My Speech in the European Affairs Debate, 15 March

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con)

Before the referendum, I made a speech in the House saying that we had become a puppet Parliament. All too often, regulations came from the EU that we could do nothing about, because they acted directly. In many other cases, even if we had been outvoted or were not happy about a proposition, a directive instructed the House to put through massive and complex legislation whether it wished to or not. We had a situation in which the Front Benchers of the main parties, alternating in government as they tended to do, went along with this. The convention was that the Opposition did not really oppose, because they knew that Parliament was powerless and that the decision had been made elsewhere, whether the British people liked it or not. That even extended to tax matters, such as a number of VAT issues, including areas where we cannot change VAT as we would like, and to corporation tax issues, which included occasions when we thought that we had levied money on companies fairly, but the EU decided otherwise and made us give it back.

Many British people shared my concern, and that was why we all went out together and voted in large numbers to take back control. The British people wanted to trust their British Parliament again. Of course they will find times when they dislike the Government, individual MPs and whole parties, but they can live with that, because they can get rid of us. They know that come the ​election, if we cease to please, they can throw one group out and put in place a group who will carry out their wishes. They said very clearly to our Parliament in that referendum, “Take back control; do your job.”

A recent example is that of Her Majesty’s Government presenting a very long and complex piece of legislation to completely transform our data protection legislation. Because it was based entirely on new EU proposals, it went through without any formal opposition. The Opposition obeyed the convention and did not vote against it or try very hard to criticise it. I am sure that if the proposal had been invented in Whitehall and promoted actively by UK Ministers, the Opposition would have done their job, found things to disagree with and made proposals for improvement. We will have this “puppet Parliament” effect all the time that we are under control from Brussels.

Jonathan Edwards

Given the scenario that the right hon. Gentleman is putting forward, is it not the truth that the Welsh and Scottish Parliaments will also be puppet Parliaments post Brexit?

John Redwood

No, that is not true. In their devolved areas, they have genuine power, which they exercise in accordance with their electors’ wishes, but of course this is the sovereign United Kingdom Parliament, and the devolved powers come from the sovereign Parliament, as the hon. Gentleman well understands, which is presumably why he likes being here.

Sir William Cash

Will my right hon. Friend also bear in mind the manner in which laws are made in Europe? They are made behind closed doors in the Council of Ministers with no proper record of who votes, how and why—we are outvoted more than any other country—and then those laws come here and are imposed upon us in this Parliament.

John Redwood

I quite agree.

We wish to take back control. We will be a very different and much better country when this Parliament can settle how much tax we levy, how we levy it, how we spend money, how we conduct ourselves and what kind of laws we have.

My main remarks for the Minister and his colleagues on the Treasury Bench, however, concern the conduct of the negotiations. Like the Minister, I wish the Government every success. I hope that they get a really good deal—I look forward to seeing where they get to—but the EU is trying to make the process as difficult as possible by insisting on conducting the negotiations in reverse order. It says first that we have to agree to pay it a whole load of money that we do not owe. It then says that we have to agree a long transition period that coincides with its further budget periods, so that it can carry on levying all that money, and that is before we get on to what really matters: the future relationship and the questions of whether there be a comprehensive free trade agreement, what it will cover, and if it will be better than just leaving under WTO terms.

In order to have a successful negotiating position, the Government have rightly sketched out a couple of important propositions. The first is that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. That is fundamental, and I urge Ministers to understand that they must not ​sign any withdrawal agreement unless and until there is a comprehensive agreement that is credible and that can be legally upstanding, because there is no point paying money for nothing. There would only be any point in giving the EU all that money if there was a comprehensive agreement that the Government and the country at large could be proud of, and which enough leave voters could agree with as well as remain voters.

The second thing that the Government have rightly said is that no deal is better than a bad deal. That, again, is fundamental to the negotiations. I have never made any bones about this, because I said before the referendum that no deal was quite a likely outcome, and a fine outcome. For me, no deal is a lot better than staying in the EU: it would give us complete control over our money, meaning we could start spending it on our priorities; it would give us complete control over our laws, meaning we could pass the laws and levy the taxes that we wanted; it would give us complete control over our borders, meaning we could have the migration policy of our choosing; and it would give us the complete right and freedom to negotiate a trade policy with the EU and anybody else. That would depend, of course, on the good will of the other side as well, but I would far rather be in that position than part of a customs union in which I had little influence and that was extremely restrictive against others. There is therefore an awful lot going for no deal.

The Minister and his colleagues must stick to the proposition that they will recommend a deal to the House only if it is manifestly better than no deal. They need to keep reminding the EU negotiators that no deal offers Britain most of what it wanted when it voted to take back control.

Anna Soubry

Will my right hon. Friend confirm whether he has seen the Government analysis—apparently it involves excellent modelling and is far better than anything they did in the run-up to the EU referendum—showing that if we were to crash out without a deal and rely on WTO tariffs, our projected increase in productivity and economic growth would be reduced by 7.7%? Is that what his remain-voting constituents—the majority—voted for?

John Redwood

No, of course it is not, but that is not true. I have written at great length about that elsewhere. Unfortunately, I do not have time to go into a detailed rebuttal of those proposals, but we know that the Treasury modelling got entirely the wrong answer for the first 18 months after the referendum. Its short-term forecast, which should be easier to make, was massively wrong and predicted a recession. I and a few others put our forecasting reputation on the line during the referendum by saying that there would be growth after an out vote, rather than what the Treasury forecast. We were right.

I assure my right hon. Friend that I have not voted for anything that will make us poorer. We will be growing well, as long as we follow the right domestic policies. It is complete nonsense to say that there will be that kind of hit. It implies that we lose over half our exports to the European Union, and it is not a proper reflection of what would happen to our trade adjustment were anything that big to happen. I want to concentrate on the customs union.

Vicky Ford

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

John Redwood

I am sure that my hon. Friend wants me to concentrate on the customs union, because she shares my wish that the Government will be well supported if the Opposition decide to have a third go at voting through a customs union or customs union membership.

I remind the House that we have twice had big votes in the Commons in which Members have voted by a very large majority against our staying in the or a customs union. One was on an amendment to the Queen’s Speech motion, and the other was on an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. I hear that some Labour Members may have changed their minds and want to vote again. I am a democrat, and the Opposition have their own ways of doing what they want to do, but I urge them not to vote to stay in the customs union.

Above all, are Labour Members not at all worried about poverty in emerging markets? Do they not think it is wrong that we place huge tariffs on poor countries’ tropical produce—produce that we cannot grow for ourselves? Would it not be great, when we are outside the EU customs union, to be able to take down those tariffs and give those countries more hope of promoting themselves by good trade, while at the same time benefiting our customers because they would be able to buy cheaper tropical products? Can we not do good trade deals with those emerging market countries across the piece? The tariff barriers are too high, and we could make mutually advantageous changes if we were free to do so. I urge the Labour party to remember its roots in campaigning against poverty and to join me in saying that the best way to get the world out of poverty is to get down the high tariffs on emerging market countries that the EU imposes, which I certainly do not agree with.

The Minister must remind Labour Members that no deal is better than a bad deal, and that no deal allows us to take back control of all the things that he and I promised to take back control of. He must also remember that we do not owe the EU any money. It would be fatally wrong to pay it loads of money if everything else does not work in the way we want.

Vicky Ford

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he agrees with the Prime Minister that we should look for a deal that covers many sectors that are not covered by the WTO, such as aviation, data exchange and having a mutual recognition of financial services, so that trade in those areas can easily continue?

John Redwood

I am afraid that I am out of time, so I cannot go into detail on all these matters. I believe that we should negotiate strongly and positively. I wish my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister every success, but I wish to strengthen her hand by saying that out there in the country, the message is, “Get on with it.” If that means leaving with no deal, that is absolutely fine.

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157 Comments

  1. Lenton
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Mrs May agreed in December to complete regulatory alignment with the EU, in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland. That means we do what the EU says in perpetuity, but with no say in the matter. Westminster is about to become a true puppet Parliament. That is the reality of Brexit – Brexit means going it alone in theory but having to follow the EU’s rules in practice. Brexit is the first time in human history that a country has chosen to make itself weaker and poorer

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Let’s get rid of the UK Parliament then.

      Let’s be the most European of the Europeans.

      We do not need two governments.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      There has been no final agreement on anything, because nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed. The UK will not put up a hard border, period.

      Regulatory alignment across the piece won’t happen. Take the Working Time Directive. Is there really a problem with workers north of the border being able to work 48 hours a week, should they so wish, while those south cannot? Are differences in the power of vacuum cleaners allowed to be sold in Belfast and Dundalk really going to break down the constitution of the EU single market to the extent that the EU will put up a hard border? Or the freedom to purchase particularly bent bananas and cucumbers more cheaply in Antrim but not in Donegal?
      Which rules does the EU think are so important to maintenance of its single market that it feels that it is necessary to stop trade between North and South Ireland?

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        As for VAT, bear in mind that should I so wish I am able to buy my Rolex in Switzerland, with 8% VAT, and take it through the Swiss French border to a 20% VAT regime, thence on to Finland with 24% VAT.

        • Hope
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          May is pleading the EU to give her an extension at any cost. It is not a transition- to stay the same without a voice, it is called a vassal state.

          JR, when are you and colleagues going to oust her so the U.K. can leave the EU as we voted?

          The coco servnats caught on tape need sacking and investigating for treason. How far up the food chain does this go?

      • Ian wragg
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        All good points but just watch the government sign up to keeping EU rules on goods and environmental affairs. Every time there is a meeting we cross another red line.
        We have conceded free movement until the end of 2020 which is strangely called a status quo transition period. An oxymoron if ever there was one.
        We will end up as a Vassal state and be associate members of the EU with no actual benefits from having supposedly left.

        • Andy
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Which is what the ‘Remaniac’ MPs and the entire Civil Service has been furiously working at since 24th June 2016. They have won. It will be as if the Referendum had never happened.

    • NigelE
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I’m getting a bit fed up with rebutting this misconception:

      The regulatory alignment discussed in paras 49 & 50 would only apply if no other solution can be achieved – it is a fall back position.

      And in any case – and most importantly – para 5 takes precedence and clearly states:

      “Under the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed … ”

      Google “Joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government” if you do not believe me and read the actual report.

      Oh and by the way: it is a REPORT not an AGREEMENT or TREATY, so nothing has been signed or formally agreed.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        I really hope history shows you to be correct, but have no confidence in our Prime Minster and her weak double talk.

        • Hope
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Nigel, Clause 46 please. Whether there is a deal or not regulatory alignment will apply.

          Why do civil servants feel empowered to talk about a KitKat policy of hiding from the public spending our taxes for EU defense and security policy? Is it because May has publicly stated unconditional support for the same! Why would she stupidly agree to such a policy to promote a foreign policy that might not be in the U.K. Interest, or is she so determined to keep the U.K. Aligned at any cost without a voice?

          Why would anyone in their right mind agree to pay £100 billion just to be allowed to talk about trade when there is a huge trade deficit with the body you are negotiating with! Why agree to unlimited freedom of movement at any age with ECJ oversight when claiming to the public immigration will be cut to tens of thousands! In addition agreeing to give France more money and accept more immigrants because f EU open border policy and invites from Germany to making the U.K. Taxpayer pay more for adult social care! May has been an utter disaster for anyone wishing the U.K. To leave the EU. Sadly, JR and chums sit on their hands fingers crossed that it might be okay. Did they not learn anything from Cameron’s false lying Bloomberg speech? After this Cameron had the bare faced cheek to claim he reformed the EU and the U.K. should stay! What did JR and chums do? Lauded his speech and never nailed him for his false words and claims. Today they meekly allow May to tie the U.K. to the EU as close as possible, leave in name only, without ousting her. Davis is part of it for FFS!

      • L Jones
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m with you there, NigelE. Comments like Lenton’s really do get on one’s pip. As you say, how many times can you refute these misconceptions before remainders accept they may be wrong? And how much longer can they keep repeating that we would be better off shackled to their much-revered EU, without actually telling us WHY?
        Do you think it truly IS ”Stockholm Syndrome”?

        • Calum
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

          I,ll tell you why. Because it gives us frictionless trade at all our border crossings. SoMething we are about to lose, costing the UK billions

          • Timaction
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            It’s already costing us many more billions in membership fees to trade with them at £12 billion and rising each year to improve foreign infrastructure and farmers upkeep! Please go and read there website to find out more! Taxing us to give away to foreign causes!

            https://europa.eu/european-union/index_en

          • NickC
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Calum, No the EU doesn’t give us “frictionless trade at all our border crossings”. It isn’t even “frictionless” to the EU now, particularly for services. We certainly don’t have “frictionless” exporting to the RoW from inside the EU.

            Out of the EU, for c89% UK GDP (c72% domestic; c17% RoW) trade “friction” will be as now. Only for the small fraction of UK GDP derived from exports to the EU (c11% UK GDP) will the “friction” increase. But only to the existing RoW level. And I haven’t seen you complain about that.

    • Hope
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Your speech is for the birds and has no bearing to what th govt has and is signing the country up for. May signed up to regulatory alignment accepting EU laws without a voice, she has given away £100 billion just to talk about trade, and agreed freedom of movement and encouraged more from Calais! We read today the cabinet has agree to follow EU security and foreign policy without a voice unless the EU thinks it is in its interest for the U.K. To be present! Is May effing mad? No deal being better than a bad deal happened I Never December, where were you? Explain to us why there is a need for an extension without a voice as a vassal state? When will you and leavers bring her down? That is now your only choice. It is clear to the rest of us.

      As for fiscal prudence, high taxation, overwhelmed failing public services etc, your Tory govt has shown over 7 years you are absolutely useless. Mass immigration being at the heart of most of the failings. We even read yesterday how your govt has (sought to get the media to play down various atrocities ed) Your party and govt now clearly in the departure lounge for consistent failure. It has come to pass that Hammond was correct, your Govt was and is seeking modest changes to the status quo without a voice!

      • Casino Boil
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        The Local Elections are not going to be good for Mrs May or the Tory Party. There could be a proper move in ousting her. Dare certain Tory MPs in marginals or even sound Tory seats gamble on the next Election? Perhaps they have savings.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Exactly!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      “Mrs May agreed in December to complete regulatory alignment with the EU, in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland.”

      Well, rather than just accepting your inaccurate gloss this is what paragraph 49 of the Joint Report actually said:

      https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf

      “In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

      Note, the “full alignment” is only with those Internal Market and Customs Union rules which are relevant to harmonious North-South relations.

      On an expansive interpretation that could indeed mean what mistrustful Leavers like myself fear it could mean, that for the sake of the mere 0.1% of UK GDP which is exported as goods across the Irish land border the whole of the UK and 100% of its economy will remain subject to all EU Single Market laws.

      On the other hand on a restrictive interpretation it could equally well mean what I suggest it should mean, that on leaving the EU and its Single Market and Customs Union the UK will put in place alternative UK legal arrangements to guarantee to the EU and the Republic that all goods exported across the border into the EU will continue to conform to all relevant EU requirements, and so will no more need to be checked at the border than they need to be checked now.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        “On an expansive interpretation that could indeed mean what mistrustful Leavers like myself fear it could mean”

        Agreed, you are not alone with this Denis….

        • Hope
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Dennis this is only part. You need to include the clause whether there is a deal or not.

    • APL
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Lenton: “Mrs May agreed in December to complete regulatory alignment with the EU, ”

      Can’t quite see why we, the UK are bending over backward to accomodate the Republic of Ireland.

      Our trade with them is worth 2% of UK GDP ( I admit an estimate ).
      I imagine their trade with us is worth significantly more of their GDP.

      That makes the Irish border issue, a matter for the Republic post Brexit.

      Let them sort it out with the EU.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Only a fraction of our exports to the Republic go across the land border, about £2.4 billion of goods each year, which is about 0.1% of UK GDP.

        http://www.assemblyresearchmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/01-Infographic_corrected-170830_large-size.png

        “NI export trade in goods 2016”

        • Calum
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

          There is no trade between the UK and Ireland after Brexit. That trade is just one part of the UK,s trade with the EU. The UK is doing what Ireland wants because the EU has Ireland,s back. That is the reality of Brexit – a UK that gets pushed around

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Nonsense, and what’s more stupid, timewasting and irrelevant nonsense. Why don’t you contact the Irish government and ask them whether there is any trade between Ireland and the USA or any other non-EU country? “Third countries” as far as the EU is concerned, as the UK will become.

          • Stred
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            So, there is no Ireland after Brexit and the place will only be part of the EU. What a shame.

          • NickC
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            Calum, Your remark makes no sense. On what basis are you making your prediction of “no trade”? Are their no caveats? Are you claiming that Eire and the UK will be totally isolated from each other?

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      The country decided nothing of the sort. The situation you describe is a failure of UK Government. Many of us who voted for Brexit now look to Parliament to stop and reverse Government backsliding. I for one having initially disagreed with Gina Miller’s and the other clamours for Parliament voting on every dot and cross of the new treaties and agreements now fully support it because I fear the Government is failing to deliver Brexit., failing partly through weakness, partly through lack of will, lack of belief in the country it governs, a host of reasons. I want this deal or deals thoroughly scrutinised to ensure Brexit is not betrayed by our own government. If parliament should betray Brexit then the question is to whom do we turn to ensure parliament does its job. The answer is the Queen. And I leave you to work out out what that would mean.

  2. Mick
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I listen to your speech and agree with all you said , why wouldn’t some of your fellow mps want lower or no vat on food / clothing/ shoes etc, as for the snp always spouting on about staying in the Eu and wanting to be a free nation, what a bunch of muppets, the Eu don’t want you you don’t have any money only the English Barnet money with give you, and furthermore explain snp how would you be a free nation if you were a member of the eu , the Scottish people would be ruled by Brussels and not your devolved Parliament Muppets

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Mick,

      If, and it’s becoming a big if if our treacherous politicians have anything to do with it, we finally come out of the EU, Scotland as part of the UK will come out too and will be even more powerful than it is now whilst as you say continue to be generously funded by English taxpayers (more so than the English themselves) via the skewed Barnett Formula. More powerful because hapless May has promised that the vast majority of powers coming back from the EU will be repatriated directly to the Scots, Welsh & NI Parliaments. No such powers for England of course who alone will continue to have all it’s laws made by the UK Parliament including 117 MPs from Scotland, Wales & NI.

      So it will be a win win for the devolved nations thanks to this Conservative Government. The only losers in all this as usual will be the English not that our host, who purports to speak for England, or any of his colleagues squatting in English seats give a stuff about the undemocratic manner in which England, and England alone will continue to be governed post Brexit. As long as their own jobs are secure (which an English Parliament would threaten) and as long as the rest of the UK’s demands are pandered to courtesy of those mugs in England, they are more than happy with the rotten deal England gets both constitutionally and financially, as their actions, or lack of them, have proved.

      No doubt this comment will be censored or held in moderation for a few days!!!!

      Reply We have changed the rules so an English law needs the consent of a majority of English MPs in the UK Parliament. There is more to be done to ensure justice for England.

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply: Funny my Tory MP said the same thing John suggesting English vetoes was in some way justice for England. It is nothing of the sort, it is an insult and you know it. First it is not even the English votes Cameron promised on the streets of Downing St., second, it isn’t even written in statute and will be overturned at the first opportunity by an incoming Labour Government who oppose it, third, MPs vote along party lines as you know and never national lines and fourth, it didn’t stop SNP MPs voting on and making the difference when they opposed extended Sunday trading laws for England despite them having them in Scotland. If English vetoes is in any way fair, then why on earth are MPs from Scotland, Wales & NI still voting on English only measures without a whimper of protest from any of you and why do your colleagues refuse to say the word England when talking about England only policies? May insultingly stood behind a British sign recently and said the word Britain dozens of times recently when she was talking about tuition fees in ENGLAND, the second highest in the world, yet free in Scotland and heavily capped in Wales & NI. This is the contempt in which UK MPs with English seats hold England. If they can’t bring themselves to say the word England, how on earth can we expect them to stand up for us? Don’t mention the word England seems to be the mantra and then we stupid English won’t realise how we alone are singled out for all the punitive austerity measures.

        No John, an English Parliament is the only fair way forward for England but of course none of you will vote for it because it would mean P45s for the majority of you as the UK Parliament would need only a couple of hundred MPs max for the remaining reserved matters and therein lies the problem. The Westminster gravy train is far more important to them than equality for England.

      • Hope
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Again, JR, you ameliorate lying Cameron’s words. You fail to state the correct position. Cameron stated on TV on the steps of Downing Street only a Tory govt would deliver EVEL. He did no such thing and did not even attempt to! You still have failed to apologize for sticking up for Cameron’s Bloomberg speech where he utterly failed to deliver on the main principles, they were all dropped before any negotiation began! Cameron was going to stop child benefits going to EU children who had not set foot here. May as gone even further when we leave to accept this will continue and includes children not yet born and do not live here! Yet she claims we cannot afford adult social care for citizens who live here. Stop defending the indefensible it discredits you, your govt.,Parliament and your party. We know when we have been lied to and sold a pup.

        Reply I supported Bloomberg because it gave us a referendum and has allowed us to vote to leave!

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        We’ll see. Currently the Westminster government is planning to betray Scottish fishermen by allowing the EU to continue raiding the Scottish EEZ. If I were a Scot I would take that as a good reason for Scotland to leave the UK. I would have to change my mind and accept the Scot Nats were right, that UKG gives not a stuff for the interests of Scotland.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      NickC,

      You really do need to learn to respect other people’s point of view without calling them names and putting them in categories, it really just belittles your entire presentation, which sometimes does make sense

      • NickC
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Hans, Look again at who wrote the comment. I think you have just shown that it is you who needs to attend to your own strictures.

  3. eeyore
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I hope that the Prime Minister’s hand will also be strengthened by recent events in Salisbury and elsewhere, which have seen her firm and decisive in the face of very disagreeable provocations.

    I hope too that habits of firmness and decision will take root in her mind as she discovers how well the public respond to them. Confidence breeds confidence, both in those who have it and those who see it.

    • Zorro
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t put your house on it!

      zorro

  4. Stred
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Sobry was allowed to blather on for about double the time of Jr’s speech, with some idiot beside her ere ereing after every piece of remoaning rubbish she repeated. How MPs who wish to keep their promises can stand being in the same party as those that clearly are on the same side as the manifesto rats in other parties is hard to understand. Can’t someone get her to make s speech in her constituency and hopefully they will have s word in her ear re the next election.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      stred

      Meanwhile it is being reported, the executives of Porche have warned the Eu that getting tough and punishing the UK on trade, will mean German car workers will lose their jobs, as their products will no longer be as competitive in the UK.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I guess you meant “Porsche” not the place you sit in your old age 🙁

        • alan jutson
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Know Dice

          Yes, predictive text wins again,

      • graham1946
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        They will all come to it as it gets closer. I looked at a ‘debate’ in the EU on Youtube last night (I think the debate was dated 14th. March and the smaller countries, Poland, Bulgaria and Romanaia are already calling for a good deal with the UK because they fear their countries are going to get hammered if we walk away. I was surprised at how much trade thsese tiddlers do with us. This will grow and even the silly bigger ones will come into line if May holds hers (there’s the rub of course). It is all posturing at the moment.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Exactly, as you say “Get on with it.” If that means leaving with no deal, that is absolutely fine. The sooner business adjusts to the new opportunities the better it will be.

    Plus get on with tax cuts, tax simplification, a bonfire of damaging red tape, cutting the size and vast waste in this government, easy hire and fire, cheap reliable energy and getting the government just occasionally to deliver some public services that actually work and are of some value to the public.

    Instead we have dire soft EUphile, PC, socialist who want to stick with the European Model, build on EU workers rights and virtue signal about (non existent in reality) gender pay gaps in charge.

    What is better for government revenues 30% of a UK GDP that could easily be twice the size or 46% of the current, over taxed and regulated to death economy we have?

    Hammond and May are still heading completely the wrong way. Even threats to reduce VAT thresholds – to further increase taxes yet again. We should be replacing VAT with a sensible, far simpler and far lower sales tax.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Did anyone one hear Osborne (on LBC, Iain Dale on Thursday) pathetically trying to defend the government and his gross failures to prepare for a leave outcome in the referendum.

      “It would have been extraordinary for a government that wanted to remain in to prepare for exit” he said – The poll were about 50/50 so it was clear & gross incompetence not to. What good business leader would not prepare for both outcomes in a business context if they are about equally likely.

      What a dreadful man he is in the pathetic John Major mould. An appalling chancellor too (as indeed is Hammond in the same foolish mode).

      He even said it was a “fair referendum”. It certainly was not he especially (and the government) did everything they could to slope the pitch for remain using tax payers money.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Agree, the government should not even have taken a position, just prepared for either outcome. Still, if he thinks that grossly Remain sided referendum was fair he can’t say he wants a rerun.

  6. Nig l
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Excellent speech. Anna Soubry yet again showing how devoid she is of ideas or understanding the greater picture. One thing worries me. It is being reported today that once again the government has had to crumble to the EU to get a transition deal. If true why are we always the side that gives way and what have they given way in return?

    Seems to make a nonsense of what you were only saying yesterday?

    • Calum
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      We are the side that gives way because we have a very bad bargaining position. Brexit is like shooting ourselves in the foot, so why on earth would the EU give us any concessions. It is our funeral and the world is laughing at us

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Calum, Most of the world is not in the EU. We can simply join them.

  7. Mark B
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    . . . regulations came from the EU that we could do nothing about . . .

    This fundamentally undermines the principle of; “No parliament may bind another.” Which also makes elections, and the election of MP’s, Councilors and Mayors, meaningless.

    Out of the EU the people of this country will have a voice once again. While those in it, as proved by successive referendums and elections, will not.

  8. Richard1
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    A pity you didn’t have The time deal with Anna Soubry’s point that the Treasury forecast a reduction if 7.7% in productivity and growth due to Brexit. Obviously this output of the model depends on the inputs. It needs to be pointed out clearly that the input assumptions are not sensible or reasonable.

    • NigelE
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Also the 7.7% reduction was over a 15 year period. This from a Treasury that struggles to predict the next 15 months.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        They struggles to predict even the current month they are even worse than the climate prediction “experts”. Also it is not per cap, which is what actually matters to people. So it largely depends on the population increases, which they are also are useless at predicting.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      It is not per cap growth anyway and the forecast is drivel.

      With sensible government (if only) we will actually far better off out.

      If we get Brexit in Name only and Mays socialism followed by Corbyn then who knows probably far worse.

    • Adam
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Anna Soubry’s opinions seem to resent what most UK citizens prefer. If she so frequently makes sour comments without substance to support her views, their credibility self-destructs.

      • Job Seeker
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Any general proportional reduction in Tory Party votes at the next General Election means Ms Soubry is out probably to a Labour candidate. The BBC Business and Current Affairs programmes take anybody.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          I hope not I have seen more than enough of her and she seems to be incapable of rational thought or argument.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        She cannot even do this in an intelligent, informative & polite way.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      When JR said: “Unfortunately, I do not have time to go into a detailed rebuttal of those proposals”, he could have added “and nor will the government ever bother to contradict the lies spread by its pro-EU opponents, including its pro-EU opponents within the ranks of the civil service”:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/03/16/the-tax-revenue-pours-in/#comment-925319

      In my view there are some civil servants, especially senior civil servants, who may have strayed into the criminal offence of misconduct in public office:

      https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/misconduct-public-office

      “Definition of the offence”

      “The elements of the offence are summarised in Attorney General’s Reference No 3 of 2003 [2004] EWCA Crim 868. The offence is committed when:

      a public officer acting as such
      wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself
      to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder
      without reasonable excuse or justification”

  9. duncan
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt in my mind that what we are seeing is a government that is neither conservative nor committed to a future in which the UK takes back control of its own laws, money and borders

    A UK-EU deal will be put to a commons vote and it is this event that will allow this government to blame the opposition should the deal need to be altered, which of course it will be

    It will be a deal thrashed out by Europhile British civil servants, voted upon by Europhile MPs and delivered to the British people as the best deal available.

    In reality, such a deal will tie us in to all sorts of arrangements across all areas. It will be sovereignty and independence in name only

    It is my belief that the UK will never enter into a free trade agreement with the USA. Why? Because being an EU member prevents that from happening.

    We will be betrayed. Democracy will be circumvented. The British political and bureaucratic class will engineer such an outcome and present it as a victory

    • Andy
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Totally agree. I thought the Political Class and Civil Service would honour the Referendum result, but gradually they have undermined it and are basically going to ignore it. We will end up with Brexit in Name Only, a subtle bit of window dressing, but a complete betrayal none the less.

      • Ruxit
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Returning diplomats from Moscow will say they were sent back because of Brexit, mark my words!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Indeed

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        I never thought for one minute they would honour it-what was required was a bolshevik style clearout and the installation of ,for want of a beter expression,the dictatorship of the Brexitariat.

        “Those who do revolutions by halves do but dig their own graves”

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes. And totally obvious to all.

        An excellent second best to real Brexit.

    • Hope
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      We also read how the civl service were recorded detailing their KitKat policy of paying for EU security, and or army, without the public knowing! JRM demands an an urgent inquiry, I demand sackings without an inquiry.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Indeed to that too.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, an enquiry then if found guilty, and since they were recorded it is hard to see how they can be found otherwise, immediate sacking and loss of pension rights is required.

        • Stred
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          Government beyond authority is rife in the executive. Ministers such as May have always gone along with it. The cabinet Office employs many nudgers in an operation controlled by internationally working psychology gurus who devise ways to present policy to the unwitting public. The need to move to electric vehicles is an example where the small effects of pollution on overall lifespan are presented as actual deaths and the partial portion of pollution by diesel engines becomes total. This pravda management is supported by charities, ngos anf media using omission of reporting and continual repetition of the government behind the scenes. The reverse Brexit plot is one of many examples or leadership beyond democracy.

          • zorro
            Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

            ‘Leading beyond authority’ = Common Purpose

            zorro

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I am saving up to have a party on Independence Day 2019 but am fearful that the celebration could become a wake .

      The ridiculous state of affairs with Ireland whereby we shadow EU rules and regulations for ever and a day must not be signed .Or what is the point in leaving and paying money to do so ?

      The sinister civil service manoeuvring we hear about to embroil us in an EU Army is deeply disturbing . Of course we will help the EU if they are threatened but through NATO . To be part of an EU Army paying our full whack of 2.0% of GDP for defence [ should be at least 2.5% ] when the rest of Europe free load on our and US generosity is ridiculous . We could well find ourselves engaged in EU internal security under foreign control as the EU fights to preserve its basic rejected construct .

      A ‘no deal ‘ is much the best option now .

      • Su Mary
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I’m beginning to think that even our membership of NATO will imperil us. The knee jerk reaction of NATO even recently has proved that any alleged …even alleged attack on a European country is met with aggressive and threatening rhetoric against Russia. Wait! Wait! Wait! 27 countries of the EU means that our chances of being roped into a set-to with Russia is 27 times more likely than if we had a defence agreement with just one country, say France.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      There are some fascinatingly contradictory “facts” about a possible trade deal with the USA …

      Firstly, recently the shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry was emphatic that we don’t even need one, and that was one reason why it was fine for her to vilify President Trump:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/01/15/economic-assessments-of-leaving-the-eu/#comment-912898

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

      While secondly in 2013 the Treasury told David Cameron that it would be hugely beneficial for the UK economy:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2013/06/18/g8-a-time-for-a-new-agenda/#comments

      But now the same Treasury says that it would be worthless … oh, I forgot, that is not an official government assessment, because according to David Davis there is no such thing:

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-15/debates/776150E8-8B4C-4A5F-835E-69F07E7ED0E2/ExitNegotiations#contribution-B8715964-A9E9-4064-9013-51294097BBD4

      It’s just work in progress, and moreover it seems to be work undertaken by rogue civil servants with the deliberate intent of manufacturing an additional supply of ammunition for those who wish to thwart Brexit.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper, Yes, as shown by kitkat-gate UK civil servants can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, as has happened for the last 47 years, all the basic negotiations are handled by civil servants. Unless our ministers are as strong, principled, intelligent, and hard-working as Mrs Thatcher we will be sold down the river. And we know they’re not, so that’s our fate.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      The bottom line:

      The British people have a Vote. They can exercise that vote to dismantle the existing “so-called” ruling party. They have the choice, but should they continue to vote in a Lib/Lab/Con….don’t cry!

      Sick of all this whining when the future is in all our hands. However, we continue to wring them rather than vote for a party that will deliver Brexit!

  10. agricola
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Yes the essence of brexit is that we take back control of our country by regaining our sovereignty.

    • NHSGP
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Problem is, that its just MPs who get the power.

      You do not get any and you get no right of consent. Its all very HW.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Well we shall see. I do not really think the Theresa May will actually deliver a real Brexit. She is far too much of a PV, virtue signally and dithering ex(?) remainer & socialist at heart. She lacks vision, a working compass, leadership skills, an ability to think (especially on her feet), sounds like a robot and is clearly an electoral liability.

      Furthermore she retains a chancellor who is an economically illiterate, tax borrow and waste socialist at heart too.

      Still they can save a bit of money by making all the people sent back from Russia and the British Council redundant as their jobs have gone.

      But I do not supposes they will even do this.

  11. Old Albion
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Well said JR.

  12. SecretPeople
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Yesterday evening I googled ‘John Redwood hansard’ and read through the results – it’s a really neat way of getting to the source of what has been spoken in parliamentary debates.

  13. sm
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you for that terrific speech, John.

  14. Epikouros
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Succinctly put. It outlined many of the lost opportunities, injustices and disadvantages that the UK suffers being a member of the EU. It fell far short of listing all of them or in listing the many administrative and policy failings of the EU. You touched upon the tyrannical and perverse nature of the EU when you commented upon its approach to Brexit negotiations and the secretive and undemocratic manner in which decisions are made which is only one example of which many more could be cited. Time of course preclude you from doing so as your speech would have been the length of a book.

    How remainers cannot be convinced by the case to leave is baffling as the reasons are clear, unambiguous and irrefutable. They have tried to convince us otherwise with dubious counter arguments and facts which have a tendency to be obscure, open to ridicule or completely false. Which you exposed when you countered Anna Soubry’s poorly judged intervention when she quoted an already discredited assumption. She and other remainers are constantly guilty of relying on hyperbole, anecdotal and ideological evidence that even the credulous and gullible should consider to be unconvincing. She and other remainers are obviously convinced by them which tells me that they have serious cognitive and reasoning problems.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Well put, Epikouros. It certainly does appear that remainers are blinkered and inward-looking, with an entrenched attitude that no amount of reasoned argument will shake. Their counter arguments contain no positive assertions regarding the benefits of remaining with the EU, as they would have wished.
      I do believe that if ‘remain’ had won the referendum vote, we leavers would sadly and reluctantly have accepted the fact (and we would have been faced with watching the ‘status quo’ for which the remainers voted, gradually morphing into something truly sinister which we’d have been powerless to resist) but I doubt we’d have mounted some sort of subversive and bitter attempt at betraying the majority vote.
      But – there you are. We won, thankfully, and now we’ve just got to hope that our side keep the faith.

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Epikouros and L Jones.

  15. Shieldsman
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Real trouble lies ahead in the negotiations. At the mention of ‘EU acquis’ we need to say NO and run a mile.
    EU law is what we voted to leave.
    The leaked Brussels document on their negotiating stance relating to Civil Aviation is: –
    “Believes that, in light of the above principles and conditions, and in the interest of the passengers, air carriers, manufacturers and workers’ unions, connectivity has to be ensured by means of an air transport agreement and aviation safety agreement; stresses however this is conditional on the level of regulatory convergence and alignment with EU acquis, and on the setting up of a solid dispute settlement and arbitration mechanism”

    Acceding to their conditions means you are on the hook. Means you are not an EU member but are subject to its rules regulations and political dogma without any say. This will be the position in an implementation period, but the Commission wants it to be forever in a new Air Service Agreement.

    • Stred
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The UK should prepare to impound all EU aircraft and ban overlying if they ban UK air travel over their territory. Transatlantic and Irish flights often pass over London on the way to Europe. French air traffic control would struggle to say nothing about the European tourist industry.

      • Stred
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        struggle,

  16. BOF
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    As always Dr Redwood, an excellent speech. Can Anna Soubry never say anything in support of her Country?

    Unfortunately I think that Duncan has, again, summed up the situation very accurately.

    I find it concerning in the extreme that there is yet more capitulation and backsliding in the so called negotiations and that the PM will strike a very poor deal indeed. In the light of what is going on in the EU right now this would seem to present great danger to the UK to tie us into an agreement when the size and shape of that organization could alter drastically and possibly even disintegrate.

    We could become a vassal state to a failed state.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      A vassal state to a failed state with a vassal & socialist PM to be followed by an even worse socialist PM.

      That really would be dire for the economy – but it seems to be the direction of travel. Certainly if we take any notice of the Soubry and the (52% of voters are racists) Vince Cable types.

  17. Adam
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The EU bluffs like a shady poker dealer, rigging our hands, with foreign court cards up his sleeve.

    We need a Joker to dismiss their poker & declare: Poke off. No Deal!

    Our wild card frees us from EU wilderness into a good deal with a wider world.

  18. Fairweather
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood
    I watched this on the Parliament channel
    I have to say I was appalled by the porcity of MPs in the chamber……was it 12?
    Just the same as debating the Lisbon Treaty
    No wonder most MPs are ill informed or worse ignorant of what is in the treaties,or I suppose they don’t care…….
    The MPs who were in support of staying in the EU are ignorant of what is to come.
    Closer alignment ,destruction of Nation States. Great Britain will go as will our Monarchy. The Spinelli reports says no Heads of State. Perhaps you could point them to what is to come if we remain in the EU…..

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Some of the MPs who strongly support EU membership know what is to come and they want it, that is why they are so desperate to try to keep us part of it. The fact that only small minority of the voters agree with them is seen as irrelevant.

  19. Fairweather
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Further to my comment
    What was the point of this debate…….?
    No one there to debate
    Except yourself of course and Mr Cash
    Where were the 600 MPs?
    I suppose they don’t care
    Just like the 12 days debating the Lisbon Treaty
    Has anyone read it?

  20. NHSGP
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    We, the public have become the puppets of MPs.

    All the time regulations came from Westminster that we could do nothing about. We are made promises, and MPs renege on them. MPs force us to do things, and they haven’t even put them in manifestos. We are expected to elect them on the basis of lies and ommissions.

    We do not have the right of consent. A majority of MPs, force their policies on others, harming them in the process.

    Governments do what if individuals do would be criminal acts. Serious criminal acts.

    eg. Locking peaceful people up, demanding that they pay massive amounts of money, so MPs can enjoy the high life.

    Look at laws, ask if the middle man the state was cut out of the loop, would it be legal?

    Just as with sex, consent matters. Consent means the right to say no without being punished for saying no.

    MPs have decided to act like film producers and screw the public, and cover up what they have done.

    It’s a direct comparison

  21. NHSGP
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    80% of EU flights to the US go through UK airspace. That is already close to capacity.

    They can’t get their flights through the 20% that remains.

    But its very simple.

    Do they want us to implement the no recourse to public funds rule that the EU has?

    No recourse to public funds is of course, a deceiptful statement. Public funds the EU and Politicians want you to think means no access to tax payers cash, where as it really means some welfare payments

    So lots take it as no recourse to tax payers funds. You have to pay in full. 12K a person per year to get your annual residency permit.

    No need for the UK to kick anyone out. EU national are all net contributors according to remain, so lets have a law that says they must be.

    Makes it better for Brits as well as net contributing migrants. Makes it more attractive for those migrants to come here.

    Or we go full tax haven banking secrecy for UK firms that want it. Lots of EU nationals know that their governments have massive debts and are becoming kleptocratic.

  22. formula57
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The message is indeed “Get on with it” and I am staggered that your reminders to the Minister (those between the Cash and Soubry interventions) were needed at all but they obviously were.

    As you have said hitherto, we should not have to pay to trade.

    History may judge it a foolish and expensive decision to negotiate for some three years rather than leaving soon after the referendum.

  23. anon
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I want out completely out, preferably with no agreements.

    I simply do not trust our parliament , our institutions and our patently disloyal civil(EU) service. We are wary of their use of legal devices or “treaties” to thwart the will of the people.

    Re: Agreements (beyond WTO)
    These can then be done later when the parties wish. Iin the future beyond the next election where we can dispense with some of those that wish to thwart the will of the people.

    1) Our MP’s would then be unable to say ” oh its EU law ” no point discussing it or trying to change it. Which is plainly hypocritical when many MP’s openly challenge UK made law but do and say nothing on EU law.

    2) The negotiations will probably be easier when we are” no deal ” or “WTO deal” out our contributions have stopped and we both have a mutual interest to agree , without the baggage of “remainers”.

    3)We can the prioritize agreements with the ROW first , and be pragmatic if the EU wishes to negotiate trade & service only.

    We voted out and this is primarily about restoring some semblance of democracy to our country.

    Maybe we can use technology to vote more & control our “MP’s” (direct democracy) rather than the technology being used to control us.

    It would clearly have not led us to this endless “whinging” culdesac the remainers want.

  24. iain
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I fear that whatever deal is finally struck by this Government there will be teething problems which the Opposition will , with the help of the BBC and others , make a meal of . Public confidence in this Government will suffer . Far better to take a strong position now conceding virtually nothing and extolling the virtues of ” no deal” every time the EU negotiators complain about anything. As John says ” No deal” gives us virtually everything we need and the Public will support HMG. (Remember we never shall be slaves)

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Somebody should remind Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards that the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly are not sovereign bodies, they are the creatures of the sovereign UK Parliament and merely exercise those powers which have been devolved to them through Acts of the UK Parliament. They are in fact on the same constitutional level as Kent County Council, forming part of the same top tier of local government within the UK; perhaps one day the historical independence of the former Kingdom of Kent may also be recognised, like that of the former Kingdom of Scotland, and Kent County Council may then be redesignated as the Parliament of Kent … anyway, somebody should point that out to Plaid Cymru and to the SNP, who are also getting above themselves.

    • mancunius
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Not a bad idea – if for example Kent and Sussex were to unite as a regional assembly, their population already exceeds that of Wales.
      If both Kent and Sussex were to unite with their regional neighbours Surrey and Hampshire, their combined population (5.6 million) would exceed that of Scotland.

      • gregory martin
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        As a son of Sussex, raised in Surrey and currently occupying a very small area of Hampshire ,I will support that.
        We will control any imports from Eu and take tariffs from imports from The North.(aka RoUK)
        What we need is a Wall…..!

  26. James Neill
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    England is tearing itself apart- I do hope for everyone’s sake’s that a resolution is found and found quickly- here, looking at things from southern ireland, we can hardly believe how things have got to this pitch. We know and we accept you are leaving but please better do it without slamming the door..however it works out we will still be your neighbours, and good neighbours– Happy St Patricks Day to everyone and good luck with the rugby this afternoon- to both teams

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’m happy to return your St Patrick’s Day greetings even though any similar greetings for St George’s Day will be seen by the UK establishment as the mark of a vile xenophobic racist extreme English nationalist …

      On the matter of who is slamming doors, I will politely say once again that the new Irish government has adopted an absurd, extreme and intransigent position, as I tried to explain in this letter to the Irish Examiner last December:

      https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/views/analysis/uk-pointless-to-negotiate-trade-deal-with-europe-817096.html

      “Speaking to a Sky News reporter last week Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee made the following statement: “We have been very, very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us” … ”

      However as that appears to be the immovable position of the Irish government, and with the full support of the EU, it seems to me that the UK has been left with no option but to say:

      “Look, the EU Single Market is yours not ours, and so the task of protecting its integrity is above all your task not ours; because we wish to be good neighbours we are willing to help you perform that task even when we are no longer part of the EU Single Market, but that is all we can offer – take it or leave it.”

    • mancunius
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Actually, we call the country ‘Britain’ or ‘the UK’, as do the Irish.
      Might be worth recalling next time you contribute ‘from southern ireland’ – or the Republic, as the Irish call it.

      • James neill
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Mancunius..by your comment you seem to doubt that I am writing from southern ireland but in fact this is true..when i used this terminology I was talking in terms of geographical location only,,.same as when i used the term England..i used it because that is the general location in UK where i believe people to be so upset..sometimes it’s better to avoid talking in terms of purely political..I believe.. James Neill Dublin

        • mancunius
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for your explanation. In that case, I can assure you – as one writing from England – that England is most definitely not ‘tearing itself apart’.

  27. forthurst
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “…I said before the referendum that no deal was quite a likely outcome, and a fine outcome.”

    WTO is the way to go. There is a belief that free trade is always better than trade based on tariffs. People benefit from free trade because their purchases are cheaper; however, many countries have built up their industrial capacity behind a tariff wall which they would not have been able to do against well established foreign producers. The EU has hidden behind a tariff wall since the institution of their Customs Union, not only that but they have taken decisions on who should produce what and what assistance they should receive. In this arrangement, our agriculture and fishing have been deprecated and much of our manufacturing industry has been turned into foreign-owned screwdriver operations. Under WTO we will be able to rebuild our industries without having to face unfair competition and constraints imposed by the EU. The EU has turned us into a low wage economy; the statistics are distorted by the impact of the City which only benefits a minority of the population, a minority that in the main hates their work which they accept in return for being over compensated.

  28. Ed Mahony
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    I’m writing to say i think the Tories need to reintroduce National Service. However,

    – for a few months only.
    – there should be the option to do some non-armed national service work as well.

    Countries, like us, that still have full armed national service: Sweden
    Countries, like us, that have non-armed national service: Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway & Sweden.

    Radical feminism continues to try to emasculate men (whilst men are becoming less chivalrous towards women).

    National service would help make young men and women more responsible. And have a greater sense of public service and patriotism.

    I also believe this would find favour with many, many voters.

    (But this has to be matched with increased investment in sport and the arts. Plus we need to get rid of a lot of silly degrees and spend the money instead on educating our children as best as possible in Maths and English and how to think both logically and creatively).

    Best Wishes.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      ‘National service would help make young men and women more responsible. And have a greater sense of public service and patriotism’ – and self-discipline.

      Military training – plus increased spending on sport and arts – would be following the kinds of things that make ancient Greece great. And things that people here in business would welcome, as well as helping in public life in general, including encouraging young men and women to become responsible fathers and mothers in the future. Strong family life is key to the stability and growth of our country – in every sense.

      • LukeM
        Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Ed…i absolutely agree but the people to called up first should be the 60 to 70 year olds..thereafter we can call up the 50 to 60 year olds..and so on

  29. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    John

    It appears the UK is being sold down the river…regardless of Brexiteer/peoples protestations

    “British negotiators expect to clinch a deal on Brexit transition terms as early as this weekend following a series of “climbdowns” to secure a deal from the EU, the Telegraph understands”

    Is there no end to Theresa May’s treachery?

    • Andy
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      No – there is not end to your gullibility.

      What you were promised at the referendum is entirely undeliverable. Leave voters do not even agree with each other about what they want.

      All of you will end up unhappy. You will still have as much to whine about after Brexit as before. Except you will also be poorer.

      The one constant is that you will never be wrong. It is always someone else to blame for your irrational screw-ups – and will never be your fault.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        You can rewrite your post Andy as follows :-

        Remain voters do not even agree with each other about what they want….etc etc

        • Andy
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          On the contrary – pretty much all Remainers agree that while the EU is not perfect it is still better than the monumental (and entirely predictable) Brexit mess you have inflicted on our country.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            So all remainers have the same ideas about the future for the EU?
            Do you all want the United States of Europe with the UK taking the Euro?
            Common tax policy?
            Merged armed forces?
            Common foreign policy?
            Further nations to join…if so how many and what about Turkey ?
            Remainers have a wide variety of visions of what their EU looks like.

      • NickC
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Andy, The UK being independent of the EU is perfectly deliverable. The vast majority of the world isn’t in the EU. We can simply join them. Unfortunately due to Remains like you in the establishment we are likely to get BINO. That does not make us happy. And why should it? – it’s not what we voted for. We shall definitely blame people like you for that.

        • Andy
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          LOL. Good luck with that. Your mess. You will own the blame.

          • NickC
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            Andy, That is the point – if we get BINO it will be because of Remains in high places who have cheated us.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            If remain supporters win their battle to stop us leaving then what happens after that will be their responsibility.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Here is an interesting take, although I have my doubts about it …

    http://brexitcentral.com/jeremy-corbyns-support-customs-union-temporary-political-ploy/

    “Jeremy Corbyn’s support for ‘a customs union’ is a temporary political ploy”

    “Corbyn’s proposal for “a customs union” is a vice designed to unhinge the Chuka Umunnas of this world and it has done just that.”

    By which analysis it has unhinged some on the government’s benches as well …

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      That take-“Red Bexit”-was also Dan Hodges view in his MoS column ” a few weeks ago.

  31. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    EU PRESENTS UK WITH ANOTHER MASSIVE BILL – TURKISH FUND

    The first tranche 2016-2017 was for €2bn extra from member states
    The UK paid 16.4% of this or €327.6m

    A second tranche is now being claimed, for another €2bn from member states
    The EU will demand another 16.4% of this or €327.6m

    In addition, the EU is putting in another €1bn from ‘the EU budget’, which the UK pays part of TOTAL BILL TO THE UK FOR BOTH TRANCHES: €904.2m (approx £800m GBP)
    Source: FACTS4EU

    Will the tories suffer badly for this total mismanagement of UK Tax finances?

  32. Helen Smith
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Anna Sourbry has some brass neck, to point out that Mr Redwood’s constituency voted Remain whilst ignoring the fact that hers voted Leave!

    Mr Redwood, I am very worried about reports of us continuing to allow the EU to plunder our fish after March 2019. Please can you address this point in your next posting.

    I don’t mind selling the EU some access to our waters after Brexit. Due to EU policy we don’t have the fishing fleet to fish all 200 miles of our waters and won’t for some years. But it has to be on our terms and strictly limited, and go hand in hand with funding for the fishing industry to increase its capacity.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Helen

      Also the catch in UK waters all needs to be landed here as part of any licence.

      On the other hand if we only allow our boats to fish our waters, fish stocks will replenish far quicker whilst we build more/new fishing boats, and fishery protection vessels.

  33. Andy
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    But most of us can’t get rid of most of you – can we? Two thirds of MPs – yourself included – have a completely safe seat.

    I currently live in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country. The decision about who my MP will be is made behind closed doors in a smoke filled room.

    My role as a voter is entirely a bit part because a teabag would win in my constituency if it stood as a Conservative.

    I used to live in one of the safest Labour seats in the country. My then MP was useless, rude and unpleasant – but she was going nowhere. She had a job for life.

    I hate UKIP and all they stand for. But, at their peak, they represented millions – and had no voice in Parliament.

    There is something wrong with an electoral system in which millions of people can vote for a party which then has no voice in Parliament.

    The Greens have one MP despite getting double the vote of the DUP a who have 10. The Lib Dems have just 12 MPs – despite getting almost 10 times more votes than Arlene and co.

    A system which fails to represent most of the people most of the time is flawed. Brexit was not about the EU. It was about failings here.

    • Prigger
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      No -one on earth can realistically literally…. represent one million or even ten people.
      There are several types of democracy . Wikipedia is not perfect of course but reveals and explains a few of them. The point is, do we, generally, accept the kind of representation here in the UK. We, or rather they, do. For I’m my own law.

      The Referendum on 23rd June 2016. Impossible for it to be more democratic. But you still get the odd crank not accepting the ultra democratic result.

      • Andy
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Actually the referendum was the opposite of democracy in action. It was not a vote for anything. It was a vote against something – without a specified plan for what happens next. And, for those of you who didn’t figure it out before June 2016, there has to be a next.

        It’s like going in to a restaurant and saying “I don’t want the soup – bring me something I like” – but without ever specifying what it is that you do like. Don’t be surprised if you end up with something you find unpalatable.

        And please don’t pretend you knew what you were voting for because even on this blog Leave voters do not agree with each other about what Leave means! You cannot all be right. The question is not whether or not some of you will be majorly disappointed – it’s about how many of you will be majorly disappointed I’m guessing most, if not all, of you.

        Reply On the contrary, it was a very positive vote to be self governing again!

        • Andy
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          We are already self-governing.

          Unemployed Gary in Grimsby voted Leave to pull up the drawbridge – he wants to kick out foreigners.

          Businesswoman Heather in London voted Leave to make Britain more global – she wants more migration from India and less from Poland.

          Entrepreneur Kelly voted Leave but, for business reasons, wants to remain in the single market. She voted for a ‘Norway option’.

          Part-time worker dad Steve voted Leave as he thinks Westminster will strengthen his employment rights.

          Company Director John voted Leave as he wants Westminster to scrap employment rights to make it cheaper to fire people.

          All these types of people voted Leave. All for different, mutually incompatible, reasons. Many of them will not get what they voted for – so who are you letting down?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

            Yet you think all remain voters had only one vision of what the EU should be like in decades ahead..
            They did not.

            The referendum happened.
            The leaflet sentry to every home is worth re reading.

          • NickC
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

            Andy, You have been told over and over that we are not self governing – Declaration 17 of the Lisbon Treaty (look it up yourself) is unequivocal that EU law has primacy over the UK. The only sovereignty we have left is to Leave, something you are opposed to and Remain is trying to thwart. That’s how little we are independent.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          In or out.
          Semis quite simple to me.

        • NickC
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Andy, By definition a Referendum is democracy in action, just as a general election is, where we, the people, decide. That is because in our democracy the people are sovereign. Parliament only temporarily “borrows” the people’s sovereignty, returning it in Referendums and general elections.

          The Referendum set by Parliament was a simple binary “in” or “out” question. We chose “out” and Parliament must get on with it, sacking civil servants who don’t cooperate.

          It’s a Remain red herring that the Leave vote means anything beyond being independent of the EU. There was no “plan” (and no agreement) how the UK would look in 5, 10 or more years time precisely because, after independence, it will be up to future UK Parliaments elected by the people.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      “A system which fails to represent most of the people most of the time is flawed. Brexit was not about the EU. It was about failings here.”
      Finally we agree on something. Indeed. Pro EU leaders blamed all their own failings on the EU ! Of all things.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 1:21 am | Permalink

      They are safe seats because a large number of people are happy to vote in a particular way.
      I lived in a safe seat which turned into a marginal when voters wanted change.

  34. hans chr iversen
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    John,

    I disagree leaving with “no deal” is not an option it will have a very negative effect on the UK economy and the Pound and the income for the man in the street in the UK.

    Your proposal about a technological border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, does not seem to be shared by the select committee for Northern Ireland. They call your solution aspirational and that it currently does not exist.

    • zorro
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      ‘Leading beyond authority’ = Common Purpose

      zorro

    • zorro
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense, look at the evidence of the HMRC CEO Jon Thompson before Hillary Benn and his committee. Perfectly sensible and reasonable solutions are available and will be on line before leave date. Remainers are deliberately trying to muddy the waters. I hope that people will be patient with you.

      zorro

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Hans, There is no such thing as “no deal”. The best deal is the WTO deal which already exists and which we already use for the majority of our exports. That is a perfectly valid option – 98% of global trade is under WTO rules.

      Approximately 72% of UK GDP derives from the domestic UK single market, which needs no external “deal” at all; a further c17% UK GDP derives from exports to the RoW via existing WTO rules; only c11% is gained from our exports to the EU.

      You see, your Remain propaganda just isn’t good enough when the whole world serves as an example to refute your theories.

  35. mancunius
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, what is now needed is an urgent reform of the recruitment and training of civil servants and diplomats. It cannot be a coincidence that so many of our current crop are so unrepresentatively leftwing, pro-so EU, and so contemptuous of majority public opinion. They are easy meat for their French and German counterparts who are expert at playing on the ‘solidarity’ keyboard, pretending to invoke EU-policies and the Need to Be Nice and Friendly while they work 200% for their own narrow national interests. e.g. Merkel’s constant, transparently cynical mantra: ‘What is good for Europe (=the EU) is good for Germany’, which really means the converse.
    General de Gaulle used to say when discussing France’s political aims: ‘France cannot be France without Grandeur’; and ‘Countries have no friends, only interests.’ We need to train our state cadres to return to furthering Britain’s interests, rather than just trying to be popular with their opposite numbers abroad and boasting about ‘soft power’ they never actually bother to exert.
    And the civil service can stuff any idea of the UK contributing to a non-Nato ‘EU Defence Force’.

  36. mancunius
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    typo: ‘so pro-EU’

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Manecunius,

      Very interesting pocket philosophy for which you ahve no real proof nor many facts to substantiate , completely wild claims about our professional civil-servants, shame on you . This is really on the verge of total ignorance about our civil service and Europe in general, but that has not stopped you in the past either

      • mancunius
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        ‘Our’ professional civil-servants[sic] indeed. 😉

        Do you really believe your English is convincingly fluent enough for you to get away with your pretence? Laughable.

        We know – because we can see them – the actions of the UK Treasury and FCO before, during and since the Referendum.

        For that I do not even need to draw on my 45 years of experience of living and working in continental Europe.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          typical retired ignorance thinks he knows it all, without real proof

          • NickC
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            Hans, The KitKat tapes simply confirm what I have been told directly by a mandarin. Where’s your proof?

      • zorro
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Listen to the tapes.

        zorro

    • NickC
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Mancunius, Spot on, as usual. Don’t take any notice of Hans, he is a dyed in the wool Remain. From (named civil servants ed) via the theft of our fishing waters, the Eu100bn bribe and “kitkat-gate” our civil servants have sold us out to the EU for 48 years.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Nick

        Categorization in your ignorance does not make your conclusions or information any better , even the more you write about it

        • NickC
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Hans, If the Remain hat fits, then wear it. As you do.

  37. Eh?
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March.
    Scottish Labour Leader, another one, Richard Leonard was on a anti-racist demo today 17th March as part of it. That’s just typical of Scots isn’t it, always jumping the gun.

    The demo actually, joking aside, was against a Labour member for saying something.

  38. Ron Olden
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    THE SCOTTISH GREENS PROMISE TO REJOIN THE EU

    The Green Party’s undying commitment to the protectionist, ‘little European’, big business dominated, international corporate capitalism, for which the EU stands, will be lauded by many, (or at least by big business).

    But no one other than an insane person would give the Greens any chance of rejoining the EU during the next twenty years.

    To rejoin the EU, a political party would have to put the proposal in its’ manifesto and win an election with it. The UK would then have to apply for membership and get all 27 other countries to agree unanimously to accept the application.

    They’d then have to negotiate new membership terms, put it to a Referendum in the UK and win, get majorities to rejoin in both Houses of Parliament, (in 2017 Parliament voted 498 to 114 to invoke Article 50), following which, the new treaty would have to go to Referenda in several other EU countries, whose constitutions require them to hold votes before they can ratify new treaties.

    The membership treaty would almost certainly have to get unanimity of the UK’s three devolved Parliaments. It was one thing to act upon the exit clause of a Treaty which was entered into by the UK State and Parliament alone, and which already existed in law.

    It is quite another to agree a new treaty which would remove some of the powers which will, by then, be vested with the devolved Parliaments, and which they would have to surrender to the EU upon rejoining.

    Legally, no doubt, the UK would be able to rejoin and remove the devolved powers without their agreement, but politically it would probably have to hold separate Referenda in each UK nation, and win all of them.

    If all these insuperable hurdles were surmounted, we would then have to tear up any free trade agreements we’ve entered into with anyone else in the World whilst we were out, (i.e. renege on any treaties associated with them and incur their wrath and the wrath of the WTO), reimpose the external tariffs that the Customs Union imposes on consumers and businesses who buy things from outside the EU, and start handing over the £350 Million a week or more, net EU budget contribution.

    Let’s see how all that goes.

    One thing I do agree with the Greens about however, is that ‘the UK’s future is European’ But the EU is not ‘Europe’.

    The UK’s future is also advanced by staying connected with the rest of the World rather than confining ourselves to a future imprisoned within a declining bureaucratic regional backwater.

    Remind me not to vote Green.

  39. Ron Olden
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    In no other sphere of life would anyone even contemplate suggesting that a ‘bad deal’ is better than ‘no deal’.

    The bizarre presumption to the contrary, is what’s dogged the UK’s relations with the EU from the start of negotiations in 1970/71.

    When we voted ‘Leave’, no one mentioned any ‘deal’ at all in the Referendum. So it can safely be assumed that every single person who did so, voted ‘Leave’ on the assumption that there would be no ‘deal’.

    Even if this economic modelling that Anna Soubry relies on, is correct, which it isn’t, it assumes that both we, and every other country in the EU and the rest of the World imposes the maximum WTO tariffs on trade, back and forth into the UK.

    The chances of that happening are NIL. When we Leave we will have absolute freedom to impose no tariffs whatsoever on anything, (including the freedom to abolish the Customs Union external, tariffs we have at the moment), and any tariffs the EU chooses to impose on the things their consumers and businesses buy from us, have already been cancelled out by the fall in the value of the £.

    And there’s nothing to stop the £ falling a bit again if it’s desirable.

    As for this ‘divorce settlement’ payment, if it’s not legally mandated under the terms of any existing Treaty obligation, surely Parliament has to vote on whether or not to pay it. So what’s to stop backbenchers amending the final legislation to remove it?

    ‘Deal or no Deal’, we Leave the EU on March 29th 2019, by operation of UK, EU and International Law.’

    But even if we do pay it, and get nothing in return it’s still infinitely better value than paying a net £13 Billion or more a year till the end of time.

    • Henry Spark
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      You are certainly in the right place, Ron. Like John Redwood you are completely ignorant that it is non tariff barriers, not tariffs, that matter in international trade today. It is the fact that our goods and services will no longer be recognised as compliant with EU standards that is going to wreck our economy, not any issue concerning tariffs

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

        You think tariffs in excess of 30% are insignificant to a developing country!

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Who said UK’s goods and services will no longer be compliant with EU standards? For goods that will be a matter of choice by the manufacturer. the difference will be that manufacturers will after Brexit be as free as those outside the EU to make tat choice. I worked for a time for an Australian manufacturer of radio telecommunications systems. We manufactured to Australian, US and EU standards supplying each export market with systems that met the standards they wanted. Why should we have borne the expense of meeting EU standards if none of our markets applied EU standards? Post Brexit UK manufacturers will be similarly placed to make their own decisions and thereby improve their competitiveness.
        Incidentally we operated Just In Time and had complex critical supply chains including imports from China of components variously specified to each of these standards. The Remoaners greatly exaggerate the difficulties – aided by manufacturers who simply resist change but who having accepted a change would find themselves at no disadvantage at all.

        • Peter D Gardner
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

          I should add that not all the countries employing EU standards were members of the EU. They just decided to adopt the EU standards instead of developing their own. UK will also be free to do so should it want to. The important thing is to have the freedom to choose. The Grenfell Tower disaster occurred in part because of a change from British to EU standards. Can’t always get it right but that change was not a free decision. It was mandated by the EU.

      • NickC
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        Henry Spark, Out of the EU, the UK will continue to conform to internationally recognised technical standards based on scientific knowledge, precisely because those standards are international and not parochially EU.

        Standards that are specific only to the EU will be complied with for exports to the EU. Only. It’s a big world out there, Henry, and we must conform to American standards for exports to the USA, Japanese standards for exports to Japan, and so on.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Odd how so many nations trade happily with Europe without being in the single market Henry.

  40. mancunius
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Btw, why do a group of Remainer MPs on the Brexit Select Committee purport to believe that the EU would agree to extend the transition deal? They didn’t even agree to the full two years the PM asked for, and insisted on a shorter period. It beggars belief that they would now agree to a longer transition period, just because a handful of pro-Remain MPs want it.

    Is Mr Benn planning to hand over the UK taxpayers’ money for a further full EU budgetary period of several years’ membership after 2020? Because that’s the only condition on which Brussels would agree to any extension. And why would that be in our national interests?
    This ‘extension period’ is already a transparent fudge to avoid the Art. 50 stipulation that any further delay in our two-year leaving period beyond March 29th 2019 would need to be ratified by every single EU Parliament (i.e. it would fail).
    Many here believe (as do I) that any further delay is a waste of time, and a weakening of our negotiating stance. But then, perhaps Mr Benn wants it to be weakened? 😉

  41. Peter D Gardner
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    My understanding is that the principle of ‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ has already been cast aside. UK intends to pay the bulk of the 39billion divorce bill during the transition period. The future relationship will not be agreed before the end of the transition stage, if then. David Davis confirmed the to the commons select committee that these payments would be made during the transition stage.

    It seems to me that UKG thinks it has achieved something when the EU agrees to take less than it initially wanted. UKG should start from the position of a third country giving the EU nothing. Then it might realise that all it is achieving is still giving the EU things which, were UK a third country, the EU would have no right to demand at all.

  • 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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