Mrs May’s position

On Wednesday Mrs May gained 63% support from Conservative MPs, or as Jacob Rees Mogg points out lost the support of around 70% of all those MPs who do not have some job granted to them by her. This assumes all those who express public loyalty to her in office voted accordingly. I imagine most of them did. Most of those who could not do so have already resigned.

Earlier in the day it appeared that her team was worried about the vote. She therefore changed her position on two important matters. She told us she no longer planned to lead the party into the next General election, assuming that is in 2022. There were various MPs prepared for her to carry on for a bit longer who were nonetheless saying they wanted a new leader for the election . She also told us she was returning again to the continent to seek legal changes to the Irish backstop arrangement. This was different from previous language, when in line with the EU she was talking about gaining clarifications and reassurances without changing the text of the Withdrawal Agreement.

She did not clarify if she would lead the Conservatives were there to be an earlier election. Nor did she clarify what kind of legal change she was seeking or how she will persuade the EU to re open the text of the Withdrawal Agreement. She also has said that any re opening could re open features of the Agreement like Gibraltar and fishing that some in the EU want to make worse from the UK point of view, so it is an option with risks.

What difference does this make? It has revealed to the  government and public that there are 117 Conservative MPs who lack confidence in the PM, which is largely related to their opposition to the Withdrawal Agreement she has made her own. It is therefore difficult to see how Mrs May can present her Agreement to the Commons and secure support for it. She says she plans to get a change to the Irish backstop. The first test of any new words forthcoming from the EU will be the reaction of the DUP. If the DUP do not accept the revisions as sufficient to banish the Irish backstop, the government will remain with no reliable majority, subject to endless alarms over trying to sustain its position in Commons votes. The DUP have always made clear the whole backstop has to go. Many Conservatives want it out or want a clear legal ability of the UK to cancel it unilaterally, which of course means it is not then the kind of backstop the EU insists on. The significance of the backstop is it would treat Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK, and would create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. I and others have made clear our opposition to the backstop, but also to several other important features of the Agreement. Even if they could delete the backstop I would still oppose the Agreement.

The Prime Minister needs to rebuild her support amongst Conservative and DUP MPs as an urgent priority. Winning the confidence vote is only a first step. She now has to adopt an EU policy that can command support within her coalition, which the current Agreement lamentably fails to do. Any attempt to find a way of harnessing Labour votes to offset the large slice of Conservative and DUP votes she does not command on this issue is likely to be a fruitless quest, given Labour’s understandable wish to have a General election and unwillingness to name a particular proposal for exit that they can unite to support. Any attempt to woo Labour would also increase the numbers of Conservative MPs who oppose the Prime Minister.


  1. Tabulazero
    December 14, 2018

    The hard Brexit crowd, like yourself, has just lost a leadership challenge 2:1. You won’t accept the result but you and your ERG friends are telling everyone they must bend to their will because of a win of 52:48 on something much more loosely defined.

    Am I the only one highly amused by these ironies?

    1. Excalibur
      December 14, 2018

      Enjoy the moment then, Tabulazero. I trust your good humour will persist after you have been implanted with a chip to trace your every move as part of the Globalist agenda.

      1. bigneil
        December 14, 2018

        Excalibur – You don’t need a chip implanted. Mobile phones are already a tracking device. And didn’t the EU demand every new car /vehicle from about now that was to be sold in the EU MUST have a tracker fitted ( that wouldn’t allow the engine to run if disconnected ) – supposedly activated to call emergency services if the electronics detected a possible crash and you were unable to call for help yourself. Of course it wasn’t called a tracker – something like Emergency Automated assistance. Speeding fines based on satellite tracking will soon be popping through people’s doors. Patrick McGoohan used to say – I am NOT a number – I AM A FREE MAN. Not any longer.

    2. Steve
      December 14, 2018


      “You won’t accept the result but you and your ERG friends are telling everyone they must bend to their will…”

      Can you see the hypocrisy in your statement ?

      ‘…because of a win of 52:48″

      Still a democratic win, even if by one vote.

      1. Tabulazero
        December 14, 2018

        Good and a 66:33 is even more democratic in what is still meant to be a parliamentary democracy.

      2. Chris
        December 14, 2018

        Ah, but for Tabulazero there are different types of win. All the Leavers are fighting for is the honouring of the original vote and democracy upheld.

    3. L Jones
      December 14, 2018

      The idea of being ”highly amused” by anything that may be harmful to the well-being and unity of our country is anathema to most right-thinking people.
      Therefore, we have to assume you are not right-thinking.
      Perhaps you’d like to ”amuse” yourself by conjuring up other examples of our country’s suffering in some way. Or perhaps you should stop trying to be offensive.

      1. Tabulazero
        December 14, 2018

        or I could simply stop pointing out the gross hypocrisy of the Brexiters’ position … but that would not be fun, wouldn’t it ?

        … are you happy now that the Parliament get to have a meaningful say ? Can you imagine what Theresa May would have done, had the dreaded Gina Miller not taken the government to court.

        Please, dear Brexiters, join me in thanking Gina Miller.

        1. Nigel E
          December 14, 2018

          I agree with little you say, Tab, but you’re right on that last point. Ms Miller has helped avoid an even worse betrayal; and that truly is ironic.

        2. Craig
          December 14, 2018

          We know that what Gina Miller did was from a belief that when TM said Brexit means Brexit, she actually meant it. That is why so many Remainers wanted a meaningful vote – because they thought it would be a real Brexit. Leavers opposed the idea for the same reason.

          It is truly ironic that a Remainer’s attempt to tie us closer to the EU should finish up allowing Leavers to prevent that from happening.

          I do thank Gina Miller – she has inadvertently helped to save us from the antics of an incompetent and duplicitous PM.

    4. Maybot
      December 14, 2018

      The Tory party is toast.

      1. Maybot
        December 14, 2018

        The real poll will be the next general election.

        No-one I know is voting Tory again.

        1. mickc
          December 14, 2018

          I agree. Blairism, Cameronism, Mayism….call it what you like, has utterly failed.

          The Tories have no intention of being a true Thatcherite party, so time for a true Socialist party to have a go.

          I doubt it will work….but it should be given the chance. I will vote Labour .

        2. Craig
          December 14, 2018

          I have cancelled my party membership, and told them that voters will not forget this treachery.

          The only question that remains is whether Conservative voters will stay at home or vote UKIP in the next GE.

          Either way, the Conservatives are finished, and probably won’t recover.

    5. acorn
      December 14, 2018

      “63% of the vote is not a big enough majority” insist irony-free Brexiters”.

      JR, how do you know the payroll MPs voted for Mrs May, it was a secret party ballot outside of Westminster rules? Did they have to roll up a trouser leg and confess in Latin?

      Reply I assume they are decent people. You should resign before voting against the PM, as around 21 did.

    6. Al
      December 14, 2018

      This wasn’t a leadership challenge, it was a vote of confidence.

      The people who voted no confidence indicated that they don’t have confidence that the government will do the best thing for the country, and that they will vote in Parliament accordingly. This is why most commentators were saying before the vote that anything over 100 against her was a problem.

      Not only has she poved she’s lost the faith of her backbenchers, she’s effectively just entered confidence and supply with 117 of her own MPs. That is both humiliating and not a way to govern.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 14, 2018

        “… and that they will vote in Parliament accordingly … ” – let us hope so.

    7. Peter R
      December 14, 2018

      She is dead, she just won’t lie down. MT got more votes than TM but was man enough to admit her time was up.

      1. Martin R
        December 14, 2018

        If you apply the criteria of this day and age Margaret Thatcher’s time wasn’t up, not remotely. But Margaret Thatcher was no TM.

    8. BBCnot
      December 14, 2018

      Read Johns article to find out why most Mps are media led careerist sell outs.

    9. yossarion
      December 14, 2018

      Those Mps calling for a second vote who stood on a party manifesto to abide by the referendum result are the ones that have gone against democracy, therefore should stand down and call a by election to have a mandate to continue as an MP.

    10. Wessexboy
      December 14, 2018

      Loosely defined? Not if you read the leaflet sent to all households by the government prior to the vote.
      An amusing irony might be that the elected MPs are still at odds with the decision taken by the people.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 14, 2018

        I wonder whether the government leaflet for a second referendum would refer to the recent ECJ decision, where the unelected judges not only took it upon themselves to make up some new EU law to supply a deficiency in Article 50 TEU of the treaties which had been agreed by the member states, but did so by their preferred approach of purposive interpretation, that is looking at the PURPOSE OF THE TREATIES.

        “61 As regards the context of Article 50 TEU, reference must be made to the 13th recital in the preamble to the TEU, the first recital in the preamble to the TFEU and Article 1 TEU, which indicate that THOSE TREATIES HAVE AS THEIR PURPOSE THE CREATION OF AN EVER CLOSER UNION among the peoples of Europe, and to the second recital in the preamble to the TFEU, from which it follows that the European Union aims to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe.”

        “67 Such a result would be inconsistent with the aims and values referred to in paragraphs 61 and 62 of the present judgment. In particular, it would be inconsistent with THE TREATIES’ PURPOSE OF CREATING AN EVER CLOSER UNION among the peoples of Europe to force the withdrawal of a Member State which, having notified its intention to withdraw from the European Union in accordance with its constitutional requirements and following a democratic process, decides to revoke the notification of that intention through a democratic process.”

        1. acorn
          December 14, 2018

          How many Judges have you elected in the UK Denis? The UK courts follow the purposive approach, the same as the ECJ. In the UK we call it “Common Law”; or Judge-made law.

          1. Denis Cooper
            December 14, 2018

            Yes, but when our unelected judges stray from what our elected representatives believe is a reasonable interpretation of the law the latter can take corrective action through legislation.

            However as so often you are merely attempting to distract from the main point, in this case that anybody who voted to stay in the EU would be lending their support to a relentless and unlimited process of “ever closer union” directed towards the establishment of a European federation, and that should be made clear beforehand.

    11. Merlin
      December 14, 2018

      Hear hear. I too am amused.

      Also it’s very interesting how the will of the 52% has morphed from wanting ‘to leave the EU’ to ‘wanting no deal’.

      Indeed I’m hearing it argued that No Deal is the democratic choice when 28% of the population support it, versus 48% supporting Remain.

      I think the initial referendum was incorrect anyway. It bundled all the alternatives into a No bucket – so Norway, Canada and No deal were all bundled together against Remain. And even then Remain nearly won.

      Remain is clearly the democratic choice – and the first referendum proves it.

      Reply We voted leave. The Agreement is about not leaving the EU any time soon.

      1. Tabulazero
        December 14, 2018

        Yes. John Redwood and his ERG friends did not have enough votes to topple Theresa May and push their hard Brexit agenda inside the Conservative Party

        What are the odds they could get it through Parliament as a whole, knowing Labour, the Libdem and the SNP are opposed to it ?


        1. Timaction
          December 14, 2018

          ……..”Hard Brexit”. No such thing. It is a made up phrase by remainiac’s. Remember the Governments own leaflet stated leaving the Customs Union, single market ECJ etc etc.
          So we expect to just leave the EU and all its institutions and rule ourselves. Trade and friendship is all we want with the EU.

      2. Sam Duncan
        December 14, 2018

        The Withdrawal Act was passed by Parliament after all the usual Readings and Stages, and became law on the 26th of June this year. It says that we leave on the 29th March 2019, deal or no deal. An amendment to that Act requiring another “meaninful vote” on leaving without an agreement was rejected by the Commons on the 20th of June. Therefore “no deal” is the default, as defined by Parliament.

        It would certainly be better to leave on amicable terms with an agreement acceptable to both parties, but there is no such deal on the table. The Draft Withdrawal Agreement cannot command a majority in the House. Again, Parliament has already decided that this doesn’t mean we don’t leave at all.

        We, the people, elected a government which offered an “in-out” referendum. In that referendum, the majority, 17.5 million of us, voted to leave the EU. In the subsequent general election, 80% of the electorate voted for parties which promised to honour that vote. Parties which did not – for example, the LibDems and SNP – lost support. Parliament – this current Parliament – explicitly rejected the idea that a post-withdrawal agreement is necessary.

        The extremist position is to reject all of those decisions and flout a law passed barely six months ago simply because it doesn’t suit you.

        1. Mockbeggar
          December 14, 2018

          Well said. The job now is to convince MPs that leaving on WTO terms is the only way they can meet the demands of the referendum and their own legislation with regard to the Withdrawal Act.

        2. Merlin
          December 14, 2018

          I’m just being pragmatic.

          I don’t think No Deal is an option, because nobody knows the consequences. It is just too complicated. And whatever people argue, I can’t see Parliament ever supporting it. And thank goodness. As I have to say it would be totally irresponsible.

          Otherwise there seems no great support for May’s deal. And I have no sense the 52% can agree on a way forward.

          Flouting the law, and disobeying the will of the people with another referendum seems the only way out of it. Sorry. Just an opinion.

          My actual personal belief is that parliamentary democracy is fantastic – and the biggest mistake was having a referendum in the first place. I’m generally a huge fan of all MPs including John Redwood, even though I may disagree with him. I couldn’t do the job. You’ve got to have thick skin, and put up with a lot of scorn when you’re just trying to what you think is best for this country.

    12. Fishknife
      December 14, 2018

      No, You have to be worried that your grandchildren’s grandchildren are being signed up to being potential cannon fodder for the (EU empire and army? ed).

      This is an everlasting treaty with the epitome of ratchets no one has read.

      1. L Jones
        December 14, 2018

        Sooner than that, Fishknife. Things move quickly in a dystopia. Think how some now reckon the Germans, for example, to be ‘on our side’ – and it’s less than a century since they weren’t. The blink of an eye in evolutionary terms.

        This EU call to arms might be upon us sooner than we think if we don’t get rid of the shackles SOON.

    13. Hope
      December 14, 2018

      1. Cabinet approved her servitude plan. This clearly is a betrayal of the nation. What does it say of them?

      2. The EU, Blaire and remainers are now saying there are powers to Withdrawal article 50 or remain. Totally ignoring the 17.4 million who voted leave and reinforced by a higher amount because Labour and Conservative party promised the same in their manifestos. Both parties clearly lied from the current debates in parliament.

      3. A chancellor has discredited two national institutions and made fake financial reports not prepared to state the premise on which they were written to economists. Hammond has failed to lease funds to prepare for withdrawing on WTO terms. His aim to scare people witless to change their minds. Hammond than calls n of millions of people and 117 Tory MPs extremists! He is an EU fanatic and his actions demonstrate overwhelmingly that he is the extremist. Hammond does not accept the democratic vote. May should now sack him.

      4. May has been underhand, lied and dishonest to keep the UK in the EU. 200 Tory MPs have shown they are not fit to hold any public office. May has failed to comply with the Nolan standards. Breached ministerial code, broke all her red lines, cabinet collegiate, twelve points in Lancaster speech, rerndum result and manifesto. What did they not understand about public trust?

      5. Your party is done. Good riddance.

    14. Phil
      December 14, 2018

      “The hard Brexit crowd” as you put it are the only Mp’s in the whole of Parliament fully supporting the wishes of the largest democratic referendum vote in our history. The extremist’s are actually May and her spineless shower of remainers who never accepted the result and are determined by fair means or foul to do everything in their power to stop us from leaving. Your argument is a very sick joke and not at all amusing.

      1. Chris
        December 14, 2018

        Agreed, Phil.

    15. Denis Cooper
      December 14, 2018

      Probably. Personally I don’t find it all amusing that we are now stuck with a Prime Minister who is bringing humiliation not just on herself but on the rest of us as well, on the whole country. And for why? Because she persists in pretending that there can be no solution to the largely fictitious problem of the Irish border other than the kind that the Irish government demands, and will always use its veto to get, the kind which keeps as much of the UK as possible under as much EU law as possible for as long as possible. Which they will continue to demand whether the legal provision is called a backstop, or it is incorporated into that new close or free trading relationship before the backstop actually comes into operation, or it is a new legal arrangement which supersedes the backstop after that has come into operation, none of that will make any difference at all to the overall effect that we will remain under the rules of the EU Customs Union and EU Single Market in perpetuity at the behest of the Irish government. And why is Theresa May going along with that? Is it because she is stupid? No, she is not stupid, but she is a Tory, and she is deceitfully using the purported problem of the Irish border as a pretext to give some of the more vociferous big businesses what they want.

    16. libertarian
      December 14, 2018


      Er you must be incredibly dim.

      They lost the vote to oust May as PM. I’ve not seen one of them ask for another vote on it, I’ve not heard any of them demand that she must leave but stay in charge . I haven’t heard anyone say they dont accept the vote

      Unlike.. Oh irony indeed

      1. Tabulazero
        December 14, 2018

        …. you have not been paying attention to JRM’s twitter feed lately, haven’t you libertarian ?

        1. libertarian
          December 14, 2018


          Yes I have, but you haven’t read or understood my post have you? So I’ll tell you again. No one has asked for the vote to be rerun or a second vote.

          1. Merlin
            December 15, 2018

            I agree. I don’t want a second referendum either, and I am one of those wretched Remoaners who wish to subvert the will of the people. However, I simply don’t know what to do (and I know I’m repeating myself). We seem to have three camps:

            May’s deal
            No deal

            None of them command a majority in the country or parliament. Nor can we simply rule 48% out of the vote going forward, and hold a vote with 52% of the population and claim it’s democratic. For me, a straight three horse race might be as fair an answer as I can think of. I don’t like it either because I really fear No Deal on the grounds I don’t understand the complexities and I don’t believe anyone does.

          2. Edward2
            December 16, 2018

            Say the result was
            Remain 35%
            Leave no deal 32%
            Leave May’s deal 33%
            You would claim remain won.
            I would claim leave won with 65%

          3. Merlin
            December 16, 2018

            Good point Edward2.

            We are in a right old pickle aren’t we?

    17. fedupsoutherner
      December 14, 2018

      Tab. The difference is that they do accept the leadership vote but the whole debacle is over the fact that the referendum result has not been accepted or implemented in any shape or form. Are you stupid?

    18. Dennis
      December 14, 2018

      Tabulazero – surely it has been accepted, how could it not be , just not liked. Your wording is wrong.

    19. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      Leaving the EU is certainly not loosely-defined, except by the losers who want to remain in an abusive and one-sided relationship.
      Subject to any ECJ decisions? That is not leaving.
      Forced to make payments to a foreign power? Not leaving.
      Restrictions in competition and standards? Not leaving.
      Forced to stay in customs union? Not leaving.
      Leaving one part of our country in the EU? Not leaving.
      EEA? Not leaving.

  2. Stred
    December 14, 2018

    Two questions for the Europhile Tories.

    The UK is not going to put customs posts on the NI border, but the EU is proposing a border post with scanning of passports and visas. They propose a free pass for locals working or visiting.Why is it our problem if the locals will wreck the EU post? Why don’t they put their post on the Irish ports?

    Why are we keen to pay the EU £2000 for every family for permission to buy their goods and services. Why do we need bilateral arrangements to trade, when we don’t with other countries. (As claimed by Mr Elwood yesterday) ?

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      December 14, 2018

      I would like some ‘friction free’ travel now. When I leave the ferry in Amsterdam I clear Dutch passport control very quickly. When I return to North Shields it takes ages to get back into the UK, not enough Border Agency staff and those that are around slow things down by searching the cars of German pensioners on their way to Scotland for a holiday for god knows what.

      1. Alan Jutson
        December 14, 2018


        Agree absolutely there are not enough Border staff, but the PM is in charge of that policy failure. Yet another one !

        But they search cars/lorries/vans for a reason, illegal immigrants, possible terrorists, excessive purchases of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, guns, and such like.

        They use two methods, intelligence and random stopping, they also use dogs to help sniff out the contraband.

        We were stopped ourselves at random earlier this year, all very polite and it did not delay us too much at all as we always try to arrive at the Port in plenty of time assuming a delay is possible, time for a cuppa if no delay !

        I do not have a problem with searching at all, the more they find, and the more who are prosecuted, the more those people may just stop such their illegal trade.

    2. Newmania
      December 14, 2018

      No , why are you so keen
      Our money was not wasted by Remainers , it was wasted by Brexit the calamitous cost of additional civil servants( additional to 400,000 !!!!!)economic distortion and “investment”in magic borders . Lets not forget the DUP bribe money on top of the £39 billion which , whilst it is due anyway was on what was effectively an eternal free loan
      The EU grants that are about to be stopped have not been much publicized to put it kindly and don`t forget the cost of reducing immigration by the sheer factr of advertising the country as incurably bigoted and likely to be in trouble

      How very date you talk about waste , I daresay like most Brexit voters its not as if you actually do anything anyway , the rest of us pay for you

      1. libertarian
        December 14, 2018


        Oh dear oh dear

        1) Survey just concluded on anti foreigner sentiment amongst EU countries.. UK was the MOST tolerant

        2) EU grants to UK are funded by UK taxpayers. We just pay the grants we want to pay under our own steam

        3) There has been an increase of 14,000 civil servants since 2016 ( mostly nothing to do with Brexit)

        In the tolerance survey 37% of Brits said they wanted less immigration only Spain on 30% was lower . Greece on 80% top and Germany on 58%

        Remainers just hate facts dont they

        1. Newmania
          December 14, 2018

          400,000 is the number we already have , 400o is the increase they have owned up to in respect of Brexit but as I know quite a few I am pretty certain that is another lie.
          I am aware of the undertaking to continue all existing grants and believe it or not I also understand how the maths works. My complaint is that the gross figure is refereed to as a ‘saving’
          I am less suprised than you are the people in the Uk do not answer the question” Are you a tedious old bigot” “YES”….. and if the UK is a tolerant place then it has nothing to do with the people who voted Brexit …….

          1. Maybot
            December 14, 2018

            So why was it that you moved out of London then , Newmania ?

        2. Merlin
          December 14, 2018

          I’m a Remainer. There’s nothing I love more than facts. It’s why I voted Remain.

          And here’s a fact. The latest poll by the Economist:
          48% support Remain
          28% support No deal
          The rest support May’s deal or don’t know

          So when I hear people cry ‘will of the people’, I assume they mean we should Remain.

          1. Alan Jutson
            December 14, 2018


            What type of remain, as it was, or how it will be ?

            Perfectly acceptable to have more Countries join who take out of the budget at our cost.
            Perfectly happy for our financial contribution to keep on increasing.
            Happy with the forming of an EU army.
            Happy with proposed closer union.
            Happy they will eventually control future taxes and tariffs.
            etc etc.

          2. libertarian
            December 14, 2018


            1) a poll is NOT a fact

            2) for every poll I can find you a poll that says the opposite

            3) Remainers have their heads so far up their backsides they STILL dont get it. They think that a second referendum will produce a different result. They have no idea what to do when it doesn’t .

            The polls before the referendum showed Remain would win.

            Heres a FACT

            You lost 52-48

          3. L Jones
            December 14, 2018

            And what about the fact that ‘leave’ got more votes in the referendum?
            Or doesn’t that one count?

          4. Edward2
            December 14, 2018

            So a majority did not vote to remain.
            Even after a tidal wave of Project Fear and a poll organised by the pro EU Economist magazine

          5. Dennis
            December 14, 2018

            Merlin – the only fact you have posted is that a poll was taken. The figures cannot be taken as fact as not every citizen in the UK was polled for a start.

          6. Dennis
            December 14, 2018

            Re facts – Caroline Lucan on QT last night said we now know facts about Brexit. When Dimbleby asked what these facts are she replied – hold ups on the M20 and stocking up of medicines.

            I was astounded that no panel member fell of their chairs at such absurdity.

          7. Merlin
            December 15, 2018

            I accept your challenge.

            Find any poll among the mainstream media that says the opposite.

  3. Peter Wood
    December 14, 2018

    Good Morning,

    Mrs. May’s strategy is clear, she has identified the Backstop as the ONLY issue to be resolved; presumably believing that if resolved this gets the DUP onside, then rest of the backbenchers will follow. PLEASE give her more issues to get resolved; as you have said there are. May I suggest you happy band of Brexiteers work on at least another 3 critical issues that must be resolved before you will consider support. These issue need to be clear and simple to explain on TV and radio. There is a media fight on!

    1. Martin
      December 14, 2018

      Defence is a concern –
      The Prime Minister is misleading the country on defence and security. Sir Richard Dearlove, ex Head of MI6, and Major-General Julian Thompson:
      ‘The way this deal and set of promises and future agreements has been composed is actively in conflict with the UK’s interests across the board because it not only puts power in the EU’s hands but all future leverage potential also. In defence, foreign policy and intelligence, the EU finds itself given an unconditional de facto pledge pre-emptively by Mrs May to continue as a rule-taker only with a level of UK commitment which resembles the current relationship but without membership. … Mrs May has surrendered all leverage.’
      [From: ]

      1. Mockbeggar
        December 14, 2018

        I’m glad to see your reference to Briefings for Brexit and I commend it to anyone wavering over a WTO exit. It’s full of excellent articles by academics and people in the know such as Sir Richard Dearlove on defence and security.

      2. mancunius
        December 14, 2018

        This concession of military power is a vitally important and urgent matter, and one that it is danger of slipping under the radar during the heated political discussion.

        I hope our able host will address it as soon as possible.

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 14, 2018

      The ‘backstop’ itself cannot be the only issue because it is only one legal means to achieve what the Irish government has been demanding since late 2017, and what it will now always be prepared to deploy its national veto to try to get.

      In the absence of this specific ‘backstop’ device the Irish government would try to achieve the same end – which is, ideally from their viewpoint, keeping the whole of the UK under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market in perpetuity – through alternative legal means.

      Here are the Conclusions of the meeting of the European Council:

      When it says:

      “… the backstop is intended as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the Single Market.”

      that really means, firstly, that it is intended to give the Irish government what it wants, as made clear over a year ago:

      “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”.”

      But, secondly, on the excuse that unless Northern Ireland, at least, remains under the relevant EU rules to act as a kind of buffer zone or cordon sanitaire then we will start sending US-style ‘chlorinated chicken’ and suchlike across the border.

      And even if we offered to pass a new UK law to prohibit the carriage across the border into the Republic and so on into the wider EU Single Market of any goods which the EU would regard as not complying with its rules, contraband, then they would still say that was not good enough.

      “It is the Union’s firm determination to work speedily on a subsequent agreement that establishes by 31 December 2020 alternative arrangements, so that the backstop will not need to be triggered.”

      Which ‘alternative arrangements’ would be vetoed by the Irish government if they did not achieve what the Irish government wants.

      “… if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided … ”

      Which ‘subsequent agreement’ would also be vetoed by the Irish government if it did not achieve what the Irish government wants.

  4. oldtimer
    December 14, 2018

    The BBC News website reports (1 hour ago) that the EU rejects changes to the WA. May is therefore unable to fulfill her need to achieve legally binding changes to it. The WA is dead.

    If past form is a guide she will return to the UK to insist it is still alive and the cabinet and the rest of the 200 MPs will make themselves look stupid by continuing to back her. And themselves unelectable.

    The government should now focus on exiting with No Deal. That would deliver the referendum result people voted for.

    1. Steve
      December 14, 2018

      Old Timer

      “The government should now focus on exiting with No Deal. That would deliver the referendum result people voted for.”

      Exactly. That’s what we need to focus on.

  5. Steve Pitts
    December 14, 2018

    The EU will not amend the actual deal because they are convinced we will still stay in the EU perhaps via a new referendum if we don’t approve the current deal. Does the House have the power to stop us leaving without a deal?, and what happens if they do manage to stop us leaving and cannot get a new referendum though? Does that mean we just stay in against the wishes of the people? They would then still have to face elections eventually and other consequences. A lot will depend on what Mrs May and her team do after 21 January if there is no deal approved. Do they think not leaving is better than no deal? That is correct they can’t get substantial Labour DUP or SNP or other support and over 100 on her own side for the current deal so the maths shows an unamended deal cannot get through and also the EU are certain we will not leave with no deal.

  6. Peter
    December 14, 2018

    May has clearly got nowhere with the backstop on her trip to Europe.

    So some sort of ‘pivot’or change of tack will now be needed.

    WTO seems obvious to most on here but she is reluctant to go there despite the ‘No Deal is better than a bad deal’ slogan of her earlier days.

    So she either gets removed or there is a losers vote or a further delay to leaving or Brexit gets cancelled.

  7. Newmania
    December 14, 2018

    The only course with a majority in the HOP is ‘remain’, which is also the majority view of the country. No-one believes that there is significantly better deal available and the ” This is not the Brexit that was in my head ” position is childish and frankly contemptible.
    The May deal must be put to the country versus remain. I see no possible justification for including fictions and falling out into chaos is too irresponsible to be considered.
    It is the only way out of the crisis , a Peoples vote

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 14, 2018

      A “People’s vote” is not a way out of the crisis, particularly when no one can formulate a credible question to go on the ballot paper. The majority view of the country was to leave, as the referendum result confirms.
      The way out of the crisis is to offer frictionless trade to the EU. In the meantime, we have frictionless borders that work in practice, even if they don’t in theory. The stumbling block is an irrational adherence to an EU religion.
      All that is needed to sort things out is an agreement amongst people, it’s not like we’re trying to defy the second law of thermodynamics.

    2. Steve
      December 14, 2018


      What, another referendum so you as a minority can get what you want by fiddling it ?

      We ain’t that stupid.

      Besides we already had a people’s vote, it was called the referendum. You lost.

    3. Maybot
      December 14, 2018

      A People’s Vote + Corbyn, remember.

      Your wise, Remain voting young graduates will see to that once we oldies have given up on voting.

    4. Edward2
      December 14, 2018

      Leaving the EU has already been decided by the people.
      If there were to be a second referendum it could only be a choice between leaving without a deal or leaving with the deal we have.
      We currently do not actually have a deal.
      All we have is an withdrawal agreement.
      Very different.

    5. William
      December 14, 2018

      Leave voters keep being told that voting leave was not valid because there was no firm legal leave option like there was remain. As a result, the argument goes on, nobody knew what leave really meant.

      What I would like to know from people making this argument is: what does remain really mean? There is a simple thought experiment that Remainers can do themselves by asking a few straightforward yes/no questions. Will there be closer political integration of the EU? Will more and more power be concentrated in Brussels? Will there be a push for an EU army? If the remainer’s answer to any of these questions is no, then they themselves are at odds with other Remainers/the policy of the EU. So there is also seemingly no one option of remain.

      The difference betweeen the above 2 situations is that it does not matter that brexiteers have a different view on what form of Brexit should ultimately be achieved. This is because with any form of Brexit that was voted for, parliament is sovereign and accountable to the electorate. People will be able to vote to change government policy because we live in a democracy. This will not be the case with remain, where EU policy makers are not accountable to the electorate. As a result, any deviations in what people believe what “remain” is will never be debated, and we will continue to follow a path over which we have no idea or control as to where it leads.

      Leaving on the other hand is simple. Most countries in the world are outside the EU. What form of leave we take will simply be up to the electorate when they elect governments with different policy over the coming decades.

    6. Richard1
      December 14, 2018

      Can you really think that? A referendum with a choice between Brino and Remain would surely be boycotted by anyone supporting leave and have no legitimacy.

    7. Al
      December 14, 2018

      **The May deal must be put to the country versus remain.**

      Thus disenfranchising 17.4M people. That is not democracy, nor can it be called a People’s Vote.

      1. Jagman84
        December 14, 2018

        For the umpteenth time, Remain is no longer on offer. The EU want the pretend-to-leave deal that they wrote for Mrs May. The altenative is a standard, WTO exit, as described in the information leaflet, c/o Mr Cameron.

        1. Al
          December 14, 2018

          I am aware of that. Sadly that has not stopped Caroline Lucas, or Newmania who I quoted and was replying to, requesting a referendum with those exact options: Remain or May’s deal.

          And again, effectively disenfranchising 17.4M people is likely to result in an extremely significant backlash and remove the legitimacy of any result.

    8. BBCnot
      December 14, 2018

      Wouldnt now be a good time to teach schoolchildren about the story of the Soviet Union?

    9. libertarian
      December 14, 2018


      Happy to have a third referendum

      Ballot paper

      1) Leave with the WA

      2) Leave with WTO

    10. fedupsoutherner
      December 14, 2018

      Newmania We don’t need a peoples vote. We already had one. May should have worked towards a free trade deal with the EU from day one instead of all this capitulation and scare mongering at home. It’s a disgrace the way she has run this and it will be to the detriment of the country if we stay in the EU. We will be cash cows when it starts to collapse and others manage to leave the club.

    11. Chris
      December 14, 2018

      Just calling a vote by a different name is not going to make your demand anything other than a rerun of the referendum (which you just happened to lose). You are obviously of the brigade that thinks that referendums have to be rerun until the “right” result is obtained. (Perhaps that is also a failing of the schools system which has tried to designate everyone as winners and not actually taught people how to learn to accept results of things in real life).

    12. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      The majority view in the country is that the EU has revealed itself to be a malevolent, bullying pain in the neck.
      Don’t forget that many people in this country have at one time or other had such a relationship or been married to such a character, or have worked for sombody with those traits.
      Walking away will prove surprisingly popular. Or at least, surprisingly to you, if not to the rest of us here.

  8. Lifelogic
    December 14, 2018

    May’s agreement and indeed May are dead in the water. May is wrong headed on almost every issue and not just Brexit. The 200 Tory MPs who voted to retain this disingenuous, lefty dope and her tax to death remainer Chancellor have done huge damage to the party and the country.

    They have made a Corbyn/SNP trip to Venezuela even more likely. Hopefully the 117 will at least ensure that Appeaser May cannot get a version of her vassal state surrender document through the house.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 14, 2018

      So David Dimbleby has actually retired from Question Time. I suppose he did it reasonable well but for the endless intrusion of his wrong headed left, PC, pro remain, big government, climate alarmist, no grasp of science views. These so typical of all allowed to work for the BBC. His last programme again had 4 guests for remain plus the chair.

      When will we ever have four leavers plus an impartial chair. I think once they did actually have two leavers on and just three remainers plus chair.

      I find it hard to believe that Fiona Bruce is a good replacement choice she seems to be totally uninterested in politics to me. Perhaps she will surprise us. Doubtless she has all the usual idiotic lefty, PC BBC views above. She is a language graduate so I assume the usual BBC’s no grasp of real science, pusher of climate alarmism and no grasp of real economics agenda will continue. I do not think I have ever met a language graduate who supported leaving the EU but perhaps some do actually exist?

  9. G Wilson
    December 14, 2018

    > “She told us she no longer planned to lead the party into the next General election”

    She hasn’t actually said that in public, though. Perhaps she said something different in private to MPs?

    The public quote is rather more slippery: “I think it is right that the party feels it would prefer to go into that election with a new leader…I think it’s right another party leader takes us into that general election”.

    That’s not a specific undertaking to resign.

    This is a woman with an extensive track record of misleading others about her intentions, and who seems intent on thwarting the referendum result. You Tories will have to drag her out of Number 10 if we’re actually going to be free of the EU.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 14, 2018

      If the appalling T May and tax to death Hammond lead us into another election then the disaster of a Corbyn/SNP Government and a trip to Venezuela will surely follow. It seems even Iain Duncan-Smith voted for May, why? These 200 misguided cowards have surely made a massive mistake. What on earth can May do from this position where she has, at best, only about 200 out of 650 MPs who support her absurd surrender document. She is another John Major and will bury the party.

      1. G Wilson
        December 14, 2018

        “Venezuela” is no longer a real threat, as long as we are ruled by the EU.

        If May can’t turn us into a non-EU county, then Corbyn can’t turn us into a banana republic (unless he gets Britain properly out of the EU).

        The Tories can’t threaten us with Corbyn any more. It’s now safe to vote Labour, just to punish the Tories for inflicting May on us.

      2. G Wilson
        December 15, 2018

        > ” It seems even Iain Duncan-Smith voted for May”

        He writes in Friday’s Telegraph that he voted against her.

  10. Bob Dixon
    December 14, 2018

    Without the full support of all Conservative MP’s and the DUP ,The Prime Minister will not be able to pass any legislation of any kind. She must resign.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 14, 2018

      Indeed a PM who has support of, at best, 200 of 650 MPs. Just go woman and take the appalling tax to death Hammond with you.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 14, 2018

        Further more a daft, robotic, visionless leader who is out of sync with Tory members and with Tory voters too.

        1. Chris
          December 14, 2018

          Judith Woods in D Tel writes that May will not go till someone larger than the Tories “takes her batteries” out.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      December 14, 2018

      Bob They are all their own worst enemy. They can see what needs to be done but can’t manage it. They are all interested in their own positions but are too blind to see they will be out on their ears come another election. They need to come together and deliver a real Brexit – you know, that kind that Cameron told us would happen. Oh, I forgot, another liar.

  11. eeyore
    December 14, 2018

    Fifteen weeks today we leave the EU. The date is nailed down by law. Changing it will be a lengthy business and subject to determined opposition in Parliament. The same is true of calling another referendum.

    Even if the WA were accepted by the House a Bill based on it would have to follow – another lengthy business. With every day that passes the prospect of any outcome but WTO recedes.

    Nothing is more important now than that Britain is prepared. Even a tariff schedule, which JR has been asking to see for months, is not ready. There really is no more time to waste.

  12. BBCnot
    December 14, 2018

    How can she now gain your trust after we have seen what appears to be clear evidence she has been work for the EU side?

  13. Richard1
    December 14, 2018

    Hopeless she needs to go. What happens if there is an election in the New Year? Do we fight it with Mrs May as leader telling the public she will go afterwarda or have an emergency leadesrship election?

  14. Mark B
    December 14, 2018

    Good morning.

    . . . . or as Jacob Rees Mogg points out lost the support of around 70% of all those MPs who do not have some job granted to them by her.

    And this is the reason why we must separate the Executive from the Legislature. The Government is effectively holding itself to account.

    This is not just about the Backstop, it is the whole agreement. We are obliged under Art.50 to negotiate one but, not obliged to sign it.

    I think our kind host is behind the curve on this. This is no longer about BREXIT, the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement and the Irish Backstop. This is about Mrs. May MP and her style of government. It’s appalling !

    To send Michael Gove MP out to tell the HoC that the vote on the WA will go ahead, only for it not too, shows total lack of respect for the House and the nation. She put herself before her Cabinet colleagues, her party, the country and democracy. Not only that, she had the gaul to tell the 27 other member governments BEFORE she told any of the aforementioned. So when it comes to loyalty I think it is fair to say we all know where Mrs. May MP stands – and it isn’t with any of us including those that voted for her.

    1. jerry
      December 14, 2018

      @Mark B; There hasn’t been a British PM in history who has not looked after the interests of ‘No.1’ first and foremost, before Ministers, civil servants, party, parliament or the electorate.

      It is not about Mrs May but how the British political system works, all our post WW2 Prime Ministers [1] tried to force their will through using the whips etc. But do you really want the system to change, how many Brexiteers on this site would today be fully backing of Mrs May had the parliamentary issue of contention been (for example) further trade union reforms rather than Brexit?

      [1] with perhaps the exception of Callaghan!

      1. libertarian
        December 14, 2018


        Yes I really want the system to change. I want to be able to elect the PM directly , I dont need “representation” from a centrally picked , safe seat , apparatchik . Our current system is not remotely democratic

        1. hefner
          December 14, 2018


      2. Mark B
        December 14, 2018


        If Parliament had a freer hand in holding the government (read Edward Heath) to account, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

        1. jerry
          December 14, 2018

          @libertarian; What would stop such a directly elected PM pushing their policies through just as now, endless referenda [1] or perhaps you would prefer politburos & ‘Workers Councils’ to have the final say in your political utopia were all citizens are equal, but some simply become more equal than others -to miss-quote a certain political work from 1945…

          [1] that, as has happened in Switzerland, voters become fatigued of the referenda process with the resultant fall in voter response

          @Mark B; Except Ted Heath got his European policy through due to support from pro-EEC Labour MPs, some parliamentarians were quite intent on using their freer hand to object, and quite vocal they were to, both left and right, but it did not stop the inevitable once the critical mass of support developed. The same process has occurred with the TM/EU withdrawal agreement, except this time the critical mass has swung against her.

        2. jerry
          December 15, 2018

          @Mark B; Except Ted Heath got his European policy through due to support from pro-EEC Labour MPs, some parliamentarians were quite intent on using their freer hand to object, and quite vocal they were to, both left and right, but it did not stop the inevitable once the critical mass of support developed. The same process has occurred with the TM/EU withdrawal agreement, except this time the critical mass has swung against her.

  15. BBCnot
    December 14, 2018

    The system has failed as we can’t get rid of her.

    1. dame Rita webb
      December 14, 2018

      the UK will remain ungovernable until both lab and con flush out those who who would be more suited in the libs. these cuckoos in the nests use both parties as flags of convenience to gain a seat. you also need a higher calibre of mp, from the “cones hotline” to “brexit means brexit” shows the vapidity of intellect of those who make it as far as number ten too

      1. Original Richard
        December 14, 2018

        I certainly agree that it is time the Leavers stopped voting for Remain supporting candidates, mainly Conservatives, who pretend to be Leavers to get the UKIP votes.

        The insanity of Conservative voters continually voting for elitist Remain supporting candidates is why there is such a mismatch between Parliament and the public when it comes to Brexit. The Parliamentary constituencies voted 64:36 to leave.

  16. Kendo
    December 14, 2018

    When was the last Tory party leader you didnt undermine?

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      When was the last Tory leader who supported Conservative policies?


  17. Roy Grainger
    December 14, 2018

    What puzzles me is when she made these comments about not leading the party into the next election and getting legal changes to the backstop, why did a single Conservative MP believe her ?

    1. Chris
      December 14, 2018

      Roy, this is indeed a crucial issue, and sends a very revealing message to the electorate.

    2. Craig
      December 14, 2018

      After everything that she has done, I wouldn’t believe her if she told me the sky is blue and grass is green.

      So why any Conservative MP should believe a word she says is beyond me.

  18. Christine
    December 14, 2018

    We are sadly in a situation where the PM is duplicitous and we cannot believe anything that she utters. Words cannot express how disappointing she is. But, having said that, we cannot allow her to carry on down her current path of appeasement while lying to us through her teeth. Those of us who voted Leave have no issue whatsever with leaving without a so-called deal. We are a strong people and will cope with whatever choppy waters may lie ahead, which will be as naught compared to past challenges like two world wars. Bring it on, I say!

    1. Chris
      December 14, 2018

      Well said, Christine.

  19. GilesB
    December 14, 2018

    Both the EU and the U.K. claim they don’t want the Brexit backstop triggered, and that if the backstop is triggered they would only want it to continue for a short while.

    However claims of ‘best endeavours’ are not trusted.

    In commercial negotiations a standard approach to overcome lack of trust in ‘best endeavours’ is to increase the incentives for both sides to genuinely strive for a result. I propose that the withdrawal agreement should include a clause that if the backstop is triggered both the U.K. and the EU should be penalised by a contribution of £10bn and €10bn respectively to the reduction of debt in Africa. Each anniversary of the backstop would see the payment double. This mechanism incentivises both sides to agree a replacement deal that prevents triggering the backstop and , if it is triggered, to replace it as quickly as possible.

    Although, of course, I would prefer no withdrawal agreement at all!

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 14, 2018

      It has to be understood that for the foreseeable future the EU will go along with what the Irish government wants, which is to keep as much of the UK as possible under as much EU law as possible for as long as possible. So if it isn’t the ‘backstop’ it will be some other legal device that passes muster with the Irish government. It would be foolish to think that the Irish government would ever willingly approve some free trade agreement, or some alternative arrangement, which rendered the ‘backstop’ unnecessary without retaining the same constraints on the UK. I wait to hear this obvious truth being pronounced by any prominent critic of Theresa May’s deal, but so far it seems that either none of them have cottoned on to the reality or that some have but are reluctant to publicly blame the Irish government.

      1. mancunius
        December 14, 2018

        Not just the RoI – the EU is using it as a fig-leaf for its plans for the UK to remain in backstop limbo, in order to secure the Customs Union for its mercantile trade-balance advantage, and to prevent any UK competition.
        As long as we are in the backstop, the EU can make any trade deal dependent on our remaining in the Customs Union as the very base and given of future trade negotiations. Sabine Weyand openly told the Commission this, when the WA was first published.

        If we just tell RoI we’re not playing ball, and leave without any agreement, and keep the border as it is, using our own tech solutions and improving them as we go, the problem will simply resolve itself.

        Let’s plan to build the Scottish-NI bridge the moment we leave on WTO terms. That will be a lever in our favour.

    2. Craig
      December 14, 2018

      I suspect that if such a clause was in place, and the backstop was triggered, rather than continue with the penalisation that went with it, they would simply replace it with something having a different name but the same function.

      Rather like replacing a Customs Union with a Customs Area.

      1. mancunius
        December 14, 2018

        Exactly. A ‘rules-based organization’ that does exactly what it wants, on the whim of its unelected tribe of mandarins.

  20. J Bush
    December 14, 2018

    I agree with you, with one distinction.

    This is a matter of National importance, to garner support surely you must have trust of those who support you seek.

    May has continually lied and been duplicitous for over 2 years. I know I couldn’t trust, never mind respect someone like this, because always at the back of mind would be the thought ‘leopards don’t change their spots’.

    I have never understood why she in a party, with the name conservative in it. Nothing she has ever done in her political career has been conservative. She comes across, to me anyway, as someone who is unbearably authoritarian and autocratic, as the way she has (mis)managed leaving the EU evidences.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 14, 2018

      JBush. ‘leopards don’t change their spots’. Ah, that’s why she wears those shoes!!

  21. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    December 14, 2018

    The people in government are also MPs.
    MPs receive an MP income.
    The ballot is secret.
    Not supporting your boss in a secret ballot doesn’t mean you’d be without income.

    Typical ERG logic says otherwise???

    Reply Yes, of course there could be two timers as Ministers. Who do you think behaved like that and who do you want to accuse

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 14, 2018

      Reply to reply.

      One person springs to mind.

    2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      December 14, 2018

      Reply to reply: I’m not accusing anybody but suggesting that the vote being secret, and all 317 voters secure of a job (an MP salary is not peanuts) all voters were free in their vote.
      ERG, IMHO wrongly, suggested that this was not the case

      1. miami.mode
        December 14, 2018

        PvL. MPs saying one thing and doing another? No, surely not!

  22. DUNCAN
    December 14, 2018

    You know what needs to be done John. Do everything in your power to depose this liberal left snake. She is dragging our country, its people and our party through the sewer and deep into mire

    Labour’s experiencing a Marxist purge with that party now a serious political threat both at a local and a national level. The Tories need their own purge and we need it soon

  23. Caterpillar
    December 14, 2018

    There are three options that may save democracy,
    1. May succeeds in changing WA to the Davis Raab Foster plan.
    2. So called no deal Brexit.
    3. Revoke article 50 so that UK votes for MEPs in European elections and also hold a GE at the same time.

    I don’t think any of these will happen, I think the Conservatives have demonstrated that if pushed they will support May if she offers anything. Lip service will be paid and then the current WA will get through the HoC vote.

  24. Bryan Harris
    December 14, 2018

    That – JR – Makes it sound as though May will keep on postponing the ‘VOTE’ until she has enough support.
    I believe it is time we turned the table on the remainers who have been taking the lead on this for too long – It is time for every one of the 117 to take the initiative – To what end?
    We have to force a No-Deal exit, and we do it by using the tactics of the Tory left – we don’t need to tell lies, but we can use humiliation and sarcasm to make attacks hit home – Because these people just do not recognize truth – it has to be rammed down their throats … WE take all the Scare stories and we show how untrue they are – One at a time – let’s flood the media with reality, be specific and give detail. Let us kill the scare stories dead!

  25. Anthony
    December 14, 2018

    The thing that bothers me is what if May goes for another referendum? Previously, I suspect the Tory party would have kicked her out had she tried. Now it can’t. I hope that you’re calculations on this are right, John!

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      The clue is that she has refused to even countenance a second referendum.

      So on past experience she’ll be trying to push it through in about, oh, a month from now.

  26. Pat
    December 14, 2018

    I have a question.
    Mrs May won her confidence vote on promising not to lead the party into the next election and to renegotiate the “backstop”.
    Should she renege on the first or fail in the second is there the possibility of a new vote of no confidence or would the twelve month delay still apply?
    I must say I find it illogical to give a vote of confidence to a leader when one is not confident of them leading in a general election. There will always be some item of unfinished business that the leader can claim needs seeing through. And it’s not as if May’s handling of Brexit to date has inspired confidence.

  27. hans christian ivers
    December 14, 2018


    Very sensible and good summarizing note.

    thank you

  28. Iain Gill
    December 14, 2018

    I think the EU leaders being particularly nasty to Mrs May now makes the way the British should react even more clear.

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      Not just to her – they refused to concede any ground to May ‘because of the behaviour of the British parliament.’

      In euroland, parliaments do exactly as the Leader tells them.

  29. percy openshaw
    December 14, 2018

    Isn’t it time to form a new party? A party of Brexit? Although Mrs May can’t shove her shabby stitch up through the Commons – for now – it is clear that the extremist, anti-democratic forces of Remain will combine to foist some form of surrender on the British people. The only way to prevent this from happening, or to ensure that it is sharply and swiftly reversed, is to campaign under fresh colours in a general election. For this to work, you will have to start organising now. Moneys must be sought from donors, candidates founds, associations formed. Many political activists I know would dump their current, allegedly Conservative member in a trice in such circumstances. You must realise, Dr Redwood, that Hammond, Morgan and the rest do not deserve to share a banner with you and that continued association with such persons can only damage your cause.

  30. oldwulf
    December 14, 2018

    So….. Mrs May is bomb proof for 12 months …. and she has apparently said that she will not lead the Tories into the next General Election. Hopefully, this might change the dynamics of Mrs May’s negotiations with the EU if she is no longer afraid.

    Hopefully, Mr Robbins has received his new instructions.

  31. Alan Jutson
    December 14, 2018

    The truth is John 200 Conservative Mp’s chickened out, and are happy to support a Prime Minister who openly Lies to Parliament and the people.
    Who then tries to cover up those lies, and is held in contempt of Parliament.
    Who deliberately plots and schemes against those whom she has tasked to do a job, the reason why a number of Brexit Ministers have resigned.
    Who has now been found out by the Select committee to have stopped HMRC from any future trade/tariff planning.

    Aware she is now in power and safe for another 12 months, and so is emboldened to continue with her actions.

    If an early election is called for whatever reason (no Confidence vote forced by Corbyn), you are stuck with her as leader of that election and you will be buried by the public.

  32. Alan Jutson
    December 14, 2018

    The only way to get a better Brexit deal is to start again, with a totally different attitude, and a totally different person in charge.

    A fantastic opportunity has been wasted. by a leader who has absolutely no vision, real strategy or any negotiation skills.

    Yes determined and difficult she may be, but that is absolutely useless if you use that against your own side.
    She has closed ears and a closed mind, simples.

  33. Michael O'S
    December 14, 2018

    This day 100 years ago the 1918 GE was held. There were a lot of changes taking place at that time, for instance women over the age of thirty could vote for the first time. In Ireland, and covering the whole of the island, the new party Sinn Fein won 75 of the 107 seats on offer and this in turn brought on a push for Irish independence- the old moderate Irish Nationalist Party was decimated- and as things worked out- following a bitter war in 1922 the British drew a border around the six north eastern counties- the same border that is still causing so much grief today.

    December 14, 2018

    We should invite Trump for a visit very very soon. Maybe he will have a public suggestion in our interests.
    I guess from a purely American perspective we are a trade deal indeed, and ripe!!!!

  35. Beecee
    December 14, 2018

    The fact that she allows herself to be humiliated on a regular basis by the EU is, I suppose, a matter for herself and her self esteem; what is not a matter for her self esteem however is the fact that it is now the UK which is being humiliated.

    I would expect our PM, of whatever Party, to give the EU the proverbial finger in such circumstances, and publicly. It is called standing up for us!

    The fact that Mrs May doesn’t is a disgrace levied upon us all.

  36. A.Sedgwick
    December 14, 2018

    Matthew Parris wrote an incredibly revealing critique of May in yesterday’s Times and he is to be congratulated for this insight. It did not surprise me having never to my knowledge been within 10 miles of her. So many in regular contact must have had serious doubts about her personality being suitable even as an MP. Ken Clarke’s description now seems heartfelt.

    Her ability to command attention never mind respect in the non Brexit world is effectively zero and for that reason alone she must go now. We have three months to set up a WTO exit, that is the only option. If the Commons rejects this then a second referendum makes sense :

    WTO Leave


    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      We have already voted to leave.

      Parliament asked the people what to do – Remain or Leave.

      We told Parliament to leave.

      Many in Parliament decided to drag their feet, and not to leave.

      We had a GE and voted mainly for two parties that championed leaving.

      Both then reneged on their undertaking.

      We told Parliament that they must arrange our leaving. WTO terms were always announced as a possibility if the EU proved as recalcitrant as it has done.

      Parliament and its party political leaders decided they found it too difficult, and allowed the government to fail in preparing us to leave.

      So what is the point of telling them again, in another referendum ? They will simply try harder this time to thwart the people’s will.

  37. Iain Moore
    December 14, 2018

    The best leverage the EU has is our EU acolytes in Parliament, for they will block anything that respects the referendum result, this the EU knows, perhaps in light of all the Grieves and Soubrys who have trooped across to Brussels to pay homage to Barnier, have been given this guarantee , as such the EU sees there is little risk in offering us a rubbish deal, or not giving May any accommodation on the Irish backstop, for they can rely on our un-representative to protect the EU’s interests.

    I have been very surprised that none of these MPs who have gone behind our nation’s back in negotiating with Barnier, haven’t been asked to account for themselves.

    1. Iain Moore
      December 14, 2018

      Sorry read it as ‘un-representative Parliament ‘

  38. Andy
    December 14, 2018

    A better way of putting all this:

    We now know the hard Brexiteers are in a tiny majority in Parliament. We know that they have a lion’s roar, but behind it they have the power of pussy cat.

    They will complain, they will whine, they will moan about Europe (many have done this for 30+ years) but they have no power.

    Brexit means Mrs May’s deal or something close to it. They only alternative now is remain. No deal can not happen.

    You all need to embrace Mrs May’s deal. It is all you are going to get. It is a rubbish deal but it is Brexit reality and it is what you all voted for.

    1. libertarian
      December 14, 2018


      17.4 million people disagree … Get over it

      1. Newmania
        December 14, 2018

        Not any more although , to be fair, considering how wildly different the reality is to the Sunny Uplands and easy negotiation, promised the gap is not that wide.
        I think this is just the difficulty of admitting you are wrong

      2. hans christian ivers
        December 14, 2018


        Are you as bitter an old man as you come across?

        1. Edward2
          December 14, 2018

          You post asking everyone to be nice and polite
          Now here you make a cheap sarcastic comment yourself

        2. mancunius
          December 14, 2018

          Hans – it seems you take personal offence at the arguments of those who think differently from yourself. Frankly, that makes you look ill-tempered and immature.

          Our courteous host puts up with all of us. Please try to learn some tolerance.

          1. hans christian ivers
            December 15, 2018


            Thank you for the good advise which I already try and practice

      3. Andy
        December 14, 2018

        17.4m do not disagree. Just because you are a Brexit extremist rowed not mean everyone who voted leave us.

        My mother also voted leave. She doesn’t like Mrs May’s deal but she wants it accepted as she thinks it is the best we will get.

        She voted leave too – why is her opinion less valid than yours? (Answer – it isn’t).

    2. Edward2
      December 14, 2018

      But there is no parliamentary support for Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.
      That is why she cancelled the vote.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      December 14, 2018

      Andy, That just about sums it up ‘they have no power’. Correct, and that is why we want out of the EU so we get our power back. Why do you want a foreign parliament telling you what you can and cannot do? You a may as well turn the clock back 70 years.

    4. Original Richard
      December 14, 2018

      Andy, “No deal”, which is really “WTO deal” is what will happen.

      The country voted to leave and although a Remainer PM and many Parliamentarians have tried to thwart the result, they have found that the EU’s hard-line stance is so extreme that even Parliament and many Remainers are not prepared to stomach the resulting permanent vassal status with the uncertainty for business of “protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations” (to quote the Attorney General) to settle the “future relationship”.

      The country will want a WTO deal to “get on with it” and create certainty and Parliament in the end will not be turkeys voting for Christmas as they know, as does the general public, that voting for the Withdrawal Agreement will be the last meaningful vote that either Parliament or the general public will have.

      At the same time we will £39bn better off.

  39. William Long
    December 14, 2018

    The failure to remove Mrs May has highlighted the total nature of the log-jam she has allowed to develop. It is beginning to look more and more as if a General Election could be the most constructive way out in that an election defeat is probably the only thing that is going to rid us of Mrs May any time soon. I actually do not think Corbyn would be that much worse.
    I am interested to note that our MP has asked for a re-adoption meeting.

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      Let’s not forget that Corbyn is the tail of a dog led by Starmer and Benn.

      Don’t forget the lessons of history. Wilson claimed in 1974 that he would renegotiate the EEC agreement in our favour. After a lot of faffing around in Brussels, he pronounced a great victory. In fact he had gained nothing at all.

      And so it will be here. The only positive choice would be a principled and determined PM who will take us swiftly but preparedly out of the EU then negotiate a FTA.

      Such a one is not on the ballot paper. It’s certainly not Corbyn.
      Dodds would do it, if the Tories would swallow their pride.

  40. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    December 14, 2018

    I hope you will listen to my plea and support my Campaign. #ImJustABadLoser

    In June 2016, an international game of football was played between England and Iceland.

    The OFFICIAL score was recorded as being a win to Iceland… 2-1. Very close.

    I have never been able to get over that day, because it was just so unfair.

    I suspect there must have been something ‘iffy’ that went on, for the match to end that way.

    I am sure the England Team did not fully understand why they were playing.

    The refereeing was also questionable. I understand the referee did not even have a University Degree, so that brings the result even further into doubt .

    This result must be challenged and overturned.

    So, I am determined to have a replay of the match and I am appealing to all honest, principled and fair minded people to support me.

    If England win the rematch, I will accept that as the FINAL result. No question about that.

    If England lose, then of course, in the interests of Fair Play, there must be a “best of 5”.

    I can’t tell you how bad it feels to lose. Every time I think about it, I start crying , grizzling and have a weally, weally, big Temper Tantrum.

    My Mum’s always let me win games, all my life, and this ‘losing thing’ really sucks.
    People tell me, that losing and gracefully accepting defeat, is part of growing up but I just can’t see that is true.

    Thanks for your support….Brothers and sisters..the ‘PEOPLES’…the upholders of Britishness and our long tradition of Fair Play and justice.


    P.S. I also support the call for a Peoples’ Vote
    (aka the “Crime Against Democracy” Vote), to reverse Brexit.

  41. The PrangWizard
    December 14, 2018

    18th century historian Alexander Tytler set forth a cycle that every democracy goes through. The cycle starts with a society in bondage.

    It goes;

    Spiritual Faith
    and then Bondage again

    It seems to me we are on the point of coming complete circle, approaching a modern form of bondage if the traitor May is allowed to remain as PM and gets her way.

    I think the word revolt would be appropriate now if we are to prevent it from happening.

    1. Chris
      December 14, 2018

      John Kennedy had it right when he said that freedom is not passed down from one generation to another. It has to be fought for, to be retained. By a step by step process the EU has removed our freedoms, with the willing support of many of our own MPs.

      If we want to regain freedom we have to fight very hard for it, as we are seeing, but tragically there are too many “establishment” MPs, including our own PM, who seem intent on us not actually regaining that freedom. As others have said, we need President Trump to fight for us. The fight is not between right and left, but globalists versus patriots.

  42. Original Richard
    December 14, 2018

    The Gibralter question at this stage, before the signing of the Withdrawal Agreement, was a trick conjured up by Mrs. May/EU/Spain to make the UK electorate think that it was an issue that had been settled.

    Far from it, as it will come back amplified many times over by our weak position should Parliament be stupid enough to sign this Agreement.

    That is when Spain will really be going for it.

    Plus of course FoM, fishing rights etc etc.

  43. Edwardm
    December 14, 2018

    By going against her own Lancaster House speech, the current political situation is all of Mrs May’s own making. Now faced with imminent defeat of her sell-out – she is finding her EU “friends” are of little help to her (as short-sighted as that may be for the EU).

    Yet Mrs May with all her serious failings is supported by over half her MPs.
    How illogical or contemptuous they are is illustrated by the Attorney General who supports May despite his own advice pointing out the serious shortcomings of the WA and Backstop.
    We need a political re-alignment.

  44. Jiminyjim
    December 14, 2018

    Hearing Tony Blair on the radio this morning saying that he thought if we agreed to withdraw Article 50, the EU would be prepared to look again at the issue of Free Movement of People (on an EU-wide basis) underlined for me the fact that so many of our politicians and Civil Servants just do not understand Europeans. There is no chance whatsoever that one of the Five (yes, Five not Four) Freedoms would ever be tweaked, even slightly. As proof, the EU could get their appalling WA accepted by the HOC with a very modest change of wording. They are not prepared to consider this, even though the WA would be massively beneficial to them. Why? Read Yanis Varoufakis who warned in his book that the EU is incapable of acting rationally. That much is now blindingly clear. What is less clear, Mr Redwood, is how 200 of your colleagues think that they’re still dealing with a benign, rational organisation when every single event points to the opposite conclusion

  45. Original Richard
    December 14, 2018

    If the UK Parliament is either so treacherous or so stupid as to sign the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement with no other issues such as trade terms, FoM, fishing rights, control of our military etc. settled and we become a permanent vassal state of the EU accepting all EU imposed taxation, laws and policies without a veto or representation, until the EU allows us to leave, then the only way out will be for the UK to be dissolved.

  46. Original Richard
    December 14, 2018

    It was informative to learn this week that although the Conservative Parliamentary Party had confidence in Mrs. May’s ability to conduct the most important negotiations in the nation’s history they did not have confidence in Mrs. May’s ability to lead them into the next GE.

    They needn’t have worried about that however, because, if this treacherous Withdrawal Agreement is stupidly signed by Parliament you can be sure that Mrs. May will not be wanting to be the PM attempting the “future relationship” negotiations with the EU.

    In fact I wouldn’t think that either of the main parties would be wanting to handle these negotiations as the UK will be in such a weak position that they will go on and on with concession after concession needing to be made on Gibralter, fishing rights, FoM, permanent membership of the SM and CU without representation, relinquishing control of our military etc. etc. in order to get to a position where the EU allows us to pretend we are leaving.

  47. Original Richard
    December 14, 2018

    The Attorney General wrote in the conclusion of his Withdrawal Agreement “Legal Affect of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland :

    “In the absence of a right of termination, there is a legal risk that the United Kingdom might become subject to protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations”

    I think “might” is “will” and the consequences of signing this treacherous Agreement will lead to years and years of vassalage and never-ending negotiations which will only have a bad outcome for the UK from which it will not be able to exit.

    Now that the EU has refused to amend this Protocol, the only way to prevent “protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations” and the massive uncertainty that this will cause, and to “get this over with”, is leave in March on WTO terms.

    1. Chris
      December 14, 2018

      Wise words, OR.

    2. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      Well said. Many upticks.

  48. Ron Olden
    December 14, 2018

    Whether some (or even all), of Mrs May’s votes were from MPs who have jobs in the Government is irrelevant.

    Incidentally however, according to Nadine Dorries on Wednesday, at least two Ministers had told her they were voting against Mrs May.

    Why they’d tell Nadine Dorries, is anyone’s guess, but if there were two Ministers telling her, there there will surely have been many more keeping their intentions quiet.

    These MPs on the so called ‘payroll vote’ however, are all Conservative MPs and are largely on the payroll because they DO have confidence in Mrs May. So one can hardly decline to count them.

    Jacob Rees Mogg might just as well suggest not counting Members of the ERG, and the 48 letter writers in his calculations, or, suggest not counting the Government payroll vote members in any Vote of No Confidence in Parliament.

    In any case this sort of vote is not one where people were expressing ‘No Confidence Whatsoever’ in Mrs May. It was a vote to determine whether there should be and election to see if they can find someone they had even more confidence in.

    If it had been the former, the MPs concerned would, logically have to vote with the opposition in a full scale confidence vote.

    63% is a fair but not spectacularly good outcome.

    It’s a higher proportion of Tory MPs than voted for Mrs May when she was elected in 2016, and is the largest vote of Confidence in any Party leader in Parliament since 1995, when John Major won.

    Even on that occasion his number was only marginally higher, and on that occasion has it been a straightforward ‘Confidence’ vote he might not have beaten 63%.

    In his own most recent ‘Confidence Vote’ amongst his MPs Corbyn LOST by 172 to 40.

    Mrs May’s win properly reflects the public’s own view. The YOUGOV Poll on Wednesday showed that by margin of 6 points the public wanted Mrs May to stay, She had a 7% Lead amongst Leave voters, and has a 12 point lead amongst Remainer voters.

    Tory voters however supported her by a huge majority of 58% to 28%.

    That’s a VERY big lead, even amongst it’s own voters. for the Leader of party in power let alone one who’s pursuing a policy which is an anathema or at least viewed with suspicion by the large majority of its Party members .

    There IS confidence in Mrs May but NOT in the proposed agreement.

    She didn’t write the proposed deal. It’s merely the best she thought she could get, and no one else has the remotest chance of getting a better one.

    It’s this Agreement, Remaining, or having a Managed No Deal Brexit. Confidence in Mrs May didn’t come into it at this stage.

    These 48 have lumbered themselves with Mrs May for the next 12 months and seriously enhanced her own tactical position in the Brexit proceedings during that time.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, secure in the knowledge that they’d win, and could blame the ERG for what happened, some of Mrs May’s own supporters wrote some of these 48 letters.

  49. BOF
    December 14, 2018

    What I find truly astonishing is the sheer bloated scale of Government. It leaves me convinced that there are scores of people in Cabinet and bag carriers that are only there to bolster the guaranteed vote for Government.

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      I imagine the working day in ministerial and whips’ offices beginning with a chorus of ‘We’re ‘ere becos we’re ‘ere, becos we’re ‘ere, becos we’re ‘ere.’

  50. Freeborn John
    December 14, 2018

    The EU will have the UK over a barrel in later negotiations on a trade deal if the backstop is accepted. If the UK were outside a customs union with the EU+NI and there is no trade deal then the EU would be receiving 80% of the tariff revenue on UK to NI trade. With about £9.5bn in GB / NI goods sales and assuming an average EU external tariff of 3% on goods that would amount to the EU collecting £228 million per year on GB goods sold in Northern Ireland.

    The EU would of course be collecting additional revenue of the importation of goods from the rest of the world into NI too which would flow to HMRC were the Uk to trade with the EU on WTO terms. So by agreeing to the backstop we are agreeing to lose a very substantial amount of money each year should we the rest of the UK ever trade with the EU outside of a customs union or trade agreement with it. We do not yet know the annual payments the EU will demand for a trade deal or other losses such as access to our fisheries. But the backstop very substantially alters the walk-position of the UK in future trade negotiations relative to the walk-away position of trading with them on WTO terms.

  51. Helen Smith
    December 14, 2018

    If the backstop is only there to prevent a hard border I’m puzzled as to how gaining even more rights to fish in our coastal waters would make it OK to allow us to unilaterally leave? Or would the EU just be cherry picking, again.

  52. Helen Smith
    December 14, 2018

    Mr Redwood, with another 362 days to go before she can be removed by ballot Remainers cannot replace her.

    When she lies she uses the lie about delivering Brexit to cover up her lie. If she legislated for a second ref she couldn’t use that lie, so in my view she will not do that.

    Therefore, unless she legislates for a different exit, Norway or Canada, we just leave on WTO terms, which will be great, just what I want.

    Have I missed anything

  53. GregH
    December 14, 2018

    In twenty years time or so, there will be no border in Ireland.. so if we start from that point and work backwards it’s easy to see how the present problem can be defused.

    Solution: a direct swop, the backstop stays in place only as long as the border exists

    1. mancunius
      December 14, 2018

      I’ve a much much better idea. The RoI realizes that not even the so-called ‘Nationalists’ in NI want to be taken over by Dublin (certainly not by the spalpeens currently in power), and that when we leave without the WA, as we assuredly shall, they will be the losers because of their trading and geographical dependence on the UK market.
      They joined along with us, and now they can leave with us, and form a free trade area with the UK.
      This is the commonsense suggestion of the Irish ex-Ambassador Ray Bassett, and he is not alone in making it.

  54. JoolsB
    December 14, 2018

    May is deluded and a liar and has made a complete dog’s dinner of the negotiations as we knew she would. As a remainer, her heart was never in it. We had our vote but unfortunately it was the wrong answer for our mostly remain politicians who now want to deny us a true Brexit if any Brexit at all. We hear this morning that Hammond, Lidington and Gauke are now pushing her to go for a second referendum, something she has repeatedly said she wouldn’t do but as with everything else, what she says and what she does are two different things. And if they get their way, our choice will be between May’s deal or remain. If our self serving politicians find May’s surrender document so repugnant why on earth should the British public vote for it which of course they wouldn’t and so we would remain. Alternatively, they tell us it should be a three way vote, May’s deal, no deal or remain, an option which splits the leave vote in two. What a pathetic and undemocratic bunch our politicians are as these options are so stacked in remain’s favour that there is no way the leave vote could win. And what is even more pathetic than May’s deal is why on earth our spineless EU loving MPs are so keen to keep us in a club that has bullied and humiliated us so badly? Surely any sane person with any self respect for our nation would no longer wish to stay where we are treated so badly.

    The only hope now John is for those in your party who truly believe in Brexit to start up a real Conservative party offering a true Brexit and if that means no deal, so be it. That way the public would have a real choice unlike now where neither the Conservative party or Labour are offering us the Brexit we voted for . After all at the last GE 80% of people voted for the two main parties after they both pledged (lied) to take us out of the Customs Union, the Single Market and ECJ. We need a new party which will deliver on those promises and which surely would be a huge vote winner.

  55. cosmic
    December 14, 2018

    “The Prime Minister needs to rebuild her support amongst Conservative and DUP MPs as an urgent priority”

    A constructive approach and diplomatic language.

    The problem is that she’s like a comedian who’s lost the audience but won’t leave the stage. She’s never going to get the audience back.

    Apart from anything else, no one believes a word she says. Then there’s the
    ridiculous performance of going to Brussels to gain concessions she’s been told she won’t get, being treated as a figure of fun, coming back with no concessions, then repeating the process.

    These are hardly a solid foundation on which to rebuild support.

  56. anona
    December 14, 2018

    We voted leave the EU,(the single market,the customs union, the jurisdiction of the ECJ).

    All MP’s who vote to support or deliver anything different should be subject to a mandatory by-election to re-confirm the legitimacy of their position with the local electorate.

    All MPs who vote contrary to manifesto pledges should also be subject to binding by elections.

    The powers of the executive should be reduced where they fail to pursue manifesto pledges and referendum results or where they mislead the public or parliament. Indeed they should be made ineligible for the executive after the finding.

    If this fails to honour the referendum result ie leave. Then the voting system should be equalised between the number of MP’s and electors.

    1. JoolsB
      December 14, 2018

      Exactly. As they’re so happy to give away their workload to Brussels why do we need 650 of them?

      1. JoolsB
        December 14, 2018

        Half the SNPs’ workload is already done for them at Holyrod. Good job they are allowed to meddle, interfere and vote on English only matters else they’d be twiddling their thumbs most days. If they are so happy for even more of their workload to be done by the EU, I suggest the whole lot of them are given their P45’s.

  57. David Taylor
    December 14, 2018

    Fishing rights
    Chemicals to purify drinking water .
    Air Travel restrictions .
    The validity of UK driving licences in the EU .

    The above issues , by no means all of the issues advanced , to stop Brexit are in my opinion minor issues , compared to the real issue of Britain being liberated from the EU super state , whose actual character is shown in all its pronouncements in regard to Brexit , its treatment of Greece and seemingly now Italy .

    The future of the UK is separation from the EU project .

  58. Adam
    December 14, 2018

    Theresa May’s stance was equivalent to wading through treacle up to her bottom lip, setting harder day by day. She is now stuck leading nowhere useful, lacking purpose in attempting to reverse the irreversible. Sensible Conservatives should ignore her distracting pleas & re-organise themselves to reach the Leave result we voted to attain.

  59. APL
    December 15, 2018

    JR: “She told us she no longer planned to lead the party into the next General election, assuming that is in 2022. ”

    If there are any Conservatives patriots in the Tory party, would you select one from them to lead the party next.

    It would be quite novel to have a Tory leader who loves our country and seeks the best for it and its population.

  60. Simon
    December 15, 2018

    You lost. Get over it.

Comments are closed.