My speech during the debate on the economy

What a catalogue of misery we heard from the Scottish National party spokesman, the hon. Member for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss). It was just bizarre. I thought there was an SNP Government in Scotland and that she might have found something about Scottish public services or the state of the Scottish economy of which she was proud, but no, everything is miserable and, of course, everything is the direct fault of the Westminster Parliament. The SNP takes no responsibility for anything. I thought the Scottish Government had put up taxes and were going to endow their public services with even more, but the hon. Lady did not mention that. Perhaps she does not like the potential economic consequences of that, but it is absolutely typical that we get nothing positive and the SNP accepts no responsibility for the economy.

I wish to talk about the huge opportunities for the United Kingdom economy as we leave the European Union. I know it is fashionable for Labour Members to be wholly negative about the Brexit for which their constituents voted and which—to try to keep their constituents’ vote and have some confidence from their vote—they said in their 2017 manifesto they would deliver, but their voters, like me, think that there are huge opportunities for a United Kingdom that will be more prosperous and successful outside the European Union than inside it.

David Linden (Glasgow East) (SNP): The right hon. Gentleman says the SNP talk about misery; may I enlighten him with a little reality? This week, Dunnes Stores, an Irish company, announced that its store in the Parkhead Forge in my constituency was closing down. The company said that that is because of Brexit, and it will have a direct impact on jobs in my constituency. That is the reality.

John Redwood: I can find many examples of companies that have come pouring in with extra investment post the Brexit vote. The national figures show that we have had more jobs, investment and growth following that vote. Those ridiculously pessimistic Treasury forecasts ​were launched just in time for the referendum vote. At the time, I and a few others put our professional reputations on the line, said that the forecasts were completely wrong, explained why the economics behind them was misleading and why the forecasts were likely to prove widely inaccurate. We were right; the Treasury, World Bank and others were comprehensively wrong and have been rightly confounded.

I am pleased that my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury agrees with me that it is a pleasure that those forecasts were wrong. She and the Chancellor are exactly right to be cautious about the latest set of official forecasts, which are likely to prove too pessimistic for the future years. It is important that we aim to beat those forecasts. We know that they keep changing the forecasts and that they tend to be too pessimistic, on average. Now is a good opportunity to go out and beat those forecasts. We should make that one of the main aims of our policy. I look forward to Opposition Members trying to help us, instead of doing all that they can to peddle misery and gloom to try to dampen spirits and reduce confidence at a time when there are good reasons to be more confident and to believe that those forecasts were wrong.

Let me take one obvious point. I have some disagreement with my Front-Bench colleagues, because I would like to stop paying any money to the European Union after March 2019. Some of my Front-Bench colleagues seem to wish to be more generous than me, but I think they agree that we must quite soon get to the point at which we are not paying any more money to the European Union. When we have full control of our money, which is what we voted for, we will have £12 billion to spend on our priorities here in the United Kingdom rather than on the European Union’s priorities somewhere else across the continent. That will give us an immediate 0.6% GDP boost. When a country is growing at 1.5% to 2%, an extra 0.6% represents a material improvement in its growth rate. We will not just get that £12 billion as a one-off in the first year; we will get it in every successive year, because we will have that money available to spend.

I campaigned in the previous election for the Brexit vote to be properly implemented, and my constituents gave me a majority knowing that that was my view. I also campaigned on the ticket of prosperity not austerity. I do want more money spent on the schools and hospitals in Wokingham and the local area. I am very pleased with our latest settlement, because health staff need more money. I am also very pleased that the weighting of the percentage increases is much more generous to those on low pay, because in my area it is extremely difficult getting by on those low pay rates. We need to recruit and retain more and to give more people in those jobs the hope that they can go on to better paid jobs with good career progression.

I want more money spent, but I do not want it spent irresponsibly. I am offering the Government the biggest spending cut that they will ever make, which is the £12 billion a year that we do not need to keep on sending to Brussels. In the spirit of the Brexit vote, I say bring our money back, take control of it and spend it on our priorities.

Before the referendum, I took the precaution of setting out a draft Budget that I would like the Government to adopt. I explained that I was very unlikely to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer and that people could not ​take my draft as a promise; it was a set of ideas on how that money could be spent. I suggested, mainly, more spending on areas such as health and social care and education, and also on tax reductions—getting rid of our damaging VAT rates on green products, on feminine hygiene products and on domestic heating fuel, which hit those on the lowest pay most heavily. Those are things that we cannot do for ourselves all the time that we are in the European Union.

Alison Thewliss: The Government’s failure to negotiate a zero-rate tampon tax does not give us great hope for any further negotiations with the EU.

John Redwood: I think that the hon. Lady will agree that this is one area where even she must see that getting out of the EU is a big positive, because she and I will be able to unite on something for once, and shove the abolition of this much-hated tax through the House. Is it not a disgrace that the world’s fifth largest economy and an important country cannot even control its own taxes? Over all those years in the EU, we were assured by Governments of all persuasions that tax was a red line and that the House of Commons would always be able to decide what the tax rates would be and what was going to have to be taxed. That simply will not be true until we leave the EU.

That is the first bonus. The Brexit dividend is to take control of our money and to spend it on our priorities. It will have a double advantage: not only will it give a boost to growth the first time we do it, but it will cut our balance of payments deficit. I am more worried about our balance of payments deficit than our state deficit, because the Government have done a great job in getting the state deficit down to perfectly reasonable levels, whereas the balance of payments deficit needs working on. The simplest way of cutting it is to stop sending money to the EU, because that is like a load of imports.

Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge and Hyde) (Lab/Co-op): I wish to ask a serious question. The right hon. Gentleman is very well remunerated for his views on finance and is very much sought after for advice in the City. He will know that, if we were to lose just 10% of, say, the financial services sector in the UK, as a result of market access ending through Brexit, that would constitute a loss of £8 billion to £9 billion in taxation to this country. Is he genuinely not worried at all that we need to retain some elements in our economic relationship with the European Union as part of those Brexit talks?

John Redwood: I am an optimist. We will have a perfectly good economic relationship even if we do not get a comprehensive formal deal of the kind that I know those on the Front Bench would really like to secure. The hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Well, let me give him the evidence. When I studied this subject before the referendum—I always like to ensure that I give good advice, so I try to find out what I am talking about and have some facts—I looked at the economic performance of the United Kingdom during the early 1970s, when we first entered the European Economic Community, and took great interest in the economic growth rate around 1992 when the single market was completed, which people say is so crucial to our growth rate. From that, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we ​cannot see any positive kick up in the graph of UK growth either when we first joined the EEC or when the single market was completed in the early 1990s. Indeed, the growth rate fell off on both occasions. I do not blame the EU for all of that, but it shows that there was no great benefit.

If there was no benefit going into the thing, why should there be something negative when we come out? It is not asymmetric. There will not be a hit. I promise him that when we look back on it all in five years’ time, he will not be able to see—certainly on world growth graphs and, I suspect, on UK economic graphs—when we left the EU. It will not be a big economic event. It is a massively important political event, but it will not be a significant economic event, because joining it was not. Indeed, even worse, in the immediate aftermath of both joining the EEC and of completing the single market, there were very big recessions where our growth rate took a very big hit. I do not blame the EEC for the first one—that was more to do with international banking and the oil crisis—but I entirely blame the EU for the second one, because it was the European exchange rate mechanism that ripped the heart out of our companies and our economy and led to a boom and bust that was almost as big as Labour’s at the end of the last decade. That was why we did so badly.

Let me now go into a little more detail on some of the crucial sectors that have been badly damaged by our membership of the EEC, and then the EU and single market. We can do rather better in those areas once we are out of the legal entanglements.

Let us start with the most obvious and topical one this week—the fishing industry. When we first went into the EEC, we had a flourishing fishing industry, with a large number of trawlers and successful fishing ports in Scotland, England and Wales, and a net surplus of fish. We were an exporter of fish because we had access to one of the richest fishing grounds in the world in our own territorial waters and beyond. The common fisheries policy destroyed much of that. Many of our boats were lost, and much of our fishing capacity was lost. We are now a heavy net importer of fish, as a result of being part of the common fisheries policy. Our fishing grounds have been greatly damaged, because too many industrial trawlers have been allowed in from outside to do damage to the seabed and to the shoals of fish that we once had. The quota system has not really worked because of the discard policy.

It would be easy to design a UK fishing policy through which we would have both more fish to eat and we would take fewer fish out of the sea. We would do that by not having the discards. It would also be easy to design a policy in which the fish was landed in the UK, so that there would be more economic benefit for us in processing and selling it on, and in which we would have much more capacity in the English and the Scottish fleets so that we could capture more of the added value. I look forward to the Secretary of State publishing a detailed strategy and offering us draft legislation, and I look forward to the Scottish National party supporting that legislation, because it must know how important the recovery of our fishing industry is.

Peter Dowd: I know that Mrs Thatcher was a great heroine of the right hon. Gentleman. She said:

“Just think for a moment what a prospect that is. A single market without barriers—visible or invisible—giving you direct ​and unhindered access to the purchasing power of over 300 million of the world’s wealthiest and most prosperous people.”

It is now 500 million. Was she wrong at the time?

John Redwood: Mrs Thatcher was not always right. As her chief policy adviser, I gave her extremely good advice on the single market, which she did not actually accept. She took most of my advice on a lot of things, but I told her not to give the veto away—it was not worth it, because we needed to keep control of our own law making. However, the Foreign Office was more persuasive than I was, and that was where things started to go wrong. We were tricked into accepting what she hoped—and what a lot of British people thought—was just going to be a free market where there were fewer barriers for trade.

What actually happened was that we were entrapped in a massive legislative programme, which meant that more and more controls—often of an anti-business nature —were imposed, even when the UK did not want them and even when we had voted against them, when we were in the minority. That is why many British people fell out of love with the Common Market that they thought they had voted for in the early 1970s; they thought that it would just be about more jobs and more trade, but discovered that it was about the EU taking control. I am afraid that, on that occasion, Margaret Thatcher was less than perfect. She did not choose the right advice to follow. If she had vetoed the loss of the veto, the hon. Gentleman might have had his way and we would still be in the European Union with a rather different relationship from the one that we were forced into taking.

I turn now to the energy industry. Under European rules we were trapped in a common European energy policy, which meant that we went from being entirely self-sufficient in energy to being quite heavy importers. There is a wish to make us more and more dependent on imported electricity and gas through interconnectors with the continent, meaning that we have less security of supply and are more dependent on the good will of many people on the continent—ultimately, on Russian good will, because of the importance of Russian gas to the energy supply on the continent. Fortunately, the situation has not gone damagingly too far, and we can rescue it when we come out of the European Union. Our gas supplies can be much more dependent on Norway and Qatar, which are not members of the European Union. That is a useful precaution because we can trust those suppliers and the supply will not be subject to the same common problem that might arise in the European system.

We need to be careful about the framework of regulation. I am all in favour of cleaner air and looking after the environment, but the rapid and premature closure of coal power stations before we have good, reliable alternatives puts us in a bit more jeopardy. We have already experienced cold days, when there is big industrial demand but very little wind; it is extremely difficult to balance the system and keep up the full amount of power that people want. We may have to go on to industrial rationing in some cases. If we follow European policy and shut all the coal stations without having proper, reliable alternatives in place, running a good industrial strategy will be that much more difficult.

What would I put at the top of my list for a good industrial strategy? My No. 1 need would be a plentiful and cheap supply of energy. Having had jobs that involved ​running factories and dealing with transformation materials that have a high energy content, I know the importance of reliability and relatively low price for running certain kinds of process industry. The United States are now reindustrialising because they will have access to a lot more cheap feedstock and fuel as a result of their drive to have much more domestic energy, at a time when we have been going in the other direction by becoming more reliant on other systems that are not reliable and on imports. We are now finding that we are becoming short, and our power—certainly at peak demand—can be extremely expensive unless people have a long-term contract that properly protects them.

I urge Ministers to use the opportunity to rethink our energy strategy, and to put it at the top of the list for the industrial strategy they tell us they want, because it is the No. 1 requirement for a strong industry across the piece. The other day I was talking to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton), who reminded me just how important cheap and readily available gas is to the Potteries. We want those industries to grow and flourish—I used to be involved in them a bit—and there is huge scope for that, but it will require a sensible, UK-based energy policy.

I turn next to the vehicle industry, which I think will be just fine. It has been built, with a lot of foreign investment and local talent, into a very fine industry. But we need to remember its exact shape. The UK has the capacity to make about 1.7 million cars per annum, but it has the capacity to build 2.7 million engines. Last year 1 million of those engines were diesel. Successive Governments have done a good job of persuading large motor and engine manufacturers to come to or expand in the UK. We now have a centre of excellence in diesel engine technology, and engine production generally, for passenger cars and light vans. We should be rightly proud of that, but it is important that the Government understand this achievement and do not do things that inadvertently damage it.

Car sales continued to rise very nicely after the Brexit vote. We experienced a very strong market and there was a good trend of car sales in the UK for the first nine months after the Brexit vote, as was happening before. But in spring last year there was a sharp reduction, which has continued. Why has this happened? Well, it is nothing to do with Brexit. It is to do with policy decisions taken in the United Kingdom. Three things happened at the same time.

First, it was decided that too many car loans were being advanced, so there was a restriction on car loan credit. I think we worry too much about that. There is security: people who get car loans usually have reasonable jobs and incomes. I am pleased to say that we are not looking at a set of job losses any time soon, so I cannot really see the big problem. Secondly, there was the imposition of much higher vehicle excise duty, particularly on higher-value cars, which are particularly profitable and successful to make.

Thirdly, of course, there were the general arguments that diesel is no longer acceptable. Diesel technology in this country, and through European regulation, has reached much higher standards of cleanliness and control of exhaust. As far as we know, all these engines are more than meeting the legal requirements, because we all want cleaner air. But if the idea gets abroad that all these standards are actually going to be tightened very quickly, ​or that it is going to become unacceptable to run a diesel engine, it puts people off buying. There has therefore been a big collapse in support for diesel engines and cars, which explains the pattern in that market. I hope that the Government will look at a sensible compromise. Yes, we want clean air, but we also need to say and do supportive things for what is now a very important industry in our country.

There is huge scope for farming. The Secretary of State has made a start with his White Paper, but it still of a fairly high level of generality. I look forward to more detail soon. The motif of the policy must be that we can and should grow more for ourselves. In the early days after we joined the European Community, we were about 95% self-sufficient in temperate food, which is the kind of food that we can produce; we are now under 70% self-sufficient. We import a lot of food from the Netherlands and Denmark—countries with similar climates to our own—and quite a lot from Spain, which produces some things that we cannot grow for ourselves, although we could buy cheaper alternatives from South Africa or Israel if we were allowed to do so. We need to look at all that and do a better deal for the lower-income countries that can sell us food that we cannot grow for ourselves without the same kind of tariff barriers. We also need to do a lot more work on how we can grow more of our own food.

Alison Thewliss: The right hon. Gentleman’s point on growing our own food falls if we do not have the people here to pick that food. It will be rotting in the fields, as is already starting to happen, because EU workers who have come over to do this job are leaving, and our own workers do not want to do it.

John Redwood: There is still quite a large number of net inward migrants to this country. I look forward to higher wages and more automation. All these problems are perfectly soluble. There are now some good automatic systems for picking produce, if people do not want to do those jobs. I hope that there will be more productive ways of employing people so that they can be paid more—for instance, if they work smarter and have more technology to support them. That would be good for the employee and for the farming business. Some of this is about scale and some is about investment.

I hope that we develop a farming policy that still provides public money to support farms sensibly, but that will be more geared to the production and successful sale of food, particularly domestically. We want fewer food miles on the clock and rather more local produce. I hope that the policy will allow and encourage more agricultural businesses in the United Kingdom to add value to the product coming from the field, shed or farm, because that is an important part of developing a prosperous and more successful economy.

The UK has enormous scope in sectors such as the media because we have the huge advantage of the English language. We largely share that advantage with the United States of America, which is also very good at media and internet-related businesses. I look forward to the tech revolution being an important part of our better-paid jobs and in the increase in jobs in the future. Once we are out of the EU, we will also be able to choose our own tax and regulatory regimes. I trust that we will choose a best-in-class, world-leading regime for ​both tax and regulation. Although I understand some of the irritations that the EU and others have with existing large technology companies, it is important that we also understand how phenomenally popular their services are, how hugely important they are as wealth generators, the choice they offer customers and the new jobs that they will create. We therefore need a tax and regulatory regime that is fair and is not part of a trade war between the EU and the United States of America, which seems to be developing at the moment in an unfortunate way.

Infrastructure is very important. One thing that perhaps unites the House is that we would all like more investment in infrastructure, although we then have disagreements about pace, style, and ways of financing it. There is huge scope for more infrastructure in this country. If we wish to take advantage of our greater freedoms and the kinds of business developments I have been sketching in different sectors, we will certainly need a lot more capacity in road and rail. Rail capacity can be increased more cheaply and more rapidly if we go over to digital controls. One of the features of our railway system is that we run very few trains an hour on any given piece of track. With better controls, we could increase the number of trains we ran on existing track—a quicker and cheaper solution than having to build lots of new tracks.

We are going to need improved road transport. Internet styles of purchasing require road capacity for all the van deliveries that will be made when people have bought on the web. Road capacity is also needed for those who still like going to a traditional shop and expect to find somewhere to park when they do so. Only the shopping centres that have really good access and really good parking are likely to flourish in today’s world, because people naturally want convenience. I trust that the Government will find sufficient public capital support for these necessary programmes, but will also be imaginative in finding new ways of harnessing private finance where that is appropriate, as it clearly is in areas like energy and communications where there are defined revenue flows that should be financeable through the private sector.

The aim of Brexit is to cheer the country up, to get wages up, and to get jobs up. So far it is all going reasonably well. There are more jobs after the Brexit vote, despite the false forecasts. Pay is going up a bit. We would like more improvement in real pay, and it is good to see some moves being made in the public sector. The big Brexit bonuses we want comprise spending our own money and knowing when, how much, and what we are going to get for it; having a fishing policy that makes sense both for British fishermen and for British fish; having a better agricultural policy that means we can grow more of our own food; and having an energy and industrial policy that supports more investment and more growth.

Peter Dowd: The right hon. Gentleman is an advocate of a united kingdom, especially as we are coming out of Europe, but there is the vexed question of Northern Ireland. How does he see that fitting in with his vision for the future? It is very important for Northern Ireland, as part of our UK economy, to understand where he is coming from on this matter.

John Redwood: I trust that Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, will benefit from the economic policies I have been describing. It is the settled wish of a ​majority in Northern Ireland that they stay part of the United Kingdom, and they are very welcome. If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the alleged difficulties regarding the border, I simply do not think that that is a serious, real problem. It is obviously a political problem because the EU wishes to make it so, but the EU needs to understand that this border is already a complex one. When goods are being moved either way between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, there is a currency change to be effected, and there are different incidences in excise rates, VAT, income tax and corporation tax levels on each side of the border. Yet we do not have a man or a woman at the border stopping every truck and working out the sums on what has to be done on the excise tax or the currency, because that would be ridiculous. If we end up with World Trade Organisation-based trading so that there do have to be tariffs at the border, it is no more difficult to calculate the tariff electronically and charge it away from the border than it is to charge the excise and the VAT at the moment. We know how to do it; it is not that complicated: we live in the electronic age. I can see that Labour Members want to live in the pre-computer world and do not think that we can send data electronically, but I assure them that it is a magical development.

Jonathan Reynolds: The slogan of the leave campaign was “Take back control”. What does that mean if it does not mean taking back control of one’s borders? There are movements of people that need to be considered. There is still the common travel area between this country and the Republic of Ireland. One cannot simply introduce borders and then tell the British public that those borders will not be physical, or even exist, because there will somehow be a digital solution. It is not practical to say that those borders are going to be put in place and then they will not exist.

John Redwood: The hon. Gentleman has been here long enough to know that all parties have always agreed that we keep the common travel area with the Republic of Ireland. That has always been a given. It was not dependent on the EU in the first place, and everybody wants to keep it.

Let us deal with the question of our UK external border, wherever it may be, and the issue of migration. Yes, the British people voted to have more controls over the number of people who come to work and settle here. The Prime Minister has promised on several occasions that she will get the net migration total down to tens of thousands from the quarter of a million-plus we have been experiencing each year, and I wish her every success with that. We do not need new hard border checks because, as I understand the way that thinking is going in the Government—the way I encourage it to go—we just want to control two things. We want to control the right to work through a work permit system and we wish to control the entitlement to benefit by making sure that people are properly qualified for it. That does not require big controls at the border. Anybody is welcome to come as a tourist, to come and spend their own money, and to come and invest. That is not what we are trying to stop. We can control the things we wish to control through a work permit system and through a benefit system.

Peter Dowd: I am listening carefully to the right hon. Gentleman, if only out of a sense of morbid curiosity, with regard to how he is going to explain practically the ​situation in Northern Ireland. We have heard a lot of abstract ideas; we need practical solutions. It is incumbent on him to give us a serious, practical way forward in relation to that problem, which is very serious, notwithstanding what he says.

John Redwood: I do not agree. It is already a complex border. There are already anti-smuggling arrangements. There are already methods that satisfy those on both sides of the border as regards the possible passage of criminals and so forth. All those things will stay in place. They are not made that much more complicated by our leaving the EU. The Republic of Ireland is not part of Schengen; it does not have those special arrangements that the rest of the EU has, so this is making a mountain out of a molehill. Indeed, I do not think it is even a molehill. I just do not understand why serious people can think that it is a serious issue. I understand why political people want it to be an issue—because they want to extract a price from the United Kingdom, as if we had not already offered enough in the interests of friendly relations, in due course, with the European Union. I assure Labour Front Benchers, who are meant to be pro-Brexit and have a lot of pro-Brexit voters, that I cannot see any extra complication that cannot be solved by a bit of electronics and the development of what we already have, because it is already quite a complex border.

There are huge opportunities. If we take advantage of these freedoms, we can boost our growth rate. I have shown how we can do that in a few individual sectors. I have shown overall how we will do it by spending our own money, and explained how we have a huge opportunity to rein in some of the excessive imports we are taking in at the moment by replacing them with home production. We can do many good trade deals around the world to extend and improve our trade with the rest of the world, which is already good, growing and flourishing despite tariffs and WTO terms: we know how they work and they work just fine. I just say this to the Government: let us get on with it; let us not make any more concessions; and let us make sure that if we do end up with a deal, it is a deal worth having.


  1. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    March 24, 2018

    I become annoyed with the view that it is OK to use immigrants as cheap labour to pick farm produce etc. They are not slaves.It is grotesque.The lower paid jobs should be open to everyone in need with the minimum wage per hour in place.

    I also hate waste . To throw away fish and other produce when there are so many going hungry fills me with utter disgust and the complacency surrounding it demonstrates the lack of concern for other nations.

    Warring nations should not have to resort to going through the EU to get to England, because we will look after them . The whole of the EU is available for their own policies of free movement.When policies are put in place the responsibility for those citizens accords.

    Dr Redwood says that we will not see a big economic difference when we leave the EU, however with the new mix of Brits, I think that if we restrict the influx of persons and utilise our present population, then we will see a big economic difference.There is determination to improve.

    1. Tom
      March 26, 2018

      I become annoyed with the view that it is OK to use immigrants as cheap labour to pick farm produce etc. They are not slaves.It is grotesque.The lower paid jobs should be open to everyone in need with the minimum wage per hour in place

      Yup. It reminds me a bit of the arguments for slaves in classical antiquity or the antebellum US. And yet leaving aside the horrible moral problem with slave labour the economic effect of it is that it removes any incentive to automate. So societies with slaves have a tendency to stagnate. It’s creepy that the left is using this argument and at the same time claiming to represent the poor and oppressed.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 24, 2018

    Excellent work JR. I agree fully with all the points you make. A great shame that Thatcher, ERM Major and Cameron did not heed you advice in full.

    But we still need a chancellor and PM who cuts taxes, cuts the bloated and overpaid and pensioned state sector, cuts regulations and gives us cheap reliable energy. This while sorting put the dire virtual state monopolies like the NHS.

    Hammond has given us the highest taxes for 40 years and yet we get fairly appalling state services too in general. The only efficient ones seem to be things like motorist mugging.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2018

      Also an sbsurdly complex tax system from the dire Hammond too. This is yet another cost on the productive in itself, pushing up compliance costs and having to have more convoluted and complex structures and accounting to compete. Generating more and more unproductive jobs and killing productivity. Are Hammond and May too thick to see this and if not why are they doing it?

      1. Hope
        March 24, 2018

        All laudable points, all being ignored by underhand May. Where is the detail of how much the U.K. will pay to talk about trade and where is the detail how much the U.K. will continue to pay the EU? We had civil servants talking of hiding the true extent under their KitKat policy how much the U.K. Will pay for EU army, security and defence, was this with May’s agreement? She advocated unconditional support and stated the U.K. Will continue to pay to be part of certain things. We know she is underhand and cannot be trusted, she has already embarrassingly surrendered far too much already to humiliate the country to help the EU aim to use Brexit as an example to other countries. The world is watching, May is a national embarrassment.

        Gove’s response was beyond pathetic when he answered the question over water and fishing stocks. There is no prize in the extension, it is acceptance of an EU punishment. The extension has failed to deliver what May told us in her Lancaster speech. Did he not recollect what she said? The double agent continues everything EU.

        When are you going to take decisive action ad oust her?

      2. Sir Joe Soap
        March 24, 2018

        No. Hammond and May, like Brown, and legions of civil servants, love complexity because it hides their lack of ability and protects their position. Fortunately our host keeps things business-like and straightforward.
        Unfortunately, he has little influence in matters.

    2. JoolsB
      March 24, 2018

      May was actually bragging at PMQs this week when replying to Jeremy Corbyn that those at the top are now paying far more tax than they ever did under 13 years of a Labour Government. And this from a so called Tory Government. Proof if ever we needed it that May and Hammond are socialists at heart!!!

      1. Lifelogic
        March 25, 2018

        Indeed May and Hammond are clearly damaging socialists. Hammonds taxes on landlords and tenants on “profits” that are not even being made plus his IHT threshold ratting and the absurd levels of Cgt (without seven indexation) and his up to 15% stamp duty are not sustainable.

        He is a disaster for the economy, jobs and our ability to compete. The highest taxes for 40 years and still they are borrowing for even more on top for more endless government waste. Meanwhile the NHS is largely a sick joke, violent crime rising hugely, a huge lack of road space and dire public services all over the place.

  3. duncan
    March 24, 2018

    I find it absolutely bizarre that there are people who have been afforded the privilege by their electorate to represent them in this chamber who argue that legislative authority should exist away from the very constitutional body they are elected to protect and preserve

    But, what is even more preposterous that this is the ignorance, stupidity and downright asinine nature of many of these MPs. The SNP representative’s blaming of the Brexit vote on the closure of one shop in his constituency is almost comical. This MP knows full well that the question is unworthy of serious debate but slander and blame whether valid or invalid is irrelevant. The only aim of politics today is slander and shame

    The question about the tampon tax does have merit in the sense that our influence to take back tax powers is still in its infancy. This tax should be a question for the UK government alone. All taxes levied on all goods and services sold in the UK should be a question for the UK government and this government alone. The sooner this anomaly is rectified the better

    I have always enjoyed JR’s clarity and focus. He knows that all we have is thanks to the creative powers of industry and commerce without which government would never be able to raise the taxes (direct, indirect and deferred) to finance their spending programmes.

    While the SNP and Labour obsess over how to politicise anything and everything, the Tories need to start de-politicising anything and everything.

    May is overtly political and interventionist to the point of microscopic. That is not the conservative way. Tories embrace the private because that is the one area beyond political control. It is not for this PM to tell people what they should say and how they should think. She needs to rein back on her liberal left obsessions.

    Voters will want to see at some point in the future the physical evidence of our regained sovereignty and independence. What form will that evidence take? A bill in parliament proclaiming our absolute independence? A FTA with another sovereign nation?

    We will want to see evidence of the UK’s newly regained independence. We don’t want political speeches from a political leader declaring our independence because that ‘ain’t worth a carrot’ today

  4. Bryan Harris
    March 24, 2018

    Good Speech – Thanks

    1. eeyore
      March 24, 2018

      A belter of a speech. Mr Linden’s intervention is priceless. Well done JR for keeping a straight face (if you did).

    2. juter
      March 24, 2018

      We need action and not words at the moment.

    3. hefner
      March 24, 2018

      Wholeheartedly seconded.

  5. Henry Spark
    March 24, 2018

    You were asked by Mr Dowd for a practical solution on the Irish border. You failed to provide one. You denied there is a problem – contrary to the views of the UK government, the Irish government, every political party in Northern Ireland and the Republic, the other 26 EU Member States, the European Commission, the European Council and, in fact, every single person who has looked at the detail of the problem.

    This is why no one takes you seriously. You are a head-in-the-clouds ideologue who ignores practical reality

    1. ian wragg
      March 24, 2018

      And here ends the lesson from Brussels. The only problem with the Irish border is a manufactured one by the EU in an attempt to shackle us to the customs union and single market. Any HARD border will be provided by the EU. We are not interested in providing one.
      I bet our smug Home Secretary and the Civil Servant Quislings weren’t prepared for the massive backlash against having the passports printed overseas.
      They really do hate Britain and especially the English.

    2. a-tracy
      March 24, 2018

      We have borders with hundreds of other Countries, it doesn’t stop people coming here and some trying to stay, what it doesn’t give them is the rights to benefits, hospital treatment, housing etc.

      If they’re entitled to all the benefits in Southern Ireland awarded to them by being a member of the EU and Southern Ireland is such a beacon why wouldn’t they just stay there?

      As for goods they’ve got to get to S. Ireland by transport and checks on movements would be easy to do if they suddenly went up exponentially to the dislike of the EU.

    3. Sir Joe Soap
      March 24, 2018

      That is rubbish. All the people and organisations you name are politicians which have a vested interest in making this as complicated as possible. All these people either did or would have forecast a disaster by now, with us having voted to Leave. Where is this disaster? Most business people you ask will say trade will happen, people will travel, stuff will happen DESPITE politicians’ wishes, not because of them.
      You are looking for obstacles and problems where there are few, and those there are are soluble.

    4. forthurst
      March 24, 2018

      Dumb people believe there would need to be a dumb border were Ulster to leave the EU; smart people propose a smart border like that between Norway and Sweden. A smart border works on the basis of positive co-operation which the Irish Republic and the Brussels regime are not offering at this stage and the fact that those who regularly trade across the border and their cargoes can be relied upon to conform to their paper work once they have been registered and approved to operate under the scheme.

    5. rose
      March 24, 2018

      There is a difference between a real problem and making up a problem for political reasons.

      Gibraltar is not in the Customs Union and never has been. Not being in the Customs Union is not a problem on the edge of the EU. Ask the Chief Minister. Don’t ask the various bits of the EU.

    6. Denis Cooper
      March 24, 2018

      With that wealth of information and advice from a multiplicity of sources at your disposal you should have no problem explaining the problem which needs to be solved. First you tell us exactly what you believe the difficulties will be, and then we will offer reasonable solutions … but of course you don’t want reasonable solutions, do you, and nor do your friends in the EU, nor indeed the Irish government which like you deludes itself that the UK might be maneouvred into staying in the EU.

    7. L Jones
      March 24, 2018

      Rubbish, if I may say so. And deliberately offensive. Just because YOU may not take our host ”seriously” doesn’t mean ”no-one” does.

      Dr Redwood made the correct reply. There is a conspiracy of obfuscation and conscious complication by all the agencies you list.

    8. Edward2
      March 24, 2018

      You are so negative Henry
      All those organisations you list are keen to come to a negotiated solution.
      So one will be arrived at.
      We have a year to go and my experience of negotiations is that deals get done near the end.

    9. David Price
      March 24, 2018

      Interesting that your list of purported stakeholders leaves out the most significant party and with the possible exception of one, none of your list wish a solution to a politically concocted “problem” that benefits the UK.

    10. mancunius
      March 24, 2018

      But JR is absolutely right: “If we end up with World Trade Organisation-based trading so that there do have to be tariffs at the border, it is no more difficult to calculate the tariff electronically and charge it away from the border than it is to charge the excise and the VAT at the moment. We know how to do it; it is not that complicated: we live in the electronic age.”
      Eaxctly. While Mr ‘Sparks’ is evidently still at a much earlier evolutionary stage, rubbing two sticks together…

    11. Peter D Gardner
      March 24, 2018

      So bright spark Henry what is the requirement for a border? What is its purpose and why exactly are UK’s proposals inadequate? If you answer truthfully, you will realise that UK and Ireland do not need anything other than what UK has proposed. If that does not meet the requirement you assert exists you need to explain what that requirement is and why the UK’s proposals do not meet it. Out of hand dismissals don’t cut it.
      I think you will find that it is the EU’s requirements that are the problem – leaving aside its usual troublemaking. It wants a border to implement its protectionist trade barriers but is embarrassed to say so because it knows that its protectionism is against world trends of global trade and is bad for the world economy. UK is in step with that and the last thing the EU wants is a more competitive UK, the world’s 5th or 5th largest economy, on its doorstep.
      And BTW most countries accept that if they want to put up barriers to trade they must do it themselves. The EU uniquely seems to think it has the right to demand UK erects the barriers and collects the duties and enforces the quotas and regulations on its behalf. How perverse.

    12. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2018

      There are loads of practical solutions. The EU are just using it to extract further concessions.

  6. Old Albion
    March 24, 2018

    If only our Government had the same foresight and positivity as yourself……….

  7. Curly Marks
    March 24, 2018

    The thing about some Labour members and MPs is that they are always “proud” of their “roots”…. They boast about being a Party member. That’s nothing to brag about!
    In decades they have remained in a Party that has weirdly gone from left to right, to centre to extreme, back and forth like a doll with a nearly broken half-pulled out neck. Wilson, Blair, Brown, Corbyn. Spot the similarity in belief, focus, economic policies, values. Different as chalk, cheese, and toothpaste. With manifestos to match ” we like selling council houses, we don’t like selling council houses, we do like selling council houses, we don’t ”
    If you do not believe in what a party stands for, leave! They don’t. Reason. Because. it doesn’t matter to them. Just the power. It is a narcotic to Labour and they’re hooked and sleep in the political ditch of history with now the SNP for bedfellows.

  8. Nadine
    March 24, 2018

    Thatcher wrong, Redwood right. Your arrogance is shameful, sir.

    1. mickc
      March 24, 2018

      Quite simply, Margaret Thatcher was not always right. Nobody is….but she got a lot right and that’s enough to consolidate her place in history as the greatest post War Prime Minister.

      Our host’s speech is neither arrogant nor shameful but an excellent precis of the opportunities we must take.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 24, 2018

      One of Margaret Thatcher’s great admirers, are you?

    3. James Matthews
      March 24, 2018

      Not arrogance, just realism. I firmly believe that Margaret Thatcher was our best post-war Prime Minister, but the decision to trade the veto for expansion was disastrously wrong. It is why we are where we are.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 25, 2018

        Not much competition for best recent PM they have all been dire. Thatcher less dire than most. But she signed away many rights to the EU without authority, entered the ERM, failed to address the dire NHS, failed to cut the bloated state down to size, closed many grammar schools, introduced the politically daft poll tax. .

        1. rose
          March 25, 2018

          She didn’t shut the grammar schools: local authorities did. She didn’t have the power to stop them. She was extremely reluctant to introduce the poll tax – for years, sacking environment minister after environment minister for failing to come up with something else. Finally, the Scottish rate revaluation lost the Conservatives their seats in Scotland and she was compelled by the Scottish Conservatives and others to act. The problem was it was introduced too quickly, having originally been intended to be phased in over three years, and the Treasury refused to support it. Had they pegged it to the level of the BBC licence fee history would have been different.

          There were reforms she never got to grips with – of the lawyers and the teachers, for a start – but she was fighting against the clock and with enemies all around. It was amazing she managed the Trade Union reforms and saw off inflation. Churchill only had to fight the one enemy.

          She was indeed very misguided to allow people to advise her to give up the veto and adopt the ERM. She knew both were wrong.

    4. Pragmatist
      March 24, 2018

      We can’t have people differing in opinion with IMPORTANT people can we. That just wouldn’t do in Amber Ruddland.

    5. mancunius
      March 24, 2018

      I lived through that period, and at the time I was horrified that Thatcher caved in on losing the national veto. She was indeed wrong about that, and on some other issues as well (such as sparing the NHS from radical reform that might have saved it. It is now a walking corpse.)

  9. Todd Nolan
    March 24, 2018

    Your solution to the Irish border is brilliant! – “a bit of electronics and the development of what we already have”. Excellent! Why o why can’t everyone else see how easy it is!

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      March 24, 2018

      Nobody’s saying it’s easy, just that it’s possible with a modicum of ingenuity.

      Like tracking and targeting hostile convoys in the Middle East.
      Like gathering data on 50 million Facebook users.
      You really think keeping track of a few hundred trucks an hour on a small island is impossible?

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 24, 2018

      Why don’t you say exactly what you think may be a problem?

      Do you think that once out of the EU the UK authorities will be permitting and encouraging the export of rubbish across the land border into the Republic?

      Is that what you think of us?

      1. Todd Nolan
        March 25, 2018

        Denis, the problem is that once the UK has left the EU and its customs union, there needs to be a hard border in order to check goods and to ensure collection of tariffs, where those differ between the EU and the UK. There is not a single border in the world – be it Norway/ Sweden, US/ Canada, anywhere at all – where there is NOT such a hard border. And there needs also to be checks for safety standards, and the like. To suggest this can be solved “electronically” is embarrassingly ignorant. The technology does not exist. If it did, the Norwegians would be using it, so would the Canadians, etc. Leaving the EU and its customs union means a hard border in Ireland, and since it is the UK that has chosen to leave, that is entirely the UK’s fault. But there is, fortunately, a solution – the one that Mrs May signed up to in December and which was translated into a binding Treaty last week, which is to align the rules in Northern Ireland with those of the EU for evermore, also subject to the oversight of the Commission and the ECJ, and Mrs May has also promised the DUP that the same alignment will also apply across the whole Great Britain too. So we will be locked into the EU’s rules for ever, but with no say in their making. Now, if you could tell me what the point of Brexit is, I would be much obliged.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 26, 2018

          “there needs to be a hard border in order to check goods”


          Goods have been flowing freely across that border in both directions without any checks for a quarter of a century now, maybe there are some risks in that but they are deemed acceptable and manageable in other ways, so precisely why should that change?

          Why, in practical terms, should there have to be a sudden reversal from checks being forbidden to checks becoming mandatory?

          “There is not a single border in the world – be it Norway/ Sweden, US/ Canada, anywhere at all – where there is NOT such a hard border.”

          So what?

          The EU including the Irish government, and the UK government, all agree that this is a “unique” situation, so why should you or anybody else be looking around the world for some parallel?

          “RECALLING that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union presents a significant and unique challenge to the island of Ireland”

          “RECOGNISING that it is necessary to address the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland”

          “… should a future agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom be agreed which addresses the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland … ”

          Is that really the best argument you can come up with, that it’s never been done before?

    3. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2018

      Because it suits them no to.

  10. A.Sedgwick
    March 24, 2018

    Well said, at least there is one sane person in Parliament.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 24, 2018

      More than one but perhaps 100 tops.

  11. Epikouros
    March 24, 2018

    The objections to leaving during your speech were many and varied. The objections raised did not produce anything that would cause any serious concern about leaving. In fact they were rehashes of arguments already raised that have been already debunked for being either spurious, obviously false or would be due to reasons that could not be attributed to Brexit(the closure of retail establishments is purely down to changing shopping patterns not Brexit for example), flying in the face of common sense and lack of objective rational thinking.

    Your point about the SNP wrecking the Scottish economy should be a salutary lesson to those who aspire to have all of the UK governed by the left. As if the warning about the dangers of socialism/left wing governance were not abundantly available from places like Cuba, Venezuela, the USSR and many more we can observe them closer to home. Scotland, Wales, London and many cities in the USA under Democratic control where economies and societies that were reasonably prosperous and peaceful have become more lawless(crime is rising or out of control), disunity reigns or is heading that way and prosperity and social order is on the wane. No a place run by the left is not a place that many people would wish to continue living in. The depopulation of most cities and states run by the Democrats is testament to that fact as people are leaving in droves.

  12. Woody
    March 24, 2018

    I could not agree more with the statement detailed here. Particularly the point that the irish border is being weaponized for political purposes, there is clearly no reason to create a hard border and it is only the europhiles who seem to want one.
    I also consider David Linden’s point about Dunnes Stores is shutting its shop in Glasgow as being disingenuous in the extreme when trying to blame it on the leave vote. Maybe he should look closer to home and note the SNP’s increase in business rates and the resultant closure of many small and medium shops in Scottish shopping centres.

  13. jerry
    March 24, 2018

    Geez, were does one start and end….

    “We were tricked into accepting what she (Mrs thatcher] hoped—and what a lot of British people thought—was just going to be a free market where there were fewer barriers for trade.

    Sorry John but I find that hard to believe, are you seriously suggesting that at no time between late 1959 and the late 1980s did she bother to read the TEEC (nor any later treaty that expressed the same wish to create a political union), and why would she not have done so at some point, even if only the summary, she was after all a Barrister. If you are correct in your recollection then you are surely eluding to a serious error from Mrs Thatcher, excusable before 1975 but not there-after!

    “Under European rules we were trapped in a common European energy policy, which meant that we went from being entirely self-sufficient in energy to being quite heavy importers.”

    Nonsense, the EEC nor the EU closed the UK coal industry, that started in the early 1980s, if the EEC/EU did anything to assist it was due to the polices Mrs T put forward, it was she who brought both the environment and climate into main stream politics.

    “There is a wish to make us more and more dependent on imported electricity and gas through interconnectors with the continent”

    Sorry, how does the EU stop us from building new power stations?! Also it was our ‘dash for gas’ in the 1980s that has lead to our dependency on Russian gas, as our own stocks diminish. Eastern European countries (not just those in the EU) are dependant on Russian gas for historical geopolitical reasons, again nothing to do with the EU.

  14. Anonymous
    March 24, 2018

    Gina Miller was allowed to use the words “cliff edge” in her demand for a second referendum.

    “I’m not trying to stop Brexit, just trying to stop Britain going off a cliff edge” to that effect.

    I would have liked the response to have been “There was no cliff edge immediately after the referendum and there will not be one when we leave the EU. There can’t be. Trade will not simply grind to a halt.”

    I would also like her to………. She claimed that her court challenge was simply to sort out technicalities – not to subvert the referendem result.

    She’s still here.

    She’s trying to subvert the referendum.

    1. jerry
      March 25, 2018

      @Anonymous; “She’s still here.”

      She has ever right to ‘still be here’ – unlike some who comment on this site, living outside the UK but trying to influence UK domestic politics.

      “She’s trying to subvert the referendum.”

      Whilst you are trying to subvert the 2017 GE result, clue there is hardly a majority for the sort of Brexit you want now if ever there was in the first place [1], non if europhile Tory rebels break ranks and ignore any three-line whip. Oh how the worm has turned, and how long before unthinking eurosceptics start ranting about the behaviour of such (europhile) rebels MPs, forgetting that such behaviour is not different to how eurosceptics MPs have acted in the past.

      [1] there were 29 Brexit manifestos, with polices ranging from an exit on WTO rules through to conversion to EEA membership (the Norway option); the people were never asked how they wanted their eggs, so to speak, just if they wanted eggs in the morning…

  15. Adam
    March 24, 2018

    When the world establishes peace, cutting wasted defence yields recurring dividends for better values. Similarly, cutting EU waste & worthlessness earlier, saves needless expense year after year.

    Opposition to EU fees is milder than combat, yet it is recklessly wasteful to pay its layers of obstructive govt for their unwanted ‘service’ of restricting our ability.

    JR will do the right thing earlier than those who dither in doubt.

  16. Me again
    March 24, 2018


  17. Jumeirah
    March 24, 2018

    Excellent Mr. Redwood
    Andy et al: there you go – you asked for it some weeks ago and now you’ve got it- the way forward.
    Sometimes, although one may disagree with it, one has to abide by the majority decision (in this case the Referendum result) and move on – it’s the way stuff is done. Overseas appointments may still offer opportunities for those wishing to remain under the EU umbrella – a little ‘effort’ will get one there and some have done it and settled in very happily and never looked back!

  18. MikeP
    March 24, 2018

    You might also use the fully automated border and customs arrangements at the Port of Rotterdam as an even bigger and busier example of electronic border controls. Being well and truly part of the EU it should be easy for Michel Barnier to accept a similar electronic solution in Ireland. But as you say, this is all about politics and obfuscation bordering (pun unintended) on dirty tricks to extract more of our cash. I only hope Theresa May, David Davies et al can see through this tactic.

    1. Peter D Gardner
      March 24, 2018

      You hope in vain. Mrs May’s concessions now have their own momentum. Were she to stand firm on anything it would be seen as a major disruption of the daily routine of European politics, an earth shattering event requiring emergency session of the European Council to develop countermeasures. Mrs May’s idea of a victory is when the EU settles for a bit less than it first demands of something for which it has no legal basis to demand anything at all.

  19. Zorro
    March 24, 2018

    Well done JR – clear exposition of the realityies of leaving the EU. Life will go on and modern technology can easily support and manage this. It is only the zealots who say you must have a hard border as you are leaving ze Customs Union who insist on barriers and guards. They are myopic and can see no other way. Although it does make me laugh with their talk of border controls when you have the farce of the very soft underbelly from Africa, Middle East and Russia into ‘Fortress Europe’ – a sick joke in reality……


  20. Zorro
    March 24, 2018

    I stillthink that May should retire/be retired quickly as she is using events to promote herself ‘tough’….. Very soon, she is going to look as if she lacks judgement, and seem quite daft…..


    1. Lifelogic
      March 25, 2018

      No change no chance, just as with dire John no appology ERM Major but the Tory MP all followed him over the cliff for 3+ terms. Will they do it again?

  21. a-tracy
    March 24, 2018

    Thank goodness for you John. Sensible, erudite and well mannered.

    You need to make clear though that homeless arrivees from the EU and elsewhere will be Returned. We welcome everyone that can finance their own stay and aren’t simply house queue jumping with the encouragement of the Labour Party who want to scoop them up giving them priority over our own children for housing. Do they not see that offering people the chance that if they make themselves homeless in the UK they will get priority housed in Manchester they’re going to get more of it, and people playing by the rules no 46 in the list stay at 46 for three years.

  22. Robert Betteridge
    March 24, 2018

    The EU27 are committed to protect the single market and to avoid a Brexit contagion – so the UK will not be afforded the same benefits as those of a member state.
    However the UK is severely disadvantaged by not being a member of the Euro and in addition doesn’t want the massive advantages to be gained with free movement of Labour.
    Surely these two factors alone are sufficient “punishment”?
    To suggest otherwise is sheer hypocrisy.

  23. Sir Joe Soap
    March 24, 2018

    Very good speech.
    Please try to get this published in the mainstream.
    It’s what most (non large company) businessmen would agree with.
    It’s what most of us out here agree with.

    It’s odd that those who are so worried about Cambridge Analytica staff, who are apparently able to use Big Data to turn democracies of 500 million people into quasi-dictatorships, also seem concerned that we won’t have the ingenuity to track a couple of thousand trucks and their goods a day electronically across a 300 mile border.

  24. BlakeB
    March 24, 2018

    Just look at the reality of what has happened in Brussels, a transition agreement is now in place- but transition leading to where? then consider our situation in the whole of this and try to project into the future to a time.. say five years from now..and think about how much control we are really going to take back, compare this with all of the upset of the last couple of years and then wonder will it be all worthwhile? Five years from now I don’t think UK parliament is going to count for that much in the wider scheme, UK will probably be in a weaker position having to defer to these larger trading blocs to get afraid the Great has now gone out of GB and that the real power of decision making in this hemisphere into the future is going to sit with the EU27- so then I ask will they leave an empty chair at the high table of decision making to give hope to the younger UK set? could be- to me the EU crowd look to be like a decent lot..shame we have allowed ourselves to come to this!

  25. anon
    March 24, 2018

    So what happens when Ireland joins Schengen and adopts all the EU commands.

    Particularly if we have a complete abrogation of Brexit by our non democratic but UK “sovereign parliament” which seems hell bent on remaining under the control of the EU as a rule taker.

    What we need is a renaissance in democracy, from the people choices.

    Ireland is an issue for the Irish to decide, if Eire choose “full on EU”, its their now net contributions money and choice, good luck to them.

    Choices can then be made to make the best of it, by those on the Island. They can agree how any controls can be implemented. Precedent has been set by the referendums. The English and the Welsh should be given referendums as well.

    No more delay. Out.

  26. JoolsB
    March 24, 2018

    The Irish voted to stay in EU as did Scotland. Why not let them have their wish and cut them loose. Maybe then your Government could start putting the money saved, English taxes at that, into England for a change. Funny how socialist Hammond could find 4 billion down the back of the sofa in the budget to bribe the devolved nations whilst continuing to slash services to the bone in England.

  27. English Pensioner
    March 24, 2018

    You made a lot of very good points.
    Worries about lack of labour, particularly on the land, will lead to innovation as it always has in the past. The invention of tractors, combined harvesters, etc, were all brought about by labour shortages and I’m sure that the same will happen in the future.
    I also look forward to the UK being able to import agricultural produce such as oranges from Africa, this will help their economies which I believe is better than giving them aid.

    Brexit can’t come too soon for me. I’m fed up with the arrogance of so many of the EU politicians. They constantly “demand”, this, that and the other. To listen to them “demanding” that Trump removes his proposed tariffs for EU products is a joke. Who are they to “demand” that the US does anything!

  28. Kenneth
    March 24, 2018

    This is the kind of speech we should be hearing from members of the cabinet

  29. William Long
    March 24, 2018

    I do hope there were plenty of people on the Government front bench and that they were all listening.

  30. hans chr iversen
    March 24, 2018


    two simple questions

    1) how do you know, that we will ahve £ 12 billion extra available a year when we leave the EU, does that not assume, that everything else is left as it was. Can we be sure we will not loose out on other things when leaving the EU and not have £ 12 billion extra available?
    2) the electronic solution you talk about on the Irish border, has been turned down as not available by a majority on the Northern Ireland Select Committee. Do you know something that they do not know, anything about after having done the research?

    thank you

    1. Zorro
      March 25, 2018

      The HMRC CEO, Jon Thompson showed the select committe last year that there are perfectly acceptable and available systems that can manage cross border traffic efficiently and effectively. It is tunnel vision which is stopping this remainer laden select committee from seeing sense…..


    2. Richard
      March 25, 2018

      The Irish Border is a non issue. David Campbell Bannerman explained this again this week to Hilary Benn’s committee and in this article:
      “a three-tier approach to the challenge based on the former World Customs Director Lars Karlsson’s excellent report Smart Border 2.0 for the EU…Irish [RoW WTO] checks are the lowest in the world at one per cent…I believe a close to 100 percent ‘smart-border’ is within our grasp. By adhering to the international customs standards already in place…”

      Checking (a non tariff barrier) by Eire/EU cannot discriminate against UK imports under the Facilitation of Trade Agreement which the WTO brought into effect last year.
      So worst case: 1% x 6,000 lorries/vans per day = 60, which could easily be checked away from the border. As DCB said on Wednesday.

    3. Richard
      March 25, 2018

      For a more balanced view, you may wish to read the “Minority Brexit Report” which was signed by all the Brexiteers on the committee. Available here:

    4. Richard
      March 25, 2018

      As Martin Howe QC points out:
      “The Irish government present this as being about concern for the Northern Irish peace process. It is nothing of the kind. Both the Irish government and their EU27 backers are cynically exploiting that issue as a lever to drive the UK to agree to follow EU agriculture rules after we have left, in order that Irish and other EU27 producers can continue to exclude competition from the rest of the world from the lucrative UK food import market.”

  31. Denis Cooper
    March 24, 2018

    Good news that Owen Smith has been sacked from the opposition front bench.

    It was not just the demand for a second referendum, it was also the demand that we must stay in the EU Single Market as well as the EU Customs Union.

    First on Wednesday in the Commons:

    “Should he not … tell the House that the only way to avoid a hard border is for us to stay within the customs union and the single market?”

    And then in an article in the Guardian yesterday:

    “… there is realistically only one way to honour our obligations under the Good Friday agreement and that is to remain members of both the customs union and the single market. I’m pleased my party has taken a big step in this direction by backing continued customs union membership, but we need to go further.”

    Well, he is absolutely right that it would not enough to remain just in the EU Customs Union, in that case it would also be necessary to stay in the EU Single Market.

    I expect this will come up in at least one of the four political programmes tomorrow morning, and maybe it will finally be explained to the public that on that kind of route the/a customs union may be necessary but it would not be sufficient.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 24, 2018

      “Owen was asked to stand down for repeatedly breaching shadow cabinet collective responsibility on Brexit by advocating single market membership.”

  32. mike fowle
    March 24, 2018

    Excellent speech. But how depressing that some members are deliberately exaggerating difficulties for political ends. We should all be looking at the marvellous opportunities coming our way.

  33. majorfrustration
    March 24, 2018

    Yes we all agree with what you say but nothing of substance happens which suggests a rethink by the Government

  34. Me again
    March 24, 2018

    Not to be out done some are on TheGreatNorthernMarch in the UK today protesting against democracy.

  35. Paul
    March 24, 2018

    Great speech JR, I watched most of it online. It always impresses me how you never need notes to articulate such informed arguments.

  36. Denis Cooper
    March 24, 2018

    Listening to this chap Dr Lars Karlsson giving evidence to the Commons Brexit committee on March 20th:

    it is obvious to me that any problems at the Irish border – and indeed the other UK-EU borders – will only arise because the EU wants to create unnecessary problems.

    And my answer to that is we will not be putting up unnecessary barriers on our side of the Irish border, and we are prepared to help the EU and the Irish authorities to avoid putting up unnecessary barriers, but under no circumstances are we prepared to have any part of the UK remain in either a customs union with the EU or the EU Single Market.

    I have listened to unpatriotic antidemocratic Remoaner MPs constantly trying to throw up ill-founded objections to what their witness is saying, they are a complete disgrace.

    It is a pity that there is so much delay in the production of transcripts of these sessions so allowing dishonest MPs to disseminate false accounts of what was said.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 24, 2018

      And listening to the Remoaner MPs one might think that the Irish border has been like the Berlin wall for decades and now there is the thorny problem of deciding how it can be safely opened up. One would not think that for a quarter of a century now there have been no border controls at all for either people or goods. It is down to these MPs and other opponents of Brexit to say precisely why there should have to be any change at all from the present arrangements once the UK has left the EU.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 25, 2018

      “because the EU wants to create unnecessary problems”


  37. mancunius
    March 24, 2018

    Also, the general decay of retail is particularly notable in Glasgow, where several retailers have closed or shrunk over the past year. As one resident commented on the closures: “The [Glasgow City] council have a lot to answer for. They have driven out members of the public due to sky high parking rates and rip off wardens and cameras. The rise of out of town shopping is was inevitable. ” Another writes: “just wait till GCC start their Low Emission zone thing later in 2018. [£]20 to bring your car into the city if you don’t have Euro6 compliant vehicle… Labour were bad but this SNP mob have a death wish for the city.”

  38. Chris
    March 24, 2018

    Trapped in transition. This what Theresa May has apparently led us into. What are the Tory MPs going to do about it? You should be utterly committed to upholding democracy i.e. honouring the referendum result. You have very little time left.
    BREXIT BOMBSHELL: EU insiders claim Brussels will TRAP UK into transition deal for DECADES

  39. Ron Olden
    March 24, 2018

    If the SNP are concerned about the effect of Brexit on Scotland they should have tried harder to win the 2014 Indy Referendum and seen if they could negotiate membership of the EU for Scotland in time before we Leave.

    It’s too late now.

    Scotland chose to stay in the UK, so they have to take what the UK decides. England has been putting up with Labour Governments elected for it by Scotland and Wales for decades, and England is still being dictated to by Scottish Welsh and Northern Irish MPs (and therefore voters), whereas English MPs have no say in the same matters when they arise in Scotland.

    The SNP for example insists on voting one way on a Hunting With Dogs ban for England and Wales, whilst in Scotland, where they have jurisdiction, they have a different, less fox friendly law, which they refuse to bring into line, with what they demand in England and Wales.

    Incidentally, the SNP failed even to persuade about 1/3 of SNP voters to vote to Remain in the EU.

    As for the Single Market, Mrs Thatcher herself accepted in retrospect that it conceded too much Sovereignty. But in any case, at the time, not being in the Single Market was arguably a worse option than being in it.

    Subsequently however a whole raft of poor East European countries joined the EU, so the Single Market and it’s effects, particularly on migration, changed irrevocably.

    Nowadays we can have Free Trade with the EU without being in the Single Market, and the way things are going in these negotiations, it looks like we’ll get it, and still be free to negotiate Free Trade agreements with the rest of the World as well.

  40. Peter D Gardner
    March 24, 2018

    When people like Peter Dowd, a life long professional politician, complain about abstract ideas on the border in Ireland it is probably because they have no experience of importing or exporting through the present system. To him it is not only the addition of tariffs and quotas to the system that is abstract but the whole of the present system as well.
    What a great waste of time spent on these people. After Brexit I hope UK will have a great clear out of the useless from Westminster.

  41. Rory The Cat
    March 25, 2018

    An excellent address by John Redwood, it is a great pity that he is not Chancellor of the Exchequer. The wholly negative comments of Labour and the SNP are nothing more than is to be expected from them.

  42. John
    March 28, 2018

    The SNP are a shower, the Dunnes closure was October 2017 and the founder and CEO blamed out of town shopping centres. Probably also online sellers like Amazon.

    Its amazing how MPs interject to protest on a subject that they have lost the argument on over and over again but still repeat as if in a Groundhog day forgetting the answers they were given. Never mind hey.

  43. John
    March 28, 2018

    What the SNP didn’t complain about was the EU policy of anti National strategic industries which assisted the closure of Parkhead Forge as a ship manufacturer I recon.

Comments are closed.