The UK as a leader for free trade

Most people in the UK want us to promote more free trade, not introduce new barriers.

If this can be done fairly, with reductions in barriers on both sides, it will help boost our prosperity.

Our trade with the rest of the world is in surplus, showing that we have an EU trade problem, not a global trade problem.

There can be some early and easy wins for trade policy as soon as the UK takes back control over this important matter.

The UK can offer tariff free access to our market to emerging market producers of tropical produce in return for better access to their markets.

Old friends and trading partners like Australia, New Zealand. Singapore and the USA will welcome Free Trade Agreements with us.

The Free Trade Agreements the EU has with third countries can novate to us as well as to the rest of the EU.

I know of no country that has a trade agreement with the EU that wants to impose new barriers against the UK once we have left.

Some say such arrangements may be possible but will not offset the loss of our current trading arrangements with the rest of the EU
I disagree.

It would be strange indeed if the EU want to impose tariffs and other barriers on trade in goods given their huge surplus in that trade today

We will carry on exporting to them one way or another.

Today the bulk of our trade is carried out under WTO rules with tariffs imposed by the EU.

This is why I do not think we have to choose between being free and being rich

We do not need to stay in some Faustian pact, trading freedom for more exports

The gloomy arguments that we will suffer from leaving are not merely misleading about the economy

They are also too narrowly concentrated on business profit and loss when we should be talking more of freedom and self government.

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  1. Henry Spark
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    “The Free Trade Agreements the EU has with third countries can novate to us as well as to the rest of the EU.” This is a lie. The agreements are between the EU and third countries. Once the Uk is not a member of the EU, the agreeemnst do not apply to the UK. “Today the bulk of our trade is carried out under WTO rules with tariffs imposed by the EU” This is a lie. The bulk of our trade is carried out under the above-mentioned EU free trade agreements, and other agreements on eg customs cooperation. Almost no trade is carried out under WTO rules alone.

    Reply No, you are telling a lie when you say these agreements do not novate to us as well as to the rest of the EU, subject IN EACH CASE to the consent of the other country to the agreement.I know of no such country that wants to block the novation to the UK

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      “The agreements are between the EU and third countries.”

      Nope, they are between the EU and each of its member states separately on the one hand, and the various third countries on the other.

      For example:


      between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part





      Contracting Parties to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Member States of the European Union’,



      of the one part, and

      THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA, hereinafter referred to as ‘Korea’,

      of the other part … ”

      This has been pointed out in repeated comments on this blog over the past two or more years, and it is inconceivable that you and your ilk have never noticed any of those postings; therefore my only conclusion is that you prefer to lie.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    “It would be strange indeed if the EU want to impose tariffs and other barriers on trade in goods given their huge surplus in that trade today.”

    The problem is, the EU DOES NOT TRADE. It is a bureaucracy, a leach, whose only purpose is to establish itself as the manager of all Europe. We plan to leave so it cannot allow us friendly terms despite what our European trading partners may be quietly saying.
    Our only hope is to make it clear to all our trading partners in the EU, that we wish to continue trading on existing terms. They must make it clear that the EU bureaucracy will be swept aside if they don’t start behaving rationally. I doubt that will happen so be ready for WTO on 30-3-19.
    If Mrs May didn’t hand over a near final draft of our FTA to Mrs. Merkel last week, then we really are being led by a useless PM.

  3. Norris
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    More good sense from Mr Redwood. The whole process confuses me. We, the people of Britain, do not want barriers to trade with the EU (or anyone else). And our Parliament is sovereign. So why is Barnier not doing what he is told by our government? He is a civil servant, so why is he not doing his job? Perhaps Mrs may should just sack him

  4. formula57
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink


    Why does the UK not announce now some or all trade deals it has ready to implement (which can presumably be signed, awaiting only a due date to become effective) with other countries to show both what is possible and that progress is being made?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Formula57 Liam Fox has said they are doing just that with 21 countries at the moment.

  5. Peter
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Mr. Tusk has just said it is a choice between Free Trade or being in the single market and being a rule taker.

    Most of us on here would then say go straight to WTO terms no need for a transition period or further payments to the EU.

    Mrs. May will seek a way to comply with Tusk’s demand but make it look like we are leaving.

  6. Peter
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    When you hear insiders say how brilliantly May handled Thursdays cabinet discussion, you know a fudge is imminent and the British public are being softened up for further bad news.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    You say:- Most people in the UK want us to promote more free trade, not introduce new barriers.

    I hope this is true, but many barriers come from the absurdly complex and very high tax system and from over regulation in general. The restrictive planning system, the attacks on self employed gig economy, absurdly expensive energy due to the green religion, gender pay reporting and many other absurd lunacies from the anti-business agenda of the current government all make the UK far less competitive.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, and a FTA with the EU won’t prevent the UK government from drawing up trade barriers itself, by way of more bureaucracy, to any company with the temerity to export to the EU.

  8. jerry
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I can’t fault much you say about free trade, but the bigger problem is ownership. What is the point in us welcoming imports if the profits of what we export also ends up going off-shore to the parent company, or at least (re)investment decisions are being taken in Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Tokyo or Beijing? Are we going to be the masters of Brexit or just its servants, if the later then we might as well not have Brexit!

    • libertarian
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


      There are 5.6 million businesses in the UK 99.7% are owned by British people. The large corporate headlines about ownership by foreign companies is one of those things. Doing a bit of research there seem to be as many British companies that own foreign businesses overseas , Publicly listed companies get bought and sold. As far as government revenues from foreign owned business. Wages, pensions and Employers national insurance , as well as VAT, business rates and other duties and taxes are all paid here. The only tax that might be mitigated is corporation tax through transfer pricing or management charges .Most companies retain some profit here in order to finance cashflow, cost increases and new investments The UK currently has the smallest tax gap in the world, that is the amount of revenue that HMRC think they should be getting versus what they actually collect.

      • jerry
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; Yours is the economics of the socially illiterate, for you the spreadsheet is obviously King!

        Many, perhaps most, of the 99.7% of UK owned and run companies you talk off are reliant on the large non UK owned and run companies. If company X (based outside of the UK) decides to close or reduce output of their UK factory that then effects UK owned companies that had been part of the direct supply chain, and the so on down the economic-chain all the way to the corner shop & the sole traders – after all the unemployed can clean their own windows or cut their own grass etc. Then of course, HMRC also sufferers from falling tax receipts and thus the whole country ends up suffering cuts to services or investment. For example (to use a large British owned company that failed), when MG Rover closed it wasn’t just the employees of MG Rover who suffered, many in the supply chain and the dealer network lost jobs, which then effected their own non Rover supply chains, not to mention those reliant on the purchasing power of all those now unemployed people.

    • David Price
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      I and many other UK investors and pension funds own shares in those companies. Glancing at some of the funds I have bought on the UK exchange I own some of Toyota, Cisco, Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu, Samsung, Unilever, Taiwan Semiconductor, Apple. So I get income from those companies that benefit from exporting to the UK even if they move funds back home via transfer pricing etc.

      Anyone is able to buy these funds and shares if they are so concerned, or you could set up your own business to compete or invest in UK startups. Remedies are available to you but don’t rely on the EU, they have never provided any protection and the German and French companies play the same games as everyone else.

  9. Mark B
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Trade, trade, trade. Leaving the EU is not about trade, it is about governance. It is about doing the things we want to do. Making the laws, rules and regulations that suit our market and telling the likes of the rEU27 that if you want to sell into our market you will have to obey the rules we, not you, set. These rules can be made here in the UK or, through international body which the UK sits on in its own right.

    But should we leave the EU and not in name only as I and many are coming to expect, then I think it is time we discussed what laws we wish to make, repeal or amend to suit ourselves. Banning Pulse Fishing must be on the statue books in the first year. It will be this that determines whether or not we have in fact left the EU. Banning it will only affect a few countries fisherman and none from the UK. So it is an easy win. But somehow I think the UK government will be dragging its heals as it won’t either wish to rock the boat or because it can’t. My feeling will be that it can’t.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Well at least someone else gets it

      Brexit is not just about economics and trade

      • getahead
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        I believe that the likes of Soubry and that other woman who is given too much publicity but whose name I forget, are using the trade/customs union argument to achieve their political, globalist, ideological aims.
        They must know- they have been told often I’m sure, that the customs union is just too expensive for the UK and not just in terms of money. Political independence is worth even more.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink


          These political pygmies are all instantly forgettable. This is only one time in their short lives where they can be of note. Shame it cannot be for the common good. Maybe these people, much like our kind host, should offer a blog of their own ?

          Freedom is what so many made the ultimate sacrifice for. I am not asking people to lay down their cushy political jobs for it, just to share the vision of a UK out of regulatory dystopia.

  10. Adam
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Needs bend iron. Consumer deeds dictate what sells. EU barriers obstruct what buyers want, & shall crumble under the weight of heavier demands.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Your point is apposite. There is a good analysis on Brexitfacts today on German exports to the UK. IF ONLY our lazy politicians would spend some time telling these exporters what will happen if the EU decides to cancel tariff free trade with us, I think we’d have a fighting chance. WTO, or a worse May fudge, is where we’re heading.

      • getahead
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I suspect what you call ‘free trade’ costs the UK taxpayer about £10 billion a year.

  11. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Whether the EU trade suffers or not, this is worth doing.
    We are stuck in a trading cartel we don’t want to be in.
    Sometimes you have to take a short term hit while you sort yourself out.
    In the long run it has to be right to organise deals which favour our businesses, not those theoretically averaged over 28 nations, but actually organised around one nation’s industry.

  12. agricola
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, stated very clearly. Sourcing very freely in World markets should lead to the reduction in price of much of our food that is imported. The one caveat I have is that retail outlets will require careful and knowledgeable monitoring lest they see it as an enhanced profit opportunity. It could have the added bonus for emerging sources in the Developing World that trade is better than aid.

    I do not envy the task of the EU in trying to sell to their national members the idea that their export goods to the UK will in future be subject to duty levels that could prove negative to their business plan. All because the EU wishes to punish the UK for having the effrontery to see through their grand plan for a USEU, and have none of it.

    • Tasman
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      You say that you “do not envy the task of the EU in trying to sell to their national members the idea that their export goods to the UK will in future be subject to duty levels… “. We have heard a lot about how German carmakers and French farmers would press their governments to give the Uk a good deal. Hasn’t happened. Not even slightly. Yet another Brexit fantasy, yet another Brexit failure to realise what a weak position the Uk has put itself in.

      • getahead
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Germany sold the UK £74.7 billion of goods in 2017. This is £41.8 billion MORE than we sold them. That’s a not inconsiderable chunk of business. Just thought I’d let you know.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      The EU (read bureaucracy) does not give a fig about member countries. If they did they would have fixed Greece and all the others long ago.

  13. Alan
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I wish Mr Redwood would concentrate on the political aspects of Brexit rather than the economic ones. Then we could have a meaningful discussion about whether it is better to be an influential member of a Union that draws together all the nations of western Europe at the cost of losing a little of our freedom of action or to be an independent state that has deliberately separated itself from the rest of western Europe, accepting political irrelevance.

    But it is Mr Redwood who continually argues that black is white, that leaving the richest and most complete international free market in the world will demonstrate our adherence to free market principles and make us richer. It doesn’t and it won’t. Most economists contend that he is wrong. He is almost certainly wrong. If the strength of his argument lies in politics, then why doesn’t he concentrate on the political arguments?

    • agricola
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      From where I stand within the EU, it is by no means “The richest and most complete international free market”. Just the opposite. The massive unemployment in southern Europe is but one example of the opposite. Were the internal market free you would be able to buy a car registered in any other EU country and drive it in your country of choice, but you cannot after six months. It has to be re-registered in your country of residence at added great expense. It is a protectionist racket that will not survive.

      • Alan
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Unemployment doesn’t mean that the EU is not the richest market, although it does demonstrate it could be richer still. If we had joined the euro we could have done something to bring that about, but we did not.

        Detailed rules on registration of cars is hardly a demonstration of the failure of a single market. I suspect you might find the same is true in the USA for example, which is a single country never mind a simple market. But, judging from the TV programmes I have watched, each state registers its own cars.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      In my view you are perfectly entitled to argue for the irreversible legal subjugation of our country in a pan-European federation. I do not see it as treason to argue that we should voluntarily cease to be an independent sovereign state, any more than it is treason to argue that we should cease to be a constitutional monarchy and become a republic. Just be honest about it, don’t tell lies, and don’t try to stealthily impose your wishes on the great majority of your fellow citizens who disagree with you.

      • Alan
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        I am neither telling lies nor trying to impose my wishes on the ‘great majority’.

        4% is that a great majority? I don’t think so. It’s only 4%.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          In UK opinion polls it has never more than 10% of the respondents who say that they want the UK to become part a pan-European federation as you do; when that question is put to them plainly and honestly and without threats of economic and other disasters at least 90% of your fellow citizens disagree with your viewpoint.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink


      The EU is NOT the richest area in the world

      The EU is NOT a free trade area ( its a customs union)

      The EU proportion of world GDP has been rapidly declining

      There are 51 countries in Europe only 27 are in the EU, and all bar 5 of those countries are complete economic basket cases. So why doesn’t the “worlds greatest market” work for the Greeks, Hungarians, Portuguese, Spanish, etc etc ( 54% youth unemployment !!! You support this? )

      I really couldn’t care less what a bunch of economists ( who have so far been wildly wrong, every single time ) predict . I’m a businessman and I trade internationally both with the EU and outside. There is nothing single market about the EU there a very different rules, non tariff charges and other restrictions in certain EU countries [ that would be Germany mostly] , Yet i have no trouble trading in Brazil, Canada and Japan

      I find that remainers dont want to talk about the economics because they haven’t got a clue about the reality . They hear the words single market and customs union and assume it means something useful. It doesn’t. Mutual standards recognition is all that required to make international trade less paperwork intensive

      • Alan
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        I said it was the richest international free trade area. not the richest area.

        It is a free trade area, as well as a customs union.

        Yes, the proportion of world trade done by the EU is decreasing, but the amount is increasing. I think it does more trade with the rest of the world than any other trading area. Places like China and the USA are insular by comparison.

        The world’s greatest market does help most EU countries, probably all of them. But it isn’t so good for those who have run their economies carelessly. You can regard that as an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how easy you want it to be possible for governments to run and regulate their economies badly.

        Your testimony about how easy it is to trade with non EU countries compared to EU countries seems to be at variance with that of most businessmen. I don’t disbelieve your experience, but I’d like to see a much more general agreement that you’re experience is that of most exporters.

        You need a good deal more than mutual standards recognition to remove paperwork on international trade. And after we leave the EU it’s possible we will not even have that. It all depends on the skill of our negotiators, and so far they are not doing very well.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      It is my opinion that those who want to stay in the EU for non-economic reasons do so because they resent the government the electorate have put into power, and see the EU as the vehicle for opposition.

      • Alan
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        How on Earth could the EU be a vehicle for opposition to the UK government? It’s partly run by the UK government.

  14. Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Long term: no problem! Bring it on!

    The danger in the short term:
    Lorries will pile up as they are inspected when they enter the EEA. Ships will have to wait, often for weeks, outside the harbours of Holland and Germany, before their containers are inspected. Aircraft will not be allowed to use European Airspace or travel on EU documentation.
    People will be stopped and checked as they flow in and out of the EU.

    All this is going, in the short term, to lead to food shortages (remember KFC running out of chicken?) and then to people who have not stocked up getting very angry and going out into the streets.
    Every country is just 4 days away from a revolution…

    We are playing with fire.

    PS I am not a Remoaner. I am a Brexit voter.

    • rick hamilton
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Have you ever actually imported or exported anything? It appears you know nothing about customs clearance. Why aren’t ships from China or the USA waiting weeks to have their containers inspected ? Because it’s almost all done on line and pre-cleared these days.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      You have made these same claims before Mike.
      Ask yourself why there are no queues at ports with goods arriving from non EU nations.
      At Felixstowe container port there are queues yet over half of goods are non EU
      Hint….electronic checks done before embarkation.
      The EU doesn’t control aviation.
      IAATA does.
      Ask yourself how aircraft from non EU nations currently fly into the UK.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Should read…ref Felixstowe. ..there are NO queues.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      Fear not it is no longer 1952

      Please go check how cross border flows, containerisation etc has been transformed in the last few decades

      You better let the Americans know that their aircraft won’t be flying to the EU any longer….

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      None of that will happen unless the EU actively wants it to happen, and if the EU actively wants it to happen then:

      a) It must be such a vile organisation that we should not be part of it; and

      b) It would happen whatever alternative we proposed to membership.

      So what do you propose that we should do? You say that you support Brexit, but you will allow yourself to be intimidated into staying in the EU?

      Personally I think the government would be wise to draw up contingency plans just in case the EU does go completely off the rails as you anticipate.

    • David Price
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Are you seriously suggesting the EU would blockade goods into the UK?

  15. Newmania
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    They are also too narrowly concentrated on business profit and loss when we should be talking more of freedom and self government.

    The problem is that the elite who tell us this tale will not be the ones waiting for operations that never come, losing their jobs and watching their local school lose all the resources it acquired in the Blair period. This is, they say, so we can pay for a Constitutional adjustment of as much interest to the ordinary voter as the Arian heresy of the early Christian church.( That is Arian which an ‘I’ , … don`t get excited )
    WTO does not cover services ,capital movement , can do little about non-tariff barriers, state subsidies dumping or claims or exclusive agreements as is quite clear form the way the EU can impose tariffs whilst being in the WTO. It is in any case, an organisation which has only managed to reduce global tariffs with the support of large trading blocks ,the USA and the EU . We will be just as powerless in the WTO as we will be with our domestic market
    The last thing the Brexit vote wanted was “Freedom” it was delivered by the old and socially less Liberal whose fear of demographic change was heightened by irresponsible
    and toxic lie . Global Free Trade , were the country to embrace it would entail change far beyond the rules based small c conservative EU. It is not a real world possibility, or a one way process.
    Every authoritative source tells us this would be a National disaster , every single one but even if they did not scream their warnings, the idea that paying customers, real business relationships and real profits, should be thrown in the sea and replaced by a tale told by Boris Johnson , is childish irresponsible and not one any business takes seriously .

  16. duncan
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Australia signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US in 2004. The UK also need a FTA with our closest and most important ally

    The British people will know if we have left the EU when we sign a UK-USA FTA or indeed any FTA with any non-EU nation.

    If these agreements fail to transpire it will be undeniable and unequivocal evidence that the UK has not left the EU and that we have been betrayed by a political and administrative class within the British state.

    Are preparations being made at the highest levels to prepare for entering into free trade agreements with non-EU nations?

    Will we be able to secure a FTA with the EU and its constituent states?

    Who’s blocking our smooth passage out of the EU and making the process of exit more difficult that it needs to be? Barnier? Juncker? Merkel? Macron? Or are UK based Europhile entities proving resistant to change?

    At the end of the day I would rather take back control of the UK from unaccountable politicians and distant technocrats within the EU. It is an intolerable position that we should have to tug our forelock to these people.

  17. Mick
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Just been watching your lecture which I had recorded on the Parliament channel of the bbc which was very informative as ever by your good self, only to find that the bias bbc had cut your lecture short, now I don’t know if this was a recording error by myself or a deliberate act by the bias bbc to stop you giving a true outlook of us leaving the shambles called the Eu

    Reply They showed the full lecture but not the Q and A which was also important and dealt with a number of Remain worries

    • Dennis
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Oh yes I wondered why there was no Q & A as there was for Corbyn, McDonnell – the BBC explained nothing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Very good lecture!

    • Newmania
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      Yoiu have had a very long time to “deal with remain worries and have not been able to do so because what you say is not true , in fact what you say is usually , any old thing.

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Taking back control is the overriding objective. Sure there will be some bumps in the road but a price worth paying.
    I see the EU has appointed another raving federalist as head of the Brussels civil service. No vote, no opposition.
    Then we have the trolls telling us how democratic the EU is.

    • acorn
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      So who elected the head of the UK Civil Service?

    • mancunius
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Not only ‘No vote, no opposition’ but as far as I can tell, no candidacy or selection process at all. The ‘winner’ was promoted to being Juncker’s assistant by Juncker, who has now casually promoted him to being his future replacement.
      Which even for the Brussels Commission is going it a bit.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    John your speech was first class . I was keen to see it on the TV and my enthusiasm was not let down . I considered it to be comprehensive , excellent in detail and , as an analysis of our relationship with the EU , exactly what the public ought to know . I regret that the programme did not include the question period that I’m sure followed the presentation ; someone was bound to refer to the City content of the economy and what the ramifications were likely to be following Brexit . Bercow gave you a generous introduction making it clear that no-one was able to match your knowledge of economic affairs ; I sincerely hope Hammond attended and took note . The timing of the speech could not have been better following the Chequers meeting . Very well done !.

    Reply Thank you. I am asking the BBC if they have the Q and A on film as it was agreed they had the sole right to film by the Speaker’s office.

  20. hans christian ivers
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink


    We should be talking about the
    Lack of educational standards
    Investments in infrastructure
    Mental health
    Youth unemployment
    Government deficit

    and then about the EU

    • sm
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I gather countries such as Italy and Greece and Spain could give us a lot of information about youth unemployment…..

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        and so what?

    • mancunius
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Why, exactly? All those other topics already form part of the longterm political debate in our country and are abiding areas of government policy and parliamentary scrutiny, and will remain so after we have left the EU.
      The negotiations and decisions surrounding our departure from the EU are immediate and it is vital for the future of the NHS etc etc that we get them right. Naturally they receive our focused attention at present.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Not so. The EU Impacts on every aspect of our life and Brexit is the most important legislation since 1972.
      Much as you would like to relegate it to the second division.
      Brexit must mean Brexit and not some half arsed fudge.

    • David Price
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      getting desperate are you?

  21. miami.mode
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Does it seem reminiscent of early 1940 which is currently being covered by various films?

    Britain virtually alone against Europe facing what some said was a disastrous defeat, a burly orator in the government lobbing in metaphorical hand grenades, a Cabinet member saying we should stay very close to opposing forces, an ambivalent USA, and a proportion of the population extremely nervous.

    Thank goodness for what was the old British Empire and the rest of the world.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I really don’t like to draw similarities with Nazi Germany to Europe today, however it should be becoming clear to every European, the EU is run by Germany. Germany is the paymaster, Germany can break EU regulations (Dublin Asylum) without censure, it has placemen in key positions already, nothing the EU does is without Berlin approval. We are alone in Europe, in this regard.

    • Andy
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      In the minds of nationalist Little Englanders it is just like 1949z

      For everyone else it is 2018.

      You people basically need to grow up and stop acting like petulant children.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Andy, I see you just can’t help running down those that fought and laid down their lives for the freedom this country enjoys today. You really should be ashamed but then your sort never are. For someone whose brother laid down his life for his country I can’t say it words what I think of people like you.

  22. Epikouros
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    An odd fact about free trade and negative balance of payments is that neither needs the fearful attention that we so fastidious and energetically spend on them. Free trade does not have to be reciprocal as there is no harm in extending it unilaterally. Once the practice is initiated it will soon be extended as other nations will soon realise the benefits of doing so. Even if it is not the benefits will still outweigh the disadvantages.

    As for the current account the more we export is of course good for the economy but just as important is the the amount we import as a substantial amount of that is good also even if it leads to a deficit. The chances are that it will be as we do not have all the productive capacity or expertise, resources and raw materials available in this small nation of ours to satisfy all consumer and producers(they are consumers as well and very big ones and the more they import the more they will export and sell domestically) demands. A negative balance of payment will see money leaving the country but it will return as capital or to pay for our goods and services or as investment. What else they are going to do with it put under their mattresses.

    However there is one serious debilitating obstacle in the way of actually putting that idea into practice. Being a member of the EU as it dictates who we trade with and how externally and internally it regulates trade that benefits not all consumers equally but mostly those who do the regulating and their producer friends. The result of membership is that UK consumers and producers are denied access to any place they choose to buy or sell that offers the best value. In effect the EU single market is not a free, not fair/equitable and actually restricts most members trade and forces them to buy from only those who Brussels deem that they can. It is no better than the days of old when those employees who worked for a company could only source their goods from the company store. In the end the practice was seen as iniquitous and stopped. We did not learn from that though as we now follow the same practice by being a member of the EU.

  23. VotedOut
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I have never had anyone I do business with in the EU even mention Brexit let alone see it as a problem.

    The only people who are fuelling the hysteria on the trade implications of Brexit are the media and some politicians, who say they are concerned about jobs and business, but in reality are playing a partisan game for personal gain. They damage our democracy, but that is of no interest to them. Their actions are noted by the electorate.

    We should be excited. I am. We should look forward to controlling our fishing, business, industry and laws.

    We should not have our people subject to foreign unaccountable people. Each person must be judged by our laws and only our laws.

    However, we should be ready and willing to work with the EU when they accept our sovereignty.

  24. Tabulazero
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Hopefully, the British people will still be able to drive with a valid license post-Brexit because if you cannot even drive a car or truck where you need to visit your clients or deliver your goods, your free trade policy is not going to go very far.

    An agreement should be achievable but it shows you that Brexit is full of funny quirks.

    • David Price
      Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Are you suggesting that the EU countries won’t recognise a valid UK licence as now or even recognise a Geneva convention IDP. Granted Germany was not a signatory but it does honour the IDP.

  25. Oh Oh Prigger
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Well the EU by its own presentiment is not for free trade. Would that it be otherwise it could not have germinated.

  26. rick hamilton
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    As someone has rightly said, the UK doesn’t trade with the EU. It is British businesses who deal with their customers and suppliers in the 27 countries and they all want tariff-free trade with no customs barriers to continue. The only people who want to mess up a system that has taken 40 years to develop are the unelected bureaucrats like Barnier, whose speciality is making things difficult.

    Why on earth should the UK not have a special deal? After decades of effort and billions paid out to help build the system, logically we should benefit from that position. Again, it’s the Barniers who stand in the way. Their comeuppance by people in the real world cannot come quickly enough.

    We gave the Irish a special deal when they split from the UK because it was in our mutual interests to do so and much of it continues to this day. Where there’s a will there’s always a way.

  27. ian
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    With the rubbish MPs, people have elected to parliament by way of the party pick who they can vote for and then only voting for parties, this country will never be leading anything in or out of the EU.

  28. Original Richard
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    “Most people in the UK want us to promote more free trade, not introduce new barriers.”

    The reason for leaving the EU/SM/CU is so that we can negotiate are own trade deals that are consequently beneficial specifically to the UK and not one where UK suffers in order that other EU countries can benefit.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      but the problem is that most arts of the World are not willing to do free trade as John is proposing, just look at the barriers going up in the US.

      The proposal is rather naive

  29. Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t this ”Faustian pact” typified by the immense sum of money (a bribe?) the UK Government is prepared to pay to the EU in the interest of trade?

  30. mancunius
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m convinced the current EU will never truly accept a FTA with us, because they do not understand or accept the basic concepts of F, T or A.
    Selmayr in place of Juncker will not improve matters.
    We need to prepare to leave without an agreement, in the expectation that in future years the individual 27 nations will force Brussels back to the table to talk seriously with us, and stop its petty and arrogant peacockery. In the meantime the EU will have sacrificed its international standing by so disgracefully stonewalling as it does.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      interesting hypothesis but not good for UK nor EU, I am sure we can all do better than what is propoased

      • David Price
        Posted February 26, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Why should we care what is good for the EU? The EU politicians and bureaucrats and the euphilics in the UK have given no reason to do so, quite the opposite.

  31. James Snell
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    It’s all a nonsense..we are going nowhere..mrs mays government will probably collapse in the next month or so leading to a GE which will bring in a Labour government..and theteafter things will move apace with the EU..I don’t see it any other way

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that’s just what Brussels would like.
      Have you not heard of the fixed term Parliament Act.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted February 25, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


        Brussels and the majority of the EU would just like a deal so we can get on with even more important issues.

        • mancunius
          Posted February 25, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Brussels evidently finds the prospect of losing a market of 66 million ‘important’ enough for it to try to interfere in our domestic democratic politics – unsuccessfully so far.

        • David Price
          Posted February 26, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          Brussels have made clear they speak for the 27 and made clear they do not want a fair deal.

          Not only has the EU screwed things so badly that they have lost one of their principle contributors they have alienated people in the UK that are consumers of EU products and services.

          Many will now pay attention to where our goods come from, no more noodles or cars from Germany, baked beans, ham and flowers from Holland, fruit from Spain …

  32. Richard
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink
    Some very strange comments by the Business Secretary at Chequers:
    “Mr Clark …told the gathering of top ministers and Brexit officials that up to 425,000 jobs in the car industry are at stake.”
    He must know full well that our car exports go mainly to non-EU countries, right?
    A Brexiteer airing the facts about the our motor industry’s balance of trade in an interview would be no bad thing. The BBC in particular frequently misreport it (eg SMMT interview 31/1).

    • jerry
      Posted February 27, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      @Richard; Not sure what a Daily Mail citation proves, if the facts are in the public domain then why have the rest of the MSM either ignored this or put a different spin on it, after all had Boris Johnson considered resigning over Brexit policy it would been a big scalp for the europhile MSM that the eurosceptic media…

      As for the car industry. You should be aware that most of our car industry is owned by companies based in EU27 countries, and what is not are owned by companies in far eastern countries who use the UK as an access point to the EU, it matters not were the vehicles go but were they are built, A EU27 car manufacture for example can build cars just as well, just as cheaply, in any EU27 country as they can in the UK, what is more there is currently much spare capacity EU27 – that without companies building new manufacturing plants in eastern European countries. the n of course there are the EU candidate countries, remember when Transit Van production moved from the UK to Turkey?

      As for the SMMT, it is an irrelevance when it comes to what is being decided by multinational companies in the board rooms outside of the UK, the SMMT is no more relevant in such matter than the TUC is.

      • Richard
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        The EU’s EIB provided the EUR100m loan that encouraged Transit Van manufacture to move not within the EU but to Turkey. At least higher-skilled Transit engine manufacture still remains in the UK.

        The BBC interviews with SMMT (Today 6am onwards 31/1) seemed to me almost rehearsed.
        The Key points are:
        “The UK industry runs a £13 bn surplus with the rest of the world and a £21.8bn deficit with the rest of the EU on vehicles. It also runs a £6.2bn a year deficit on components with the rest of the EU and is in balance on parts with the rest of the world”…
        “It’s easy to say … that 8 out of 10 cars made in the UK are exported…and and forget …85% of the UK car market is taken up by imports”

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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