A managed WTO Brexit

Jeremy Hunt has said on behalf of the government that we can handle a WTO exit next March. The whole government needs to spend the next three motnhs preparing well, sorting out the remaining issues quickly. It needs to provide an upbeat commentary about all the things it has  done to ensure a smooth transition when we leave. The government assures us it has been preparing for 2.5 years so far, and must by now have done most of the work. We know that the ports will operate well and that the planes will fly.

Still the lies flow from those who want to reverse the decision of the referendum on the media. They are now arguing all over again that we will not be able to export food once we leave the EU. If the EU does impose high tariffs on UK food exports – one of the few areas they could do so as there are some high tariffs on non EU food at the moment – the UK will clearly switch some production from export to the EU to domestic consumption. Our own  market would be better protected from EU imports by our also imposing similar tariffs. We should at the same time lower the average tariff we impose on food to encourage non EU countries to buy more of our food by encouraging  mutual reduction of tariff barriers and to make imported food from the non EU which we cannot produce for ourselves cheaper.  The scare stories usually fail to understand two crucial things. We will decide how high a  tariff if any to place on imports. The EU cannot impose a higher tariff on our exports to them than it imposes on any other WTO country. The EU currently has low average tariffs of around 3%, with no tariffs at all on half the trade. The pound has fallen by more than 3% against the Euro so overall there is no loss of competitiveness if they do impose some tariffs.

The government is over reacting to stories of friction at our borders once we leave. It is busy encouraging stockpiles of medicines for no good reason. It has confirmed there are  no continental companies cancelling contracts to supply after March 29. There are no UK plans to delay the drugs for longer at the ports. Were there to be any extra delays then the supplying companies would just have to send them a bit earlier, as they have to today if there are strikes or crashes affecting continental roads .  There is plenty of container capacity should there be Ro Ro problems ,but Calais is busy fitting out its port to handle customs to ensure it keeps the business after we leave.

The so called non tariff barriers to trade include VAT, Excise and company tax. These frictions we already handle at our borders with the rest of the EU as we have different rates and incidence of these taxes. They include inspections of food and goods quality and safety. Most of these checks are done away from the border. The exporting company tests the product at the factory and supplies the test details on the electronic record of the consignment. The importing company may check again on delivery. Customs and national safety authorities can spot check consignments to ensure it is as recorded, usually on suspicion from investigation or tip off. None of this need cause new extra delays at ports. If we can handle the complexities of VAT and Excise today why is a tariff tax more difficult?

What is so depressing is how remorselessly negative the media and many of their chosen interviewees are. It as if we were never able today to import or export anything outside the EU, and as if governments were incapable of finding an easy way of lifting more money off companies in the form of extra customs dues if we leave and some tariffs are imposed. There are strict limits to how much power the EU has over trading companies, and there are international and EU Treaty obligations on the EU itself to promote and encourage a good trade with non EU neighbouring states. Some Remain supporters seem to think that the EU is evil in intent and will be a lawbreaker just to be difficult.


  1. GilesB
    December 17, 2018

    Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, inspects less than 1% of arriving containers.

    U.K. Customs will similarly prioritise flow over compliance.

    1. Mike Stallard
      December 17, 2018

      Advice to Stakeholders.
      Phytosanitary organisation.

      We have gone through this so many times on eureferendum.com
      WTO is not an option. It is not what it seems.

      Sir Ivan Rogers is worth a look:https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2018/12/13/full-speech-sir-ivan-rogers-on-brexit/

      1. Mark
        December 18, 2018

        These issues apply whether we exit with no withdrawal agreement or with one: for example, only the Sovereign Bases in Cyprus have provision for phytosanitary inspection by the Cyprus authorities.

        As with the recently announced trade agreement with Switzerland, it is easy to assume that nothing is being done until you see the results. Of course, given the obstructivism from the Treasury and the Chancellor, we have probably done far less than we ought to. But to continue to assume that nothing is happening is wrong.

        1. Hope
          December 18, 2018

          Ivan Rogers wrote a condensending article yesterday that appeared to gloat at the poor negotiation of the UK with the EU, all with a view to remain in.

          Rogers failed to say why he did not use his ever so clever intellect to help the UK when he was present under Cameron’s pathetic renegotiaton. He also fails to say what should be done to leave under a clean break. Rogers article came across as bitter and disloyal to his country.

          Rogers should have been sacked years ago if this was his stated view. Moreover, people like him need to purged from the civil service for people who want to use their intellect for the benefit of the country not against it.

          What a shame Rogers failed to use his intellect and training for the benefit of his country’s stated policy aims. Now he comes across as a bitter failed man.

          1. Kenneth barton
            December 19, 2018

            Unfortunately people like him in the Civil Service cannot be asked the unions have too much power.

          2. GD
            December 19, 2018

            You see, your response typifies the issue. Have you actually read Rogers’ article? It is well argued, contains few assertions and is persuasive. Unlike Redwood who just says things like “we know the ports will operate well” without any explanation of why, if that is the case, motorways are being prepared to be lorry parks and the government proposes stockpiling essential goods. And we’re putting the army on standby.
            But because you want things to be great you ignore the fact that they might not be. That’s ok in civilians like you and me. It is unforgivable in political leaders, particularly when they have the means to avoid the potential chaos.
            Look at it this way. If Rogers is wrong he looks stupid. If Redwood is wrong my children and grandchildren, and yours, will have their livelihood and prospects immeasurably damaged. Redwood and his friends will suffer no consequences.

            Reply You fail to say how our ports will be messed up and by whom!

      2. Edward2
        December 18, 2018

        A totally unbiased civil servant who has no fixed views on the EU
        Impartial as his job as a civil servant requires.

        1. Stred
          December 18, 2018

          He’s the chap who advised May to treat EU citizens already here as bargaining chips, rather than do what the Leave and Ukip manifestos said. Presumably, benighted EU loving civil servants would not have lowered themselves to reading this sort of thing.

    2. Hope
      December 17, 2018

      JR, it is not just the media, I just saw govt minister Greg Clarke on TV warning of the dangers in sensational language of leaving on WTO terms. In stark contrast that is the legislation and policy of govt if no deal is reached! Rudd doorstepped, again she talks Roy about parliament. The public know MP are 72 percent remain and 28 percent leave. Therefore any second referendum will never be accepted unless the result is remain. Similarly asking MPs for their views will find an equally depressing view.

      It should be shouted loud and clear that MP are defying the will of the people and the public vote to leave the EU. The same is true with the Tory govt. May has tried to defy the will of the people,by her servitude plan and then repeatedly lied to say it is what we voted for and what was in your manifesto. A minority of Tory MPs clearly say this is u true, she is lying.

      Let us not pretend that some ministers are not doing the PM bidding, they are. If not they would be ousted. Especially Hammond after calling millions of people who won the vote to leave the EU last week extremists!

      There is only one deal the public voted for a clean break leave then talk about trade. All other claims specious and false to try to change the public vote to leave.

      1. margaret howard
        December 17, 2018

        “There is only one deal the public voted for a clean break leave then talk about trade. All other claims specious and false to try to change the public vote to leave.”

        How do you know that? There were only 2 options available to us –

        YES OR NO!

        1. Edward2
          December 18, 2018

          Read the leaflet Margaret.

        2. Hope
          December 18, 2018

          Correct Margaret leave or remain. We chose leave. It was Not premised on a possible withdrawal agreement. It was premised on leaving the single market, customs union and ECJ. May’s servitude plan fails all three. We heard all the scare stories and still chose leave. Accept it.

        3. libertarian
          December 18, 2018


          It was actually Leave or Remain

          We voted Leave in the full knowledge that it actually meant leave as in not stay in a little bit, not dangle a toe in the CU, not hang around on the door to the sm. Leave. Politicians, NGO’s, Quango’s , everyone told us that leaving meant leaving everything

          Thats what we voted for thats how we know

        4. Know-Dice
          December 18, 2018

          Not sure where or what you voted for…the only options I saw were Remain or Leave based on the information sent to every household by the Government of the time…

    3. Andy
      December 17, 2018

      So the Vote Leave pledge to ‘take back control’ of borders was not true then? As you are advocating not bothering with borders.

      They also pledged to cut red tape. And we know that is not true either.

      Was there anything the Vote Leave cheats said that was true?

      1. Edward2
        December 17, 2018

        Firstly humans go through dofferent channels to containers of goods.
        Secondly EU red tape cannot be altered until the UK leaves the EU.

      2. NickC
        December 18, 2018

        Andy, Was there anything that the Remain cheats said that was true? You seem to have a problem understanding what control means. Give me control of your bank account and I will demonstrate even to you that control is important.

    4. Richard
      December 17, 2018

      Our host: “There is plenty of container capacity should there be Ro Ro problems ,but Calais is busy fitting out its port to handle customs to ensure it keeps the business after we leave.” – as others confirm: http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/11/10/some-port-statistics-for-mr-raab/#comment-972383

    5. ian wragg
      December 17, 2018

      Guido is reporting that UK/EU have agreed to continue with the “Common Transition Arrangements” for goods too and from the EU/UK in case of no deal.
      Surely that blows a Titanic hole in the remoaners case that there will be chaos at the borders.
      It looks to me like sensible arrangements are in fact being made for a no deal exit it’s just that Parliament doesn’t want us to know.

    6. Richard
      December 17, 2018

      “The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination.” https://order-order.com/2018/12/17/uk-eu-agree-maintain-common-transition-convention-even-no-deal/ Good to see a sensible No Deal side agreement.

      Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty binds Brussels: “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”

    7. hangingon
      December 17, 2018

      It’s not Uk customs we should be concerned about- it’s French customs

  2. Javelin
    December 17, 2018

    After reviewing comments on the DT, Guardian, ConHome, DM, DE it appears the Conservative Party will not win the next GE if they vote for May’s deal.

    Now you have to ask if these comments sections are representative of the national vote. I believe they are because in complex situations the comments run through hundreds of small arguments in a survival of the fittest scenario. Those comments that win out resonate with readers and are echoed in the next round of comments in an ever evolving form. Which is why comment sections are the best predictor of future decision making of large populations.

    1. Mark B
      December 17, 2018


      Comment Sections, much like this, can sometimes end up like an echo chamber. That is why it is good to have people with opposing views. If those who hold such views are allowed the opportunity to express them (ahem, Mr. Redwood MP sir) and allow others to debate with them then they serve a very useful purpose.

      I believe, much like our PM, if she is to be believed, that many MP’s may not be fighting the next GE. After all, what would be the point when once the WA is passed we will no longer be able to do anything for ourselves.

      1. Maybot
        December 17, 2018

        Mark B – I’d say Going Postal and Guido are echo chambers.

        This blog seems to be a fairly good mix. Around 30-40% Remainers with most of them being high quality contributors.

      2. Hope
        December 17, 2018

        Cameron said on TV: “Your decision. Not politicians. Not Parliament. Just you.”

        This was based on leaving no the customs union and single market, no ECJ either oversight or direct control. Not changing badges or half in half out under May’s plan. But on solemn promises.

        What happened to those in govt, Rudd, who now claim otherwise. What happened to those in parliament who also told us the same. Liars. They will say anything to keep us in the EU. Leave without a servitude plan and negotiate trade afterwards.

        1. Stred
          December 18, 2018

          Eural is reported to be texting May, encouraging her to stuff us with her Brino forever. There’s a surprise.

    2. jerry
      December 17, 2018

      @Javelin; Had you read the same comment sections, as one lady and her advisor’s seemingly did, prior to the June 2017 GE the Tory party should now have a 200+ seat majority, whilst the LibDems, and UKIP would have fought over who was to be the official opposition!…

      Comment sections are at best indicative, at worse just a rabble.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 17, 2018

        Well had May not been such a robotic electoral liability, had she not been a disingenuous leaver supporter, had she been a real “low tax/small government” Conservative, had she not (rather cowardly) sent in Amber Rudd as a sub for the TV debate, had she been someone with leadership vision and had she not gone for a ‘vote for me and I will kick Tory supporters in the teeth’ Manifesto – then a 200 seat Majority was perfectly attainable.
        Especially against basket cases dopes like Corbyn, Mc Donnall, Watson, Abbott, Long Bailey ….

        Given a sensible real Tory leader now a 200 majority is still possible. The country and Tory Party are largely crying out for this.

        We do not want another appalling tax borrow and waste, green crap, red tape spewing lefty. Nor one like May infected (like Hillary Clinton) with evil identity politics and the politics of envy.

        We need the opposite please a proper Tory PM now please.

        1. jerry
          December 18, 2018

          @LL; “We need the opposite please a proper Tory PM now please.”

          Indeed, one from the 1950s, not the 1850s (or earlier)!

          In June 2017 the electorate did not vote in droves for the most left wing manifesto since 1945 because what they really wanted were polices even further to the right.

    3. Everhopeful
      December 17, 2018

      Isn’t this the EU’s MO whenever they are thwarted?
      Frighten the sheep enough to bring them running back into even greater subjugation.
      At least we have seen it all before and if ever we needed a wake up call as to how far the political surrender of our government to the EU has gone…this is it.

  3. Peter Wood
    December 17, 2018

    Dr. Redwood,
    With respect, you need to get somebody at the government despatch box to say this, instead we’ve got the PM still flogging her Chequers deal. She’s setting up the Backstop as the ONLY issue, this must be countered. Luckily, the EU bureaucrats have realised that Mrs. May no longer represents the views of the HoC, so they’ll giver nothing until she can deliver a decision they like.
    The ‘nuclear option’ may be our backstop; in January the WA is voted down, the government loses a vote of no confidence, Parliament is dissolved and a GE process takes us past 29-3-19 (with no further Brexit legislation) and the Conservative and UNIONIST party gets a new leader.
    Sounds good to me! Anybody?

    1. Mark B
      December 17, 2018

      I am surprised this got posted. I said something similar and it got moderated.

    2. jerry
      December 17, 2018

      @Peter Woods; “[the] GE process takes us past 29-3-19”

      If the WA is voted down mid Jan (it has to be voted on by the 21st), if a No Confidence vote is then tabled and the Govt looses parliament is very likely to be dissolved by the end of Jan ’19, followed by just 4 weeks of canvassing during Feb, with polling day March 7th, new govt in office by mid day the following day. New Govt, new mandate, if Europhile in nature, our A50 letter cancelled by mid March well before the 29th! 🙁

      That is why some on the Remain side of the debate are pushing the GE idea…

      Oh and as it was a snap GE, with little enough time to select non sitting constituency candidates, TM is very likely to remain Conservative leader.

      1. Peter Wood
        December 17, 2018

        Primary legislation required… Could be a close run thing.

        1. jerry
          December 18, 2018

          @Peter Wood; Already passed, remember we are dealing with a NC motion, such a scenario was covered for in the FTPA. There is a 14 day window, presumably during the usual ‘wash-up’, during wcsh a new govt that does have the Confidence of the house could be formed and voted on.

          A GE is a real possibility, indeed even if the March 29th dead-line could not be meet electorally it is one of the few reasons the EC/EU27 could agree a moderate A50 extension.

          The issue is getting Brexit and not BRINO via the WA, people need to keep their eyes on the ball, not the detested player, the ball needs to be in the back of the net not Mrs May! A GE is the last thing we need, if Corbyn wins, Brexit could very well be off, if May wins it is the WA, BRINO & the UK has become a vessel state…

    3. ian wragg
      December 17, 2018

      It would seem that a good number of the numbskulls who voted for May last week now regret it. They are calling for a free vote.
      How did we get in this position of being ruled by such spineless morons.
      It is reported that today May has to decide on preparations for no deal, what’s the betting she postpones that decision.

    4. Richard
      December 17, 2018

      The Sun reports today: “Asked by a major pro-Brexit industrialist how Brussels might respond [to a UK walk-away], I am told a rattled German official replied: “We would re-open negotiations immediately.”
      Arlene Foster: “Does anyone for a moment think that the EU states don’t desperately want a deal by March? It is wrong to assume that the U.K. has no leverage, but we have to ensure we use it.”

      Parliament cannot stop a government decision to move to No Deal. As soon as a UK walk-away becomes believable (eg 10pm 29 March or Plan A+ becomes govt policy) then there will be a mad scramble by the EU to ‘stop the clock if necessary’ (as David Davis has said many times) and do a zero-for-zero managed No Deal at the last minute .
      Canada+++ & RoW FTAs can then be negotiated/ signed after leaving with no WA.
      The GE is not needed.

      1. Know-Dice
        December 18, 2018


        The trick is to make the other party in a negotiation believe that you ARE willing to walk away, with May in charge the EU will never believe that 🙁

    5. Ian Pennell
      December 17, 2018

      @ Peter Wood,

      I made a similar point the other day. We have a Remainer Majority in Parliament and Theresa May as Prime Minister. Together they will ensure that some complete non- Brexit gets through Parliament- like “The Norwegian Model”. The only way of remedying the Remainer Majority in Parliament and Theresa May as Prime Minister is indeed for there to be a General Election, for the Conservatives to get a no- nonsense Brexiteer in charge to put “WTO Brexit”, Tax Cuts, more Police, better NHS in a Conservative Manifesto funded by….not giving all that money to the EU and cutting Foreign Aid (which together would free up £30 billion per annum to spend over the next five years)! Jeremy Corbyn would be eviscerated!

      Our host, Mr Redwood does not like this idea- replying “I am a Conservative MP and I will not vote down a Conservative Government in a Vote of No Confidence”. What’s “Conservative” about “Taxation without Representation” or being subject to the laws of a foreign jurisdiction beats me, but there we are!

      Ian Pennell

    6. Peter
      December 17, 2018

      Sounds good to me too.

      However, I fear there will be all sorts of ploys to stop this happening unfortunately.

  4. Melton Brava
    December 17, 2018

    Inspections of food and goods quality and safety are currently done away from the border BECAUSE WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE EU. Once we leave and trade on WTO terms, every single one of those checks will have to be done at the border. That is what leaving the EU means. Huge blockages and tailbacks at all our ports. You seem to live in some fantasy world where we leave the EU yet nothing changes. Please live in the real world, where all our (currently panicked) exporters and hauliers have to live

    Reply No they do not have to be done at the border

    1. Roy Grainger
      December 17, 2018

      Why are there not huge tailbacks and blockages at our ports now given that 50% of our imports are not from the EU ? And according to you every single check on those 50% of all our imports is being done at the border ?

      Answer came there none.

      1. Mike Stallard
        December 17, 2018

        The system is incredibly complicated. The nub of it is that the EU approves inspectors who inspect stuff. In the case of all animals, it is approved vets. Once they have approved it, then it is put into sealed containers/lorries and transported anywhere in the EU without checks – except for computer approval.
        It arrives at its destination unhindered.
        The whole point is that the EU is in charge of the Approval, of the Inspection, of the judgement of Disputes (ECJ), and of Licensing Approved Economic Operators.

        Once countries leave the EEA, then there is no EU approval and everything has to be checked before entry – unless the EU has made a pre-arranged deal.
        If just one lorry is held up for an hour long check, the whole system breaks down (think RTA on M25). Now think of checking a ship full of containers in Rotterdam, or the French checking cars as you go on holiday…(Have you ever been to Gibraltar when they closed the frontier?)

        1. Edward2
          December 17, 2018

          You talk only of vets Mike.
          Tell me will I need a vets inspection if I export or import enngineering products?
          My local supermarket is full of non EU food fish and meat

        2. a-tracy
          December 18, 2018

          Mike, why can’t animal transportation vehicles that require hour-long checks go into a waiting pound with suitable facilities for this? Would this be on exports and imports? An RTA usually involves many vehicles in a pile up with others not able to get around them or turn around, with not too much operational management this can be resolved and there are skilled people in Transport to achieve this.

          I think UK people would be happier with more checks on incoming vehicles anyway. We are sick of reading about unscrupulous people smugglers killing innocents in the back of vans.

      2. Melton Brava
        December 17, 2018

        Roy, you don’t get it. No one (except John Redwood) is worried about what happens at OUR ports. Everyone (except John Redwood) is worried about what happens at Calais, Rotterdam, etc. If we leave without a deal, we are a third country to the EU and, bang, everything that we export to the EU has to be checked. That is what EU law says and that is what WTO law says. And that will be calamity for UK plc.

        1. Edward2
          December 18, 2018

          You keep saying “everything has to be checked”.
          Think about TIR and CE marking and other compliance schemes.
          Think about electronic certification done on manifests prior to the goods moving.
          Ask yourself, how do millions of tons of exports from non EU countries travel into Europe currently without problems.

        2. libertarian
          December 18, 2018

          Melton Brava

          Give it up. If you had bothered to read this forum you would have found out long ago that you are talking drivel

          Those of us that export know how the export systems work both EU and non EU

          I love hearing from ignorant remainers telling me how trade works when they’ve never exported anything

        3. NickC
          December 18, 2018

          Melton, No, it won’t be a “calamity”. If it was, it would apply to our near 60% non-EU exports and our c50% non-EU imports, yet it doesn’t seem to affect them. Lift up your eyes from EU minutiae please.

      3. ian wragg
        December 17, 2018

        because answer there isn’t.
        I was in Southampton docks recently watching a Chinese vessel being offloaded.
        Containers every few minutes, straight onto trailers and away, just the odd one selected for checking.
        it was like a military operation

      4. hangingon
        December 17, 2018

        If you import 100,000 tonnes grain what customs checks do yo need? If you import 100,000 tonnes of electrical IT stuff, yes there will be checks

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      December 17, 2018

      I think comments like this can be safely ignored if they lack written evidence that goods need to be checked at the border. Given that the EU is apparently a rules based organisation, surely your contributors arguing for their case can point to and state rule X, Y or Z?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        December 17, 2018

        Dear Sir Joe–Suggest replace apparently with supposedly

      2. eeyore
        December 17, 2018

        Strong claims demand strong evidence and Melton Brava should indeed have provided some. In fairness, here’s a link to a Road Haulage Association page from July which offers support:


        Among its claims: “hauliers … forced out of business … irreparable damage to the supply chain … food rationing … death knell for the thousands of hauliers that deliver 98% of the UK economy.”

        This sounds grossly over-egged so I’m not convinced. Even so, casual dismissal seems inadequate.

        1. libertarian
          December 18, 2018


          The RHA are a remain supporting organisation. However less than 10% of our import exports are transported by road. The RHA claim hundreds of thousands of pages of “extra” documents. That would be one document each per shipment , what they dont tell you is they would no longer have to complete some documents too .


          The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination. It is particularly important for the Republic of Ireland which transports the majority of its exports to the EU across the UK “land bridge”

      3. hangingon
        December 17, 2018

        Sir john soap..what are you talking about man? The UK has been part of this club for forth years or more, in fact helped set it up, the UK knows full well what is required

    3. Mark B
      December 17, 2018

      If a Third Country puts a CE Mark on its products then it has complied with all relevant EU Regulations and can be sold into the Single Market / EEA.

      Agreements on Mutual Recognition of conformity assessment between European Union and other countries such as USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel


      As EU and EEA members we already comply so no need to block anything.

      1. Melton Brava
        December 17, 2018

        Yes, Mark, but under Redwood’s no deal plan, there won’t be any agreements!

        1. Mark B
          December 18, 2018

          Because the EU will not roll them over and are using the Irish border to keep us in the CU. I am all for EEA, which we should have gone for, but this useless government, PM and Civil Service has royally screwed things up. The only way is to seriously go for a no deal.

        2. libertarian
          December 18, 2018

          Melton Brava

          Before commenting any further go away and do some research you are making yourself look silly

          The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination. It is particularly important for the Republic of Ireland which transports the majority of its exports to the EU across the UK “land bridge”

      2. A different Simon
        December 17, 2018

        One only needs to order a piece of equipment manufactured in the Far East from one of the box shifters to see what an E-mark or kite mark means .

        Their home market gets much better stuff , they could not sell the crap they export to us in their home market if they tried .

        On an engine hoist I had shoddy arc welds which failed even a visual inspection .

        On a compressor when I stopped drawing air it started to complain and it became apparent that the pressure safety valve was stuck !

        Both a danger to their operators and the same applies to their cheap tractors .

        However , because the country they come from is HM Govts new bestist friend they will do nothing about it . Caveat emptor .

        1. A different Simon
          December 17, 2018

          PS , goodness knows what cracks one would have found if they were x-rayed , or hydrogen or other embrittlement .

        2. libertarian
          December 18, 2018

          A different Simon

          So what you are saying is the EU has failed to uphold its standards and regulations for the import of products from a third country ?

    4. Lifelogic
      December 17, 2018

      @ Melton Brava complete and utter drivel, not how it works with other countries nor how it would work after the UK left the EU.

      Endless checks at borders would be an idiotic way to manage it all. They do not even seem to be able to stop people being smuggled though on trucks currently! You trust businesses to file the right documents and then fine or prosecute them for serious irregularities or any frauds later detected.

      1. bigneil
        December 17, 2018

        They don’t need trucks any more LL. They’ve previously set off across the Med, now they set off across the Channel, one of the world’s busiest waterways, radar checked!, and STILL get close enough to know the coastguard will ferry them to taxpayer funded heaven. The French will soon be supplying the boats and enough fuel to get over halfway. It will be far cheaper than keeping them there.

        1. Maybot
          December 18, 2018

          Then there’ll be the pixelated BBC footage and graphic newspaper photos of the first Channel tragedy involving a child.

          Note that they never show photos of bombings of children’s arena concerts because it would provoke people towards politics the BBC dislikes.

          I infer that the BBC prefers to nudge people towards politics that it does like.

    5. Richard1
      December 17, 2018

      Why, who says this? You’ve just made this up. 98% of trade coming from outside the EU – passes through ports such as Felixstowe without physical inspection.

    6. Edward2
      December 17, 2018

      So Melton, where are the huge blockages and tailbacks today when goods arrivive from non EU nations and leave the UK bound for non EU nations?

    7. jerry
      December 17, 2018

      @Melton Brava; Only if there is a need for disease control, and that is the case even as members of the EU, and was the case before the UK joined the EEC. Prior to the single market plenty of food and food products entered the UK from Europe using the TIR customs treaty, meaning customs checks were carried out at source and destination only.

    8. Turboterrier.
      December 17, 2018

      Melton Brava

      Inspections of food and goods quality and safety are currently done away from the border BECAUSE WE ARE MEMBERS OF THE EU.

      When I read comments like this I have to wonder if ever the writers have ever worked within a Customer Supply Chain Management System. Most of the major exporters are certified to ISO 9000 management systems and an integral part of the system is the manufacturer, safety and quality of the products are done before the products even get to packaging and goods onward. This is all done by the staff and operators within the system. It is self policing. If they get it wrong, the importer soon tells them and apply counter charges, if it happens on a too regular basis contracts are cancelled. Nearly all the national and international companies operate both RFT and JIT supply chains, and have done for years.

    9. Anthony
      December 17, 2018

      Checks don’t have to be done at the border for every item, but some threshold quantity does have to be inspected at the border unless there is mutual recognition agreement on conformity assessment with the EU. The EU treats every other country this way and would treat us the same way. Under the no deal scenario, there wouldn’t be such a mutual recognition agreement, by definition.

      Checking at the border entails delays and costs. Costs for the delays and costs for the actual checking. This can be mitigated, presumably, by unilateral action such as decreasing corporate tax rates or subsidy for affected firms or something similar until a better solution is found, but surely we should accept that there will be some costs and start advertising how we will mitigate to the affected businesses?

      I’m not afraid of no deal provided the government gets its act together (I’m becoming less and less confident…) but asserting that the checks don’t *have* to be done at the border isn’t a compelling defence against the likelihood that in a material percentage of cases, checks *will* be done at the border even if the remainder will not.

    10. L Jones
      December 17, 2018

      And here we have another remainder. No comment without implied insult. You can always tell a remainder, but you can’t tell ’em much.
      But I know there are many other people here far more qualified than I to put him/her right – but the words ”swine” and ”pearls” spring to mind.

    11. Jagman84
      December 17, 2018

      You watch too much BBC news, no doubt…..

    12. Bob
      December 17, 2018

      @Melton Brava

      “on WTO terms, every single one of those checks will have to be done at the border.”

      I presume that you get your information from the MSM, rather than personal experience of international commerce?

    13. Steve
      December 17, 2018

      Melton Brava

      “Once we leave and trade on WTO terms, every single one of those checks will have to be done at the border. That is what leaving the EU means.”

      That is not the case, and even if it was we could retaliate.

    14. margaret howard
      December 17, 2018

      Reply No they (checks) do not have to be done at the border

      So your government has not put in place any contingency plans?

      1. libertarian
        December 18, 2018


        Oh my word

        Have you not read any of the threads on here about how goods are imported/exported around the world? smh



        CHIEF & CDS


        You went to school in France so you must know all about G.U.N. Surely ?

    15. libertarian
      December 17, 2018

      Melton Brava


      1) In the longer term TIR & CHIEF/CDS systems handle it electronically

      and anyway

      2) The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination. It is particularly important for the Republic of Ireland which transports the majority of its exports to the EU across the UK “land bridge”

      1. Caterpillar
        December 18, 2018
  5. Andy
    December 17, 2018

    So – you want to impose high tariffs on the EU and low tariffs on others.

    Except …. you can’t do that under WTO rules. Under WTO rules you have to impose the same tariffs on everyone you don’t have a trade deal with.

    So you are right – you can universally scrap all tariffs. But that applies to everyone and puts British manufacturers and agricultural producers at a disadvantage. Many will go bust – as even Patrick Minford admits.

    It is time for you to be honest about theses costs to farmers and factory workers – many of whom will make their jobs.

    Though, in any case, tariffs are not the main problem. Non-tariff barriers are – and that’s what’s really going to kill Brexit.

    Strap yourself in Mr Redwood. You are not prepared for what is coming your way.

    Reply My Proposal of course is for the same tariffs on the EU as non EU!

    1. Maybot
      December 17, 2018

      “Strap yourself in Mr Redwood. You are not prepared for what is coming your way.”

      Drivel. If Tony Blair can get away with some of the things he did…

      I don’t like the friends you keep either, Andy.

    2. Edward2
      December 17, 2018

      You keep posting this nonsense Andy.
      You have been corrected many times.
      WTO tariffs can and do vary between different countries.
      Either via bi lateral agreements or by a nation doing risk assessments.

      By non tariff barriers I presume you are telling us you think the EU will deliberately play up and break its treaty and WTO agreements.

    3. Jagman84
      December 17, 2018

      As, according to you, all the farm workers are lovely foreigners, no British jobs will be lost. The protectionist nature of the EU allows unviable businesses to limp along. When reality hits with real competition, they fall by the wayside. We can use the money we save from no more EU payments to aid key areas of our agriculture.The CAP grants were our cash to begin with.

    4. Richard1
      December 17, 2018

      one of the oddest inconsistencies of Continuity Remain is the view that the introduction of any tariffs at all between the EU and the UK would be a disaster, but so would the removal of any tariffs with the rest of the world. in this strange world view, the only good free trade is that which happens within a political union. I think this needs a little more thought.

    5. Original Richard
      December 17, 2018

      If we were to remain in the EU, or become a vassal state of the EU, then we certainly would have no idea of what would be “coming our way”.

      We would be controlled by people we do not know, do not elect and cannot remove.

      This is why the older generation, who voted to join the Common Market are now voting to leave the EU as they did not realise “what was coming” and now find it was not what they voted for.

      1. margaret howard
        December 17, 2018

        So it took over 40 years for the older voters to realise ‘what was coming’?

        More likely they, like many old people, suffer from a bad case of nostalgia having conveniently forgotten the riches EU membership have brought us.

        The ‘good old days’ were in reality nothing of the sort.

        But many seem to resent the young because they run the world now and they feel like second class citizens.

        1. Original Richard
          December 18, 2018

          Many voters realised their mistake many years ago but it took 40 years for Parliament to grant us a second referendum on EU membership.

          A Parliament may be sovereign between elections but it does not have the right to give away the country’s sovereignty without the people’s consent through a referendum, which it did not do before signing the Single European Act and the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon.

          I certainly feel a second class citizen when I am ruled by people I do not know, I did not elect and I cannot remove through the ballot box.

          I think you will find that the young in other EU countries, such as Italy, have already woken up to the anti-democracy of the EU.

        2. Fedupsoutherner
          December 18, 2018

          That is stupid Margaret. Many of us didn’t vote to go in. We have wanted a chance to leave for years. Now we have it.

        3. Edward2
          December 18, 2018

          No it took 40 years to get a referendum.

        4. sm
          December 18, 2018

          No, Ms Howard, it certainly didn’t take 40 years to realise what was coming, I’d say (as an old, ignorant, selfish, nostalgic – have I missed anything? – Leaver) it took less than 10 years, and was certainly brought to a head amongst many of us at the time of the Maastricht calamity.

        5. Maybot
          December 18, 2018

          No. It didn’t take 40 years to realise.

          It took 40 years to get Parliament to listen.

          1. Maybot
            December 18, 2018

            The real problem here, in fact, is that older people are actually going to abrogate their voting responsibilities to the young who will deliver us Corbyn.

            That’s how wise and informed they are.

            PS, Anyone under 61 (which I am by some considerable margin) will have not had any say at all on the EU.

        6. Bob
          December 18, 2018


          “So it took over 40 years for the older voters to realise ‘what was coming’?”

          Many of us suspected from the outset that the EU project was a power grab by a bunch of white supremacists after their failed bid to dominate the world in the 1940s, but some people believed the yarn about a “Common Market”.
          As time went on and with each successive treaty they realised what was happening and then, 18 years after the first referendum, UKIP was formed and has been campaigning for a return to self rule ever since.

          The EU wolf in sheep’s clothing has hidden it’s true nature for many years, but the mask is slipping, and with hysterical outbursts such as those seen in recent months from it’s leaders about grabbing even more power from national governments and creating it’s own military, the EU is beginning to reveal it’s true purpose for all to see.

    6. acorn
      December 17, 2018

      The EU’s “DG Trade”, is a 24/7 operation. It has built the most comprehensive trade agreement on the planet; the EU Customs Union and Single Market.

      Wherever the UK goes to get a deal, it will find the EU is already there. That will be a problem. I can’t see any countries signing up with the UK until they know what the deal is between the UK and the EU.

      With about twenty odd objections to the UK-EU quota splits (TRQ), there will be a lot of WTO Art 28 negotiating to do. So don’t start putting all UK tariff rates to ZERO at day one; else there will have nothing to trade with.

      Art 28 includes compensation payments to disadvantaged WTO members, as a consequence of concession changes. That could mean sacrificing some UK domestic sector to compensate Spanish orange growers or fishing boats.

    7. Tony Sharp
      December 17, 2018

      It is you who are dishonest because you misrepresent what JR has written and spelled out.
      Of course what you mean by Brexit is in fact RemaIN EU in all its arrangements, especially the Customs Union and its tariffs regime.
      JR has called for the DoT to publish a schedule of tariffs and I assume that fresh fruit would be £Nil – we don’t grow any.
      The UK Governeemnt can easily compensate farmers for any losses caused by the EU breaching its obligations under Article 50 and the WTO rules. However, so much of our farming/ agri business has been distorted by the CAP into not so much a production system but a set aside system.
      Of course you have ruthlessly exposed that before han’t you … NOT!!

  6. Mark B
    December 17, 2018

    Good morning.

    Let’s hope this missive does not get stuck in moderation all day like yesterday’s. 😉

    The government is the source of all this negative press about WTO. It does not want it as it wants to align itself as closely to the EU as possible. But it is also not government that does not want to govern, but MP’s too !

    1. Timaction
      December 17, 2018

      This is the Government of our host who is deliberately organising this propaganda to show us that close alignment/not leaving, Mays plan is the only option without project fear.
      Reality is we’ll be fine on WTO terms and NO INVOLVEMENT of the EU or its laws and institutions!

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2018

      Well, I would say that that the government is the source of much of the negative press about WTO rather than all of it … I would add that it is an absolute disgrace that these people who claim to be serving us are deliberately lying to us.

      Which brings me on to the false argument that MPs cannot see any way through the current ‘impasse’ so they should ask the people to sort it out for them.

      For years MPs said it was too hard for the common people to understand these matters, and they should be left to parliamentarians with their superior wisdom; moreover they believe that was proved in June 2016 when the voters were easily misled into making the wrong decision; so from whence comes their sudden faith in the people to solve a conundrum which is defeating them?

      We simply have far too many liars, cheats, hypocrites and traitors in Parliament, and we will have to find ways to rectify that.

    3. Bob
      December 17, 2018

      “government is the source of all this negative press about WTO”

      The collusion between govt and the MSM to misinform voters is indicative of the extent of subversion the UK has been subjected to over recent decades. UKIP would abolish the BBC TV Licence; they are the party of the people fighting against the Bilderberger’s aims of world domination.

    December 17, 2018

    I’ve just skimmed read the article above and it’s a pointless concoction.

    We know the UK will not be leaving the EU in March 2019.

    We know that May, Hunt and the UK government is lying whenever they make a public statement

    We know May and her lackeys have slowly introduced into public debate the issue of a second referendum with the question being asked designed to guarantee a EU favoured outcome.

    We know May is determined to keep the UK inside the EU at all costs and she’ll undermine direct democracy if she has too.

    What we are seeing is the most determined assault on British democracy and if it is allowed to succeed then democracy and confidence in democracy will evaporate

    I have concluded that the current two party duopoly is a serious threat to popular democracy as it allows a managed circumvention of democracy with both parties entering into quid pro quo arrangements to ensure a contrived outcome

    The political class despise direct democracy for it imposes upon them accountability and politicians despise accountability. This PM is the living embodiment of that hatred of the common man’s right to hold politicians to account

    We are at risk of having our democratic traditions destroyed on the altar of political expediency

    What is more worrying is the unbridled power afforded to those we cannot hold to account, civil servants and advisers. These unelected apparatchiks of the political establishment are a direct threat to our democratic culture

    In conclusion, if May isn’t brought down then the UK will remain a member of the EU and all this nonsense about a managed WTO exit is just that, nonsense

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      December 18, 2018

      Great post Duncan. The vast majority of the public need to wake up and see how they are being manipulated and lied to. They are being controlled by fear

  8. Caterpillar
    December 17, 2018

    Sadly the divided Cabinet are not aligned with Hunt’s comments. If the PM doesn’t today announce that Mr Hunt is correct and that the UK will now vigorously pursue the ‘no deal’ option, giving clarity and some reassurance to businesses, then it will be another opportunity she has missed. The PM needs to swing in this direction whilst she has some of the Cabinet moving this way, hopefully she will be able to tell the likes of Hammond to shut up, after all, he has biblically expressed his confidence in her. Having won her confidence vote and with sensible things coming out of one third of the cabinet today she has the opportunity to get things right. Will she? Of course not.

    1. Caterpillar
      December 17, 2018

      Publically not biblically

      1. L Jones
        December 17, 2018

        I like ”biblically”. The Prophet of Doom. Or its architect.

    2. John Hatfield
      December 17, 2018

      Theresa May’s central argument has hinged on the supposed virtue of ‘certainty’, but not the certainty that we will leave the EU. Instead the certainty which Theresa May promotes is certainty for big businesses who lobby the EU for preferential regulatory protectionism. And by certainty, Theresa May means continuity EU rule.
      And that is what her strange behaviour is all about.

  9. Richard1
    December 17, 2018

    If we have a managed WTO brexit can we avoid sending the £39bn now both May and Hammond have said it is owed irrespective? Presumably actually handing it over needs a specific act of parliament? Or should we expect to end up in an international court on this?

    1. oldtimer
      December 17, 2018

      A managed WTO Brexit takes two to agree, just like the WA. It may be possible in the more extreme circumstances, such as some agricultural products, and over say citizens rights where the mutual interests are clear. But there is next to no time left.

    2. eeyore
      December 17, 2018

      It is disgraceful that the legal status of this very large payment is still in question. Our host has pressed Mrs May on it more than once and received brush-offs verging on the discourteous.

      Presumably the answer is somewhere in the legal advice Parliament has demanded but still not received. Can we assume that if it backed the PM we would have seen it by now?

    3. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2018

      I cannot imagine the EU agreeing to discuss how to manage anything at all about our exit, on WTO or any other terms, if we start by publicly telling them that we are not prepared to pay in any part of what they think we should pay in and we have already agreed to pay in. And how would that look to the wider world? Do we want it to be thought that the British are now proposing to leave the EU with unpaid debts, even though they had previously promised to pay what was due? And what is £39 billion compared to the half a trillion we have already paid in since we joined the EEC, and the unlimited sums that we will pay in if the Remoaners manage to keep us in the EU? Argue about it and complain about it and let it be widely known that you do not admit legal liability to make payments on the scale demanded, and you will treat some of it as ex gratia payments, but don’t give the impression that you are breaking your word because it is really not worth it.

    4. Bob
      December 17, 2018


      “can we avoid sending the £39bn”

      It’s already been established that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed!. It would be difficult to justify paying £39 billion to trade on WTO terms, in fact it would be difficult to justify paying £39 billion for a deal which included a structural trade deficit, especially bearing in mind the huge amount of British money that has already been ploughed into EU infrastructure, such as Galileo, which the EU is also claiming as part of the “divorce settlement”.

      Perhaps our indefatigable host could raise the question at PMQs?

  10. Lifelogic
    December 17, 2018

    Exactly right on all of the above. Remain supporters do indeed want us to remain in the EU club when they seem to think the club is evil in intent and will be a lawbreaker, just to be difficult and nasty to the UK. They can do this even efficiently should we remain in the EU and under the power of essentially political courts like the ECJ.

    Meanwhile the wrong on every issue T May is introducing more idiotic and damaging changes to employment laws so as to make the country less productive, lower wages and deter people from employing people. Also to create more parasitic jobs for more HR consultants and lawyers to lower productivity still further. Based on the idiot review of modern working practices she initiated from the labour, lefty, misguided, dope Mathew Taylor. What a complete idiot this woman is to have employed him and worse still to take any notice of the damaging drivel he predictably produced.

    Then we have the failure of the government to account properly for the massive student “loan” spending, (circa 50%+ of which will never be repaid). ONS will rule today it seems. Worse still most of this public money was used to pay for largely pointless degrees, in pointless non subjects and mainly at universities of highly dubious quality.

    Plus we have green crap priests talking complete and utter (and very expensive) drivel in Poland. Plus the idiotic HS2 project massively over budget having failed to cost the land properly too.

    Has May done any single thing that is sensible since reaching no. 10?

    1. Lifelogic
      December 17, 2018

      Just cut out all the green crap subsidies and idiotic conventions, withdraw from the Paris Accord, relax employment laws (not make them even more complex, expensive and restrictive), leave the EU cleanly in March, cut out about half of the university degrees out that are pointless, cut HS2 and Hinkley C and cut taxes. It is not difficult to get the country booming just do the complete opposite of the idiotic May/Hammond agenda.

      Over 50% of university undergraduates have 3 Ds at A level or worse. Is an expensive degree in say Media Studies and Parapsychology or similar from the University of Bognar and £50K of debt really what these people need?

  11. Tory Western
    December 17, 2018

    A “managed WTO Brexit” is just the latest version of your well-worn effort to cherry pick – you want the EU to agree deals on the bits you like, and let the UK ignore everything else. How often do you have to be told, there is no cherrypicking, there is no having your cake and eating it? Please go away and come back with something realistic

    1. jerry
      December 17, 2018

      @Tory Western; WTO rules are not “cherry picking”, quite the opposite, unlike May’s WA, Norway +, Canada +, even Remaining in the EU with our current opt-outs is cherry picking. Brexiteers such as our host are the only politicos who are NOT doing as you accuse!

    2. Adam
      December 17, 2018

      Tory Western:

      World Trade enables freedom of choice. We can buy & offer to sell whatever demand wants. What the EU wants to do within its own dark corner is up to them. Pick their cherries & eat cake if you prefer the EU. The whole world offers better with wider choice.

    3. Maybot
      December 17, 2018

      John Redwood has never said that he wants a deal.

      Riots across the EU now – some we are not hearing about. I have friends in both Bordeaux and Dresden who are reporting disquiet among the populace, one a teacher whose school was closed because of nearby rioting.

      The EU is far too unresponsive and too remote to make good government.

    4. Jagman84
      December 17, 2018

      The EU have all the cake and still want more! May will undoubtedly oblige.

    5. Edward2
      December 17, 2018

      There will have to be some agreement between Europen nations and the UK.
      That isn’t cherry picking.

      WTO trade rules works OK for the basis of the vast majority of world trade.
      It will work OK for the UK

    6. L Jones
      December 17, 2018

      I suppose our host has to include this sort of comment in the interests of balance. But these comments (Tory Western) that are nothing but contrived insults are very tiresome.

      It appears that no remainder will EVER tell us what is so admirable about their EU and why they believe we are better off shackled to it and its sinister machinations, and they certainly never bother to tempt us back with a description of its Glorious Golden Future. Its simply easier for them to show contempt to those of us who believe in our country.

    7. Roy Grainger
      December 17, 2018

      WTO is not cherry picking. The “managed” bit is just about implementation. Cherry picking is what the EU did when they left fishing out of the WA.

    8. Richard1
      December 17, 2018

      A managed WTO Brexit doesn’t ask the EU to do anything which they, the UK & most other countries would do anyway – aircraft landing rights, reciprocal visa arrangements etc. Of course it would be sensible to use Article 24 of the WTO treaty to continue zero-tariff trade, but that will be up to the EU. with their £100bn pa surplus i suspect they will go for it, wouldn’t you?

    9. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2018

      So you are happy for the EU to ignore its treaty obligations.

    10. Dave Andrews
      December 17, 2018

      What’s wrong with cherry-picking? It’s the whole point of doing deals. You have something I want and I have something you want. Let’s make a deal.
      Offering the EU free trade in return for the same is hardly cherry-picking, it’s a mutual arrangement for the benefit of both, avoiding damage to trade.
      I accept we will have to forgo the benefits of EU membership after we have left, such as our citizens being able to freely move to EU countries to work, the pleasure of knowing our tax pounds are being spent on developing southern and eastern EU countries, helping to protect German industry from Chinese competition, rules we need being imposed on us because we can’t elect a government wise enough to pass them, but these are sacrifices I’m willing to pay.

    11. libertarian
      December 17, 2018

      Tory Western

      Oh my word another one with no idea what you re talking about.

      Go and look up the recent Japan EU free trade deal , then come back and apologise for your nonsense

    12. Davies
      December 17, 2018

      A managed w t o brexit is dealing with all non tarrif barriers, I don’t call that cherry picking.

      Cherry picking is when you ask the other side for something

    13. Stred
      December 17, 2018

      The advantage of WTO is that we don’t need to cherry pick and ask to be given a cherry. We chose and offer the same to the other side. If they want to put 30% on cheese and we do the same, Mr Vardaraka will have to sell his cheddar to the French and Dutch, or start making different cheese. Irish meat and Danish bacon will be sold elsewhere. 10%on cars will make European made cars lose sales to UK made. If we offer a matching zero tariff , Mr Junker will do as he did when Trump got awkward and sort it out in a week. It would be worth doing it just to see the look on their faces, even if there was a bit of a problem. Trump would probably love to send a US airlift and a convoy to hep us avoid starvation. He could do it just in time.

    14. Mark
      December 17, 2018

      I suppose that means you consider the WA is completely unrealistic at least, consisting as it does of not just cherries but all the plums for the EU.

      Workable agreements are either win-win, or at least give and take. Making trade work sensibly with the EU is win-win.

    15. Fedupsoutherner
      December 18, 2018

      Tory western. I would prefer it if we did nothing and let the EU cherry pick starting with the £39b.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    December 17, 2018

    This approach should have been taken at thee outset following the referendum result. When Article 50 was triggered the one thing that was known was that leaving on WTO terms was the default position in the absence of a different arrangement. The government has behaved irresponsibly by not making the necessary arrangements for such an eventuality. By so doing, they additionally diluted our negotiating position. I have no confidence in the government or Parliament to take the UK out of the EU. The actions of MPs are seriously undermining our democracy by treating the referendum result with contempt.

    1. Alan Jutson
      December 17, 2018



      Two and a half years wasted, when we could have taken control at the time and been on the front foot

      The Eu does not do negotiation, they try to bully and we have let them up until now..

    2. Maybot
      December 17, 2018

      The referendum question was set by Parliamentary majority. “Leave the EU or Remain in the EU ?”

      Not one person I recall said “This is too ambiguous.” before the referendum result, only until after the ‘wrong’ decision was given.

      None were more vivid in their description of what Leave meant than the Remain campaign and the Tory government but since they failed to prepare for WTO and stalled for time to allow waters to be muddied.

      The failure to prepare for WTO was with malice and in collaboration with the EU against the British people.

  13. Roy Grainger
    December 17, 2018

    Jeremy Hunt did not say anything on behalf of the government, he said it on behalf of Jeremy Hunt. Collective responsibility has broken down completely and individual ministers, Javid, Hunt, Mourdant, Hammond etc. are just stating their own mutually-incompatible positions – understandable as there is a big vacuum where May’s position and Plan B is supposed to be – still, they all said May is doing a tip-top job.

  14. Richard1
    December 17, 2018

    Why are the Labour Party opposed to Mrs May’s deal? It seems to give them more or less exactly what they want – permanent membership of the customs union and close regulatory alignment with the EU.

    1. oldtimer
      December 17, 2018

      A managed WTO Brexit takes two to agree, just like the WA. It may be possible in the more extreme circumstances, such as some agricultural products, and over say citizens rights where the mutual interests are clear. But there is next to no time left.

      1. oldtimer
        December 17, 2018

        Sorry! This comment was misplaced by me, not intended here.

        In reply to Richard1, Labour wants a GE.

    2. Roy Grainger
      December 17, 2018

      They don’t like the level playing field state aid provisions.

  15. True Brit
    December 17, 2018

    .You ( I’m speaking of MP Tory Brexiteers in general) didn’t take my sound advice of making a display as was urgently needed at the last Tory Party Conference.
    I advised, humbly, they should have placards, and yes shouting, protesting and making the Conference the Hell that The House is now which, is a House full of 650 people trying to stop 66 million of us from leaving the EU
    Instead, The Conference was luke-warm as ever and a switch-off and not-talk-about for millions. Utter failure by MP Brexiteers. In battle with their swords like tails between their legs after a cold rain storm. hat a bedraggled cohort!!! The Charge of the Limp Brigade!

  16. Bryan Harris
    December 17, 2018

    Well said JR – Propagating this message as wide as I can

  17. Chris S
    December 17, 2018

    Hunt is probably the cleverest of the serious potential leadership candidates and is positioning himself perfectly for the forthcoming contest.

    Whether he really believes in a managed WTO exit with a transition period is debatable but he’s making all the right noises. It does appear to be the only attainable way to exit in March that has even the slightest chance of getting through Parliament but I’m not sure that the EU will go for it. After all, they can see the state of politics in Westminster and will think that if they hold out, an EU-style second vote will be inevitable. The difference will be that, on this occasion, Remainers will lose it.

    Meanwhile the BBC was in full Remainer mode yesterday with the long interview with Chris Patten on the World This Weekend. He pulled no punches in his vitreolic condemnation of Brexit-supporting Conservatives. Why should the BBC give such prominent coverage to a former EU Commissioner in receipt of a very large pension paid for by Brussels ?

    1. ian wragg
      December 17, 2018

      Correction, paid for by us the UK taxpayer.

    2. Qubus
      December 17, 2018

      A very large tax-fre pension.

    3. Lifelogic
      December 18, 2018

      Well Hunt was good a endlessly apologising for the huge volume of gross negligence within the appalling NHS. But I would far prefer someone who had actually done something to change the system and prevent all these premature deaths, endless delays, negligence and suffering. It would not be hard to reduce them massively. He is also clearly a solid remainer and a PPE graduate too (so a lacks a grasp of science, logic or economics one assumes). He has supported the idea of a second referendum with him supporting a remain vote.

      From wiki:

      “Hunt fears the UK could crash out of the EU without a deal. He said, “It would lead to a fissure in relations which would be highly damaging for that great partnership that we have had for so many years, which has been so important in sustaining the international order.”

      Clearly he is totally deluded.

      He is pretending to be a leave supporter now. He is another Cameron Chameleon type, He could never be trusted on the EU. Any MP who voted to retain May as PM is clearly totally unsuitable to be PM.

  18. Alan Jutson
    December 17, 2018

    At last we seem to have a Cabinet Minister ready to discuss WTO options.
    Unless of course he is on manoeuvres, and positioning himself for an eventual leadership challenge of some sort.

    WTO terms are the only solution which will put us completely back in control of our own destiny, because with this solution we do not need to negotiate with the EU to implement it.

    They are members of WTO themselves so can hardly object when 164 other Countries also operate under this system

    Then if the EU want to approach us for perhaps a better deal (mutually agreeable to both sides) then they can approach us.

    Quite why it has taken two and a half years for our Government to realise this quite honestly beyond my comprehension.

    The abject failure of labelling this sort of solution as “no deal” indicating that nothing would be in place is beyond my comprehension and a complete failure of Government departments and cabinet Ministers.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 17, 2018

      Tory Brexiteers walked straight into it. Once they started saying “We could walk away without any withdrawal agreement and save ourselves £39 billion” that could only be taken to mean that “no deal” would be no deal on anything at all, not just no special or preferential trade deal. To be honest I think that before MPs turn their weary minds to considering whether the population at large could perhaps make a better job of sorting out the utter confusion which they as parliamentarians have created they should stop talking rubbish and start thinking more clearly and realistically.

    2. Oxiana321
      December 17, 2018

      From time to time, it is useful to refresh one’s memory about the lengths politicians like Heath and Howe aided by civil servants, Con O’Neill and others, went to deceive the British public in the early ’70’s. The same political class are at it again, except we are not all as ignorant about the project as our parent’s generation were. This might also explain why the present struggle is so much more painful.

  19. Fedupsoutherner
    December 17, 2018

    Nice to see the head of Heathrow airport dismissing the lie that we won’t be able to fly after Brexit. He says there will be no problems so book your holidays now. That’s one fable dismissed as rubbish. It was the BBC reporting this and the media encouraged by government. I hope the public start to see through the rubbish being reported about Brexit.

    1. a-tracy
      December 17, 2018

      If they don’t stop this nonsense now the European travel industry will hit a brick wall after Christmas, having owned a travel agency, the next month is a critical booking period and if people don’t have faith their holiday booking will be honoured, having to book time off work at set times to coincide with children’s holidays etc. they will have to take care where they book to go to, or hold off booking until March and try to get the cheap late bookings.

  20. George Brooks
    December 17, 2018

    The reason the media are so completely negative (re your last Para’) is because they are struggling for ratings and readership. If they were to switch tack and promote all the benefits of Brexit I think some newspapers would fold and the BBC News ratings would fall dramatically.

    We just have put up with it until March 29 when some will behave like 5th columnists and others will trawl round looking for bad news

    1. Al
      December 17, 2018

      Oddly enough, after the Mail switched away from supporting Brexit, its share price plummeted and many readers switched papers. It is strange that no media wants to secure a niche market of 17.4M potential readers. I suspect it has more to do with appeasing advertisers or owners worried about their social circles.

      1. rose
        December 18, 2018

        The Telegraphs appear to be mopping up the Mail and Express readers and writers. They even have a marketing drive in the North called Operation Geordie after the new editor of the Daily Mail.

    2. rose
      December 17, 2018

      The most successful popular newspaper was surely the Daily Mail under Paul Dacre. Apart from the Daily Express, it was the only Brexit paper. That is why it was attacked all the time – until it finally underwent regime change (as did the Express), and consequently appears to have upset and lost a lot of its readers.

  21. Peter
    December 17, 2018

    It was good to see some cabinet ministers speaking in favour of a WTO exit at last. I am not sure that will ever be mirrored on the BBC or the Remain-minded media though.

    1. Neil
      December 17, 2018

      Pity Greg Clark wasn’t among that number. Sophisticated and balanced people use phrases such as ‘sub-optimal’ when describing options that imply some turbulence. Not Clark – ‘disaster’ was the term he used. A wet of the highest order.

  22. Nicholas Murphy
    December 17, 2018

    Care to make these points to the Brexiteers attending tomorrow’s Cabinet, Mr Redwood?

  23. MPC
    December 17, 2018

    The fact that nobody in Government wishes to confirm and explain its No Deal planning surely means there hasn’t been much, if any, meaningful planning. Indeed, Mr Hammond is quoted as saying he wouldn’t plan for something he doesn’t believe in and which is wrong for the country. Most MPs are anti ‘No deal’/WTO.

    Quite some time ago some of us argued for monthly updates from Government on No Deal planning. That would have taken the initiative and facilitated considered responses to genuine concerns aired by MPs, the CBI and others. The fact that this hasn’t happened means that the Media/Remain/2nd referendum campaign now looks unstoppable.

  24. Christine
    December 17, 2018

    Interesting to hear Fox on Marr. He said we had 3 options 1) no Brexit 2) May’s deal 3) no Brexit. He couldn’t even bring himself to put forward No Deal. Everytime the discussion edged towards No Deal, Marr steered it away. What we need is an open debate on TV where advocates for No Deal can put their case forward without being interrupted and likewise someone speaks for the problems of No Deal. The MSM aren’t letting the public know the facts and this is very wrong.

  25. Man of Kent
    December 17, 2018

    Oh dear , Boris in the D Telegraph both last week and this week is recommending acceptance of the ‘Deal’ so long as the backstop is removed .
    Just not good enough Boris , there is so much more that needs to go too .
    I fear he has been got at by the rest of the Johnson family and is no longer fit to be the Leave PM we yearn for

  26. formula57
    December 17, 2018

    “The whole government needs to spend the next three motnhs preparing well, sorting out the remaining issues quickly. “! So what have they been doing for the last 2 1/2 years then? Constructing May’s treacherous capitulation and nothing else?

  27. Original Richard
    December 17, 2018

    The UK exports £12bn/year to the EU of pharmaceutical products.

    Are the EU going to put up tariff and non-tariff barriers so damaging that it is to the detriment of their citizens ?

  28. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    December 17, 2018

    It is clear that the only way for May to save her political skin, the Tory
    Party and Brexit is to go for a Managed World Trade Exit.

    There is no other way that can achieve that.

    Another referendum resolves nothing and has no legitimacy.
    The Government knows they cannot risk it, and they could never get away with it. The second referendum is a useful background threat, to try to force May’s Deal, no more than that.

    May’s Surrender Deal is now kaput. The EU intransigence has helped block it.

    Until May realises and accepts,that she has only one way out (a Managed World Trade Exit), her confusion and indecision will continue to leave our Country in crisis.

    Pressure must build within the Cabinet, to push May towards the inevitable.
    Get on with it!

  29. Kenneth
    December 17, 2018

    Dear John, this is a long post but I usually keep mine short so I hope you let this one through!

    Generally, the scare stories are based on:

    (i) civil service/government forecasts from the sources that have got their previous forecasts very wrong or have admitted to using a “worse case scenario”;

    (ii) comments made by various organisations, many of which (by my quick reckoning, MOST of which) are in receipt of some benefit from the eu, either directly or indirectly;

    (iii) the CBI or prominent CBI members who generally benefit from the protectionism that is slowly degrading eu growth and preventing enterprise.

    The scare stores:

    1. Planes won’t fly:

    As Mr Redwood says, this has been sorted. Agreements have been reached with nearly every country.

    2. Goods relying on just-in-time delivery will suffer:

    The good news is that some analysis can be carried out on the effect of the occasional bottlenecks at Dover that lead to operation stack. When this has happened, what effect did this have on our JIT goods?

    I suspect very little, since we surely would have noticed the empty shelves in the shops and the media would have reported it.

    3. There will be delays at the ports:

    We are not planning to delay imports. If the government identifies extra work that needs doing at the border then it should have planned for the extra resource by now.

    If, somehow, some continental ports wish to delay our exports, then the scare stories about shortages are surely the wrong way around as it will be the continent that will go short of some UK items. In any case, a blockade (or a go-slow) would not be sustainable for any more than a few weeks and would be a political and economical nightmare for eu member states. Also, how would the blockading continental ports discriminate between UK and Irish goods? Would it wave through non-UK lorries and somehow park up the UK lorries?

    4. We will be hurt by tariffs:

    Once again, we have had commentary and forecast but no analysis.

    The good news is that we can see some simulation of the effects of tariffs by looking at previous periods when the Pound had a sustained rise. Of course we struggled with export business when this happened, but I don’t remember a catastrophe.

    The even better news is that we will be collecting our own tariffs on the high volume of imports from eu member states,

    Isn’t it about time the media did some analysis instead of parroting the Remain propaganda?

    In particular, the BBC, which has some duty to the public that fund it, should bear in mind:

    1. Copying and pasting press releases that it agrees with is not journalism. It is not even news.

    2. Before copying and pasting the press release, find out who is funding – either directly or indirectly – the organisation in question

    3. Before relaying forecasts, inform viewers and listeners if the forecaster has had a good or bad record with previous attempts. Be wary of “worst case scenarios” which are virtually pointless.

    4. Provide some analysis based on historical precedents such as my suggestions above or examples from other countries. For example, how hard does China find it to export goods to the eu? Is that “catastrophic?”

  30. True Brit
    December 17, 2018

    I hear on social media that Soubry and Rudd have majorities in their Constituencies of just about 300 votes. Are they in favour of a General Election? If not, why not, exactly?

  31. Denis Cooper
    December 17, 2018

    Just a reminder that not only has the German government come to a different view about the potential impact on the UK economy of a default to WTO terms for trade with the EU – not a catastrophe, as Theresa May has permitted Philip Hammond to pretend, but perhaps a minor loss of long term growth, equivalent to about 1.7% of GDP:


    but also the Treasury’s doom-laden forecasts have been contradicted by other studies, such as that recently published by Open Europe:


    Which agrees that the deficiency might be only about 2% spread over 13 years, or with the correct government responses only a quarter of that.

    However this does assume that our default to the WTO treaties would involve a reasonably smooth transition rather than a period of legal and practical chaos.

  32. Steve
    December 17, 2018

    Exactly, Mr Redwood. Trouble is the remoaners just can’t get it into their thick heads. The majority of whom, I am convinced, were simply born too late to know what the British are capable of, and what makes us special. Churchill’s ‘Island Race’.

    The capability is there, the tools for the job are there, the willingness to graft is there, and we have resources that most countries are envious of.

    There is no reason other than stupidly giving in to negativity of the minorities, why we shouldn’t be showing the rest of the world how it’s done.

    Keep up the good work JR. I think you may need to stick your neck out, but getting your message firmly secured in the minds at parliament is what matters.

    Enough of accommodating negative thinking people, and those who get a free ride at our expense because the EU says so. Sideline them, they are not relevant to the common good.

  33. Wessexboy
    December 17, 2018

    Mr Redwood, I despair; after reading your commonsense refutals of all the scare-mongering, I watch Sky/BBC/ITV to be constantly told by the pro-remain lobby that a second referendum is now necessary. No counter arguments most of the time, and clearly biased presenters. How come these people have such constant exposure whilst the sensible who back leaving do not?

  34. Martin
    December 17, 2018

    ‘There are strict limits to how much power the EU has over trading companies, and there are international and EU Treaty obligations on the EU itself to promote and encourage a good trade with non EU neighbouring states. Some Remain supporters seem to think that the EU is evil in intent and will be a lawbreaker just to be difficult.’

    Read the following article at Brexit Central for a robust response to Remainer fears:
    A plea to the PM from a Leave-supporting businessperson: Stop the scare stories and embrace a Sovereign Brexit

    Of course the Prime Minister will not have time to read it.

  35. Stephen O
    December 17, 2018

    I feel you are making only part of the argument. If the UK leaves on WTO terms there will be some disruption whether it is a little (as you and the ERG believe) or a lot (as Mrs May and remainers believe). My point is that unquantified disruption must be weighted against the 39Bn (a hard fact) plus the increased custom revenue which the UK will receive more of than the EU (a quantifiable number, I believe I have seen 13bn a year being quoted?) and then the possible further upside of future trade deals with the USA and a number of other countries (which might be harder to quantify but provides further upside).

    It will need an awful lot of expensive disruption to make the costs exceed these benefits.

    There is also scope to renegotiate trade deals inherited form the EU, so they better suit UK interests. I mean, for example, that more access might be gained for UK exporters in return for more access to the third countries exporters, which the EU did not agree as they wished to protect continental producers.

  36. lojolondon
    December 17, 2018

    In all commentary on the withdrawal agreement, I have never seen any comment regarding the clause where the UK agrees to bail the EURO out if that should become necessary?? Even though we are currently not responsible to bail the EURO out. How’s that for a massive potential liability that has never been explained or justified, and potentially much, much larger than the £39 Billion that they want to waste??

  37. Rien Huizer
    December 17, 2018

    Mr Redwood,

    Despite the fact that opposition to EU membership has been part of your political career for a long time (something you shared with Foot, Benn and their political heirs but for different reasons) you must know that terms like “good” or “evil” to describe the EU are meaningless, assuming that you are a utilitarian. For someone of my own generation and blessed with many opportunities to develop true knowledge, to appear quite emotional about something that is part of your daily work. But then again, not to many people of my generation are still working. It must have something to do with motivation, or possibly, trauma (for lack of a better word). You still believe Major was wrong, about a full generation ago. Well, he was wrong in obtaining those opt out positions while he could have killed the whoe anti-EU discourse then, leaving the dirty work to Mrs May now.

  38. Denis Cooper
    December 17, 2018

    JR, please could you speak up in the Commons and knock this rubbish on the head?

    Today, from Nicky Morgan:


    “I’ve been clear about my support for a Norway Plus option, and I firmly believe that a cross party consensus can be built around access to the Single Market and a customs union. Tomorrow on this website, Nick Boles will set out why the People’s Vote campaign has got it so wrong about Norway Plus.”

    Because, from December 3rd:


    “Indeed, the only credible alternative plan is a Norway Plus option. Nick Boles, its main protagonist on our benches in the Commons, has been open to taking on board comments and criticisms of the option and those changes are fully reflected on the website http://www.betterbrexit.org . This may well be where Parliament ends up – but it may take the ruling out of all other options before we get there.”

    And on that website http://betterbrexit.org.uk/

    “On its accession to EFTA, the UK moves into the EFTA pillar of the European Economic Area (EEA), the common market that binds the economies of the EU with the economies of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

    At the same time the UK joins a customs union or other customs arrangement with the EU, which makes it possible to maintain no hard border in Ireland in perpetuity”

    I’m not the only one saying that even if the four EFTA member states viewed this idea favourably in principle – which they are unlikely to do – what he is proposing is a legal impossibility under Article 3 of their EFTA Convention:


    Here is a Norwegian politician explaining it in general terms:


    “It is not an option for the UK to stay inside the customs union, as the UK proposes to solve the Northern Ireland border issue, if you are part of the Efta platform, since Efta is its own free trade bloc.”

    So we have a clutch of MPs – Nicky Morgan, and Nick Boles, and Amber Rudd, and Oliver Letwin, and also Stephen Hammond and others – advocating a supposed ‘solution’ which would remain a legal impossibility even if it was otherwise desirable.

    1. Mark
      December 18, 2018

      The real problem is simply that the EEA Agreement doesn’t automatically include members of EFTA. If we joined EFTA, the situation is covered by article 128:

      1. Any European State becoming a member of the Community shall, and the Swiss Confederation or any European State becoming a member of EFTA may, apply to become a party to this Agreement. It shall address its application to the EEA Council.
      2. The terms and conditions for such participation shall be the subject of an agreement between the Contracting Parties and the applicant State. That agreement shall be submitted for ratification or approval by all Contracting Parties in accordance with their own procedures.

      It requires unanimous agreement of all the EEA Contracting Parties, on terms that are therefore dictated by individual countries, and not the QMV fallback that exists in Article 50.

      Morgan would do far better to pursue the residual rights and obligations we have under the EEA Agreement as a Contracting Party outside the EU and the named EFTA States – where many of them are further limited by not applying inside the territory of the UK once we leave the EU. Crucially, they include such things as recognition of qualifications gained in the UK across the EEA, free trade, while excluding freedom of movement and obligation to pay into the financial mechanism.

      1. Denis Cooper
        December 18, 2018

        That may be one problem, but the killer problem with ‘Norway’ is the absurd extreme and intransigent attitude of the Irish government towards a customs border like that between Norway and Sweden, and then the killer problem with ‘Norway plus’ is that stated, it is not legally possible to be a member of EFTA while locked in a customs union with the EU.

  39. Colin Hart
    December 17, 2018

    Food safety inspections on refrigerated and frozen food imports is done at the border. I have toured the Felixstowe facility where it is done. It was interesting to see that some of the products with British-sounding brand names were coming from the Far East.
    Once cleared at Felixstowe the goods can be re-exported to the rest of the EU without further inspection. Same applies to Rotterdam and any continental port. This is a good system. There is no reason it could not continue provided we are able to have a rational and sensible discussion after March 29. It will be in the mutual interest of all shippers, importers and exporters to have that discussion. It is only governments who may seek to screw it up. What is disgraceful is that none of this was discussed in the past two years. Our own government was pathetic in agreeing to what the EU Commission said could be negotiated before we left.

  40. Denis Cooper
    December 17, 2018

    I can’t agree with everything in this open letter to Theresa May:


    but this part certainly has the ring of truth:

    “On the Backstop, and its claimed urgency and importance, the trick is to look at your language, where one finds your people always using the passive mood – a classic giveaway. You say you are worried about a hard border “being imposed” (passive mood). You do not offer a noun in front of the verb, to show who it is, exactly, that is predicted to be going to do this “imposing”. That’s because, in fact, nobody wants to, nor do they intend to, impose such a border. You have said that Britain will never impose a hard border. The EU has said that it will never impose a hard border. The Irish have said that they will never impose a hard border. The Revenue of the UK has said that imposing a hard border will in all circumstances be entirely unnecessary. Talk of a hard border is nonsense, and you know it. Plan after plan has been published showing how the Irish border question can easily be dealt with, away from the border. To assert that this issue might bring back the IRA, that there will be one disaster or another if we don’t have the Backstop, is irresponsible. Which brings us back to what many aver, that the Backstop is just a cover for implementing some promise you made to the auto industry in 2016, that we would be in some form of Customs Union with the EU – precisely the thing that 17.4 million people voted against.”

    This is the view that I have also come to, that Theresa May knows perfectly well that it’s all a load of nonsense but she sees it as a useful pretext for keeping us under large parts of the economic rule of the EU.

  41. Merlin
    December 17, 2018

    If I was to have a general election, and the first vote was:

    ‘Should U.K stay under a conservative government?’

    Then, if the answer was no, I then held another vote, where people could only choose among the remaining parties.

    Would it be a democratic election? (Note: This system would have returned 80% Labour MPs in the last election and 0% Conservative.)

  42. a-tracy
    December 17, 2018

    The Conservative government isn’t managing anything though, is it? If the newspapers are to be believed the cabinet is in ‘turmoil’, ‘no deal chaos’, we are warned of ‘catastrophe’, ‘blackmail and EU retribution’ by the Danes, bombshells and a new brexit-crisis advisor in the form of David Cameron hehehe hohoho. Warnings and questioning of ethics.
    I read the Express on-line just to give me my daily dose of doom-mongering, then I read on twitter they are Brexit supporters! What, you could have fooled me! I’m thinking stop reading they’re getting advertising hits and I’d probably be no less informed about what is going on anyway.

  43. James o'Malley
    December 17, 2018

    What’s the matter with your PM? it’s not up to her anymore..parliament will decide..it will have to be another peoples vote so why go on with this nonsense?

    and you guy’s make jokes about the Irish..jeez

  44. Atlas
    December 17, 2018

    After all the recent kerfuffle about May’s so-called deal, I now wish for a WTO exit in March. We get back control over everything straight away and we can sort out any minor problems if they occur. From that position of strength we can then do a deal with the EU, providing it suits us.

  45. SJHartwell
    December 17, 2018

    Whatever the reality of a no deal, or managed, Brexit, with trade on WTO terms, might be, it is the perception of what such a scenario might be that matters, when considering how to proceed from here. And the perception in the HOC is that such a scenario must be avoided at all costs. I rather suspect that the perception of the general public is such that, given the opportunity to remain, enough voters will have buyers remorse to reverse the result of the 2016 referendum. A Brexit in this manner, at this late stage, will be perceived by the pragmatically minded as too great a risk.

    This is testament to the Brexiteers inability to make the case for a true Brexit. Behind this lie a variety of reasons which are easily identifiable. The bottom line is that, assuming Brexit now fails, it will be incumbent on Brexiteers going forward to formulate a clear and practical course out of the EU that can command the support of the nation. Attempting this within the context of the Conservative party would be futile.

  46. Andy
    December 17, 2018

    I have never supported another referendum. Not because I think Brexit is a good idea – it clearly isn’t – but because the reaction of the Europhobes will be predictably angry. Better to defeat them by allowing the Brexit disaster to happen – and then to undo it – rather than stopping it happening in the first place. The inevitable pain will largely affect those who voted for it anyway. Which is a poetic justice.

    But we should dispel the myth that asking the public’s opinion is somehow undemocratic. It is not. It is convenient for Dr Fox and others to lie about this but there is inherently nothing wrong with renewing or reconfirming a mandate. A government requires a new mandate every five years – as can be booted out if it does not deliver. Brexit – we are told by the extreme Brexiteers – does not require another mandate EVER.

    And yet we already know Tory pensioner Brexit will deliver on precisely NONE of the promises of Vote Leave. No Brexit will do so – but this one is particularly bad. So seeing that the Brexit you are getting is not what you all claim you voted for, why are you scared of asking the public again? In the words of Brexit stalwart Dennis Skinner, is it because ‘you’re frit?’

    And if you’re not frit perhaps you should be. The anti-Brexit tsunami among younger people is just beginning and it will ultimately sweep all of you away.

    Reply Why did we never have the chance to renew the mandate of the EU for more than 40 years

  47. Peter Martin
    December 17, 2018

    We are seeing the phrase “managed no-deal” being used in the media recently.

    Anyone know what it means? I’ve read articles with the words in the headline but I’m still no wiser!

    I’m tending towards the idea that it could involve an indefinite extension of Art50, which will mean, that although we’ll be officially aiming to leave, we never actually will.

    We’ll be in a ‘Waiting for Godot’ situation which will probably please neither side of the argument. Least of all those who have had enough of the Brexit shenanigans and just want some leadership from the Government to bring it about.

  48. agricola
    December 17, 2018

    The WA is toxic as it stands.

    A second referendum breaks the contract ,as laid down in the referendum of 2016, between the people and Parliament. It fails to change the mix of opinion in Parliament.

    Leaving on WTO terms is a fait acompli in that on 29th March 2019 we leave. To do otherwise, though under EU/ECJ ruling it is possible, also breaks the contract between the people and Parliament. Given that it could happen we deserve clarification on WTO Article 24. Do you JR have a view on it. Can we have it please.

    If we leave on WTO terms where does that leave financial services. We need a definitive ruling on this too.

    If I have grown tired it is of the constant stream of rent a mouth snake oil salesmen/women members of the H o C cluttering up television time with no clear vision or acceptance of any of the realities of any of their utterences.

  49. agricola
    December 17, 2018

    Prime example Anna Turley MP on Sky TV pure verbal diahrea for ten minutes.

  50. Philip Stephens
    December 17, 2018

    “Some Remain supporters seem to think that the EU is evil in intent and will be a lawbreaker just to be difficult.”
    And yet they want to remain in such an institution?

  51. Nigel Seymour
    December 17, 2018

    John, Do you subscribe to the thought that MP’s should vote according to the wishes of their constituents?

    Reply I have set out under local issues how I make decisions on how to speak and vote.

  52. forthurst
    December 17, 2018

    We need to abolish tariffs on cane sugar whilst encouraging our farmers to switch from beet sugar. Europe produces 50% of world beet sugar and most of it is produced in France. The world price for cane sugar is way below the production cost of beet, but the EU puts a very high tariff on cane and subsidises beet production which is mainly French.

    The EU has a low tariff on cocoa which is not produced in the EU, but a very high tariff on chocolate from outside the EU, in essence, to ensure that the EU leaves primary producers with the lowest possible added value. We could have cheap and delicious black chocolate made with locally produced cocoa and cane sugar.

    1. Know-Dice
      December 18, 2018

      That’s what a Customs Union does for you…

      I’m sure that we could get a glut of oranges from South Africa, Israel & Florida at good prices if we didn’t need to protect the Spanish…

  53. James o'Malley
    December 17, 2018

    Just like the wars of the 20th century, politicians and kings failed us, and so now

  54. mancunius
    December 17, 2018

    John, the PM insisted just now (16.50) in reply to Sammy Wilson that “there would be financial liabilities in a no-deal situation.”
    Can you ask her what they would be, what they would cost, and why?
    If she cannot at this stage – a few weeks before we exit – say precisely what those liabilities are, does that mean she is trying to avoid the issue, or have her civil servants advised her to give this answer as a way to stir up apathy for a no-deal situation?

    1. Mark
      December 18, 2018

      We would have to pay for our last month of membership, which is paid a month in arrears. Beyond that, there is nothing that I can see that is required once The Treaties cease to apply. Indeed, the mere fact that the EU have listed a whole range of payments they want to see in the Withdrawal Agreement tells you that these are not Treaty obligations, but rather some form of Danegeld. If they were obligations already there would be no need to list them.

  55. Original Richard
    December 17, 2018

    Article 50 states :

    “In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

    So is it not the case that by the Withdrawal date the EU is legally bound to negotiate and conclude an agreement for the Withdrawal and the future relationship ?

    If that is the case, why does Mrs. May not inform the EU that the current Withdrawal Agreement and the political declaration of the future relationship is not acceptable to Parliament and ask them to come back with an improved offer so that an Agreement can be concluded by the Withdrawal date to avoid the EU breaching its treaty obligations ?

    1. Mark
      December 18, 2018

      I think they are legally bound to negotiate, and to conclude the agreement, but there is no deadline for doing so. Jarndyce vs Jarndyce could see their record broken.

      1. Original Richard
        December 18, 2018

        If the EU must negotiate “to set out the arrangements for withdrawal” then it follows that the negotiations must conclude BEFORE the Withdrawal date which is 2 years after the triggering of Article 50.

        I am expecting that the EU/Mrs May will offer some concession on the backstop just at the last minute in the expectation that it will enable the Agreement to pass through Parliament, having spent the last 3 months before exit date ramping up Project Fear.

        Then we will be stuck for long time in “protracted and repeating rounds of negotiations”, to quote the Attorney General. A clean/WTO exit will provide business with certainty far quicker.

  56. Nicholas Murphy
    December 17, 2018

    Keep at it, Mr Redwood. There are two sorts of MPs right now: those who have faith in the British people and those who don’t.
    As for food exports, we are a net importer – so anything that can’t be sold in the EU can be eaten here.

  57. Tony Sharp
    December 17, 2018

    WTO Brexit or Sovereign Brexit is not a ‘No Deal’ because David Davis has already got the EU to agree many detailed transitional arrangements (reciprocal civic / citizen rights, mutual recognition of standards, visiting and airline landings etc etc) for any sort of Brexit from the EU which are ready for incorporation into the Political Declaration without the Proposed Withdrawal Agreement.

    Can we please expose Mrs May’s current ‘No Deal’ as the worst No Deal? The Proposed Withdrawal Agreement has to be executed first and only then – ie assuming after 29th March 2019 – does the EU even bother to start negotiations on a Trade Deal. So we Leave on 29th March 2019 with a set of arrangements in which the UK continues to participate and be subject to the current EU institutional forms and regulations of its CU (including collecting CET for Brussels) and the SM without any prospect of any Deal whatsoever; that is clearly ‘No Deal’ and we pay £39Bn for it.
    Or am I missing something?

    As for the Democratic deficit in Parliament about as to what sort of Brexit it wants to explore, there is only one overwhelming majority in Parliament and that is for RemaIN EU!.

  58. Denis Cooper
    December 17, 2018

    I’ve got to the point where I can no longer bear to listen to all the ignorant and mendacious twaddle being spouted in the Commons about Brexit, but before I stopped the recording this afternoon I heard Theresa May telling an MP, Liz Saville Roberts, that the power to request an extension of the Article 50 period rests with the government. Not with the Commons or with Parliament, but with her as a prerogative power, and notwithstanding the fact that she had to get an Act passed to empower her to put in the Article 50 notice.

  59. Nigel
    December 17, 2018

    This needs to be developed during the Christmas period, so that it can be put on the table as a viable alternative when it comes to a vote in January. But who will do it?

  60. MickN
    December 17, 2018

    I see Tony Blair is sticking his oar in to try and get a second referendum. Good thing I say !!
    He must surely be the most despised politician in the country hated in equal measure by people of all political parties and none.
    As he didn’t like the result of the first referendum and wants another one would it be possible to have another Chilcott enquiry because we didn’t like the result of the last one ?

  61. Stred
    December 17, 2018

    Is there any reason why we should not apply to rejoin Euratom, as this is legally separate from the EU and was set up in the 50s before we joined. It is a useful organisation and Switzerland is a member, while the US and Canada participate. Which idiot ever decide to leave and suggest that we would run out of isotopes?

  62. Get Out !
    December 17, 2018

    It’s way past time that we started issuing SIs under Section 8 of the Withdrawal Act which mitigate the impacts of the EU being silly.

    Starting with one that says: “No revocations or notices from the European Union shall have any effect wordwide unless countersigned by a Minister of State”.

    Since many international agreements are run under English Law, that solves a whole load of issues immediately.

  63. Ian Pennell
    December 17, 2018

    Dear Mr Redwood

    A managed “No Deal”/ WTO Brexit” is certainly the best outcome as far as the 17.4 million voters who voted “Leave” in 2016; Britain will not have to spend £39 billion up-front nor the on-going £10 billion net each year that Britain sends to the EU and that money could be used to cut Income Tax rates to help the economy get through the short-term issues.

    Unfortunately, Sir I cannot for the life of me see how, with a Remainer- dominated Parliament, we could actually get a Managed “No Deal” WTO Brexit through Parliament- or indeed stop the Remainer Majority actively preventing such an outcome. With Theresa May still in place, she is liable to bend to the will of Parliament- which is to prevent “No Deal” at all costs: Is Theresa May really going to go against Dominic Grieve’s successful Amendment that empowers MPs to positively direct what should happen next re Brexit?

    Short of toppling the Prime Minister through teaming up with Labour in a Vote of No Confidence we are going to lose Brexit in any meaningful way. I know that you don’t like this idea because of a risk of Jeremy Corbyn getting in- but believe you me if you have a Brexiteer ready to take over and make sure that Brexiteer MPs and the DUP neither support Jeremy Corbyn nor Theresa May, Theresa May will be deposed but you can stop Jeremy Corbyn forming a government. Remainer Tory MPs won’t support Jeremy Corbyn and neither are the DUP (given Jeremy Corbyn’s past links to the IRA)! Then you get to a new General Election.

    With a Brexiteer in charge of the Conservatives- selling a WTO Brexit, along with Tax- Cuts, more Police and more money for the NHS (funded by ending EU contributions, slashing Foreign Aid, ending HS2); with the same Brexit supporter leading the Conservatives pointing out that Labour have gone back on their promise to support the result of the 2016 Referendum you CANNOT LOSE: Even with Theresa May’s serial incompetence the Tories are level-pegging with Labour. With a strong pro-Brexit economically popular Manifesto- and a pro-Brexit leader willing to confront Jeremy Corbyn over his duplicity (and disastrous economic policies) in TV debates the Conservatives would regain a Brexit- supporting Majority that Theresa May lost.

    How else are you going to prevent Theresa May and Conservative Remainers “pivoting” to a second Referendum or a Norwegian-type deal that really keeps Britain tied in to the EU (and paying money for the privilege): You could wait a year until you can try again to remove Theresa May in a Conservative Vote of Confidence, but I fear that by then it’ll all be too late: Labour could be 20 points ahead in the polls by then leaving you trapped!

  64. matthu
    December 17, 2018

    Interesting development … Labour tables a vote of no confidence in the PM.

    Unlike a vote of no confidence in the government, I would expect this to be supported by most of Labour, most of the SNP, the DUP and by at least 117 Conservative MPs. This won’t look good on the PM’s CV when she goes back to Brussels, and it won’t exactly increase her confidence that she will be able to get her WA approved in the New Year.

    1. matthu
      December 17, 2018

      Well, already it seems that the ERG have committed themselves to supporting the PM in a the confidence vote, which is a somewhat remarkable turn of events. But clearly they see advantage in strengthening the PM’s hand at this juncture. I guess the longer they keep the PM in situ, the less opportunity there is for the government to backtrack and offer a second referendum.

  65. Ian Pennell
    December 17, 2018

    John Redwood,

    Forgot to add, the Speaker John Bercow is about as impartial as my ability to fly. He hates Brexit and selectively selects legislation and motions to be debated that thwart Brexit. It is another reason why we won’t get a managed “No Deal” WTO Brexit- Parliament being what it is. Even assuming Theresa May tries to ignore Dominic Grieve’s nasty little Amendment to stifle Brexit (which she won’t) she will not be able to ignore the Speaker selectively allowing motions to be tabled that succeed in preventing a No Deal outcome in any way shape or form!

    This is why you Sir, with your Brexit- supporting Conservative colleagues, need to collapse Theresa May’s government- to get to a General Election that you can fight on a pro-growth popular managed “No Deal” WTO Brexit Platform with a Brexit- supporting Conservative leader like David Davis. You will not, I’m afraid to say, practically be able to get the Managed “No Deal” Brexit through Parliament with Parliament and Prime Minister being what they are. John Bercow is (unfortunately) more powerful than the Prime Minister at the moment!

  66. Maybot
    December 17, 2018


    For the second time in two weeks The Sun is virtually threatening violent revolt if a second referendum is granted.

    Hadn’t Remain neutralise this paper like it has The Daily Mail ?

  67. hangingon
    December 17, 2018

    Doesn’t matter if you censor John,,my message is for you,,only you

  68. hangingon
    December 17, 2018

    What you still want is a managed WTO or cherry plcking deal but you’re not going to get this, it won’t be allowed..they have said this time over we cannot have our cake and eat it. Nothing could be clearer..so don’t go on about managed Departure to WTO..all BS..should I repeat,..all BS..there are no new special deals out there waiting for us..in the past it was called the Empire but that time has well and truly passed..stupid people. Grady Co Kerry

    1. NickC
      December 18, 2018

      Hangingon, By definition a WTO trade deal is not an EU trade deal. Though an EU trade deal must be a WTO approved trade deal. So an independent UK can manage a WTO trade deal.

  69. Nigel
    December 17, 2018

    Let’s get everyone to sign this: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/229963

    It could help to raise awareness for a managed WTO Brexit.

  70. hefner
    December 17, 2018

    An interesting take on the future of Brexit given by Sir Ivan Rogers at the University of Liverpool on 12 December 2018 “Full speech: Sir Ivan Rogers on Brexit”

  71. Javelin
    December 17, 2018

    The Common Transit Convention was signed today and will come into effect on the 1st of March. Perfect timing?

    That looks like the Gov have kicked off the “run book” for a No deal exit.

    Can you ask the PM to publish the whole run book so we know what is going on.

    (As I posted on this site before the No Deal is the only legally possible deal on the table – even if May resigns there is not enough time for Canada++ to be negotiated in 3 months).

  72. norman
    December 17, 2018

    I watched the PMs statement in Parliament this afternoon, and much of the subsequent disingenuous grilling! Laying all prejudice aside, and not professing to have a full grasp of what is in the WA, I have to say the PM came over very well (good to see her looking refreshed, after last week’s battering). I thought she answered all the questions fairly and squarely, albeit, as she herself stated on several occasions, she took a different view to the questioner.
    It was pleasing to hear JRM’s courteous remarks, which she accepted very graciously – also Andrea Leadsom’s benign support for the PM – a lady after my own heart.
    It’s quite clear the Opposition is talking up the ‘No Deal’ scenario as certain disaster, and many want to go into reverse via a people’s Vote – I wonder if their leave-voting constituents agree with them? I suspect not.
    Meanwhile, I think the PM is right to demonstrate that she’s done her utmost to secure a ‘good’ deal, including firmer, and if possible, legally binding assurances concerning the backstop). Whatever happens subsequently, no-one will be able to accuse her (or the Government) of being irresponsible with the country’s future. And to be fair, I would judge her answers as showing she ‘gets it’, and is sincere in understanding what the people of the UK voted for in the Referendum.

    1. Stred
      December 18, 2018

      Perhaps she has finally realized that she has been stitched up by the civil service and many people are writing to newspapers and media suggesting that she has been colluding and lying from the start. She may be contemplating the consequences in the future under a different government. Hammond too will need to think carefully about his future. What firm would want to employ a traitor?

  73. Simon Coleman
    December 18, 2018

    Well the EU are also seriously worried about No deal…so obviously they’ve got their own Project Fear in operation? Do you wonder why that once arch-Brexiteer Michael Gove would now prefer a Norway-style deal to No Deal? I think it’s because he’s come face to face with reality…something that’s unlikely to happen to you. When did you last talk to a company whose business depends largely on exporting to the EU, or on importing multiple parts from the EU which have to cross several borders?

    1. Edward2
      December 18, 2018

      I’m not surprised the EU is “seriously worried” about the UK leaving the EU “with no deal”
      Or what I would call actually leavingNo £39 billion
      No continued annual payments for x years
      The prospect of us lowering corporate taxes, being able to give grant aid to whatever companies we fancy.
      Collecting tariffs and not sending them to the EU any more.
      No ECJ to have to obey.
      No obeying all the rules and regulations imposed by the EU if we dislike them.
      No having to pay for their foreign policy army and ambassadors.
      The list goes on and on.

  74. Tabulazero
    December 18, 2018

    Managed by whom ? The exact same people who managed the botched negotiations or the people who still believe in having their cake and eating it ?

    1. Edward2
      December 18, 2018

      Cake and eat it is a remainer cliche
      Every deal that is signed off includes some cake and eat it for both sides.
      That’s how business deals happen.

  75. Ron Olden
    December 18, 2018

    The EU itself is releasing its ‘No Deal’ Brexit plans on Wednesday so no doubt our plans will bear their arrangements in mind.

    If the EU imposes import taxes on food exported from the UK. its’ their consumers and businesses who will have to pay them. Not ours.

    They won’t be able to do it on the Northern Ireland border anyway, because both we and the Republic have said that ‘Deal or No Deal’ there will be no border checks.

    The Pound has already fallen as a result of the original Brexit vote and if, as Remainers tell us the pound falls further on a No Deal Brexit, and especially if the EU starts imposing tariffs the effect of any tariffs would be redundant .

    Th effect will have been to more than negate any tariffs on food, and to give a huge boost to the competitiveness of the other things we export and to or trade with the rest of the World which is unaffected.

    We must NOT impose import taxes on our own business inputs and consumers.

    As Ronald Reagan once said when talking about tariffs:-

    ”We’re in the same boat with our trading partners. If one partner shoots a hole in the boat, does it make sense for the other one to shoot another hole in the boat?

    If the shopkeeper where you shop in town refuses to buy things from you, does it make sense to refuse to buy things from him and go and pay more somewhere else?

    The whole point of using money as opposed to ‘barter’ is to buy things from wherever it’s the best value.

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