How do the whips persuade people to vote their way?

We should expect plenty of stories about how the whips try to reduce the numbers of Conservative MPs planning to vote against the Withdrawal Agreement. I was surprised to be contacted by a journalist on Monday who asked me if I had changed my mind about voting against the Agreement, and who went on to ask what the whips had offered me to change my mind. I was able to say I did not plan to change my vote and I had not been offered anything.

Let me reassure some readers who take a low view of what goes on. I have never been offered an honour or some other gift by the whips on any occasion to get me to change my mind and vote for the party line. There have been various times over the last 8 years when I have not supported the government on EU matters, as I took seriously the promises we made in each Manifesto not to transfer more power to the EU. If anyone in future did suggest I might receive an honour to switch my vote I would say No and explain why that would be an abuse of the system. Honours are not tools for whips to use to secure a vote.

There have been some suggestions in the press that maybe others are being offered honours or inducements. It is difficult to see how this works for the government were they to be susceptible to such bad practice. Once they have announced an honour they cannot withdraw it, and the individual in receipt of it cannot be contracted to behave in a certain way thereafter. There have been plenty of cases where MPs have received honours, only to be very critical of the government and leadership shortly afterwards, as the two issues are not related and should be unrelated.

I have even seen it claimed some are offered peerages. That sounds ludicrous. If anyone were to be offered an immediate peerage they would of course have to resign from the Commons and create a by election. I can’t think of any example when it has been alleged an MP was offered a peerage to get through a particular Commons vote.

So how do whips try to get MPs to vote the party line? The first round is to put the government’s case in more detail and more strongly to the MP to consider. This may include inviting the MP to have a meeting with the PM or relevant Minister, to hear directly why they want them to vote a certain way. Junior and ambitious MPs may well be told that their path to Ministerial appointment will be easier and smoother if they travel the loyal road, though history shows some rebels also have to be given jobs to provide some balance in the team and to bring some rebels into line by accepting the discipline of Ministerial office. Then there are arguments about the political consequences for government and party from defeat, use of friends of the MP to try to persuade them, and threats of consequences for the policy/party/government if the proposal is defeated. Good whipping is ad hominem. Different MPs respond to different types of pressure or appeal.

The PM seems to want to try to put pressure on MPs by seeking to persuade the party and the voters to back her deal, over the heads of the MPs. This is a route fraught with difficulty. MPs resent fellow MPs trying to whip up their constituents against them, whilst it looks as if the Conservative party membership is more strongly against the Withdrawal Agreement than the MPs on average.

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93 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I would like to thank our kind host for explaining, in his final paragraphs, why we need to change the current system.

    Robert Walpole is regarded as Britain’s first Prime Minister. He is also the most successful PM and one that was never shy to use whatever inducements he had at his disposal to maintain his grip on power. Something many, if not all, PM’s have used to varying degrees.

    There is no point in defending the honours’ system as we all know its stinks. And I am not going to add anymore.

    But regarding the PM and Whips offering Ministerial positions or, the ‘treat’ to an ambitious MP’s career, all I can say is this. To end this practice we need to separate the Executive from the Legislature. That way when we vote for something we know we will get it as the MP’s cannot be so easily bullied as the Executive has little hold over them.

    What this whole matter of the EU and our membership and leaving has brought to the fore and raised in public awareness, is the fact that we DO NOT live in a true democracy. We live, as some in the Civil Service like to say, in a ‘managed democracy’. Nice way of saying servitude. A political Pandora’s Box has been opened and people are now seriously looking at how they are governed and by whom.

    For those Remainers and Leavers alike I tell you this. There was no referendum to join the then EEC. Think about that ? They did it to us before, and they can do it again. When we leave, if we leave, then we need to make sure that this mistake is not repeated. 😉

  2. Peter
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Parliament certainly does not reflect the views of the general public on Brexit. A couple of weeks is quite a long time to wait so people are understandably concerned that May will try to get her way by hook or by crook.
    False poll results, fearful predictions, editorial suggestions in the mainstream media will all play a part.

    • Gary C
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      When it comes to voting for or against TM’s disastrous deal I would have thought MP’s have more to loose by agreeing to it, the electorate will not forgive or forget the treachery shown by our politicians.

  3. javelin
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Blair won his landslide victory with 13.4 million votes. Brexit won with 17.4 million votes.

    The Voters will produce the greatest disappearing act in political history if they do not deliver Brexit.

    • javelin
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Models of self-calibration include the markets, morals, evolution and democracy.

      If you believe that “you can’t buck the markets” you will understand that the consequences of ignoring the largest vote in UK democratic history will have the largest consequence in democratic history.

      As the LibDems discovered with Uni fees – you cannot buck democracy.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Javelin,

        Democracy is bucked by separating the powers from those that we can elect. This is exactly what the backstop is doing. Rule takers.

    • javelin
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Put May’s dementia tax on acid, inflate it, expand it to every healthcare, headline it in every newspaper, swear on oaths you will implement it, carve it into constitutional law, ram it down everybodies throats 24×7 for the next 3 years. Against the will of the largest democratic vote in history.

      Then ask what happened to the Conservative Party.

  4. Len Brokenshire
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, given your opposition to Mrs May’s deal, you must be delighted to see her out trying to persuade the country of its merits. Given what we saw of her skills of persuasion during the last General Election campaign, you must epxect that after two weeks or so there will not be a single person the length and breadth of the land who supports her and her deal

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately she is getting a good press – With glowing praise, they will turn her lackluster speeches into something dynamic

      The establishment have decided that we will be slaves to the EU, and it supports May.

      Do we have a hope in hell?

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Yes, because everyone I know is stopping taking newspapers and have even stopped reading The Mail online because it’s so untrustworthy now and they don’t want them to get the clicks and advertising revenue. Guido’s post about the Mail misrepresenting a poll on their front page today is just utter contempt for their regular readership. C4 News are as bad when they only show three people that agree with the deal on the tv news do they really think we’re that stupid (actually scratch that we know they do you only have to listen to Adonis, Campbell, Blair).

        It comes to something when the only press you can stomach is the Guardian at least you know their political colours and persuasions in advance.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      It is very annoying how the media is now so disgustingly dishonest… Clearly the media are being guided in what they present, because it is outright propaganda.
      I read a SF book recently, where the media was completely controlled by one source. That source controlled the propaganda for the whole planet, and caused riots and vendettas and much more…. The media could push the people any way it wished.
      Sounds a bit like planet earth, doesn’t it?
      Except that some people are aware of the lies, while too many follow blindly what they are told, and react accordingly.

  5. eeyore
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    What, no safe of dirty secrets in the back of the Whips’ office? I am disappointed!

    • A different Simon
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      There is video which can be found by the usual search engines of Tim Fortescue who was a whip under Edward Heath .

      Fortescue provides examples of predicaments MP’s would get themselves into before begging the Whip’s offices for help .

      Watch it !

      The Whips office would ensure that the MP’s would not suffer the consequences they should have …. but there was a price to pay when it came to tight votes .

    • oldwulf
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Blackmail and bribery are criminal acts !?

      • billR
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I read that the word Tory comes from the old Irish gaelic word Toraidhe meaning highwayman, robber or knave- I don’t think anything has changed very much

        • eeyore
          Posted November 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          This is true. Supporters of crown, church and the rule of law received the label Tory from no less a villain than the great perjurer Titus Oates, arguably the wickedest man in English history, whose lying testimony sent at least 15 innocents to their deaths during the Popish Plot of 1679.

          It seems the word is going out of favour among Conservatives. Even so, if people can be judged by the enemies they make, Tories still have good reason to be proud of Oates’s insult.

  6. DUNCAN
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    We are now reliant on the moral integrity of Tory MPs not too capitulate in the face of temptation.

    May’s slimy guerilla tactics of using all and every method available to persuade Eurosceptic MPs to back her anti-British WA is testament to her lack of principles and morality that she will do almost anything to grease her way to victory

    I believe this agreement will secure Commons backing simply because many Tory MPs prefer the status quo. To support May is the line of least resistance

    If she succeeds then all bets are off

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      She’s not going to succeed. Any other matter, and the vote would be cancelled, but she can’t back out of this one because she has to present the Agreement arranged with the EU.
      Following a crashing defeat in the commons, the question then is what happens to her? I can’t imagine after delivering a hung parliament and then a failed Brexit policy, the Tory party will give her space to screw up again.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Me personally ? I’d let her continue. I have my reasons 😉

  7. Cheshire Girl
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I remain completely unmoved by the entreaties of the Prime Minister on this matter. I have tried to acquaint myself with the facts and make up my own mind whether to support her or not.

    I have always suspected that subtle pressure is put on MPs to vote a certain way. The younger MPs and Junior Ministers, probably have one eye on their job prospects when they decide who to support. They probably feel rather desperate.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      One eye on short-term job prospects only for Tory MPs, because if the deal passes their long-term job prospects are zero.

    • Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I’m sure they do feel desperate. But then so did people who put their lives – not just their ‘job prospects’ – on the line for the good of their country in days gone by. I don’t feel any sympathy. If they can’t stand the heat, they should have stayed out of the kitchen.
      What price loyalty to one’s country, and honour, and integrity?

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I imagine the vote will be closer than expected because many MPs will try to have it both ways and abstain – note that even IDS used the formulation “I will not vote for the agreement” leaving open the option for him not to vote against it.

    Reply I think Iain will vote against. As a former leader who was given a hard time to keep his leadership he has not wanted to make any personal attacks on the current Leader.

    • Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      But Mr IDS is, at least, a decent man and didn’t deserve the personal opprobrium that was heaped upon him.
      Whereas, Mrs May, it seems to all of us ‘out here’, has been mendacious and has deliberately patronised and misled us. She has put herself in the firing line for ‘personal attacks’.

  9. Andy
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    It is very simple. On an issue like this whips should have no role.

    An MP needs to have the guts to look their constituents’ children and grandchildren in the face and explain why they voted to take away their rights and make them poorer.

    In any case, at the inevitable public inquiry into the Brexit catastrophe ‘the whips made me’ won’t cut ice as an excuse.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps these MPs should respect the wishes of their constituents.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 29, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Oh do give it a rest. You are a tinfoil hat wearer . You dont have a shred of evidence that your children or my children will be poorer. Poorer than what or who? Poorer than you or poorer than a Sainsbury shelf stacker from Latvia? Poorer than you or your £1 per hour Slovakian nanny ?

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    It is interesting listening to the politicians that there are as many versions of remain (where we are able to influence individual tenants of EU doctrine) as there are apparently versions of leave.

    The whips certainly have their hands full. I would suggest that the ERG and other leave campaigns have won the battle but are losing the war as the soundbites surrounding no deal (including the phrase no deal itself) all suggest it is a bad option.

    Even as the whips and Mrs May promote this defeatist withdrawal agreement leave groups need to ramp up the realistic mitigations of leaving the EU under pre-existing WTO terms which work for us with the majority of other countries.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Ramp up discussion/presentation of the realistic mitigations

  11. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, following the Brexit talks and the way May used the civil service to get her deal by bypassing ministers, and they way she gave everything away, very few people believe May has any integrity….. So it’s so much easier to believe that she is using underhand tactics to get MP’s to vote her deal through.

    At the end of the day, this constitutional chaos was created by the tory party, but it is up to all Parliamentarians to make sure we get the appropriate outcome – It’s time for decent people to step forward, be counted, and shown to be worthy of our trust.

  12. Alison
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    @Cheshire Girl – these younger MPs etc who probably feel rather desperate .. They will never have a bad conscience if they vote for their country.

  13. Mick
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Why should the view of one woman determined the outcome of Brexit, it’s blindly clear that Mrs May deal isn’t going to get through the HOC, it’s starting to look clear that there is a hidden agenda to keep us in the dreaded Eu , so the only right thing to do is replace her with a leaver while there is still time

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Yep – no business would make the mistake of charging a CEO to deliver a change initiative that he/she was not committed to. The dreadful position that we are in was entirely predictable. Even if May gets the ‘deal’ past parliament then she needs to be replaced by a Leaver who we can trust to extricate this country from the Remainers’ spider’s web.

    • Steve
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Mick

      I wouldn’t bank on May’s deal getting stopped by HoC. I think she will dish out enough peerages and promotions to get it through. Highly illegal of course, with such acts amounting to bribery in public office. but don’t expect any arrests.

      Everyone knows the majority of MP’s are ‘open for business’ They’ll stab us in the back just as May did. In fact they even stab each other in the back – ask Gove.

  14. oldtimer
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Paul Goodman has offered some light relief on this with his fictional letter from Prufock, an MP who clearly lacks your sense of propriety.

    On the subject of lobbying I would be surprised if MPs were not contacted by their party members and other constituents to offer their views. I know of at least one MP who has received an earful. I have not written to my MP on the issue – he is a Remainer who is against it so I have saved my postage. No doubt he is as shocked as I am at Mrs May’s reported refusal to publish the AG’s legal advice. She is an existential threat to Parliament and to the Conservative party.

  15. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    If I were an MP I would be inclined to tape-record all conversations with the whips at times like these.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      tut no, only whistleblowers and leakers can get away with that, have you ever noticed no-one is ever prosecuted for breaching the official secrets act they all sign in these top positions.

      • David Price
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        As far as I am aware you sign the OSA to confirm you have read it but you are bound by it whether you have read it or not, signed it or not.

    • formula57
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      @ Nicholas Murphy – But then the whips might do the same!

  16. Jiminyjim
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    It is time, Mr Redwood, that the ‘political class’ in this country realised that the ‘game is up’. What is needed in Parliament are people like you who will follow your own judgment rather than those who will tow the party line in order to gain ministerial office. To threaten to hold back a promotion, or to suggest that the way to a ministerial post is to do what the Whips say, is little more than bullying and bribery and it needs to stop, even if the rottn system does not promise honours for towing the line. We have far too many people in parliament who would sell their own grandmothers in order to obtain a ministeial post, or remain in one.

  17. A different Simon
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Should be interesting to see which member of the awkward squad the whips throw to the wolves to make the others fall in line .

  18. Shieldsman
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    There is little doubt the Part membership is against this dreadful vassalage WA.
    Who got herself in this corner, no one but the PM and her sherpa’s (Ollie).
    Her rushing around the Country is a waste of time, the Public do not have a vote on the WA, it is up to Parliament.
    Didn’t the May say ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’.
    I wrote to my MP saying, I am retaining my membership so I can vote Theresa May out of office. But after that maybe not.

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    It (the political declaration) is not legally binding but it is “politically binding” said Philip Hammond just now on radio 4. He says that May’s deal will be “slightly detrimental to the economy” compared to remain. Politically binding! What planet is Hammond on?

    The most detrimental thing for the economy currently is Hammond giving us the highest taxes for nearly 40 years, absurd and costly fiscal complexity, the endless red tape, the total lack of pro business vision from the May/Hammond government, the threat of Corbyn they incubate, the endless mugging of landlords, tenants, pension pots, risk takes, hard workers and the rest, banks that are misdirected, uncompetitive and highly restricted.

    This combined with massive waste and misdirection in the bloated but largely inept state sector. As an example of this incompetence :- “Experts say 10000 lives a year could be saved if England was as good as the best-performing nations on cancer”. Or to put it another way 10,000 people PA are dying due to the second rate largely inept NHS (and that is just in cancer care). Yet Jeremy Hunt for 5+ years did nothing to change it – just kept saying sorry for this and sorry for that….

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46349989

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      It seems that this “politically binding” declaration also controls state aid and makes the ECJ the ruler (above the UK government) on state aid issues.

      The more one reads it the more of Theresa’s Lies exposed. How can they keep lying with a straight face. What on earth does this daft robot think will be gained by her having a debate with Corbyn? She is incapable of thinking on the feet. She will doubtless just repeat he endless lies and set phrases like a stuck Darlek.

      From Theresa May’s letter of lies:-

      “It will honour the result of the referendum.
      “We will take back control of our borders, by putting an end to the free movement of people once and for all.
      “Instead of an immigration system based on where a person comes from, we will build one based on the skills and talents a person has to offer.
      “We will take back control of our money, by putting an end to vast annual payments to the EU.
      “Instead, we will be able to spend British taxpayers’ money on our own priorities, like the extra £394 million per week that we are investing in our long-term plan for the NHS.
      “And we will take back control of our laws, by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK

      Sure dear, have you actually read it!

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Alex Barker in FT reports on EU buoyed by advantages hard wired into withdrawal agreement. https://www.ft.com/content/8b4c387e-f181-11e8-ae55-df4bf40f9d0d
    Hopefully the whipping will have no effect and MPs will save the UK… hopefully.

  21. Christine
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    May and Barnier knew from the start this Withdrawal Agreement would be voted down by MPs. This is a classic ruse. Make a deal so bad everyone is horrified. Next May wins some minor concessions after it is defeated. The agreement gets through on the second vote as everyone is so relieved the backstop is gone. May get her BRINO through Parliament. The public see it for what it is. Labour gets elected. Corbyn trashes the economy. Brexit gets blamed. Second referendum held and we vote to go back in on much worse terms. No rebate, joining the Euro and Schengen. Job done. May neither cares about her party or the country. She is a rabid remainer. MPs need to get rid of her immediately and go for a clean Brexit otherwise the Conservatives and the country are finished.

  22. Ron Olden
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The degree to which MPs can be persuaded surely depends on a number of things:-

    The degree to which the MP is committed to the cause in question, what the alternative outcomes are if they vote one way or another, their age, their career prospects, the value they place on political advancement, what they think the outcome of the vote will be regardless of how they themselves vote, peer pressure from colleagues whose’ opinions and/or friendship they value, their own moral fibre, the views of their constituents etc etc etc.

    Businesses and Trade Unions have ways of influencing many MPs as well.

    I for example wouldn’t waste my time trying to persuade Ken Clarke on the one hand, or John Redwood on the other to vote in a particular way.

    I might however spend some considerable time trying to persuade around 150 Soft Remainers and/or Soft Brexiters on the opposition benches to vote my way or to abstain.

    And don’t forget this could all still end in a second vote in Parliament around early February.

  23. George Brooks
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister is deliberately misleading the general public which is sickening and dishonest.

    Every time she trots out her list of benefits contained in ‘her deal’ she is doing no more then selling the ”Political Declaration” as a signed agreement which at this point in time is no more than a ‘wish list’. I am surprised that nobody picks her up on this and systematically take her statements apart to show how inaccurate they are.

    For two years she has been trying, without success, to get this wish list at the top of the agenda and in this final desperate attempt she is asking us to fall into all the traps contained the Withdrawal Agreement and the Back Stop and to pay £39bn to do so.

    We are now in for two weeks of a super charged version of Project Fear with all those bum projections rehashed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      I too am surprised at how easily she is being allowed to get away with pretending that important matters are already settled in the political declaration, when all that document does is acknowledge them as subjects for future negotiation.

      This is why I refer to it as the “jam tomorrow” part of her deal; maybe I should go further and specify that it would be “cherry jam”, given that the future fulfillment of her promises would necessarily involve what the EU has consistently dismissed as “cherry picking” since the time of the referendum.

      For example she is directly quoted in CityAM as follows:

      http://www.cityam.com/269779/theresa-may-tells-trump-uk-can-sign-trade-deals-under-her

      “If you look at the political declaration which sets out the future framework for our relationship with the European Union, it clearly identifies that we will have an independent trade policy and we will be able to do trade deals, to negotiate trade deals, with countries around the rest of the world.”

      But what I see when I take the trouble to look at the political declaration are two sets of largely conflicting requirements and aspirations that will almost certainly prove impossible to reconcile.

  24. Maybot
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why back bench MPs (Brexit) weren’t insistant on being in the cabinet. You had the mandate behind you.

    OT: BBC this morning on migrant boats “People are desperate to get here.” Yes but why ? Our benefits system perhaps ? France is a safe and civilised country. No-one is responsible for children being put in those little rubber boats other than their parents and no-one mentioned their culpability in the report, only ours.

    There will be the first tragedy and the images will be all over the news. (Funny how we’ve not seen images from Manchester Arena nor the heroic recovery stories which must exist – how those rehabilitating kids must be wondering why they are not on TV being given their moment.)

    This boat story will become a crisis by next Summer, especially if our naval vessels are returned from the Med to speed up the flow.

    • Maybot
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Democracy is in crisis in the UK because we now know the truth about where we stand.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Bob
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Those refugees are risking their lives to get to Britain, even though we may have no sandwiches or drinking water after March 29th. Yet still they come!

      Things must pretty awful in France (and all the other EU countries they passed through to get here).

      Britain is like a shining beacon to these doctors and engineers who are obviously coming here to support culturally enriched post Brexit Britain.

    • rose
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      The people smugglers put small children in the boats for tactical reasons.

  25. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I simply cannot see the point of Mrs May travelling the Country talking to people who have no vote (at the moment) on her “withdrawal Agreement”

    She is hopeless at presidential type politics, as the result of the last general election showed, and given she has absolutely nothing to offer on a trade deal the whole thing is a farce.

    Most people simply want the Government to get on with it but with the present arrangement talks could go on for another two years to more, because she has not even started to talk about trade yet.

    Whatever happened to “nothing is agreed until all is agreed” yet another lie ?

    Why do we even need an agreement to leave, when we have already enacted the terms of article 50.

    Two wasted years when we could have been making our own plans.!

    • Dennis
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Alan – ‘Why do we even need an agreement to leave,..’

      Isn’t the agreement to do with the connections the UK has with security, CAP, fisheries, etc.,etc. not the actual leaving bit.?

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Dennis

        If this so called agreement had much of what you suggest in it, then perhaps it would be a more of a worthy read.

        Given most of the important things TO THE UK are not in it, and are subject to so called trust on further talks and negotiation, which could last two years or more then voting for the present situation is lock more uncertainty in for at least another two years.

        Trust us we are the EU and we want to help you, does not fill me with much confidance.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      They need to build a narrative that there is public consensus for this ‘deal’ so that when the MP’s vote it through they have an excuse that it is what the people really wanted.

      Clever eh ?

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    How many are on the government payroll and therefore obliged to vote with the government or resign?
    I wonder if we will ever find out why Mrs May, who must go down as one of the worst party leaders and Prime Ministers in the last 100 years, was put in place and then allowed to keep her position despite her repeated failures. I think there is now a tremendous opportunity for a new party at the next general election as both main parties under their present leaders appear to be in terminal decline.

    Reply There are more than 100 who have to vote for the government for their various jobs.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      Which makes our democracy a sham.

  27. Nigl
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    What I don’t understand is why she is telling us one think when we can see in black and white, that the words contradict her it is as if she thinks the internet does not exist or we cannot read.

    She seems to be like some sort of mother figure wanting us to accept the earth is flat when we can see it’s round.

    I guess the reality is that she and the establishment are so risk averse and do not want to leave, in effect are ‘pretending’ to leave with nothing really changing.

  28. SecretPeople
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    But the whips know you can’t be bought, John!

  29. Billy Marlene
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    ‘I salute May’s true grit that’s won the deal to save Brexit’

    Read it again……’won’ the deal.

    That is from Mrs Gove, writing in the Mail.

    The Mail, under a new editor.

    Who needs Whips when this sort of duplicity is forced down the gullet of the public.

    Thank God The Mail is tanking.

    • Nigl
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Read Guido and their completely bogus analysis of some survey results. Their one eyed ‘fake news’ approach is risible.

      Poodles together, their Editor and Gove.

    • Maybot
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      They don’t care about print sales anymore, they want click bate and are making money in America – hence Americanisms such as ‘garbage’ and ‘ hack’ and story after story about American slebs.

      Also advertising in disguise such as slow cookers and gym gear hidden in ‘news’ articles.

      Don’t visit their site. Even as an anti you are funding them.

  30. Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    This all smacks of coercion at the very least, if not blackmail. It doesn’t say much for the integrity of our political system, or of the honour of the people who bow down to these pressures. It may be the reality of it, but it’s certainly nothing to be proud of.

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “I have never been offered an honour or some other gift by the whips on any occasion to get me to change my mind and vote for the party line.”

    Perhaps as they know they would just be wasting their time with you (perhaps why you are not in the Cabinet when you clearly should be.

    But with about 70% of lefty, career seeking Tory MPs on the other hand! Let us hope enough are like you.

  32. Fishknife
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Mrs. May has done a brilliant job of uniting the country, both leave and remain.
    Have you ever bought a carpet in Istanbul? You croon over all the things you love about it until the salesman is salivating, then you hit him with the kicker, “Unfortuneately my wife says I can only pay . . .
    After the vote T.M. will be able to say to Brussels “I tried”, “your agreement didn’t wash, can we be sensible now and agree to manage WTO rules to our mutual benefit?”
    Then the bargaining begins, and all the time the EU is getting closer to that day it has to confront that it is running out of money.
    Somehow the BBC can see that Trump has the upper hand with China – because he’s the buyer, but can’t quite bring themselves to see that in exactly the same situation with the EU we’re the buyer.
    Keep kicking that can Mrs. May.

  33. Kenneth
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Whipping a deal that is bad for your own political party is illogical as well as immoral.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Indeed bad for the country, the Tory party, the economy and faith in the UKs democracy.

      But good for Corbyn and his planned trip to a Venezuelan basket case economy.

    • eeyore
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      True and evident wisdom. Would that Kenneth were advising Mrs May.

  34. ian
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    There are 179 MPs in the Tory party that make up the gov, cabinets ministers, junior ministers and chairpersons and then 137 backbenchers who do not work for the gov, every time they vote against the gov they get the black mark against their name or speak out against the gov if one of the 179 do that it sacking a fence or demotion, the more black mark you have the less chance of working for the gov.

    The vote coming up, the gov starts with a posable 174 MPs votes and 5 in the cabinet who might not and then a few backbenchers looking for a job in the gov, as this will be the Tory party last gov ever which is the back all Tory MPs minds the PM is running around the country asking businesses and people to write in to their MP and tell them to vote with the gov or else bad things will happen.

    The Tory party would love to throw John out of the party, but he wins them a seat at every election and people in other areas vote for the party because he is in the party.

  35. Pete Else
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Latest report I’ve seen says 210 Conservative MPs will vote for Mays agreement. That’s 210 MPs that do not represent their constituency. We are left relying on the Labour Party to stop this appalling travesty. So much for Tory Euro scepticism.

  36. cosmic
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May tried a direct appeal to the electorate, based on her personality and air of authority, at the last GE. We saw how that worked out.

    A slow learner, that girl.

  37. rose
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    “I have even seen it claimed some are offered peerages.” Astonishing how these grossly overpaid television presenters can’t tell the difference between a knighthood and a peerage.

    It is also sickening how they keep telling us Mrs May is resilient, as if that is all that is needed to govern a country. We are supposed to admire her for that, and fall in with her plan. What is the use of resilience if it is perverted to the wrong end? If there is no judgement, no wisdom, no intelligence, no honour, no truth – and the wrong strategy?

    An Nrthern Irish fisherman said yesterday: “Mrs May’s promises are like pastry crust: they are easily broken.” You can’t fool an Ulsterman, and she shouldn’t have tried.

  38. ian
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May has caved in and is going to allow MPs in parliament amendment on the withdrawal bill before voting on it, this could change the bill from what was agreed with EU if this happens and if EU does not agree to the changes then its no deal Brexit.
    Most MPs want a Norway plus deal instead of Mrs May deal but the EU is saying it will not change the PM deal.

    As for the GDP gap of 3.9 % down with Mrs May deal and 9.3 down with WTO deal, it just means that businesses, people and the gov will have to work harder and smarter to bring GDP back to zero that’s if these numbers are right, myself, I would put it the other way round.

  39. Stred
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    BBC news headline is that the economy will shrink if we leave the EU and 3 times more if we do so without a deal. Andrew Neil debunked it but why bother to listen to your own?

    Next item: the roads and Dover will clog up. A person from British Ports says they are forbidden from reporting. Presumably another non-disclosure order? Brexiteer ministers who have resigned say that another ten customs booths would solve any problem, but we can’t find out whether they have even been ordered. In the Spectator Sept edition there is an interview with Remainer David Lidlington, the PM’s right hand man, who has been put in charge of preparing for Brexit. No mention of what has been prepared.

    We need some spies in lorries to tell us what they are up to..

  40. Stred
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Brexit WTO

  41. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    We need a General Election and a Labour government. We need a PM who believes in Brexit. We need a PM who needs us out of the EU so he can get on with a mass program of borrowing and state subsidy. We need Jeremy Corbyn as PM.

    I will be voting Labour next time. First time since 1974.

  42. Mike Wilson
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Is there no mechanism to canvass the views of Conservative Party members on this matter? After all, if you end up with no members, you end up with no Party. Surely every Tory MP realises this – or do they just think they can ignore the views of the members and carry on as they want? Time, surely, for a reminder of who is in charge.

    In the Tory Party, what is the process to deselect a MP?

  43. den
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Such unscrupulous tactics are utilised by the Brussels mafia no doubt. Though in the case of Greece, it was given an offer they could not refuse. Ditto Italy when an EU appointed PM was thrust upon them. Why do people insist that we remain part of their wretched cabal?

  44. LucasH
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May knows what’s best for us, I have heard she has only to look into her heart to know what’s best for the British people. All according to Ripley’s believe it or not

  45. Steve
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Pete Else

    “So much for Tory Euro scepticism.”

    Yeah total BS isn’t it.

  46. margaret howard
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    If everybody is so incorruptible what are whips for?

    Was paying £1bn in Danegeld to an unsavoury party like the DUP just normal political expediency, not bribery?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

      The money was not given to the DUP
      More fake news from you.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted November 28, 2018 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      margaret

      We have paid more to worse people. !
      Just look at how some of our so called foreign aid is spent.

      I do however agree with you, politics can be a dirty business at times !

      Perhaps it is getting worse, perhaps with the Internet more of what used to happen is now being exposed for more to see.

  47. Tracy Bean
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    If you can understand the chagrin of MPs when another MP tries to persuade voters to vote ‘over their heads’, surely you can also understand how aggrieved the public would be when party whips succeed in persuading MPs to toe the party line, regardless of their constituents views!! It renders the public views redundant, and is wholly undemocratic.

  48. Davies
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Someone explained to me the other day how they deal with political issues in Switzerland.

    I’m starting to think that their system is quite plausible and something we should be looking at adopting.

    We know the eu commission is opaque but this pm is not doing a lot for the reputation of our democracy in the way she and her small band of cronies are behaving at the moment

  49. Steve
    Posted November 28, 2018 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    As predicted by our host, project fear is revving up again.

    Carney is at it, and we have Survation interfering.

  • About John Redwood


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

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