they’ll have sacrificed the chance of any UK payment at all as we leave… Nah, I can’t see the European taxpayers swallowing that. They know it’s not coming out of Juncker’s pocket, but theirs.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        I meant by the national governments in Western Europe and possibly by a special fund for Ireland. It is a bit too early, but a few years ago, farmers in Germany, Benelux and France were compensated (by their national governments) for losses as a result of the post-Crimea Russia boycott. For some countries that was a heavier blow than even the hardest Brexit is likely to be.

        • mancunius
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          “and possibly by a special fund for Ireland”

          And that ‘special fund’ will just be conjured up from where and whom exactly? Not by the ‘national government’ of the Irish Republic – they’re broke.
          And that just as the EU raises its budgetary requirements from the 27 members states. EU surrealist-economics. I look forward to seeing the reaction of the German taxpayers to your ‘Schnapsidee’ that they should pay to dig the Irish Republic out of a hole it dug itself.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted January 21, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

            Just wait and see

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Rien Huizer: The House of Commons vote was an entirely predictable result, but none the less welcome.

      There would little point in Monsieur Barnier repeating his mantra for a whole year. If he does not want a trade deal with the UK, he can say that right now and we can all go home. But I still stick with my original view that a deal between the UK and the EU is likely in the end. It is overwhelmingly in the economic interests of both sides to do one. It would indeed be an economic curiosity if the EU sought to punish UK voters for Brexit by making goods more expensive for EU citizens.

      “Losers within the EU are likely to be compensated…” If there is no deal between the UK and the EU and trade falls as a consequence, there are losers, full stop. In your example, the losses are merely transferred to the people who make the compensation. Remember that in such instances, the EU taxpayer always pays for such ‘losses’.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t use up too much time and energy trying to negotiate a special trade deal which would be of marginal economic value. I have a comment below which for some inexplicable reason first got evaporated altogether and then since being repeated has been left in moderation. Why JR is so reluctant to have it known just how little economic value there is in the EU Single Market on the EU Commission’s own published estimates is beyond me.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 21, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Of course that would be the taxpayers. We are not talking about a lot of money though (except in the case of a no deal affecting the Irish economy). As I said Russia was probably a much more difficult issue, because that was a boycott. No matter how brexit is structured, many agricultural products that the UK imports will have to be sourced and UK farmers have not been very pro-active in competing with their colleagues on the Continent. If it is a matter of price (WTO) maybe UK consumers will lose, foreign farmers or something in between. But I guess that the Commission will allow member states to compensate their farmers. I do not expect EU funding, except, as said, for Ireland. And Ireland is small and special enoygh to make that work.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


      After 60 years of the EU they still haven’t agreed an FTA with China or the USA , the worlds two biggest markets , so who really cares what the EU do or dont do, they are gradually sliding into an oblivion of their own inept making.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 21, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        The US does not have an FTA with China either because the Chinese do not want to accept normal Western requirements. The US/EU agreement is still drifting and unlikely to be resolved. Neither partner wanst to give in and Trump does not want to make a deal anyway, especially since he is questioning NAFTA.

  6. zorro
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    It was, is, and always will be very simple as we said at the time and repeated by both official campaigns and the government in their little leaflet/book…. So why is it that our remainer friends who seem to be terminally Brexitly challenged don’t get this simple notion. Are they a bit daft or just agent saboteurs?

    In any case, as our US ally President might say, they need to get smart and take the many opportunities which will come to us by freeing ourselves from the EU dirigiste straitjacket! Come on ‘weak and wobbly’ you know it makes sense!


    • getahead
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      agents provacateurs peut-être. Mais vous avez raison.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Well let us hope May delivers on this and not just in name.

    Let us also hope that Hammond finally realises that ever higher taxes, every more regulation and retaining the dire “European Model” is the last thing the UK economy needs.

    Corbyn is as usually sitting on the fence over the EU so as to win votes from both sides. Being anti-EU nearly all his life was about the only thing he ever got right. The only thing Corbyn seem sure about is that he has a magic money tree of rich people he can rob, that “profit” is evil and every part of the state sector and everyone claiming benefits (or working for the state) deserves far more of other people’s money as pay, benefits or subsidised housing.

  8. Hope
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Explain to us May’s agreement on regulatory alignment where there is a deal or not? This is remaining in the single market and customs union by another name. Legally and technically having left but stating unequivocally to be bound by and under the control of the EU. Tell and show me I am wrong. This agreed before your debate and vote making it totally irrelevant.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just seen Crispin Blunt MP say “… whilst we were full members of the European Union”, so I take it that in the future we will only be some kind of part or associate member. That is what Brexit will mean, not frightening real Brexit but some partial pretend Brexit … that was after a discussion about PFI in which nobody mentioned that Gordon Brown was keen on pushing as much as possible off the balance sheet because he was trying to prepare us for joining the euro and meet the Maastricht criteria agreed by John Major.

  10. An Asset
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Frankly the SNP comes over as a Nuisance, if you’ll excuse the “SNP” word. Generally they do not seem to give a hang for their constituents in Scotland. Their watchword appears to be “If it moves, condemn it as being anti Scottish” and with a follow-up ” Find a way of saying if Scotland had Independence people wouldn’t get cold if they locked themselves in a fridge”

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      An Asset. Agree, the SNP only know how to impede anything Westminster tries to do even if it would be good for the whole country. They are a laughing stock. Why the Scots keep voting them in I will never know. Ruth Davidson could run rings around the lot of them.

      • rose
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Like the Liberals, they have a beguiling name. I think this counts for a lot with apolitical people.

      • M Criquet Bâton
        Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Scots have never as a whole voted SNP. Nationalism is always a romantic idea. Everyone wishes a concentration of Proudness now and again right down to your own football team winning. The SNP though are just not nationalists are they. Wishing Scotland drowned like a witch on a ducking stool in a river of 27 voices of the EU. It’s bad enough having the one voice of England they might say, and do 🙂

  11. Man of Kent
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    They may have lost the vote on leaving both the single market and Customs union .
    I am sure we will leave both .
    But the shadow of Brexit in name only or ‘Brexitino ‘will loom large .

    If we are shadowing the single market and customs union ,as seems probable, we will have lost much of our competitive advantage .I voted ‘Leave ‘ to give us all a challenge and make the most of our national talents .
    To throw this prize away and keep on in the same old way will be downright deceitful to the electorate .
    Our leadership seem to have adopted state comprehensive school philosophy .
    ‘ We can’t have winners so let’s all be losers ‘

    • Hun
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Public anger is simmering nicely, the politicians will be the only losers if they are not careful.

  12. nigel seymour
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The Labour party want only one thing and that is for TM to call another election. This may well come about sometime in 2018 if brexit falters and the UK electorate change their mind…

    This is the thing that I despise most of all when party politics becomes the headline news and 17.4 m voters are treated with complete and utter contempt. Brexit will by no means be perfect for the UK or the EU but we have to wait and see what the outcome may be.

    Also, a well known MP reportedly fell asleep yesterday and has apologised!!
    He was sitting directly behind Ken Clarke and listening to his same boring and repeated
    comments on his hatred for brexit. A contrived lapse of unable to stay awake me thinks……………..

    On each occasion the official Labour position was to abstain, as they seem to be very divided over this matter and unable to make up their minds on a single united view.

  13. Andy
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    As Justine Greening, rightly, pointed out yesterday it is all an irrelevance anyway.

    The Brexiteer pensioners in Parliament and across the country have, spectacularly, failed to convince younger people about the merits of the Brexit debacle you are imposing on us.

    The other day I met a Brexit voting pensioner who spends 10 months a year living in France. A man outraged at free movement exercising his right to free movement. A man denying his children and grandchildren opportunities open to him. What a hypocrite.

    The sad reality for all of you is that all my generation has to do to undo Brexit is for most of us to outlive most of you. It is a demographic certainty that we mostly will.

    In the meantime the baby boomers – the biggest failure of any generation in human history – can get on with doing what you like. We’ll fix it soon enough anyway and return our country to sense.

    • Hun
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Meaningless anecdotes and casual ageism combined, and the ability to speak for an entire generation. You must be a dreadful bore with no insight.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      It may come as a surprise to you young Andy, that when I was young I moved around Europe and I lived and worked in Europe well before freedom of movement was even thought of.

    • Hope
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      The young will grow up, get wise and understand the lies of remainers. They will be able to make decisions for themselves without being told what to do by unelected EU commissars. Hopefully the young around Europe will also see that it i she better to be friends and not controlled by fanatics.

    • stred
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Even before we joined the common market, British who could pay their way, as pensioners do, chose to live in Europe, as foreigners such as Mozart, Handel (composers) and French painters came to London. There is a road in Nice called the Promenade des Anglais named after the many English tourists. Free movement is not a problem unless mass immigration happens, in which case over supply of population and under supply of houses make things difficult for younger people. Some of them are able to understand this.

      Some, who resent older people having houses which have reached silly prices, which are only of benefit to the Treasury when they can apply Inheritance Tax to almost anyone with a house and no mortgage, say they can’t wait for them to die off. Then they will be able to rejoin the EU properly and enjoy the Euro and being able to join the foreign lead army.

      There is good news this week. The NHS has advised doctors to order the flu vaccine which only works with the older strains and is useless against the very nasty new strain. Those without a GP who ignored this advice will probably catch the nasty flu and a lot will finish up in hospital or dead. The difference in cost between jabs that work and the type that do is about £2. re The Times 18.1.18

      • Stred
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        That don’t. The head of the Public Health England was interviewed today on LBC by Nick Ferrari and avoided the effects of not being able to provide vaccine for the over 65s. He also did not admit that there is about to be an epidemic.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink


      I visited France and many other European Countries before we joined the EU as well as since.

      USA Does not have free movement with the UK, but I have visited there, as well as 30 other Countries around the World.

      So what exactly is your point. ?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        You do not have free movement with the US. What EU (and many other) countries have is “visum free travel” which allows you for tourism or limited business purposes to visit the US, but not to stay there indefinitely or work. Very different from the intra EU arrangements but probably similar to what the UE and UK will have for the future: visum free travel and maybe some mutual privileges as it comes to business travel. Keep in mind also that for visiting the US one needs an ESTA which is not awarded if one has , for instance, visited countries like Iran. Under president Trup immigration (including tourism) is becoming more restricted as you are probably well aware.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      “A man outraged at free movement exercising his right to free movement. A man denying his children and grandchildren opportunities open to him. What a hypocrite”.
      Twaddle! I have been traveling in Europe since the early sixties and have not ever had the slightest constraint on movement. Back then one produced a passport and generally waved through into the next country. There may have been the occasional hiccup with currency exchange and perhaps customs officers questions but, fundamentally, one could travel where one liked without let or hindrance.
      Do you really think that anything has changed since then? Can you travel today without showing a passport? Answer, no, not at all so one might ask, what has changed in having free movement across the EU since then, and now?
      Today and post-Brexit you will be unable to enter Europe from the UK without a valid a passport and maybe also undergo a customs and/or security check on what you are carrying. So explain to us how Brexit is depriving our descendants of their ability to travel throughout Europe?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        If you are entering the Schengen area you need a passport or equivalent travel document. Once inside Schengen you are treated like a resident in those countries. As a EU citizen you are allowed to settle and work in other EU countries (in principle, there may be some red tape, but you do have the right). That is very different from just travel for tourism, family visits or business. In all likelyhood the right to settle in the EU will go (third country) for UK citizens, unless they have a specific permit to do so. The UK is expected to do the same. It is likely that post exit (and assuming a negotiated rather than a fully hostile exit some of the people on this form might prefer) existing residency will be grandfathered and that there will be schemes on both sides to facilitate work and residency for qualified UK or Eu as the case may be, citizens.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          Back in the 1960’s one of my sisters nearly married a Swiss chap who came to work at the same printing firm, presumably on a work permit which the management had arranged. For several years he was in and out of our house just like the other boyfriends and girlfriends. Maybe it made a difference to my parents’ attitude towards him that he came from a neutral country rather than an Axis power … it came to an end after she went to visit his parents and realised during her stay that the Swiss were a bit backward in their treatment of women.

    • Andy
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I use to live in Greece, a country the EU has had a huge hand in ruining, long before Greece was a member of the EEC/EU. But of course according to you that cannot be.

    • No Brexit Tears
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Andy: Ah! The arrogant know it all bravado of “yoof”.

      The trouble with your argument, is that by the time the demographic situation has changed to reflect a substantially smaller percentage of older voters who had a majority wishing to leave the EU, the younger voters who mostly voted to remain will themselves be older.

      As they grow older, one hopes that they will also grow wiser and recognise that after a short term reversal from leaving, hopefully on WTO terms, we will then be forging ahead economically, and most will wonder why we didn’t do it much sooner.

      When I was probably the age you are now, I was idealistically open to the brave new future that joining the Common Market would bring us. Be aware that what the EU is now, might not be what it will be in 10 year’s time; it might not even exist as the EU then anyway.

    • NickC
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Andy, The pivot point for age in the Referendum was between 40 and 45. You are factually incorrect, not to say rather wild, in ascribing the Leave vote to “pensioners”.

      The other day I met a Remain voter (actually when I was out canvassing) who said he would vote Remain so as to “not rock the boat”. Such a trivial and selfish reason is the reality behind your vehemence.

      The biggest problem is that, whilst it has taken the older generation 30 or more years to get a vote on whether our politicians have the right to sell out our country, those establishment politicians are now busy selling out our Leave vote too.

      The biggest failure of the older generation is to have spoon fed the young so much that when the EU comes calling with its comfort blankets, the young fall for it.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Actually that is quite close to my main reason for voting to stay in the EEC in 1975, namely that we had only just joined and it would be a bit rude, shall we say, to then turn straight round and tell the other countries that we’d changed our minds. However I simply didn’t understand what was planned, and for some reason I had the false idea that there would be other opportunities to decide whether we still wanted to stay in it.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


      I lived and worked in France quite happily in 1971, I am just in the process of buying both a business and house in France now. What has being in the EU got to do with it? It has always been possible to settle in other countries, you just have to be able to fill out the forms….. oh I see you’re problem, the yoof can’t read and write properly… Lucky France then

  14. Bert Young
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I watched the proceedings including the subsequent votes . I was delighted with the outcome and breathed a sigh of relief . It has now gone to the unelected Lords who will no doubt endeavour to cause disruption . The likes of Heseltine will have a field day ; I sincerely trust that we are going to witness the end of this part of our decision process .

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    This seems to have gone missing, which is a pity because people need to understand how little the EU Single Market is actually worth to us …

    I said quite a lot about this earlier:

    and I don’t want to repeat too much of it, but I will come back to the point that there are people who will use their time and energy to rake up muck about their political opponents when they could be looking to see what the EU Commission itself says about the EU Single Market, or EU Internal Market as the EU also likes to call it.

    I think we can assume that the EU Commission will always want to put the best gloss on the alleged economic benefits of their precious EU Single Market, but in their reports and speeches they keep coming up with numbers which when viewed in a correct perspective mean that the overall benefits are marginal, and may even in fact be disbenefits.

    I keep highlighting these statements from Commissioners, including Michel Barnier in his previous incarnation as Commissioner with responsibility for the Internal Market:

    but it seems the point just will not sink in, it is too hard for Remoaner brains to grasp.

    Even when I highlight the claims which are currently on the EU Commission website for all to see if they care to look, and if they then care to look up a couple of ancillary facts and do a couple of simple sums to provide proper context:

    it is still too difficult for them to understand, poor things.

    Or maybe some of them do know the truth, but they are prepared to ignore it as they have done for decades and continue with their habitual gross exaggerations about the extent to which our prosperity depends upon trade with the rest of the EU.

    And there are other studies which lead to the same conclusions that the overall economic effects of the EU Single Market have been marginal, 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.

    Why on earth should a sovereign country with a long term trend rate of natural economic growth of about 2.5% a year ever wish to subjugate itself to other countries just for the sake of a one-off increase in GDP of maybe 1% or 2% at most?

    That is a pathetically small mess of pottage to get in exchange for our birthright; indeed that is just what I thought twenty-odd years ago when I was casually reading about the European Union in Whitaker’s Almanack and my eye lighted upon this sentence:

    “The Single Market is expected to result in at least a 5 per cent increase in the collective GDP of EC member states.”

    And that was long before I found out that the expected one-off increase of 5% had not materialised, and it was more like 2%, or maybe only 1% …

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Still missed for moderation …

  16. Martin
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    So how is that new runway at Heathrow coming on?

    Perhaps you should have amended the Brexit bill to make airport extensions exempt so all those aircraft can fly far away!

  17. MickN
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Here are a couple of verses from a poem called “The Foxes Prophecy” a decades old poem. No one is sure who the author was but much of it seems very close to what we have today. Google it to read it in full:

    The footstep of the invader
    Then England’s shore shall know,
    While home­bred traitors give the hand
    To England’s every foe.

    ‘Disarmed, before the foreigner,
    The knee shall humbly bend,
    And yield the treasures that she lacked
    The wisdom to defend.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink


  18. Blue and Gold
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    The only place for a modern , forward thinking UK is within the EU. The vast majority of MPs know it.

    Just because people who have little or no interest in politics, business, economics or culture voted to leave, is not a reason to go ahead with this madness.

    We on the Remain side will keep fighting. This is not over.

    • David Price
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      “keep fighting”

      Don’t over romaticise yourself, all the Remains have done and do is hurl insults and strive to disrupt a democratic process and decision.

      You had so many opportunities to work with the electorate and guide the EU on a meaningful path with tangible benefits for our people, instead you squandered the opportunity and still are.

      • Blue and Gold
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        …and all you misguided vote leavers do is hurl insults.

        This country is permanently divided. There must never be any coming together.

        It time all the old fogeys who voted leave will have shuffled off and we can get our country back to where it must be, in a Federal Europe.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Odd that you want to surrender your freedom and independence to a Federal Europe for such tiny advantage.
          Why would you want to be ruled by others far away?

        • Original Richard
          Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          “In time all the old fogeys who voted leave will have shuffled off and we can get our country back to where it must be, in a Federal Europe.”

          Firstly it is simply not true that all young people do not wish to leave the EU, just a majority.

          Secondly, all young people get both older and wiser.

          The argument that today’s young people will always remain EU supporters is false as can be shown by the fact that whilst a majority of people will vote Labour in their youth, many change to vote for the Conservatives as they get older and wiser.

          If this were not the case then there would simply be no Conservative Party, let alone one that received the most votes in the last GE.

          So as all the old fogeys who voted leave shuffle off their votes to leave the EU will be replaced by those of a following generation who will have realised not only the benefits of sovereignty but also learned how much we are being fleeced by the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 20, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          At least you are being honest about what you want, which most of the active EU supporters take care to conceal.

    • OhDannyBoy
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Just because people who have little or no interest in politics, business, economics or culture voted to remain, is not a reason to consider staying in this madness.

  19. acorn
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    “don’t blame me I’m only a customer” says a supposed, Prime Minister of the sovereign nation known as the United Kingdom.

    This is a laissez faire, neo-liberal, Conservative Party Prime Minister, who is continuing its two centuries out of date ideology; whose mission is to delegate the whole of the UK’s social economy, to private sector, transnational corporations. She is truly a disciple of Thatcher, who was adamant that there is no such thing as society.

    One day, we may have a government that knows that it is the boss and it has total control over the private sector. That knows that the private sector is its personal tool box, that can be directed, with fiscal policy at least, to build the society that the citizens voted for.

    Once the public sector requirements are catered for, the private sector can be allowed to do what it likes, within the boundaries set for it by its public sector boss. There is no “financial market” that can have any influence on a sovereign currency issuing state. If you are dumb enough to be using someone else’s currency, like the Euro area states using the German Euro, then you only have yourselves to blame. The Greeks can tell you how much pain that can cause.

    The UK Conservative Party is not compatible with any form of Brexit.

  20. Mark B
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Good evening.

    Can we now have clarity as to the meaning of; Regulatory Covergence and an amendment that it in no way impact on the sovereignty of the UK once we have left the EU ?

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m staggered by the dishonesty of this graph which appeared in the FT before Christmas in an article entitled “The real price of Brexit begins to emerge”:

    The supposed “price” being calculated by subtracting GDP growth since the referendum from the GDP growth which would have occurred since the referendum if the growth rate had matched the average growth rate between 1955 and 2016.

    The obvious problem being that the GDP growth rate was already below that long term average, which is about 2.5% a year, before the referendum, having started to decline in the summer of 2015, as can be seen on this other chart:

    and there is no clear evidence that the referendum has had any significant effect.

    Yet the unelected legislator-for-life Lord Adonis has been perfectly happy to refer back to that dishonest – not just technically flawed, but actually dishonest – study as one reason why there should be another referendum:

    “The costs of Brexit have become apparent, with research suggesting that the value of Britain’s output is now around 0.9% lower than was possible if the country had voted to stay in the EU, which equates to almost exactly £350m a week lost to the British economy – an irony not lost on those who backed leave because of the claim made on the side of the infamous bus.”

    I wish I could say that I expect a vigorous refutation of this deceitful nonsense by David Davis’s department, but of course I have no such expectation.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      For once you have Plausibility on your side.

  22. Prigger
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I am glad Torak the wolf has been recaptured in Berkshire. Twelve years old. He never had a even an unfair trial before being put in the slammer for life.I’m sure he will feel sad getting back with humans even though he can only regard all of them as his pack leaders, and pretty mean.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 1:35 am | Permalink

      Free the Berkshire One!

  23. Jonp
    Posted January 18, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to know what’s going on..we are to leave the SM and the seems we want to cut ourselves off completely..well then what is the point in having any discussion at all with the EU about transition periods..all we have to do is wait until 30th march 2019 and we’ll be out..we are not going to get any kind of a deal that we want and their’s going to be a lot of head scratching and soul searching over the next couple of months when the EU turns the screws.. All talk about shadowing them so that we can have some kind of bespoke deal for our financial services etc etc is all pie in the has been said loud and clear by the EU side they have their four fundemental freedoms that they are not going to see compromised and we are not going to match up in any that’s it then for this generation

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      For God’s sake, there are 160-0dd countries around the world which are not in the EU Customs Union and/or the EU Single Market, are they all cut off completely?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 19, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      You are obviously not an employee of a multinational company thay chose the UK as a production location for exports to the EU specifically.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 19, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink


        Please provide a list of production companies who reside in the UK in order to sell their goods to the EU

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted January 21, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Ask the CBI or the Japanese Chamber of Commerce

  • 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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