The business of England

On Tuesday in the Commons we were asked to go into  English Grand Committee  to approve the Rating Bill that has been making its way through Parliament.

This is a modest measure, allowing higher rates to be charged on empty property, and allowing contiguous properties that can be  properly considered as one property to  be  charged tax as one. The measure only applies to England.

Under the partial reforms England gained in the last Parliament, any Bill relating just to England can be debated in an English Grand Committee comprising all the MPs representing English seats, and has to  be approved by a majority of English MPs on a vote. This procedure prevents the Union Parliament forcing a new law on England which England does not want.

This falls well short of the powers Scotland enjoys through its own Parliament. Not only can they prevent the UK Parliament passing a law on a devolved matter they do  not like, but they can also propose and enact measures which the rest of the UK does not like. In England’s case if we want a law but there is no majority in the UK Parliament for it we are prevented from passing it.

On Tuesday the SNP decided to make an issue out of this. They spoke with contradictory intention. They both argued that England should have its own Parliament to settle such matters, and objected strongly to English MPs having a veto over such legislation. They decided to force a debate on the Bill where English MPs saw no need to. The Bill met with general agreement – or lacked any English opponents.

The settlement of the English issue was only ever a partial and I trust temporary one. England should of course have the same right to propose as well as to block on devolved matters, as Scotland enjoys. The modest proposals so far incorporated in Standing Orders does something to address the unfairness in the lop sided devolution settlement Conservative governments inherited from Labour. The SNP did themselves harm by  mocking a modest improvement to our constitutional arrangements.


  1. Switch to HoC
    May 17, 2018

    Many SNP contributions in Westminster seem time-consuming and nuisance-making. I guess they know most constituents do not follow Parliamentary debates so they can sprawl out on the benches in the free heat of the House of Commons saving on their energy bills.

    1. Hope
      May 17, 2018

      JRs blog is deliberately misleading when he claims inherited from a Labour. Cameron stood on the steps of Downing Street and said only a Tory party would deliver EVEL. It was the Tory arty who has created this position a failed to deliver EVEL after it said it would.

      May has made her final betrayal of Brexit today. I suggest either May is ousted or the people must oust the Tory party from office at the next election. It is the biggest betrayal of the electorate in recent history. Heath under his lies took the U.K. into the EEC by lying to the public and May is now betraying her own words, speeches, red lines, strap lines and manifesto by the alleged back stop position of an punishment extension to a punishment extension without an end date!

      May claimed no deal better than a bad deal. Can any politician of any persuasion say this is not a bad deal? On any objective front May has agreed and orchestrated an outrageously bad deal. A rule taker, law taker, money donator, mass immigration to continue, no border controls and the 27 EU countries to decide our trade policy and who with!

      1. L Jones
        May 17, 2018

        Hope – I would hazard a guess that nearly everyone here would agree with your words. There must be a lot of anger out here and a feeling of utter helplessness after the dissembling and perfidy that we have witnessed from the very person who should be on OUR side – our Prime Minister. I feel betrayed, and I can’t be alone in this feeling.

        For a long time I really tried to believe that Mrs May was playing ‘the long game’, that she was being clever and patient – that is patently not so. It is VERY disappointing, to put it mildly.

      2. Chris
        May 17, 2018

        Agreed, Hope.

  2. Peter
    May 17, 2018

    I understand that the main point you are making is about England and English matters.

    However, since you mention rates on properties I think it is high time that certain anomalies were addressed. Wandsworth residents (and now Westminster) pay the lowest council tax on properties worth large sums of money. Meanwhile, residents in cheaper homes in leafy suburbs and further afield get clobbered.

    1. Peter Parsons
      May 17, 2018

      I agree Council Tax banding and valuation is a complete joke. My house is a band higher than my neighbour’s identical house and two bands higher than an identical house across the road.

      Council Tax needs scrapping. Some combination of Land Value Tax and/or Local Income Tax on a revenue neutral basis would be far better.

      1. Hope
        May 17, 2018

        There sim dishonest steak that runs through the story party that feels it is able to lie misinform and mislead those who vote for it. We were told on the steps of Downing Street by Cameron only a Tory party would deliver EVEL. A lie. We were told right to recall, anoer lie. Ink for act we read in a Guido today how the lay members want the speaker investigated but on the three MPs on the panel get a vote! They decided he would not be investigated. In other words no change pre 2009 of promises by Cameron, Clegg and Miliband to clean up Westminster. We saw last week a large number of Tories voting against Govt to suppress the press because the press have the audacity to highlight the corrupt shinangans of Westminster and Tory MPs.

        The above sham by JR is shameful on many fronts, but particularly because he claims and published to speak for England. This simply is not true. None of the MPs do, the Tories did not deliver EVEL nor even attempted to. A bit like Cameron’s sham renegotiation and subsequent lie to have reformed the EU! They follow the EU dictate of regionalistaion of our country enforcing mayors upon us when we objected to them the same with police commissioners. All to give the sham impression of democracy front the EU.

        Today we read May extending the punishment extension! Why is she not ousted? A failure in every regard, fails to keep her word, red lines and her own code of conduct she expects of others.

        1. Hope
          May 18, 2018

          Not at all. If the Nolan standards fo public office were applied to MPs there would be none left. I despair at thither double standards on a daily basis showing utter contempt for the taxpaying voting public. No MP stands up for us.

          Sadly JR’s blog was a very bad and an attempt in misleading people when his party should accept blame for failing to keep its word and moving let all the time. Keep at the creese and knock the Tory lies off the bat.

    2. Adam
      May 17, 2018

      If low Council Tax is important to you, Peter, you might choose to move to any of the Council areas where the rates are lower, or seek higher efficiency from those Councillors whom you vote for to represent your interests.

      1. graham1946
        May 17, 2018

        With the cost of moving, lawyers, estate agents, removals etc. rather an expensive way to save money wouldn’t you say? Seeking efficiency from local councils is just a joke surely? Local politicians, like national ones have no interest in you other than at election time.

        1. Adam
          May 18, 2018

          Yes, of course the ‘saving’ would not justify moving to seek it. Such risk should have been assessed before choosing a home, among all others. In making ‘best’ choices, we often have to tolerate known inefficiencies & future risks, & even the most satisfied person in existence would also find some preferences unfulfilled.

          Council Tax is indeed a cack-handed method of charging, & unfairly.

          Public dialogue between constituents via social media may help nowadays in holding politicians to account. Better ones, use websites such as this, & openly display criticism in pursuit of achieving solutions.

        2. Lifelogic
          May 18, 2018

          Especially with Hammonds totally absurd rates of stamp duty.

      2. Peter Parsons
        May 17, 2018

        What’s important to me is fairness. Council Tax fails dismally on this front whichever way you look at it.

  3. Republic of Myself
    May 17, 2018

    A massive blunder: Scottish devolved powers.Devolved powers like Northern power houses were and are a waste of UK taxpayers money.
    It is said the Scottish Parliament employs “450 support staff”. I guess this does not include real workers such as cleaners, electricians, joiners, plumbers,decorators, window cleaners, internal security staff and extra police.
    Now we in the UK as a whole must await the decisions on Brexit of a score or so of people in Holyrood who the UK government believes in some way represent some people in Scotland. What a farce. We voted on 23rd june 2016. End.

    1. JoolsB
      May 18, 2018

      What I would like to know is who pays for the running of the Scots and Welsh Governments? Is it the UK taxpayer as I suspect or does it come out of their generous block grants? Either way, yet again English taxes are paying for the devolved nations to have something denied to England.

  4. Mark B
    May 17, 2018

    Good morning

    Under the partial reforms England gained . . .

    This Grand Committee is nothing but a toothless tiger. It will only gain approval if what is being proposed suits the government. To prove my point, why does this committee propose England have a referendum on independence ? After all, every other bit of the UK has.

    No one in England wanted this committee. We were never asked or gave our consent to it yet, it sees fit to decide what laws we obey. Remember, all UK MP’s, and that includes the SNP, are elected to represent the whole of the UK.

    For once, and I know that they have their own reasons for it, I support the SNP. England should have its own parliament and I stand by my position of turning the HoL into a Senate with one third elected every two years and an equal number of Senators from each country of the UK, and the HoC turned into and English parliament.

    Our kind host knows what we the people of England want but are too afraid to ask.

    1. Mockbeggar
      May 17, 2018

      Our kind host may know what I want, but you certainly don’t, chum.

      1. Hope
        May 17, 2018

        The Tory party never keeps it word on any key issue. Balanced deficit by 2015 central plank of economic strategy, still not delivered. Immigration to tens of thousands , 8 years on and record numbers under May and hundreds of thousands illegal immigrants lost while invited deserving Windrush people expelled! Border controls? Reformed EU? Will not pay EU demand? Speeches by May or her red lines? Line by line examination of the so called divorce bill we are not legally liable to pay, lie?

        Anyone voting Tory needs their head examined.

    2. JoolsB
      May 17, 2018

      The last poll taken showed that 61% of people in England now want their own parliament but still the anti-English Con/Lab parties refuse to countenance one because it puts their own positions in jeopardy. Scotland and Wales have been given numerous referendums on their governance – England never. They get away with treating England with contempt because we let them. Time for England to say enough is enough and replace them with a party that believes in equality for England, ie. an English Parliament and that party is sadly not the Tories, it’s UKIP.

  5. StupidCupid Taxpayer
    May 17, 2018

    The SNP in London and the MEPs in Edinburgh are in two groups the main activity of which appear to be a two-headed cross-party dating and coupling agency. Uniquely funded by me the taxpayer

  6. agricola
    May 17, 2018

    The SNP is a wrecking party , end of story.

    1. Hope
      May 17, 2018

      But who has allowed the SNP to given more powers, more money than English citizens? Tory party. Cameron, Brown and Clegg without any mandate gave more away to the Scott’s before the referendum! The same sort of politicos giving away our money and powers to the EU just to talk about trade! They have lost the plot.

      May gave away our liberty and freedoms when she agreed to the EU arrest warrant where we can be whisked away to a far flung eastern European jail without rights or time limitations and without any process in the U.K.! The same woman trusted by the Tory party o deliver Brexit that she opposed!

  7. Denis Cooper
    May 17, 2018

    If the SNP wanted to be constructive they would be pushing the alternative option of “parallel marketability” that was mentioned in paragraph 152 of the December 2016 document “Scotland’s Place in Europe”:

    “The laws of the European Single Market would apply only to those goods and services traded between Scotland and the rest of the European Single Market … In essence, this involves applying the principle of “parallel marketability” … “

    Instead they seek to disrupt Brexit through the devolved Scottish Parliament while interfering in English affairs in the sovereign UK Parliament and no doubt gleefully watching our Prime Minister stab us in the back:

    “Britain will tell EU it is prepared to stay tied to customs union beyond 2021”

  8. Fedupsoutherner
    May 17, 2018

    The whole issue of devolved parliaments has done much harm to the UK as a whole. For a start it is expensive. The SNPs whole reason for being is to make life difficult for England. Some of might even go so far as to say that some of their actions could be considered racist or at least that is how it feels to some. Whatever England proposed the SNP would fight against it even to the detriment of the UK as a whole. Who in their right mind ever thought they would agree to the devolved powers being given after Brexit? It was obvious they would put a spanner in the works even though they are a small nation. Perhaps chucking them a few billion for more freebies that the English don’t enjoy might help! I am sick of Sturgeon and her band of merry men sticking their nosed into English affairs and indeed upsetting the progress of the UK.

    1. Anonymous
      May 17, 2018

      Any party with ‘ nationalist’ in the name is bigoted.

    2. DaveM
      May 17, 2018

      Let’s be honest though – “devolved” administrations were introduced by Blair as part of the plan to introduce similar administrations all over the EU. He clearly knew that latent nationalism in Scotland and (to a lesser extent) Wales would lead to their acceptance.

      The good people of the North East of England rejected his plan thus leading to the current state of affairs. It might have been very different if he’d begun his balkanisation plans in England – and had them comprehensively rejected all over England.

      1. rose
        May 17, 2018

        That is the point: the plan is to break up England into regions. Anglophobes, including English ones, will insist on this in any reform that goes through.

      2. Hope
        May 17, 2018

        They have started the abalkanisation of England by the inception of Mayors. Wake up.

      3. Adam
        May 17, 2018

        Britain is better since Tony Blair’s governing interference with it ceased, but much of the mess he left remains in need of remedy.

  9. duncan
    May 17, 2018

    How unfortunate it is that this PM and indeed PMs before her have treated our Parliament’s sovereignty and integrity with absolute contempt

    Our Parliament is either sovereign and independent or it isn’t.

    It is obvious that the current class of politicians (including this PM) on all sides, except honest Parliamentarians like the author of this blog and a small band of other MPs, appear to hold the British Parliament in visceral contempt and treat it as a hindrance and a barrier to wider political ambitions outside of the UK and its borders

    What are we if we are not sovereign and our own master? What is the point of the UK and its democratic institutions if we are not in control of our democratic future?

    This country is slowly withering on the vine and the rot comes from within

    1. Mockbeggar
      May 17, 2018

      Our Parliament may be sovereign, but that gives it the power to devolve that sovereignty if it so wishes in specific cases. The classic example of this is the last referendum when it delegated a decision to all eligible UK voters and undertook to accept and act upon the outcome. That is a fact that the Blairs, the Cleggs, the Heseltines and the HoL etc. should remember.

      1. NickC
        May 17, 2018

        Sovereignty resides with us, the people. We elect the Parliament; it is our votes that gives each MP his/her legitimacy. The HoC consists only of those elected by us. So Parliament only borrows sovereignty, and only until the next election. That is democracy – demos kratos – people rule.

      2. Hope
        May 17, 2018

        If they meant it, as Dennis pointed out several times, it would have been legally enfocible. It was was not hence time delay for court case and every other obstruction to date. May has included the punishment extension as another obstacle to delay our departure to prevent leaving the EU. There is no justifiable reason to delay whatsoever. The issue about a trade deal is a total sham that has gone on for far too long. Any extension brings uncertainty. Leave in its entirety by March 2019 and ask the EU if it wants to talk about a trade deal or trade on WTO terms. Full stop. May’s begging bowl to the EU shames her and our country. As Barnier pointed out this week it is like a country asking to join the EU!

    2. forthurst
      May 17, 2018

      We are all aware of the symptoms but what of the underlying pathological disorder? According to WebMD, the disease is known as chronic democratic deficit disease. It is actually, a serious mental health problem affecting politicians who believe they cannot be removed by the ballot box because they live in a country which operates the FPTP election system under which popular patriotic challenger parties can be sidelined totally even if a little bit of electoral fraud is necessary to achieve it. This gives the green light to special interest groups to buy the main parties and decide their foreign, immigration, industrial and social policies for them.

      The farcical behaviour of the Tories and the Labour party since the referendum as they try to reconcile their disparate factions is demonstrating to the world that a straightforward issue like the decision taken by the British people for self-rule from the Brussels regime cannot be carried out by a parliament which does not reflect even marginally the majority opinion as expressed in the referendum. We were supposed to leave the EU on March 29th 2019, lock stock and barrel, but this is simply not going to happen.

  10. Lifelogic.
    May 17, 2018

    Meanwhile it seems Theresa May has, just as expected, caved in completely over the Customs Union.

    Alister Heath in the Telegraph today is sound as usual, but no one is listening it seems.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      May 17, 2018

      Indeed, and May is the epitome of the declinism he speaks about

      Not an entrepreneur, nor business-savvy
      Not a technology freak
      Not a Corbynite, where at least a vision lies, albeit misguided
      Not a leader, but a follower. Not a Thatcher, Blair or even a Cameron. No guile whatsoever.

      Just stasis.
      Stuck between a rock she can’t move and a hard place she can’t push away.

      How on earth did we arrive at the point where this person is the CEO of the UK?

      1. Lifelogic.
        May 17, 2018

        Indeed. She cannot be allowed to lead the Tories for much longer can she?

        1. Helen Smith
          May 17, 2018

          I pray not

    2. L Jones
      May 17, 2018

      Briefly – I agree, LL. Perhaps our host will address this in his next blog. I hope so. He and most of his commenters here often seem to be the only ones who talk sense in a mad world.

    3. Chris
      May 17, 2018

      The surrender of May is appalling. Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks out:
      “Leading Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has warned Britain faces “perpetual purgatory” in the European Union, after the government signalled it would be willing to remain tethered to the bloc’s Customs Union after 2021”. (Breitbart).

      The Brexiter MPs who have vowed to uphold democracy and to effect Brexit have got to act now. Theresa May has to go, and swiftly. She has betrayed us and dragged this country through almost 2 years of uncertainty, apparently based on profound deceit. This is unforgiveable and will never be forgotten.

      1. NickC
        May 17, 2018

        Chris, You are absolutely right. Two years of delay – we could see it coming with the pointless initial 9 month delay to invoke Art50 – and more delays to come. Then Mrs May asks us to trust her. It has become farcical.

      2. Mark B
        May 17, 2018

        I think it self evident that those like our kind host and JRM neither have the will or the numbers to effect change. If the PM has done one thing right, she has the measure of them.

        1. Sir Joe Soap
          May 17, 2018

          17.4 million people gathered around Parliament have the numbers to change things, wouldn’t you say?

  11. Peter
    May 17, 2018

    On another issue, I note the government has been forced to renationalise the East Coast Mainline Rail franchise.

    Clearly this is not for ideological reasons. Privatisation just is not working in this instance.

    Sadly denationalisation like this is not the answer.

    It is reluctantly undertaken and running of the line is still fragmented.

    So the national company is still dependant on another entity which is not under its control.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      May 17, 2018

      You got Blue Labour. Vote UKIP next time.

  12. Old Albion
    May 17, 2018

    England should have it’s own parliament, just like the other nations of the (dis)UK.
    Unfortunately any thrust in that direction has been lost since the EU referendum.
    One thing I do blame on Brexit.

    1. JoolsB
      May 17, 2018

      Agree that England should have it’s own parliament but disagree that there was every any thrust in that direction. Not even our host who purports to speak for England is in favour of an English Parliament. If anything Brexit might be what’s needed for the English to demand one once they see all the new powers promised to the devolved nations but denied to England by May being put into practice.

    2. Adam
      May 17, 2018

      Old Albion:

      England did have its own parliament when we shared it sensibly with our fellow nations before the divisive methods of Devolution. Inner conflicts seem to have grown in number & intensity since then.

      We should have lived together in harmony with all our fellow citizens, instead of allowing reckless tampering with the system that long-served us with distinction.

  13. Bryan Harris
    May 17, 2018

    England should get more authority over UK issues – we’ve given too much power away …
    As the central government, Westminster should be able to over-ride aggresive or bad results coming from the rest of the UK….. Once we get a viable Speaker, it would be his job to take a measure of this, and deny legislation that harms England, but he would have to be suported by a special committee.

    1. JoolsB
      May 18, 2018

      To only way to deny legislation that harms England is through an English Parliament because 533 UK MPs in the UK Parliament squatting in English seats have proved they don’t give a dam about England.

  14. Richard1
    May 17, 2018

    It would seem to be very low hanging fruit for the Conservatives at the next election to guarantee equivalent powers to the Scottish Parliament for the English grand committee. Could Mrs May be up to that? There are no good arguments against it and Labours inevitable opposition will be seen as self- serving.

    1. DaveM
      May 17, 2018

      Mrs May isn’t up to anything.

      1. Stred
        May 17, 2018

        May is up to deceit.

  15. Sakara Gold
    May 17, 2018

    The SNP, having decisively lost the independence referendum, are preaching to their own supporters. At the last general election they lost a third of their senior MSP’s, (Alex Salmond, Angus Robertson etc) amid a huge swing to the Scottish Conservatives. In an attempt to keep momentum with their diehard supporters, they currently demand another referendum on independence – however last month’s march attracted a mere 20,000 supporters. Clearly, like Labour in the South, the SNP have peaked.

    I would not be suprised if the Scottish Conservatives make further gains at the next election. Many Scots were appalled by the recent hike in Scotland’s income tax – necessary to pay for their socialist welfare state – and [ SNP leader?)had better look to her own consituency vote if she wishes to keep her seat.

  16. Ian wragg
    May 17, 2018

    So round one to May and Hammond. We are staying in the Customs Union indefinitely. Now they can concentrate on the Single Market no doubt saying that we must stay in as long as we’re in the Customs Union.
    So to recap, we have a transition period with no destination. We will continue collecting and handing over taxes to Brussels.
    Then we will continue to provide intelligence and security paying a tribute of £49 billion for the privilege. Do you seriously think you will ever get elected again.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      May 17, 2018

      Indeed there is now an argument for voting Corbyn, and relying on the EU to either back us (with cash) or sack us in the 2020s. The only real way out of the EU is for us to break ourselves and become the great unwanted.

      1. Bryan Harris
        May 18, 2018

        Noooooo Please, not Corbyn – we don’t hate ourselves that much….

        Anyway, the EU would never let us go in those circumstances – Look at Greece, even though destitute, they continue to suck the life blood out of the country – We cannot let labour in, for we know the EU would do the same to us, as Greece, if it only could….

        …and staying under the control of the EU would mean they’d be able to pick on us, and make us really pay for all the problems we’ve caused over BREXIT.

    2. Stranmillis
      May 17, 2018

      Clearly the irish border can be kept open only by staying in both customs union and single market. Everyone knows this even if some might not like it

      1. NickC
        May 17, 2018

        Stranmillis, We don’t want “open” borders; everyone knows this even if some might not like it. We can however have a border without a wall or border posts, just as we do now for VAT, Corporation Tax, Income Tax, excise, and currency. Customs duties just add one more to an already long list, and can be handled in a similar way.

      2. mancunius
        May 17, 2018

        ‘Clear’ only to you. The Irish border can easily be controlled without customs barriers, as world customs experts have all agreed.
        Coveney and Varadkar are simply pretending that a border becomes ‘hard’ whenever anyone merely mentions it, and that whenever they say the word ‘border’, a little leprechaun dies.

      3. Stred
        May 17, 2018

        I almost bought a bottle of triple distilled Irish yesterday. Went round the distillery last year. Put it back on the shelf and bought Scotch instead.

        1. mancunius
          May 19, 2018

          The label ‘Irish Whiskey’ includes whiskey produced in Northern Ireland – there’s been a boom in new distilleries there. We should buy NI products to support them.

    3. Peter
      May 17, 2018

      Not sure round one is over yet. Rees Mogg pointed out the people did not vote for “purgatory”. (I also like his use of religious terminology)

    4. L Jones
      May 17, 2018

      In the Government’s reply to the petition which stated that the UK should leave the CU and SM, it said:

      ”The UK is leaving the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. We are seeking to establish a deep and special partnership with the EU and a new customs arrangement outside the EU’s Customs Union.
      As the Prime Minister has made clear, when we leave the European Union, we will also be leaving the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union….”

      But they don’t say WHEN, do they? Weasel words, yet again?

      You’re right, Mr Wragg – the Tories are becoming unelectable after such flagrant dissembling.

    5. Denis Cooper
      May 17, 2018

      From the start I was prepared to accept transitional provisions, which are a common feature of international treaties.

      For example the six founding EEC countries allowed themselves twelve years to set up their common market:

      “ARTICLE 8”

      “1. The common market shall be progressively established during atransitional
      period of twelve years.

      This transitional period shall be divided into three stages of four years
      each; the length of each stage may be altered in accordance with the provisions
      set out below … ”

      It was quite conceivable that we would need different transitional periods for different purposes, and also that in some cases the legal or practical difficulties might make it sensible to extend the initially agreed period.

      None of that is the same as an oxymoronic “standstill” or “status quo” transition which is not any transition at all because nothing will change, and which it seems is just being used by Remainers to keep us tied into the EU for as long as possible in the hope that in the end we won’t leave at all.

      1. acorn
        May 18, 2018

        “In our paper, we focus upon a ‘standstill’ form of transition: that is, one that requires the UK to remain in sync with some or all EU law during the transitional period.” Centre for European Legal Studies University of Cambridge.

        1. Denis Cooper
          May 19, 2018

          The essence of transition is change, not the absence of change.

    6. Chris
      May 17, 2018

      No, the Cons will never be elected in again in the near future. Utter betrayal and deceit. Mr Redwood, please can you and those Tory Brexiter MPs committed to leaving the EU and upholding democracy act immediately. The time has come as May has made it crystal clear what she had apparently intended all along. A betrayal.

      1. Adam
        May 17, 2018

        Your dissatisfaction with what prevails, Chris, is understandable, & widely felt. However, the notion of Theresa May intending betrayal, lacks logic & evidence. She is probably pursuing her best-assessed way forward, making progress in rather small steps, but on the course she feels best for the nation.

        1. Sir Joe Soap
          May 17, 2018

          The best course for the nation was decided by the nation.
          It would be dishonest, as well as a betrayal, for her to say we will leave the Customs Union, then to set up a Customs System, Partnership or whatever which has all the salient features of the Customs Union, and none of the advantages we voted for in creating free trade deals.

          We should have been in that domain in 4 weeks time!

          1. Adam
            May 19, 2018

            Sir Joe:

            The nation decided on the destination. We require Mrs May to reach it by the most effective course available.

            The outcome you indicate would not be the destination we voted for, & would be her failure, if that is what occurs.

  17. Freeborn John
    May 17, 2018

    I do not understand why Theresa May has not be challenged for Tory party leadership. She is obviously not attempting to deliver a real Brexit yet is being allowed to get away with it. As a party you are going to pay the price at the next election and likely many subsequent ones as a result of this gross incompetence yet still do not act to remove someone obviously not up to the job.

    1. Edwardm
      May 17, 2018

      My thoughts too.

    2. Chris
      May 17, 2018

      I am not bothered about the future of the Conservative Party. They have now proved beyond all doubt that they deserve all that they get. I am however hugely concerned about the future of this country, and it seems we are en route for subjugation and being dragged down to the depths by being chained to the bureaucratic monster of Brussels ruled by an apparently corrupt and unaccountable political elite. What a legacy, Theresa May. You are a disgrace to this country, in my view, and I am utterly ashamed of you and the Conservative Party.

    3. Helen Smith
      May 17, 2018

      And mine, back to UKIP, if May is not removed and can Brexit delivered there won’t be a Tory party, just a rump, but like the Lib Dems.

  18. Newmania
    May 17, 2018

    One of the factors that fed into the toxic stew of fantasy and grievance that is Brexit was the rise of English Nationalism, stoked by the SNP and enraged during the Scottish referendum.
    To me, the awful SNP ,sound exactly the same as the equally awful Brexit crew.
    It is great shame that the Conservative Party chose to fudge the English issue and a great demonstration that a sense of injustice will find expression in the end . Quite what revenge the imposition of Brexit on so many who detest it will provoke we shall , in due course , discover

    1. Anonymous
      May 17, 2018

      No. The English equivalent is the BNP but you deliberately ignore this fact. It does not suit your agenda.

    2. Anonymous
      May 17, 2018

      We are not getting Brexit so why revenge ?

      Brexit itself was revenge against the careless southern centric middle class.

    3. L Jones
      May 17, 2018

      Perhaps Remainders will stop telling us why they despise our country and those who are trying to regain its freedom from the execrable EU – and tell us instead what is so glorious about their much-revered EU.

      There are many of us who would really like to know what it is about this truly awful regime and its leaders that inspires such adulation. And why they think the UK should remain shackled and beggared by its demands.

    4. mancunius
      May 17, 2018

      “To me, the awful SNP ,sound exactly the same as the equally awful Brexit crew.”

      Not a sharp ear for nuances, then. No surprises there.

      Btw it is the English who are in the overwhelming majority for Brexit. No point in trying to confuse the independence of the UK from Brussels with local self-government for the English people: it won’t wash.

    5. NickC
      May 17, 2018

      Newmania, We know how you feel – you’ve stated it often enough. But for what rational reasons (ie: no feelings, epithets, or guesses) you want our country to be a mere subject state (Declaration 17) of the EU empire you have never explained. Perhaps you can’t, and it really is only about your hurt feelings and your angry responses.

  19. JimS
    May 17, 2018

    Less government please. Get rid of the ‘devolved’ assemblies. Get rid of Blair’s “1000 acts”. Get rid of property taxes. For thirty years I have been paying a higher rate than my neighbours in identical/mirror-image houses, (my rate is ‘right’, theirs has never been ‘adjusted’).

    Oh, and when we voted ‘to leave the EU’ we didn’t mean continue to pay the fees, obey the rules, just bring Nigel Farage et al back home.

    1. Bob
      May 17, 2018

      Some pensioners in neighbouring properties are in exactly the same position, identical mirroring properties rated in different bands, and the VOA rejected their appeal for a correction and refuse to discuss the matter further.

      They are time barred for a tribunal because they were mis-informed and did not act soon enough after their house was re-banded. The rating system is a scandal.

      1. Bob
        May 17, 2018

        The strange this is that if they sold their house, the new owner would be entitled to a review. How is that fair?

    2. JoolsB
      May 17, 2018

      “Get rid of the ‘devolved’ assemblies”

      Good luck with that one. Better to get rid of 117 part-time MPs with Scots, Welsh & NI seats at Westminster and turn it into an English parliament. End result – less politicians, less cost and democracy for England!

  20. Turboterrier.
    May 17, 2018

    The SNP did themselves harm

    It is in their DNA John they listen to nobody or anybody, the party is being run and manipulated basically by two people and they will do everything and anything to try and damage the UK. Sadly 45% of the Scottish population cannot see past the fluttering Saltire’s and the mental images of Braveheart. Between them they have created a dictatorship and sadly they have been allowed to do it.

    Look around at the five or six key areas of importance to ensure a stable country and all of them are failing Education, NHS, Police, Energy, Welfare and Taxation.

  21. Alison
    May 17, 2018

    I didn’t know about the SNP’s Rating Bill Tuesday interference, but at least one can say that with the present bunch of SNP people, it was predictable, consistent, and consistently totally inconsistent with a wish for independence.
    Similarly, the SNP in Holyrood voted to refuse consent to theEU Withdrawal bill.

    If one were to pursue the logic of their approach, then the SNP should be refusing all monies from the UK. That wouldn’t be very good up here, given (a) the size of the budget deficit (8.3% of GDP vs UK 2.3% in 2016/17), (b) the high level of spending, and (in particular c) that the current SNP have very little vision or drive to build our economy.

    Not just in Holyrood, but in the local administrations. Our SNP-led council’s vision for economic growth for our county and people was to have more supermarket jobs (in our last Local Development Plan; I was aghast … what an appalling way to view people .. dismissive, ignorant, lazy .. ).
    Re the EU Withdrawal Bill, of course it is totally illogical for the SNP to oppose it. It is about bringing back powers to the UK and then devolved on to Scotland (etc), powers which the Holyrood government does not have at the moment (Brussels has them, well, technically the EU). I would like to know how Nicola Sturgeon would negotiate with the EU about these powers.

    The other totally illogical thing is for the SNP to be pro EU – how can a country be independent when a member of the EU??? But no, the SNP have that lovely warm fuzzy feeling about the EU. Most people up here in 2016 believed that Scotland received a lot more money from the EU than it paid out (total rubbish of course), and the literature distributed up here by Remain entities did its utmost to foster that belief (the literature was obviously deliberately misleading, I have a nice stack of damning copies of stuff .. I’d love the Electoral Commission to do an investigation, get hold of emails etc about drafts of material, but fat chance of that).

    I should say that I am a Scot and ardently pro Scottish independence (sadly too, also loving the UK). Most of the current bunch of SNP should be ashamed of themselves. No vision, no drive (plenty of demonstrations though). Happy to take the UK’s money. It makes me ashamed. Although I would also say that for decades, in particular the 1960s, 1970s, Scotland’s economy was directed according to what was good for south-east England and London in particular; the result was massive redundancies, in particular on the Clyde, car industry, and severe knocks to Scotland’s ability to generate revenue, caused huge hardship, many areas became extremely run down, lots of crime, sicknness, high early mortality.

    Anyway, could we pop Wee Nippy (Nicola) and Mrs May together on that plane a fellow commenter mentioned the other day? A ladies’ plane .. tickets for Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Emily Thornberry. (oh dear, I’m for the spike)

  22. JoolsB
    May 17, 2018

    John, as you full know, EVEL is a sop and an insult to every man, woman and child in England. It is meaningless and will be overturned by an incoming Labour Government. It isn’t even the original sop of English votes for English laws that Cameron promised but a watered down version – English vetoes and is still voted on by 117 Scots, Welsh & NI MPs. Besides which we all know UK MPs vote along party lines, not national lines. UK MPs with English seats speak for their constituencies, never England, they can’t even say the word, let alone speak up for it referring to ‘the country’ when they know full well they mean England. May insulted us all and took us all for idiots when she stood behind a Britain sign recently to speak about tuition fees and said the word Britain dozens of times instead of England when she knew full well it is only English kids that are clobbered with the second highest fees in the world.

    England deserves it’s own parliament with exactly the same powers as Scotland so we have our own elected members putting the interests of England first every time unlike now and they will hopefully demand equal funding so we English can enjoy some of the freebies our taxes provide for everyone else.

    Of course 650 self serving UK MPs want to carry on ignoring England and the deficit which exists because to treat England as equals in this so called union would mean a dilution of their powers and a cull in their numbers which is their number 1 priority. They will spout their mantra it will cost too much and we don’t need an extra layer of politicians but both arguments are rubbish. The building is already there, the H of C and English AMs would replace 400 or so no longer needed UK MPs but even if this were not the case, how much money is pumped into the devolved Governments not to mention the cost of their new buildings and their army of part-time UK MPs that spend most of their time meddling and voting on English only matters?

    May has promised many more powers to the devolved nations post Brexit whilst of course ignoring England totally. Your party’s balkanisation of England with your cities and regions devolution is a betrayal John and hopefully the English will finally say they have had enough when they see all the new powers being enjoyed by the rest of the UK.

    This Conservative Government, there by the grace of England, deserve our contempt.

    1. JoolsB
      May 17, 2018

      Tut tut John, I thought your shoulders were broader than that. Two days running my comment has been in moderation for over 24 hours.

  23. Iain Moore
    May 17, 2018

    I saw the debate about this English Grand Committee on the Parliament channel, the SNP benches were stuffed, while the rest of Parliament was empty. The fact is the British MPs squatting in English constituency seats don’t care a dammed about England as an entity, which is why we have seen the English get such a rotten deal from the British establishment.

    Nothing short of an English Parliament will sort out this constitutional discrimination.

    1. Mark B
      May 17, 2018

      Agreed. But things will not change unless WE change.

  24. Monza 71
    May 17, 2018

    From my observations, the MPs sent to Westminster by the SNP, with few exceptions, are far below the standard we see from other parties. This is reflected in their contributions to debates and the kind of stunts they constantly try to pull, including yesterday’s.

    There now has to be very considerable doubt as to whether we will ever see a fair and equitable settlement for England. The idea of a devolved arrangement such as established in Scotland is always going to be opposed by Labour because it will be exceedingly difficult for the party to win a majority in England, even under a form of PR.

    Labour will push for regional assemblies because they will correctly assess that they will end up controlling London and the great cities of the North, leaving the Conservatives with a majority in the Shires, areas with little economic power and influence.

    Diminishing the role of the Nation State via divide and rule regionalisation is the EU’s method of taking control throughout the Bloc. We (hopefully ) will have escaped this fate by leaving, but we cannot allow the same result to be achieved just to suit the electoral chances of one party.

    England has a great history and nothing less than having our MPs sitting as an English Parliament will do.

    1. JoolsB
      May 18, 2018

      Totally agree but it’s not just Labour who oppose an English Parliament out of pure self interest, it’s the Conservative party too. An EP would mean a cull in their numbers. England hasn’t voted Labour since 2001 yet it took until 2015 to get the Government we voted for and in the meantime Labour Scots MPs (and Welsh) imposed things like tuition fees on England that they wouldn’t countenance for their own and not one word of protest from the then opposition – the Conservatives, not even a whimper.

      I actually campaigned in 2010 to help get David Cameron elected and how did he thank us? By tripling fees for English kids and carrying on ignoring the English Question. What a smack in the face for England by the Tories. They don’t give a toss about England except when it’s election time.

      We all need to take a risk come the next election and vote UKIP, the real Conservative party and the only party proposing an English Parliament. And if that means taking votes off Tories, tough. They don’t deserve our votes anyway.

  25. formula57
    May 17, 2018

    What a pity Scotland did not exit the Union when given the chance for its lingering with added whinging promotes in its representatives the sort of mischievous antics you comment upon today.

  26. Adam
    May 17, 2018

    Devolution divides, & is possibly the cause of needless conflict. If the UK is united other than just in name, parliamentary constituencies & counties should provide enough fair representation.

    Recent events prompted someone to suggest that England should seek independence from Scotland, or the UK as a whole.

  27. Glenn Vaughan
    May 17, 2018

    The current calibre of MP falls woefully short of the standard set by great parliamentarians such as the late Michael Foot and Enoch Powell.

    1. Mark B
      May 17, 2018

      Too true !

  28. BOF
    May 17, 2018

    Devolution has turned governance of the United Kingdom into a regional and national dogs dinner with the regions wanting the power but not the responsibility for their mistakes , and expecting England to fund their profligacy. Scotland especially, with too much power and funding in Scotland and grossly over represented at Westminster. England is constantly appeasing them. There is obviously an unjust imbalance.

    Meanwhile is the PM’s dogged determination (apparently) to keep us tied to the CU paying dividends? If those letters do not go in then BRINO looks the reality.

    1. JoolsB
      May 17, 2018

      “England is constantly appeasing them.”

      Correction BOF. The UK Government is constantly appeasing them with English taxes without of course ever consulting us. I would think if England was ever consulted they would be happy to see the ever demanding ungrateful Scots get their independence. Maybe then we could use English taxes to give our kids free tuition fees, our sick free prescriptions, eye tests and dental checks and our elderly free personal care. But of course as the UK Government doesn’t give a stuff about England, it would have to be an English Parliament that did that for us.

  29. A.Sedgwick
    May 17, 2018

    Anyone for ENGIP.

  30. Iain Gill
    May 17, 2018

    Independence for England would be fine by me

    1. Mark B
      May 17, 2018

      And me.

      1. Yossarion
        May 18, 2018

        We hear the problems over the Irish Border, however the English were not given any representation on the British Irish Council ( Strand 3 GFA) unlike the Scots and Welsh, stand up for the English John and ask your leader at PMqs why this is the case, or were We to be just regionalised and wiped of the face of the Earth by the EUSSR for the supposed greater good?
        As you will read this, this was the question Sir Nicholas Fenn said was the one to ask , what I did not know at the time when we sailed together He was joint British chair on Encounter. ask the question, because we were shut up and shut out

  31. Derek Henry
    May 17, 2018

    The people of Scotland are starting to realise that none of this matters John.

    Over 60% now know it is the currency that matters. They don’t want a single currency anymore within the UK. They have seen the damage that a single currency can do by looking at the EU.

    They want their own currency with their own central bank. They want what we want when we leave the EU.

    Who can blame them ?

    It’s time we woke up and realised we can’t ask for all of these things and then deny these very same things for the Scots. We need to stop speaking out of 2 sides of the same mouth saying differentt things.

    Only a fool using fixed exchange rate logic would say the Scots could not float their own currency. With a flexible exchange rate and a few capital controls it is very easy to set up as Australia, New Zealand and Canada have shown.

  32. Derek Henry
    May 17, 2018

    Now that the Oil price is heading for $100 there will be more support for Scottish Independence.

    Nicola thinks she’s running something other than a glorified county council. The difference is that the bank account the Scottish government uses will bounce cheques when they reach their overdraft limit. Payment authorisation would be refused without HM Treasury permission. Just like any other local county council area in the UK.

    The UK does the tax collection across the UK. Scotland is nothing more than a glorified county council. If you did the accounts for North Yorks County Council you would find it too has a ‘deficit’ that is filled by the block grant and whatever ‘borrowing’ HM Treasury permits.

    So the leakage out of the arbitrary line of the Scottish border within the Sterling currency zone is to anywhere else in the world (including the rest of the UK) – and the rest of the UK saves a lot of Sterling. That leakage, plus any net savings within Scotland, is what causes the Scottish government sector deficit.

    Ultimately in the same way that Greece needs to tax German savers, Scotland needs to tax UK savers. To have the power to do that you need UK savers saving in Scotland’s currency which the Scottish government can control and if need be tax. Otherwise Scotland will run out of money as it all drains to the rest of the UK.

    Foreigners save your currency if they want to sell you more things than they want to buy from you. The floating rate would make sure that export+foreign savings = imports in terms of the Scottish currency.

    Scotland can then tax it because it is the Scottish currency, and therefore to transfer it to anywhere where it is anything other than inert it would have to go through banks that are licensed by the Scottish authorities to deal in that currency. They will do as they are told if they want to retain their licence.

    Oil is a hug red herring. An enormous canard. It becomes important because although all the dealings are essentially in US dollars and most of the balance sheet is in US dollars, when it is reported in the national accounts it is declared in the reporting currency – which is the Scottish currency. So it’s an accounting trick mostly to make the figures look ‘good’ superficially. The actual Scottish effect is just the fraction of the oil income that has to be physically exchanged for the Scottish currency – to pay staff, suppliers and of course the licence fee and other taxation for the resource.

    Spending only comes back if you have your own currency. If you use somebody else’s then it leaks into a different banking system. Greece spending ends up under the control of the Bundesbank. Similarly Scottish spending ends up under the control of the Bank of England, which is owned and directed by the UK government. As long as that arrangement stays in place, Scotland is owned and directed by the UK government – like any other county council.

    That is the key issue with fixed exchange rates. You end up with control of the money under some other entity which you have to follow the directions of. The Scots now know this which is why they want out.

    If Scotland became independent then what happens depends upon whether it floats its own currency or not. That is the only way to ensure that Scottish money doesn’t leak anywhere. What the size of the government deficit is from that point will still depend upon how many people want to net save in the new Scottish currency.

  33. Ed Mahony
    May 17, 2018

    I think SNP-ers have watched too much Braveheart type thing and are just a BIT misanthropic about the English / London, perhaps.

    Scotland has far, far more things to worry about than Scottish Nationalism or being Scottish. Just look at the Rep of Ireland and its tragic post-independence history – Civil War of the 20’s, the dour politics and Catholicism (Catholicism should NOT be dour) and terrible poverty of Ireland in the 1930’s to 60’s, the violent Republicanism of the 70’s and 80’s, the corrupt politicians and bankers and developers of the 1990’s on.

    Braveheart is a great film. But it’s just Hollywood. And, yes, the English deserved a good kicking by William Wallace 700 years ago. But the Scottish need to remember that the English are a great race as well. With many great English men and women over the centuries, and how have done A LOT for Scotland (and, yes, Scotland for England) like in a marriage – in particular in science, the economy and the military.

    Yes, to strong sense of Scottish and English identity, but even more, to a strong United Kingdom.

    1. Ed Mahony
      May 17, 2018

      ‘Just look at the Rep of Ireland and its tragic post-independence history’

      (James Joyce hated his Ireland and had to leave – he also loved it a degree too)

      – And although there is of course much shame about what the English did in Ireland, one mustn’t forget the good English in Ireland, either, for example, I was reading about General Lord Gort (WW2 General) whose family in Ireland where famous and much loved for giving away much of their wealth during the Great Famine. (Plus Dublin is an amazing and unique city – thanks to its English/Irish / Catholic/Protestant heritage – literature, language, architecture, and culture in general.

      The main point I’m making is that so often Nationalists have a dangerously, overly-romantic, black-and-white and superficial love of country (and hatred of others).

      1. Peter
        May 17, 2018

        “The main point I’m making is that so often Nationalists have a dangerously, overly-romantic, black-and-white and superficial love of country (and hatred of others).”

        I see no hatred of others de Valera’s 1943 speech about ‘happy maidens’ etc was in a similar vein John Majors one about ‘warm beer’ fifty years later. De Valera spoke to a rural monoculture now sadly eclipsed.

        You are in danger of coming across asetc ed

        1. Ed Mahony
          May 18, 2018

          Patriotism is a beautiful thing – like sex, money and power – but in the right context. In the wrong context, horrible.

          Take Austria – Mozart, Salzburg, the Alps. A lot to be patriotic about if you’re Austrian. But not if you’re Austrian during the Nazis and WW2.

  34. Switch to HoC
    May 17, 2018

    JR Sorry for the deluge of my comments. You’re the only decent whelk stall in town. But yes, you do deserve a life too. I’ll cool it.

  35. Stephen Priest
    May 17, 2018

    Whatever happens I am sure Theresa May will make the wrong decision. No Prime Minister has ever made me feel so depressed.

    She caves into the EU at every possibility. I think her memoir will be called “The Long Walk Back to Remain”

    She rarely announces any policy that sounds remotely free market or conservative.

    Her lieutenants such as Damian Green and Lord Two Brains Willets announce policies that would penalise people who don’t waste their money, who work hard and who save to own their own property.

    She always has to commission reports from ex Labour minister such as Miblurn and Adonis.

  36. a-tracy
    May 17, 2018

    The Members of the Scottish Parliament and the other devolved parliaments, what do they do? They still have local councils up there making decisions when spending the rates etc. don’t they?

    So if they have people just tasked with these important decisions alone, who makes these important decisions for England? The part-time English MPs who are otherwise taken up with United Kingdom issues? How is this at all fair and equitable – it isn’t – it should never have happened. A completely unnecessary large cost to make political people feel important.

    Perhaps make the United Kingdom Parliament a lower number of members with much bigger areas (dole out their duties with members of the Scottish Parliament and English Parliament and Welsh Assembly) and have it in a Central well connected location (Such as Birmingham then Birmingham might get a complete overhaul) to deal with all matters of the United Kingdom and leave London’s Westminster parliament to deal with just England’s issues in and English Assembly.

    I wonder then John would you want to be a Member of the English Parliament in London or the United Kingdom Governing Body? How would the key Government ministers cope living in Birmingham say (our second largest City) do you think they would tolerate the lack of investment there, the poor overcrowded road network, the toll road, the poor estates. It’s about the only way you London and Southern Centric ministers will ever start to kick-start regional development in a serious way if you had to live there.

  37. graham1946
    May 17, 2018

    The English settlement you ‘trust is temporary’. What, like the Barnett formula forged on the back of a fag packet and which the originator even said was wrong, but you dare not change it for fear of upsetting the Scots? What about the English paying over the odds for the last 40 years only to be insulted at every turn? Let the English have a vote on Scottish independence and they’d be free in a trice.

    Secondly, still blaming the last Labour government for a lop sided deal? Good grief, your lot have been in government for 8 years and have had plenty of time to put things right, but are not really interested in doing anything for the majority who pay the bills.

    If what we hear today is true that we are going to stay in the EU as we all predicted beyond the 2020 deadline, I for one will not bother voting for anything again save for the next GE when I will vote against you regardless of what the outcome may be. Corbyn will probably be gone by then anyway. The Tories really are asking for it, but no doubt consider staying in their beloved EU worth a spell in the wilderness. This will be the third time Tories have sold us out.

  38. mancunius
    May 17, 2018

    Those of us who follow SNP MPs’ contributions in the House of Commons have already formed a distinct impression of generally aggressive behaviour.
    I often wonder if they realize they can be seen and heard on Parliamentary tv.

  39. Denis Cooper
    May 17, 2018

    Well, here’s a letter of mine mentioning the Scots which the editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser has been kind enough to publish today under the headline:

    “‘Parallel marketability’ is answer PM needs”

    “Prime Minister Theresa May has got herself stuck between a rock and a hard place, somehow restricted to just two possible options for our future arrangements for trade with the EU, both of which have already received adverse reactions from the EU.

    But fortunately she would only have to eat humble pie and ask the Scots for their advice, and they could readily point her in the right direction with a third, and far superior, option.

    In December 2016 the Scottish government published a document entitled “Scotland’s Place in Europe”, paragraph 152 of which raised the possibility that once outside the EU Scotland could benefit from the principle of “parallel marketability”, whereby: “The laws of the European Single Market would apply only to those goods and services traded between Scotland and the rest of the European Single Market.”

    The same principle could be adopted by the UK government to ensure that all goods exported from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland and so into the EU Single Market would continue to conform to EU requirements and therefore would not need to be checked as they crossed the land border, without any need for the rest of the UK economy to remain aligned to EU regulations.

    What we certainly do not want is anything resembling a customs union with the EU, given that according to the EU a common trade policy is a “logical consequence” of a customs union, and under the Lisbon Treaty that common EU trade policy is under the exclusive control of the EU.

    It is a curious fact that taken across both Houses a majority of UK parliamentarians do not want their sovereign UK Parliament to control UK trade policy and prefer it to be EU trade policy.”

    But I don’t suppose she will pay any attention, not with Michel Barnier and Keir Starmer and Oliver Robbins and Nicky Morgan all advising her otherwise.

    1. Sam Duncan
      May 17, 2018

      But goods from anywhere traded within the EU must comply with its regulations. The border checks exist to ensure they do. That’s exactly the situation that will pertain post-Brexit, no matter what happens.

      So unless its simply stating the glaringly obvious, what I think the Scottish Executive was talking about is the idea that people and businesses trading with the EU would be subject to its laws, which are extensive and increasing, despite living and working outside its borders. Which would suit the SNP and its Brussels puppet-masters (because this proposal has Brussels written all over it) down to the ground, no doubt, but is utterly unacceptable to any sovereign state and would set an extremely dangerous precedent for the EU extending its jurisdiction over states which were never members (not least those in EFTA and the EEA, who are already becoming somewhat antsy about this kind of back-door imperialism).

      Nice try, but no.

      1. Denis Cooper
        May 18, 2018

        But it is only necessary for a country to routinely intercept incoming goods at a border to check that they meet all its legal requirements if it does not trust the government of the supplying country to make sure of that.

        For the past quarter of a century since the advent of the EU Single Market the UK authorities on the one side and the Irish authorities on the other have both been sufficiently satisfied that goods crossing the land border in either direction will meet common EU standards and therefore they do not need to be inspected as they cross from one territory to the other.

        That has worked because of mutual trust, with each prepared to depend on the other to have in place and effectually enforce domestic laws to ensure that, and there is no logical reason why that should not continue after we have left the EU.

        If the UK passes a law to control exports across the border and ensure that nothing which does not conform with EU standards will be sent over then the Irish, and the EU, should be content with that. Or are they going to say that they no longer trust us to enforce such a law?

        And we know that this “parallel marketability” alternative to the “single market” model can work in practice because the reference made by the Scottish government is to the actual case of Liechtenstein:

        “The principle of ‘parallel marketability’allows products to freely circulate in
        Liechtenstein fulfilling either the EEA or Swiss product requirements. At
        the same time, this system restricts access of products to other EEA
        countries marketed under diverging Swiss product requirements and vice
        versa. A ‘market surveillance system’ was introduced to monitor the good
        functioning of the principle. The surveillance of the ‘parallel marketability’
        was assigned to the new Liechtenstein customs authority.”

  40. MickN
    May 17, 2018

    O/T I see that speaker Bercow is not to be investigated over claims of bullying because of the passage of time – over 7 years apparently.
    How is it then that our veterans who served in Northern Ireland best part of 50 years ago are not granted the same leaway. It stinks. Drain the swamp!!

  41. Dennis Zoff
    May 17, 2018


    “England should of course have the same right to propose as well as to block on devolved matters, as Scotland enjoys.”

    …this is preaching to the absolutely converted and frankly a somewhat tiresome message!

    Remember John, when you spoke to your Board of Directors on an important issue: “What is the immediate action plan gentlemen?”

    My question:

    What are the/your plans to resolve this long-standing issue?….and please, no more “should” “could” “need” or any oft-stated ineffectual platitudes? Just action, thank you.

  42. julian
    May 17, 2018

    why should higher rates be levied on empty property? always more tax!

  43. ian
    May 17, 2018

    N.Ireland and Scotland will be wanting votes on independence, once the UK leaves EU.
    If they vote to leave the UK, whatever the new migration policy is going to be will have to apply to them if they decide to leave.
    One of the main reason why England wishers to keep the UK together is borrowing power/ if they both leave the UK, the UK banking system will lose the worth of their houses and land with other assets to borrow against and that leaves the city of London over-leveraged to which it is already over-leveraged to money out thin air it lends out to countries, companies and people around the world.
    Even if you own your houses and land outright, the UK banking system borrows against them on leverage money out thin air to make them profits with big bonuses and pay awards to pay the UK Gov taxes.
    If at any time a country of some size get into trouble, the repercussions lead right back to the city of London and your assets, even if you have not given them permission to borrow against your assets and they are not giving you any money for using your assets, but you are left holding the bag when things go wrong and you rest assured that the bankers and elite will be already.

  44. Dennis Zoff
    May 17, 2018


    Off topic:

    I read in the Telegraph that Damian Green is proposing that over-65s should use equity release schemes to pay a compulsory “Care Insurance Fee” of around £30,000. Additionally, National Insurance contributions of those aged over 40 would also go into the fund.? What madness is this again?….do some champaign socialist Conservatives wish to further erode its party position with the electorate? Did they not learn from the last Election debacle?

    “Labour offers up unsustainable sweets, while the Conservatives offer up sour lemons?”

    Incidentally, is this the same Damian Green that regularly claimed expenses etc ed

  45. JohnP McDonald
    May 17, 2018

    If Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have their own Parliament then it seems undemocratic ( and un -British) that England does not have it’s own Parliament with the same rights as those of the other countries of the UK.
    As we are about to leave the EU, and the UK now has to make it’s own way in the world again, away from the global political management of Brussels, Parliament will now have to manage international arrangements and not just rubber stamp EU directives.
    Perhaps now is time to create a Parliament for England and reduce the number of MP’s and most certainly Lords. Parliament would then just focus solely on UK wide and International issues.

  46. Sam Duncan
    May 17, 2018

    “they can also propose and enact measures which the rest of the UK does not like”

    They propose and enact measures which most of Scotland doesn’t like either. That’s what parliaments do: sneak in unpopular measures under the cover of the governing party’s popularity for doing something else five years ago.

    By using such language, you’re just joining in the divisive nationalist game of “’We’ never get the government ‘we’ want”. It’s a clever strategy on their part, to be fair, because it has a kernel of truth: nobody gets exactly the government he wants. It’s in the nature of representative “democracy”, especially with the kind of gigantic all-encompassing welfare state we have today. But cooking up more of it isn’t going to help.

  47. Andy
    May 17, 2018

    I note the EU is taking the UK (and others) to court for breaking air pollution laws.

    Who are these unelected bureaucrats to demand that our people have a right not to breathe in filthy dirty air?

    Who are they to try to keep us safe at the expense of big business and corporate fat cats?

    How dare they. After Brexit we can slowly poison our own people free from interference from these unelected bureaucrats.

    1. rose
      May 17, 2018

      It was the EU which caused much of the pollution in the first place: first with its oversized lorries which used to be illegal here; then with its imposition of diesel – for environmental reasons! ; and finally with its imposition of overpopulation which is the most congesting and polluting thing of all.

    2. Edward2
      May 17, 2018

      The EU spent the last decade encouraging us to switch to diesel engined vehicles instead of petrol.
      Focussed only on CO2 and global warming they ignored experts who predicted it would create worse air quality.
      Your beloved EU caused this problem.

    3. NickC
      May 17, 2018

      Andy, Is this the “filthy dirty air” created by cheating German diesel car makers? That the EU hasn’t done anything about? I think we should be told.

    4. Cpt Mannering
      May 17, 2018


    5. Fedupsoutherner
      May 17, 2018

      Of dear Andy. How do you keep getting it so wrong?

  48. Freeborn John
    May 17, 2018

    All the brexit supporters in Cabinet need to resign en masse. I dont know how Fox for example can be trade minister if the UK will still be in the customs union indefinitely. Davis has always been useless and I don’t know what Johnson & Gove are thinking if they don’t resign over this now.

    The window of opportunity for a FTA with the Trump administration is being wilfully wasted by May. If you won’t act to bring her down now you deserve electoral wipe out.

    1. rose
      May 17, 2018

      The evil, cynical, treacherous people in charge have used their remainiac majority to marginalise the Brexiteers. How would a quarter of the cabinet resigning help? She would just fill their places with more traitors.

    2. Andy
      May 17, 2018

      Here’s a thought. What if the problem is not the people?

      The government is committed to hard Brexit and is stuffed with hard Brexiteers.

      They have had two years to come up with coherent policies – and none have.

      Not Liam Fox. Not Michael Gove. Not Boris Johnson. Not any of the others in Cabinet.

      Not any of the ERG bigwigs appointed to government.

      Not any of the Tory backbenchers. Not any Labour Brexiteers either.

      Mrs May wants a solution which gives a hard Brexit but no Ireland border.

      She wants frictionless customs and all the benefits of the single market with none of the costs.

      In short, she wants what Vote Leave promises.

      So why have none of the many Brexiteers around her been able to come up with policies which deliver this?

      Perhaps no such policies exist. Perhaps Brexit is the problem?

      1. Freeborn John
        May 18, 2018

        You are not paying attention if you think this is a government committed to hard brexit and “stuffed with brexiteers”. Indeed May has stuffed the Brexit cabinet committee with a Remain majority and sidelined David Davis by putting a Remain civil servant Olly Robbins in charge of the negotiations with the EU. Remainers in Cabinet like Hammond and Lewington are undermining brexit it from within and talking directly to the Irish government and EU Comission.

        The problem is MPs themselves are from a societal clique not representative of the people on brexit. The democratic legitimacy of parliament (including Commons) is being destroyed. And there is a massive issue of incompetence among today’s politicians exacerbated by dull grey Conservatives like May and Hammond who cannot do anything except resist change.

      2. Edward2
        May 18, 2018

        You are wrong when you say “The government is committed to hard brexit and is stuffed with hard Brexiteers.
        Plainly the government seems committed to the very opposite of hard brexit and it seems to have a majority of remain supporters in it.
        Manu options and plans have been discussed with the EU but as I predicted many months ago, the EU has never wanted to do any deal with the UK.
        But it is predictable that you would blame the UK government not the EU.

      3. anon
        May 19, 2018

        How is continuing to fully accept further EU laws during a “transition” period a standstill?

        A standstill or transition to facilitate an exit from the EU cannot be.
        The EU demands full compliance.

        The solution is clearly to leave the EU and directly to trading under WTO rules.

        This is not hard or soft, its reality.

        Something the voters decided a long long time ago. This was confirmed in a referendum.

        The rest is detail and we will manage & trade elsewhere if needed.

        We have a navy if they try to blockade non eu goods, entering the UK.

  49. mick
    May 17, 2018
    If this is true then lab/con/libs/green/Welsh mps had better start making out there CV’s come the next GE because the people will be heard again but this time I have a sneaking suspicion that UKIP will be on the rise again but this time the people will have a better understanding of the dreaded Eu and the I’m alright jack mps and peers who now but not for long sit in Parliament who’s side they are on and it’s not Great Britain, what’s that saying oh yes once’s bitten

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      May 17, 2018

      Mick. Funny you should say that. I was a staunch Tory voter but then diverted to UKIP because I could see which way the Tories were going. However, when Mrs May came to power I came back to the Tory party believing what she promised. Brexit, full and proper. No deal is better than a bad deal and all that tosh. Now I have rejoined UKIP and will vote for them as I am so disillusioned with the Tory party.

      1. Right Wing Extremist
        May 18, 2018

        I’ve renewed my membership to a Party to the better of UKIP. Some, no most, call it a far-right Party. I don’t see anything right-wing about it. Just correct.

  50. Chris
    May 17, 2018

    Mr Redwood, what can you and Brexiter MPs do about this?
    Brexit BOMBSHELL: Varadkar hints May is ready to accept FULL ALIGNMENT to EU on customs.

  51. John
    May 17, 2018

    England will never be given justice from the British she will have to take it. As for “English MPs” in the commons; there are very few indigenous English in there.

  52. Ron Olden
    May 17, 2018

    The activities of the SNP in this respect are wholly malicious, and are not popular in Scotland either.

    They do this to deliberately provoke English people. to give them something to do, in an environment in which they have no function and to get in TV.

    The SNP undertook not to participate in votes which affected England and Wales only.

    Then at the time the fox-hunting question came up again they said that there were, in fact, going to interfere in a law which affected only England and Wales, and vote against bringing it more or less into line with what they themselves have in Scotland.

    The reason they gave was that their own constituents in remote parts of Scotland had been writing to them asking them to vote against it, and, as as result, in their judgement, it was therefore a matter which affected Scotland.

    The simplest way to sort all this out for the time being, would be for the UK parties to reach an agreement where they all undertake that if the SNP tries to interfere in English and Welsh only affairs they organise enough abstentions amongst themselves to ensure the SNPs activities are cancelled out.

    In the case of English only matters Welsh MPs would. I’m sure be willing to assist.

  53. Mark Nottingham
    May 17, 2018

    Yesterday I commented that it was urgent that Theresa May be removed today however I would consider it Very Urgent and of course tomorrow will be to late. When will the brexiteer MPs stop the betrayal?

  54. JoolsB
    May 17, 2018

    Not only are the SNP voting on English only matters but they have representation in the Health Select Committee (England only) and the Education Select Committee (England only). Can you please tell me why you or any of your colleagues accept this? Do you not agree it’s disgraceful.
    You’re all taking the p–s out of England!!

  55. getahead
    May 17, 2018

    John, if it is within the powers of yourself and your allies, please, please get rid of May.

  56. mancunius
    May 17, 2018

    ‘stay in the customs union beyond 2021.’ For those who can count, that means 2022 or later. And the scheduled date for an election is 2022.
    It also means paying additional annual large danegeld payments to the EU ad infinitum, on top of the £40-50bn the Treasury will hand over.

    And meanwhile the government’s domestic policies – the most important part of a post-brexit strategy – have all the gravitas and substance of a teenage tweet.

    MPs were elected for parties making electoral promises they have now reneged on. But rather than admit it and call another election and see themselves get slaughtered, they have pulled up the drawbridge and cowered behind the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.
    JR, do you have the slightest idea how angry the people are outside the Westminbster bubble?

    The Tories will be massacred in 2022.

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