EU negotiations

There may be EU negotiations for most or even all of this year. Those who want me to write about this and nothing else for the rest of the year will be disappointed. I have not written about them recently as there were no formal negotiations underway over the Christmas and New Year period. The next  big event will be the March EU Council.

Some of you think I am not writing about it because I have changed my mind of what we should offer and how we should proceed. Let me assure you that is not the case. I remain strongly of the view that whilst the government would like a comprehensive free trade deal  the base case is leaving with the WTO option for trade with the rest of the EU, just as we do with the rest of the world today. This option would mean no extra payments to the EU. It means we would take back control of our laws, our borders and our trade negotiations from March 30 2019. I am happy for the government to go on negotiating to see if it can produce a better outcome than this. If it does then that is good news. If it does not, then under the government’s  rubric that no deal is better than bad deal it should politely decline the EU offer.

I do not see the need for any additional transitional period after March 2019 if we are simply leaving. I  read that we can be ready for trade under WTO rules by March 2019 if that is what happens. As the PM has said, if we do secure a better deal then there  might be some need for a variable implementation period for parts of that deal which can be settled when we know the deal. What we should want to avoid is negotiating a 2 year further transitional period after March 2019 which turns into a prolonged negotiation again. I don’t see how it is more likely we can do a good deal in 2020 if we have been unable to secure one in 2o17  and 2018. To try would simply extend the uncertainty further which  is a bad idea.

Time will tell what the government  wish to recommend. We do know that the government agrees we will not remain in the single market or customs union, that we do need to end the uncertainty as soon as possible, and that no deal is better than a bad deal. They also agree that we need to take back control of our borders and our laws and need to be able to enter our own new trade agreements on leaving. We also know that they have indicated money will be paid in addition to our contributions up to leaving date. They will need to show that they are getting something for such a generous offer. Any deal they accept will need primary legislation to go through both Houses of Parliament to provide the authority to implement it.

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  1. Lifelogic.
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    I agree fully.

    No deal is far better than a very bad deal, but it does look as though May, Hammond and the civil service are deliberately aiming for a very bad deal indeed.

    The voting on Juliet Samuel’s article yesterday in the Telegraph indicated that 80% of readers who voted thought May should go. If she cannot get a new compass and some positive, real Tory, low tax vision then she and Hammond certainly should go.

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed, I agree JR’s position is clear and I am sure that he would announce it here if it was going to change. The question is how it will be independently judged as a ‘better deal’ than ‘no deal’ in a way that the British public will accept, AND if we get a horlicks recommended by T May which is far worse than ‘no deal’ and ties us to EU regulations …. whate are you, JR, and your compadres going to do about it?


      • graham1946
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        There’s not much they can do. No-one wants top take it on now. It has been so badly handled that any PM will have to take the blame when it all goes wrong. She is in the last chance saloon career-wise, there is nowhere else for her to go, so it is obvious that she will be the one to be sacrificed. Just a shame that the future of the country and Brexit is less important than any politician’s career. She is safe in her job because of incompetence and lack of talent which in normal times would mean a swift exit. We are stuffed.

      • getahead
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        zorro, your comment somehow reminds me of Cameron’s abortive attempt to get some changes to EU operations. He came back with some trivial changes to announce he had succeeded in his quest to “reform” the EU.
        Did he really believe he had achieved significant changes or was he merely trying to pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes?
        Would Theresa May after negotiating a crappy deal try to tell us it is really a good deal? Cameron’s performance shows that it won’t work.

        • Hope
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          She already has. Phase one was a totally bad deal, she claimed otherwise, remainers echoed support for the disaster she came back with. She is now on a campaign to silence Johnson or anyone who promotes Brexit. She wants to incrementally feed the public of remaining in ten Eau by another name. It was revealed Davis was not present when Robins negotiated wi Barnier in December! How can that be!

    • Hope
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Your bloggers want to discuss key policy issues that should be conservative in nature, they are not. Your last two blogs were about a hypothetical comment that I suspect Johnson was not serious about. It only served to help May thwart and/or deride Johnson. better to have leavers in charge than May.

      No you are wrong. May has agreed to stay in the EU under its control in phase one of her talks whether there is a deal or not. You consistently fail to address this point. May never corrects or shuts down Hammond or his likes for speaking against govt policy.

      It is not a transition she is proposing it is a full blown extension. That means uncertainty and being hamstrung to make our own way in the world. You cannot have full regulatory alignment and claim to be out of the EU. Allowing ECJ to remain for any period is staying in, paying vast sums of money for undisclosed commitment over undisclosed period of time is staying in. Allowing freedom of movement to all EU citizen family members and a sham registration scheme is staying in. Her agreement appears ultra vires and without legal authority form the Supreme Court or parliament, she made the binding deal before parliament debated or voted which was the purpose of the Miller case was it not?

      The MP traitors have already shown you do not have the votes to stop handing over vast amounts of money to the EU in the remaining parliament that May is using to get HER Brexit as Hunt puts it. On key issues the govt lost the vote, or as I I and many others suspect it gave the impression it appeared to do so.

      Phase one already crossed the line of no deal is better than a bad deal. May capitulated, to sure what Davis has done in the past year or what purpose Fox has in his role.

      Cameron introduced a happy index, May introduced a loneliness minister. Could we have a happy minister, a fat minister, a thin minister, better still could we have a white male heterosexual minister as everyone is picking on us and it makes me feel sad! I got an idea cut public sector and pay for bureaucrats and use the money for front line staff.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Mrs May has been proven to have very bad judgement and such as that is not going to change–She is not going to wake up one day and say to herself, Today I am going to start exercising good judgement, it doesn’t work like that, it’s more a question of (lack of) capability. I have no idea why she is where she is.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        She is where she is because she was the “real government”s choice for leader/PM and she will remain their choice to lead into the next election,simply because she is so useless.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        It is difficult to see how someone who thinks you go into elections with a punishment budget and a promise on hunting is really in touch or up to the job. (and I am pro hunting and pro grammar schools but neither was every very likely to happen).

        Does she really think that gender pay reporting, yet more religious schools, HS2, Hinkley C, a war on plastic, endless green crap, attacks on the gig economy, a criminal justice system (that has all but thrown in the towel) and a tax borrow & waste chancellor are a good plan. Either for the economy or for the next election.

        No idea why on earth we ended up with the dire Major, Bliar, Brown and Cameron either.

        Cast Iron, “I am a low tax at heart (but never in action) Conservative” Cameron was perhaps the best of these and he was appalling. Essentially a gift of the gab, dishonest, second hand car dealer type.

        Though he did (through his incompetence) get us a leave vote – thank goodness.

      • Hope
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Not just bad judgement, but underhand. The DUP caught her out and she now needs to regularly update them. May was also the policy lead under Cameron to reduce immunity gration tontens if thousands. Osborne has since claimed no one was serious in private. May has repeated to reduce to tens of thousands while her current HS sent an open letter to EU citizens stating their families are welcome! Potentially 20 million people! Before any new immigration policy and before negotiations are complete with he EU. I do not believe May or trust her one jot. She has an appalling record and should never have been allowed to run for PM. On performance not even a cabinet job. Useless and untrustworthy.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Mrs May HAS a compass. It is firmly pointed at Brussels – where she hopes to be sat, at the top EU table, in her new job. The job that ( she believes ) will be her reward for selling this whole country and nation to oblivion. Even I say she’s doing a damn good job of that so far.

      • getahead
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        What you say bigneil implies that she works with a purpose. I think not.
        I believe she does as she is told by Hammond who does as he is told by the CBI and their associates. Not to mention a recalcitrant civil service.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 4:20 am | Permalink

          I assume the CBI does at it is told by the EU. They certainly seem to.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Where’s the EVIDENCE that ‘low taxation’ is necessarily beneficial in the long-term?

      You might gain, short-term, by low tax, but in the long-term, pay more when low spending / investment leads to social problems as well as a decline in the economy and your assets are worth less.

      I want low taxation, but as an aspiration, and when it is practically possible, not as a matter of ideology.

      • NickC
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Ed, Adenauer.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Adenauer was responsible for ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ the “economic miracle’ of Germany. As well as achieving democracy, stability and international respect after the tragic disaster of Nazi Germany.

          Just as Adenauer was the great Catholic antidote to Nazism, so Pope John Paul II was the great antidote to Communism, playing a key role in the fall of Communism in Poland and Eastern Europe.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Where’s the EVIDENCE that ‘low taxation’ is necessarily beneficial in the long-term?

        Everywhere it has ever been tried!

        Governments, almost invariably, spend other people’s money hugely inefficiently.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink


          ‘Everywhere it has ever been tried!’

          – Sorry, clutching straws.

          Relatively low taxation / relatively high public spending and relatively high GDP per capita: Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
          Relatively low public spending and relatively low GDP per capita: Japan and S Korea.

          ‘Governments, almost invariably, spend other people’s money hugely inefficiently’

          – Sorry, cliche.

          The Israeli government creatively set up a $100 million public hedge fund in 1990 and Tel Aviv is now richly reaping the rewards as a key hub in the world for the high tech industry. Private investors weren’t interested in taking the initial risk. It needed public money to sew the seeds for future private investment.

          • NickC
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Ed, It is your statism that is clutching at straws. Whilst in the UK Tony Benn was extolling his white hot technological revolution and using state money forcibly taken from taxpayers to create British Leyland, in the USA private money and effort were creating Microsoft and Intel. For every example of the state getting it right somewhere around the world there are many more examples of the state getting it wrong.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink


            Tony Benn – completely irrelevant! He was Labour, not a Conservative. And not a businessman. I’m a Conservative and a businessman or business background.

            With Conservatives in power, and hopefully someone with some business experience/acumen, he/she should be making intelligent investments with public money, like the Israeli government did so brilliantly in 1990, turning Tel Aviv into one of the world’s leading high tech hubs.

            Often you need public money to sew the seeds for future private investments. Often, private companies are interested in the initial investments for various complicated reasons.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink


            Socialists throw money about.
            Wise capitalists, on the other hand, invest cautiously but creatively – whether with private or public money. And you need a mix of both owing to the different types and levels of opportunity/enterprise – for example, a company might choose to invest in Ireland over, a particular part of the UK, because the Irish gov wisely invested well in certain technical skills in its youth over the years, where as a particular part of the UK hasn’t so much. And/or (more concrete example) a company chooses to invest in Tel Aviv over some particular part of the UK as the Israeli gov set up a public hedge fund in 1990 to sew the seeds of the high tech industry in Tel Aviv – completely different to Tony Benn and socialists throwing money about.

      • getahead
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        I think there is good evidence that the government wastes money. Therefore the less it has, has to be beneficial to the country.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Which government? Labour. I agree.

          Conservatives. I don’t agree so much. Or at least, if you are right, then the Tories need to work really hard to get more people from business becoming MPs .

          As lots of people will tell you from the private sector, lots of people in the private sector are far from perfect as well (both in the investments they make as well as the businesses they run in general – and they certainly welcome public investments to make it easier to follow on with private investments).

      • Richard1
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland. See also countries which have reduced taxes significantly – the U.K. in the 80s, Sweden, etc. The examples are legion.

    • Peter
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      I can fully understand Mr.Redwood not wishing to write about Brexit every single day – especially during periods when there is little new to comment on.

      He is mostly preaching to the converted anyway.

      Rather than looking on this site as some sort of relief valve, they would be better employed trying to do something to ensure Brexit does take place.

      Arguments for and against will have little impact now anyway. Political power will carry the day.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,
    Thank you for confirming your position and a short summery of how you see the government’s position. There are however indications that make many nervous of the way negotiations are being handled by Mrs May. The most obvious being the way the PM stepped in last December to produce merely a “Report on Progress”, or was it an agreement. There is the appearance of mishandling, lack of planning and preparedness and willingness to ‘give in’ that is disheartening. We need a leader with convictions and a plan, and the character to stand up and fight for it and our future.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      PS, may I suggest a topic; the re-generation of the UK fishing industry and how we will protect and manage UK territorial waters. (suggest accelerated depreciation allowances for fishing vessels)

      • FrankW
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Peter Wood..territorial waters are not the same as fishing waters..we shouldn’t me mixing up the two

      • David Price
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        not just “territorial waters” but protect and manage the UK Exclusive Economic Zone.

        • Roger
          Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

          David price..there is no UK exclusive economic zone only an EU exclusive economic zone??..think i’m right in saying this?

      • Mark B
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink


    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      And her recent weaselly words about how she would vote if there was a referendum now….. Has she no shame?


      • James Matthews
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        None at all.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Agree – I just to not trust Mrs May and have the feeling that something is going on behind closed doors – that’s happens but there do not seem to be the people around that will stand up to her and ask the questions.

      • Timaction
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        There will be considerable trouble if Ms May and her cronies decide on some underhanded, despicable, disingenuous or treacherous deal to keep us in the EU in any form or pay it huge allowances for trade deficits, or under its laws. Only those who export goods or services within the EU need to comply with its rules!
        Her record to date as Home Secretary then Prime Minister forced on us by the Tory party, is appalling. How she or the Tory party can consider it reasonable to have any remoaners anywhere near the levers of power after our referendum is outrageous. We’ve had that vote, they lost, should have resigned if they had honour to some other role or career. They had their say, now its our turn with the return our laws, borders, and sovereignty back to the control of the people of Britain.
        Why do I feel like a back seat driver with someone at the controls (May) with no skills or expertise in how to take us forward?

      • getahead
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        All part of the scheme, major. Carefully chosen sycophants.

    • R.T.G.
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      @ Peter Wood
      “There are however indications that make many nervous of the way negotiations are being handled…”
      An e-petition to leave the EU immediately, sumitted last September, and probably born out of frustration and cynicism due to the way negotiations then appeared to be proceeding, together with mistrust of EU intentions, was debated in Westminster Hall yesterday. The transcript is available at
      or by viewing Parliament TV.
      Interesting opening speech by Paul Scully, Member of Petitions Committee, and closing speeches (from 6.41pm) by Suella Fernandes, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Department for Exiting the European Union, and Paul Scully. Andrew Bowie also shone.

  3. formula57
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “Time will tell what the government wish to recommend.” – indeed so and we shall see whether or not spending a net c.£40 billion whilst dithering for 9 months (contrary to Mr. Cameron’s assertions) and then complying with the Article 50 timetable was at all worthwhile.

    But whatever we then see, it is a near certainty that very few if any will be happy with whatever deal the government reveals and even the few may change their mind when they hear from the quislings on the one hand and the aggrieved, betrayed extreme Brexiteers on the other. T. May will have to perform a final service by taking the blame as she exits with what grace she can muster.

    • getahead
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      “extreme Brexiteers”.
      Definition, those who voted in the referendum to leave the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Formula57, What on earth do you mean by “extreme Brexiteers”? We voted by a majority in a legal Referendum provided by our Parliament, to Leave the EU. Not stay in bits of the EU as chosen by Remains. Nor stay under the EU’s control in any way. Leave, as in go, as in exit, as in become independent of the EU. As independent as the rest of the world’s countries. You may not understand that, or accept it, but your ignorance gives you no right to impose upon us.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink


        Are we getting a bit too hot under the collar and personal as well, relax?

        • Hope
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          Well said Nick c you are quite right.

  4. Duncan
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    None of this transitional nonsense would be happening if Tory MP’s had voted for a leader who believed in Brexit. The question is WHY did Tory MP’s vote for Theresa May to lead our party? You know she was a Europhile.

    We are aggrieved at attempts by this PM, your leader, to use transitional arrangements to prevent full Brexit. We know what her strategy is and we don’t appreciate being treated like idiots

    Stop treating people like idiots especially your own party’s supporters (like me) and start acting like a party that embraces UK sovereignty and a non-EU future. Start acting like a party that will defend this nation’s values, its heritage, its freedoms. Start confronting the Marxist threat with anger and aggression

    Oh, and stop APOLOGISING.

    I want to see radicalism in response to Labour’s radicalism. if Labour achieve power they will implement a program that will tear a hole through the UK. They will not hold back. They will obliterate all current arrangements that hold the UK together

    I want to see Labour’s client state ripped apart starting with the BBC. Privatise the BBC. All areas of the State that have become populated by Labour types should be reformed. A full frontal assault on Labour across all areas of political and economic activity

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      People are getting truly sick of May’s dithering and falling in with the wishes of her opposite numbers be they in Brussels or Labour.
      People aren’t impatient because you don’t write on Brexit every day. People are impatient Mr Redwood because they see this dithering and withering behaviour and the remainder of the Tory party sitting back and letting it happen.

      • Hope
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        BBC is exempt from plurality or cornering the market by guaranteed funding while Sky told not in public interest to expand!

        We clearly need a BBC minister, soft drink minister, what can I eat minister, can I go to the toilet minister, when can I go to bed minister, what am I allowed to read minister, what can I listen to minister. More ministers for the nanny state May govt campaign.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink


      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        Sir Joe

        Agree, we basically have a spineless government who will see this country rot in hell. None have fire in their bellies and all are worried about their careers and futures and couldn’t give a stuff about the country. What choice do the British people have? Bad or bad?

    • DaveM
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Duncan, I don’t think she’s necessarily an EUphile – previously I thought she was ambivalent but now I’m not sure she has the capacity to make a decision either way. She characterises the set which just favours the status quo and seeks to appease anyone who promises just that. She will give in to any demand whatsoever and lacks the character to lead even a reading group. If I was being kind I’d say she is frightened of anything outside her comfort zone of banking and large business, but more realistically she is worried she won’t be re-elected if she doesn’t appease the pro-EU voters in Maidenhead.

      Hardly the kind of person this country needs at the helm right now. The sooner she goes the better we’ll all be.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        With May we have finally arrived at our Romulus Augustulus moment-last ruler of the western Roman empire (which had been reduced to a client state) who “made no decisions and left no monuments”.

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Well said!


    • Lifelogic.
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      A Europhile who appears, in most respects, to a PC, Tax borrow and waste socialist. One who even seems to thinks Hammond’s tax ‘til the pips squeak approach is just great.

      One who even wants to augment the damaging cleavages in society with yet more schools divided on religious lines. Indoctrinating obscure belief systems into young vulnerable minds. (Often essentially racist belief systems too).

      • Iain Gill
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Re “One who even wants to augment the damaging cleavages in society with yet more schools divided on religious lines. Indoctrinating obscure belief systems into young vulnerable minds. (Often essentially racist belief systems too).” yes exactly, complete madness.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the country is in trouble because we’re drifting from religious ideals.

        Look at how the Catholic Church, in the Middle Ages, played a key role in giving to our country: Rule of Law, Monarchy, Oxford, Cambridge, beautiful cathedrals and churches and literature and culture in general, Eton, Winchester, Grammar Schools, Guilds, and so on.

        Look at how the Catholic Church developed, under Thomas Aquinas and others, the Christian virtue of patriotism. And connected to patriotism, the Christian Catholic virtues of work ethic / diligence, public duty, and with privilege comes responsibility and so on, the importance of the family (and how that stabilises a country), and so on.

        Look at how the Quakers gave our country some great companies, a great example of Christian work ethic and diligence.

        Look at how wealthy and beautiful Florence and Venice flourished under the influence of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The Church has always supported commerce – honest commerce, not just because honest commerce is good for an individual but also for the stability of a country in general (dishonest commerce leads eventually to anarchy in the markets and/or to social and political turmoil). It says the strong should have something to aim for in life but at the same we must remember the genuinely vulnerable as well.

        Bach was patronised by the Lutheran Church and Mozart by the Catholic Church to an important degree. Both were devout believers, in particular, Bach. What would the world be like without Bach and Mozart and all those other men and women of the arts from our Christian heritage in general.

        • Mitchel
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Venice plundered much of it’s wealth from the Byzantine Empire,facilitating the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders (making the Ottoman invasion of Europe much easier) and also provided maps to the Mongols for their invasions in return for trade concessions.Honest commerce?!

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

            I said Venice was far from perfect. But if you’re going to forensically look at Venice, then why not apply the same to modern commerce (not forgetting our commercial laws have advanced a lot more since Venice but it was the Catholic Church who played a key role in establishing the rule of law all the way back then).

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            And i’d much rather have been an (honest) Venetian merchant (and there were many, i’m sure), ennobled and living in a small palace on the Grand Canal, patronising Titian, Tintoretto or Bellini, than working in Wall Street ..

    • L Jones
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Duncan – you have summed up neatly what many of us are thinking. We deserve more fire and brimstone from our ‘negotiators’, otherwise the UK appears to be the supplicant. There really does need to be a sea change in the attitude of our civil servants and representatives bargaining with the EU – or perhaps they are being misreported? We’d like to think so, but I fear not.

    • Howard
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Utterly agree. I liked the phrases “radicalism in response to Labour;s radicalism”…”a full frontal assault on Labour” ad, perhaps above all, “stop APOLOGISING”.

      Instead, May’s version of Conservatism is Labour-lite, a vestigial hankering to be the “heir to Blair”, referred to by both Cameron and Osborne as “the Master”. Ditch the ideological cringe and actually BELIEVE in something.

      And here’s a specific policy proposal. Put HS2 on hold and pile the money into HS3. In the North. In Labour’s stronghold. Park your tanks on their lawn. The country needs a North-South rebalancing. HS3/Northern Powerhouse (minus Osborne) would kill two birds with one stone.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      My thoughts entirely. Well said, Sir!

    • Man of Kent
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Could not agree more .
      Spot on .

      However we know why May was voted PM : because Boris was knifed by Gove , Andrea Leadsom caved in and the parliamentary party is full of Remainers .
      We are now stuck with a hard working ,uninspiring Europhile trying to placate both sides of the argument but wavering whenever pressure is applied .

      I have had bosses like that in the past and the result is always to inhibit personal initiative and induce a gradual decline in the morale of the organisation .

      If she were only able to bring herself to say , ‘Sorry but this deal is now worse than we were led to believe ;so we will leave in 2019 ‘ her popularity would soar .She could then leave with her head held high.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Dream on Man of Kent.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      “We are aggrieved at attempts … to use transitional arrangements to prevent full Brexit … we don’t appreciate being treated like idiots.”

      Absolutely. I was perfectly willing to consider transitional provisions to smooth our withdrawal, along with other legal devices such as the provisional application of new treaties and temporary protocols and memoranda of understanding which are quite commonplace – this is from last March:

      “… a number of legal devices available to avoid any so-called “cliff edge”… ”

      And this is even earlier, from last January:

      “A period of transition, or adjustment, is a factor in most trade agreements.”

      But instead we have this insulting rubbish of a transition of uncertain duration, potentially perpetual, during which nothing will change.

      Nobody should use the word “transition” unless they know what it means:

      “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.”

      Not, “A period during which nothing changes”.

      • John Soper
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Denis, doesn’t there come a time at which you have to realise that everything John Redwood predicted would happen has not happened? He is the most unreliable commentator on all of Brexit. I long ago realised that my Leave vote was obtained by false pretenses

        Reply So far all I predicted has happened. I have never predicted the outcome of the negotiations and always said I can live happily with No Deal if that is the best option.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          John Soper, it is not John Redwood who causes me concern, it is the anti-democratic eurofederalists in government and Parliament who are trying to delay and dilute and if possible prevent Brexit.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          Dear Soper

          I guess to are a remainer as you dont seem able to look up facts and prefer instead to go with emotional opinions. Very sad.

      • old salt
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, My understanding of the so called ‘Transition’ period is that we would be effectively still IN in all respects but J R Mogg was recently referring to an ‘Implementation’ period in relation to Mrs May in which case we would effectively be OUT and able proceed as such. A transition period which is possible to be extended indefinitely is not acceptable. An implementation period if needs must. So for clarity which is it John for all our sakes?

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Watch the Channel 4 (another state owned broadcaster) supposed interview by Cathy Newman of Jordan Peterson on youtube. It is a masterclass by Jordan of all that is wrong with our broadcasters, the universities, and so on.

    • Chris
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Duncan. I see that my comment on this, and linking to a letter in the D Telegraph today echoing what you have written, has not been posted. It clearly and politely supported Juliet Samuel’s article about May on the previous day, and basically said Theresa May is not up to the job.

      Reply I do not have permission to reproduce chunks of a newspaper here! Try writing your own comment

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Quote “None of this transitional nonsense would be happening if Tory MP’s had voted for a leader who believed in Brexit.”

      And therein lies the problem .

      There is nobody in the Conservative party with the possible exception of J.R.M. who is of sufficient calibre to be a P.M.

      Even if there was , I have my doubts that Conservative MP’s would chose them in a leadership contest .

      Things are really , really dire .

      An effort greater than any ever attempted before in peace-time is needed to pull our country out of the downwards spiral which is set to get worse due to issues like aging of a basically penniless population and energy security and price .

      Cometh the hour , cometh the man – I pray .

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Your comments show just how out of touch with the real world you are.

    • getahead
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Can’t argue with that, Duncan.

    • APL
      Posted January 25, 2018 at 12:12 am | Permalink

      Duncan: ” .. to lead our party? ”

      Well, there’s your first mistake.

      The Tory party ( AKA the provisional wing of the UniParty ) isn’t your party, it sold out years ago to the internationalist socialists.

      If you’re hoping for Conservative policies from this empty shell of the Tory party, think again.

  5. Tasman
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Here we go again. “…. the base case is leaving with the WTO option for trade with the rest of the EU, just as we do with the rest of the world today”. This is patently untrue. Our trade with the rest of the world is based on WTO rules supplemented by the hundreds of trade deals the EU has struck with third countries – some of them full free trade deals (eg Korea, Canada) and others concerned with mutual recognition and customs coooperation. Once we leave the EU, those deals no longer help the UK because we are not an EU member state. Mr Redwood, you KNOW we do not use the WTO option for trade with the rest of the world today – so why do you keep saying this?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Well, for most of us it is not a new discovery that there are all kinds of international agreements of various magnitudes for a wide range of purposes, some of which relate to trade, and some of which are complex and run to many hundreds of pages while others may involve no more than an exchange of short letters, nowadays maybe even emails, on a specific narrow topic. And most of us also understand that when JR and others refer to “the WTO option” they are using that as shorthand to mean the central WTO agreement on international trade to which we and the EU and its other member states are already committed, and which will automatically apply in the absence of any supervening special trade deal between the UK and the EU, but they are not excluding the potentially numerous ancillary agreements which will necessarily surround that basic agreement. As I say, most of us have long ago grasped this and we do not really need you to repeat a fatuous objection which you have seen made elsewhere, probably by authors who have their own longstanding but highly dubious fixed idea about how we should proceed.

      • Jack snell
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Denis..whsg are you talking about? why can’t you speak plain english..just spit it out..

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          I’m sorry if it’s too difficult for you to understand.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redw0od is a politician and what politicians say is not always what uneducated people would call hard fact. A bit of impressionistic rhetoric is allowed. The oint is that whatever one says is meant to help the cause. Not to inform or enter into an expert debate.

    • acorn
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      There are currently no “WTO Rules” for the UK to “fall back on”. I can’t find anyone at Whitehall, that can tell me if the UK has yet prepared / is preparing, a post Brexit “WTO schedule of tariffs”, of its own; that can be switched on at Brexit hour!

      The UK’s schedule is currently the EU’s schedule, like all the other Customs Union member states. I assume that we could take the EU schedule and change the title at the top of the page to UK. But, that will not solve the numerous EU tariff quota allocations. That is the bit the other WTO members will get excited about, and the bit the EU27 will want to dump as much of as it can, on the UK.

      • acorn
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        For those Brexiteers that don’t believe in the existence of the magic money tree, that lives inside the government’s National Loans Fund; have a think about the following.

        Particularly, Sheet PSA1. Have a look at columns 6 and 11. Net debt excluding the banks and including the banks respectively. Particularly line 17: year 2009. You will see that the magic money tree, coughed up £1,376 billion to bail out the Banks. There is no such thing as austerity in the Banking side of the economy; only in the Household (voting) side of the economy. 😉

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          acorn, it was real people that took the banks for a ride though and didn’t pay off their debts. So effectively the bank bailed out bad debtors with good debtors and savers and future pensioners funds didn’t it? Wasn’t it the Labour Party that Corbyn was a member of parliament of at the time, under Brown and Blair that followed America into relaxing the rules too much on low-income earners mortgagees who couldn’t get mortgages previously. Whose mortgages were then bundled up and sold on. You seem to be very knowledgeable about everything in Whitehall “I can’t find anyone at Whitehall, that can tell me”. Why do you totally hold Banks responsible when they were following Government initiatives. Brown followed the Clintons into poor borrowing decisions and the rest of us paid for those decisions in my opinion.

          • acorn
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            That’s too big a debate for this site. The neo-liberal deregulation, was done by politicians that were conned into doing it, by the Banksters lobby firms. This created the conditions for sub-prime mortgaging at unsustainable “teaser rates”.

            A proper Banking regulator would have banned them from day one. Additionally, it allowed the Banksters to securitise those mortgages and sell them to mug punters, before the teaser rate periods ran out.

            As the sub-primes imploded, it exposed the Banks that were massively overleveraged at 30 to 50 to 1. When the first one crashed, the debts cascaded through the rest because there was no regulation of the level of cascade systemic risk in the system. 😉

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            I agree with you it’s not on topic, sorry Mr Redwood but I don’t hold banks “You will see that the magic money tree, coughed up £1,376 billion to bail out the Banks”. totally and solely responsible. I blame American Democrats and the British Labour government for allowing a situation where borrowing with no proof of earnings was encouraged to poorer people who were previously denied larger loans and people with bad credit already that I knew personally just couldn’t handle the payments and responsibility and millions more like them were buying properties they couldn’t afford. Top-ranking lawmakers were as culpable as the banks, I wonder if the Tories in opposition did oppose this loosening I would guess John Redwood did, but in my opinion, the only reason that a few banks weren’t allowed to tank with our savings was that they were encouraged by politicians to loosen their loan criteria.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        As I have mentioned before nor does the EU have up to date WTO schedules, but nobody is bothering much about that:
        “To throw out a few examples where technical breaches have been ignored rather than being allowed to cause practical problems: the EU has not updated its WTO schedules to reflect enlargements from 2004 on, technically Croatia is still not yet a member of the EEA four years after it joined the EU, and the EU trade agreement with South Korea has only just come into force after several years of provisional application while Italy demurred on ratification of certain provisions.”

        • acorn
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Denis. The EU is the largest of the three main trading blocs on this planet. The USA wants to get out of the WTO and go back to multiple bilateral agreements.

          The WTO knows its days are numbered if Trump stays around. If the EU, or NAFTA or ASEAN etc, tells the WTO to jump; the WTO will ask, how high.

          And, the UK wants to leave the biggest trading bloc on the planet. Dumb or what?

          • Hope
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            Not at all. Trade occurs without formal agreements.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            Acorn, you were wrong and you could just have said something like “OK, I see” rather than going off on this irrelevancy.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink


      Just how dense are you? Of course we dont currently use the WTO WE ARE STILL MEMBERS of the EU. I despair of the ignorance of remainers. When we leave we negotiate our OWN FTA trade deals. It doesn’t take long either as unlike the EU ( which so far has failed to negotiate trade deals with Australia, 12 years and counting, the USA and well just about every major country) as the big countries that really matter are all willing to strike deals with us. JR said we can use WTO LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD DOES. You do realise that trade happens between countries that aren’t in the EU? Actually maybe you dont

      • Northerner
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        No, no countries, in or out of the EU, trade under WTO rules alone. The world trade is built on thousands of bilateral and multilateral agreements. We lose all these on Brexit day, and even the best estimate says it will take years to renegotiate. Longer if Fox is in charge

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          That is not the best estimate, the best estimate is governments will have enough sense to carry on with existing ancillary agreements until there is a compelling need to amend them.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


          Oh dear…. You’ll have to think up another problem


          Good news on Trade: just announced at @CommonsIntTrade that none of the 70+ countries engaged has objected to transitioning their existing EU agreement to a UK one. Important for Trade continuity.

      • acorn
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Wrong as usual Libby. The UK uses the WTO via the EU schedules, just like the other 27 member states. “I despair of the ignorance of [Brexiteers]”.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink


          Come back to me when you’ve worked out the difference between South Korea and France

          I despair of left wing hypocrisy, first telling us that WTO can’t be used then telling us that its IS being used then telling us we can’t transfer existing agreements. Blimey anyone would think you were making it up as you go along. This post was posted using my Samsung ( a French company isn’t it acorn) phone

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Tasman, Here we go again. At least you now accept that we do international trade under WTO rules (including with the EU). Most of the FTAs and MRAs negotiated by the EU, whether tariff reductions or quotas, are quite minor or not fully implemented (eg: the Canada deal; even the EU’s own 2006 Services Directive). Mostly they will be novated or re-negotiated. If we went for WTO rules only, and set zero or near zero tariffs, most of the EU’s deals would be irrelevant anyway.

      • acorn
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Utter and completely confused nonsense. There is no point in wasting time rebutting such “epsilon minus” comment.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink


      Whoops, looks like you’re wrong……. again


      Good news on Trade: just announced at @CommonsIntTrade that none of the 70+ countries engaged has objected to transitioning their existing EU agreement to a UK one. Important for Trade continuity.

  6. hans chr iversen
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink


    As long as we do not forget the fundamentals, we export 13% of our GDP to the EU, whilst the EU exports 3% of their GDP to us. So, who over the next five years need whom the most?

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink


      And the value of those percentages is what exactly ?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Use (a) arithmetic or (b) a calculator. Hint: UK GDP 2016 was a little below 2000 billion GBP, so it is not too hard to do this.

      • NickC
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Alan, Hans’ UK figure is wrong. The latest Pink Book (2017), Table 9.1 Credits, has the figures for 2016 UK exports to the EU: Goods = £145.471bn; Services = £90.367bn; total = £235.838bn. Divide by 2016 UK GDP = £1922.626bn, the percentage is 12.27%. However the Rotterdam effect must be included, and the ONS has to make a guess – 4% of total exports. That results in our exports to the EU being £213.939bn, or 11.13% of UK GDP. Not 13%.

        In comparison we imported £318.029bn of goods and services from the EU (2017 Pink Book Table 9.1 Debits). That is over £104bn more, in real money not fake percentages. The top 5 EU exporters account for more than half of all EU exports to the UK. They are: Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Belgium, in that order, totaling £168.445bn (53% of all EU exports to UK). Just to add flavour I have the Statistisches Bundesamt 2015 figures: Germany exported Eu89.292bn to us but we only exported Eu38.258bn to them.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          Nick the major proportions remain the same, so what is your argument?

          • NickC
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            Rien, That percentages can be useful, but also can be used to obfuscate, as you have done. That your figures are wrong, and that therefore your views derived from those figures cannot be trusted.

            As Remain (nearly) said our exports to the EU provide a living for about 3 million UK workers. But rEU exports to the UK provide about 5 million jobs. Or 66% more. See what I did there?

            As the EEA agreement testifies most of the EU rules are not about trade. If you want to be a serf in a corrupt, unelected oligarchy, with no chance of changing your government that is your affair. We don’t want that, so trade is a secondary consideration for us.

    • John S
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Historically, we have not done much trade with Eastern Europe. The main trade within the EU is concentrated. Apart from German manufactured goods, we are a large market for Danish farmers, Dutch market gardeners, French cheese and wine producers and Italian white goods manufacturers.
      Disruption to this trade will be little short of catastrophic for them.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Sales to UK customers may continue at the same level or lower. It is likely that the EU would allow Demark etc (a rich country with healthy public finances and a AAA credit rating) to support farmers in the unlikely event the UK would take measures that would hurt Danish farmers. The Dutch would do the same. And it would not cost too much. Besides, where else would the UK source these goods?

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Rien, Is this your new economic theory that the seller is king in an era of plenty?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        and for us it will be what if it is disrupted?

      • hefner
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        From various sources (,,, centraal bureau voor de statistiek, …) and unfortunately for differing years spanning 2013 to 2016, the percentage of exports of some EU countries to the UK are:
        Germany 7%, France 7%, Spain 7.6%, Belgium 7.2%, Denmark 6%, Italy 5%, Sweden 4%, Netherlands 3%.
        That’s for products really produced in the various countries and not influenced by things like the Rotterdam effect.
        Other thing, the lists of products exported by the various countries is somewhat different from the commonly reported ones: limiting Dutch exports to “market garden products”, Danish to “farm products”, French to “cheese and wine” or Italian to “white goods” is a bit simplistic. Would a sudden cut of 7-8% of their exports “be little short of catastrophic for them”? It would certainly have a negative impact, no question, but a catastrophe?

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

          Hefner, Percentage of what? Their GDP? Ours? The EU’s? You should always state what a percentage is measuring. That is one of the reasons that percentages are so misleading. Just go to the 2017 Pink Book Table 9.1 Debits and the actual amounts in ££s are listed for the imports from each rEU country (ie their exports to the UK) for 2016.

          Total rEU exports to the UK were £318.029bn in 2016. The top 5 are as follows: Germany is top by a long way with £65.790bn; then Holland £36.194bn; France £25.503bn, Belgium £23.491bn, Italy £17.467bn. Holland’s figure are probably distorted by the Rotterdam effect, as will Belgium’s because of Antwerp.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Who runs the trade surplus?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Do percentages matter?

      It’s real money and real jobs that count – Both of which the EU and the power broking countries Germany, France, Netherlands & Italy have the most to lose.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        What about the UK?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        and we of course in comparison have nothing to lose or did I or you get this wrong?

        • Know-Dice
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          I used the word “most” in relation to what the EU would lose.

          So, there is a potential for both to lose, it’s up to the EU to decide what they are willing to lose…

    • Edward2
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      You include all 27 members in your statistic but a few have high levels of trade ie Germany and France and a lot of EU nations do little trade with the UK
      So your relative GDP figures are distorted.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Obviously, if only 3% of the output of Bavaria comes here, the Bavarians have nothing to worry about. Incidentally, the ONS admit that they have no means of accounting for the Rotterdam effect so it actually not possible to accurately divide that external trade which transits via what used to be the world’s busiest port but has now been overtaken by Singapore and Shanghai as a consequence of the Rest of the World and in particular, SE Asia, growing faster that the nascent United States of Europe.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        The Rotterdam effect has been analysed in a 142 page report published by the Dutch Minstry for Economic Affairs already some time ago.

        Depending on the measure/definition of transit/re-export/import-for-export chosen, up 60 60% of Dutch exports to the UK are in reality UK imports from outside The Netherlands (and mostly outside the EU) and most of these would have to be imported by the UK anyway. The impact of losing a full one half of those exports (in which case UK imports and exports with The Netherlands would balance, leaving a small UK surplus on the services account), would be negligible because very few Dutch jobs are involved in supporting those “exports”. The market gardeners are exposed but it is doubtful they could be replaced by UK production in the short term. Furthermore, one would expect these market gardeners would buy land in the UK and within 2 years or so their long term customers would be buying from those farms. It is a high tech industry and the technology is portable. Management is key and a steady supply of cheap seasonal labour.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        nascent united states of Europe absolute nonsense

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          Hans, So “ever closer union” is nonsense? Boy, am I glad you’re running the EU instead of the charlatans in the EU Commission!

    • Dennis
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      3% of their GDP is larger that 13% of ours.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        yes, but that is not really how we the British worker will look at it?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      As long as we don’t forget the fundamentals that UK has a huge balance of trade deficit with the EU.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      the difference between significant and just a small trade compared to what is at stake for the rest of the EU, they speak for themselves

    • libertarian
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


      3% of GDP of 27 countries combined is larger than 13% of ours….Doh !

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        yes, but there are more to share – Doh

        • libertarian
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Not the point you were making at all….. double doh

    • Capt Mannering
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Maybe but we provide them with billions so they can do it, and send our troops to defend their allotments.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

        I am not sure the French will agree, and the Danes who fought along side of us and lost more men proportionally than we did in Afghanistan

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately there are not too many UK troops to send, their equipment is worn out and their most recent experience is irrelevant to a hypothetical European land war. Furthermore with around 250K professional (the national servicemen are gone everywhere) personnel in the core European countries plus Poland, the Uk’s 80K (of which only a single division could be operational) will not make a lot of difference. But keep in mind that the most likely adversary is considerably weaker.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Apropos the previous subject “Do we need a road bridge or a tunnel across the Channel ?”

    BBC Breakfast are on about *smart* motorways and the removal of hard shoulders to ease overcrowding.

    Does anything exemplify the impact of mass immigration more than this ?

    No, Andy. It’s not about racism – it’s about numbers !

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      The M6 between 16 and 19 where lots of accidents are occuring since the four junctions were reduced width and speeds down to 50 do not have smart motorway fixtures on them so if someone breaks down the people behind don’t have prior warning X above the lanes. I don’t understand why all of those sections were closed off at once resulting in 20 miles of problems at once, they don’t work on all those sections at once. The roadworks seem to be progressing very slowly. The 50mph limits are then on outside of busy hours and at weekends when NO-ONE is working and everyone is stuck behind each other in a single lane causing problems for people entering the motorway with short run-ons – how there haven’t been more pile-ups at J16 northbound I don’t know. Perhaps we’re starting too many projects at the same time without the skilled workforce to get the jobs done quickly. Why not fix the M6 then move on to the M60/M62 instead of trying to do both at the same time over four years.

      Then when you’ve got ‘smart’ motorways they’re not so smart, slowing people down on empty motorways, one gantry says 50 the next 40 the next 60 when the road is clear causing people to brake irresponsibly. Signs that say ‘Incident in Road’ ‘Broken down Vehicle’ and you get there finally after being held up in a backlog of traffic for ages and you find out from colleagues it was cleared hours before.

    • Dennis
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Well yes but it exemplifies more that the UK is grossly overpopulated.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Overpopulated? Singapore has around 6 million inhabitants right now and the government wants to add up to four million (immigration because Singaporeans are to busy to reproduce). If the best governed country in the world believes it has too few people, how can the UK be overpopulated?

        • rose
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

          We don’t even know how many millions are already here, let alone how many to expect. The supermarkets think it may be 75-80 millions, judging from their information which is more reliable than the ONS figures. Singapore’s 6 million population is not a very impressive comparison.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            Singapore is looking at adding 4 million to the 6 million already there. And their country is very small. I would say a very good example of what good government is prepared to do in the interest of the country. Not every Singaporean will be happy, but the government there knows how to lead, rather than follow.. Not impressed? Maybe that is OK, but your argument that the UK is overpopulated is nonsense. Nearby Holland has twice the number of people per sqm and there is plenty of space. Use space wisely and grow your population, that is the way toward prosperity.

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Rien, Calling Singapore “the best governed country in the world” shows where your priorities lie. And they are not what motivates Leave voters.

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Anon, “Smart” motorways is an oxymoron. It’s just to avoid building new roads. And to control us more.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Anonymous. Yeah, really smart when the emergency services can’t get through to you in an accident.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I do not think that your Prime Minister is in control of her party or her country but I do believe that she is committed to leaving the EU as per the mandate provided by the referendum.

    A reasonable outcome from our negotiations in unlikely when there are so many parties agitating for remaining or being part of the single market which requires us to submit to EU rule.

    The only way we can get a good deal is if we unite behind our negotiating team and accept the strategy already outlined.

    The Soubrys, Morgans, Blairs and Starmers of this world need to pipe down for a year and see what we get.

  9. Mark B
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    What offer ? The have not made one and are under no obligation, legally or otherwise, to do so. On March the 29th 2018 they carry on as before. It is the UK that has to make all the running as we will be outside many of the treaties they have signed for and on our behalf whilst we have been members.

    Remainers often claim, quite falsely, that we did not know what we were voting for in the Referendum. That too can be said of the Referendum of 1975. I like many I am sure read what was on the ballot paper. It was simple and clear giving me two opitions. I chose to leave. Many people chose one way or the other with differing beliefs. I chose because I want the to become, once more, an independent nation. I did not vote for a ‘deal’ or regulatory convergence. I voted to embrace the wider world and that includes the EU but from a sovereign nation perspective.

    The EU have made it perfectly clear. The UK csnnot have as good or better deal than it does now. And since the current deal stinks, I do not believe any so called negotiated deal would be any better. We are seeing, once again, the Wilsonian trick of renegotiation. James Callaghan, a very formidable politician in his day, failed to acheive the same. CMD tried and also failed. That was the last chance the EU had. Now the British people, and not the polirical class, have finally stood up to the EU they now are saying that they do not want us to leave.

    There is only one way to deal with bullies, and that is to stand up to them. Unfortunatly we do not have that in our current crop of MP’s and in particular, our PM.

    WEAK !!

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Gosh I must have really upset you today.


    • Jack snell
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Mark still don’t get it..the EU are only pretending they still want us back..that’s because of optics and window dressing..what they really want to see is the back of us soon as A50 date expires 29th march 2019..the EU chiefs have being listening to Farage and other Tory MEP’S insulting them and abusing the EU institutions for decades now we have put ourselves in this position they are not going to let us off thd hook..and that’s for sure

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Jack Snell, You appear to be suggesting that anything other than full appeasement is “insulting”. And that opposition to the EU is “insulting”. Grow up, or at least the EU should. The EU has been insulting us for 45 years. And abusing its position.

        • PaulW
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 12:14 am | Permalink

 other countries in yhe EU have behaved in the same totally disrespectful manner to the institutions and to the other EU members as the UK MEP’S Tory and UKIP have done over the decades

          No other countries gutter press has shown so much hatred and scorn over the decades as the UK bootboy tabloids and the Telegraph. Therefore we are leaving for sure..absolutely no doubt

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          once gain a lot of emotional statement but no profoo of facts and figures

      • Mark B
        Posted January 25, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink


        At least we have been paying them for the privaledge.

  10. Newmania
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    ….. also as even Brexit droogs admit this is going to cost us all a fortune it might be best to be quiet about it and hope everyone forgets who was responsible

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Provide some evidence that this is going to cost us all a fortune.

      I have yet to see anything which would lead me to that conclusion.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink


    • Anonymous
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      The reference to street gangs (droogs) is the opposite of the truth.

      Brexit was a masterclass in patient, diligent and peaceful use of the ballot box against all hostility from Remain (which is on going.)

    • getahead
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      The total cost to Britain of EU membership, once the harmful impacts of its policies and regulations have been taken into account, comes to £118 billion a year. That is equal to £1,968 for every man, woman and child.
      Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance

      Wrong again newmania. Leaving the EU will be huge saving.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 25, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        it would be really nice to see some clear statistics for this particular large amount

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it funny how the Remains firmly believe their own propaganda? No one else does.

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    What’s happened to the 1922 committee. May and Hammond are stumbling at every fence and totally capitulated in phase 1.
    What is a transition for if it is just 2 more years of EU membership.
    As Denis Cooper frequently tells us the Single Market has not improved our GDP and the customs union is just a protectionist racket.

  12. atlantic span
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    And Sterling went above £1.40 for the first time since the referendum!

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      and so did every other currency compared to teh dollar over the past three months, it does not mean a lot

      • Edward2
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        You said it did mean a lot when it went down.
        Another “despite Brexit” comment from you.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink


          Grow up and argue from the real facts, please

          • Edward2
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            You posted often on how the pound fell due to Brexit
            And similarly about UK inflation.
            Yet now the pound rebounds and inflation falls it is despite Brexit.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          the value of the pound to EURO and other European currencies beyond the dollar is what is important here.

          Inflation has hardly falling and is still nearly twice of most in Europe, so those are the facts, as you demanded

    • hefner
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      On 23/01/2017, $1 was €0.93, today it is €0.81.

  13. Bob
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Having seen the capitulation from the British side with no movement from Brussels I am of the opinion that WTO is the safest, simplest and fairest solution.

    The myth that the remainers have propagated is that trade is conducted by governments, whereas in reality it’s commercial organisations like Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes that trade, and it will continue unless Brussels decides to implement a trade embargo.

    With the current balance of trade enormously favouring the EU an embargo is very unlikely and it’s not inconceivable that there will be pressure on Brussels from EU businesses to enter into a free trade agreement with Britain very quickly. The global trend is towards free trade and the EU is becoming a parasitic anachronism.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink


      IS this why the rest of the World re implementing regional trade agreements as well and protectionism is growing across the World, I am sorry your logic is lost on me?

      • libertarian
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink


        Please provide some concrete evidence that protectionism is growing across the world

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          US, on steel, China on banking, Europe on Steel and India on retail tariff imports, do you need more?

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            The whole of the EU is a customs union protected market, thats why its failing. 3 examples out of 161 countries isn’t a very good example really is it. Oh and the issues with steel where mainly in response to China dumping steel at below cost price.

            So evidence that its is GROWING as you assert would be then that less than 3 countries previously protected their markets, but now that 3 do its growing. You’re not very good at this are you.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          so let us continue washing machines and solar panels into the US.
          Insurance in China, financial services in China, beef and rice into Japan.

          You asked for proof than you get some more and then you still want more, so when is enough enough?

      • getahead
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        hans, as I used to get on my school reports – must try harder.

      • NickC
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Hans, Since WTO rules apply to 98% of world trade, and RTAs registered with the WTO are implemented to make trade more free, I am sorry your logic is lost on me?

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink


          If you were on top of your subject and read the WTO reports you wold know that protectionism is rising. and regional trade blocks are becoming more common than before, like the new one in East Africa

          • NickC
            Posted January 24, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            Rien, If you could read at all you would see that I was questioning your view that RTAs were evidence of an extension of protectionism.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink


            Just because a regional trade block exists does not mean its is operating a protectionist market anymore than they intend to establish one federal country called East Africa or Oceana etc. There is nothing wrong with Free trade blocks. One day one would hope that the entire world would be one free trade block .

  14. Christine
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I fear time is running out. Why the long wait until March to start the negotiations? What happens if MPs vote to reject the offer? If the Tories have any hope of winning the next election they need clear water between implementing the deal and the next election. They need to show they can successfully run the country post Brexit. And stop upsetting Trump. Follow Macron’s lead else the UK will be left in the Wilderness.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink


    • alan jutson
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink



      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        Agreed Christine. The way Trump is run down is simply pathetic. What on earth do the BBC and our politicians think they are doing? I am sick to death of hearing everyone run Trump down.

        • Bob
          Posted January 26, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          What they are doing is trying to undermining the UK’s negotiating position, as you would expect from saboteurs.

    • graham1946
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      This is lightning fast in political terms which is why international agreements etc. take years to sort out. Most politicians and career civil servants have never been in business and have no conception of urgency. They like to leave things until the last moment, then stay up all night eating pizzas and sandwiches to pretend they are working hard. This will be the same. If left to business alone things would proceed quicker and with less mess to clear up at the end of it all.

  15. oldtimer
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    In view of the negotiating position taken by May at the outset, namely to seek a comprehensive set of agreements, then your stance makes sense. It presupposes that May means what she says that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The differences and difficulties will become obvious when it comes to defining what constitutes a bad deal. As of now the WTO option looks the better option.

  16. Christine
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It might be an idea to ask your readers for some topics for discussion. I agree that you can’t talk about Brexit every day. I really enjoy reading the ideas that some of your contributors submit.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I agree Christine.

      My suggestion is

      University Tuition Fees

      What happens to the 2012 Osborne/Clegg tuition fee cohort that paid the hiked up fees of £9000 pa on ridiculous interest rates accruing from day 1 of their studies, before Lifelogic jumps in to say not everyone should go to University stop your own kids my want their qualifications to hopefully climb the ladder a bit higher up than we did – you know the Conservative ideal social mobility dream!) if a future Labour government or Conservative downgrade the tuition fee in the future (probably because unis are seeing a slow down in applications) if they’re the only group of conservatives in power kids having accrued these massive debts!!!

      Also if Labour are proposing high taxes in the future can we ask John McDonnell if he is including the people paying 9% higher graduate taxes now to pay off their tuition fees? So currently they have a tax bill of 41% over £17,775 (that is not a massive income Mr Corbyn), plus 3% NEST pension. Those really successful people who earn between £100,ooo and £123,000 already have an effective tax in the UK of 69% (60% + 9%) graduate tax if they went to Uni after the Labour party introduced the fees. Just how much extra do you want from the cleverest, productive, makers and doers?

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      How to combat knife crime.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It’s good to have John’s re-enforcement blog today emphasising the logic and benefits of a WTO Brexit . I cannot see the sense in any sort of a deal that also includes a transitional arrangement . The EU have so much to lose if we proceed along these lines and it is understandable why they want to pretend that they have the upper hand in the negotiations .

    Today with the commencement of the Davos meeting leaders will underline the expansion and development of the world’s economy . This has already been heralded by the IMF . We have so much to gain by re-orienteering ourselves to the markets of the world – including the EU , and we should lose no time in doing so . The ” Common Market ” which we joined has transformed itself into a politicised arrangement at the expense of the sovereignty and individuality of the member countries ; it has developed a bureaucracy that has infringed into our everyday lives . Power seeking by individuals has dominated this change and has shown how dangerous personality focus has become .

    Our political leaders now must show real determination to set us on the right course of independence ; if this does not happen soon we have to put others in place to do so .

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    JR: “Any deal they accept will need primary legislation to go through both Houses of Parliament to provide the authority to implement it.”
    When, as they will, MPs reject the deal, having deliberately encouraged the EU to do nothing but offer a very poor deal, what happens? We were told that such a rejection would mean leaving on WTO terms but I don’t trust Mrs May, Hammond, Rudd et all Remainers to follow through on that. I fear for the democratic future of our country when voters feeled betrayed and are offered the choice of a Marxist Labour Party and an impotent Conservative Party.

  19. Iain Gill
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    So why have we agreed to take a lot of so called child immigrant from Calais? Why is it our problem? Why are we taking them when many are clearly adults? Why are we letting these adults into our childrens homes full of vulnerable children? Why when we know many are escaping ISIS fighters are we being so stupid? Why are our MP’s not telling the government in no uncertain terms they are out of order? Why is Ms May at Davos listening to Billionaires instead of on the streets listening to us, and our day to day experience of out of control immigration? Why no action to deliver on manifesto commitments to reduce immigration? Why are we still printing intra company transfer visas like confetti? With no resident labour test? Taxing them less than locals? Allowing them to be subcontracted anywhere for less than it costs to hire a Brit?

    Come on surely you dont support this nonsense? And if you dont why dont you say so publicly?

  20. Nig l
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    IDS uses the word appeasement in relation to the CBI. He should look closer to home, like Nos 10/11 Downing Street.

  21. Ms Mardy of the CBI
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    The CBI came out a couple of days ago and reiterated how we should stay in the customs union and single market. It is hard to put your finger on why the CBI is entertained by Mrs May and the Cabinet. It will not respect democracy.

    • forthurst
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The PM should instruct minsters and the civil service to refuse to meet representatives of CBI, although she might have trouble of getting that instruction out through the remoaniac Cabinet Office.

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Just because people voted to leave is not a reason for actually doing so when it is well known the country will be harmed by it.

      • ChrisS
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        With disgraceful comments like this you prove that you’re no more a democrat than Juncker, Verhofstadt and the rest of the Brussels elite.

        If you are British you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Apart from the Leaflet sent to every home.
        And the vote on sending Article 50 letter etc etc

        I didn’t realise it was “well known”
        I thought it was just project fear predictions of the future made by remain supporters.
        Bit like the doom laden predictions made for immediately. after the vote which never came true

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        So much for any trust in British democracy in the future if a government can make an unequivocal pledge such as:

        “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”

        in a leaflet sent to every household in the country:

        and then it does as you advise and decides to ignore the result of the vote because it disagrees with it.

        Utterly despicable.

      • DaveM
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        So by that rationale, if Labour wins a majority at the next election based on people voting for local candidates, we should not have a Labour govt because some people think the Labour front bench would bring unmitigated disaster to the UK?

        You might feel more at home in another EU country where democracy receives mere lip service.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        B& G

        so what you’re saying is that if Labour win the next election we won’t let them take office as we know they will harm the country . OK

      • Friedrich Nietzsche
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Blue and Gold
        Have you considered joining the LibDems? They hate voting types.

      • NickC
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        BlueandGold, It is well known that the country has been harmed by being in the EU. And we would go on being harmed to the point of our country disappearing as a separate nation, if we remained in the EU. More, democracy is the peaceful alternative to civil war, so reneging on a legitimate, national, democratic Referendum is a recipe for real disaster, not the imaginary Remain kind.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink


          Can we see some facts and figures so we understand what harm you are referring to, please?

    • graham1946
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Maybe because their members are Conservative Party pay masters. Similar would be the Unions for Labour. Democracy is a long way down the list.

  22. ian parkinson
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I think some comment would be useful. There will be a vote on whether to accept whatever is negotiated. This vote is only meaningful if there is a proper view of rejection, i.e. the no-deal scenario. I think the UK can do a lot better than just default to WTO. In the WTO scenario choices still have to be made. Do we impose tariffs or unilaterally drop them to everyone (please drop them). Are we petty and restrict workers/students from coming to the UK from the EU, or do we aim for a smoother transition by preserving these access rights, then over time debating what changes to make. Do we move to a risk based framework and decide that given the over regulation elsewhere we can say that if it is legal to sell in the EU – or the US, or Australia, or New Zealand – then it is legal here (with the ability to impose specific bans as needed).

    A properly fleshed out no deal scenario makes it clear than you can get 90% of the benefits of any transition period, without paying 40bn, without having the EU attempt to limit your freedom to negotiate with others, and without giving up control of our laws. You don’t see many people digging into how much of this transition period can be had for free – and that is the key question when assessing any deal.

  23. alan jutson
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The problem is John many of us out here simply do not think May will walk away from a bad deal, her actions so far have been very timid with the UK position, and like every other Prime Minister before her, our money, huge sums of it, has changed hands for no gain.

    I have no idea how much backbone she is showing in the so called negotiations, but the body language and words spoken back here in the UK do not show much strength, and her choice of advisors seems rather too pro EU to be confident of a sensible outcome.

    Quite how Hammond and one or two others have kept their jobs amazes me.

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Alan, Just so. Although I tend to believe much of this debacle is down to the Remain civil service rather than just May or Hammond.

  24. agricola
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    While I share our hosts desired outcome, I do not trust our government to achieve it. Reason, those we know of are all to a man and one woman remainers. They will produce a camel where a stallion is required. The result, if they can engineer it, will not be what the electorate voted for.

    It is ironic , but reflecting of the above that the architect of leaving the EU, and the person who knows the EU inside out, is not allowed to be part of the negotiation. There are two reasons. He would terrify the opposition both in the EU and UK to distraction. Nigel Farage would also terrify our negotiating establishment who do not wish it to happen. Additionally I ask you, what sort of a government excludes it’s Foreign Secretary from what is essentially an international negotiation.

    Were the UK’s position, to reclaim it’s sovereignty, established by a referendum of the people, accepted by government there would be little need for negotiation. In such a situation we are not the supplicant. Everything else follows from a return of sovereignty as night follows day, unless you have ulterior motives to water down our post leave position. Our host has spelt it out many times. The UK a sovereign nation with a tariff free trade deal on goods and services with the EU or a sovereign nation reverting to WTO rules in our dealings with the EU. Everything else is peripheral.

  25. ChrisS
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Very few regulars posting here would have any doubt that your views have remained steadfast throughout and will continue to do so.

    The transition is the first major obstacle. The 27 simply want us to remain exactly as we are for 21 months and we pay £20bn for the privilege. Of course, that’s because it’s just our money they are after.

    That is not a definition of “Transition” that anyone could recognise, nor is it an “Implementation” period. Both require changes to be made so that different areas of the new arrangements come into force during the period.

    We can start with an end to the ECJ, free movement and taking back control of our waters.

    Why has the Government not yet started to rebuild our fishing fleet and infrastructure ?
    Is there even a plan ?

    I can see that we will get to the end 2021 and nothing will have been done so we will have to accept the continuing presence of EU boats fishing in our waters.

    Perhaps that’s the outcome our Remainer civil service is working for ?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink


      “Perhaps that’s the outcome our Remainer civil service is working for ?”

      I’m sure that is absolutely what the Civil Service, Hammond and may be May are aiming for…

  26. Anthony
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I w holeheartedly support Duncan’s views.

  27. Kenneth
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    What are we supposed to be negotiating?

    • Bob
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


      Apparently it’s called “Open Skies”.

  28. Epikouros
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    What you say here is for any rational person the best solution under the current circumstances because of the stance the EU is taking on the negotiations and because of the vacillations of the various factions in the UK. The flies in the ointment are the two houses of parliament who have members who are either bent on wrecking Brexit or are less than enthusiastic at implement the democratic will of their citizens or who are endeavouring to gain as much political capital out of Brexit that they can. So actually getting parliament to agree your solution, no deal or a deal with no strings attached, is going to be thwarted. What then? What Brexit has demonstrated is that the establishment and political classes are in the main self absorbed, narcissistic villains who do not give a fig about governing this country or any other for the benefit of heir citizens but for their own money and power grabbing purposes.

    • NickC
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Epikouros, Too d–n right.

  29. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I do not agree that the UK will be better of if it has no arrangements with the EU that would make sure the UK remains an attractive base for doing business in the EU. I also think that the “WTO” option (whatever that may be, there is a lot of confusion what the costs and benefits for the UK would be and to what extent the UK would be able to inherit existing arrangements from its EU past) is impracticable but maybe there could be help from countries like India, the US US client states outside the EU. Of course that would have a cost to. Free trade is a fiction and managed trade benefits those with bargaining power. In the case of India, that would mean “mobility” and in the case of the US agricultural products would be top of the list. In addition the US will be preoccupied with NAFTA restructuring which goes beyond a few tweets.

    Despite those things, your scenario (ie the politics of England (I doubt it applies to all of
    the UK) may well be true. No Conservative government will want to commit suicide by antagonizing your tribe and sympathizers. Likewise, it will be near impossible to arrive at an EU consensus on something outside the current boundaries recently articulated by the Commission, the two strongest members of the Council and the EU Parliament.

    So in a bit over one year from now, the UK will leave and do so radically.

  30. Duncan
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    **We have seen briefings before from the Treasury that May is going to end up closer to Hammond’s vision of the end state than Boris’ and Gove’s, so it’s worth taking this with a pinch of salt. But the Remainers’ optimism explains the increasing concerns of Cabinet Brexiters that we are not going to pursue a Brexit that makes the most of leaving…**

    May and Hammond are actively deceiving the nation on Brexit. If these liars get their way this PM will sell us down the river on Brexit

    I don’t care what you say John. You know full well that May is about to betray the result of the EU-Ref

    All Tory MP’s who voted for this woman should be ashamed

    We want May deposed.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      I liken her to those old Soviet ‘sleeper’ spies and traitors in our midst. She is an internationalist, a socialist at heart who having pretended to be a Tory all these years is now in a position to sabotage our democracy and is intent on doing so.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Then she must be under your bed..

      • hefner
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Ah, the good days of the Fifth Column …

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      The Vote Leave campaign was MANY big lies !!!

      • old salt
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        Care to name…

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Get back in your Brussels bunker.
        It is remain and project fear 1 & 2 which are the lies.
        Take a look at what is happening to the rest of the EU and you will see it’s far from rosy.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          but the majority of the countries we like to compare ourselves with seem to be doing much better in the Eu, then we do, I wonder why? but you probably have an answer for that as well, Ian Wragg?

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink


            Well I have an answer… go look at youth unemployment across large parts of the EU, tell me how thats going to pan out for EU states over the next 20 years….

      • Edward2
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Remain was all about the truth….lol
        Project Fear was a pile of fake news.

      • DaveM
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – most of those lies were promulgated (unwittingly) on behalf of Leave by people such as Cameron, Clegg and May. Ironic isn’t it?

      • NickC
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Such as?

  31. Lady Back
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    “no formal negotiations underway over the Christmas and New Year period.”

    Of course not , no rush.

  32. BOF
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Had Mrs May adopted your approach from the very beginning, and also been completely upfront with the EU and especially the British public about exactly what we expect on leaving, i.e. full control over borders, free from jurisdiction of ECJ, out of Single Market and Customs Union and re-reinstatement of territorial waters, out of CFP & CAP, it would have been for the EU to decide if they wished to have a deal with us or not. Also that we pay only money legally owed while still members. There should by now have been full resolution of the outcome and we could all be getting on with our lives.

    What we have now is very messy negotiations with delay, obfuscation, subterfuge and much capitulation that destroy all faith in Government.

    Juliet Samuel absolutely spot on in yesterdays Telegraph.

  33. Mockbeggar
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    The leaving date is already fixed for March 2019. I believe that contributions to the EU budget are made at the start of each financial year in advance. Does this mean that we no longer need to subscribe to the EU for anything after March this year?

    Macron’s belligerent attitude (a Norwegian or Canadian deal is the best we can expect) is driving me more and more into saying “A pox on you. We’ll go to WTO rules.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I thought there were agreed monthly payments throughout the year.

      • acorn
        Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        There are monthly payments Denis, but they vary considerably.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          That could be why I said “agreed” rather than “equal” …

    • rose
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Macron said the French would have voted for Frexit if they had had a binary choice. He went on to display his anti-democratic aims.

      • Roger
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        Rose..Macron agrees with Boris about a bridge ove the tunnel..means nothing..we have no idea how the French would vote..all politicians are having an easy time at the moment following Trumps lead they can say anything they like and get away with it..there is no accountability left anymore..all under the heading of fake news..i wrote another piece earlier hard is still waiting seems straight talking is not allowed any more

  34. Roger
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Here we go again..taking back control..”we’ll go to WTO rules with the EU countries” as if were as as easy as that..i would like to remind our dear host that it takes at least two to tango, to make a trade deal, and if the EU or the EU countries are not disposed to trading with us for whatever reason..well thats it..we’ll just have to make do with whatever Liam Fox can conjure up. Did you listen to Macron at the weekend talking about how the UK will be required to tick all the boxes if we are to get a bespoke deal that suits including for the services sector..but am afraid with all of the govetnment / tory red lines in place I don’t think that a minimum deal even by WTO rules can be assumed now ..we are miles and miles apart in our thinking now..we make a terrible mistake in thinking the EU bosses would like for UK to change its mind about leaving the EU..but whatever they say is only window dressing to not appear to be the bad guys..A50 is activated now and out we are going..out on our ear..they have had enough of Farage and the rest

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    On this topic I would like to have another go with a relevant comment I submitted back in December which was not published at that time, as follows:

    I’m reading an early Christmas present, “The Economics of Brexit”:

    and its critical analysis of the Treasury Report produced before the referendum runs to nearly nine pages, over which it highlights more than twenty significant inadequacies which make the report entirely unreliable – as we are increasingly seeing.

    Yet this is the Report that George Osborne loudly endorsed and used to tell us that we must be “economically illiterate” to support withdrawal from the EU.

    One reference given in the book is to a study published in June:

    which concluded:

    “… the average impact of EU membership applies less to the UK than to the other EU member states. The further implication is that these official predictions of the impact of Brexit are overly pessimistic.”

    Consistently with that, as mentioned before a German study showed that the benefit of the EU Single market to the UK was only half of the EU average, about 1% of GDP rather than the 2% of GDP estimated by the EU Commission for the EU as a whole.

    There really is no justification for Theresa May to be “desperate” to get a special trade deal with the EU, as journalists love to say; sure, it would be a bit better to have one, but on the other hand it could be a lot quicker and much simpler to not have any trade deal beyond the existing WTO deal, and sorting it out sooner and so removing the uncertainty sooner could compensate for the slight inferiority of WTO terms.

  36. Iain Gill
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    So why has Nick Macpherson tweeted the following:

    A reason for cautious optimism. What HMG has said and what it has done on EU negotiations are very different.
    We will end up more integrated with EU than Brexiteers hope and Remainers fear. #freetrade

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Iain…. the death of UKIP may have been exaggerated.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry, but that does not make sense.

  37. William Long
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I fear that for once you are being naive if you really believe Mrs May when she says that ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’. All the signs I see are that Mrs May is absolutely desparate to do a deal of any kind that will keep us tied as closely as possible to the EU. I think that to have any credibility the Conservative Party should unite to get rid of Mrs May now and appoint a new leader who means business and wants to free us from the EU.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      William, all they are interested in is their jobs. Most of them don’t want to leave the EU and will do all they can to persuade May to keep us in.

  38. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I see Hammond is reported as putting Boris Johnson down with regard to his remarks about using EU saved money for the NHS. Hammond is behaving very confidently as though he has the PM’s support for his Remainer stance. This simply is not acceptable and there has to be a good clear out of the Remainers in Cabinet in order to get the Brexit we voted for effected.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      dont throw money at the NHS, give extra money for treatment sure but let the patients have control of that money and if the wait, dirt, and attitude of the NHS is crap let them take the money anywhere they like.

      more money for the current sub standard care is money for failure.

      instead use extra funds to allow patients to control their own healthcare spend. and if the unions dont like it tough.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Boris should be grateful for a measured, adult reply to his hooliganism.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      The reason is, there will be no Brexit leaving money. We will continue payment to Brussels one way or another and pay the subsidies ourselves. We will probably be worse of after Mays capitulations.

  39. MickN
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    On a related topic the head of the army said yesterday that we do not have the defence capability to thwart an attack by Russia. Russia could walk through here in about a fortnight if it chose to do so. They might think twice however because we have the American forces behind us in NATO. Donald Trump is already narked that other European nations do not pay their dues. When an EU army comes into reality and the E continue to prod the Russian Bear he could well decide that America is not needed any more here and save his country a fortune. He would maybe decide to stick with us because of out “special relationship”. Mrs May should perhaps have this explained to her as she seems determined to alienate Mr Trump.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      The Russians do not have the neams to invade the UK. Besides, the combined forces of Poland, Germany, France etc are far stronger than Russia, assuming the US would cooperate and provide air support (the Europeans have left air superiority in NATO airspace (F22s and F15s) exclusively to the US.

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

        The combined EU forces are a joke. The Russians would chew them up and spit them out. Trump won’t maintain NATO support forever unless the EU states pay their share of defence spending.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Question: How many times has Russia invaded UK sovereign territory or made threats thereof ?

      Then ask the same question of France, Germany, Holland and Spain.

      Russia has never been, or likely to ever be, a threat to the UK.

      • James neill
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        Mark B..not so..the Crimea war broke out very suddenly in the 1850’s and caught everyone by comprised Britain and France vs the Russians..the charge of the light brigade and all of that..lord Raglan

        • Mitchel
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Britain & France AND Ottoman Turkey & Piedmont-Sardinia.The war’s origins are very complex.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        The UK Defence & Foreign Affairs establishment still think they are playing the Great Game but their naked impotence (and,shorn of empire, our geo-political irrelevance)means they are reduced to name calling and then disappearing under Uncle Sam’s petticoats-a suitably transgendered allusion for our times.

  40. Fairweather
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Things the Government must do Now…..
    Extra lorry parks in Dover
    Accelerated check-in for compliant lorises
    More customs Officers in channel ports to expedite Roll-onRoll off operations
    New essential electronic systems for Ro-Ro control
    Establish a Nationalsystem acceptable to the EU for verifying the certification-of conformity for EU bound goods and recruitInspectors to oversee this
    Extra fishing patrol vessels after leaving the CFP
    Legislation to require prime facie evidence tested in Uk court before any Extradition with immediate effect
    Extra border staff
    Sort out aircraft flying rights
    Sort out medicine agency
    Sort out cancer treatment that need importing

  41. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I fear the comments in this D Express article (which are very similar to others being aired in the Press and not being rebutted by our apparently inert Rebuttal Unit) indicate exactly what is going to happen. We have been betrayed. D Express:
    “…..Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said: “During the transition period, the UK will be a member in all but name, but it will no longer sit at the two tables where decisions are made; parliament and council.

    “It has to be a Norwegian-style deal, it cannot be anything else and this has been agreed in principle.”

    He added: “I heard no one disputing this from the UK’s side.” ……

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      It sounds implausible. The UK government does not have the courage to do someting so good for the country. Besides, this is not what the EU wants.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      In fact, it is worse than a Norway deal. Something many here, including our kind host, rejected.

    • Time-keeper
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      MEPs. It gets their name known if they say something seemingly revealing. The truth does not matter to them , only the headline and hopefully a TV clip.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough I was thinking of this the other day but decided not to mention it:

    “On Brexit, as on appeasement, the CBI gets the big decisions wrong.”

    “The predecessor to the CBI, the FBI, (Federation of British Industries) supported appeasement and in 1939, while attending a conference in Germany with the Reichgruppe on the day tanks rolled into Prague, simply released a statement that “political difficulties have nothing to do with industrialists”.”

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Wars make industrialists very rich.

  43. For E.v.e.r.y.o.n.e
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Fake News. Bloomberg Today 23rd January 2018 at 14.03 Hrs on the right of the screen News Headlines which they write “Top News”
    “After a year of thumping his chest, Trump has…”
    They never wrote this about Obama.
    They could of done of course but importantly…and this is what freedom of speech is all about, they chose not to. Bless!

  44. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    John doesn’t apologise, he merely states his case whilst trying to persuade and manoeuvre. We really don’t have much choice other than wait and see.

  45. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Further confirmation of May negotiating a soft Brexit domes from Robert Peston who openly states in the Spectator in his article questioning whether Boris is preparing to “flounce out of the Cabinet”:

    “… The government is on course for the kind of softish Brexit membership of some kind of customs union, the kind of regulatory convergence with the EU that should deliver cheaper trade with the EU but constrains the UK’s lawmaking autonomy – that Johnson and Gove fear may be worse (in their terms) than being a member of the EU.
    The logic of where parliament’s centre of gravity resides is driving May in that direction..”.

  46. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I see the press have been briefed we have already agreed to a Norway-style transition so many of your points are irrelevant John.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Far far worse than a Norway (EFTA/EEA) transition I believe. Instead of having to obey 20% of the EU acquis for a few years we are to be stuck with all of it including the CAP, CFP, EJC and the rest of the political claptrap. What will JR do when Mrs May signs us up to the worst of all possible deals. Nothing is my best guess.

    • stred
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      We need a new word for a person who collaborates with an opposing economic opposing force rather than a wartime enemy. When the executive is siding with and working towards the aims of this opposing force, while ignoring the democratic decision of the people, this could be considered occupation.

      The word ‘quisling’ has been used for wartime collaborators after the Norwegian count, who was later hanged. The word for economic collaborator could be a ‘May’.

      • rose
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        But the collaboration is not just economic: it is political too in that we are signing up to Nouveau Napoleon and Stasi Woman’s plans to censor information and prosecute free opinion. The ECJ is not just an economic court but a political one of overlordship. Helping Macron in Africa is also political. In the past the French used to go on their own expeditions there and not tell the media. We are being signed up as a colony of a not very benevolent empire..

  47. miami.mode
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Jacob Rees-Mogg seems to be the only politician who is loudly banging the drum that we will be able to purchase goods cheaper from the outside world when we are not shackled to the EU’s import rates of duty.

    Have just had some delicious grapes from a poor African country and a quick glance at the import duty rate suggests it is 11.5%. Who benefits from this? Answer would easily fit on a postage stamp.

  48. Andy
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing to discuss.

    The Eu has clearly set out its position – which is entirely sensible and logical.

    The Brexiteers have continued their illogica, incoherent rants.

    And Mrs May lacks the guts to stand up to them.

    I, for one, am entirely comfortable with a no deal Brexit.

    It will be such a car crash that it is, by far, the quickest and most effective way to ensure Brexit is swiftly undone.

    No deal will have the very sweet added impact of permanently killing off the Tory hard-right and Labour’s hard-left.

    What the Brexiteers haven’t yet realised is that they will be held to account for every little thing which goes wrong. It is all on you.

    Most of you haven’t even figured out how the big stuff works so the chance of you realising there is little stuff too is close to zero.

    It’s tragic – but one day will make a great sitcom.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Are you predicting WW3 as well, like Remain did?

  49. ChrisS
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I don’t share the negative view of Mrs May’s idea of Brexit held by so many posting here.

    She stated very clearly in her Florence speech and elsewhere in the clearest possible terms that we would be leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. It is inconceivable that she could get away with reversing her position on either.

    Similarly, we have been told in no uncertain terms that she will not tolerate any future obligation to the ECJ a continuation of Freedom of movement and nor will she pay for access to the single market.

    Whether there is any deal or not, is entirely the decision of the EU 27. They will have to accept those terms under any trade deal. If they will not, there will be no deal.

    I would add to those Red Lines, no deal on trade unless there is also a similar deal on services

  50. Andy
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy Hunt today warns cancer drugs may not be available in Britain if EU talks break down.

    And they will not be available because Brexiteers voted against EU rules which currently make them available.

    There comes a point where you Brexiteers have to actually come up with answers to these real life problems Brexit poses.

    You seem to have missed this awkward fact – expecting someone else to clean up your mess. Sorry, it is down to you.

    After all, it may be YOU or one of your loved ones whose life is at risk as a result of your vote. That would unfortunate but ironic.

    Of course it might also be me or my loved ones at risk because of your dumb vote. And that’s why I care.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Hunt is exaggerating. Drugs cleared by EMA will not (unless UK legislates to follow EMA judgments ) automatically be available in the UK. The UK could easily take as a rule (as many smaller countries do) that it relies on either EU, US or joint EU/US admissions with exception authority for the Department. To what extent the UK would benefit from EU specific pricing concessions is another matter. But pricing is not yet a EU responsibility. So it is entirely up to the UK gvt what medicine will be admitted and what rules will apply, after brexit. What is more damaging to the UK economy is that future UK approvals would not necessarily be copied by the EU. For the large UK pharma export industry that might be a reason to transfer activities further to the EU and Singapore (FTA upcoming; Singapore a popular destination for tax-friendsly pharma development).

  51. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Boris would be a vast improvement on Theresa May. Asa Bennett’s warning is timely:
    Boris Johnson knows what the public want out of Brexit. Mock him, Remainers, at your peril

    In the comments section to the article, there is an interesting finding from an Opinium poll apparently. Boris knows exactly what the electorate want and I believe he has made up his mind to deliver it unlike the PM apparently.
    “”Over half of voters polled by Opinium said they would question whether Brexit was worth it, or conclude outright that it wasn’t, if no extra money can be found for the NHS outside of the EU.”

    • rose
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      Boris isn’t a bit like Trump but they have this in common. They both know what the public want and they both get regularly attacked by a totally out of touch Mrs May. Her bad behaviour today reached a new low. Thank goodness Mr Redwood put it all in perspective.

  52. mancunius
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely with JR on the kind of ‘deal’ we should agree – and the one we shoul reject.
    But when he says:
    “Any deal they accept will need primary legislation to go through both Houses of Parliament”
    Aye, there’s the rub. For both Houses are stuffed full of Remainers acting conspiratorially and in cahoots to block a clean Brexit. They will vote for any legislation that keeps us tied to the EU’s apron strings, and May knows this, and so does the EU (and in case they miss it, Grieve & Starmer remind them) which is why she is constantly back-pedalling in her dealings with Brussels.
    Basically, we have a PM who is fearful, vulnerable, unaware and submissive, instead of the PM we need: one who is resolute, brave, clever and ambitious for Britain.

  53. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Lord Callanan has been to the Latvian embassy to meet some Latvians living in the UK and tell them that we greatly value them and want them to stay here.

    That exciting news appears to be the sum total of today’s public communications from the Department for Exiting the European Union, despite all the various alarming claims which are being made throughout the mass media and which one might have thought would deserve some official comment.

    Such as:

    “Brexit: UK has already ‘agreed in principle’ with EU to Norway-style transition”

    Is this true, JR, and if so why are we learning about it from a Belgian MEP rather than through a government statement made in Parliament?

    • old salt
      Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes – just read on a reputable financial web site news that the UK has already “agreed in principle” to a Norway-style Brexit transition period in which it accepts all EU rules was a boost for the currency.

      So what happened to the ‘Implementation Period’ J R Mogg referred to on 16 January? Sounds like the Leavers are being short changed. Not what they voted for and won despite all the odds.

      I just hope this, what is effectively the end of democracy in this country, doesn’t end in tears.

    • rose
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Well, Denis, it seems there is a rapid rebuttal unit after all. We saw it out in force yesterday, machine guns blazing. The only trouble was that it was the Foreign Secretary who was being savaged, not the Remainiacs. The PM let it be known through her spokesman that she had choreographed a group attack on him in Cabinet and the spokesman then went on to give details of what was said, including the name of Amber Rudd. This must be unprecedented. So the well-disposed Foreign Secretary gets rebutted and the well-disposed American President gets rebutted, two people whose help she could well do with, but not the hostile forces of Remainia.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink


      Whether it is “true” or not does not matter. It is plausible that this is the EU’s communicated (during negotiations) minimum position (the alternative would be a radical exit in March 2019) and a little less plausible UK gvt representatives have agreed in principle. Another issue for dedicated Brexiteers to complain about and hence, another way for the UK gvt to communicate back to the EU, by its response to questions. So far no clear signal.

  54. Anonymous
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    The collapse of UKIP is unhelpful. Farage should not have resigned. The Brexit position is weakened because of the lack third option to hold feet to fire.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Do not despair. Political entrepreneurs like Farage always find a way to continue their business. You think he will retire or seek a normal job?

  55. graham1946
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    What I find so fascinating about this blog lately is the mostly overwhelming dislike of the Conservative government, on a basically Conservative supporting blog! Don’t recall anything like it just 7 months after a General Election.

    You don’t deserve this JR, but you are tainted by association. Looks like your next government is going to be another minority one, with a new leader and a big clear-out of the dead wood at the next GE. I cannot accept that the people will vote for Labour under present circumstances with the hard line Marxists in the ascendancy. Even the gullible young surely will not out vote the old’uns, despite what Andy may dream of.

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

    Thank you for setting all this out. One thing you don’t appear to be at one with the government on is our fishing grounds. When were they last mentioned? With this burgeoning population we will need the protein.

    • Jason wells
      Posted January 24, 2018 at 3:20 am | Permalink

      Rose..we don’t have fishing grounds..any fishing grounds we had in the past, prior to 1973 extended out to 12 milles from a base line around our coast. After that all fishing was subsumed into an EEC fishing grounds. Fishing grounds we will need for the future will have to be negotiated with the EU in due course.

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Jason, False, we will recover our territorial waters (12 n-miles) and gain the 200 mile EEZ. No negotiation is required – it is international law. Unless Mrs May gives away our EEZ to the EU, of course.

        • LenD
          Posted January 25, 2018 at 12:27 am | Permalink

 terrotorial waters extend out to three miles from the coast traditionally..what it is now..i have no idea..but the EEZ fishing and economic for minerals oil etc out to 200 miles was an EU or EEC construct..we can’t assume anything will have to be negotiated

  57. The Great Ear
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I hear the government is setting up a cunning agency in its innards. Its mandate is thwarting nasty Fake News. Dynamic as all government run agencies, it has decided first things first. Matthew, Mark, and John will be banned.

  58. James Matthews
    Posted January 24, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    As I said in another (clearly rejected) comment, I am glad Mr Redwood is sticking to his original position. However he and like minded colleagues seem to be being comprehensively out manoeuvred, both strategically and tactically.

    A process which should have taken no more than two years is now set to take at least five. We will gain none of the potential benefits of Brexit until that process is complete.

    Meanwhile, as the Remainders delight in reminding us, the most confident and committed supporters of Brexit are dying off and (as they are less keen to remind us) children born to EU migrants already in the UK will becoming of age and acquiring the right to citizenship.

    This would not matter if Brexit had been properly accomplished and was seen to be working, but, given that after five years that will, at best, remain to be seen, the chances are that by 2021 the Remain delaying gambits, coupled with demographic changes, will have dissipated and demoralised the leave supporters, to such an extent that we never really escape the EU’s clutches, leaving, if at all, only to the extent that we will have no influence on EU decisions, instead of very little.

    That will not displease Mrs May or many others in the Tory party, but if real Eurosceptics don’t want it to happen they need to start asserting themselves without delay.

  59. Tabulazero
    Posted January 25, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    You are simply no writing because the negotiation are turning out badly for the UK (as expected) and you played a large part in bringing this state of affairs.

    It’s called guilt or shame.

  • 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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