The last stage of the EU negotiations

The PM’s critics say she does not know what she wants from the EU. Those who say this should read what she has written and spoken.

The following things are crystal clear in her statements:

The UK is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019
The UK is leaving the single market and the customs union – and this has been confirmed by two important votes in the Commons. She put Conservatives on a three line whip to vote down proposals to stay in the single market and customs union. It was also the clear statement of both campaigns in the referendum, and the position of the EU that you cannot stay in them without accepting all the other obligations of EU membership
The UK would like a comprehensive free trade agreement and trade partnership and is proposing no new barriers to our trade after we have left

She has also made clear – as she needs to do if we are to have a bargaining position – that no deal is better than a bad deal, and the UK will be ready to leave without a deal if necessary, though she strongly wants a deal.

I do not see how we can decide on a so called Transition period without knowing if there is something to transit to that both sides want. The March Council needs to be told we only accept transition if there is an Agreement and if it needs extra time to implement. The government should say to the EU we are offering no new barriers to trade – what barriers do they wish to impose on their trade with us? Were they to agree to no new barriers we could speedily translate that into a Free Trade Agreement and register it at the WTO.

I think the EU also needs to be told that the provisional generous agreement on money and other matters only comes into play if there is a comprehensive free trade deal which the Uk likes. As someone who does not want to pay the EU anything extra, I would need persuading that any Agreement was value for money for what is an ex gratia payment.

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  1. Mick
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    The following things are crystal clear in her statements:

    The UK is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019
    The UK is leaving the single market and the customs union – and this has been confirmed by two important votes in the Commons
    This may be so Mr Redwood but leavers like myself just get fired up by the constant anti-British onslaught from the media and some of your fellow mps and ex mps and some of the lords in the house of yawns, the sooner we are out of the dreaded eu the better, then we can all get on with our little lives again

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink


      Agree. I’m listening to a load of cods on Marr right now. Amber Rudd is giving her pre election speech. God help us.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        For me, Theresa May was damaged goods even before she became Prime Minister.

        I have the utmost contempt for gutless politicians who cannot get a grip on crime, despite the many opportunities to do so, and to the wider public’s satisfaction. I would have de-selected her and be done with her, not let her serve another term as a member of Parliament. Instead, the Tories continued to ignore the public and put yet another ‘Dud’ in the highest office in the land.

        Are you really suggesting that the Brexit negotiations have thus far gone as cleanly and decisively as they should have, and without unnecessary cost to the UK taxpayer?

        Loyalty to a good leader is one thing. Loyalty to a (shall we say) ‘leader’ who doesn’t deserve it, is just not conscionable.

        Jolly Hockey stick schoolgirls aren’t what this country needs. Then people wonder why the Tories keep scraping though rather than carrying the country with them!

        Tad Davison


        • rose
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          I was interested to hear Nigel Farage’s account this morning of how he sought Mrs May’s help (she was HS at the time) when he was being subjecte to repeated intimidation, violence, and abuse while trying to canvass and campaign. Her answer was “No”.

          Now, following the UWE fracas, she is, as usual, allowing the media to set her agenda, and signalling a new law to protect candidates. We don’t need a new law. We just needed her to enforce the existing law.

          • jerry
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            @rose; Your point being what, just as with life, policies evolve, what was acceptable last week might well not be acceptable today, what was acceptable last week might not be today, and yes public and indeed MSM fuel such change. Sounds to me that you, like others, are just finding something, anything, to use as a brickbat against TM, were you concerned when Labour politicians got heckled, jostled and worse?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            Indeed I heard that too (Farage today on the LBC catchup). It is appalling that Farage was not given police protection (after many violent attacks on him and UKIP). It was a huge affront to democracy. Who made this decision?

            It was apparently T May of Home Secretary that he wrote to? Yet after (fortunately a minor incident) with J R Mogg she now want to change the law.

            Plenty of laws are there already dear, just very rarely enforced. Thank goodness Farage had the courage to continue and finally obtain the Brexit vote. Let us hope it is actually put into effect.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Tad Davison

          Very nicely put…and I suggest most share your dissatisfaction and concerns?

      • Mike Kennedy
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Marr made reference to J Rees Mogg saying that the Treasury fiddled the figures to give gloomy forecasts in the recently leaked papers on prospects for the UK after leaving the EU.

        John Mann MP, a long standing member of the Treasury Select Committee, aid all the Treasury economic models that he has seen are based on the fundamental idea that the country would incur poverty (I think he means economic decline) if we did not have significant net immigration. The Treasury models all work on the expectation of at least 200,000 per year. Look at minutes 21-25.

        This seems to indicate that all the time David Cameron and Theresa May were telling the country they were targeting immigration to the 10s of thousands the Treasury, and therefore the Government, were planning on 200,000 or more; in fact it has often been well above 300,00 in many years.

        John Mann said our Government is continuing to plan on substantial net immigration. It was the Treasury models which fuelled the recently leaked report that said that after Brexit we would suffer economic decline of up to 8%. This shock horror scare is primarily based on a forecast decline in net immigration from 1.2 million to 800 million over five years, said John Mann MP.

        Unfortunately this immigration decreases motivation to invest in technology that would enable improved productivity. No wonder the UK is so low in international league tables on productivity.

        Isn’t it frightening that our economy is designed to be so dependent on high levels of immigration?

        • ChrisS
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          It’s the misguided policy of inviting in hundreds of thousands of unskilled workers from Eastern and Southern Europe that is causing our productivity problem not to mention the housing shortage and capacity problems in the NHS and education systems.

          Why would industry modernise and spend money investing in new machinery if there is a plentiful supply of cheap labour to operate the antiquated equipment already installed ?

          It is essential to cut off the supply of cheap labour to force industry to become more productive. As jobs are lost to AI, we will need to ensure that the remaining jobs go to indiginous workers and those immigrants that have become properly established here. There will be no room for a continuing influx of low skilled workers.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          So Cameron’s and May’s net migration, reduced to the tens of thousands was a lie – oh surely not!

          A bit like T May saying we had control of our borders while in the EU by being out of Schengen or Cameron’s cast iron lie – (a treaty is not a treaty once ratified they absurdly claimed) after the ratting.

      • stred
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Mz Rudd said that the Brexiteers would find the cabinet more united than they thought and a compromise would be found. What she means is that the 72% Remainers would be united, against the 22% ‘cameo part players’.

        For Remainers use the word Brinos. Mr Robbins, the personal civil servant ,is over in Brussels collaborating with the dealmakers again according to reports.

    • Hope
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      JR, first sentence, first paragraph totally wrong. You need to read May’s twelve points in her Lancaster speech and now name the ones she has dropped together with her alleged red lines. The rest of your blog is, once again, about party. She capitulated in phase one of her talks to bring about a fudged Brexit. Regulatory alignment deal or not is a bad deal by anyone’s definition. Why are you trying to deceive us that something else has taken place?

      Where are the conservatives in your party? Why do your PMs and ministers keep name calling and stigmatizing your core voters?
      Hammond still not sacked, why? He commissioned the fake Treasury report which means he should be sCked if he did not his dept is out of control and he should be sacked.
      Rudd was dreadful on Marr, but showed again her the left wing taking over your party. Transgender nonsense which effects a very small amount of people, being thrust upon the majority. Can she not remember her horrible comments about Johnson and now leads hate crime drivel! Her record is absolutely dreadful. Her view about women and transgender women in society utterly perverse.

      • jerry
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        @Hope; There is only one comment by Mrs May, or anyone else, that matters at this stage – “Nothing has been agreed until everything is agreed”.

        • Hope
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          Regulatory alignment applies whether there is a deal or not.nthst means a legal technicality in leaving the single market. A UK govt being supervised by unelected bureaucrats who have the right to examine the budget before parliament and May wants an extension to thus without a voice! Has she completely lost kea e of her senses? Or is thus really about staying exactly the same position until the U.K. ‘Decides’ to remain in the EU. Those traitor MPs wishing to oppose the democratic vote to leave, need to accept it or resign and get another job, the civil servant who leaked the report breaking national security needs to be arrested and investigated.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

            If you want to sell your product into the US market then obviously you have to meet US requirements. However your neighbour on the trading estate does not need to worry about US requirements because he never exports to the US. On the other hand he does export to the rest of the EU, so he needs to worry about EU requirements.

            Unfortunately matters have been so cleverly arranged by our government and Parliament that you must also obey all EU requirements, even though you are one of the 94% of UK businesses who ever export to the EU.

            And apparently it is intended that this will continue even after we have legally left the EU, because goods equivalent to 0.1% of UK GDP are exported from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic, and the new Irish government has adopted an absurd, extreme and intransigent position on the border, and our own government has surrendered to the implied threat of renewed terrorism.

            In fact nobody on your trading estate ever sends goods to Northern Ireland for export to the Republic, but nevertheless you must all continue to obey all EU laws after we have left the EU just in case that situation ever arose.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            “… the 94% of UK businesses who NEVER export to the EU”

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Hope, I would dearly like to believe what JR says. Then I hear Philip Hammond, Jeremy Heywood, and many others. Then I read the EU press release ( which says (edited to reduce length):

        The EU will allow negotiations to begin on possible transitional arrangements following the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU.

        1. There will be no “cherry picking”: The UK will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market.
        2. All existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will apply, including the competence of the CJEU.
        3. From 30th Mar 2018 the UK will no longer be represented in Union institutions, agencies, bodies and offices.
        4. Today’s Negotiating Directives also recall the need to translate into legal terms the results of the first phase of the negotiations.
        5. Background: the EU confirmed that sufficient progress had been achieved
        on citizen’s rights, Ireland and the financial settlement.

        Unfortunately all this contradicts most of what JR says in his post above. Who wins is yet to be established, of course, but the capitulation by Mrs May’s government so far indicates it will be the EU’s version, not JR’s.

        • Mike Kennedy
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          WE already known that it will be a BAD DEAL as shown by the ridiculous commitment by May to maintain “Full Alignment” with EU rules and laws even if we end up with a NO DEAL.

          So we need a NO DEAL now but without the stupid idea of always being in “Full Alignment”

        • Chris
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          NickC, yes, you make the point that Mr Redwood is continually being contradicted by those actually in the Cabinet, and he will be aware of that. However, words are no good, there has to be action from the Brexiters, but I fear they have taken the bait given to them today, and all will go back to “normal” i.e. a fudge or even worse i.e. a betrayal of the people. It is deadly serious, and yet from all the pontificating going on you would hardly believe it.

      • Hope
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Let us also be clear Rudd claimed on her twitter account 19 months ago he U.K. Would be in recession by now. She claims on Marr it will grow! Rudd is a Eurofantic. What a dreadful combination May Hammond and Rudd- we voted leave. No wonder we are getting the dragging of heals and trying at every move to fudge Brexit as if we would not notice or hope public opinion would change.

        She said on Marr the cabinet more united than people then made insidious remarks about Johnson Again!

        Two leaders of the civil service today, one said Brexiteers were like Nazis and the other, Gus O’Donnell, said we are crazy snake oil salesman! What an idiot. It clarified exactly the bias remainers in the civil servic at any price. Selection processes need to be revised in the civil service, discipline code revamped and none should be eligible for the rotten Lords to boost their pension or shave any influence on the country as they are meant to be neutral!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          I think the correct starting point would be to set up a Special Branch inquiry to identify the person who leaked the confidential report to the media, as has been done in the past:

          As I heard initially this was a report that even ministers were only allowed to read in secrecy, yet it found its way to a journalist.

          Maybe it was a politician who leaked it, but far more likely it was one of those loyal impartial hardworking civil servants who we are told are the envy of the rest of the world. It would hardly be the first such case, of course, in the past guilty civil servants have been identified, prosecuted and imprisoned, eg:

          It’s strange how none of the defenders of the civil service seem in the least bothered about the breach of confidence, which of course has helped to undermine the reputation of the service; instead they are more concerned with insulting critics of the priesthood even though there are obviously some good grounds for criticism.

        • Chris
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Rudd’s brother is Roland Rudd, Chairman of Open Europe, and of leader of Business for New Europe, and he was key in the referendum campaign to stay in the EU . Say no more. He is an arch europhile and could probably not believe his luck when Amber Rudd gained her key position in Cabinet.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            Business for New Europe and Open Britain, not Open Europe.

      • matthu
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Transgender nonsense which effects a very small amount of people?

        Does that mean you have an accurate estimate of the number of people who would like to transgender? I have always been struck how some communities e.g. Rio or Thailand apparently have so many more transgender people than are evident in our society.

        I genuinely wonder why that would be?

        I am also struck by the sheer number of adult women coming out now with stories about having been sexually abused in film and entertainment industry – and in particular by the evident pain and guilt displayed by one well known actress as she spoke recently about having had to keep this a secret for so long despite having been abused over several years (both while she was a child and a young adult) by the leading star of a long-running situation comedy show – and having to lie about this and carry this guilt on her shoulders because she did not want to bring the whole show to a premature end, causing job losses all around.

        I don’t think any of us can know the fiull extent of the numbers.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I would like to hear the obvious, from ANYONE in the MSM, but preferably from Ministers, that the Remain Option is not available.

      We cannot go back to what we had.

      The EU has moved on, the EU Army is not just a figment of our imagination, as Nick Clegg implied, the aspirations of the EU, as displayed in their ‘negotiations’ with us, have shown them to be what we already knew, ‘Ever Closer Union’, and have developed further along that path, with any fundamental concept, like Justice, Equality before the Law, Freedom of the individual within an agreed set of laws, Safety and Security of the individual and country against foreign and indigenous threats including the State, the Laws of Physics (think low powered kettles to reduce energy consumption) and the ability to vote out of office those who make our laws, trailing or completely forgotten. The EU is a foreign power, with an alien agenda and treats us as though we were dispensable – apart from our annual subscriptions.

      This declaration would reveal an assumption and require the Remainers to build their own vision of the future – one that would be more uncertain than the Brexit Vision, more Authoritarian, and less influencable by British voters.

      The only upside would be that MPs could be made redundant which would allow the Palace of Westminster to be renovated and turned into a museum. 🙂

      Actually, that is a serious point as that is part of their agenda.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      ‘then we can all get on with our little lives again’

      – There is far, far more to life than whether we’re in the EU or not:

      Great sex with spouse—enjoying strong family life—enjoying good social life, with lots of good, loyal friends—enjoying one’s job—Bach, WB Yeats, Shakespeare, Jeeves & Wooster—travelling to far flung corners of the earth on a motorbike—The wonderful British countryside, the theatre, musicals, long walks through London, the National Gallery—all the other important political concerns about this country—trying to figure out what happens when we die and preparing for death.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        And British sense of humour. Why are so many people losing their sense of humour about whether we’re in the EU or not? Whether we’re in or out, it’s not that important. As soon as we lose our humour and cheerfulness then we Brits stop being Brits and something else.

        So i think everyone should just lighten up a bit (from both sides) There’s far, far more to life than being in or out of the EU. So many things to enjoy (including the spiritual not just pleasure and entertainment, important as pleasure and entertainment are), experience and think about. And for the rest of the time, we should try and help each get through the tough parts of life which none of us can escape.

        – ‘One Love’ – Bob Marley.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          And i forget, good wine, and fox-hunting, and deep-sea fishing, and sitting on top of a mountain like a guru connecting with the great spiritual and mysterious parts of life, and looking after the old and the vulnerable and good charity stuff like that.

          Life has an INFINITE amount of spiritual and physical joys and pleasures to offer. And whether we like it or not, being focused on the EU will NOT prevent us from experiencing the harsh reality of life either, nor will it lessen the pain and the emptiness all of us feel at times (especially at 3 AM in the morning). In fact, being too focused on being in or out of the EU, can make the suffering and pain of life in general a lot, lot worse.

          • DaveM
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Very good post Ed and absolutely right. However, I’ve done most of these things but am never happier than when I’m sitting in an English pub with an open fire after a long walk in the English weather, drinking English beer or Scotch whisky, surrounded by English folk, eating English food and with some English music in the background.

            And it’s that kind of thing that is derided by EU-loving politicians and bureaucrats, and it’s that kind of culture that they want to remove from my homeland and deny to my grandchildren. That’s why I so desperately want to unshackle my beloved country from the EU.

            And I come from Reading and work in London btw.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


            But it’s possible to have an over-romanticised view of our country, forgetting all the division and general dysfuctionality that exists when you scratch the surface. Sometimes, i think Brexit is just a diversion to escape the harsh realities of life in the UK (that shouldn’t have to be like this but are because of flawed human nature).

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            Ed fox hunting?? The list was OK until you mentioned the ‘pleasures’ of ripping some poor defenceless creature to death. You have a strange sense of what enjoyment is all about. Count me out.

        • Dee
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          1)All what you say sounds idylic but this is real life not a dream for the rich. (As soon as we lose our humour and cheerfulness then we Brits stop being Brits.) We stopped being Brits as far as the EU is concerned the moment Heath signed us into the club and he knew it. All what you say can be enjoyed even more as a FREE Nation, rid of all the baggage of Europe.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            – No. NOT idylic. Reality (people aren’t just losing their humour but also their sense of romanticism).

            Life, as i said, is harsh too. In particular, Vietnam, which i travelled around, I saw much more poverty there than here in the UK. But i was overwhelmed by the joy / cheerfulness / good humour of the many people i encountered. I’m afraid much more than here in the UK (or in France, Germany, Ireland, USA etc).

            You’re the one whose turning leaving the EU into someting idylic. Well, if we leave the single market, it better be as good as you make leaving it to be because of all the stress and hassle so many people are going to go through here in the UK – especially the poor and the young.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Ed, And NONE of those are possible if you are in a gulag. And only a few are possible when you are subject to a dysfunctional, corrupt, anti-democratic oligarchy like the EU. Politics really matters because when you get it wrong much of the rest of life is wrong too.

        • miami.mode
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Nick….Ed Baloney would be more appropriate.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

            And if the EU isn’t that important a concern to most people (the economy is number 1), then how on earth do the Hard Brexiters think they can keep everyone happy for the next 15 to 20 years when they’ll have to deal with the following problems:

            – our economy sinking (‘it’s about the economy, stupid’ with the EU 20th on list of most people’s priorities)
            – the socialists gaining momentum
            – high national deficit
            – low productivity
            – problem of Irish border
            – the older Brexiters dying off whilst the younger Remainers increase
            And so on.

            It’s one thing sneaking through in the Referendum (using lots of exaggeration etc – sure Remainers did the same, but they lost so it doesn’t matter now) but things are only going to get more and more difficult, in particular when we actually leave the EU.

            If people want to leave the single market and customs union, fine. But first we have to build up our economy (like Germany with high productivity and big exports to outside the EU). And then we have to have a proper leader from the Brexit team (remember, ‘Brexit more difficult than a moon landing). And a proper strategy in place (as you’d have in business or the military etc). You can’t just rely on wishful thinking to square what is now a circle. That’s just good, British common sense (which seems to have gone out the window recently, along with good, old British sense of humour and cheerfulness).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        “trying to figure out what happens when we die”

        Well that is not too hard to work out – nothing. But if you have not been careful with your investments and your will. P Hammond will nick 40% of your assets of you – and then largely waste you lifetime earning (that you have been taxes on already) on idiotic government lunacies and waste.

    • NHSGP
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      So what’s she not saying?

      1. How many nurses get sacked to pay the EU?

      2. How many EU Migrants are going to be allowed to stay in the UK and receive welfare in the form of HB, income support, tax credits, …

      Why should we be forced with violence to pay for low paid EU migrants so the rich can have cheap servants?

      It’s about consent. The Tories Labour and Lib dems are just like a certain film producer who won’t continence consent. We are being fiscally raped.

  2. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Crystal clear is:

    She has agreed to pay around £40 billion. She hasn’t been crystal clear what we have in return, meaning we have nothing in return.

    She has agreed to have regulatory equivalence between the UK and Ireland i.e. between the UK and EU. She hasn’t been crystal clear as to why this will be required when the USA, for example, has no need for regulatory equivalence in trading with the EU. Please explain.

    She has allowed both sides of the argument within her party to war against each other, without being crystal clear in any way at all about what she’s negotiating for. So none of your colleagues has a proper line to follow, and neither do they follow any line. Why would she do that unless she has no idea whatsoever herself?

    & the piece de resistance:

    She has agreed to stop free movement from the EU after March 2019, but she has committed to taking families of all those in the UK at that time, plus assorted “refugees” and presumably anyone wishing to tag along behind them.

    As Crystal Clear as mud. Not what we voted for. Time to go.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

      As for the “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” slogan, show us evidence that that has been cleared with the EU for what she’s already agreed. It hasn’t been, because she was too vague and frit with them. They’ve booked that.

      • Hope
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        It is worse. Davis accepted theUK owed the EU about £100 billion before he deducted U.K. Assets to reach the alleged £40 billion. It cannot be true because the Lords say the U.K. Owed nothing. We need all the figures to see how this figure was arrived at. Not principles to hide May’s weakness and love for EU.

        • Hope
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          JR, you say crystal clear not to be in the SM and CU. explain what regulatory alignment applying to the whole of the country means whether this is a deal or not? Weasel words to keep the U.K. In the SM by another name.

          If she was crystal clear when skulking off at night to do HER deal with phase one with the EU explain why the DUP were upset? The DUP asked her for a week what the deal was, she produced it to them hours before the announcement! Her underhand behaviour caught out by the DUP! Yet you all heralded her capitulation as if she achieved something! Like Cameron’s Bloomberg speech, he capitulated and falsely claimed to have reformed the EU. All cheered on by remainers to deceive the public. It is reported Soubry will quit the party if Rees-Mogg becomes a minister. This sounds like a win win. Would Morgan Grieve, Ford and Clarke go as well?

          • eeyore
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            I don’t see any posts here taking account of parliamentary arithmetic. Mrs May can only do what she has a majority for. Lots of people – myself included – have bewailed her inadequate leadership, but what direction can she lead in when half her troops won’t follow her there?

            The easy bit of politics is knowing what to do. Knowing how to do it is much harder. Getting it done may be all but impossible.

          • Chris
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            Please add Claire Perry to that list, Hope.

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Hope, The only possible financial loss to the EU as a result of our notional Brexit (29th Mar 2019) is the net payments we would have given the EU between then and the end of the EU’s MFF budgetary cycle in Dec 2020, if we had continued as full members.

          Since we won’t be able to agree the next MFF anyway (because the EU says so), that is the limit of our obligations under international law. At current membership rates, bearing in mind we get about half back, that net amount is likely to be less than £20bn. Mrs May has agreed twice that already.

          I have contacted my local MP (Labour) to point all this out. I don’t think the government can justify the £39bn at all. Especially taking in to account our assets. Certainly it hasn’t done so yet. I am sure that Labour will spot the government’s vulnerability on this fudge.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink


    • Doug Powell
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Agree SJS.
      What worries me is that the PM recently said she ‘would deliver the Brexit the British People wanted’! This coming from someone who believed that the British People were going to give her a whopping majority at the last GE, hardly inspires confidence in her political judgement!
      Time to get real Prime Minister – deliver the Brexit that the WINNERS of the Referendum want. Any attempt to broaden this out to a mythical notion of what the whole nation want stinks of betrayal. The remoaners have to accept a Brexit delivered by the leavers – or clear out and go and reside in the EU!
      If the PM fails this test she will be spoken of in History in the same breath as Quisling and Benedict Arnold!

      • Doug Powell
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        PS, I endorse ‘Time to go’ a hundredfold.

      • Dee
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        I think May should go and Reese Mogg should lead us out. But in all fairness I have to say I thought she was right to go for a snap election and so it would have been exept who in their right mind thought that 50% of UKIP voters would vote Labour? Which they did because many were ex Labour and the Labour Manifesto promised to go along with the Tory’s as far as Brexit was concerned, (he lied) and he conned the students into voting labour by promising to rid them of Fees\debt (he lied). What we need now is to follow the Democratic & Veterans Party which launches tomorrow 6th Feb or swamp the Tory party with new members and do a Momentum on them. Dictate to them who to select/deselect, we need people power in charge of party’s.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      And apparently she will not entertain the idea that in order to reassure the EU the UK Parliament could pass a new law to guarantee that all goods exported from the UK to the EU, including those worth 0.1% of UK GDP exported to the Irish Republic, will continue to conform to all EU requirements in exactly the same way as they do now thanks to the current UK legislation implementing the EU treaties and laws.

      While leaving the 94% of UK businesses which never export to the EU free from its unnecessary constraints, a small but useful Brexit bonus for our economy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Correctly, “… exported to the Irish Republic from Northern Ireland”.

        • rose
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t entertain that idea either. Tony Blair already gave away quite enough in that part of our country without Mrs May following suit.

          If the EU have a problem with Northern Ireland being in an independent UK then they must come up with a solution. Free Trade would do it.

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            rose……our host came up with a perfectly adequate solution to the Irish border a couple of months ago. Obviously we are not privy to the machinations of government, but doubtless Jacob Rees-Mogg will have the ear of Mrs May with his current position and I would imagine she has been made aware of such a solution.

            Whether this would be acceptable to the EU is a wholly different matter.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Well, we may be at cross purposes …


            “If you want to sell your product into the US market then obviously you have to meet US requirements. However your neighbour on the trading estate does not need to worry about US requirements because he never exports to the US. On the other hand he does export to the rest of the EU, so he needs to worry about EU requirements.

            Unfortunately matters have been so cleverly arranged by our government and Parliament that you must also obey all EU requirements, even though you are one of the 94% of UK businesses who never export to the EU … “

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    What is clear is that T May appointed and still retains Philip Hammond as Chancellor and that he and most of the Treasury are clearly determined to give us Brexit in name only.
    Furthermore Hammond is also increasing taxes and tax complexity in the most absurd and damaging way. The man is desperate for Brexit in name only, is electorally a disaster and is an appalling chancellor too. Can she not see this?

    May, by retaining him, surely must have the same high tax, PC, big government, green crap, interventionist, Brexitina agenda that he does. It is hugely misguided in so many ways.

    While she retains Hammond how can one trust her? She did, after all, lie to voters in the referendum to try to trick them into believing they had control of our borders in the EU by being out of Shengen. She must have know this was a blatant lie. She even wants more schools segregated by religion schools.

    As Jon Moynihan put it in the Telegraph yesterday “We have had enough of the Treasury’s silly stunts and flawed reasoning.

    Brexit attacks on civil service ‘are worthy of 1930s Germany’ says Turnbull. Rather proving the point.

    • Nig l
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Jon Moynihan article was a total demolition of the Treasury position. It should be placed at everyone’s position at the next cabinet meeting.

      • acorn
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Moynihan still thinks public sector pensions are financed by taxation. He doesn’t understand that the government will never run out of its own money to pay pensions. But private sector pensions funds will require three times current contributions to stay solvent; that’s not going to happen. They will all end up bailed out by the goverment’s Pensions Protection Fund.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Having just seen the picture of the full (at least I hope it’s the full) Cabinet in the article that I think you might be referring to, I reckon brooming half of the them is Way To Go. I’d lay money (except nobody would bet against me) that 9 in 10 of the population haven’t a clue what all bar perhaps three at the most do. No wonder there is an inner cabinet. It goes without saying that Hammond should be kicked out pronto. Apart from all (the consideable) else, having such totally uninspiring bods at 1. and 2. is enough to make one weep.

      • jerry
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        @LL; & @Leslie Singleton; “…9 in 10 of the population haven’t a clue what all bar perhaps three at the most do.”

        Ignorance is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater, to coin a phrase, not that I’m implying anything you understand!

        What’s more, I’m not sure who might be the more ignorant, the 9/10th or the 1/10th, just because some Brexiteers would like to pay (even) less tax, not not fund what-ever, the country still has to function for the majority, and you need to face it, taking the the 2017 GE result most people do not share your ideals even if every single person who voted either Conservative or UKIP do…

        • Dee
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          What a load of bull, typical rEUmoaner reaction.
          I think May should go and Reese Mogg should lead us out. But in all fairness I have to say I thought she was right to go for a snap election and so it would have been exept who in their right mind thought that 50% of UKIP voters would vote Labour? Which they did because many were ex Labour and the Labour Manifesto promised to go along with the Tory’s as far as Brexit was concerned, (he lied) and he conned the students into voting labour by promising to rid them of Fees\debt (he lied). What we need now is to follow the Democratic & Veterans Party which launches tomorrow 6th Feb or swamp the Tory party with new members and do a Momentum on them. Dictate to them who to select/deselect, we need people power in charge of party’s.

          • jerry
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

            @Dee; What a load of bull, typical right-wing hard line Brexiteers reaction who realises that the ‘free beer’ they saw coming post Brexit was just a mirage.

            You ask about UKIP, more fool those on the hard right who though that UKIP was a right-wing party, Mr Farage made it quite clear that he nor UKIP cared were their support came from, just so long as the members supported leaving the EU.

            Labour was eurosceptic if not europhobe long before UKIP was though about, long before Mrs T made her “No! No! No! speech, so why is it any surprise that disaffected traditional (pre europhile Kinnock/Blair) labour supporters joined UKIP but then left having obtained Brexit, even more so with a eurosceptic now leading the Labour party espousing traditional Labour values, Mr Farage understood this totally, hence why he stood down, he knew that UKIP was finished after the referenda, job (unexpectedly) done!

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I believe the FCO is also institutionally Remain.

      But then so is most of the establishment. Think about it: why did the rumour go round after the Referendum that we had no negotiators, when the FCO (and all ministries – in the Council of Ministers) have been negotiating with the EU for 45 years? Why was there a 9 month delay to invoke Art50? The excuse was the court case, but the government could just have had the HoC vote immediately and got on with it. Why was there a 10 month delay signing the Phase 1 agreement when the government has capitulated on everything?

      It’s all to keep us in the EU for as long as possible. And to keep us as closely tied to the EU as long as possible afterwards.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        It’s hard to see how the civil service could not be institutionally in favour of the European integration project after six decades of selective recruitment during which all those who originally opposed it passed on and were replaced by new staff who were more predisposed to support it. The problem is whether they can conscientiously act against their own longstanding inclinations when government policy is suddenly reversed. I think the most probable answer is that almost all of them will do their honest best to support the new policy, but one small minority will find it so unpalatable that they will resign and another small minority will resolve to stay in place and to whatever they can to obstruct it.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Dear Nick–The Phase One Agreement is indeed an absolute and embarrassing joke.

      • miami.mode
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        NickC….it is generally the better-off who benefit from EU membership by having access to cheaper labour whereas this works against the poorest.

      • Dee
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        If May had invoked Art50 straight away as she was told to there would have been no court cases. She WAS a rEUmoaner, she IS a rEUmoaner and she will ALWAYS be a rEUmoaner. We need a Brexiteer to get us out toot sweet as the french would say.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          You must mean David Cameron … instead of doing what he promised he resigned, which is what he said he would not do …

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Amanda Spielman OFSTEAD head has rightly suggested we need:- a “muscular liberalism” that resists those who seek “to indoctrinate impressionable minds with extremist ideology”.

    True but what would religion be without the “indoctrination of impressionable minds with ideology” ? Why does T May want more state religiously segregated schools? Does she really think it will help integration and make for a cohesive society?

    • Hope
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Yes, she is utterly useless. She is allowing radicalization by failure to act or pass responsibility to heads who are getting harangued, labelled racist, bullied and forced out of jobs by extreme religious people. The govt was going to act on the Trojan horse schools but have quietly retreated to allow it to continue. When can we expect change? When is Rudd going to pursue this group for hate crime? When is the govt going to introduce law going to be introduced to stop radicalization by drawing a firm line?

  5. Henry Spark
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    So your argument is (again) that the UK should be allowed to throw off all the obligations of EU membership, yet continue to enjoy all the benefits. Will there ever come a time when you stop, think and realise just why this is ludicrous?

    Reply What benefits? I have always said if they want to impose barriers to their trade with us they can only do so up to WTO permitted levels

    • Henry Spark
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      The benefits of frictionless trade. You don’t even seem to understand that free trade in the EU operates without customs checks, phytosanitary inspections, tariffs or demands for compliance with local technical standards – in the WTO you get customs checks, phytosanitary inspections, tariffs and demands for compliance with local technical standards.

      • Andy
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Poppycock man. What you regard as a ‘benefit’ costs the UK well over £10 billion a year in hard cash – the UK is forced to ‘Buy’ ‘frictionless trade’ and even then it is only trade in manufactures maybe agricultural products but most certainly not in Services, particularly financial services which the French and Germans protect their own market with vigour. That is why we have no ‘single market in services’ after 25+ years. I just don’t see why we need to pay £10+ billion to have the ‘benefit’ of a £90+ trade deficit with the EU.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          Dear Andy–Are you the same Andy as the other Andy who talks nonsense all the time?–Certainly paying a fortune for a large deficit is completely bonkers

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        No doubt there are benefits to frictionless trade, of course there are, but what is the scale of the benefits and what is the scale of any costs?

        Most of the items on your list are connected with the EU Single Market rather than the EU Customs Union, and as I have repeatedly pointed out even the EU Commission does not claim that the benefits of the Single Market are more than about 2% of the collective GDP of the member states – probably less than that average for the UK – while it has admitted that the costs could be more than 5%.

        As for the benefits of its Customs Union, the EU says for example:

        “The customs union provides a clear and uncontested value-added to EU society and businesses.”

        but I have yet to find any official EU number for that value. Which is a bit surprising, as the EU Commission is rarely backward in coming forward with boastful numbers.

        Obviously it must be a relevant factor that overall tariffs around the world as a whole have fallen dramatically since the Customs Union was first set up in 1958, and the average of the EEC/EC/EU Common External Tariff has dropped by virtually an order of magnitude. In 2014:

        “… currently almost three quarters of imports into the EU pay no, or reduced, duties and the average rate is just 1.2 % … ”

        That could be compared to something like 13% in 1958:

      • David Cockburn
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        The issue of barriers to trade is covered by JR’s proposal to continue to trade as at present so it will be up to the EU if any barriers are placed in the way.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Henry Spark, Actually “customs checks, phytosanitary inspections, tariffs and demands for compliance with local technical standards” apply to the EU too: when importing into the EU and exporting to other countries. Phytosanitary and local technical standards apply within the EU, must be complied with, and are inspected.

      • jerry
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        @Henry Spark; “The benefits of frictionless trade.”

        If they want to do business with us then the EU will make trade frictionless because it is in their interests to do so (go check the balance of trade between the UK and the EU27…), bearing in mind post Brexit the UK can trade with who ever, join NAFTA or TPP (both without federalist political strings, unlike the EU) for example if being in a trading group is so important.

        “demands for compliance with local technical standards.”

        Please do tell us were in the UK or Eire I can buy a Europlug pre-fitted to a toaster? I can’t as even within the EU’s Single Market there still needs to be compliance with local technical standards, no different that China, the USA, Australia or any WTO country having to do so.

        • acorn
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          The EU standard is the appliance has to operate at 230 Volts (220-240) 50 Hz. My vacuum cleaner arrived from Germany with the Type F plug and an adapter for UK Type G sockets.

          The best one is my new mobile phone; bought on-line in the UK, arrived with a US Type A 120 Volt plug USB charger (120-240 Volt 50-60 Hz), with an adapter for the UK. The box and instructions were all in Chinese. LG tell me my dual SIM card 32GB plus 32GB SD card 4g LTE phone at £99; ” is not intended to be sold in the UK.”

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Somehow it has become our obligation to: provide the EU’s nuclear defence, provide its intelligence centre, take in *European* refugees from the failed Eurozone, contribute £8.6bn more per year than we take out and to buy £60bn more from it than we sell.

      ‘Benefits’. Pffff.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Presumably those countries wishing to remain in the EU regard the political and monetary unification obligations of the EU as benefits – otherwise why do they stay? The U.K. has decided it wants friendly political relations with EU countries, easy travel for business tourism and study and free trade. Why – other than for reasons of EU ideology – does that need to involve accepting obligations such as supremacy of EU institutions, unlimited immigration, payment of aid to the EU and monetary union? It doesn’t elsewhere in the world.

      • sm
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        You know why, Richard1:

        because the EU is primarily a political grouping, with a political goal: to give birth to The Holy Roman Empire, Mark ll. The oligarchy and the great corporates benefit, as do the professional bureaucrats, Enarchs and fat cats.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Henry Spark, You don’t need an institution like the EU to have free trade. All you need is an agreement on low/zero tariffs and mutual recognition of regulatory authorities.

      • Ian Greig
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Nick, how many such agreements are there in the world? I count … none

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Ian Grieg, Even the EU has some FTAs (registered as RTAs with the WTO) – as other Remains keep telling us. Please keep up.

          List of multilateral Free Trade Areas at varying degrees of integration: CSME, EU, EAEU, MERCOSUR, GCC, SICA; CEMAC/XAF, UEMOA/XOF; EEA–Switzerland, ASEAN; CAN, EAC, EUCU, SACU; CEFTA, CISFTA, COMESA, EFTA, GAFTA, NAFTA, SAFTA, AANZFTA, PAFTA, SADCFTA; (from Wiki). And then there are the bi-lateral FTAs. And then the MRAs.

    • Dee
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Since the largest part of our exports is already carried out under WTO rules why are we not reading everyday about the ruination you imply. There is not one single person you know or I know or anybody else knows, that benefits PERSONALLY from being in the EU apart from Junkers and his cronies. The so called ‘Benefits’ are a sham to cover up for the EU Mafia Commision.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:08 am | Permalink



        Furthermore, if you ask a Remainer to eruditely articulate the real benefits of EU membership…….deafening silence?

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    That is what voted for but as you are well aware it’s not going to happen. We will end up with some fudged half in out deal with Brussels calling the shots and your party will be history.
    A good job done in Mays eyes.

  7. stred
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    What May said and what May does are two different things. Please accept that the UK is going to stay in the EU for the conceivable future because, if we leave properly, we will all be ruined economically. The civil service have done as asked by ministers and used the Gravity Model to prove this fact, as trade diminishes with the square of the distance. The fact that the UK has increased trade with the world and not Europe is not relevant. The input of lower immigration number to reduce GDP in the model is obvious, as higher GDP per head is not.

    One of our faithful and wise retired civil servants, who helped our best ever prime minister to increase EU migration unexpectedly by twenty times the estimate, has told the Guardian that MPs who accuse the civil service of not doing their level best to help Brexit are behaving like Nazis in the 1930s. So stop it please chaps. We don’t want to have any continental style nastiness and have civil servants fleeing to Belgium and claiming refugee status.

    Reply This is nonsense. The gravity model is highly contentious and cannot explain why we import so much from China. Ministers do not have to accept civil service advice – they are there to decide based on that and other information and advice coming in.

    • stred
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      It’s good to see that Mrs May’s automatic EAW extradition to EU prison cells isn’t working. We can say that we will not be in the EU by the time we are sentenced in Bulgaria or maybe soon Albania and appeal to our Supreme Court, thanks to the Irish sticking up for a tax victim.

    • stred
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The Gravity Model also ignores the instant communications, which allow 3D printing of components to be manufactured anywhere, bulk air freight in efficient planes, cheap container shipping, trans continental railways from China, instant financial and other services and the fact that long distance trade has boomed. Also internet marketing with choice of goods and services visible everywhere. The use of reduced immigration to show reduced growth is an obvious trick to show low growth, as population accounts for half.

      Sorry to have overdone the tongue in cheek, as I thought the Nazi accusations were about as daft as their economic forecasts.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Interesting that the only people we are not allowed to call Nazis are the people who really were Nazis – nor are we allowed to say why the EU needed to be created (to stop Germany invading France a FOURTH time.)

      The Soubries would have it that Tory Brexiters were a fringe minority of nutters but it transpires from a referendum that they represented the majority view after all !


      Stay in the EU but scrap the UK parliament. That will do.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        I understand that my comment about Nazis may not pass moderation.

        Therefore people who call others ‘Nazis’ should not pass moderation either.

        It is entirely wrong that reporters, historians and politicians go to great lengths to see that the people that really were involved with Nazis are spared while those who have had absolutely nothing to do with the movement are so smeared and their moderate opinions censored.

        Remain supporters are oppressive and their misuse of the word ‘Nazi’ and abuse of democracy.

        • Doug Powell
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          There was a time when a cornerstone of leftish philosophy used to be “I disagree profoundly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

          Now, in any country, whenever anyone disagrees with a supposed ‘liberal’, he/she is immediately branded a Nazi, by people who probably have no idea what a Nazi is!

    • GilesB
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      The Treasury model also assumes that the EU economy will grow steadily for the next fifteen years. An absurd assumption.

      The don’t even allow for the effect on the EU economy of the UK leaving, let alone the colossal bank debts in Italy that are not sustainable.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        GilesB, Yes, it’s the “non performing loan” (NPL) levels in EZ countries that is the real worry – 16% in Italy, over 50% in Greece. But the government and the MSM, particularly the biased BBC, is oblivious.

    • Dioclese
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      “if we leave properly, we will all be ruined economically”

      Nonsense! You’ve been looking at the Treasury’s biased and doom laden forecasts, haven’t you?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Actually the reliance on the gravity model is just one of the many flaws which have been highlighted for the doom laden Treasury prognostications of April 2016 and which are likely repeated in their new revised edition.

      I followed up a recent comment by “acorn” on this thread:

      “You can read the original version of the document at

      and the CEP critique of it.

      The latter and some other think tanks, reckon the gravity model underestimates the dynamic effects. See the conclusion section.”

      And I read on page 5 of that paper to which “acorn” referred, in the section “The Treasury’s bottom line”:

      “The second important point is that most of the magnitude of the effect is coming from the impact of lower trade on productivity: (5.7% of the 7.8%).”

      As far as I can tell what this really boils down to is an attempt to give numerical expression to a politically charged, biased, judgment that withdrawing from the EU and moving to trade with our neighbours just on WTO terms would diminish the overall volume of UK trade and so the intensity of foreign competition faced by UK businesses, and that backward looking protectionist scenario would in turn allow UK businesses to continue with their inefficiency rather than seeking to enhance the productivity of their work force.

      It seems that is what is meant by the “dynamic effects” which are used to take the predicted GDP losses from a level consistent mainly with the loss of the estimated benefits of the EU Single Market, around 2%, to four times that level, 8%.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Here is another paper in that series, from March 2016:

        “In an ‘optimistic’ scenario, the UK … obtains full access to the EU single market. We calculate this results in a 1.3% fall in average UK incomes … In a ‘pessimistic’ scenario … Brexit lowers income by 2.6% … ”

        So these numbers for predicted GDP losses from leaving the EU and its Single Market are in the same kind of ballpark as the EU Commission’s official estimates of the benefits of the Single Market. But then:

        “In the long run, reduced trade lowers productivity. Factoring in these effects substantially increases the costs of Brexit … ”

        And the predicted loss immediately jumps fourfold from a marginal 1 % or 2% of GDP to a more significant 6.3% or 9.5% of GDP.

        I look forward to somebody offering some evidence

        a) that overall we will have reduced trade after leaving the EU, and

        b) that any such reduction in the overall volume of our trade would have any significant adverse effect on productivity in the UK economy.

        I suspect that there is a certain mindset at work here, an ingrained political prejudice which assumes that as well as being Nazis those who want to leave the EU are all backward looking protectionist luddites.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      I think he was indulging in a bit of sarcasm.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Stred, Good one. The problem is that what Remain says is so ludicrous, and they’ve said it so often, it’s difficult to distinguish your satire from the real thing.

    • Dee
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Haven’t we had enough of so called ‘Experts’. It is grotesque the way that rEUmoaners grasp at every straw the doom mongers put around yet totaly ignore an ‘Expert’ who has been proved right every time, Prof Minford and he said we are going to do jolly well away from the EU clutches. So I will go with the proven ‘Expert’ who has no agenda.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Dear Stred–Far from its being irrelevant, I regard our increased trade with the ROTW and not the EU as precisely what it should be all about–It is the recent history that is close to being irrelevant–What is needed is correct judgement about the future–Who can gainsay that the EU is bureaucratic, sclerotic, inflexible polyglot and protectionist, not to mention the coming internal war with the countries to the East, whereas the ROTW is at the very least changing all the time with countries, and very large countries at that, coming in to play that hardly existed before in trade terms, not to mention the increasingly fast communications and travel?–I do not say that the USA is a good proxy for the ROTW but it is a big part–Live and work there a few years and one cannot forget or deny how dynamic and competitive the place is–the more so under Trump–Try and visualize how things will be in 10 years’ time. There will simply be no contest.

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      You are basically talking about relativism Spatial concerns and employed persons per capita ( taking into consideration widespread immigration) are in a constant flux which will never define an accurate state of affairs for bilateral trade.

  8. Roger
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The agreement on money and the Irish border already signed up to before christmas is for to smooth the way to our exit only..the proposed talks leading to a future agreement will start to take place soon with an agreement maybe possible for a transition period but we have through our government, Mrs May, as you rightly say, too many red lines in place that it will make it quite impossible now for a transition period to be entered into, because it would be a transition leading to nowhere. The nearest deal we can expect from the EU now is something like a Canada plus deal that will take years to negotiate..just listen carefully to what Barnier has to say over the next couple of days..Listen to Junker and Tusk..there’s no point in deluding ourselves that the EU is going to compromise any of its four freedoms to suit UK demands.

    Reply In which case we should just leave on WTO terms

    • acorn
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Remember that the EU 27 are also individual members of the WTO and can object in that capacity. Also, at a briefing for EU27 diplomats Wednesday, European Commission deputy Brexit negotiator Sabine Weyand said that London will need permission from all of Europe’s more than 40 trade partners to stay in agreements during the post-Brexit transitional period. She revealed that two countries — South Korea and Chile — had already raised objections, three diplomats said on condition of anonymity. A transition period is going to put the UK between a rock and a hard place, best not to have one. I still think Brexit is a dumb idea; but, if we are going to do it, jumping now, may be better than trying to crawl out of a crash landing next March.

      Politico sums it up at:
      (Google) “EU trade partners demand concessions for Brexit transition rollover. During a transition period, the UK must abide by EU trade agreements but has no guarantee that third countries will do the same.”

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Dear Acorn–We cannot allow chickenshit problems–temporary on any basis–to prevent our desire in principle to get the hell out of the swamp–indeed I think the less of you for suggesting that they might. I for one have never had any doubt that it will be difficult getting out and that cutting the plethora of Gordian knots will take time but I have never doubted that we will prevail in the end.

        • acorn
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

          Yes but, will you prevail before the next General Election?

      • Perry
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        Mr Redwood promised us that all these agreements would novate to the UK after Brexit. He’s gone quiet on that hasn’t he!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          If I was Mr Redwood I would not give houseroom to you or to any other troll masquerading under one user name or another …

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Politico is not exactly neutral, you know.

        But it has always been clear that all the parties to an existing trade treaty must agree to the terms of its continuation if there is to be a material change of the circumstances upon which it was based. Which is not the same as saying that any necessary amendments must be made immediately or else the treaty will automatically fall. As repeatedly mentioned there have been plenty of examples of trade deals which it has been agreed shall apply provisionally in whole or in part for many years before they finally come into full force.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      JR, a reply to your reply: “In which case we should just leave on WTO terms”. Indeed, “should” being the operative word. But you are not in charge of the government; and the government is not really in control of the Whitehall machine.

      So in many ways – because Theresa May is so weak – what she says is of no real relevance. BINO will be negotiated by the Remain civil servants (“that’s not possible, Minister”) and signed off by politicians. And we will have made the same mistakes as we did in 1972.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard more than enough from various EU luminaries both before and after the referendum to be pretty sure they won’t agree to separate their “four freedoms” into the three economic factors we would want and the remaining fourth factor, the uncontrolled and unlimited freedom of movement of persons, which is primarily political and the one that the great majority of UK voters do not want.

      So it becomes a question of whether they want to negotiate some preferential free trade deal, and if so at what price. The price could not include any influence over our immigration policy.

      Personally I think they have decided to mess us about and given that the benefits of a special trade deal would not be that great it would be better to say now that for the time being we intend to trade on WTO terms and so we would like to focus on practical measures to avoid unnecessary disruption when we leave.

    • Dee
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      Good, then let us take the obvious way out and just walk away and leave them to rot. Barniers rules are absolutely stupid and no decent Government would accept them. But as for May’s RED LINES, there are non, she has whitewashed them all away and should never be believed again. She has conceeded to everything the EU demanded then had the gall to call it a victory, like the 5 year limit she put on the involvement of the ECJ after Brexit, Junkers said No, 10 years, May said No, 5 years, Junkers said 8 years, May said OK and called it a victory, unbelievable, she is an embarassment to the people of the UK and needs to go. May needs to start worrying about what the Brexiteers will do if she fails to deliver what we asked for, she is already treading a very thin red line now.

  9. Nig l
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    If leaving the customs union is certain, why did the PM state she was undecided? Why is it being spun that Gove, Fox and Johnson are going to have to fight that position in cabinet?

    Forgive me for being totally confused and frankly somewhat disbelieving.

    Reply There is a push back against the settled policy of leaving the customs union by the Chancellor. Parliament has twice voted down Opposition proposals to stay in the customs union.

    • Nig l
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Thank you for that clarity. Surely it’s time TM showed us some leadership and sorted him out? It will define her PMship and future

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      This PM rather specialises in being “undecided”. Other than when she decides the wrong way, such as gender pay reporting, tax increasing, more religious schools, fox hunting, on plastic, HS2, Hinkley C, attacking the gig economy also when she decided to go into an early election waving her punishment manifesto.

      This while robotically repeating “strong and stable government” and “Brexit mean Brexit” like a stuck record. She is a middle manager with a broken compass and not remotely a leader.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, Regrettably, you have it right.

    • zorro
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Exactly, so why are you saying that she has been clear when she is now undecided on the CU?? It is ridiculous, she needs to assert her position as PM and make policy crystal clear. Exit stage right Mr Hammond!


      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Replace by Kwasi Kwarteng please.

  10. Mark B
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning .

    It is very clear not only concerning the reports about the PM’s style of so called negotiations but, the fact that so msny MP’s and members of the general public are ignorant of the basic facts.

    Assuming that the UK was indeed leavng both the SM and the CM the UK would become a, Third Country as far as the EU is concerned. They will automatically impose tariffs upon UK goods. They cannot offer us better terms than other non-EU countries.

    To get a Comprehensive FTA takes time. All members have to agree and in the area of services there is little impediment. So why are we asking for one ? We are turning ourselves into the beggar nation and throwing away any advantage. Unless that is, the UK Government wishes to use the pretext of negotiations as a means to maintain the Four Freedoms ?

    We already are singned up to the SM via Regulatory Convergence and I note that our kind host does not wish to press the government on this or use his blog to explain wha this is.

    We are being sold out !

    Reply An FTA can take time where the two countries are trying to keep some barriers and remove others. In this case where the barriers have been removed already if both sides wanted an FTA it would be a scissors and paste job which could be quick. If the EU does not want one then lets get on with WTO terms and pay them nothing

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      As we have a massive trade deficit with the EU, it is even more in their interests than ours NOT to impose trade tarriffs on UK goods. To do so would be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. But then again, all the EU care about is being seen to punish the UK for daring to leave the EU and luckily for them we have a Prime Minister who is willing to capitulate on every demand they make.

      We should walk away NOW.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink


        I think we must be very careful to separate the rEU27 from the EU itself. The former is member countries with electorates still to satisfy, and the latter is a bunch of bureaucrats who care not a jot even for those countries and citizens who remain. True heirs to the Bourbon dynasty.

      • Dee
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Very well put, short, precise and every word out of my own mouth. Walking away and tariffs would be a nice little earner for the UK. I’m surprised these geniuses in Parliament can’t see it. But of course they can, it is just that they would rather hurt their own people than do anything to upset their beloved EU, their God Junkers, their preacher Verhofstadt, their leader Merkel. The irony is it may be the Germans who rid us of Merkels.

      • acorn
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        The fact that we have a large trade deficit with the EU is nothing to be proud of. Yes, we are absorbing unemployment from the countries we are importing from. Yes, UK citizens get to enjoy stuff that the UK does not make.

        But, the UK ends up exporting a large amount of Pounds Sterling to foreigners. The foreign exporters to the UK, have to find something to do with all those Pounds Sterling (classed as foreign exchange reserves back home). They may not want to sell them Pounds in exchange for their own currencies; that would drive the Pound down in the FX markets.

        They could throw them in a drawer, like you do with the foreign currency you didn’t spend on holiday. They may buy UK debt instruments like government Gilts; factories etc. They may buy Chelsea mansions and numerous other UK assets. The bottom line is foreigners end up owning your country. Particularly big stuff like strategic assets; energy; water; transport; communications etc etc.

        A laissez faire, neo-liberal, Conservative government, does not give a toss who owns the UK, as long as they make a profit selling it, over and over again.

    • Helena
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      The UK has a comprehensive FTA with the EU. It is called membership of the EU. It is not the EU that has decided to throw that away. It is the UK

      • Edward2
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Helena, scores of nations trade successfully with Europe without being in the single market nor agreeing to freedom of movement nor allowing the EU courts supremacy over their nation.

      • Hope
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        No, it i she called political u ion and becoming a supranational state where nations are lost forever. Get your facts right.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I think you are looking at this from a very, and I do mean, very narrow perspective.

        Whilst we all like to talk about the EU in terms of trade we must never forget what exactly the EU is – A Supranational body designed to usurp the nation state and remove ‘effective’ democracy.

        The EU is not the world , and the world not the EU !

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Helena, The EU is not principally about trade. The EU is mainly concerned with expanding its power using the founding principal of “ever closer union” as an excuse to create the USE.

        Free trade can take place by mutual agreement and mutual recognition. We don’t need to be in the EU for free trade. Even the free trade agreements between the EU and “third” countries, which you frequently mention, demonstrates that.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Dear Helena–If you were right and the EU were just an FTA then of course we wouldn’t be leaving–What is the matter with you to say such things?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Mr.Redwood MP sir. Now may I press you on the matter of, Regulatory Convergence ? It seems quite the topic amongst my fellow contributors ?

      Reply I tis clear we can accept equivalence where we need it for mutual trade but not convergence, and we need the right to differentiate

      • Lendal
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        But Mr Redwood, Mrs May committed to convergence in Decenber. Did you not notice this?

        • Mark B
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Regulatory convergence means that the very small tail, just 0.1% of UK GDP, which is involved in goods exports from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland is allowed to wag the whole of the UK and its economy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      As far as the EU is concerned we will become a “third country” when we cease to be an EU member state. There is no way to avert that and it is entirely mistaken to suppose that there is. That idea is just another hare that somebody set running.

  11. Kenneth
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Bernard Jenkin has a point.

    Although I think criticism of Treasury civil servants is justified, ultimately it is up to their political boss to set the direction and tone.

    I think it is now time to have a new Chancellor

  12. jerry
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree with 99% of what you say John can you please stop trying to make out that there was only two groups campaigning during the referendum, just as there was 28 groups wanting to Leave there was 19 groups wanting to Remain, thus voters had a total of 47 possible manifestos and reasons to vote the way they did, never mind perhaps having their own reasons, with every possible method of remaining or leaving there is expressed in those combined 47 manifestos. Yes I know that there were only two ‘official’ groups but that was a funding arrangement, not a campaigning requirement.

    Reply I usually refer to the official campaigns, which clearly have more significance than the others

    • Edward2
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      That is correct Jerry.
      Both remain and leave voters had some different visions of the future.
      But the speeches by the PM and the official leaflet set out the Government view prior to the vote day.
      Polls since show a majority who are impatient for us to just leave.
      Difficult now with voting in Parliament so close.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, None of the 47 had “manifestos” as generally understood in politics, because none of them could have formed a government, so their intentions could not be acted upon. Except for UKIP, of course.

      • jerry
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; The issue is not re-running the referenda as you are trying, the decision to leave has been accepted by most who wanted to remain. The problem now for radical Brexiteers and their wishes is that there has been a GE between, so even if one accepts the ‘official’ Leave manifesto of 2016 that to some extent has been sidelined by the GE result that appears to have changed what people want from Brexit – the only thing that can be said for sure is that there is no wish to scrap Brexit, otherwise the LDs would have done far, better, whilst the SNP would have kept their gains of 2015.

        @NickC, The referenda wasn’t about forming a government, that wasn’t its function, your point (like most of your comments) is thus irrelevant. As for UKIP, do remind us how many votes and MPs they got in June 2017…

        • Edward2
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          I find myself agreeing with you Jerry for the second time in a day.

        • NickC
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, “The referend[um] wasn’t about forming a government, that wasn’t its function. . .” Precisely.

  13. duncan
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    What a depressing article both in tone and content. Depressing in that the author is a committed Eurosceptic and as been all his political life but this reads more like a letter of support for Theresa May with the ultimate desire of not wanting to see a leadership contest

    I understood this is a dangerous time in politics, probably the most vicious I have witnessed in many a year. The fascist left is on the rise, they are strong, organised, well financed and have penetrated many areas local government

    Therefore the last thing the UK needs now is divided Tory party under a different leader. If Labour achieve power this country will splinter.

    But, we need a new leader for our party who can confront the challenges of having to confront the threat of the EU and their determination to tie us into a vassal state relationship and to take on the hard left, the unions and Marxist Labour

    That leader must be persuasive (a powerful speaker), indomitable, aggressive, tough as teak and conviction pouring out of their pores. A leader who when you look into their eyes you actually believe that what they are saying is straight from the soul

    I understand the ‘Party before nation’ stance of this article but they need to look at the example of Thatcher and how her election as leader changed the entire fortunes of the UK for the better

    The EU desire to keep May as PM for the foreseeable future. The EU also worked hard to achieve Thatcher’s removal as leader of the Tories through people like Clarke.

    The EU is a political animal. It is unable to manipulate referenda or elections but they can influence the political make-up of a government and its power structures are is therefore a danger to democracy as we understood democracy to be

    I find this article well meaning but deeply disingenuous

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, Extremely well put. Thank you. You are right.

      • Chris
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        I believe you are right, Duncan and NickC. That of course is the fundamental problem with the Conservatives – Party before country – but can’t they see that they are en route to destruction with this present course and present leader? They have little time to save themselves. I, however, am worried about the country, not the Cons, and for the country and our democracy to be saved we have to have a new leader utterly committed to Brexit, and who has the wisdom, vision and strength not to be led/overruled by the Remainers and any overzealous civil servants.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      I cannot resist it. This and other similar commentaries by our host is all about The Party. It comes above everything else. Principle and belief and country all come below The Party.

  14. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    If that is her true position I am. 100% in accord with her. I am totally with you on transition, you need to know what you are transiting to and for how long and at what cost. Remember the mantra “No taxation without representation.”, which translate to the EU’s transition demands for jurisdiction are a none starter after March 2019. I would add that from end March 2019 the UK should be free to implement any international trade deals it may have in process, to take possession of our international waters and the fishing thereof. The latter with regard to EU fishermen, but according to our rules, we should not be punitive. The other areas where we and the EU cooperate to mutual advantage should remain, with us paying our fair share.

  15. alan jutson
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Her words in two speeches I agree have been clear.

    Unfortunately the EU are deliberately making things more complicated than they need to be in order to gain much more ground, and Unfortunately May has agreed to all of those demands instead of just saying no, and keeping it simple.

    Another mistake was to ask for a transition period before trade or other things were discussed and agreed, so it is all conjecture/confusion and a pointless waste of time.

    If reports are to be true, Mrs may has not actually set out her position on trade at all to the EU.

    The biggest mistake was to go along with the EU timetable on everything.
    She should have insisted on trade talks first, starting from WTO terms as the base line and moving up from those.

    Afraid any Cabinet Minister who deviates from the agreed position (I assume they know what that is) unless she has also been unclear with them, should also be sacked, Leaver or Remainer.
    We should look solid and confident with our demands/positionas a Government

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    As Brenard Jenkins puts it in his very sensible article today in the Sunday Telegraph:-

    “What officials need and deserve is clear, unambiguous and united direction from their ministers.”

    What they get is T May, an ex(?) remainer, probably just pretending to be pro a real Brexit. This while allowing (or even actively encouraging) a Brexitina agenda from no 11. Plus a wasteful and hugely over taxed and regulated socialist agenda too.

    It is the just deceitful Cameron agenda once again (but without his gift of slick presentation). Pretending to be a Cast Iron, Eurosceptic and a low tax at heart Conservative, while in reality being (and working for) the complete opposite.

    She cannot be allowed to run at the next election best she retires very soon. The Tories need a real Tory (who actually wants a real Brexit) in charge. That is only the way to win the next election.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, You are right. You can feel it in the air . . . . Labour are out leafleting already with glossy, plausible, confident leaflets; the Tories are nowhere to be seen. UKIP’s in a mess, and the LibDems are despised. It will be a May walkover for Labour. And the Conservatives only have themselves to blame.

  17. Blue and Gold
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    May I suggest all of you Hard Right contributors who appear to be riddled with paranoia, just like the Establishment Brexit MPs, do an exercise, for the sake of your health and your family?

    Just do the following:

    Lay down in a darkened room, breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breathe for 5 seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat 10 times.

    I would recommend doing this every hour.

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Only in the UK is it possible to hold mainstream views (supported by a national referendum) and suddenly ‘move’ to the Far-Right! Compared to Misters Corbyn, McDonnell and their Momentum stormtroopers, most of the UK population is now Far-Right.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Would you suggest that prescription for hard left remain supporters too?

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      B&G, Is that from personal experience? Perhaps you need to learn that your opinions are not facts, then you wouldn’t need to practice so much.

  18. DaveM
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The thing is Mr R, any leader – particularly elected ones – is expected to stand and fight with and alongside its people and beliefs. Like Trump or Macron, or Juncker or Barnier. Whereas May just seems to have no beliefs or direction and appears merely to want people to like her. As a result she dishes out cash like it’s peanuts to places which have no benefit to the UK, whilst ignoring areas in the UK which are desperate for it. And she has the resistance of a piece of soggy tissue when assaulted by a torrent. She’s absolutely hopeless.

    And the upshot is that the govt is effectively run by Hammond, who has more loyalty to Brussels than to the UK.

    That’s what it looks like from here anyway.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      DaveM, Sadly, also from where I’m standing too.

  19. Monza 71
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The position you have set out is absolutely clear and concise and supported by all the statements the Prime Minister has made. Anyone trying to suggest that the real intention of Mrs May is something different is being disingenuous at best.

    She should be demanding that the Home Secretary and the Chancellor, and a select few others, stand up and make speeches following the states line to the letter.

    If they refuse, they should be sacked.

  20. oldtimer
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Aside from the attempts by Mr Hammond and others to frustrate the purpose of Brexit, which only serve to compromise any negotiations for a “deal”, there remains the definition of what counts as a “bad deal” for Mrs May. I suspect her definition and mine are far apart. I also suspect that is true of yourself and many Leaver MPs.

    It is an unfortunate fact that the approach to negotiations she has adopted, post the Lancaster House speech, has been anything but optimal. My fear is she will be prepared to concede too much in order to reach a “deal”. At some point the Leavers in the Conservative party will need to steel themselves to resolve the issue of how far they are prepared to travel the May road before they say enough is enough.

  21. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    You are right that transiting to an unknown destination is bad policy. In fact, similar to having a refendum question that offers a choice between something very specific: the status quo, and an unspecified (as to outcomes) “leave”. I diasgree with refendums phrased that way and likewise with transitions to the unknown.

    Of course there may be a reasonably specific set of objectives that UK and EU could share. That could be enough for a transition arrangements. We can be sure that negotiating in detail and securing member agreement (as well as agreement within the Conservative Party, possibly even harder if Labour does not want to support a majority within the Party against 50 to 80 dissenters) will be difficult and take time. That time is now being wasted by a row that your side cannot win constructively.

    It is of course impossible that the EU would respond positively if

    “told we only accept transition if there is an Agreement and if it needs extra time to implement. The government should say to the EU we are offering no new barriers to trade – what barriers do they wish to impose on their trade with us? Were they to agree to no new barriers we could speedily translate that into a Free Trade Agreement and register it at the WTO.” . This is just another way of saying that you prefer a radical and hostile separation above all choices the EU can offer, given its own constraints.

    Reply We know exactly what leaving without a deal is like, as 160 other countries are non members of the EU and trade quite happily with it

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      @ John Redwood (reply to reply)

      You said “We know exactly what leaving without a deal is like” . I agree to that with some reservations, but OK. But the referendum question did not specify “without a deal”. It was completely silent as to what would follow “leave”. Of course you knew that when you wrote your reply. Sorry.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Rien, You claim that the Remain option on the ballot paper was “the status quo”. That is so obviously not the case, and has so often been debunked, that I am surprised you think you can get away with it. Remain was the leap in the dark because although we knew the route (“ever closer union”), we would be taken there by others with no real chance of changing direction or destination.

      The Leave option, in terms of being outside the EU, is well known: it’s what 165 countries in the rest of the world enjoy. The particular outcomes subsequent to a Leave vote must always be open: it is up to future governments and future democratic elections where we go. Democracy does not lend itself to being tied down. That’s partly the reason the founders of the EU went for the undemocratic option.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      “You are right that transiting to an unknown destination is bad policy. ”

      Which is why I voted to leave the EU and its *unknown* destination.

      Tell us. What’s the plan ?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        There is no plan. Would you want one from me? That would be very expensive..

  22. Caterpillar
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Could the Govt publish a milestone list for all that needs to be in place by March 2019 to be ready to leave on WTO terms, with a regular monthly update showing which have been hit and which missed? The ‘backup’ project seems to have a deadline but little reporting.
    Moreover can the Govt publish a second figure that is not the ex gratia payment (bung) that reflects the amount that the UK is legally bound to pay on leaving?

    One year out and we are not hearing the evidence that progress on being ready to leave has been made. All we hear of is progress of the – in name only – project.

  23. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    With apologies, an additional comment. If you are correct in interpreting Mrs. Mays position on Brexit, do you not consider that it would be wise and helpful for her to stand up in the H oC to spell it out to the nation. It would put an end to the constant stream of misinformation and speculation in the media. It would fill the information vacuum that has developed, diluting the sense of direction to the process of Brexit. At the moment we are all walking in a fog. I would point out that the EU have no hesitation in demanding adherence to their position.

    Reply I am just reporting what she has said in the Commons!

    • formula57
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      But it has not been said in the country.

      The Cabinet should follow John Major’s example (yes, his!) and get on its collective soapbox and proselytize often and forcefully such that even the BBC will be obliged to take notice.

      The people need reassurance and counterpoint to the constant stream of moaning propaganda orchestrated by quislings, relayed by remoaners and heard by all to the exclusion of positive messages about our prospects.

  24. Tony Harrison
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, if the PM is as clear and decisive as you suggest re the terms of our leaving the EU, why is she perceived by almost everyone (Leavers, Remainers, our EU partners) as being weak, indecisive, vague, procrastinating, and generally hopeless at negotiation? Why are we all so desperately concerned that UK is heading towards a ghastly compromise, the worst of all possible results, aided & abetted by such as Hammond?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      She is doing (from a disinterested observer’s point of view) a very good job technically by not exposing her strategy until the very last moment. Of course there is the risk that what she is probably aiming at, ie as little change to the status quo as domestic politics will permit, or in other words, the national interest, will not work and either the Leavers or the Remainers get the upper hand before the Leavers can be completely neutralized whilst keeping the Conservative Party in contention for the next election. There is no other explanation. Weakness in public is a very good approach when there is strong and not so discrete opposition within.

      In fact she runs the risk of complete ridicule in the future if this fails. Very brave.

      • Tony Harrison
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        I would like to think that Mrs May is brave and possesses hitherto unrevealed Machiavellian qualities of keeping her cards close to her chest. But I do not find this credible. I fear she exemplifies the Peter Principle.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Rien, Our politicians no longer have a choice. They gave the choice to us. And we chose to leave. That’s the only mandate they have: Leave. Anything else is appeasement or betrayal. If you believe that Leave will back down on this you are sadly misreading our character.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

          Politicians will be politicians. Mrs May has been around for a long time. You might call it deception, I would call it ordinary politics. Mandates and fish stay fresh only for a few days, right?

    • Chris
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Tony H, you write:
      “Why are we all so desperately concerned that UK is heading towards a ghastly compromise, the worst of all possible results, aided & abetted by such as Hammond?”
      You are right and the reason why we are desperately concerned is that she has already agreed in December to what amounts to a “complete capitulation” according to Charles Moore.

  25. Old Albion
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    It’s clear the EU are controlling the negotiations,
    Your Gov. has already agreed an enormous goodbye payment.
    Your Gov. has agreed a transition period.
    Your Gov. has accepted free movement will continue during transition.
    We will not be out of the EU in March 2019. We will be in, as a voiceless state.
    We voted to leave the EU. Not stay in a disguised form.
    Mrs May has not got the strength of character to tell the EU how it is to be, because her heart isn’t in it.
    The EU will belittle and destroy us and your Gov. in any way they can. Because their worst nightmare is for us to leave and be a successful country outside the EU. They know if this happens, other countries will rush to the exit door.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion, What you say is confirmed by the EU’s own press release of 29th Jan 2018.

  26. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    It’s obvious from your replies today John that you feel the same way many of us do about Brexit. Just find out what they want and if it’s not to our liking, just leave. I just wish they could get on with it so we don’t have to listen to the likes of Vince Cable going on about another referendum. It’s all making the British public nervous and it’s not good for the Conservative party as a whole. Come together and give us what we voted for. By the way, your replies are very welcome and explain a lot of things clearly which is more than the media are doing.

  27. Man of Kent
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Why was the Chancellor allowed to run around promoting a transition when the PM was on her summer holidays.?
    Not a word of disagreement or qualification from the PM .
    The general feeling reinforced in early December with ‘regulatory alignment with Eu ‘ which has sealed the direction of travel is that we are being led by both May and Hammond into a costly transition .
    We know there is the fall back WTO solution but while M and H are in control this will never happen .
    What a tragic mess and letdown for the majority.
    There will be consequences.

  28. Shieldsman
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    At the stroke of midnight 29th March 2019 having triggered Article 50 the United Kingdom will cease to be an EU member State and therefore part of the European Common Aviation Area. What does this mean? It means the UK (as a 3rd Country) resumes responsibility for negotiating bilateral ASA’s. Its bargaining power being its Airspace. Article 1 of the Convention states that ‘The contracting States recognize that every State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory’.

    We never lost these rights, so did the EU usurp them or borrow them? The EU is not a Country, it is a political union formed initially by the Treaty of Rome. It is a bureaucratic Empire calling itself a Community. It appears to have assumed the negotiating rights as a result of the ECJ ruling on Community Law. We will no longer be subject to Community Law or the ECJ and will have exclusive rights to negotiate bi-lateral air service agreements under the Chicago Convention on our own behalf.

    Whilst there is much ill-informed talk this side of the Channel I have not read of any EU negotiations taking place. If our current ASA’s with the Community fall then so could the EU- USA agreement. The UK’s Airspace was used as a bargaining tool by the Brussels commission. The loss of an Air Service agreement means the loss of IASTA overflying rights for Countries with NO bilateral ASA’s. This will apply to all Airlines of EU member States.

    Jean-Marc Janaillac CEO of Europe’s largest intercontinental airline Air France-KLM says UK carriers must play by the EU court’s rules after Brexit. Jean-Marc Janaillac says he is happy to see British airlines fly on the continent – as long as they accept European Court of Justice control. I wonder WHY? We will not be a Community member and therefore not subject to the ECJ.

    Between now and our leaving the Secretaries for State for Transport and Foreign Affairs have the task of validating the Air Service Agreements made on our behalf by the Commission. Why would any Country wish to cease Air services to the UK?

    British Airways does not operate routes in Europe that do not start or end in the UK. EasyJet have made their own arrangements to exploit the 7th Freedom. A European 7th Freedom operator went bust. EasyJet said it has agreed to buy part of bankrupt carrier Air Berlin’s operations at the German capital’s Tegel Airport for €40m. It claimed that in addition to easyJet’s existing base at Berlin Schoenefeld, it would make the carrier the “leading airline” in the German capital.

    Due to Government dithering the Continental European legacy airlines make a fortune from longhaul British transfer traffic that the UK does not have the capacity for. Dutch flag carrier KLM calls Amsterdam Schipol airport Heathrows third runway.

    • stred
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      A family member was coming home from Holland last Thursday and so I had a look at the aircraft tracking website to see where the plane was. It left Schiphol at 7.30pm, as a continual line of planes came in and took off, as at Heathrow, then headed out across the North Sea. The number of planes crossing the same airspace was amazing, There were about ten other flying close together and even on top of each other. It looked like the Red Arrows were coming. Other planes were crossing from SW to NE. The one I was watching headed for the same space as a Ryanair plane going north after a few minutes and both turned a little and then mine turned south, apparently to find some space. Then another Ryanair plane going NE crossed its path and mine headed down to Margate and turned right to fly up the Thames towards its destination City Airport. When it arrived another plane arrived at the same time from the south and mine disappeared, while the other one turned sharply and landed. Another plane coming into Heathrow flew directly over City at the same time while the other two landed.

      Any idea that British or continental air traffic control ensured that planes are kept well apart is incorrect. The idea that the continent could isolate the UK after Brexit seems far fetched. The pilots must be highly skilled at collision avoidance.

  29. StanleyW
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    All will become more clear over the next few weeks about where we are headed and with our present stance and red lines in place it looks very like WTO Rules, and in this case we really should be making full preparations now and not wasting any more time talking and speculating. The next EU ministerial council meeting is in March sometime..we’ll know by then for sure.

  30. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Mrs.May has apparently agreed that we pay £40b to leave as some unexplained form of compensation. Is this true and why? At the start the talk from DD I believe was the EU owe us because of the assets the UK has contributed to since 1973. Even the HoL reported we legally owe nothing.

    The UK has a massive trade deficit, national debt approaching £2t, annual government spending deficit of over £50b, public sector pension liability of £2t, threats to our armed forces’ budget and law and order being undermined by too few police officers, social care deficiencies etc etc.

    Any MP who votes for any deal giving the EU money to leave is a complete hypocrite.

  31. Epikouros
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Regrettably Theresa May does not inspire confidence. Her tenure at the Home Office was lack lustre not achieving anything useful as she appeared to be more concerned with avoiding censure as so many of her predecessors had managed to fall foul of. As prime minister she appears to be following the same pattern doing and saying nothing which she cannot roll back on later and with her many silences giving us no idea about her current thinking which gives the impression that the job is beyond her capability and she wishes not to let that be known and at the same time offend no one. I see in her as a ditherer who lacks leadership skills. Coupled with a nagging feeling that as campaigner she was a remainer albeit a lacklustre one she will capitulate to the likes of Philip Hammond on Brexit.

    • Chris
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Her reign at the Home Office was documented in a D Telegraph article at the time, but apparently she/her minders forced the D Tel to retract it. Some people have still got the original article. I read it. It was an honest and fair appraisal. She would not have survived in a job application interview with that to “support” her.

  32. Prigger
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    If there were anything crystal clear, Marr and Rudd would have had absolutely nothing to discuss this morning.

  33. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    What is clear is that you expect the PM to stick by what she originally said, and what was voted on in the Commons. However, although honourable of you to trust your PM, it is naïve in the extreme I believe. She is weak and a Remainer at heart. The procrastination, dithering and lack of clarity, plus the head of steam that she has allowed the Remainers to build up in Cabinet and the civil service just cannot be ignored. With Theresa May the evidence is in her actions, not her words. Nothing could be more obvious than appointing a team of predominantly Remainers?

  34. agricola
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Maybe a third submission is rather tedious, but it is something you should be aware of. There is growing discussion that after March 2019 EU citizens coming to work in the UK will have to register. As you know I have lived in Spain for over ten years. When I arrived I had to register and receive my own unique registration number. This is an absolute requirement when purchasing property, enrolling for health care, or signing for a parcel with the post lady. My EU/UK driving licence had to be replaced with an EU/Spanish licence. My car had to be re-registered as a Spanish vehicle at considerable cost. I have to pay Income Tax in Spain. I do not object to all this , but am inclined to ask what is common about this common market. When the time comes do not let anyone get too excited about EU citizens working in the UK having to register after we have left the EU.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      EU citizens having to register would not be a problem if the measure applied to all residents. Your post does not explain that what you had to do , all residents in Spain (or Luxemburg for example) have to do. If the UK had a comprehensive register of residents (including citizens), such a measure as you refer to would not be discriminatory.

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Rien, I try to be patient with continuing Remain claptrap, and I succeed most of the time. Including with you when you draw partisan conclusions from ignorance about what goes on in the UK. To work legally or claim benefits in the UK everyone must register for a NINo, just as every one born here gets a NINo.

        The government’s claim that it will register migrants after Brexit is just flim-flam designed for internal politics. The government could just use the NINos, but that would mean admitting that a)registration is not a new robust policy but goes on now; and b)that the NINos are a lot more accurate than the useless ONS numbers based on the IPS.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          You are wrong again. I am neither remainer nor leaver. I find the situation intriguing like many other observers who are nopt personally affected. I am convinced that this whole affair will result in a very hard shock that some people like to have and others not. It is very hard to find competent (economists, public policy specialists) in academia who think this is a good idea. Many of those are not British, are they soputing “remainer claptrap”?

          • NickC
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

            Rien, No you are wrong. First I made a general statement about Remain claptrap. It was not just about you. However, if the hat fits, wear it. Your views are Remain even if you will not admit it.

            I then went on to comment about your particular finger-wagging: “a comprehensive register of residents . . . would not be discriminatory”. It is not for you to say, never mind judge. As it happens there is a comprehensive register (NINos) that already exists. Which is what I explained. Say thank you.

            As for the “very hard shock” that you imagine, let’s see shall we? The EU is already experiencing a “very hard shock” with dodgy banks and mass unemployment. Migrants are trying to escape the EU and come to the UK. I think the EU is in for more “hard shocks”. I think independent nations do better in the long run. But maybe you have to justify your own subservience to the EU oligarchy.

      • stred
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        New EU residents coming to live in Holland already have to register with the authorities, giving details of occupation and address. Mrs May could have chosen to do the same while running the Home Office. The registration offer is another con for UK consumption.

  35. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    This just does not fit in with your claims about Theresa May and the customs union. She has an “open mind” on the issue. Quite disgraceful if true. She has taken us all for a ride and apparently has deceived us:
    “…Theresa May earlier this week refused to rule out signing the UK up to a customs union with the EU after Brexit. Downing Street later clarified that the Prime Minister had an “open mind” on the issue….”

  36. Annette
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Sorry John, actions speak louder than words & her actions/capitulation do not match the words she uses. I have one for her & the Tories …”No means No”. She can feel free to use it in her ‘negotiations’ with the EU.

    I have some simple indicators that will tell me if we have left the EU. The key indicators are, on 30th March 2019:
    Is UK law supreme?
    Can MPs start to examine the acquis, removing laws we do not want, & passing those that we do unhindered by foreign powers?
    Do we have complete control over our borders, deciding who can come & stay?
    Do we have complete control of our territories, particularly our fishing grounds, other than the remaining notice given on the London agreement which necessitates a short ‘implementation’ period?
    What elements of our ‘membership’ outside of the above are subject to a ‘phased implementation’, & is the duration reasonable? Ie the reasons why it could not be enforced on 30th March, eg Euratom withdrawal.
    A failure on any of the above means that we will have not left. A failure to leave demonstrates that the ballot box has failed & that we no longer live in a democracy. Do not mistake the majority’s relative silence on the shambles that we are watching as acquiescence. It is not.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Annette, You make very good points. Your idea of a checklist to gauge the outcome is excellent. My concern like yours is “A failure to leave demonstrates that the ballot box has failed & that we no longer live in a democracy.”

      • Chris
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Excellent, Annette. Now it is reported that having fed a morsel to the Brexiter MPs in Cabinet about the Customs Union, that has already been qualified saying we might have a customs union type arrangement “for a fixed time”. This is quite unacceptable and the letters in the D Tel this morning sum up the anger in the electorate:
        Letters: Brexit is being derailed by this lacklustre Government of Remainers

        Trevor Anderson writes:
        “SIR – I wonder if Theresa May and her Remainer colleagues are aware of the seething anger that Brexit voters feel about the utter shambles being made of the process. …The most important reason for voting Leave was to regain our sovereignty. Yet Mrs May has apparently refused to rule out signing up to a customs union and is keeping an “open mind” about it. It appears that “Brexit means Brexit” was a meaningless and disingenuous claim….”

        He goes on to say that this government under May will destroy the Cons Party and hand power over to a Marxist government for at least a decade.
        I completely agree with him. The Tory Brexiter MPs have to act now and should not be duped by this “concession” about the customs union (which has already apparently been qualified). It is time for radical change at the top, otherwise Brexit is completely lost (and the Cons Party too).

    • Chris
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Excellent, Annette. Now it is reported that having fed a morsel to the Brexiter MPs in Cabinet about the Customs Union (enough to placate them and keep them on a long string just as before, that has already been qualified saying we might have a customs union type arrangement “for a fixed time”. Katy Balls (Spectator) says this tactic is deliberate and is an attempt to split Boris from Gove. This is quite unacceptable and the letters in the D Tel this morning sum up the anger in the electorate:
      Letters: Brexit is being derailed by this lacklustre Government of Remainers

  37. Bert Young
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I am fed up with all the wrangling statements about whether and how we are leaving ; I blame Theresa for that . She has constantly refused to say what our red lines are and has not insisted on a negotiation that includes a clean break ; this has left us all with uncertainty and bewilderment . She must now come clean and , if necessary , resign .

    A friend of mine has a home in Besancon where everyday individuals cross the border with Switzerland without any kind of check on goods being carried or any form of restriction . Surely if this happens there why can it not happen between North and South Ireland ?. The French are very keen to lay the law down on us but turn their backs on things on their doorstep .

    The time has now come for the Conservatives to get together with a firm Brexit plan – one that fulfils the referendum result . Hammond is clearly the ……. in the woodpile and has not the majority support he needs to succeed . The resulting disarray is a potential disaster for them and an indictment of mismanagement .

    • rose
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Owing to the treachery of their politicians after the people had voted not to be in the EU, Switzerland was put in the Schengen Area.

  38. Whittington
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The Marr Show with a Corbynista fleeing Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Borough Council and Amber Rudd of no fixed opinion you could nail her on, was followed in my TV area by ” “The Big Question” where they discussed all things God-like including whether they should base their lives on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which ones, and which translations.

    That’s it. I’ve had enough of England and its abstractly minded. I shall collect my life savings of £12 -3s-6d from the Post Office ,and head abroad once I’ve got my new blue passport.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      To Wales?

      • Whittington
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Actually Yes, Yes Yes Wales or ,Scotland. A vote for Scottish or Welsh Independence automatically puts them non-members of the EU. No ifs , no buts.

        Mrs May and this Cabinet have no intention whatsoever of us leaving the EU except in name. That is clear every time they open their mouths

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Whittington, May I call you Dick? . . . when you get abroad make sure you tell the locals exactly how to knot the corners of your handkerchief . . . .

  39. DancerJ
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    We make a big mistake if we continue with the line that the EU wants to do a deal with us..some like Tusk go along with this old guff..but the others are’s a bit like ‘good cop bad cop’..truth is that we are the ones looking for a deal with them..that puts us on the back foot..JR misunderstands if he thinks we can lay it on to to the EU council ministers about what we’ll have and what we want.. neither will the Commission Junker and Parliaments Verhofstadt be very impressed afraid that we have used up all of our credits now and it is the lap of the gods..dusting off Rees-Mogg to have another go is not going to work either..the EU crowd are well onto we shall see in a few days time when Barnier speaks again

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      The EU has presented a menu and the UK has not (yet) chosen but sits there and thinks about the delicacies that are not available.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m all for scrapping Trident, the Royal Marines, GCHQ and the UK Parliament.

        Neither we (nor the EU) deserves them – nor is there any point in them if our national identity is to be swamped.

        What to protect ?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          Selling Trident to the US would do. They would probably mothball the system..

      • NickC
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Rien, Does the EU want free access to the UK market? You haven’t told us yet.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:23 pm | Permalink


  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    JR, it is now over a year since Theresa May delivered her Lancaster House speech:

    “The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU: PM speech”

    That is quite long enough for people who are very busy with their everyday lives to have forgotten about it, or at least to have forgotten about many of the details, and for the eurocrats and their miscellaneous deceitful sympathisers in the UK to systematically implant the false idea that she has never said, and even at this late stage she still has not said, what she wants for the UK after we have left the EU.

    And as I have repeatedly complained the government department which has been newly created to implement the official policy of leaving the EU apparently cannot be bothered to defend that policy by rebutting any of the distortions, misrepresentations and straight lies which flood into the mass media every day.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      It might be useful to just copy and paste what Theresa May said specifically about the Customs Union in that speech:

      “I know my emphasis on striking trade agreements with countries outside Europe has led to questions about whether Britain seeks to remain a member of the EU’s Customs Union. And it is true that full Customs Union membership prevents us from negotiating our own comprehensive trade deals.

      Now, I want Britain to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. But I also want tariff-free trade with Europe and cross-border trade there to be as frictionless as possible.

      That means I do not want Britain to be part of the Common Commercial Policy and I do not want us to be bound by the Common External Tariff. These are the elements of the Customs Union that prevent us from striking our own comprehensive trade agreements with other countries. But I do want us to have a customs agreement with the EU.

      Whether that means we must reach a completely new customs agreement, become an associate member of the Customs Union in some way, or remain a signatory to some elements of it, I hold no preconceived position. I have an open mind on how we do it. It is not the means that matter, but the ends.

      And those ends are clear: I want to remove as many barriers to trade as possible. And I want Britain to be free to establish our own tariff schedules at the World Trade Organisation, meaning we can reach new trade agreements not just with the European Union but with old friends and new allies from outside Europe too.”

      It seems to me that since then, last January, the ball has been very much in the EU’s court to clarify to what extent they concur with her stated “ends” and which “means” they might be prepared to consider.

  41. LukeM
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    No JR you are not correct we are committed to some things as agreed before people moving and the irish border..these things are to do with our exiting and nothing more. We are obliged to pay for past please don”t keep going on about this nonsense that we can walk away to WTO and pay nothing

    Reply None of those are legal requirements, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. I and my colleagues have stressed this to the government and they have confirmed this.

    • LukeM
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      They are very much legal requirements in fact they are international..and if we don’t meet them we will find that we will not proceed one step beyond where we are now..more importantly all of our good standing in the wider world will be don’t talk nonsense. The other slogan nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, cliche talk, doesn’t wash still don’t get it? The agreement about money the border and movement before christmas was about the exiting process..the future has nothing to do with fact since we are heading for WTO Rules i don’t think there is going to be a future

      Reply The government stressed it was not entering any legally binding commitment on the money at this stage

      • Chris
        Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Mr REdwood’s reply:

        I believe the EU thought that what we signed up to in the early stages was legally bindingbut since David Davis’s woolly remarks on this they have now insisted they will have to be legally binding, as part of the terms/conditions for a transition deal.

        So, imagine Theresa May signs up to a transition deal, then that is that and then we will be legally bound. There are huge problems because she won’t let people know what terms she is negotiating and then, when Mr Redwood and others think that she is going to keep to her word (earlier speeches about leaving single market and customs union), she announces such things as she has an “open mind” on the customs union (reported by D Express in quotes from D Street spokesman). This apparent duplicity is not good enough. Tory Brexiter MPs have got to act if they want to save Brexit.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      LukeM, The UK is required to honour its treaty obligations under international law. When we abrogate the EU treaties (in theory by April 2019) we cannot acquire further obligations. In particular we will have no financial obligations beyond the end of the current EU MFF ending in Dec 2020 to which we agreed in 2014. By definition we will be out before the next MFF.

      Moreover, the UK financial obligation to the EU, upon leaving, cannot be greater than the net amount (ie the maximum of the EU’s “loss”) that we would have paid as full members between April 2019 and Dec 2020. Otherwise the EU gets more than if we’d remained a member!! At current rates in round numbers that is about £17.5bn (1.75years x c£10bn net). Or half what Mrs May has agreed to.

      As for there not being a future with WTO rules, you would have to explain: why c61% of our exports are under WTO rules now: why 98% of global trade is under WTO rules; why all the EU are members of the WTO; why nearly nine tenths of the UK economy isn’t engaged in exporting to the EU.

  42. robert lewy
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Although Sovereignty , control over our borders and the right to make and interpret our own laws are absolutely essential in pursuit of our aims, the economic ramifications must indeed be considered and with care.

    The Gravity model which influenced the advice given to the Treasury has been used for a purpose for which it was not designed. Ask Newton if you will.

    However, economic realities do play a part in determining the wisdom of departing from EU membership.

    So, let’s start with the facts.

    We hear much about the importance of the Single market and how it has improved economic performance in the EU. How can one assess this claim against reality? It is my contention that we should look at how EU goods exports intra EU compare with EU exports to the rest of the world over time. Over the 12 year period to 2015 in not one of he 28 member states did the ratio of Intra EU exports to EU ROW exports rise. This demonstrates in one simple statistic that EU trade has become less important to all members in relation to the rest of their trade. For France and Germany the ratio declined for the 12 year period by around 1 per cent per annum whilst in the UK the decline was 2.42 per cent. The UK decline over that period wqas MORE than three times that of the UK average. If that alone is not a striking statistic, also consider that in the second half of the 12 year period the decline was 3.65 per cent for the UK.

    What does this show? We have de facto already left the EU.
    Let’s complete the job now without further delay.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Robert Lewy, Good points. It makes sense from the information I already have. Could you provide a reference though? And I guess you mean “The UK decline over that period was MORE than three times that of the EU average.

  43. LJ
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I do wish someone would explain why it is even legal to pay for trade. I looked at the Bribery Act recently, and it seems to say that no money should be paid to a ‘foreign official’ in the interests of trade. So isn’t this money that is being offered to the EU ”bribery”?

    • Chris
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I believe there is no need for us to do so either, LJ. Why Theresa May has subjected us to this apparent stupidity I do not know.

    • NickC
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      LJ and Chris, International law insists that any financial liabilities to which we have agreed whilst a treaty is in force must be honoured. However I see no reason why the amount we pay the EU should be greater than the net payments the EU will “lose” as a result of us leaving in March 2019, before the expiry of the EU’s budgetary cycle, the MFF, to which we agreed in 2014. That amount is about £20bn, or half what Mrs May has agreed.

    • TedC
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 1:44 am | Permalink

      LJ…in the past while we were full members of the EU we made certain commitments to pay for projects into the future..we made budgetry commitments and employed huge EU staff who need to be paid and then pensions paid..these are some of the commitments we are required to honour and pay for..likewise we made the Irish border one hundred years ago so we have a responsibility to try to solve that far as the movement of people both EU citizens and UK..will still have to be worked out but in the meantime there will be no change..all of this was agreed before’s all about our exiting the bloc in a smooth please desist from making simplistic deductions as to how we should proceed, ie bribery to officials etc getting us nowhere as we will see very soon when the EU speaks through Barnier

  44. John PM Culligan
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Your loyalty to Mrs May is commendable, and is, I surmise, driven by the concern that a different PM might not deliver BREXIT at all.

    In this I am in agreement with what I believe your position to be. Far better to get a flawed BREXIT now, which we can later amend when the surge of opposition to a half-day house fudge becomes overwhelming, than to risk no BREXIT, due to parliamentary machinations.

    Incidentally I also believe that a no-BREXIT fudge would risk significant popular anger and possibly civil unrest.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Spot on, say we left the EU but stayed in the CU, we would still have to hand over to Brusssels the bulk of the money we raised in tariffs, people are not aware that is what happens now but they soon would be after Dec 2020 or whenever, how long would that be tenable? And just what would that do to the Tories election prospects in 2022?

      So let’s just get out, completely if possible but out somehow. We can tidy things up later when people rise up against the politicians who thought a half way Brexit was a good idea, can’t they Rudd and Hammond.

  45. ian
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I have full confidence in Mrs T. May to carry out the mandate of the people, even if the two houses of Westminster voted to stay in the EU.
    Mrs May is a person of principle and the only way the EU will see 36 billion pounds from Mrs May over 10 to 20 years is if they agree to free trade including the banks otherwise the EU will owe the UK 65 billion pounds over the same time period /as above which is just over one month of printing money at to days rate of 60 billion euros a month.
    Mrs May has already made up her mind on the matter and will carry out the people mandate come what may. MPs, Lords and the media have just been wasting their time talking about nothing for last year or so and holding votes in parliament and now in the House of Lords.
    The decision rest with Mrs May and Mrs May alone.

  46. Drice
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    You and Jacb Rees-Mogg are loyal and courteous on the subject of Mrs May, but she is not acting in accordance with her Lancaster House speech. I supported her at first, but have become convinced that she cannot be as incompetent as her many mistakes suggest, and that she is actually playing a double game in order to achieve BRINO instead of BREXIT. She is a Remainer, so is her husband, she has stacked the Cabinet with Remainers, did not mend this error in the ‘re-shuffle’, called Remainer Robbins to be her special EU advisor on Brexit, and refuses to ‘re-shuffle’ Hammond and Rudd, give Cabinet posts to competents like Rees-Mogg and Raab, leaves you in the wilderness who should replace Hammond, and leaves Defence to an inexperienced youngster with a Remainer background. All this, plus her policy of appeasement with the EU throughout the ‘Leaving’ process, and her failure to rein in the BBC, and traitors like Soubry, Morgan, Adonis, Clarke, Blair etc. makes her BRINO aim ‘crystal clear’, no matter what words she trots out.

  47. Jagman84
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The Brexit waters are muddied by persons (such as Laura Keunssberg) who ignore official statements by the PM and constantly try to undermine her & the whole process. The BBC seem to feel that the Labour party isn’t up to the job of halting the process so have effectively become the de-facto opposition. I hope that the EU are paying them the appropriate remuneration.

    • Andy
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      The BBC’s job is to ask difficult questions.

      It is not the BBC’s fault that the Brexiteers are unable to answer.

      This is the most important issue our country has faced since 1945.

      The inability of any Brexiteer to do anything other than lie or rant is telling.

      It is like dealing with flat-earthers.

  48. D Gardener
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the Leave negotiations, our side must exert themselves much more than they have been. We are seen to be weak.
    SO! Stop listening to their demands and tell the EU we are leaving and demand from them what are they going to do about our £83 Billions Trade Deficit? Do they want to retain it or pass it to the WTO?

  49. Graham Wood
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    All disaffected – sign Petition 201145. “we must leave the European immediately on March 2010. No transition, no delay. Etc.

  50. SecretPeople
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    “She has also made clear – as she needs to do if we are to have a bargaining position – that no deal is better than a bad deal, and the UK will be ready to leave without a deal if necessary, though she strongly wants a deal.”

    I read somewhere that TM had given instructions for work to stop on preparations for a no deal outcome?

  51. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Again a Cabinet Minister contradicts what you say:

    We never voted for a compromise like this. This has only come about because May is NOT committed to Brexit and has filled her Cabinet with pro EU individuals and because she has employed advisers who are similarly minded.

  52. Paul Cohen
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Berlin, Paris and Brussels have clearly stated that no deal on services is available. The only
    free trade pact they are willing to offer is on goods. This locks in their huge surplus (mostly German) in manufactured goods whilst locking out the UK surplus in services.
    Those who talk about cherry picking , pick the largest cherries.

    Our only choice now is to invoke our rights as members of the WTO – for goodness sake do it!

    • Henry Spark
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Could you kindly explain what you understand by “our rights as members of the WTO”?

  53. Christine
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I for one have lost all faith in Theresa May. She just speaks weasel words. Time is fast running out and we need a leader with vision to take this country forward.

    • formula57
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      The vacancy for a leader with vision arose in November 1990 and has not been filled since.

  54. Iain Gill
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Not impressed.

    Just tell them we are not interested in a deal and go over to WTO rules.

    • jerry
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      @Iain Gill; “Just tell them we are not interested in a deal”

      Was that the royal “we”, or just your opinion?!

      Brexiteers problems are not from negotiating with the EU, it is from alienating voters due to telling them what they voted for (which is why I said what I said to Mr redwood in reply) and trying for a (perceived) power grab via the EU exit Bill.

      I’m very interested to find out what deal might be available even if it turns out (as I suspect) to be totally unacceptable, thus more power to those who voted for Brexit and perhaps converting even more wavers.

      Must say though, JR-M has played a splendid googly with his “Vessel State” comments/questions, unplayable!..

  55. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. I am really angry that every other member of the UK (Wales, NI and Scotland) all have their own country’s anthem which is played with pride. What do we get? The NATIONAL anthem which is played when Great Britain is playing together at games. When is England going to be recognised and get its own anthem? Sickening.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      You are not alone!

    • nigel seymour
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Here here totally agree. Every country on the planet sing their anthems with pride, when it comes to England we are told we are little Englanders, racists, nationalists blah blah. It sickens me too. At the end of the day we are a soft touch as brexit is proving. Barnier will today visit us to tell us what we can and can’t have and what we can and cannot do!! The only reason I remain a Con member is so I can vote for Boris when brexit is stopped and TM resigns.

  56. ian
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    As for the politicians in Brussels, they have no say in the matter about the UK leaving the other 27 countries, just like in the UK parliament has no say over what Mrs May decides to do, the politician in Brussels can only take instructions from the other 27 countries on what to say like no cherry picking and the four freedoms, but as 27 can see this having little impact on Mrs May, and will soon cave in.
    If there is a free trade deal with the 27 then there will most likely be a one-off custom deal only for the UK where the UK can do what it likes.
    The UK Gov gives a lot of work to some of the 27 and I do not think they will be willing to lose all of it.

  57. nigel seymour
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    My feeling is that brexit will be stopped before March 2019. The Commons and Lords will vote down the final deal and a 2nd referendum will be initiated a short time after, together with a general election which labour will win by a landslide. We will stay in the customs union and single market resulting in a massive increase to the UK payment circa 35%. In addition we will, in time, be forced to join the Eurozone and eventually an EU military. Our own military will be downsized circa 75% and we will no longer be able to sustain a ‘special relationship’ with the USA. The ECJ will have carte blanch over the jurisdiction of UK laws. EU immigration into the UK will include non-EU citizens that have made there way into Germany via secured EU nationality. British citizens will, in time, be marginalised in general elections by EU and non EU nationals so fundamentally changing the face and culture of Great Britain and the British Isles overall.

  58. Riddler
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, the 2018 Italian general election will be held on 4th March. I hear that by 2020 migrants will out-number Italians in Italy. I cannot speak for the authenticity of the figures. If true, it should lead to a kind of stability. The normal electorate have created one tightrope walking government after another for decades. The downside is that unemployment may increase from the present 11.7%. Not sure if migrants are included in the stats. At least it is not far off France with 9.6% and Spain with 17.1%. However they all have some way to go to the disaster of our Brexit vote which has led to the UK having 4.2%. If only we could vote again to continue EU membership we too could have nearly one in five unemployed like Spain.

  59. ChrisS
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    More Brexit mischief making by Rudd this morning.

    Mrs May keeps her at the Home Office out of female loyalty but it is not reciprocated. The moment she sees the slightest opportunity, Rudd will go after the top job.

    I suspect that it’s a forlorn hope given that she frequently attempted to thwart Brexit and now that has obviously failed, she is determined to fatally weaken it. But, what will finally scupper her chances is that last year her majority was reduced to only 346 after two recounts.

    Rudd has almost no chance of retaining the seat at the next election and the party will not risk voting for a leader who doesn’t have at least a safe-ish seat.

    • Rumour PayPell
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      She could cross the floor. Become a Labour MP or LibDem MP or SNP MP or Green MP or, better a Sinn Féin MP then she wouldn’t need to go into work at all, on principle. just as soon as …she …finds…one.

  60. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Report in Telegraph suggests May is definitely ruling out Customs Union now, in gesture to Brexiters. Can’t the Brexiters see that this is her usual ploy of throwing a few morsels to the baying hounds to keep them quiet. This is a ridiculous situation. We need a Brexiter in charge. So many of us have absolutely no faith in May who just is like the cushion and the imprint of whoever last sat on her. This move is simply to head off the impending rebellion, not because she thinks that this is a fundamental part of Brexit. Dithering, apparently uncommitted to Brexit and weak. That is no good for the PM of this country who is supposed to be leading us out of the EU with the Brexit we voted for.
    Downing Street rules out any form of EU customs union membership in move to head off Brexit rebellion

  61. Chris
    Posted February 4, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    The negotiations should include a clear commitment to our own forces, and a withdrawal from our over commitment to the EU Defence policy, which we never authorised our government to sign up to. This, if true, is another result of us having apparently committed to the EU Defence/army, and using that as an excuse to cut our own forces:
    “End of the Royal Marines: Treasury bean-counters sign death warrant of British legends
    THE ROYAL Marines – one of Britain’s premier fighting forces with a peerless history of protecting the nation – could vanish…”

  62. nigel seymour
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Patrick Minford analysis

    “The Civil Service reportedly has redone the Treasury’s Brexit long-term forecasts with a new approach, so say numerous leaks via Buzzfeed and elsewhere. ‘Officials believe the methodology for the new assessment is better than that used for similar analyses before the referendum,’ reports Buzzfeed. This new approach has, it seems, dumped the old Treasury calculations and methodology published in the original Treasury Project Fear report during the referendum. Plainly, the criticisms of this old approach – persistently so from us at Economists for Free Trade – have hit home; if so, that is real progress.”

  63. mancunius
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Why on earth is the Treasury now saying that we may have a world import tariff of 3 per cent? They can’t have the slightest at this stage as to what our eventual WTO tariff might be: nor is such Treasury speculating helpful to our negotiations.
    Honestly, having Hammond as Chancellor is like driving with the handbrake on, and having to constantly slap the driver’s hand away as he keeps reaching for the reverse gear.
    The medium- and long-term economic benefits of a zero tariff policy have long been known and discussed by economic analysts – regardless of what tariffs are placed against us. We should go for a zero tariff in our own interests, though we need not (and should not) publicise this right now. A zero tariff policy can be implemented at any time, even after we have already started trading under WTO rules in April 2019.

  64. Chris
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    What is Downing Street playing at? I sincerely hope Boris and Gove hold their resolve and do not fall for it, and in particular another fudge with customs union type arrangement for a specified period. We will never leave if we do that:
    From The Daily Telegraph Brexit Bulletin:

    “The Government wants to be out of the single market and customs union, and PART OF A “CUSTOMS AGREEMENT” that allows it to independently manage its own deals with non-EU countries while maintaining “as frictionless as possible” trade with Europe.
    Monsieur Barnier wasn’t taken by this, using this afternoon’s appearance to renew his customary headmaster act to warn that trade barriers would be “unavoidable…without a customs union and outside the single market”. “The time has come to make a choice,” the Frenchman added.

    EU negotiators want Mrs May to decide whether she wants trade barriers or an independent trade policy, but they’ll need to wait a bit longer as she still needs to hammer out with her cabinet what Britain should drive for in the first place. She hopes to achieve consensus later this week, after two days of discussions with ministers.

    Team May has let it be known how they intend to SQUARE Brexiteers like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove by PLAYING THEM OFF AGAINST EACH OTHER to square, although I warn them online against acting like they’re already in the bag. Assuming she agrees a line this week, the negotiations can continue in earnest…..”

  • 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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