Exiting the EU – some factual background to where we now are

If nothing else is approved by Parliament we will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 with no Withdrawal Agreement or Future Partnership Agreement. If the government does wish to sign such Agreements it will need primary legislation to endorse them and to provide the large sums of money to pay for them . Those of you who want Brexit and are very critical of what has happened should study this carefully, as it shows a lot has been achieved to complete all the legal processes for exit next March. The present rows are about whether effective exit should be delayed and whether we should re-enter parts of the EU that otherwise we will simply leave next year. All the spin based on Project Fear Mark 2 gets in the way of a clear understanding of how we leave the EU, and what Parliament has so far decided.


Referendum 23 June 2016 17.4 million vote to leave the EU, 16.1m vote to remain in EU
Told by government in a letter to all households that voters would decide and Parliament would carry out the decision.

16 March 2017 Royal assent to EU(Notification of Withdrawal) Act
Gained 3rd reading in Commons by 494 votes to 122
Given 3rd reading in Lords unopposed
This fulfils all international and EU law requirements to leave on 29 March 2019, with or without additional Agreements.

6 June 2017 UK General election. 83.3% vote for parties promising to implement Brexit
7.4% vote Lib Dem and 3% vote SNP pledging second referendum on terms of exit

EU Withdrawal Act royal assent 26 June 2018
Passed 3rd reading in Commons 324-295
Given 3rd reading in Lords unopposed
This means that from the date specified in the Act, 29 March 2019, the UK ceases to be a member of the EU and the jurisdiction of the EU and its Court ceases in the UK. All current EU law at that date becomes good UK law, subject to any future amendment or repeal the UK may wish to undertake.

Taxation (Cross border trade) Bill passes Commons July 2018
Amended to prevent UK levying customs for EU or other foreign country unless they levy customs for us on a reciprocal basis. Amended to require primary legislation before re entering EU customs union. Amended to prevent UK staying in EU VAT system. This is now in its Lords stages, but as it is a Tax/money Bill they cannot block the will of the Commons.

Currently in negotiation are

Draft Withdrawal Agreement containing a 21 month Transitional period, additional UK financial contributions after March 2019, reassurances to citizens living in each other’s territory

A possible political Agreement about good intentions to negotiate an Association Agreement between UK and EU governing a future partnership. This could include a free trade agreement, a defence and security partnership, data sharing, criminal justice co-operation and much else. Thea UK insists on linkage between the two possible Agreements. Both sides say nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Both sides need Parliamentary approval.

The so called Chequers compromise is the current UK offer to the EU over the future partnership. The EU has stated it cannot agree the idea of partial membership of the single market, nor the proposals on common customs and tariffs between UK and EU.

The EU has in the past implied that a Canada style free trade deal with fewer tariffs and more service provision than the EU Canada Agreement is on offer, but only for Great Britain. There remains a substantial disagreement between various parties on the issue of the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border. The UK refuses to split the treatment of Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, which is important to the DUP members of the Coalition in particular.


  1. Peter Wood
    September 10, 2018

    Good morning,

    Dr. Redwood, thank you for a most helpful update.

    We’re looking good for a clean departure on 29-3-19 IF no other action.

    Question: Is legislation required to either delay the departure date or rescind the Letter given under article 50, or any other method to defer departure date?

    Thank you

    Reply Yes

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 10, 2018

      I would like to see expert legal advice on that.

    2. Southsouthwest
      September 10, 2018

      Peter..there will be no chance of delay to our departure because the EU will be gearing up for the parliament elections in May and will need to have the decks cleared..so no need to be concerned

      1. Stred
        September 11, 2018

        They will be counting the days until they can be Farage-free.

  2. Mark B
    September 10, 2018

    Good morning

    A very good summation by our kind host.

    A possible political Agreement about good intentions to negotiate an Association Agreement between UK and EU governing a future partnership

    And it is the above that concerns me and I am sure others the most. I voted to Leave, not rejoin on so.e looser arrangement e.g. EU-LITE. I want us to become a Third Country. Totally separate and truly independent of the EU.

    Out means out ! We are going through the door marked exit and it better not be a revolving one.

    1. margaret howard
      September 10, 2018

      A recent parody joked: “Either way we get a leader who will ensure the sort Brexit we want—a modern version of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Bold, adventurous and everyone gets killed.”

      1. David Price
        September 11, 2018

        Compared to remaining partially in the EU which is a death by a thousand cuts.

      2. NickC
        September 11, 2018

        Margaret Howard, You continue to demonstrate how OTT Remains are. Becoming independent of the EU is perfectly straightforward; even Theresa May could do it. And no one will be killed.

      3. Mitchel
        September 11, 2018

        Well,at least the commander,the Earl of Cardigan,came back unscathed!Who might the modern equivalent be?!

  3. Prigger
    September 10, 2018

    “Told by government in a letter to all households that voters would decide and Parliament would carry out the decision.”

    The very next step “”””Tell by government in a letter to all households that voters have decided and Parliament will carry out the decision.””””

    Also a categorical assurance signed by all parties that come what may they will eat and have medicine. Any party which refuses to sign this should be named with no further comment made.

  4. Newmania
    September 10, 2018

    The majority do not wish to leave currently and never has lower satisfction been recorded for the two Parties from whom we are obliged to choose . We are headed for disaster .
    No deal would mean that at 11.00 PM, on the 29th of March 2019, not only would our agreements with the 27 lapse, but so would 34 agreements the EU has, accounting for 90% of our trade. Never mind whether or not our planes would be grounded, no-one would be allowed to fuel them anyway, professional accreditations you see; worthless. Queues at Dover? What about the queues at Rotterdam and Calais, you can`t export mystery goods to third countries.
    It’s unthinkable. You could board a ferry with your car as an EU member, but find, on arrival, you needed an International Driving licence, green card Insurance, and your insurance ,would be ‘offshore’ and unprotected anyway
    The advice to stockpile food and medicines was at least honest , but where are the bulk of the promised emergency documents? Vital warnings are being withheld, because the truth would undermine the abysmal course to which Ms May is committed.
    They are lying to us every day and do our represdentatives care ?
    Only about themselves

  5. Prigger
    September 10, 2018

    PS and it should be put through as Emergency legislation and, further dig up previous legislation regarding War” so that the legislation will certainly be passed. It is an Emergency due to what we euphemistically call, Remoaners

    1. Prigger
      September 10, 2018

      If we ever are allowed another referendum…in many years to come …on a completely different topic then such a letter should be agreed beforehand and sent after the vote ( within 24 hours and before any sitting of Parliament ) It is just normal good business practice in giving a receipt.

      1. Denis Cooper
        September 10, 2018

        It was repeatedly pointed out that the referendum Bill did not say what would happen if we voted to leave, for example in December 2015:


        “I have to point out yet again that the EU referendum Act is silent on what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU. JR assures us that if we vote to leave the EU then we will leave the EU, but that still leaves unanswered the question of why the Act does not say that when it could have done.

        The Act ordering the AV referendum to be held made it clear what would happen in the event of a vote to change to the AV system, and the same could have been done in one way or another for this EU referendum, but it wasn’t.”

        And that omission was brought up in court during the legal challenges.

      2. Southsouthwest
        September 10, 2018

        Don’t worry Prigger they’ll never give us another referendum again- about anything- that’s what they mean when they talk about taking back control

      3. Iain Gill
        September 10, 2018

        technology will allow many more referenda to take place quickly and simply. it is simply unsustainable for the political class to continue to live in a bubble and get so far removed from the people outside the bubble. indeed this may well get forced on the politicians by evolution of technology, and widespread adoption.

        more than that the way political candidates are selected at the moment is completely unsustainable, the parties are all selecting from a small pool which is out of touch with the majority outside the political bubble. being asked to choose from 3 public school oxbridge PPE grads selected by each of the main parties is a poor version of democracy.

  6. Prigger
    September 10, 2018

    An Election Winner, Mrs May or not

    1. Adam
      September 10, 2018

      On 30 Sept, it will have been 80 years since Conservative PM Chamberlain waved a worthless piece of paper in his hand. Theresa May’s attitude projects the spectre of waving the Chequers ‘agreement’ similarly, as if it signified some value. Her time in office has been spent; wastefully. Brexit needs proper leadership.

  7. Ian wragg
    September 10, 2018

    The most dangerous document is the Withdrawal Agreement and. Largely written by Brussels it surrenders on every front.
    May is keen for an agreement and will sign up to anything

    This needs ditching pronto or amnending severely especially the non regression clause.

    1. Turboterrier.
      September 10, 2018

      @ Ian wragg

      Just needs ditching, amendments just drag the process on and on and on.

      Enough is enough

  8. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    September 10, 2018

    Excellent summary.

    Your diary has consistently provided the best political commentary on Brexit in the last 3 years – from a national and an international perspective.

    We say this from an informed standpoint. Our daily research and output covers all EU institutions, EU27 governments, major international bodies such as IMF, OECD, World Bank etc, Brexit organisations, political parties, and others.

    Easy for people to mock, but who else writes such interesting and informative pieces before dawn each day?

    Sometimes these things need to be said.

    Best regards, the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team

    Reply Many thanks. You also do a great job.

    1. Dennis Zoff
      September 10, 2018

      John, yours and Facts4EU’s erudite clarity and unambiguous simplicity is highly commendable and certainly highly supported.

      However, without stating the blindingly obvious, and supportive as I and very many others are “patience is a virtue” this simplicity and clarity is only as good as the anti-Brexit negotiator’s allow. Reality check: Should T. May continue on her dangerously deluded anti-democratic collision course, which thus far is completely ignoring the democratic voting public, the Conservatives will be complete toast!

      Facts4EU are gallantly providing the factual ammunition, yourself the proverbial intellectual firearm and your fellow Political Brexiteers the execution platform….but you must now get on with it! “It” for the avoidance of doubt is the immediate removal of T. May.

      Until then, please continue to hold T. May’s feet to the Brexit Fire!

    2. Nigel Seymour
      September 10, 2018

      Agree – jr states it in simple terms

    3. Iain Gill
      September 10, 2018

      thanks to both

  9. Peter
    September 10, 2018

    Meanwhile on Radio 4 Today programme one of the commentators tells us that May will stick to Chequers as she has too much invested in it.

    As ‘The Sun’, of all newspapers, correctly points out there is ‘confected outrage’ about Boris’ suicide vest analogy and he is one of the most popular Conservative politicians. The outrage is an attempt to kneecap him.

    Steve Baker predicts a Tory split with 80 MPs rejecting Chequers.

    Interesting times ahead.

    1. nhsgp
      September 10, 2018

      Why a split?

      It’s a resignation matter for May if she can’t force her deal through.

      For Labour they want a GE. Does May going mean they get a GE?

      If so they vote to say no.

  10. Tredo
    September 10, 2018

    It is false to say the UK insists on linkage between the rwo agreements. Last December the UK agreed there is no linkage.

    Reply Read Mr Raab’s recent statements.

  11. Lifelogic
    September 10, 2018

    Canada plus is all we want (and with no exit fee as none is due). Checkers is the worse of all worlds, May’s idiotic plan will give us Corbyn/SNP.

    Meanwhile Boris call for tax cuts and the cancellation of HS2. He is exactly right the country is being taxed to death, regulated to death and expensive energy(ed) to death by this tax to death, anti-business, greencrap chancellor. This while most public services are appalling and getting even worse by the day.

    The solutions are very clear far less government and far less government waste and misdirected expenditure.

    1. Southsouthwest
      September 10, 2018

      Lifelogic..here we go again talking about what we are going to get..truth is we’ll get what the EU want’s to give us. I don’t think we’ll even get Canada Plus..too many UK red lines in place then the EU side has it’s four pillars..and of top that there is no time left now..so out we will go 29 march..after that we will have plenty of time to think about our future..when we take back control

  12. Gary C
    September 10, 2018


    Leave do not accept it, remain do not accept it and the EU do not accept it.

    That being the case can you explain why Theresa May continues to doggedly push this crazy plan forward?

    1. Know-Dice
      September 10, 2018

      True, but Monsieur Barnier is making enough slightly encouraging noises to keep Weak & Wobbly in the frame.

      Why? because he knows when push comes to shove that she is a pushover…

    2. Dominic Johnson
      September 10, 2018

      Because she’s the sort of person who once heard
      “A good deal is one no one likes”
      And believed it

    3. Dennis Zoff
      September 10, 2018

      Gary C

      It is T. May’s deluded face saving exercise….if she concludes a dirty Brexit, regardless of the will of the people, she will claim (spin) a political success! History will judge her differently however …as harshly as we currently do with Blair, Cameron, Major, Brown, etc.

    4. getahead
      September 10, 2018

      It’s your big business, init. Big businesses want to retain the status quo which restricts trade deals with the rest of the world and imposes huge tariffs on our food and clothing which brings them in millions in profits from investments

  13. acorn
    September 10, 2018

    The European Parliament Research Service has published a state of play document also.

    You can play spot your MEPs at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/your-meps/uk_meps.html

    1. acorn
      September 10, 2018

      Did you see the info-graphic in the above? https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/infographic_on_the_eu_backstop_proposal.pdf

      Keeping Northern Ireland in the EU for customs union and single market just seems obvious to me. The UK would declare at the UN, that it is not ceding territory to the Republic under any other existing International Treaty or Convention. But, who knows where that could lead for the better.

      There again, I am in favour of breaking up the British Isles and doing away with the United Kingdom terminology.

      1. stred
        September 11, 2018

        The graphic shows pictures of cattle and ports. They are worried about Irish farming. If the UK goes to WTO, then we could set the same tariff on beef and cheddar as we do now, in order to protect British farmers from cheap Argie and US imports. But we have to apply this to EU countries too. The alternative is for us to accept lovely tasty Argie beef at no tariff and this would perhaps be smuggled South. The way to avoid this is to agree a free trade deal but Darth Varada in Dublin is threatening to veto this. His farmers will not be pleased if S.Irish agriculture loses its biggest market by far and he will be thought a silly B. We have the best card.

        But Doris takes a call from her Brussels HQ and scuttles over during the night to sign a ‘backstop’which commits the UK to taking EU rules over the whole country because of the EU demands for NI. How can we renege on this? We need to find evidence of collaboration with the opposite numbers with concealment from the rest of government and call this unfair play. Sack May and collaborating civil servants and put them uner arrest for a while. Then tell Junker that his agents are finished and the deal is off. Its Canada+ or WTO. If Darth wants a pitchfork up his …. veto the deal.

  14. George Brooks
    September 10, 2018

    Every time someone tells the PM that Chequers is rubbish she never comments and No 10 issues a statement to say that Chequers is the only deal on the table and Brexit supporters have no alternative plan, so that is what you are getting

    We know the news is censored especially by the BBC so that anything from Brexit struggles to get any coverage. At the beginning of the summer break there was mention that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his team were working on an alternative plan and there was one brief mention that they have discussed it with Barnier and got a positive reaction.

    Let’s hope this is true and may be this plan is the foundation of what Barnier says he is planning to offer

    We only need a Withdrawal agreement with Association agreements because Barnier has blocked every attempt to date to formulate our future trading arrangements and he has got a lot of encouragement to do so from our media and the Remainers.

    As you say we are nearly there and we must not screw it with Chequers

    Reply Others have put forward both leaving on the WTO model, and negotiating a Canada plus as better options to Chequers. Its a silly argument to say there are no other options.

    1. Nigel
      September 10, 2018

      I have heard that the ERG Chequers alternative is not now to be published. Is this correct? We have all been anxiously awaiting this document.

      1. Peter Parsons
        September 11, 2018

        From the reports I’ve heard, the ERG can’t agree amongst themselves as to what they want.

      2. NickC
        September 11, 2018

        Nigel, That appears to be correct. I suspect the ERG have reconsidered because splitting Conservative MPs 100:300 means that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour could side with Theresa May in the HoC, so ensuring the Robbins revolving-door Remain plan goes through anyway, and thereby causing civil war in the Tory party at the same time.

        Being generous as to motives, that would not help Leave. The problem is that publishing or not publishing results in Robbins winning. The only options that I can see at the moment are: remove Mrs May; remove Philip Hammond; remove Mark Carney. Betrayal must be seen to be paid for. It is probably too difficult to see off Mrs May, but Messrs Hammond and Carney are more vulnerable.

    2. getahead
      September 10, 2018

      No 10 propaganda is getting to be as far-fetched etc.
      But some will believe it, John.

  15. SecretPeople
    September 10, 2018

    A very good and useful summary, thank you.

    Having read Boris’s article this morning, which contains the phrase “we are about to hand over £39 billion to the EU for nothing in return”, it is very helpful to have an accurate reference as to the actual position – that the transitional period (also asserted elsewhere as actually coming in being) and additional UK contributions have yet to attain parliamentary approval.

    1. nhsgp
      September 10, 2018

      Lets be more correct.

      You are going to be forced to hand over a share of 100 bn to the EU because they spent, and didn’t invest, their pension contributions.

      That bail out of incompetence means lots of nurses get sacked here.

  16. timeout
    September 10, 2018

    You explain very well about where we are now – but where is the EU side in all of this? all talk about parliamentary approval etc is for our side only – the EU have their own parliament which is going to change after elections next year – there will be a new dynamic with new people in place. It’s hard to know where we are going with any of this- The DUP are not even in government in NI and are in any case likely to be overtaken next elections by Sinn Fein. This whole thing is up in the air and after the crash no one knows how it’s going to settle out.

    1. mancunius
      September 10, 2018

      You seem mightily confused. The EU ratification period must (naturally) end before 29 March 2019, and they know that. If the EU country legislatures or its parliament were not to finish ratifying a Withdrawal Agreement by then, it would be null and void in the UK as well: we would keep our £39bn and go straight to WTO rules. The provisional schedules for that are being prepared right now at the WTO. As Roger Bootle has pointed out in today’s Telegraph, it would be an excellent trading strategy for the UK.
      Whether the assembly meets in NI or not is an internal matter for NI and the UK, not the EU: it does not at all affect the Withdrawal Agreement (or the GFA).
      The current contingent of DUP MPs will remain in place in Westminster until at least the next UK General Election.

      Btw, love to jack Snell, Ahem, TedC, Harry, Anton, LiamB, hellbent, crackersjohn, DanB, navalgazing, Jonp, Drachma, sobeit etc. etc., and all your other aliases.

  17. agricola
    September 10, 2018

    Thank you for clarifying matters. Chequers is dead even when a sycophantic cabinet refuse to see it. Even the EU have no time for it. The “There is no alternative” that flows from the PM is equally ridiculous. A simple free trade deal on goods and services is an alternative as is Canada Plus. If the NI border works electronically now it will work in future. Dependant on the agreement reached there may be an exchange of different information; computers can cope. Maybe we need a period of trade to WTO rules before sanity prevails, and a free trade agreement is found desirable. This way we save the already overburdened taxpayer £39 billion and get a £7billion annual bonus on customs duty.

    1. Southsouthwest
      September 10, 2018

      Agricola..dream on..we owe the 39billion as part of the departure terms..if the departure is not agreed and signed off then there will be no chance for any trade with them of any sort into the future..not even under WTO rules..the ports will be blocked until the bill is paid..that is the reality..not what Boris and other politicals on the extreme right wing are telling us

      1. NickC
        September 11, 2018

        Southsouthwest, The £39bn is a bribe. We cannot possibly owe more than we would have paid net between April 2019 and Dec 2020, the end of the current MFF.

  18. Norman
    September 10, 2018

    A really helpful summary John, which I hope will be given wider publicity – perhaps in the context of the forthcoming ERG proposal. It would be such a help to the wider public to see the clouds of confusion cleared away. There will be frantic attempts to thwart this, of course, and today’s comments here will be interesting. I also liked what Steve Baker said, as reported by the BBC this morning – plain speaking, but very helpful and positive. Certainly, the future of Country and Party depend upon the outcome. Meanwhile, keep your powder dry!

  19. stred
    September 10, 2018

    It does seem odd that, when we have adopted all EU law and will have exactly the same standards after we leave, have promised to let EU citizens stay and have said that we will not put up customs posts on the Irish border and are following EU policy by using electronic customs, and we can apply zero tariffs on anything we want from Europe- that the civil service, their PM and all the EU lapdogs in the Tory Party have to promise vast amounts of money, our armed forces wearing the EU flag and subservience to EU law for the foreseeable future. There may be a plan to reverse Brexit, which Cameron mentioned when at Davos. Didn’t he say to other toppies that things would not turn out as badly as they had thought. We know what Eural thinks is bad.

    etc ed

  20. Bob
    September 10, 2018

    Obviously Chequers is the Remainer’s choice as the BBC has been broadcasting an appeal by Nicky Morgan urging the Labour Party to support it.

    1. Andy
      September 10, 2018

      Chequers is not the choice of any Remainer. Chequers is an entirely predictable mess. Chequers is Brexit.

      1. NickC
        September 11, 2018

        Andy, Read the Robbins WP executive summary – it would save you displaying your ignorance. The Robbins WP is a revolving-door Remain resulting from new treaties and agreements with the EU, for example:

        Single market: “a common rulebook for goods including agri-food” – that’s the EU’s rulebook – we voted to leave that.

        Customs Union: “a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement … between the UK and the EU as if they were a combined customs territory“. A bi-lateral customs union – we voted to leave that.

        EU agencies and programs: “a security partnership … coordination on foreign policy, defence … joint [military] capability development … science and innovation, culture and education, development and international action … accepting the rules of these [EU] agencies and contributing to their costs“. None of which we voted for.

        Uncontrolled movement: “a new framework that … enables UK and EU citizens to continue to travel to each other’s countries“. We definitely didn’t vote for that.

  21. Peter
    September 10, 2018

    The expected Leave alternative to Chequers document has not been published.

    This means Number 10 have nothing to attack.

    So they attack the absence of such a document instead.

    1. Andy
      September 10, 2018

      Are you surprised? They have had two years since the referendum to come up with
      a sensible plan – and they can’t. They also spent 30+ years telling you everything that is wrong with the EU – but have come up with no ideas about how to make it better. And this is the easiest deal ever – apparently.

      How hard can it be? All they have to do is make everything better and nothing worse. Trade has to be made easier, cheaper and less bureaucratic. How’s that going Mr Redwood? We need to strengthen our friction free borders – stopping people but not checking goods. How’s that going Mr Redwood? We need to ensure our peoples have at least the same rights and responsibilities as before. How’s that going Mr Redwood? We need to keep business on side. How’s that going Mr Redwood? We need to ensure Brexit is built to last – so future generations do not undo it. How’s that going Mr Redwood? We need a strong, united country with all regions and all ages behind the great Brexit vision. How’s that going Mr Redwood? I won’t ask about aviation, the car industry, medicines, Erasmus or any of the tricky stuff.

      I must confess – I really am finding Brexit rather funny right now. I love how cluelessly angry you all get. Perhaps to please you all, and in honour of a truly great British tradition, we should make a new film – Carry On Up The Brexit. No need to do anything other than show real life.

  22. Denis Cooper
    September 10, 2018

    JR, I think it would be worth seeking legal advice about whether your opening words

    “If nothing else is approved by Parliament we will leave the EU on 29 March 2019”

    are definitely true, or whether the Prime Minister could rely on prerogative powers to either seek an extension of the two year period specified in Article 50 TEU – a step which is actually envisaged as a possibility in that article – or alternatively seek to rescind the notice of our intention to withdraw from the EU – a step which is not envisaged in the article, but which is not expressly excluded.

    As I mentioned yesterday:


    the Act to empower the Prime Minister to put in the notice did not impose any restriction on what she did afterwards; one would have to look elsewhere for a legal constraint to stop her trying to keep us in the EU beyond March 29th 2019.

    Reply No, she does not have prerogative powers to overturn an Act of Parliament.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 10, 2018

      Again, JR:

      “EU Withdrawal Act royal assent 26 June 2018 … This means that from the date specified in the Act, 29 March 2019, the UK ceases to be a member of the EU”

      That is unless the date was changed, which under the Act could be done just by a regulation, and would obviously have to be done if the EU agreed to an extension of the two year negotiating period as Frances O’Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC urged yesterday, indeed it is perfectly obvious that she would like it extended indefinitely so that we never left and there is a strong suspicion that Theresa May would also be perfectly happy with that outcome.

      Page 36 here:


      “182 Subsection (1) also defines exit day as 11.00pm on 29 March 2019.”

      “184 Subsections (3) and (4) provide that if the date and time at which the EU Treaties cease to apply to the UK is not the date and time specified in subsection (1), a minister may make regulations to amend the definition of exit day in this Act to ensure that they are aligned. A change in the date is possible under Article 50(3) of the TEU … ”


      “3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.”

      So what is to stop Theresa May asking for/agreeing to an extension?

      Perhaps somebody should raise this during this afternoon’s debate; are we having to trust that the Prime Minister won’t stab us in the back over this when she has already stabbed us in the back several times and is apparently in cahoots with the EU, that is to say she is one of theirs rather than one of ours?

      1. mancunius
        September 10, 2018

        It’s a good question, particularly under Art. 50 (3) can be quite simply arranged by a) Brussels telling the 27 in a quick phone call what they are to agree to, and b) a quick phone call from May to Brussels.
        An EU negotiator, Miriam Gonzales, confirmed this in Radio 4’s Westminster Hour last night. ‘Just needs a phone call…’

        Surely in parliamentary terms, Para 184 allows the Withdrawal period to be extended by a ministerial stroke of the pen, without the agreement of the House.

        1. mancunius
          September 10, 2018

          PS ‘It’s a good question, particularly under as’

    2. Denis Cooper
      September 10, 2018

      Which Act? I may be wrong, but as far as I can see there is nothing in any existing Act to stop her asking for an extension to the Article 50 period.

  23. NickC
    September 10, 2018

    JR, We will not leave the EU on 29 March 2019. We may leave the EU’s multilateral treaties on 29 March 2019, but that is not the same thing.

    At the moment there is one outcome in April 2019 that is most likely, with a second possible:
    1. We leave the multilateral EU treaties, immediately signing up to new bi-lateral treaties and agreements to almost the same effect (this is the Robbins, or Chequers, plan);
    2. The Art50 process is extended by another few months (less likely) – this is similar to the already established transition (itself a fudge).

    The Robbins proposal of a revolving-door Remain obviously suits Remain MPs much better than what they claim is a “hard” Brexit. So they will vote for it in Parliament. Clearly the Robbins proposal gives the EU almost everything it wants too, since the UK will still be controlled by the EU.

    So Robbins it is. Tory (and Labour) Brexiteers are outnumbered in Parliament. There is no plan to counter this. An “alternative” White Paper does not hack it any more. I see no alternative but to depose Theresa May, something you should have done a year ago.

    1. Know-Dice
      September 10, 2018

      Unless Labour MPs get ahead of themselves and think by sinking this bill there will be a General Election 🙁

      Could be just too tempting for them…

    2. hans christian ivers
      September 10, 2018

      Nick C,

      Whom would you propose to replace her then?

    3. mancunius
      September 10, 2018

      NickC, they cannot so simply depose her. The arithmetic does not guarantee she would not be reelected, or in her place a remainer Tory successor who would continue the Chequers sellout.

      1. NickC
        September 11, 2018

        Mancunius, Yes, I understand the arithmetic. Indeed that is my point: Parliament has at best about 100 Leave MPs, while the 500+ rest are Remains. Therefore unless something is done we will get the Robbins revolving-door Remain, or similar. Remain Labour MPs will support it, and Mr Corbyn may seize the opportunity to damage the Tory party at the same time. Do not underestimate the political power of deposing a sitting PM – even if Mrs May returns, she will have lost (even more) credibility.

    4. Den
      September 10, 2018

      It appears that the Withdrawal Act states that we are withdrawing from the EU. So what is the difference between ‘Withdrawal’ and ‘Leave’? The Oxford English Dictionary seems to think they mean the same.

    5. Caterpillar
      September 10, 2018


      Yes, Barnier is indicating a deal in November. Sadly for democracy you are correct.

  24. Paul Chandler
    September 10, 2018

    Dr Redwood,
    A good summary, but . . . I have enjoyed your blog for some time but I now wonder if you are being too relaxed. Unfortunately I find it hard to believe that the logical process outlined will be followed through. In addition to your sound reasoning, we must make our point more forcefully. I have responded thus to the PM’s letter to Party members: (I urge all those who support your view to write to the PM, to their MP and to Messrs Brady and Lewis if they are members)

    Thank you for your letter of 3rd August. As you may infer from the date of this reply I have mulled over the content of your letter at some length. I hope you will find time to understand my views and perhaps reconsider your position.

    In summary, your Chequers proposal is a sell-out which will not secure independence of our once great nation, yet further concessions are likely.

    There is a marked difference between your words and your actions. Setting aside the manner of your ‘leadership’ of the government, I will comment only on the content of your proposal.

    The second paragraph of your letter expresses an admirable sentiment, but alas does not reflect the probable outcome of your proposals. The fact that you write that paragraph displays at best a frightening ignorance or, at worst, a shocking deceitfulness.

    I won’t waste your time in detailed refutation, which is available from public sources; I will just point out that bullet points 1, 2, 3 and 5 on your second page and the emboldened text on the third repeat the same problem – they are just untrue, both by my own reasoning and as has been confirmed by legal experts.

    To make my position quite clear: I flew back to the UK to vote in the (second) referendum in June 2016. I voted to leave, essentially to restore the sovereignty of the UK. I did not vote for the government to do a deal with the EU – I assumed that the executive would do that as a matter of course after leaving the EU.

    Despite your words, your actions indicate that that you are intent on flouting the wishes of the electorate. You will lead the UK into a period of vassaldom, belittling the sacrifices made by previous generations, and you are bringing our democratic system into disrepute. Sadly, you are also likely to achieve the destruction of the Conservative party, to which I (and my father before me) have been loyal for decades.

    I still hold firm to underlying Conservative aims, but at present I cannot give you my support and if there is no dramatic return to implementing the will of the people I will not vote for you, or for the Conservative party, in the foreseeable future.

  25. Denis Cooper
    September 10, 2018

    While I always treat newly released GDP numbers with great caution I still think today would be a good day for the Prime Minister’s spokesman to tell the press:

    “With healthy GDP growth of 0.6% in the last quarter, when according to the Treasury’s hysterical warnings just before the referendum we should still be struggling to recover from the deep recession we triggered just by voting to leave the EU, by now it must surely be obvious to all and sundry that absolutely no reliance can be placed on the Treasury’s economic modelling. Including their grossly exaggerated estimates of the value of the EU Single Market, which strangely enough are several times greater even than the EU’s own boastful estimates, as is well known to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. For these reasons the Prime Minister is now reconsidering the possibility that our best course would be to default to the existing WTO trade treaties on leaving the EU, and only afterwards try to negotiate some special or preferential trade agreement.”

    But of course she will never accept that, because like her predecessors over the past sixty years she has a deeply ingrained politically driven obsession with making life as easy as possible for the 6% of UK businesses which export 12% of our GDP to the rest of the EU, and the other 94% of businesses with 88% of GDP can like it or lump it.


    “Accepting the Chequers common rulebook would be disastrous for business”

  26. nhsgp
    September 10, 2018

    What’s missing?

    It’s paying the EU billions for their pension incompetence.

    There’s no right of consent for people in the UK to say we aren’t funding.

    That you want to force us to fund low paid migrants from the EU.

    Always telling what politicians leave out.

  27. Helen Smith
    September 10, 2018

    As others have said thank you so much for this summary Mr. Redwood,you are a star.

    I am delighted to read that because the Trade bill is classified as a money bill the Lords cannot tamper with it. I was not aware of that and was fully expecting it to come back to the Commons with requirements for a Second ref aka a Millionaire’s vote, tacked onto it.

    Could you confirm that will only happen if they decide to defy convention please? Many thanks.

    Reply The customs Bill is a money bill

  28. Lorna
    September 10, 2018

    Thank you
    I am so grateful for your excellent articles which gives much needed information
    I do wish the various Leave groups would get together to produce a comprehensive alternative to the disastrous Chequers Plan.

  29. libertarian
    September 10, 2018

    Hey Peter vL

    Hope you’re well and your family is good, more news for you

    Anglo-Dutch giant RELX has decided to move its headquarters to London… despite Brexit. Worth around £33bn, RELX is the parent company of a number of publishers including Elsevier, Reed, LexisNexis and MLex. RELX had a dual corporate structure based in the UK and the Netherlands but has decided to move its HQ entirely to London

    They are relinquishing their Dutch duality and becoming a solely UK company

    ( Note to Andy & Acorn and others, as a media publishing company I would imagine they are very worried about Article 13 hence leaving the EU altogether )

    1. acorn
      September 11, 2018

      “Nothing will move from the Netherlands to the UK.” “It was simply a matter that the UK company is slightly bigger, it’s a slightly bigger proportion of the total, and the group’s headquarters has always been in London, so it just became the more natural side to put it,” Chief Financial Officer Nick Luff told reporters. “It’s cost and profit neutral. There’s no impact on how we pay tax or indeed where we pay tax.”

      1. Edward2
        September 11, 2018

        Exactly the opposite of what Remainers like you acorn, have been predicting.
        This company has moved it’s HQ to the UK from previously being half Netherlands and half UK.

        1. acorn
          September 12, 2018

          Unilever looks like going the other way. Only leaves Royal Dutch Shell left of the Anglo Dutch mergers.

          1. libertarian
            September 15, 2018


            The CEO of Unilever wants to move, his shareholders at the AGM weren’t so keen.

            Oh and after 100 years Chanel the French fashion house is moving its HQ from Paris to London

            The fact that not many staff are coming is irrelevant to us, we have full employment and 833,000 unfilled jobs already

            This is totally the opposite of what the entire Remain camp have been predicting. Also interesting that they say theres NO IMPACT of moving to the UK. So no problems with moving re their supply chain, movement of staff, customs, queuing at Dover, flying to London etc. It almost makes you wonder what the point of the EU is.

  30. Den
    September 10, 2018

    It seems to me that a modified Canadian + deal should be considered more than this ‘Chequered’ giveaway.
    Why does Mrs May concentrate all of her efforts on this doomed plan rather than listen to her own Party AND the EU and act? Her approach seems totally irrational and she is a worry.
    “In dangerous times there is no greater sin than inaction” – Signore Alighieri.

  31. Jiminyjim
    September 10, 2018

    JR, I have been following your diary for some months and note the regular calls for Theresa May to be ousted and someone committed to achieving a clean exit from the EU put in her place. I have also noted an absence of a response by you to such all such suggestions. The time has come, I think, for you to be absolutely clear that you will actively campaign for the PM’s removal in the event that Remain MPs, bolstered by elements of the Labour Party, try to foist Chequers on us. Why is it, Mr Redwood, that you are so reluctant to make your position on this crucial matter clear?

  32. Roy Grainger
    September 10, 2018

    I assume what is happening now is May is cooking up a new agreement with the EU based on a compromised form of Chequers that she will again present at the last minute and defy anyone to vote down. So, those in cabinet like Leadsom who supported Chequers but no more will again be put on the spot. In the end I assume she’ll take the same approach with the Blairite Labour MPs and try to force them to vote for it.

  33. Fedupsoutherner
    September 10, 2018

    Good old Boris. He tells it as it is and is totally honest with his description of the chequers rag. We need more people like him. His personal life should be kept out of it.

  34. hans christian ivers
    September 10, 2018


    Barnier said this afternoon that a deal is 6 to 8 weeks away should we not give them the time to negotiate and then see where we are?

  35. DUNCAN
    September 10, 2018

    After the Boris ‘dirty dossier’ revelations in the Sunday press I have now arrived at one conclusion:


    1. hans christian ivers
      September 11, 2018

      “Good Name” of party you must be joking

    2. NickC
      September 11, 2018

      Duncan, The Robbins White Paper scandal also demonstrates that Theresa May lied to her own Ministers, and gave her WP to the EU before releasing it to her Cabinet on 6th July. Even in the Robbins WP (foreword) she talks about “Leaving the EU …” yet the WP lays out the way we will be bound in new treaties and existing agreements so that we are back under the control of the EU.

  36. Pragmatist
    September 10, 2018

    American politicians and surprisingly Russian politicians can use two fingers in a polite way to indicate two. British politicians must not. I blame Churchhill 50%

    The good news, is that Brexiteers can use two fingers to Remoaners in saying Victory without necessarily losing the full sentiment as it were.
    I bad news is, in that, Brexiteers, still must not and do not have 100% freedom of expression

  37. Katy Hibbert
    September 10, 2018

    Thank you, John, the still, not-so-small voice of calm, speaking through the earthquake, wind and fire of Remoan. Mostly wind.

    We’re leaving. Thank God.

    1. margaret howard
      September 11, 2018

      Yes, we Remainers need a nice, calm, dignified, pint in hand Farage.

  38. Simon Coleman
    September 10, 2018

    You sound a bit desperate, having to set out all the legalities. The DUP are not in coalition by the way. The government has no majority…and that’s because of a general election that was called in order to give the executive more powers to negotiate Brexit. You’re obsessed with legal constructs and have no idea about political realities. The deep, deep divisions in parliament will cause Brexit to fail – after we’ve left. And a NI border backstop agreement has been agreed in principle, so the usual cliche about ‘nothing is agreed until…’ is wrong.

    So what happened to the ERG’s much-heralded alternative Brexit proposals?

    1. NickC
      September 11, 2018

      Simon Coleman, The ERG reconsidered because their WP would only provide Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour with an opening to cause civil war in the Tory party by voting with Theresa May. We will get the Robbins revolving-door Remain, or something similar. That’s because MPs in their arrogance think they have the right to decide whether we leave or remain.

  39. Prigger
    September 10, 2018

    I should stop listening to Parliament. It is making me increasingly arrogant and it is all their fault.

  40. Pragmatist
    September 10, 2018

    Given that my only claim to academic fame is a Secondary Modern School Education, in that you may so much as guess what I mean in my comments; and, that I was best in English yet we all received instruction with at least one thump of the “The Slipper” without causal connection with behaviour, weekly which, robbed us of more than weeks’ previous inculcation and English instruction by pain, throwing it up,- and: the fact our Parliamentarians, Remoaners usually, can’t talk

    then it may tell of the general education and actual absorption of English in Absolute of our young, now.
    English has been undermined in the UK

  41. Anthony
    September 10, 2018

    Hi John,

    Sorry for the late comment. I wanted to understand:

    1. Can the trade bill be amended to require the government to negotiate membership of a customs union? I know this has been attempted in the withdrawal act and the customs bill. The commons already rejected such an amendment in the trade bill. Is it possible for the lords to add a similar amendment?
    2. If this amendment was successfully added, would that really compel the government to negotiate a customs union, or could the government in practice simply say “we tried and failed to negotiate one” after limited effort?

    Reply Staying in the custons union has been rejected several times by the Commons. The Lords cant legislate on its own

    1. NickC
      September 11, 2018

      Anthony, The Robbins White Paper, which is government policy, states clearly that we shall have: “a new Facilitated Customs Arrangement … between the UK and the EU as if they were a combined customs territory“. A bi-lateral customs union in other words. Previous Parliamentary votes are irrelevant.

  42. Drachma
    September 10, 2018

    Am afraid we are stuck in the chequers proposals mode while the EU is only concerned with finalising the withdrawal agreement at this stage..they are not going to talk about the future until the past is put to bed.

    1. mancunius
      September 11, 2018

      Chequers is dead. We need no Withdrawal Agreement, and no ‘transition period’ and no payment for ‘obligations’ that are fictional.

      The EU will talk readily once they have grasped that Barnier overplayed his hand and nearly shafted them all.

  43. Steve Lympany
    September 11, 2018

    Hi. “out means out”. What is your definition? No trade? No travel to EU countries? No shared security, intelligence services etc? Or is it more grey scale, like, yes, medicines are OK, and oh, I don’t mean no flights, and I still want zero tariff tomatoes. Oh, and the doctors and nurses can stay.
    I really don’t know what ‘out means out’ means. Please point me to a specific definition. Or present your own. Thanks

    1. Jimmy
      September 11, 2018

      Steve, you do realise that “no tariff” tomatoes is an oxymoron don’t you? Being part of the EU means we pay many billiona in taxes to subsidise “no tariffs”. Upon leaving, the Government should reduce taxes accordingly to stimulate the economy.

    2. Den
      September 11, 2018

      Out means nowt but FREEDOM. And that is the most important outcome of the Referendum. Why do you have so little faith in the ability of GREAT Britain to manage its own Laws, Currency, International Trade and Borders? And the lives of its citizens.

      Why would anyone here prefer to be governed by an unelected and unaccountable foreign cabal based in a foreign country rather than by those elected by the British citizens to do so and from their own Parliament in London?

    3. mancunius
      September 11, 2018

      Is travel possible to and from the rest of the world? Of course.
      Do we grow tomatoes in the UK? Of course.
      Do we import and export with all countries of the world? Of course.
      Do we produce medicines that the EU needs? Of course.

      Well then, don’t be silly.

  44. Mark B
    September 12, 2018

    Good morning

    EU-LITE It is then.

Comments are closed.