Publish the legal advice

It is normally right for the government to withhold its legal advice from freedom of information requests or Parliamentary questions. Where the government is pursuing a court action to collect more tax or prosecute some criminal or to justify its actions, it should keep its own legal advice to itself to give it the best chance of a successful court outcome. The case of the legal advice on what the consequences of an International Treaty will be before we have signed it is altogether different. Parliament is to decide whether to sign this Treaty or not. Parliament therefore needs to know the legal implications of what we are being asked to sign.

Not that many of us need the Attorney’s advice to grasp just how dangerous legally this Treaty is. It is a Treaty with many long term commitments that we cannot get out of. It is a Treaty which undermines the whole idea of Brexit, by bringing back considerable powers for the EU and for its European Court of Justice. It is a Treaty which prolongs the uncertainty over our possible exit from the EU, damaging business. It is a Treaty which removes most of the bargaining powers the UK currently enjoys when we embark under its provisions to try to negotiate a Future Partnership Agreement. This is not a deal, but a straightjacket. This is not Brexit, but a new servitude.

I am against the whole idea of a Withdrawal Treaty. I voted to come out of the extensive Treaty commitments we currently have under the EU Treaties. I did not vote to enter a new binding Treaty with the EU I cannot get out of. Nor did I vote to end up in an Association Agreement with the EU, which is what they have in mind for the so called Future Partnership. Two Treaties to replace one, and probably at a similar expensive financial price, is not what we Leave voters voted for. We did at least like Article 50, the leave clause, in the current EU Treaties. The two new proposed Treaties have no get out clause!

The Attorney General had a successful career at the criminal law bar and doubtless wrote a detailed and careful opinion. He is also a politician and Minister who will be asked to explain parts of his advice to the Commons under the control of the government’s overall message on this Agreement. Parliament wants to see the full advice as some MPs think the most critical sentences about the Agreement are likely to be played down or ignored in any edited highlights for the Commons. It will certainly be a testing session for the Attorney to deliver enough of the shocking truth about this Agreement whilst defending the government that wishes to sign it.

Whatever happens on the publication of some or all of the advice, of one thing readers should be clear. There are quite enough of us MPs in the Commons who have read the draft Agreement and have serious doubts about the wide ranging powers it gives to the EU over us to ensure Parliament with or without the full advice will hold a debate knowing the main legal pitfalls of this unwise Agreement. You do not have to be a lawyer to understand the prose of this Agreement. In so many clauses of this document it places more burdens and restrictions on the UK long after we are meant to have left the EU.


  1. Newmania
    December 3, 2018

    The problem is its a dire prospect now whatever you do and all this means is we get closer to the cliff edge. On which subject an we just clear up the confusion some of your fawning acolytes (Libertarian..) have about WTO rules .
    “WTO rules,” are the rules of membership but “WTO terms,” called Most Favoured Nation commitments, determine access ( provisions differ widely)
    No country trades just on WTO terms. 60 per cent of UK exports are to the EU and to the more than 60 countries with which the EU has FTAs. Additionally , the EU has other bilateral agreements, for example about 20/22 with the US, a number of which affect trade. The UK will be going back to the stone age alone

    1. eeyore
      December 3, 2018

      What cliff edge? There is a wide gentle shoreline and an open ocean, and beyond it a whole world to trade with. Newmania confuses metaphor with reality. “Words are the daughters of men, but things are the sons of heaven.” (Samuel Johnson)

      1. Newmania
        December 3, 2018

        The GDP of all Africa is about half of France ; if you take out EU US China and Japan you only have abut a quarter of the worlds GDP left.
        Nothing is more important than that people understand the difference between reality and words. Global Britain is just rhetoric, we come back to the same problems in reality and we must stop day dreaming like children and face them.

        1. Maybot
          December 3, 2018

          Who says we’ll stop buying and selling things to each other (France.)

          Only politicians will stop it.

          Why do we have to be politically integrated to buy and sell things to each other ?

          Of topic: we’ve had fuel tax issues too but we don’t set London alight and we don’t use water cannon and CS gas on our own people. Yet it’s us you call barbarians and not the sophisticated French.

          1. Maybot
            December 3, 2018

            France does politics by riot, Newmania.

            Do you respect their country more than you do ours ? (I think you do)

            Yet not a shred of gratitude for the fact that we used peaceful, patient and due democratic process via the ballot box (as we are meant to do) to make our point.

            All we get from you is sneering contempt. Slapping the oiks with your wet fish.

            Slap slap slap slap slap…

            You made one huge mistake. You forgot to disenfranchise us first so ignoring our vote is what you’re trying to do instead.

          2. margaret howard
            December 4, 2018


            “Of topic: we’ve had fuel tax issues too but we don’t set London alight”

            Short memory?

            “The 2011 England riots, more widely known as the London Riots were a series of riots between the 6th of August and 11 August 2011, when thousands of people rioted in cities and towns across England, saw looting, arson, and mass deployment of police, and resulted in the deaths of five people.”

        2. Polonius
          December 3, 2018

          What will Africa’s GDP be in 10 years compared to France’s. The EU is a sclerotic, economically declining regions. The future is outside its poisonous tentacles.

        3. Edward2
          December 3, 2018

          More nonsense
          “if you take out the EU USA China and Japan”
          Now you are suggesting that our trade with them will stop if we leave.

          You are getting more hysterical as March 29th 2019 approaches Newmania.

        4. Alan Jutson
          December 3, 2018


          Do you really think all of our trade to France and other EU Countries will stop completely if we leave on WTO terms ?

        5. Zorro
          December 3, 2018

          It is estimated that 90% of future world economic growth will be outside the EU borders. And we need to be leading the way with flexible trade arrangements with different countries.

          You need to get real and understand that the EU’s share of international trade is remorselessly decreasing!


        6. chris maughan
          December 3, 2018

          In 1980 the EU’s share of world GDP (Purchasing Power Parity calculation) was 30.1%
          By 2017 the EU’s share had collapsed to 16.3%.

          Source = IMF.

          1. margaret howard
            December 4, 2018

            It’s ludicrous to use 1980 as a comparison. The EU share hasn’t collapsed but countries like India, China, Brazil are now competing in the world like never before.

            A wonderful result for the workers of those countries to catch up in the world economy and share in the wealth of the globe free from the dead hand of colonialism.

        7. den
          December 3, 2018

          You seem to have missed the real point about the Referendum. We voted to take back our National Sovereignty, so that we can Control our borders, make our own Laws, maintain our currency and conduct our own Foreign Trade deals, et al.
          The questionable potential losses are irrelevant because FREEDOM IS PRICELESS.
          When fighting for our freedom in the past, no consideration was given to the costs of conducting the wars. Exactly the same applies in 2018. We cannot afford to concern ourselves with the maybes and the scare mongering because we voted to ‘LEAVE THE EU’ as written of the Referendum Ballot paper.
          Those who believe that Britain cannot manage its own affairs with its own Government, independent of Brussels, should take themselves off to Belgium for their perceived security. But Beware of the rioters that also reside there.

          1. den
            December 3, 2018

            ” 60% of UK exports do to the EU”? Newmania?
            This is another false figure. Check the ONS data.
            “the share of UK exports of goods and services going to the EU has fallen, from 54% in 2000 to 43% in 2016”.
            This has been the trend for decades.
            Rather a long way from your 60%? Which proves that the Rest of the World is where our growth lies, while the EU stagnates .

          2. margaret howard
            December 5, 2018


            Exactly what ‘National Sovereignty’ did we lose?

            Borders? We didn’t belong to Schengen so had full control.

            The only EU laws all members had to follow were those concerning EU membership which all ‘clubs’ demands.

            We kept our own currency (more’s the pity) and nobody stopped us doing our own trade deals.

            Leavers humbug as usual.

          3. Zorro
            December 6, 2018

            Nonsense – Margaret and you must see this! Whilst maintaining a border control we have had to comply with free movement directives and adhere to EU asylum policyrulings and treaties.


        8. Woody
          December 3, 2018

          Well lets not take out the US, China, Japan, or India or indeed any asian nation and lets give Africa a chance of trading and developing their economy without the protectionist straight jacket of eu trade controls.

        9. Caterpillar
          December 3, 2018


          1) With May’s deal democracy is just rhetoric, it is important that people understand that.
          2) There is no reason to take out J, C, US.
          3) Other economies will become large e.g. India, Mexico, Brazil.
          4) Piggy backing the growth rate of a country is easier to do then penetrating an established country. Countries developing often run acurrent account deficit.

          I think some of your premises are mistaken.

        10. John Hatfield
          December 3, 2018

          EU membership costs Britain about £100 billion a year, Newmania.
          It’s too expensive.

          1. Andy
            December 3, 2018

            I find that most of the people who complain how ‘expensive’ things are, do not really actually pay for them – and certainly have no idea how much the actually cost.

            As a higher tax payer I’ll wager that I contribute far more to the EU than most of you. And yet my contribution is still only around 13p a day – just under £1 a week. Similarly foreign aid – my contribution (which is probably more than yours) is less than £2 a week. To help some of the world’s neediest people.

            My contribution to pensions and other old age benefits is several thousand pounds a year. For that I get nothing. Not even the satisfaction of knowing that the people I subsidise are grateful.

          2. Edward2
            December 4, 2018

            You have used these odd statistics before Andy and they are wrong.
            Income tax is only one tax of many that are levied in the UK on us.

        11. Maybot
          December 4, 2018

          Reply to Margaret Howard

          Ah yes. It was all those OAP Brexit voters smashing the place up, wasn’t it.

          Carry on slapping .

          (BTW – no CS gas or water cannon deployed. If the French are allowed to do it…)

          1. Maybot
            December 4, 2018

            For some reason I can’t reply to MH directly.

      2. Hope
        December 3, 2018

        If Hammond or Carney were a CFO in private financial business making these outrageous false claims they would now be under investigation for fraud. At the very least sacked.

        May has encouraged and supported this false misinformation to deceive the public under her propaganda schedule before the vote. I hope Maps are not that dim-witted.

        However, as they have not ousted May to date it would not be a surprise as they always put their own greed and self serving interest before nation and publicmwho ironically put the, in office, as we see with Fox, Leadsom, Maurdant. Gove was always a backstabber and lacked integrity.

      3. ian wragg
        December 3, 2018

        It looks like May is the Cliff Edge. It’s reported in the Express (yes I know) that she may cancel next weeks vote and try renegotiating with Brussels. Just when are we to be rid of this harlot.
        I hope they turn her down flat because even as Miller says, we come out on 29th March with no deal automatically.
        She is becoming something of a hero to me.

      4. Billy Elliot
        December 3, 2018

        A cliff edge you can’t even imagine.

    2. Roy Grainger
      December 3, 2018

      As the EU has such a huge trading surplus with us I think a re-set would be an excellent idea.

      1. Hope
        December 3, 2018

        We read today that Robbins warned it wa a bad deal against the backstop etc in the DT. Who leaked this and why?

    3. Peter
      December 3, 2018

      ‘Cliff edge’ ? Most of the readership here don’t give credence to that project fear term.

      1. Billy Elliot
        December 3, 2018

        Moust of the readers here do believe in unicorns.

    4. Edward2
      December 3, 2018

      New level of hyperbole from remain extremists can be seen here.
      Apparently, after the UK falls from the “cliff face” will go back to the “stone age”
      Keep it up Newmania you improve the numbers who want to leave the EU with your ridiculous propaganda.

    5. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      The WTO treaties are already there – negotiated, agreed, ratified, in force – waiting to be used as a satisfactory default treaty position. It would not be the ideal trading relationship for us or for them, but according to the German government’s study it would be only slightly inferior to EU membership overall; for us, that could mean a long term reduction in economic growth equivalent in total to maybe eight months’ natural growth:

      Even if that happened – and we could take action to mitigate or reverse it – come 2033 nobody in the UK would be lamenting that our GDP was 1.7% lower than it would have been if only we had stayed in the EU …

      What we need to do is sort out the technical and practical arrangements for moving our trade with the EU from the present, special, legal basis of the EU treaties to the default, general, legal basis of the WTO treaties.

      There is still plenty of time to get most of those details sorted out before March 29th 2019, and if more time was needed to resolve a particular problem then we could agree to a time-limited transitional provision just for that case.

      Your friends in the EU should be prepared to co-operate on that, not least because they are under several legal obligations to do so. Including under one of the WTO treaties, the Trade Facilitation Agreement which they so warmly welcomed:

      “EU welcomes entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement”

      Oh, but I remember now, you don’t believe the EU has to keep any promises that it makes in treaties:

      Which could be a bit of a problem whatever the treaty …

    6. acorn
      December 3, 2018

      libby says the EU has no trade agreement with the USA. In reality, the EU-USA Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), is the largest mutual recognition / de-facto trade agreement, on the planet. It would become the TTIP by the end of the decade had Trump not stopped it.

      “Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia. EU investment in the US is around eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together.”

      “EU and US investments are the real drivers of the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. It is estimated that a third of the trade across the Atlantic actually consists of intra-company transfers.”

      “The transatlantic relationship also defines the shape of the global economy as a whole. Either the EU or the US is the largest trade and investment partner for almost all other countries in the global economy. The EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows.”

      1. libertarian
        December 4, 2018


        Lol de facto, maybe , had not it been stopped

        Get a job stop wasting your time here

        1. libertarian
          December 4, 2018


          ps How many times have I told you that the USA is the EU’s most important trading partner? So one wonders why the French and Germans want to build a military to fight them ?

          1. libertarian
            December 4, 2018


            The data you cite of course still includes the UK as part of the EU. You might want to take a look at the overall picture if you take the UK out of the EU .

    7. libertarian
      December 3, 2018


      I’m not fawning JR, I’m not even a Tory

      I’m a successful businessman who trades internationally , has done for many years and understands the full practicality of trading

      There is NO “cliff edge” this is a made up phrase by the losers who think they can’t run their own lives without being told what to do by some failed political septuagenarians in Brussels and who are gullible and naive and believe everything they are told by the EU apparatchiks

      Trade happens between buyers and sellers not politicians

      We can’t negotiate any trade treaties ( including the EU ) until we’ve left. So in the interim the DofInt Trade has lodged the same terms of trade with the WTO as the EU has. So if it doesn’t work for us, it doesn’t work for them. By the way this has been accepted by the WTO and most countries ( the only ones objecting are the ones who also object to the EU ).

      From WTO website

      #WTO reports that 98% of all global mercantile trade, amounting to $17.4 trillion, was carried out under WTO terms in 2017 alone

      Trading facts
      GDP Africa : $3.52 trillion 2017

      GDP France $2.58 trillion in 2017

      Why would you take out USA and China? Thats just nonsense

      We will have a FTA with the worlds biggest economies ( hint the EU doesn’t)

      USA GDP $19.3 trillion

      China GDP $12.2 trillion

      Japan GDP $4.8 trillion

      India GDP $2.6 trillion ( ie BIGGER than France)

      Brazil GDP $2.1 trillion

      Global GDP is $78.3 trillion

      EU GDP is $16.1 trillion ( i.e. the 27 countries combined are LESS than the USA)

      The USA is the UK’s biggest customer, we invest more in the US and they in us than any other country and more than 1 million Americans work for British companies based in the USA . 1.3 million Brits live and work in USA ( oh look all without free movement of people, who’d a thought it eh) and 1.4 million in Australia. There are 900,000 Brits living in the EU 27

      No wonder you dont earn your industry average pay, not surprised with your level of knowledge

      1. margaret howard
        December 4, 2018


        Did we have all these lovely trade deals before or since we became EU members?

        And if before, why did we beg to join the EU all those years ago? Surely a country having the huge global success you claim wouldn’t have seen a need to do so.

        1. Edward2
          December 4, 2018

          Yes we traded all over the world before the EU was born.

        2. Alan Jutson
          December 4, 2018


          The EU was sold to the people as being a simple trading block where our Sovereignty and complete Independence was not under threat at all.

          Edward Heath Lied at the time, as Theresa May is doing Now.

          Perhaps you are not old enough to remember.

          Interestingly no legal advice was published then from memory.

          1. margaret howard
            December 4, 2018


            “The EU was sold to the people as being a simple trading block””

            No it wasn’t.

            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”

            And I do remember it well – I voted for it and when I think back and remember the state the country was in at the time it was the best vote I ever cast.

        3. libertarian
          December 4, 2018

          Margaret howard

          Oh dear you really have no clue do you?

          Prior to joining the common market we had extensive trade with the commonwealth and others. We joined the common market knowing that the other 6 were not happy about cheap food from the commonwealth, but then like now our ignorant, power grabbing politicians thought they could influence the rest to change their minds. They couldn’t. The EC in the 1960s and 1970s was in no position to aid anyone’s economy. It spent most of its meagre resources on agriculture and fisheries and had no policies at all for furthering economic growth. Growth in the EU6 economies slowed down in the 1970’s it was only 1.6% per annum, well under half the pre-197o’s rate.

          As you’ve been told many times WE didn’t beg to join. Why can’t you see what is before your eyes? It was business, trade or the people who wanted to join, it was a bunch of power hungry politicians, exactly the same as the one who want to keep us in now.

          In 1958 when the Common market got off the ground these were the worlds largest economies

          1 USA
          2 Soviet Union
          3 United Kingdom
          4 West Germany
          5 China
          6 India

          The EU has ALWAYS been a political power grab, its NEVER been about trade ( thats for the ignorant and gullible) . The EU is rubbish at trade, its rubbish at trade agreements and the performance of the EU over the last 40 years has been very poor. The rest of the world has left it behind

          1. margaret howard
            December 5, 2018


            Well, I’m not the only one:

            “The ‘Sick man of Europe’ was on the verge of collapse before it joined the European community. Industry was collapsing, interest rates were spiralling and inflation was rampant.

            You obviously can’t remember the food, fuel and power shortages of the Heath government or the steadily growing balance of payments deficit.

            The common market had to pump in 25% of its regional development funds to stabilise the nation, the highest ever figure.”

            Comment Daily Mail 15/5/2016

          2. Edward2
            December 5, 2018

            Those funds were just our contributions recycled back to is.
            In every year bar one since joining we have been net contributors.
            You using a Daily Mail comment, not even an article, to bolster your odd take on economic history is hilarious.

      2. libertarian
        December 4, 2018


        ps as you are clueless heres some more info for you

        Nigeria at .5 trillion and South Africa at .49 trillion are each bigger economies than 21 of the EU members .

    8. Richard
      December 3, 2018

      Re Mr Cliff Edge: Suella Braverman, recent DexEU minister on a World Trade Deal: “based on what I saw during my time at the Department for Exiting the EU, the plans for this scenario are advanced. … and the Mayor of Calais has said that flow will be prioritised in any scenario, with no unnecessary checks at the border.”

      And a Moneyweek article points out that the 6% of UK businesses (12% of GDP) that trade with the EU have by now incurred most of their one-off No Deal preparatory costs. “Preparations have been made, the costs largely sunk already. … Rolls-Royce is stockpiling parts for its factories. Premier Foods says it is spending £10m on contingency plans in case supplies of food start to run out. EasyJet has set up subsidiaries in continental Europe”

  2. Steve
    December 3, 2018

    It’s obvious; May agreed already to lay before parliament any legal advice in full, but is now trying to get away with hiding the components that would expose her as a liar and a fraud.

    Naturally you’d expect MP’s to be more than slightly miffed at this. I hope they bring her down.

    I believe May’s intent was to conceal the legal text long enough while ramming the deal through parliament……..and then do a runner before the legal text gets out.

    She appears to have been caught red handed.

    1. Adam
      December 3, 2018

      MPs need to be aware of the truth to assess how to vote. If the Withdrawal Agreement Theresa May attempts to enact has a valid rationale then the legal advice would support it: Nothing to hide.

      The collective judgement of all MPs is superior in accuracy to that of the few allowed so far seeing all. A vicar’s daughter engaging in a cover-up might intend prudent modesty, yet there is nothing immoderate in exposing the bright light of truth on our nation’s destiny.

      Reveal all that needs to be known. Don’t gamble; risking may harm.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      Well May certainly richly deserves an ignominious and very rapid departure. The only way to avoid Corbyn is to get a new leader who is not a liar, not a remainer, not a tax and regulate to death socialist, not a robotic fool, does not want Brexit in name only, knows how to negotiate and has some real positive Brexit and pro growth vision. Basically the complete opposite of Theresa May.

  3. Excalibur
    December 3, 2018

    If you were not here, JR, we would have to invent you. A stunning summation (particularly para 2) of the whole wretched legal clutter, designed to obfuscate rather than to clarify.

    We must demand a clean break from the EU, with no jurisdiction whatsoever over us. Has any of the 37 bn been paid yet ? I do not trust Hammond…..

    1. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      Indeed. It is not a deal but a straight jacket without any escape.

      Surely no one trusts (highest taxes for 4o years) Hammond or indeed the appalling disingenuous May. Does she realise just how much she is despised by most Tory voters. The anger against at her appalling sell out is massive.

      But do not worry Gove assures that the EU will not want to keep us in the backstop! So why do they insist on it being there?

      1. Lifelogic
        December 3, 2018

        The BBC project fear is not just on Brexit, even more alarmist tosh and propaganda from the BBC on ‘Climate Change’ almost every day. Perhaps they really do not realise that climate had always has changed and always will. Also that the alarmists foolish predictions so far have been very, very wrong indeed. Clearly fiddled in many cases.

        Sir David Attenborough may have a pleasant voice narrating wildlife programmes but he really has gone totally potty. He sounds even dafter than Prince Charles with his “100 months to save the World” (now already expired).

        Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate Change. (He does no even seem to be sure which way it is going to change!)
        “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

        Time to grow up a bit at your age mate. You are supposed to be a rational scientist not a high priest of climate alarmism trying to scare people to death.
        How many air miles has he clocked up over his lifetime anyway? He must have had far more than his fair share.

      2. Timaction
        December 3, 2018

        We all smell a rat. Ollie and May conniving with the EU and foreign leaders to betray us and keep us in the EU by trickery. Never have we had such treacherous politicians who will never be forgiven at the ballot box. Who on earth would take such a risk on the never ending backstop with a foreign entity and she has a gall to say National interest! May as well break free and set up your own “real Conservatives” Mr Redwood. The left wing socialists in charge now simply don’t cut the mustard and are out of touch with the truth!

    2. Billy Elliot
      December 3, 2018

      Even if there is no trade deal no FTA that 39 bn shall be paid. From EU’s perspective it is their money. In this context EU is like the Iron Bank in GOT. It always get it’s money. Pay. Or cry and pay. Those are our options.

  4. Henry Carter
    December 3, 2018

    I see little need for the advice to be made public. We already know the agreement binds us to follow the EU even when we are not members of the EU. The question for me is how ANY MP can even consider approving that

    1. Caterpillar
      December 3, 2018

      HC, it needs to be made public so that the media stops fawning over the PM and admits the misleading that is taking place, those who are called rebels are those standing up for democracy and the U.K.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      How indeed. But Brexit clearly means nothing to Appeaser May and her remainer MPs.

    3. Alan Jutson
      December 3, 2018


      “I see little need for the advice…..”

      Perhaps so but :

      Perhaps some of the Remainer snowflakes who only read chosen opinions on pro eu facebook sites, through rose tinted glasses could do with a little reality check, and a wake up call on what this agreement actually means for their and our Countries future.

      Good post JR. Clear and to the point as usual.

    4. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      As a member of the general public who is being made one of the (mostly unwilling) objects of a publicly-funded government publicity campaign to put public pressure on MPs to vote for the government’s proposal I feel that I too have a right to see the legal advice on that proposal, advice that has been provided at public expense, so I want it published widely and in full.

      Not just shared in part with some or all MPs on a strictly confidential basis, as might be sufficient in some other cases, but published widely and in full so that all those members of the public who are about to fill out a Daily Mail coupon can have a better idea of what rubbish they are supporting.

    5. Steve
      December 3, 2018

      Henry Carter

      “I see little need for the advice to be made public”

      You have a point, Henry, but the reason is to expose May’s treachery before parliament and people, thus weakening her position.

      Though I wouldn’t put it past the woman to get an injunction to keep it a secret. She will absolutely not admit to having made a right stink.

      ‘Paths’ like her can never admit wrongdoing. These are people who lack ethical compass to such a degree they might as well have sold their souls to the devil.

  5. oldtimer
    December 3, 2018

    Martin Howe QC has demonstrated very clearly the legal traps in the WA. I find it inconceivable that the government will not publish the AG’s full advice in this exceptional instance. The Daily Telegraph reports that Mr Robbins reported the risks in a letter to the PM.

    May must go. Now. She is unfit for office. The Conservative party needs to choose a replacement who actually believes in Brexit to replace her – and that excludes the Goves of this world – if it wants to survive as a respected political force.

      1. oldtimer
        December 4, 2018

        Thanks for that excellent link.

    1. oldtimer
      December 3, 2018

      I watched and listened to the AG’s statement to the HoC and questions raised up until c6pm. He was repeatedly pressed to release his advice to the government and declined pleading “national interest”. Yet he also said there were many lawyers as capable of giving an accurate account of the legal implications of the WA as he was. No doubt Martin Howe QC would be among them. So the objections Howe has raised were shared by the AG. The difference is in his (Cox’s) political judgment that they will not be a problem. This is naive.

      My political judgment is that they will be a problem – not least in the imposition of rules and directives that are hostile to innovative UK businesses, that will prevent free trade deals and will compromise the UK’s ability to legislate in favour of its own industries. The HoC should reject the WA. It is not worth the paper it is written on. Furthermore Mr Cox said he thought the EU would be very anxious to conclude a FTA. Added to Mr Fox’s view of a rosy view of UK prospects outside the EU I ask myself why on earth should we wait two years or more, allowing the EU to bind us hand, foot and finger with this wretched WA, before we get on with it. Better to reject this bad deal and opt for no deal.

      PS I have read that the HoC has access to its own separate legal advice which is critical of the implications of the WA. Is this true?

      1. stred
        December 4, 2018

        There are interesting comments about the May capitulation and the AG’s answers on this article by Conservative Woman.

    December 3, 2018

    In effect, the UK’s PM is agreeing to our own incarceration and imprisonment.

    That this PM feels comfortable about taking the UK into this deal is bad enough but knowing she’s conspired with the EU to achieve it fills me with despair that we have a leader of this great country quite prepared to deliver us into constitutional servitude.

    I have always found May despicable in her political actions and behaviours but this act of wanton constitutional and sovereign vandalism cannot go unpunished

    More nauseating is the sight of her lackey MPs daring to question the integrity and right of Eurosceptic Tories to publicly express their rejection, disapproval and opposition to this self-excoriating exercise.

    May and her lackeys know the majority of voters do not fully understand the nuances of their surrender document and so they can call it Brexit and no doubt convince the average voter that it is indeed Brexit.

    Those who follow politics in the way many on here do aren’t so naive and ill-informed, though we populate a tiny minority and there’s the rub. May is able to tell a very large lie to the general public knowing full well that the public will swallow it. She is a most despicable, dishonourable politician for thinking she can get away with this.

    She must be crushed and this government undermined to save the UK from a perpetual darkness

    1. Hope
      December 3, 2018

      Duncan, but this was always clear when she was HS. Her record on security, borders, immigration, policing, prisons were all apppalling. When May decided as a matter of choice to give up magna carter and any right to the British judicial system so citizens could be whisked off under a European Arrest Warrant without any redress in the U.K. to some foreign back water like Romania, criticised all over the world for its poor corrupt legal system, you know there was something wrong with her ideology and EU fanaticism.

      Compare with her decisions under Windrush scandal. May had the bare faced cheek to say she followed alabour policy! She must have forgot she followed Miliband energy policy and recently Blaire stated he was asked to support her withdrawal agreement and Barwell, against assurances to Tory MPs, sought support from Labour MPs for her withdrawal plan. May offers no loyalty to her MPs but expects it into return! Worse still these numpties give it!

      1. stred
        December 4, 2018

        May cheated the HoC out of the promised debate about the EAW and abandoning Magna Carta. I think she guillotined it. Bringing back a real guillotine may be appropriate when the treason trials are over.

    2. Helen Smith
      December 3, 2018

      I think you do the general populace a disservice here. Most Brexit supporters know full well this ‘deal’ is a crock of SH 1 T.

    3. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      She is indeed despicable. A daft pro remain socialist who is wrong on nearly every single issue, not just Brexit. If May gets away with this appalling deal she will destroy the Tory party and lumber us Corbyn/SNP.

      Please, please get rid of her now.

  7. Bernard from Bucks.
    December 3, 2018

    “Clearly, a summary presumably written by civil servants interpreting the text, cannot be the same as the text itself or of equal value. Indeed, how could MPs debate something that exists only in that form without seeing the document itself? Who is to judge that the summary presented omits vital clauses? They rightly smell a rat!”
    Sniff it out please John, and expose ‘what we fear’ and ‘what they have to hide’.

  8. Fedupsoutherner
    December 3, 2018

    Shocking! How much worse can this government get?

    1. Alan Joyce
      December 3, 2018

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      FUS, this administration (one is reluctant to use the term government) may be about to get a lot worse. In order to avoid a heavy and humiliating defeat on the withdrawal agreement and to cling desperately on to power, it is reported that the Prime Minister could pull the WA and scuttle back to Brussels to plead and beg for some scraps from the EU table.

      This so-called government is a national disgrace and an international embarrassment.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      Well they might even try to have a second referendum that gives only a choice between remain or May’s appalling ‘leave in name only’ deal. That seems to be the plan.

  9. Mick
    December 3, 2018

    Off topic
    The one and only reason Corbyn doesn’t want to have a debate is because the labour voter around the country will see how pro European the Labour Party is and come the next GE will be wiped out up north, the only ones to get elected will be the London champagne socialist by the southern snowflakes

    1. Hope
      December 3, 2018

      No he does not. He is quite sensible not to debate her. May and the media will skew it to tribal instincts and little to do with Brexit. It is to rouse tribal instincts to gain support among her own MPs to vote for her written servitude capitulation plan.

      If I were Corbyn I would not let her have any wiggle room to get off her off the hook. The momentum is with him and parliament to vote the servitude plan down. This is an act of desperation on her part.

  10. Ron Olden
    December 3, 2018

    This legal advice is confidential to the Crown and Government and it, would be wholly reckless and anti British interests to publish it.

    If any Member of Parliament or anyone else wants ‘advice’ they can get their own, research it themselves, or ask one of the other umpteen lawyers in the House.

    Most of them, including John Redwood, have, in any event, already decided how to vote, so seeing the advice would serve no purpose.

    Publishing this advice would prejudice the UK’s National interest in any future proceedings arising from the House of Commons voting to, consent to or reject the Withdrawal Agreement, and would be available to any MPs. Lords, the EU itself or anyone else, to misuse for their own purposes.

    What if, for example, it says that the UK is legally obliged to pay the £39 Billion (or more) or something equally detrimental to the UK if we left with No Deal?

    It would be wrong, but it would fatally undermine future legal proceedings, if it ever came to it

    Is anyone demanding that the EU itself, or any other Member State discloses its’ confidential legal advice on these subjects?

    And the advice is just that:- ‘advice’. What if it’s wrong?

    The House of Commons is NOT the Government, and neither is it the Nation. It’s there to hold the Executive to account, to determine whether laws are passed, and to sustain a Government in office.

    It is not entitled to compromise the Executive’s and therefore the Crown’s legal privilege.

    MPs are entitled to ask to see this this advice, but whether or not it’s published is ENTIRELY up to the Queen’s Government.

    Given the politically motivated clamour that’s surrounded this, I myself would keep it confidential as matter of principle.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      December 3, 2018

      I tend to agree with you Ron.

      There is plenty of legal advice around and MPs have plenty of expenses with which to pursue it.

      Those factions who disagree with the (frankly awful) withdrawal agreement will still disagree whatever the legal advice as they will find fault with the legal advice or the interpretation of such advice.

      1. Hope
        December 3, 2018

        No, it needs to be known whether despite the best legal advice she has ploughed on against the national interest for her own political and ideological motives.

        May appears unable and incapable of acting in our country’s best interest. Her plan shows this much and it also shows she is prepared to lie to the public on a daily basis to say her,agreement means something totally different from what is written.mwe know this from other legal advice provided and from our own reading of the document.

        May has proved she is underhand and untrustworthy to hold any public office let alone the highest post in the land.

      2. formula57
        December 3, 2018

        Yet publication of the legal advice received by Government may well reveal more about the extent of its perfidy.

    2. Al
      December 3, 2018

      With the media the way it is, do you think May would hold back any information that supported her deal?

      **Most of them, including John Redwood, have, in any event, already decided how to vote, so seeing the advice would serve no purpose.**
      And people can change their mind with new information or discovering they have been misinformed, or be forced to justify those decisions by others using it.

    3. Know-Dice
      December 3, 2018

      “MPs are entitled to ask to see this this advice, but whether or not it’s published is ENTIRELY up to the Queen’s Government.

      Ron, I fully agree with your statement, it is completely unreasonable for the Government to expect MPs to debate and vote on something where they don’t have the full details available to them…

    4. sm
      December 3, 2018

      Ron, I very strongly recommend the new article on Brexit Central on the leak of the legal note (dated 26/11) prepared by the House of Commons’ EU Legislation Team, which is headed by Arnold Ridout, Counsel for European Legislation, and a long-time specialist in EU law, including working for the ECC’s legal services team etc.

      It directly contradicts the Prime Minister’s affirmations about the Withdrawal Treaty.

    5. A.Sedgwick
      December 3, 2018

      Welcome to Corbyn

    6. Graham Wood
      December 3, 2018

      Ron Your post is a self contradiction. You say: ‘MPs are entitled to see this advice’
      Indeed so, but this is precisely what is denied them by the government!
      A summary is not the same as the actual text.

    7. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      Indeed, as on previous occasions we can just wait for thirty years to find out what the government was told and decided to conceal from the voters.

    8. Stred
      December 3, 2018

      If May’s deal goes through, we have already lost. There isn’t anything else that legal advice could give away to the EU. If it proved that she wasn’t lying, she would have leaked it.

    9. Lifelogic
      December 3, 2018

      How can Parliament hold the government properly to account without seeing the legal advice? The public after all paid for this advice. Anyway if the government did not want to release the advice they should have obtained a vote in parliament against releasing the advice or go back and get one now.

      The only reason they do not want it to be released is that they know it is damaging to May’s appalling deal and to May herself.

  11. Stred
    December 3, 2018

    The government has released a chart showing the various advantages of the deal options. The no deal WTO option is surprisingly advantageous except for the Irish border problem, which was latched onto by May/Robbins in order to keep us in, and security agreement. It is obvious that the EU would wish to keep open access to our superior security. The claims for the Capitulation Deal providing and end to freedom of movement are also false, as your article makes clear. They cannot lie about the legal interpretation of the Withdrawl Agreement for ever and expect the population to be too stupid to realize that the written clauses are not the same as the waffle document. Leavers who will join to vote it down in order to get a second referendum will also expose the fraud. The civil service also is working for a reverse vote and has deliberately produced May’s atrocious deal, and she is probably in on the plot.

    1. Jagman84
      December 3, 2018

      The supposed Irish border problem is only a problem to the EU. It is their own mania for stifling regulations that creates it. The WTO says there is no need for a border with infrastructure so our leaving without the unnecessary ‘deal’ is fine.

      1. Stred
        December 3, 2018

        The EU is putting an electronically checked visa and passport border in by 2020. It is presumably intended to prevent undesirables from entering, not tourists or tradesmen. They could easily put the border on the Irish coastal ports and airports, as Eire is not in Shengen. They could respect the 100 year freedom of movement in Ireland. Their shenanigans are their problem, not the UK’s. May is using it to avoid a clean break.

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      Once again – none of it is settled, everything presented as already accomplished fact is in reality still subject to future negotiation, and that chart is one great big lie.

  12. Dave Andrews
    December 3, 2018

    We don’t need the legal advice to know this is a bad deal. It will be voted down in parliament.
    When this happens, please invite the EU to continue frictionless trade on mutual terms for the benefit of all.
    We don’t need EEA or EFTA, our economy is six times bigger than Norway’s, so we can command a better deal.

    1. Billy Elliot
      December 3, 2018

      Dream on Dave Babe. EU economy is seven times bigger than UK`s. We don’t command anything. We just obey.

      1. Mark B
        December 4, 2018

        Take Germany, France and the Netherlands out and then tell us how big the EU economy is. Poland and most other countries in the EU are heavily reliant on EU grants and subsidies. Greece is all but bankrupt.

      2. libertarian
        December 4, 2018

        Billy Elliot

        Once the UK leaves we become the EU’s second biggest market after the USA

        Dont EVER try and run a business, you’d be rubbish at it if you think you can order around your second biggest customer

  13. Richard1
    December 3, 2018

    I think we need a national debate on the cliff edge – is it there and how high is it? Michael Gove gives a coherent explanation of his decision to support Leave in the referendum. But then goes on, in as many words, to express terror of the cliff edge. All Mrs May’s deal does is keep us in the EU but without votes for two years and moves the cliff edge back to Dec 2020. And gives up any negotiating leverage by locking in the money and the EU trade surplus. But if we remain terrified of the cliff edge, any negotiation is pointless – all the EU needs to do is threaten us with it and then make any demand it likes – fishing, tariffs, money, immigration etc etc, knowing that the govt will kow-tow amid a chorus of terror of the cliff edge. More honest to explain to the public – If the govt believes in the cliff edge- that proper brexit is simply impossible however much people want it and however bad the federal drive in the EU gets, as we will be crashed over the cliff edge.

    Personally I suspect the cliff edge is a myth.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      December 3, 2018

      Michael Gove’s (and indeed Mr Redwood’s) leave campaigning relied upon good negotiators and unity taking advantage of our strengths when organising our exit. This has not materialised.

      Mr Gove’s current position still requires forthright negotiation to get out of the Northern Ireland insurance policy and to get a good trade deal. Insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.

      Reply I always said no deal was fine

      1. Hope
        December 3, 2018

        You must stupid to believe anything Gove says. His record speaks for itself. He no integrity or honour when it comes to putting into deed when he advocated to leave the EU. Is his memory that bad? Perhaps his new mortgage too high? One thing for sure you should not trust or believe anything he says.

        1. Narrow Shoulders
          December 4, 2018

          Referral to Mr Gove’s article does not constitute belief or stupidity I feel.

          Mr Gove has said that the EU will not want the backstop to kick in as it is not in their interest, therefore it is of little consequence. A “calculated risk” in the words of the Attorney General.

          My concern is that we have capitulated on so much to date that the leverage this backstop apparently gives us (in Mr Gove’s argument) would be given away. Therefore the risk is massive. Ergo I do not want this withdrawal agreement to pass and I certainly do not wish us to pay any monies without agreement on future trade and cooperation (that suits both parties at least equally).

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        December 3, 2018

        Reply to reply

        I agree, Mr Redwood, you did. But in your thinking you must have imagined that we would play hardball not roll over.

    2. Christine
      December 3, 2018

      So to avoid a possible cliff edge this Government chooses to enter a black hole that is impossible to escape from? This doesn’t seem a good choice to me.

    3. Mark B
      December 3, 2018

      The ‘Cliff Edge’ is no more real to us as it was to our former colonies or many countries, such as Israel, that were created after the Second World War. Plus no other country or former colony was ever required to negotiate, let alone sign, a Withdrawal Agreement.

      Think about it !

    4. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      Correct, the so-called “transition period” is just an exercise in putting off the evil day when the conflicting interests and principles of the two sides have to be finally brought into some kind of negotiated and agreed balance.

      The political declaration says:

      “4. The future relationship will be based on a balance of rights and obligations, taking into account the principles of each Party. This balance must ensure the autonomy of the Union’s decision making and be consistent with the Union’s principles, in particular with respect to the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union and the indivisibility of the four freedoms. It must also ensure the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and the protection of its internal market, while respecting the result of the 2016 referendum including with regard to the development of its independent trade policy and the ending of free movement of people between the Union and the United Kingdom.”

      That does not mean that the UK would inevitably get everything it wanted and the EU would get nothing it wanted, and it certainly does not mean that anything the UK may want is an already accomplished fact as Theresa May pretends.

    5. Billy Elliot
      December 3, 2018

      Personally I believe global trading Britain is a myth aka unicorn.

      1. libertarian
        December 4, 2018

        Billy Elliot

        Facts avoid you then do they? The UK IS ALREADY a global trading nation

        Have you not noticed Australian wine, New Zealand butter, Korean cars, iPhones, Samsung phones etc etc available in the UK ?

        Do you not know that 60% of our exports go to countries outside the EU ?

        I guess not

  14. Edwardm
    December 3, 2018

    What you have described if it were to be enacted is a calculated act of total treachery.
    I also see reports that Mrs May is going to sign a UN charter on immigration – which seems to give immigrants rights but not the population they are emigrating to, by disallowing criticism of immigration – not that will stop any outrage being expressed I’m sure.
    This charter needs debating and the people of the UK deserve a referendum on whether they want any more net immigration – we have taken more than our fair share.
    And our free speech needs protecting.

    How much more treachery is the scheming Mrs May going to be allowed to get away with.

    1. Wonky Moral Compass
      December 3, 2018

      For what it’s worth, there’s a petition asking the government not to sign us up for this. It currently has over 66 thousand signatures.

      Interesting that this compact is getting so little coverage, isn’t it?

      1. Billy Marlene
        December 3, 2018

        Indeed, not a word on MSM.

        I wrote to Adrew Neil a couple of months ago urging for some air time on this subject.

        Heard nothing. I had forgotten that this was the BBC.

      2. Edwardm
        December 3, 2018

        Thank you.
        Yes, it deserves a lot more coverage. It is an issue of great concern to many, and it impacts upon our sovereignty and is against the spirit of the referendum result.
        More and more it seems many of the political class are following an agenda which attacks the people they are supposed to represent.

      3. M Davis
        December 3, 2018

        Thanks, ‘Wonky Moral Compass’ –


    2. Christine
      December 3, 2018

      I agree. Why is she being allowed to sign such a dangerous document? It goes against everything written in your manifesto. When she says her work isn’t finished yet, who exactly is she working for? John, please ask her in PMs QT why she is signing this when it’s clearly against this country’s interest. It’s a suicide pact not a migration pact. We only have a few days to stop her.

    3. Iain Moore
      December 3, 2018

      My letter has gone into my MP . As to how much more scheming Mrs May is getting up to? A lot it seems, in one area defense, the Government is signing up to a lot of commitments on the EU defense arrangement that seems to be writing us into a subordinate role to it.

    4. Excalibur
      December 3, 2018

      Indeed. It is unconscionable that this compact is to be signed without reference to Parliament. The ‘Express’ reports Britain, Holland and Denmark have already signed up unreservedly. Several EU states have rejected the initiative.

  15. Alison
    December 3, 2018

    What I find incomprehensible (and deeply unpatriotic) is the number of MPs who say they will support Mrs May’s deal in the upcoming vote.
    In the past they said they would respect the nation’s referendum vote to leave the EU. Now they are prepared to back something which locks the UK into at least one treaty with no right to exit unilaterally. My guess is that many of these MPs are in remain-voting constituencies.
    I suspect their majorities in the next GE will be a lot lower (if non-existent).

  16. Dioclese
    December 3, 2018

    The House asked for the full legal text and that is what it must get.
    Anything less than this is holding the House in contempt and democracy and the rule of law will have been swept under the carpet if this is allowed to happen.

    Leaver or Remainer, you have to be able to make a FULLY informed opinion and one is forced to ask what is in this legal advice that Mrs May doesn’t want the House or the public to know about?? Something here is very fishy indeed (no pun intended!)…

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 3, 2018

      It slipped my mind but we’ve actually been round this before, a year ago:

      “David Davis faces ‘contempt of Parliament’ charge as he refuses to release full Brexit impact papers”

      “If Mr Davis were to be held in contempt it could mean he is suspended, or expelled from the Common. In times gone by, MPs held in contempt were also locked in the clock tower of Parliament carrying Big Ben.”

      I’d like to see Theresa May arrested by the Serjeant-at-Arms:

      “The office of Serjeant at Arms dates back to 1415 and the reign of Henry V when the Serjeant was responsible for carrying out the orders of the House of Commons, including making arrests.”

      In my view she has already done enough by way of false pretences, perjury and abuse of public office to merit a prison sentence.

  17. Nigl
    December 3, 2018

    Now the Ollie Robbins letter has broken cover, incidentally that tells us there is a mole in No 10 determined not to let these deceptions continue, who is advising the PM if she is ignoring her chief adviser?

    1. Helen Smith
      December 3, 2018

      I suspect Robbins leaked this as he can see which way the wind is blowing. Would you employ the man who wrote an illegal treaty and scuppered the UK?

  18. Everhopeful
    December 3, 2018

    Two ( purposely?) wasted years and no Minister noticed that much obfuscation was going on? It seemed very clear from out here in elector land! And Mrs M is still there…still hiding stuff in plain sight. Remain/Leave being played out by two govt factions. Remain Ministers have no business trying to overturn a democratic decision. Politician’s “Democracy” ( hard sold to us) was after all, historically the means by which govts got their own way. Now it turns round to bite them and they try to stifle it with transparent, nursery-style tactics.

    Cameron said “ No more Punch and Judy politics” yet since those words were uttered the escalation of pantomime in govt has been beyond belief. Like watching a village hall production with wobbly scenery and dodgy props..oh and terrible actors!

    1. Billy Marlene
      December 3, 2018

      This is because our Brexit ministers have been too soft.

      An Etonian should have been appointed.

      ‘The Harrovian asks for a chair for his girlfriend, the Wykehamist fetches it, the Etonian sits on it…….’

  19. ChrisS
    December 3, 2018

    As Geoffrey Cox voted to leave the EU in the referendum, I suspect he will be personally less than enthusiastic over the PM’s deal.

    I also have every confidence that leading Brexiteers such as our host, Bill Cash, Peter Bone and JRM will be framing questions that will get Mr Cox to reveal the full extent of the most damning sections of his written advice.

    In any event, in his speech this afternoon the Attorney General may well reveal more of his legal advice that Mrs May will be comfortable with before we even get to the questions. His tone will reveal much more besides.

    By the end of the day the majority against her deal will have increased substantially.
    The size of the defeat could be anywhere between 75 and 200.

    What level of humiliation, I wonder, will force Mrs May to resign or the magic number of 48 letters to be delivered ?

    1. rose
      December 3, 2018

      “It will certainly be a testing session for the Attorney to deliver enough of the shocking truth about this Agreement whilst defending the government that wishes to sign it.”

      This and what ChrisS says above, take me back to the party conference when the AG gave a famously deep-voiced performance much lauded in the media in which he told every patriotic person to get behind Chequers. I suspect he will try the same trick again or he would have resigned. I thought he was hamming it myself.

  20. Peter Miller
    December 3, 2018

    How did Mrs May’s negotiating stance with the EU go so wrong?

    Surely we should be saying to the EU:

    We are prepared to give you a free trade deal (already huge surplus on your side), pay our reasonable existing commitments, irrevocably commit to not erecting a hard border in Ireland, give you access to our fishing grounds on our terms, in exchange for leaving the EU, its customs union, single market and jurisdiction of the ECJ and unfettered access of our financial institutions in European markets.

    Why are we pleading for a free trade deal, agreeing to punitive reparations, ignoring the interests of the City, unable to commit to not erecting a hard border in Ireland, prepared to roll over on our fishing rights and prepared to accept continued jurisdiction of the ECJ because of the Irish backstop?

    We hold the bargaining chips, not the EU. If I ever have to conduct business negotiations again, I sure hope Mrs May is sitting on the other side of the table.

  21. Mark B
    December 3, 2018

    Good morning.

    I agree.

  22. nigel
    December 3, 2018

    Looking forward, how do you avoid Hilary Benn’s proposed amendment which would preclude a “no deal”?

  23. breakaleg
    December 3, 2018

    The only reason we feel we need a withdrawal treaty is so that it will give us some kind of ease of access into the EU markets going forward, hopefully frictionless, some might say it is also to fulfill our legal requirements. The choice facing us now is do we want a withdrawal treaty in order to facilitate a future deal or not- For sure if this whole thing breaks down in chaos it’ll be years before we pick up the pieces. It will probably be much better for us to agree the terms of this treaty, then go to talks about the future. Afterwards if we don’t like some parts we can find a way to ease ourselves out without bringing the whole country down, and when we are better prepared for new worldwide trade deals. Why does everything have to be described in such black and white stark terms- am sure there is a middle of the road way as well

  24. David Price
    December 3, 2018

    Independent of the government’s legal advice, The HoC own EU Legislations Team’s analysis of the draft Withdrawal Agreement detailed in their a 27-page legal note (26th November) us described in a Brexit Central article.

    The HoC team’s conclusion is that the UK would not be able to have an independent trade policy under the backstop and the ECJ would continue to have control over our laws – this directly contradicts what the PM has said.

  25. A.Sedgwick
    December 3, 2018

    Numbered copies for ministers to read in Cabinet and returned before leaving the table – how Orwellian.

    May has the plot is a given, but how she continues to delude so many is the mystery.

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    December 3, 2018

    The government, as I understood it, put up no opposition to Parliament’s request for disclosure of Attorney General’s legal advice. Now Mrs May is refusing. She becomes more entrenched in her bunker – you also have to wonder about her mental state. She continues to repeat her mantra about what she has “achieved” with this withdrawal agreement when so many can see the truth is the opposite. There are plenty of approaches the serious politicians amongs you can take with the Attorney. Sir Bill Cash has raised legality questions on at least two occasions with Mrs May and she has been unable to provide a credible answer (something of a recurring event). There is the leaked letter from Oliver Robbins and also another leak of a 27-page legal note entitled ‘The Withdrawal Agreement: Legal and Governance Aspects’ – prepared by the House of Commons EU Legislation Team, which is headed by Arnold Ridout, its Counsel for European Legislation which can be found on the BrexitCentral website in an article by Jonathan Isaby.

  27. William Long
    December 3, 2018

    The refusal to publish the full legal advice on the Withdrawal Agreement must be one of the greatest political miscalculations of recent time. Even if, by some unexpected chance, the advice turns out to be as white as the driven snow, Mrs May’s action in withholding it will cause every thinking person to wonder what it is that she is so desperate to hide.
    Is Mrs May really that much worse than Mr Corbyn? I am beginning to wonder.

    1. William Long
      December 3, 2018

      For ‘Worse’ in thefinal line, read ‘Better’. Sorry about that freudian slip!

  28. Original Richard
    December 3, 2018

    The PM’s/EU’s draft Withdrawal Treaty is so disadvantageous to the UK that it can only be assumed that they are thinking :

    “Let’s give it a go and see if the Parliamentary turkeys are prepared to vote for Christmas. If they do, we’re in control forever!”

  29. nshgp
    December 3, 2018

    It’s alright John. You are supposed to accept what your betters tell you to. I accept you don’t like this, but remember, its how parliament treats us. the electorate.

    Not particularly pleasant is it.

    Perhaps you will start understanding why MPs are held in such contempt.

    Remember it can tip very quickly. You can be replaced. France is an interesting point. When the yellow jackets work out that its far more effective to blockade oil refineries after the holiday’s, Macron is toast

  30. yossarion
    December 3, 2018

    If I went in and bought a new telly today on HP I would sign a form with a mile of small print, if the store at some point changed the terms and conditions at a later date they would have to inform you. Why would anyone sign off a document that does not show all the terms and conditions, it goes against everything We have been brought up to adhere to.

  31. Iain Moore
    December 3, 2018

    Is the Attorney General party to information not available to others, if not surely his advice is no better than any other advice? His advice is not a legal judgement.

    It appears to me people are hanging importance on the Attorney General’s advice that is not justified, and are doing it in the hope he makes the decision for them rather than making up their own minds.

  32. Know-Dice
    December 3, 2018

    Worth reading:

    “Chairman of Lawyers for Britain Martin Howe QC has published here his response to 10 Downing Street’s “rebuttal” of his Spectator article on the legalities of the Withdrawal Agreement. He expresses his concern that No 10 is seeking to take advantage of the legal complexities of the withdrawal agreement to misrepresent its legal effects, most importantly on whether arbitration would provide a viable route for escaping from the backstop Protocol if the EU refuses to agree.”

  33. Denis Cooper
    December 3, 2018

    Aside from any legal advice my political advice would be as before: don’t expect the Irish government to ever willingly release us from the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market, once Theresa May had locked us into that and given them the key.

  34. DUNCAN
    December 3, 2018

    Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s advice on the backstop – “The protocol would endure indefinitely.”

    And there it is. May’s treachery and capitulation encapsulated in one single sentence and expressed by one of May’s underlings

    If the WA deal is voted through the UK as we know it today is finished and we will see a united Ireland in under a generation. The UK will disintegrate

    We have to watch this PM on GMTV with a mendacious, snivelling grin on her face as she secretly sells the UK down the river while continually using the term Brexit in the most abusive and vacuous sense

    If this PM wins the vote the party and the UK is finished

    1. stred
      December 4, 2018

      Cox also said that under EU law the UK did not owe £39bn. It was under UK law that we had agreed to pay! Only a lawyer could come up with that one. Do they get a %age/

      1. stred
        December 4, 2018

        Also that we are paying for ‘access’ to the market. No other country would have free access. Tell that to Donald and Mr Ping. We must be going mad as a country.

  35. George Brooks
    December 3, 2018

    We, the general public, are the client and all MPs are our chosen representatives, so there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to withhold the full text of the legal advice given by the Attorney General. We should have it as a matter of right.

    As soon as it is published it will clearly illustrate what a ‘two faced basket case’ that we have for a Prime Minister. Also as each day unfolds she is acting more and more like a dictator and damaging our democracy.

  36. Chris
    December 3, 2018

    Excellent article on Brexit Central on the legal advice. The information that they have been given (a leak of the legal advice from the government’s own legal team entitled “The legal note – titled The Withdrawal Agreement: Legal and Governance Aspects”) demonstrates that Theresa May has lied e.g. her assurances about being free to make our own trade deals is nonsense. Also her claim that we would be free to make our own laws seems not to be honest.
    Leaked Commons legal analysis of Brexit deal vindicates Trump, contradicts May and adds to Brexiteers’ concerns.

  37. Denis Cooper
    December 3, 2018

    Now we have a leaked analysis by the Commons legal team:

    which contradicts much of what Theresa May has been saying.

  38. Javelin
    December 3, 2018

    The Conservative shambles is turning into self-inflicted damage.

    Every comment on every social media sight is screaming for May to go.

    How much longer can this self inflicted damage continue before something snaps.

    1. Sean Methier
      December 3, 2018

      “Every comment on every social media sight is screaming for May to go.”
      I too have noticed that.

    2. Mark B
      December 4, 2018

      I don’t want her to go, I want her to Remain right where she is.

      Seriously !

  39. Nigel Seymour
    December 3, 2018

    J, Good words as usual. It’s a case though as to whether there are enough MP’s who actually want to leave the EU and believe in democracy and the referendum result. Quite disappointing that Theresa Villiers, who I admire greatly, considers it fanciful that 100+ MP’s will be voting against the deal. As the saying goes – when push comes to shove…

  40. den
    December 3, 2018

    JR I expect you are now aware that the HoC has had their own Legal Team publish their analysis of the May Withdrawal Agreement.
    It will be bad news for Mrs May and her Remainer Cabinet colleagues and embarrassing for those Leavers of her Cabinet who have now switched allegiance. I still wonder why they would do such a thing and can conclude they were bought off with promises..


  41. Original Richard
    December 3, 2018

    If Parliament signs the UK up to Mrs. May’s/the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement the UK will have become a permanent colony/vassal state of the EU, agreeing to accept all EU’s directives, rules and regulations without representation, and thus making it unnecessary for the EU to continue with any further negotiation.

    This will mean that the only exit possible will be by breaking up the UK, or for an individual country to seek independence from the UK and thus from the EU.

  42. Maybot
    December 3, 2018

    Who elected David Attenborough ?

    When did he last have to budget from coins in a jam jar ?

    The one thing he did not mention was population control.

    1. Andy
      December 3, 2018

      He has spoken before about population control. Of course, we know that the two most effective ways to control the population are to educate women and to improve the economy of developing countries. Both things which our foreign aid money does.

      And yet people who complain about an out of control population almost always object to foreign aid.

  43. fedupsoutherner
    December 3, 2018

    Has anyone noticed how long the posts on this site are getting again?

    1. Nick Bottom
      December 3, 2018


  44. Steve
    December 3, 2018

    Wonder if anyone noticed Vince Cable let the cat to of the bag this morning on the news ?

    In reference to another referendum he let slip the choice for voters would be May’s deal, or no Brexit.

    These shysters seem to think democracy works according to their wants. Someone needs to knock it into their thick arrogant heads democracy IS the will of the majority of the people, and is not something to be hijacked by corrupt politicians and their obese corporate cronies.

    Frankly, I’m now of the view that if these big corporates won’t come on side and refuse to adapt to the will of the people, then they should be told to get out of the country and we’ll replace them with businesses that do work for the good of the nation.

  45. Chris
    December 3, 2018

    A salutary warning to squabbling Brexiter MPs of “flexible reliability” from an article on the Conservative Woman website:
    Tory ‘Brexiteer’ MPs: United in disunity, adamant for uncertainty
    “….The stakes could not be higher. Yet the principal players in the grouping of MPs in whose hands most lies the power not only to halt but reverse the monstrous betrayal of country, and arguably of democracy itself, which, given the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum, the latter fate would be – the putative ‘Tory Brexiteers’ – are a self-indulgent, fissiparous gaggle of biddable loyalties, concealed ambitions and flexible reliability………

    “But unless the ‘Conservative’ Party’s so-called Brexiteers put aside their differences, resist both inducements and threats from their party leader, and combine both to defeat May’s BRINO-Deal and force a pivot to a No-Deal EU withdrawal to WTO terms, there is now a real risk that Brexit will be finished, and lost, with hugely damaging consequences. That their party will be finished also, and deservedly so, is scant consolation.”

  46. Chris
    December 3, 2018

    You have full support, Mr Redwood, from Ted Malloch, writing in The Gateway Pundit (US website) regarding your rejection of May’s WA. In his article: Ted Malloch: Brexit Deal Is “Unconditional Surrender”, he states:
    “Brexit is not about unconditional surrender to a foreign power.

    The UK needs to take back its money, its borders, and its laws.

    That means honoring the vote of the referendum to LEAVE the European Union—its single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice.

    Nothing else will suffice.

    European nations of freedom should come to their own conclusions but we Americans should not appease or deny reality any longer.”

    It is also interesting that in the Comments section, many commenters are stupefied by what the UK people have allowed to happen, and some even write that we (politicians included) deserve this as we have not fought back along the way, and have just let ourselves be walked all over.

    1. L Jones
      December 3, 2018

      I’ve said before that we just rested on our laurels when the referendum was won by Leave, because we expected, trustingly and erroneously, that our Government would be honourable and implement our decision.
      The Remain camp should have acquiesced as they say they value democracy. Instead they were the empty vessels making the most noise – and we let them. We didn’t think we needed to ‘fight back’, Chris, until it became too obvious (almost) too late.
      There has been such breathtaking dishonour in the Remain camp.

  47. Steve
    December 3, 2018

    Meanwhile, May has passed MP’s deadline for disclosing legal advice in full.

    So why am I not seeing on the news that Theresa May is being brought down by a vote of contempt of parliament ? as labour and others promised would happen.

    It’s all nothing but a whole load of BS & lies isn’t it. And they seriously think people will vote for them at the next election ?

    They’re in for one hell of a shock !

  48. StanleyW
    December 3, 2018

    I must say that nice Mr Cox makes an awful lot of’s legal speak of course but nevertheless politicians should weigh up carefully before they vote

    1. Nick Bottom
      December 3, 2018

      “legal speak”..I didn’t notice any when I viewed it..and of course listened and levelled the emphases of his possible iambic pentameters in his robust Performance

  49. Denis Cooper
    December 3, 2018

    I’m watching the Commons debate and so far nobody has used the word “veto”.

    That’s “veto” as in this article from a little over a year ago:

    “Brexit: Remain in customs union and single market to solve border issue, Ireland’s European commissioner tells May”

    “Theresa May is facing fresh pressure to change course over plans for the Northern Irish border after Brexit as Ireland’s EU commissioner stepped up threats to veto trade talks.”

    “Mr Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue, and said it was a “very simple fact” that “if the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue”.”

    As argued by the UK government it may well be that there are some people across the EU who would prefer it if the UK never got into, or did not stay in, the so-called “backstop”, but the Irish government would not be among them and moreover would have not just a vote but a veto on any agreement designed to supersede it.

  50. Steve
    December 3, 2018

    I’m done with the conservatives, to hell with it I’ll just vote labour.

    1. L Jones
      December 3, 2018

      Yes, then at least we can get rid of them in a few years’ time. That’s if we’re allowed by our EU masters to have any more General Elections.

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      December 3, 2018

      Steve, I think more and more of us feel like you.

    3. Maybot
      December 3, 2018

      I have no choice but to abstain or vote very right wing.

  51. Caterpillar
    December 3, 2018

    Please send Geoffrey Cox a book on risk management, he needs some personal development. You have to consider the size of hazard as well as probility of it happening. Moreover expectation is not sufficient for one off events (i.e. not happening many times), for one off events flexibility and robustness matter. Is your decision robust against different scenarios? Is there flexibility to respond to each possible scenario? The withdrawal agreement must not get the UK on red.

    1. Caterpillar
      December 3, 2018

      Bet not get

  52. matthu
    December 3, 2018

    Martin Howe QC has published a response to the PM’s “rebuttal” of his Spectator article.

    “I would invite interested readers to consider these points carefully, and reach the conclusion that No 10’s argument that arbitration could provide an alternative route out of the ‘backstop’ Protocol to that of having to reach agreement with the EU is not only wrong but entirely implausible to any competent lawyer. It is most regrettable that the government is not trying to sell the deal on its merits, but is seeking to take advantage of legal complexities to misrepresent the legal effects of the agreement on this critical point as well as others.

    “… In addition to the undesirability of effectively postponing Brexit for an extended period in order to carry on negotiating rather than for actually implementing anything, there is a severe risk that the EU will adopt and shape regulatory measures which are damaging for UK industries during the transition period – when we will have no vote but still be required to implement them. This lays the City open to EU measures which are designed to encourage business to migrate from London to eurozone financial centres.

    … It would not give us back control of our laws…. No 10’s response is just not true. ”

    1. Chris
      December 3, 2018

      Regarding “No 10’s response is just not true” – seems to be par for the course with this PM. Disgraceful.

    December 3, 2018

    Reprehensible Performance and, refusal of delivery of details demanded of the Office of Mr Cox in The House today.

    Surely JR and others have sufficient National Security clearance if, it is all to do with it.

    “Risk” as mentioned to his credit by Mr Cox is a risk none of our citizens should suffer and our land in which they dwell.

    As to Mr Cox’s “belief”, “view” “opinion” of the honour in behaving just so by our economic adversaries on the legal front. YOU WOT ??????????????????????????????

    All MPs are duty-bound, in my “opinion”, “view” , “belief” to reject the Withdrawal Agreement as sufficient information unforthcoming on which to approve it, others things being equal.
    I personally to not agree with the rest of the Betrayal too.

  54. Simon Coleman
    December 3, 2018

    The majority of MPs returned at the 2017 election favour a deal with the EU. You keep telling us what a committed democrat you are, so why not accept the democratic reality for once? If the deal is voted down, then Parliament must take control of the process and either come up with a deal that could command majority support (Norway plus) or revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit (if that is a legal option). The latter would also be a democratic outcome because the government can say that it tried to implement the referendum result. A people’s vote is impossible – I agree about that.

  55. mancunius
    December 3, 2018

    Geoffrey Cox has simply reinforced and openly stated what we can all see in the agreement – that the UK will easily be forced into the backstop position by the EU, who will keep it there. Cox’s suggestion that the EU’s political sense of judgement would make it rescind that position depends on how full of goodwill one thinks the EU might become.
    Surely there can be nobody who can seriously claim the EU has shown the slightest degree of any reasonable goodwill so far? It has behaved – and continues to behave – as implacably and unreasonably as Shylock in the ‘Merchant of Venice’. No country should need to sue in a foreign court to be allowed to be independent and to pursue an independent trading policy. It goes against all provisions in international law.

    Dump the WA, dump the PM, dump the present government, and replace the entire Cabinet Office while you’re at it.

  56. PaulDirac
    December 3, 2018

    If the backstop included in the withdrawal agreement was so onerous for the EU, as the attorney general and others proclaim, why is it that the EU insisted on including it, in spite of all the UK.
    Without the backstop this would have sailed through the parliament, why does the EU insist on it?
    The answer seems to be exemplified by Macron’s prediction that the UK can be held captive for indefinite duration and that the UK will give its eye teeth to get out (fishing, freedom of movement etc.)
    They may hope that if they inflict sufficient pain, we will elect to come back into the Siren hands (and beaks) of the EU.

    1. matthu
      December 4, 2018

      Presumably so that all attention can be drawn to the inadequacy of the backstop and away from the inadequacy of the remainder of the agreement.

      When the EU inexplicably discovers some reason why the backstop can be dispensed with altogether, the remainder of the agreement can be rushed through in a single day to sounds of great triumph from EU, government and opposition benches.

  57. Caterpillar
    December 3, 2018

    Dead Dr Redwood,

    In the upcoming withdrawal agreement debate is it possible to seek clarification on how far ‘no deal’ preparations have progressed and by when they will be complete?

  58. Steve
    December 3, 2018

    Well well, who’d have thought it, breaking news;

    Mr Speaker says there is a case to answer for contempt of parliament, and there will be a vote on whether to refer May to the Standards Committee.

    May will resign rather than admit hoodwinking the British people, and being proven to be a liar.

    1. stred
      December 4, 2018

      Cox is taking the contempt hit for May. She will slither out again.

  59. John S
    December 4, 2018

    The Attorney General stated that not releasing legal advice was in the national interest. Did anyone in the House ask him why? Should he have substituted the word “national” for “PM’s”?

  60. rose
    December 4, 2018

    When a lawyer takes on a brief, he doesn’t have to win to get paid. It occurred to me at the conference and it occurs to me now, that Mr Cox may be hamming it up deliberately. Of course I have never witnessed him at the Criminal Bar, but he says he is a Conservative and Unionist Brexiteer, and he then goes on to give a staged performance which doesn’t convince, which he himself does not appear to believe. My husband, though, says people aren’t always as clever as you think they are.

  61. agricola
    December 4, 2018

    The questiln for me is not what legal advice was given to the executive, but what heed T May and her negotiatng team payed to it. The suspicion out here in the real world is that in some respects T May chose to ignore it to achieve the dreadful Withdrawal Agreement she is so devoted to.

  62. Lindsay McDougall
    December 4, 2018

    I liked the result of today’s vote in Parliament. The House thinks that the Government will be in contempt if it now refuses to publish the legal advice it has received in full.

    Andrea Leadsom, saddled with the Leader of the House role, has promised the Government’s response tomorrow. I’d love to see Mrs May obliged to make that response in person.

    Now to the main event – the vote on the odious draft Withdrawal Treaty.

    It is worth recollecting just how ruthless Edward Heath’s whips were in ‘persuading’ Conservative MPs to support the initial Bill to join the then EEC in 1972. Enoch Powell recalled that “those who went into Ted Heath’s room in the week before the second reading came out looking more like ghosts than men.” The only reason that it might not happen again is that Mrs May and her whips are held in contempt.

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