How do I represent my constituents on the issue of our exit from the EU?

A whole series of emails are arriving in my email box and doubtless in the email boxes of other MPs drafted to ask How will I represent the constituent, given their view. There are different versions, with some of the drafts used by people who want to leave, some who wish to remain, and some who want a second referendum. Some are individually worded by constituents. There are several different views, but an MP of course only has one vote.

There is, however, common ground in the vast majority of the emails I receive. Whether coming from Remain or Leave supporters, the big majority dislike the Withdrawal Agreement. Both sides sees this as an attempted compromise which suits few. Both see the Agreement turns us into a rule taker and bill payer. It removes our bargaining levers by legally binding us to give the EU what it wants before we have secured what we might like. Most people see this rightly as a very bad deal, with no agreement on what we might get out of an eventual Future Partnership Agreement. Some Remain voters think it would be better to stay in the EU to have vote and voice as well as taking their rules and paying the bills. Leave voters say the Withdrawal Agreement is not leaving, as we stay in the single market and customs union and carry on paying large sums to buy more time for talks.

This makes my task that much easier. My judgement has been throughout that this Agreement has to be voted down. In the light of the extensive correspondence I have received I do not have to worry about whether I am speaking for my constituents in so doing, as a majority tell me they too want it voted down. The question of what we should then do produces a variety of answers amongst constituents. I will return to these issues over the period of the vote and the sequel to the vote. I feel I need to honour my promises to electors in the 2017 General Election when I said I would support carrying out the will of the nation in the referendum.

The resignation of yet another Minister, the eleventh to go on this matter so far, is a reminder of how Mrs May cannot win this vote unless Labour change their minds. Ministers give up interesting jobs reluctantly, in order to vote against the government. That is eleven more votes against the Agreement so far. It is difficult to see how the Prime Minister could carry on if she goes down to defeat on this central policy she has designed.
The sooner we tell the EU we cannot sign the Withdrawal Agreement the better. The sooner we table a proper Free Trade Agreement and see if they want one the better.


  1. Helena
    December 2, 2018

    What would your “proper free trade agreement” look like? All experts in the field say it takes at least ten years to plan one. All we get from you is this nonsense about tabling a free trade agreement, but never once have you actually produced one, or even an outline of one. You prefer carping from the sidelines to getting down to detail, I pity Mrs May when she has to deal with shouty men with not a constructive idea in their head

    Reply I would table the Canada one with tge residual tariffs in that deleted, as we currently have tariff free trade with the EU! Thats why it could be quick if both sides wanted it.

    1. Helena
      December 2, 2018

      1. The Canada model does almost nothing for services – the bulk of our economy. 2. The Canada model assumes border checks and customs controls – we have no such friction right now with the EU. 3. The Canada model does not prevent a hard border in Ireland. 4. The Canada model assumes non tariff barriers – all dealt with right now in the EU.

      D minus. John must try harder.

      1. Richard1
        December 2, 2018

        Aside from financial passporting – which we should of course include in an FTA, maybe trading against zero tariffs on cars or access to fish if need be – the EU does almost nothing for services. We go round in circles on customs and border checks and the Irish border. Any needed customs checks and declarations can be done away from the border(s) as they are now for non-EU trade. This has been explained extensively. The EU has cleverly chosen to ignore such explanations and our govt has foolishly done the same.

        1. Hope
          December 2, 2018

          JR, facts4eu highlight the agreements and costs agreed and signed by May for defence, Pesco which have not been fully reported to parliament even when being the main item at EU council where May attended. These agreements by her after we voted to leave which will cost Us Taxpayers’ a fortune.

          Also article 89 (86&87) of her accession treaty named Withdrawal agreement makes it abundantly clear the ECJ will rule over us far after we leave under May’s plans. Nor does May state when ECJ will stop applying to EU citizens or descendants living in the U.K. After we leave. Compare to May’s statement after Lancaster and once again her lies about taking control of laws are laid bare.

          Fox has taken May’s lead at Portbury Docks yesterday spouting all sorts of rubbish and falsehoods, some would lies, about trade deals. He knows perfectly well that the UK will not be able to sign free trade deals with any country it wishes and on whatever terms it chooses on 30/03/2019 after leave. His speech was pure deceit. It does not state when this could happen or what specific date. Nor does he state without any ambiguity about EU tariffs applying on goods and then sent to the EU after 29/03/2019.

          The static extension is in conflict with article 50. The latter states the EU treaties no longer applying. It cannot be static with everything remaining the same and compliant with article 50. Is Bill Cash right to write and say that May’s withdrawal agreement (accession treaty) is illegal? Could you explain it to us.

          1. Hope
            December 2, 2018

            98% – NINETY EIGHT PERCENT – of global mercantile trade in 2017 (amounting to $17.4 trillion) was carried out on “disastrous”, “crash out”, “cliff edge” WTO terms. Is this correct JR? If correct please explain to other MPs who use such stupid language.

        2. Newmania
          December 2, 2018

          Aside form financial passporting ie the free movement of security the single market allows for the complete homogeneity of regulation and a free market in banking insurance financial products

          What else would you like it to do Richard ?

          1. Maybot
            December 2, 2018

            Yup. A problem.

            At the moment, though, we don’t have a country.

            Someone else is in charge of it.

          2. Richard1
            December 2, 2018

            I agree financial passporting is a benefit to the UK & we should seek to include it in an FTA. The loss of it, if that happens, is a downside of Brexit, which we must hope is counter- balanced by advantages. (It is of course also in the interest of the EU.)

            What is missing from the single market set-up is any arrangement for other service sectors.

          3. libertarian
            December 3, 2018


            One day you might wake up and realise that the EU is a small backwater of global financial services .

            London is the World number one centre for financial services, EU based finance houses rely on the city to do their global business. Less than 30% of UK Financial Services activities are done with the EU.

            Global banking regulations are set in Basle NOT the EU , passporting made some things easier, but equivalence ( thats the thing that the EU has with the other major players in global finance USA, Switzerland, China ) is as effective and will be the chosen route eventually.

            Do you enjoy being dominated newmania ?

      2. Arthur Wrightiss
        December 2, 2018

        But what it does give us is a return to UK sovereignty which to most voters is of paramount importance.

        1. Simon
          December 2, 2018

          The man in the street has no clue about what real sovereignty is or the price of refusing to cooperate with important neighbours. The bloke in Huddersfield sat on his sofa swigging beer and wearing trackie bottoms is not worried about sovereignty in any serious sense.

          Reply What a dreadfully patronising view of people who disagree with you

          1. Hope
            December 2, 2018

            That does not mean those who are paid by the taxpayer to represent us should not make it clear in plain language to the man you highlight rather than mislead, lie and take advantage of his circumstances. May is a liar and is doing exactly that as is her Tory government.

          2. sm
            December 2, 2018

            I can’t help feeling that Simon’s views would make a pre-Revolution French aristo blush.

          3. Steve
            December 2, 2018


            It is the very people you insult who have the qualities that has kept this country free of invasion for the last thousand years.

            You’re obviously unacquainted with ‘the salt of the earth’.

            With your attitude I don’t think you would survive any big reckoning.

          4. Caterpillar
            December 2, 2018

            Simon, Which is.presumably why he would want to leave, so that he can know real sovereignty.

        2. Peter
          December 2, 2018

          Meanwhile Peston is repeating a ridiculous claim the the Withdrawal Agreement will fail by 400 votes – double the already dubious figure of 200 that was previously doing the rounds. Expectations management at play – if it fails by ‘only’ 70 it will be spun as a victory of sorts.

          Peston does speculate as to why she appears so chipper in the face of impending doom. Has she got a final trick up her sleeve? Will she go to the 10th December and then pull the vote before it fails? Etc…..

          1. John C.
            December 2, 2018

            It’s an old trick to forecast a heavy defeat, and then to represent a sound beating as some sort of moral victory.

      3. Helen Smith
        December 2, 2018

        WTO rules do not require a hard border in Ireland, so Canada +++ wouldn’t, most goods imported under WTO rules are not checked on the border, so Canada+++ wouldn’t require them to be, Canada+++ included services and the vote was to leave the EU, not leave provided trade remained frictionless, or Leave provided JIT supply chains were not delayed by 2 minutes.

        F- Helena, must try harder.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 2, 2018

          WTO rules do not require either the UK or the Irish Republic to fortify their side of the border, but the Republic has the problem that it must defend the integrity of the EU Single Market. What seems like an age ago I suggested we could offer to help them on that, not by keeping Northern Ireland or the whole of the UK under EU economic rules but by applying EU rules just to the goods taken across the land border into the Republic. UK laws could be designed to keep exports across that border in line with EU law, rather than the present legal position where UK laws are designed to control imports into the UK and keep out goods which are not in line with EU law.

      4. John Hatfield
        December 2, 2018

        You seem to forget that the benefits of the EU have to be paid for.
        EU membership is too expensive Helena.

        1. Mitchel
          December 3, 2018

          Don’t forget all the other dependencies on the EU teat that we have to contribute to for geo-political reasons-like Ukraine,$3bn and counting.

    2. acorn
      December 2, 2018

      Canada FTA does not solve the Irish border problem.

      JR, you say you are voting the national wish. As a constituency MP, you didn’t vote the wishes of either your own constituency, or your local Council! Both voting circa 56% remain.

      If we have a second referendum and the results are the same, how will you vote then?

      Reply I will vote in accordance with my Manifesto to Wokingham for the 2017 election! It was not 56% of my constituency voting Remain

    3. libertarian
      December 2, 2018


      If all ‘Experts” in the field say that then they are NOT experts they are propagandists

      All it takes is a google to find that free trade deals OUTSIDE the EU take an average of 14 months

      One of the many reasons for leaving the EU is because it is the very worst way to negotiate trade deals, the EU is a dreadful organisation for free trade

      As you lack any basic understanding of trade let me explain a few things to you

      There is NO internal market in services in the EU . 86% of UK economy is services

      The EU is a protectionist customs union , not a free trade area which is why it takes them so long to negotiate with anyone

      The EU’s two biggest export markets by far have NO trade agreement with the EU

      When the UK leaves the EU we become the 2nd biggest export market


      No trade agreements with any of these

      I dont think you have any clue what so ever what you voted for. You dont even have the most basic understanding of trade and how it works

      1. L Jones
        December 2, 2018

        And, like most remainers, Helena is discourteous.

        1. hans christian ivers
          December 3, 2018


          I find sort of generalisation very unsatisfactory and not particularly helpful for the poor remainers

      2. margaret howard
        December 4, 2018


        Your posting makes one wonder how the EU achieved all of that in a few decades because according to the European Commission official website:

        The EU remains the largest economy in the world with a GDP per head of €25 000 for its 500 million consumers.

        The EU is the world’s largest trading block. The EU is the world’s largest trader of manufactured goods and services.

        The EU ranks first in both inbound and outbound international investments

        The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. By comparison the US is the top trading partner for a little over 20 countries.

        The EU is the most open to developing countries. Fuels excluded, the EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

        Or are you calling them liars?

        1. Edward2
          December 4, 2018

          UK GDP per capita is much higher.
          Your other statistics treat the EU as if it were a nation.
          It is not.
          It is just 27 nations added together.
          If you added all the Asian countries together or all the South and North American nations together you would have different picture.

    4. Dave Andrews
      December 2, 2018

      We don’t need a full agreement immediately. We could have a transitional trade accommodation agreement that keeps trade flowing from March 30th. If no money changes hands with this agreement I don’t suppose it will need parliamentary approval. This will please leavers who want to get on with global trade deals, remainers worried about the cliff edge and EU businesses. Just about everybody it seems. Much more practical than the alternatives that have been suggested.

      If it bends EU and even WTO rules, that doesn’t matter too much because it’s only temporary.

      The “proper free trade agreement” can then take shape with negotiations without undue pressure.

      Tell me, what’s not to like?

      1. Dave Andrews
        December 2, 2018

        To explain, the transitional trade accommodation agreement means all tariff and non-tariff barriers are suspended between the EU and UK. Goods coming in from outside the EU/UK would be subject to tariffs when they cross the border though.

        1. Henry Spark
          December 2, 2018

          Dave, this is exactly what Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement delivers! So you need to ask Mr Redwood why he doesn’t back it

          1. Caterpillar
            December 2, 2018

            Henry Spark,

            Hmmmm…perhaps the perpetual backstop.
            Hmmmm…perhaps the ECJ.
            Hmmmm…perhaps the £££££££

          2. Denis Cooper
            December 2, 2018

            It is generally accepted that the essence of “transition” is that some things change over a period of time, not that they all stay the same forever. The concept of a “status quo” or “standstill” “transition” was oxymoronic nonsense from the start.

          3. David Price
            December 2, 2018

            No it doesn’t, the DWA has been “negotiated” with bad faith;
            – The backstop with no firm end-date nor unilateral exit
            – inability to establish trade agreements
            – ECJ control of our laws
            – payment to the EU before they commit unconditionally to anything in terms of future trade
            – likely ongoing payments to the EU for nothing
            – the attempt by the EU to split of NI from the UK

            No doubt May will continue to operate unfettered migration/ immigration and not withdraw or constrain security commitments.

            No to the DWA and No to the May government

    5. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      Well, JR, I don’t wish to give aid and comfort to the enemy but I wouldn’t even try to get a free trade deal until some years after we have left, because:

      1. The Irish government would have a veto over any new trade treaty and would be strongly inclined to use that veto to block any proposed trade treaty which did not have the effect of keeping the UK under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market in perpetuity. Perhaps the rest of the EU would eventually lose patience and put pressure on the Irish to give way, but so far there have been no signs whatsoever of a failure of EU solidarity. This is why the demands to see the legal advice given to the UK government are a bit of a side issue, it would be the Irish politics which kept us under the economic thumb of the EU forever.

      2. It has been foolishly conceded to the EU that negotiations on any new trade treaty cannot progress to conclusion and ratification until we have already left the EU, so if we left without any transitional arrangements on trade in place there would necessarily be a gap during which we would automatically default to the WTO treaties, which already exist and are already in force for the EU as a whole and for each of its member states including the UK.

      3. Compared to the baseline position of the WTO treaties a free trade agreement like that between Canada and the EU would not actually be worth much:

      “… on a simple pro rata basis if CETA boosts Canada’s exports to the EU by the equivalent of 0.18% to 0.36 % of its GDP, as the EU Commission projects, then for the UK the same kind of special trade deal with the EU might be worth 0.7% to 1.4% of UK GDP.”

      That maximum GDP gain of 1.4% would be in the same ballpark as:

      a) the UK’s gross gain from the EU Single Market, about 1% of GDP; and

      b) the long term loss the UK might experience by defaulting to the WTO treaties, according to the German government, about 1.7% of GDP:

      To repeat from that last post:

      “If you asked me to explain why a German government study should predict only a minor erosion of the UK’s long term economic growth, less than 2%, if we were to default to the WTO treaties for our trade with the EU, while the UK government keeps insisting that it would a disastrous 8% loss of GDP, then I would have to repeat my view that the UK government is dominated by liars who have no scruples about pulling the wool over the eyes of the people they are supposed to be serving and who are paying for their maintenance.”

      1. Simon
        December 2, 2018

        WTO rules are not exactly “treaties”.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 2, 2018

          Correct, oh wise one, it is not WTO rules made under the WTO treaties which are treaties, but the WTO treaties themselves which are treaties, which is why I refer to them as “the WTO treaties”.

          “The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.”

          Perhaps you would prefer “WTO agreements”, although international agreements, negotiated signed and ratified by nation states, are also generally known as “treaties”.

          These are the agreements or treaties which will be found lying on the table when Theresa May’s ‘deal’ is taken off …

          1. acorn
            December 2, 2018

            The WTO has no executive power over sovereign states. It is simply a supranational rule-based entity. The US; EU; ASEAN and China, frequently ignore the results of its dispute resolution process. Chlorinated Chicken and GMO crops for instance. If Trump lasts another term, the WTO may well become history; and, trade will all become bilateral.

          2. Denis Cooper
            December 3, 2018

            So are you suggesting that the EU should/would simply ignore its solemn obligations under the WTO treaties? What an ideal partner it will make for us, and for other countries …

          3. libertarian
            December 3, 2018



            If all trade becomes bilateral theres absolutely nothing to worry about

            Unless of course you are an EU country, then you’re in big trouble as it takes the EU decades to negotiate bilateral trade deals that suit all 27 members

      2. Richard
        December 2, 2018

        And Open Europe model similiar at -0.5% (-o.04% pa over 13 years) for a World Trade deal but seemed to include very pessimistic assumptions: a) No new RoW FTAs; b) Keeping EU over-regulation; c) Ignored the saving from ending UK’s net payment of £12Bn+ pa

      3. Mark B
        December 2, 2018


        Well, JR, I don’t wish to give aid and comfort to the enemy but I wouldn’t even try to get a free trade deal until some years after we have left . . .

        I agree. Let’s get trade deals with countries that really matter. eg USA, China, S.Korea, Japan and as many Commonwealth countries as possible. The we can impose tariffs on EU goods and services but not the aforementioned countries. It would put us in a very strong position.

        1. I think the Irish problem will be solved after the next EU treaty. The EU want to get rid of ALL veto’s and go over to QMV. Lisbon allows for most of this already.

        2. Not foolish but just a simple fact. The can not negotiate a FTA with another one of its own members. We have to leave first.

        3. A FTA with the EU is only worth something if they are prepared to concede to something we really want. That, as you well know, will never happen under your MP’s so called ‘deal’.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 3, 2018

          Logically as the EU can negotiate a withdrawal agreement with one of its own member states so too it could negotiate a trade agreement with that member state for after it had left.

    6. Hope
      December 2, 2018

      We all voted leave. Not based on a Withdrawal Agreement that is a treaty to keep the UK under control of the EU. Your party’s manifesto stated leave and leave the customs union and single market. It did not say replace these with another treaty using a different name to fool the public.

      We were also promised a trade deal including Fox, by the time we left and signed the moment after we left. May has failed to obtain a trade deal ready to sign, discussions not even started! This is not the trade deal promoted throughout, it is a terrible withdrawal agreement which is an accession treaty in substance.

      Good to read a large increasing number of journalists calling May dishonest, duplicitous and a liar. It has s taking traction. Increasing your party’s chances of wilderness for a long period of time.

      MPs need to stop defying the public vote and implement leaving the EU. Second referendum and all other claims to prevent us leaving deserve Westminster to be cleared out lock stock and barrel. 2009 dishonesty and corruption has not been forgotten.

      May has colluded with EU to get to this position. This was not a negotiation. May sought Merkel opinion before she showed cabinet or parliament.

      1. Alan Jutson
        December 2, 2018


        I see its being reported now that she is keeping the full legal advice hidden from Mp’s until after the vote, and simply giving a precise of the less important points made.

        I see it is also being reported that we have signed up our Armed Forces to the EU cause, completed after the referendum, and whilst negotiations were taking place.

        May surely has now lost the trust of everyone, apart from some of her Cabinet Ministers.
        A Prime Minister at the time lied to the Public when we voted to Join in 1972 and the present one is lying to keep us in under all but name.

        Shameful and disgraceful.

    7. KatC
      December 2, 2018

      We did not vote for a Canada deal, we voted to leave the EU. We should leave the WTO as well since we were never given a vote on the matter

      Come to think of it we’d be much better off outside of NATO, the UN and all of the other things as well that are costing us lots of money we can’t afford. Just look at the poverty throughout the country. There are old people who fought through WW2 living in damp cold one bedroomed flats up and down the country with not a penny to spare and nobody in government cares a damn. Its a national disgrace

    8. Nigel Seymour
      December 2, 2018

      Are there no shouty ladies?

      1. Jagman84
        December 2, 2018

        I think that she has a visceral dislike of men in general. A bit like my old A level Maths teacher.

    9. davies
      December 4, 2018

      WTO Article 24 gives 10 years to negotiate a trade deal. I think the +++ implies the services add on

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    December 2, 2018

    Your post today John has been written by someone who clearly thinks rationally, honestly and with integrity. This is something sorely missing from your party. What a brilliant post. One of the best. Thank you for being someone we can rely on to do the right thing. God knows why you are not in the cabinet.

    1. Peter Wood
      December 2, 2018

      Being in the May cabinet would be akin to signing a pact with the devil. It requires dishonesty, willingness to collude with foreign powers to damage your country, vote against the good of your own nation, defy your own constituents declared will, and other major ethical and moral deficiencies.

      Surely it is now clear to all, the May proposal has been concocted from the beginning to keep the UK under the control of the EU. The current threat, repeated by Mrs May and her cabinet, and, what a surprise, by Mr. Tusk and others, that the choice before parliament is either the May deal, or stay in the EU! What nonsense! This must be challenged and ruthlessly eliminated this coming week.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 2, 2018

        I’m not exactly naive about the potential perfidy of politicians of all parties but I am utterly disgusted by the dishonesty of prominent Tories pretending that anything about our future relationship with the EU would actually be settled by the political declaration when it is perfectly clear that:


        Freedom of movement? Subject to negotiation.

        Independent trade policy? Subject to negotiation.

        Just as they were in the aftermath of the referendum.

    2. Steve
      December 2, 2018


      “God knows why you [JR] are not in the cabinet.”

      Well FUS, he probably knows better than we do what’s in there, and wouldn’t want to touch it with a barge pole, can you blame him ?

      Reply Mrs May has not offered me any Ministerial job at any time. I could not today accept one as I fundamentally disagree with the Withdrawal Agreement the government wishes to ram through

      1. Steve
        December 2, 2018

        Reply to reply

        Your doing just fine where you are Mr Redwood. I don’t think anyone with your level of integrity would feel at home with that bunch of reptiles, whom it must be said are held in contempt by the public.

        Besides, Ninja Gove is in there with his little dagger.

      2. Fedupsoutherner
        December 2, 2018

        Steve. I didn’t actually mean this particular cabinet under May but perhaps a new true Conservative cabinet. Stop nit picking.

    3. L Jones
      December 2, 2018

      Perhaps, FUS, rationality, honesty and integrity are not pre-requisites to qualify for the Cabinet. Sad to say. Or else our host would be there with others we could trust, and all this mendacious mishmash wouldn’t have been allowed from the very start.

      This is all such a terrible indictment of our own PM, that the country as a whole doesn’t trust her.

  3. Javelin
    December 2, 2018

    At least you will still have your seat. Given the scale of the opposition to the deal you will probably end up in the opposition cabinet.

  4. Mark B
    December 2, 2018

    Good morning.

    It works like this.

    The rEU27 sit down and decide what each and everyone of them wants. Once done they tell the EU Commission that this is their final negotiating position. Notice I said ‘final’, because it is. It is a take it, or leave it offer. No negotiation. No compromise. That is why I and others prefered the EEA route because it removed the rEU27 from the debate and their demands. But I accept that we may be well passed that now.

    The UK government went into these ‘negotiations’ (sic) in the belief that that is what they were. No ! The Withdrawal Agreement is NOT a ‘deal’. It is what it is and it is a trap ! The trap being that we cannot leave the EU, which suits the Remain government, civil service, big business and the establishment, and of course the EU. It also suits the EU as it prevents us negotiating FTA with other countries. It also locks us into the CU and the SM. In effect, the rEU27 have no incentive to negotiate a FTA with the UK and, the UK cannot get a FTA with anyone else. Plus we are at their mercy with the ECJ and so on.

    If we sign this Withdrawal Agreement I can assure our kind host and my fellow readers that the rEU27, and especially France, will not hesitate to bleed the UK dry.

    Where Remaniners see gloom I see brightness. Where they see despair I see hope. Where Remainers see economic ruin I see golden opportunity. Where Remainers harbour fear I show courage. And where Remainers see a ‘cliff edge’ I see endless bright horizons.

    Remainers lack what it takes. They should simply shut up and stay at home.

    1. L Jones
      December 2, 2018

      Remain = What’s going to be good for me?
      Leave = What’s going to be good for our country?

    2. margaret howard
      December 3, 2018

      Mark B

      “Where Remaniners see gloom I see brightness. Where they see despair I see hope. Where Remainers see economic ruin I see golden opportunity. Where Remainers harbour fear I show courage. And where Remainers see a ‘cliff edge’ I see endless bright horizons.”

      Makes you wonder why we ever begged to join the EU.

      In the 1975 referendum nearly 18m (67%) voted Remain against under 9m (32%) voted Leave.That’s how dire condition were in this country then.

      How short memories are. Will it all have to repeat itself before people come to their senses?

      1. Edward2
        December 3, 2018

        We voted to join a common market.
        A group of 6 or 7 similar nations aiming for prosperity and friendship.

        Having seen it hijacked by unelected bureaucrats and turnsd into the United States of Europe the majority of us want no part of it.

      2. sm
        December 3, 2018

        I remember the 1975 Referendum very clearly, Ms Howard. We were presented with the premise that this was solely a trading deal, and in the days before vast and easy access to global information, the electorate at large were obliged to believe the politicians.

        Ted Heath happily confessed decades later that voters had been deceived.

        1. margaret howard
          December 4, 2018


          ” We were presented with the premise that this was solely a trading deal”

          No we weren’t.

          This is an extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

          The aims of the Common Market are:

          Bring together the peoples of Europe

          Raise living standards and improve working conditions

          Promote growth and boost world trade

          Help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world

          Help maintain peace and freedom

          1. Edward2
            December 4, 2018

            No mention of law making supremacy.
            No mention of open borders.
            No mention of a common currency.
            No mention of expansion from 6 to 28 nations.
            No mention of a common foreign policy.
            No mention of an ambition of armed forces.

      3. Maybot
        December 3, 2018

        A) Britain was shoved into the Common Market without a vote.

        B) The referendum 2 years later was on remaining in a trading bloc and not a political superstate with executive powers over us.

        The last thing our people did was beg.

      4. libertarian
        December 3, 2018

        margaret howard

        WE didnt beg to join, our politicians wanted to join. Even after they had there was still a reservation amongst the people thats why the referendum of 1975 was held. It was held at a time when the Common Market consisted of just 6 countries, there was no free movement of people, no single market, no European parliament, No common currency etc etc

  5. Peter
    December 2, 2018

    I have written to my MP asking for the Withdrawal Agreement to be rejected. No reply so far.

    Mr. Redwood is correct that most on both Remain and Leave want it rejected. That must be the focus until the vote. It could be closer than some have suggested. There have been claims that rejection by a smaller than anticipated figure would be spun as a victory and encourage the prime minister to try again after a run on sterling and a slump in share prices. The pizza five show that anticipated Leave support can be turned. We don’t know what effect TV will have or whether May can come up with another last minute stroke.

    After Withdrawal Bill is defeated we can publicly focus at what happens next. Defeat must not be taken as a given. There is no room for complacency.

    1. eeyore
      December 2, 2018

      There will be career-minded MPs who don’t like the WA but plan to leave to others the cost and pain of voting it down. They hope that a pusillanimous abstention will see them through safely. Unless they stand up to be counted – literally – Brexit could yet be lost.

  6. Bryan Harris
    December 2, 2018

    Good points – but not all MP’s will follow that protocol.

    At the end of the day, it will depend on how a decision might affect a career, for some, but any MP that decides how to vote based on that is not fit to be an MP.

    When the vote is complete, we will see which MP’s are worthy of our trust.

    1. L Jones
      December 2, 2018

      Our Conservative MP has already said that he will vote for it, and given a lot of spurious reasons. We believe it’s actually about his career, of course. And he is representing a Leave constituency. But probably not after the next election.

  7. Alan Jutson
    December 2, 2018

    I certainly agree that this withdrawal document needs to be voted down, as it is the worst of both Worlds.

    Perhaps some people at last are beginning to see that the EU is not the nice friendly Club of Nations that it promotes itself as being.

    Mrs May is wrong to suggest EU Politicians are our friends, they are only friendly whilst we pay up, and whilst they are in power and hold power.

    May spent a long time going back and forth to visit Merkel and Macron to ask what they would accept, a huge mistake when she should have told them what we wanted, especially when neither may be in power for much longer.

    The fact that they (The EU) wrote the agreement and “tidied it up” by adding and altering the text and small print between meetings without much challenge, was yet another error.

    Vote the Agreement down and May out, otherwise we will never govern ourselves.

    1. Steve
      December 2, 2018

      ……..otherwise they’ll have to flee the country more like.

  8. oldtimer
    December 2, 2018

    The EU has boxed in Mrs May. In turn she is trying to box MPs and the rest of us inside the WA. MPs should reject this WD and step outside the box, be free of the EU and act as, in their terms, a “third country”. The default position is to trade on WTO terms. Parliament has already legislated for this outcome. (If Mr Fox’s speech last week on the UK’s potential in a free trading environment is any guide, then MPs should contemplate this with confidence not fear). I agree that a FTA should be offered. Failing that we should make the break without agreement on 29 March 2019.

    1. Steve
      December 2, 2018


      “The EU has boxed in Mrs May.”

      Some would say it’s all a choreographed act by a modern day Mata Hari. The purpose of which is to prevent us from leaving the EU.

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      From where I am sitting it seems more that Theresa May has willingly used the EU, and in particular the Irish government part of the EU, to box us in.

      As mentioned here:

      on November 15th one Irish newspaper ran with this front page headline:

      “Victory in Dublin, chaos in London”

      while the analysis in another Irish newspaper concluded:

      “… the UK will stay in the customs union forever.”

      By normal standards the Irish government under Leo Varadkar has been totally unreasonable, but nevertheless I have to admit to a grudging admiration for the brilliant way that he and his colleagues have gone about defending the national interests of the Irish Republic, both economic and political.

      1. Andy
        December 2, 2018

        I rather think that Varadkar has destroyed ‘the national interests of the Irish Republic’ for two reasons. The first is that if, as I hope, the Withdrawal Agreement is thrown out and we leave on WTO Terms this could rapidly destroy Irish exports to the UK. Not to mention the poison he has so keenly injected into Anglo-Irish relations and that will take a very long time to dissipate, if it ever does which I doubt. Secondly the EU will demand from the Irish a price for the favour and that will be a very heavy price indeed.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 2, 2018

          Yes, it could all still go badly wrong for the Irish if it turns out that they have overplayed their hand.

          1. Maybot
            December 2, 2018

            Which they have. It wasn’t exactly beer and skittles for ordinary English people on the mainland historically.

            I have photos of my ancestors living in slums.

        2. Steve
          December 2, 2018


          I can agree totally with your comments concerning the ROI. You have it spot on.

          Personally, I’ve always previously bought particular Irish produce, i.e certain meat products and beer.

          However following Varadkar’s offensive gloating and collaboration with the EU against us, I’ve completely stopped buying anything from his country on a point of principle.

          Also I have a gut feeling that when this is all sorted out, the ROI will cheekily expect our support when they want to leave the EU. The answer should be a firm no. Or; we’ll debate it when you have paid us back the £14bn you owe us for the 2010 crisis loan.

      2. Mark B
        December 2, 2018

        Let’s face it, they did not have to try hard.

      3. oldtimer
        December 2, 2018

        Yes “trapped” us in or “deliberately trapped” us in

        1. Hope
          December 2, 2018

          It was not,a negotiation.,may,gave her plan,to Merkel,before cabinet and parliament.,May’s Florence,speech,was edited/written by the EU!

          She is now acting like a dictator. To allowing questions from the express only giving exclusive state wants if they willingly accept etc. We read in th papers today from Blaire that May tried to get him to,support her plan! He is an,arch remainer and she sought his support!

      4. Steve
        December 2, 2018

        Dennis Cooper

        “By normal standards the Irish government under Leo Varadkar has been totally unreasonable”

        Fine, in that case we should be calling in the crisis loan we gave Ireland in 2010 – amounting to approx £14Bn when you include the backdoor money from RBS.

        Also find out if the loan was on variable interest, if it was, raise it to 1,296%

        That should should quiet the interfering etc ed.

        1. FranzB
          December 2, 2018

          Steve- others have already commented on this – the sum offered was 4 billion, lying in a special investment account but never drawn down, and by contract cannot be paid back by the Irish until 2020 otherwise penalties will ensue- that’s all so the treasury can also get paid interest.

        2. acorn
          December 2, 2018

          The UK gets £42 million in interest payments every six months, don’t knock it. The loan is up in 2021. The Treasury publishes details of the scheme regularly.

          The £3.2 billion loan was to bail out Northern Ireland via the Republic; and, prop up the GB businesses that depended on trade with all Ireland. The RBS credit was backstopped by the UK Treasury.

          Every day now, comments on this and other Brexit Ultra sites remind me of Darwin’s words.

          “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

          1. Jagman84
            December 2, 2018

            You need to have a long good look in a mirror, before you disparage others. Your views can easily be dismantled and proven to be false, even though you will never admit it.

      5. FranzB
        December 2, 2018

        Denis- since when did newspaper headlines become government policy? all we need to do is look at our own grubby tabloids to see the nonsense that is being continually put about.

        Nor can we blame Dublin or the French or anyone else for our difficulties, the blame, if there is blame, lies squarely with the UK negotiators DD and the government. The EU 27 negotiated through Barnier only and not through Veradkar or Macron or Merkel. For them it worked out well- for us it is not so good

    3. Helen Smith
      December 2, 2018

      As a net importer we will be far better off trading with the EU under WTO terms, which is why they will agree a FTA double quick.

      Unless I misread the terms under which we leave in Art 50 the EU is breaking the treaty by not having agreed future trading terms in the two year notice period.

      Friends indeed, load of crooks more like.

  9. agricola
    December 2, 2018

    The future hangs on the size of her defeat. Big enough and her departure can be demanded. I hope it happens because her presence is a threat to a sovereign UK. It would then be in the hands of the conservative party to elect a brexiteer. A parallel with the politics at the outset of WW2.

  10. jerry
    December 2, 2018

    Slightly off-topic; John, can you judge from these correspondences how much support there is for a TV debate between Mrs may and Mr Corbyn and what sort of format? The whole idea, to me, seems to be a democratic nonsense on stilts, it will be MPs and perhaps peers who decide and thus the only debate needed is that on the floors of the House, as usual the MSM try to trivialise a very serious issue.

    Reply Not mentioned in any of the many emails I have received

    1. Helen Smith
      December 2, 2018

      Two Remainers arguing the terms under which they would pretend to leave the EU.

      What a show stopper.

  11. Nigl
    December 2, 2018

    i Hope that all MPs will do the same but I am not holding my breath. There should be an FOI initiative to ask each one the percentages for ang against in their ‘post bag’.

    I see Penny Mordaunt, someone initially hubristic to suggest she could alter Theresa May’s thinking has now, according to her local newspaper, fallen line. However allegedly she was pushing for a free vote so presumably wants the opportunity to vote against it. So for it and against it. Definitely deserves a Pinocchio award.

    Incidentally the question of the Back stop legal advice looks explosive. The Sunday Times is quoting that it says we could be kept in the Customs Union for up to 30 years. Frankly I am now convinced Theresa May is lying to us.

    Another reason for MPs to vote against.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      The Sunday Times cannot know when the Irish government would agree to release us, whether that would be in thirty years or never …

      “And especially the national interests of the Irish Republic, which stands to lose a greater fraction of its GDP from a badly managed Brexit than any other country, including the UK, but which by its obduracy over the border with Northern Ireland may well foolishly bring that fate down upon its own head.

      For sure we would have to be stupid to think that the Irish government would ever willingly allow us to free ourselves from the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market once we had agreed to remain bound by them on a “temporary” basis, as Theresa May now wants us to do.”

  12. Lifelogic
    December 2, 2018

    Exactly. The sooner we tell the EU we cannot sign the Withdrawal Agreement the better. The sooner we table a proper Free Trade Agreement and see if they want one the better.

    Indeed this should have been made clear to them the day after the referendum result. Alas Cameron abandoned ship and we ended up with the dreadful Appeaser May.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 2, 2018

      It is surely the UK’s duty to follow the Dan Hannan agenda and show the EU the way to go.

      Perhaps then France might follow us and reduce the absurd size of their state sector and then they might have fewer riots. 56% in France is totally absurd it is absurd in the UK too. About 25% is the right level (but that would be 25% of a far higher GDP of course).

      Why do the BBC keep saying Macron is “increasing fuel duty to tackle global warming”. Only a complete idiot would think that was true. He is increasing taxes so he has more money for the state to piss down the drain and to further throttle the productive economy.

      He is just another tax to death Hammond type, but even worse.

      1. Mark B
        December 2, 2018

        If the UK does indeed leave the EU and no longer pays into it, it will mean that the French will have to pay more in contributions. This money has to come from somewhere and it is better to start raising it now.

        1. Jagman84
          December 2, 2018

          He wants electric vehicles as well. What will be his next target when that income stream disappears?

  13. Everhopeful
    December 2, 2018

    Looks like Mr Cash has come up with a very persuasive argument for voting down the deal.

  14. Pat
    December 2, 2018

    As you say it is difficult to see how Mrs. May can carry on should she be defeated in this the most important matter of her Premiership. I would suggest that appropriate letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee be drafted ready for delivery immediately after the vote, assuming it goes as expected.

  15. Steve Pitts
    December 2, 2018

    I have seen a report today stating Plan B will be a proposed new deal to stay part of the Customs Union permanently and Mrs May will propose this and attempt to stay in power and to get some Labour support to get this through. The Speaker will do all he can to limit or stop Brexit as well.

  16. DUNCAN
    December 2, 2018

    It is important that Brexit MPs on all sides argue the very important point that May and her underlings, lackeys and various taxpayer funded retinue are not batting for the UK but that they are all batting for the EU AGAINST the UK.

    May and her advisers will no doubt be doubling their efforts to massage the expectations of younger Tory MPs as they position themselves to sacrifice their principles and British democracy on the altar of personal self interest and career advancement. On that basis we can expect to see more hastily concocted opinion polls showing the Tories leading Labour by significant margins

    From my own point of view it isn’t simply the issue of her connivance and mendacity vis a vis the EU that I find repellent but her enthusiastic embrace of liberal left and identity politics. She’s introduced a series of measures and laws that deliberately seeks to politicise the relationship between based on various parameters. I find that utterly abhorrent but even more so from a so called Tory PM.

    There is not argument left to be made only outcome. Leave secured referendum victory in a free and fair vote and we expect the UK to leave the EU in its entirety and stand alongside the majority of the world’s other nations that are sovereign and independent

    To remain in the EU is to look INWARD. Leaving the EU would force the UK to look OUTWARD and embrace the entire globe. The EU represents the comfort blanket or a growing baby refusing to be weaned

    May is an abhorrence and an offence to British democracy. She cannot be allowed to succeed in her plan to shackle our nation. If she does then the UK and its people will become mere supplicants

  17. A.Sedgwick
    December 2, 2018

    I have emailed my MP, the constituency voted a clear Leave. With others we cannot wait to see how he votes on the Withdrawal Agreement.

  18. GnarthAgain
    December 2, 2018

    So the matter of in-out preempts left-right in the voters’ broad assessment of an MP’s loyalty? I wonder how permanent this realignment will become. For an MP of course it is a case of supping with the devil for some of your constituents whatever you do.

  19. hardlymatters
    December 2, 2018

    “it removes our bargaining levers by legally binding us to give the EU what it wants before we have secured what we might like” – seems to me what you want is a cherry picking charter- just what do you think this whole thing is about? supermarket shopping!

    You know the EU and the other European countries have other things to do besides pandering to Tory party infighting- the choice is ours- the deal is on the table- it is now a case of Deal or No Deal- Here again the comment is, “the sooner we table a proper FTA and see if they want one the better”- more attempts at having our cake- They have told us time after time the Withdrawal is not going to be reopened. The Choice is Deal or No Deal or maybe stay where we are if they will allow us, which at this stage I doubt very much!

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      So would that be no deal without any deal, or no deal with a no deal deal?

      If that sounds a bit Irish then that could be because Leo Varadkar is Irish:

      “I think that in a no-deal scenario we would find ourselves having to come up with a deal. We would have to come to some kind of agreement on regulations and customs to avoid a hard border in order that the UK would honour its obligations as a member of the WTO and that we would continue to honour our obligations as an EU member. The point I was making is that if we had no deal, we would find ourselves having to find a deal very quickly.”

    2. Mark B
      December 2, 2018

      First off, it is NOT a ‘deal’. What it is, is a Withdrawal Agreement that the rEU27 have decided amongst themselves. There has been no negotiation. This is ‘their’ offer and we have a simple choice as you quite rightly observe. Take it, or LEAVE it ?

      As the offer stinks, I’d rather LEAVE it and the EU. Knowing what is on offer is nowhere near what we the people demanded, what would you do ?

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    December 2, 2018

    Having seen a letter my son received from one of your colleagues, I suspect a pre-prepared reply has been supplied to those Conservative MPs whoa are supporting Mrs May’s capitulation. It contains no details of dates when the assertions (repeating Mrs May’s oft repeated mantra) are to be applied. Repitition of the nonsense about the fallback position which apparently neither the UK nor the EU either want or would wish to use. The question is then why is it included in a legally binding document? Only a knave or a fool would sign such a deal.

  21. Steve
    December 2, 2018

    Mr Redwood

    Whatever happens your constituents won’t feel let down by you. Everyone’s well aware of who is up to no good.

  22. Nick
    December 2, 2018

    I cannot for the life of me understand why Mrs May is going down this route. Surely it is akin to political suicide. When (and I’m praying for a when and not an if!) this is voted down she will have absolutely no authority whatsoever. Does the EU hold something over her? Is she looking at this as an excuse to jump rather than be pushed once other things come out (I’m thinking FISA declassification in the USA)? Who knows, but there has to be a reason why she is playing Russian roulette with a fully chambered political gun.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      She has listened to the demands of some of the 6% of UK businesses which export some part of 12% of UK GDP to the EU. That is why the CBI supports her proposal, why the motor manufacturers support her proposal, even why the Japanese Prime Minister supports her proposal.

      “The Chequers deal is proof that the government has listened – it is as close to what we asked for as we were ever likely to get – and the Prime Minister has shown considerable fortitude in squaring the circles needed to deliver it. The rest of the government and all of Parliament now need to get behind it.”

      The fictitious problem of the Irish border is just a pretext for doing what she, and her favourite civil servant, want to do anyway.

      1. rose
        December 2, 2018

        She should be required to tell the Japanese PM that he would never put his country into political union with mainland Asia, in a subordinate position, and neither should we in our situation. What is good enough for Japan is good enough for us.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 3, 2018

          The Japanese would never agree to accept unlimited and uncontrolled immigration from China in exchange for easier trade.

  23. Dancer
    December 2, 2018

    Only one thing to do is vote No so I don’t know what all the agonising is about- we voted to leave so let’s get on with it- we did not vote for a FTA or anything else

  24. Steve
    December 2, 2018

    Not strictly on topic, but;

    BBC alleges MP’s considering whether to do Theresa May for contempt of parliament in connection with her refusal to publish her cabinet’s legal advice.

    They allege Dominic Raab as inferring the legal text definitely contains a rat to be sniffed out.

    If so it means Theresa May lied to parliament and nation since what she said is different to the legal text.

    And there she is dishing out rewards, like for example peerages to legal bods.

    COVER UP !

  25. DUNCAN
    December 2, 2018

    The decision to leave the EU was a decision taken using referendum. Your duty is to British democracy and the United Kingdom not your constituents.

    This is not a Parliamentary issue, an electoral issue or indeed on an issue that defines the MP-constituent relationship. No, this is an issue far wider. This is about preserving the integrity and protecting the future of this nation’s democracy.

    British democracy’s been under attack now for many years. The EU’s interference (with the help of UK politicians) in the manner in which the public try to assert control over elected representatives has amounted to nothing less than an attack on sovereign democracy itself and as led to ever more powers flowing to the State and away from the private person. This process must be reversed.

    If May’s WA becomes statute law then the UK and its democracy risks turning the UK into a zombie nation.

    May is the greatest danger to the UK and its democracy since….

  26. Iain Moore
    December 2, 2018

    We have a Remainer Parliament blocking Brexit. This will not be solved by another referendum, what we need is for all the Remainer MPs squatting in Brexit constituencies to stand down and force a by-election so that the people can elect someone who will represent them.

  27. Caterpillar
    December 2, 2018

    So the stories we hear are that either

    A) the UK takes the PM’s withdrawal agreement, or
    B) the UK becomes a Turkey and takes the CU in perpetuity

    Neither of these recognises the referendum result. If May is allowed to table B with Labour’s support, then this will be the responsibility of the Conservative party for failing to replace her. The canal has remained one step.ahead throughout.

    1. Caterpillar
      December 2, 2018

      Cabal not canal.

  28. Adam
    December 2, 2018

    80% of Wokingham constituents voted in the 2016 EU Referendum. Their doing so depended on accepting the UK people’s majority. That majority decided to Leave, & their decision was further endorsed by both Conservative & Labour manifestos in the 2017 election committing to Leave also.

    Some might claim that Remain voters tended to be stronger in Wokingham, because more took part locally in the Referendum than the UK average, & those who favoured Remain formed a local majority. However, one voter’s strength of feeling on an issue is not superior to any other voter’s opinion & voting value. Nor does any local cluster of people with the same opinion override that of our nation’s majority.

    The Withdrawal Agreement is a muddled sham which does not fulfil the UK’s decision to Leave the EU & worsens our status. Leavers & Remainers reject its stupidity. Voting it down is in the best interest of the UK.

    Whereas sophisticated analyses can be evaluated to reveal whether Wokingham would stay a safe Conservative seat in the next election is a separate issue. That should not bear any influence against doing what is known to be right. JR instinctively knows & can be trusted to do what is. The quality standards he maintains reach the highest level of probity, which all his constituents shall recognise.

    Reply We do not know the results of the referendum by constituency. My constituency contains parts of West Berkshire and some parts of Wokingham, so the result in my constituency was not the same as the Wokingham Borough Council result which was declared. My canvass tells me the Remain vote was lower than in the Council area, but I still take all my Remain voting constituents views into account and seek to look after them and their legitimate concerns

  29. hans christian ivers
    December 2, 2018

    The free trade agreement if you think that is the best solution, what are you proposing we do in the meantime whilst that is negotiated over the next year or two?

    Reply I have set out what I would do re tariffs for trading under WTO

    1. nhsgp
      December 2, 2018


      There are no tariffs allowed under WTO rules. No barriers either.

      WTO rules are clear. You cannot introduce barriers or tariffs against another WTO member.

      You cannot increase tariffs or barriers against another WTO member.

      To use the Jargon, WTO members are bound and tariffs/barriers can only ratchet down.

      The EU has been kippered. May is giving away that

      1. Edward2
        December 2, 2018

        Differentiation between nations on tariffs is allowed.
        Deliberate barriers to trade are not.
        Check your facts

      2. hans christian ivers
        December 2, 2018


        Without a separate free trade agreement with the Eu, we have to open our borders for free trade and neither mfr nor agriculture in ready for that sort of coempetetion

        1. Edward2
          December 2, 2018

          Another remainer project fear myth.
          WTO rule demand no such thing.
          Differentiation via risk assessments are allowed.

      3. forthurst
        December 2, 2018

        WTO rules set maxima by product group. We could still put 10% on German cars and 20% on CAP food. WTO rules do not say that the Dutch can hoover all our fish.

  30. agricola
    December 2, 2018

    I think you need to fight for a voice on mainstream media. At the moment no voices are heard for leaving and reverting to WTO rules. Leaving without May’s disaster deal is dismissed as falling off a cliff. Utter nonesense, we never hear voices advocating it. I realise that the media does not like it and shuts it down at every opportunity. If anything May’s deal is akin to entering a black hole.4ftþ

  31. Sakara Gold
    December 2, 2018

    The EU gave us an opportunity to negotiate a new relationship with them. Had we been another country wishing to form a trade agreement with them, it would have taken years.

    We had a chance to negotiate but to come to an agreement in the short time available to us, compromises had to be made. As far as I can see, these compromises have been to our disadvantage. So I fail to understand why the PM is recommending a withdrawal agreement that is so one-sided. Effectively, we will remain in the EU with no veto, still having to abide by the European Court of Justice, having no right to negotiate our own trade agreements and with no financial services industry because everyone is moving to Frankfurt.

    The only people to gain in this are the French and the Germans. To add insult to injury, Macron has refused to allow our continued participation in the Galileo project, even though we have spent over a billion on it.

    It looks like this agreement will be voted down by parliament. Gove vs Redwood for the leadership? Anyone but the dreadful Boris Johnson.

    1. Paul H
      December 2, 2018

      Not Gove.

  32. James Snell
    December 2, 2018

    M Gove thos morning thinks that if we leave without a deal that it would be the worst of all worlds. Two years ago he was saying that we should just walk away..that we need to be optimistic pragmatic positive and looking forward to new deals with new partners..a real performer..liar then and liar now

    1. Fed up
      December 2, 2018

      So does Fox. Bizarre. So the Fox has been shot and so has Gove.

      Raab for PM and our host for Chancellor. If only….

  33. NickW
    December 2, 2018

    There is serious rioting in France, not covered in the mainstream media. Although the rioting is ostensibly against the French Government; the main problem stems from the policies the EU has imposed on France; there have also been riots in Belgium and the Netherlands.

    As France considers the imposition of Martial Law, their Government has to ask itself the question asked by all Governments in the same position;

    “Whose side will the Army be on?”

    Will the soldiers who have signed on, knowing that they may have to give their lives for their Country, side with the people on the Streets who want their Country back and have realised that they might have to sacrifice their lives to achieve it; or will they be on the side of the Politicians who betrayed them?

    Thought provoking.

    1. hans christian ivers
      December 2, 2018

      NIck W.

      THis just shows ignorance about French history.

      The French army ahs not been involved in fighting demonstrations or in politics since the war in Algeria in the 1960s, so your comments are totally baseless and does not tell much about your understanding of history. It is more fake news

      1. David Price
        December 3, 2018

        Hans – you appear very sensitive on the subject but you are wrong in what you say;

        It was reported on 22nd November (ABC News, the Independent) that France had sent troops to Reunion Island to quell looting and rioting over the fuel taxes.

        It is your comment which is baseless and fake news.

    2. Polonius
      December 2, 2018

      At least we’ll know which side the EU army will support in any internal ‘disputes.’

  34. Nick O.
    December 2, 2018

    Thank you for this explanation and the clarity of your argument. Just one point I should like to make, if I may.
    Many of those MP’s who will be speaking during the great debate will be of the younger generation, and nearly all of them below late middle age (under 65, say). This means that they have never – never – actually been members of a fully sovereign parliament. Would you please, if you feel able, make this point when you speak. If MP’s vote for Mrs May’s ‘deal’, they will in effect be saying they do not wish our Parliament to be sovereign, nor do they themselves wish to have the authority that would follow from that status; not yesterday, not today, and not tomorrow.
    This is something they need to think on much more deeply before they enter the lobby. How, for example, do they propose explaining their position to their constituents?

  35. Bob
    December 2, 2018

    @Mr Redwood
    What is the point of regaining control of our borders if we then sign the UN Compact on Migration which will make it a hate crime to be critical of open borders.

    This at the same time we cannot offer safe sanctuary to Christian Asia Bibi because it might trigger violent disorder in towns across Britain.

  36. Nigel Seymour
    December 2, 2018

    “Deal or no deal, the bottom line is that the UK must leave the EU on 29th March 2019”

    Fawzi Ibrahim is a retired lecturer and lifelong activist in the University and College Union. He is currently a national officer of Trade Unionists Against the EU.

    Full transcript is here for a must read –

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 2, 2018

      The part I most favour is this:

      “If Parliament rejects the deal, then Theresa May will have to go back to Brussels, not to beg for any meaningful changes, for that would be futile and humiliating; but rather to inform them that the UK will trade with the EU under WTO rules after we leave the EU – and preparations must be made to that end.”

      But then in saying that I am only repeating yet again what I first said a year ago when it became perfectly clear that the new Irish government had no intention of co-operating with us over the management of any newly necessary formalities such as customs while still keeping the border as open as it is now:

      “So we should now say that rather than kowtow to the stupid destructive intransigence of the EU we will fall back on WTO trade rules and only seek agreements on the practical or technical aspects of continuing trade.”

      1. ChrisS
        December 2, 2018

        You are right, as usual, Denis

        I’ve never thought we could get an acceptable deal and after wasting two years, that’s the position we are in.

        If only Bertie Ahern was still Taoiseach. He is on record as saying that the border is not a serious issue and could easily be sorted out on a bilateral basis. I can see him telling Juncker and Merkel to butt out and he will sort it with us.

        By contrast, Varadkar is a subservient minnow kowtowing to Brussels and Merkel at every opportunity. When his support over Brexit is no longer needed he will get his comeuppance as they are certain to harmonise corporation tax and will bully and blackmail him into accepting it.
        Only then he might realise who his country’s friends truly are.

        The appalling deal May has been offered is a re-run of Merkel’s treatment of Cameron during his “renegotiation.”

        Her intransigence then directly resulted in him losing the referendum and her determination to humiliate and bully us now will end up in us leaving on WTO terms which will cost her car industry dear.

        History will not be kind to her.

  37. nhsgp
    December 2, 2018

    Here is a compromise.

    Offer remainers a deal. They agree in writing to fund the EU out of their own pockets. The EU, desperate for the cash, agrees to force EU countries to accept them as part of free movement.

    That cash also can be used to subsidize EU nationals in the UK. e.g Min wage migrant paying £13.11 a week in tax, but costs way over the average state spend of £12,000 a year. It comes out of remainers pockets.

    An ideal solution, because it relies on consent, and consent matters, not that MPs care on that. There’s no right to say no.

    How many people think that remainers will put their hands in their pockets to fund their wants? Not many.

    It’s all about forcing others to fund their wants. Time for the human rights act to be extended to include the right of consent.

  38. bigneil
    December 2, 2018

    See the posts are getting longer again. Some will soon need to be put in chapters.

    1. Maybot
      December 2, 2018

      Yup. More than six lines and I scroll by.

  39. NickW
    December 2, 2018

    I know Mr Redwood does not like external links, but is a French (with English translations) web site which provides useful comment and information.

    It has an article on Brexit with an introduction reading thus;

    For Thierry Meyssan, the way in which Germany and France are refusing the right of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union demonstrates the fact that the EU is not simply a straight-jacket – it also goes to show that the Europeans still care as little about their neighbours as they did during the two World Wars. Manifestly, they have forgotten that governing a country means more than simply defending its interests in the short term, but also thinking in the long term and avoiding conflicts with its neighbours.

    The body of the article describes the brutal and thoroughly offensive manner in which the EU negotiated, clearly confirming that good faith is non existent and that a punishment agreement is the goal.

    Three points;

    1) Twenty seven against one in a hostile environment can only go one way.

    2)All further negotiations between UK representatives and the other member States will go the same way; worse if we give up all our negotiating rights as per the agreement. Distancing ourselves from the EU and negotiating from outside in the International arena is the only way.

    3) Mrs May had an impossible task; go easy on the personal attacks and focus on the defects in the agreement; defects which were caused by negotiation in an impossible venue.

    1. Andy
      December 3, 2018

      Meyssan makes some valid points. I do think the way the EU has behaved towards the UK is a disgrace. I’m also concerned at the meddling of the EU in Poland and Hungary in their internal affairs which really is ‘mission creep’. The problem is the EU thinks of itself as an ‘Empire’ and is behaving like the worst example. It is causing huge problems and is paving the way to War.

  40. Paul H
    December 2, 2018

    It seems to me there is a reasonable chance that Labour makes a political calculation that its best shot at power is to abstain and hope that the Conservative Government then implodes in a tsunami of internal recriminations within the PCP and between MPs and their local associations. It would be slightly risky, but hard to argue that it was completely irrational.

  41. anon
    December 2, 2018

    This agreement is directly contrary to the referendum and how this can be legal, says a lot about the law and the EU motives.

    Are we now a fascist state ? ran by alternatively dictators from the “Liblabcon does it matter party” or under the control of an EU one?

    Trade deals have been offered by the US and i understand the PM has declined them saying we are not ready.?

    We must exit to a WTO immediately. No further delay. We need to expedite a new strategy, with a legitimate executive and government.

    We must deal pragmatically with friendly countries,allies, customers first.
    The EU must go to the back of the line and resolve its own contradictions.

    The EU and the UK establishment, have engineered this molehill called a cliff edge. Which likely wont be noticed the morning after the 1st April.

  42. John Probert
    December 2, 2018

    I think the agreement needs to be voted Down

  43. Chris
    December 2, 2018

    You will serve your constituents honourably by standing up to and thwarting the soft coup against the people of this country which Theresa May and the political elite are in the process of carrying out.

  44. Monza 71
    December 2, 2018

    Whatever their reasons it looks certain that MPs will vote the agreement down. The only question is the size of the defeat.

    I share the fears of Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove that to vote it down could eventually mean no Brexit, through a defeat in another referendum or at a General Election. However, they are mistaken : that is still no reason to vote for this shameful deal.

    This is very much May’s deal – even the Chancellor is saying that. From her secretive planning behind David Davis’ back to the Chequers meeting and through the most recent negotiations, Mrs May has personally made all the running.

    She has failed to take her cabinet along with her and therefore we are in this most dire of positions solely because of her failure to listen or take advice from colleagues.

    So, after the vote is lost, let’s examine her options :

    If her deal is lost by a substantial majority she will have to resign because she says it can’t be renegotiated. ( I suspect she faces a defeat by between 50 and 120 votes ).

    If there is a General Election for whatever reason, it’s inconceivable that the party would allow her to lead them into another election campaign, given her disastrous performance at the last one. She will therefore have to resign or she will be pushed out.

    If there is another Referendum, she cannot lead the Leave side because she doesn’t believe in Brexit.

    It’s obvious, Mrs May has personally led up so far up a blind alley that however large the forthcoming defeat, she simply has to go. Soonest.

    Get your letter in on Monday, Mr Redwood.

  45. Denis Cooper
    December 2, 2018

    This chart is one great big lie:

    None of it is settled, it is all still subject to future negotiation, and it is an utter disgrace that Theresa May is misusing public resources to push it out.

  46. hans christian ivers
    December 2, 2018

    Quote from David Smith , Economic Outlook Sunday Times: “Lazily attacked “Those who talk blithely about flouncing off without a deal are engaging in the height of irresponsibility . Voters will never forgive the politicians who submit then to chaos, which provides a warning to the Tory Party and ah opening for Labour”

    I could not agree more

    Reply And what chaos would that be? Why do you throw around wild words with no back up

    1. Peter
      December 2, 2018

      “Reply And what chaos would that be? Why do you throw around wild words with no back up”

      The mainstream media constantly refer to ‘cliff edges’, ‘chaos’ etc without any challenge to these notions being published. WTO terms are consequently dismissed without any further justification as if these fears are a given fact.

      The poster above may harbour a similar view and share the same style.

    2. Edward2
      December 2, 2018

      Because he is an extremist remainer.

  47. ChrisS
    December 2, 2018

    Given the catastrophic deal May has since placed on the table, and using 20/20 hindsight, it would have been best had all the Brexiteers resigned from the cabinet at or just after the Chequers meeting ( heavens, they had enough reason to do so ! ) and for there to have been an immediate leadership challenge.

    It might have led to a short delay but I can’t imagine any Brexiteer who would have succeeded her signing up to the deal currently on offer.

  48. michael mcgrath
    December 2, 2018

    No matter what conclusion is reached in the next phase of the Brexit story, one thing is abundantly clear…..The EU has won all the points it needed to make at the outset.

    Primarily this is a blunt warning to any other members who may try to exit…If the UK, the fifth largest economy in the world, can be battered like this what chance for a lesser nation

    Next, if the withdrawal deal does through in it’s present form, Michel Barnier will be the star on the Commission Christmas tree for having persuaded th UK to bend the knee and accept a subservient role

    And as for the 39 billion, with every possibility of stretching the next phase out for years, there looks like being a tempting honey pot available for the future

  49. Denis Cooper
    December 2, 2018

    It’s OK, don’t worry.

    Theresa May keeps claiming that her ‘deal’ is the only one on the table, but if you take a look on the storage shelf under the table you’ll find a folder of WTO treaties.

    All of them have already been negotiated, agreed, ratified and all of them have come into legal force and are solemnly binding on the EU as a whole and on each of the EU member states individually, including the UK as well of course.

    And when the German government commissioned a study on how much it would cost each EU country if the UK just defaulted to those existing WTO treaties then the answer for the UK came out as a long term loss equivalent to 1.7% of GDP.

    “Germany: Even worst-case Brexit will be bearable for EU”

    “A new study simulates the effects of eight different Brexit scenarios on the German and EU economy.”

    “In the most positive scenario with a comprehensive free trade deal between the EU and the U.K., the study predicts a long-term output loss from a pre-Brexit trajectory of 0.1 percent for the EU and 0.6 percent for the U.K.

    In the scenario where the U.K. and the EU fail to strike a trade deal and fall back on World Trade Organization rules, the study predicts the U.K. economy would lose 1.7 percent of economic output over the long-term, while German and EU GDP would be 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent below their previous pre-Brexit trajectories, respectively.”

    As mentioned on many occasions the long term average rate of natural growth of the UK economy during the post-war period has been about 2.5% a year, so even if we did lose growth equivalent to 1.7% of the GDP that would only be equivalent to the growth over about eight average months.

    And while I am praying in aid Germans, rather than believing the incorrigible liars in our own government, well, here’s another German study which roughly agreed with the EU Commission, including Michel Barnier himself, about the benefit of the EU Single Market averaged across the EU countries, but found that the UK had only got about half of that EU average, about 1%:

    “20 years of the European single market: growth effects of EU integration”

    Germany had done comparatively well out of it, the UK not so well, others worse.

  50. George Brooks
    December 2, 2018

    We are witnessing the next phase of the biggest political ‘con’ trick’ of modern times and as Duncan said in his 842am comment Mrs May and her retinue are all batting for the EU against the UK.
    1 The Political Declaration that the PM has been trying to deceive us with as a ”signed agreement” is no more than a wish list that could have been written in April/May 2017.
    2 To accept the Withdrawal Agreement ties us in to a 21 month ‘Transition period’ during which we can not sign or implement any trade deals with any country inside or outside the EU.
    3 30th March 2019 (4 months from now) we are able to start discussions on our future trading with the EU during which any of the 27 states have the right to intervene and/or veto. France has already thrown down the gauntlet on fishing and threatened to delay the discussions. (queue left:- Gove to ‘roll over’ after a short period of protestation!!)
    4 The chances of reaching a deal by December 2020 based on the last 2 years progress is zero
    5 We then have the option of a short extension to ‘transition’ or the Back Stop from which there is no unilateral route of escape We will be tied in until the EU says we can leave.
    6 The PM states that she does not wish to use the Back Stop. Based on her record of keeping to her desires and promises over the last two years it is a racing certainty that is exactly where she will end up.

    All of this is part of a huge political con’ trick concocted by the Remainers ably assisted by their colleagues in Cabinet to dupe us into accepting this despicable agreement. No one in their right mind could have come back to Parliament with such an agreement. Their plan has to be to push us up the Back Stop cul-de-sac and then hope Brexit becomes a forgotten aspiration of the past

    Lastly JR I would add to your comment of yesterday on Mr Gove, to suggest that the mess were are currently in is very largely down to him for ”stabbing Boris J in the back”. We would have been spared TM and whilst Boris would not have been everyone’s choice we have been deprived of his outstanding ability to pick people. Witness to that is how he sorted London out. It is a gift and I hope we may be able to take advantage of it at some stage in the future

  51. Two bricks
    December 2, 2018

    Your Constituency, like all MPs, in regard to the Referendum permission given by MPs themselves is the Constituency of the United Kingdom.
    That should have been made clear prior to the referendum vote. It wasn’t.
    So, MPs are in a dilemma, other things being equal.

    A number of MPs have chosen to put to one side of what their Constituency voted.Others have chosen to say they are voting now in line with their Constituency voters.
    It all sounds disingenuous, generally.

    Referendum politics could never be the normal politics. MPs should gave realised this.
    But they are where they are.

    They could end up speaking with high pitched voices whatever they choose to do now.

  52. DUNCAN
    December 2, 2018

    Someone tell this PM that there aren’t variants of Brexit. Brexit is Brexit not Norway style Brexit, Soft-Brexit or indeed Hard-Brexit

    I am weary with her propaganda, lies and manipulations. She’s working hard to pull the wool over the eyes of those who may struggle to understand the political and legal relationship between UK-EU membership and an independent, sovereign UK

    We’re not interested in compromise deals that allow the EU a degree of interference in our affairs or provide the EU mechanisms to impose limits on UK tax policy and liberalisation rules.

    Get us out of the EU. Liberalise the UK economy. Slash business and incomes taxes and let’s get those FTA’s signed with non-EU countries like the US and other nations

    Oh, and kick this vile PM into touch

    1. Maybot
      December 2, 2018

      Plus she is not ‘strong and stoical’. She is working to her brief and getting full support out of sight. No wonder she could do a jaunty jig at conference.

  53. Pragmatist
    December 2, 2018

    People change their minds. Even MPs seem to be human.
    What remainer MPs should realise is that should we fail to leave the EU now, then if they years into the future decide they wish out of the EU it will in practial terms be impossible. The interlinkages good or bad will mean, economically, that the electorate would not tolerate it.
    War would be the only option left, however unlikely that may seem now.

    One can imagine a State of the USA actually trying to break away from the United States. In theory it can. In theory. Yes in theory.

    There is a movement in California for Independence. They can move as much as they wish. If bribery and muck-raking does not defeat it then harsher meaures will be taken if need be. It would be naive to think otherwise.

    So, how was is it for Remainers while as they smoke their EU cigarette two minutes afterwards? Will she get fed up with it ten years hence?Or in most cases fed up every day except birthdays and Christmasses and begrudgingly, and as a favour expectant of a new three piece suite ( already paid for.)????

    1. Polonius
      December 2, 2018

      Remainers seem to think that life returns to normal if we remain in the EU and democracy is ignored. They are in for a rude awakening. Everything will change.

  54. Chewy
    December 2, 2018

    Hallelujah. I like the comment regarding it would be hard for Theresa May to continue following a heavy defeat to her flagship policy. It shouldn’t be forgotten that it was her inept manifesto and performance that produced the parliamentary arithmetic that she now faces, although I think the denying her of a clear majority was in hindsight a good call collectively by the electorate.
    At least Leaver Conservative MPs shouldn’t be caught cold like last time and it needs to be made loud and clear by MPs such as yourself that the next PM has to be someone who backed Leave from outside the current cabinet. It wouldn’t be suitable for anyone who backed this agreement to be PM at this time. Failing this both party and country will look like a joke. And yes people always say that a Leave supporting PM will have to deal with the sane maths. All the more importance to have someone at the top and in No 11, who’s doing something they believe in rather than furfilling a mandate in a lacklustre way.

  55. L Jones
    December 2, 2018

    It is disquieting that, even on a site like this, there are so many who are fixated on trade as if it were the be-all and end-all of Brexit.

    Our Government has done a good job with its smoke and mirrors, making nearly everyone take their eye off the real ball. And the real goal.

  56. Chris
    December 2, 2018

    I believe your constituents should have the shocking truth about May’s WA made clear to them viz. the reported suppression by May of the legal advice about her deal (which would have revealed the real truth behind the customs union trap). No MP should support a PM who does this. It is disgraceful:
    “Theresa May ordered suppression of document warning of true consequences of Brexit – claim

    THERESA May is hiding the truth about her Brexit deal from MPs and Britons by refusing to release the publication of legal advice because it clearly states the UK could be trapped “indefinitely” in the EU’s customs union, senior ministers have claimed….”

  57. Maybot
    December 2, 2018

    Your *constituents* are the people who voted for you. Be assured that no quarter is shown to conservative people when the others get in.

  58. den
    December 2, 2018

    As always, sound, logical argument from JR. How anyone can believe this is a good deal for our country is mind boggling. Even laypersons like me can read and conclude that it is completely ambiguous (Possibly, deliberately so) and full of wishy washy words like “Best endeavours” and ‘Meaningful’. An eminent QC in EU Law has already declared the Agreement “Legally Unenforceable” and that appears to be the conclusion of the majority of MPs who have expressed their concerns.
    To me, if it is ambiguous and/or unenforceable, it is worthless as a binding legal document and therefore it should be of no surprise to us that Brussels themselves, have ordered every EU member Nation to ACCEPT it. They are not stupid. They can see that the Mrs May “Super” plan gives them £39 Billions of British Taxpayers cash in return for nothing but binding future British subservience to the Brussels cabal.
    Even the Remainer idea of requiring a say on future EU Laws is but a sneeze in a gale. Our Representation on the European Commission is just One person, the same as micro Malta and every other Member State. We are One of only Twenty Eight who can propose changes and create new EU laws. When we try to get the massive EU budget reduced, we are outvoted by the very people who are net recipients of EU money = Our Money. Britain has been voted down on each proposals for the last 50+ such attempts.
    As the Festive Season is coming soon, it is fitting to remember that in the EU, the turkeys are allowed to vote against a British Christmas.
    Perhaps those die-hard Remainers should remember this when they tuck into their Christmas dinners from Norfolk.

  59. rose
    December 2, 2018

    We need Mr Redwood for Chancellor. Boris would make a good PM and so would various others. We must just make sure we don’t get landed with the so called DPM or another token woman.

  60. Pragmatist
    December 2, 2018

    BBC News at 8.10pm of Paris coverage are different from the many individual videos on social media. Criticism of social media for allowing people to communicate

    BBC…no videos of police officers standing in file taking their helmets off and singing their national anthem with demonstrators. No videos of what appears to be a 100 man firestation of firefighters turning their backs on “important” people and marching away in file revealing a protest sign several metres long. etc etc etc and all day long Sky News showing past news recorded and no real news on the odd BBC broadcasts.
    What’s going on? Here too?

    1. Chris
      December 2, 2018

      As many have written before, the BBC “news” apparently does not constitute the real news, but instead propaganda. I never listen to the BBC now.

      I have seen the videoclips of the police officers and firefighters tonight on twitter, and I will base my opinions on these alternative sources of news instead of the apparently corrupted BBC, Sky, Daily Mail, M O S etc.

  61. Steve
    December 2, 2018

    I see Gove is at it again.

    Now he says there could be another referendum if May loses the WA vote. And what has his boss said all along ?

    Gove also said there was a strong movement behind the prime minister among the public.

    The guy doesn’t half talk a load of crap.

  62. Rien Huizer
    December 3, 2018

    Mr Redwood,

    Curiously, the course of action you propose here (an FTA -also requiring a backstop btw, Ireland) would probably please many EU members more than the current proposal, which is not advantageous to the EU in general. If you had pushed for this properly, that might well have been the outcome: an FTA (plus a backstop given the Ireland arrangements) plus a transition period and possibly a smaller quantum of compensation.

    But I assume a clean break would please many of your followers far more. And that outcome can only be achieved by making it impossible for the government to conclude a friendly deal. You must have seen Mr Goves’s presentation on TV yesterday and maybe also read Open Europe’s (no europhiles that lot) position statement. I reckon that the clean break would attract no more than 25% of voters and that after 6 months the majority of those would admit it was a mistake.

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