8 things wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement

1. Signing the Withdrawal Agreement gives the EU what they want, taking away most of our bargaining power.
2. The financial commitments are open ended, with some very long lasting. They will doubtless be much more than the Treasury £39 bn forecast. This is money given for nothing in return that we do not legally owe them.
3.We have to accept and follow any law they pass for the next two years or more, without any vote or voice to try to stop laws that damage our interests.
4. We cannot sign any trade deals with other countries all the time we stay in the so called Implementation period.
5.Under the Agreement we might be another 45 months stuck in the EU, making a total of 78 months or six and a half years from our decision to leave. Parliament promised to enact the decision of the People’s vote, not to delay it indefinitely.
6.The Irish backstop splits the UK up.
7. The Withdrawal Agreement is legally binding. The Political Declaration is a vague wish list including the contradiction of a possible free trade agreement and a possible customs partnership.
8 Far from ending business uncertainty it prolongs it and makes it worse, as it makes a good outcome for the UK less likely.

This is an unbelievably bad Agreement for the UK and a great one for the EU. It is not a deal, as it does not offer the UK any of the things the PM said she wanted. It is an invitation to much more uncertainty and more talks on worse terms for the UK.


  1. GilesB
    December 27, 2018

    9. It gives the EU no incentive to agree a replacement agreement which is less disadvantageous for the UK than extending the backstop indefinitely
    10. It continues, potentially indefinitely, the power over the U.K. Parliament and Supreme Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union

    1. ian wragg
      December 27, 2018

      What it does is give the EU all the time in the world to force us to hand over our fish, sovereignty over Gibraltar , continue free movement and a fee of several billions for the privilege.
      They hold all the cards if this is ratified and it beggars belief that 200 Tory MPs still have confidence in the trickster May.
      This woman should be removed immediately as a danger to this country.

      1. Billy Elliot
        December 27, 2018

        I guess “this woman” won the confidence vote – so she can’t be removed in short term or very easily. Unless labor is able to fiddle something. You really want that?

        1. Gary McMahon
          December 28, 2018

          At this stage, I’m so desperate, I’ll take labour for one term. At least the railways will run on time!

      2. Turboterrier.
        December 27, 2018

        ian wragg

        This woman should be removed immediately as a danger to this country.

        They had that chance but her lapdogs who seem to have three fifths of naff all between their ears when it comes to understanding what the WA really means decided that she and they know best.

        The country will one would hope, rise up against all this nonsense.

    2. Hope
      December 27, 2018

      Cameron state it could take a decade to get trade deal. If correct the servitude plan would keep the Uk as a vassal state and make it poorer until we change our minds.

      Accepting all JR’s points and this one it begs the question: why would May accept and promote this exceptionally bade deal?

      Why has May signed our military up to more EU control in the last year?

      Why are any Tories supporting it?

      Is it not time to bring down this rotten govt?

      1. Alan Joyce
        December 27, 2018

        Dear Mr. Redwood,

        You are not at liberty to say much of this but it looks like the so-called withdrawal deal was always meant to keep the UK dangling at the end of a rope ready to be hauled back into the EU when the noose begins to tighten.

        I doubt there has been any hard bargaining on either side. Rather, the British liberal elite have colluded with their EU counterparts in an establishment stitch up – just as they did for the Nice, Maastricht and Lisbon treaties, etc.

        If the Withdrawal Agreement is passed, expect much more of the same as our team ‘battles’ valiantly to get the best trade deal for Britain!

        I struggle with conspiracy theories but it is hard to dismiss the notion that there are forces at work who are determined to reverse the referendum result and keep the UK shackled to the EU – and they do not care about democracy.

        1. Richard
          December 27, 2018

          Totally agree. Nothing else explains 18 months of non-negotiation leading to a ‘WA’ that gives the UK nothing.

          As economist Professor David Blake put it: “The WA is “so full of absurdities that neither Leavers nor Remainers could possibly accept it. … drafted with the support of pro-Remain civil servants using the Mad Hatter strategy of putting forward proposals that are completely barking.” https://briefingsforbrexit.com/we-need-a-clean-brexit-not-this-mad-withdrawal-agreement/

      2. Stred
        December 27, 2018

        Cameron and Osborne were elected leaders pretending to be Euro sceptic, while being, Europhiles. This became evident when Cameron when his words were recorded in a speech in which he bragged that the EU would stretch to the Urals. Osbornes’ dedication was shown by the Treasury’s false forecasts during the referendum. Under their leadership and with other Europhiles, they selectef new Conservative candidates like themselves, so that they number two thirds and include Soubry, Clarke, Morgan, Liddington and many others. They feel that there is now a strength in numbers and they will back either the capitilation or re-run, which will inevitably be rigged by the Electoral Commission, which is also made up of Europhiles.

      3. Iago
        December 27, 2018

        Past time, and your other questions need answering.

      4. Robert
        December 29, 2018

        Perhaps the answer to your question is because you voted for it? In 2016 remember? And now it hasn’t quite worked out the way you thought it would so you’ve started moaning. Maybe there should be another referendum with the options on offer being May’s deal or No deal?

    3. Richard
      December 27, 2018

      11. Defence: Marcus Fysh: “Parties could have a strong case against state aid being allowed to GB defence industries … UK Government support would therefore be hostage to negotiation of any future Defence and Security or trade agreements between the EU and UK, at a time when the EU’s declared intent is for centrally planned EU forces, operations and defence industrial capabilities. …the Withdrawal Agreement is a serious risk and compromise to national security and the UK’s sovereign ability in defence.” https://brexitcentral.com/withdrawal-agreement-seriously-risks-compromising-national-security/
      Sir Richard Dearlove, Lord Trimble & other eminent signatories:
      “For the first time in its history, Parliament is being asked to suspend its own sovereignty: it has no constitutional or moral right to do this. … The ‘deal’ surrenders British national security by subordinating UK defence forces to Military EU control and compromising UK Intelligence capabilities. It puts at risk the fundamental Anglosphere alliances, specifically the vital Five Eyes Alliance and thereby threatens western security. …” http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/12/06/yesterday-i-launched-a-politeia-pamphlet-how-to-take-back-control/#comment-979003 https://briefingsforbrexit.com/prime-minister-misleading-country-on-security/

  2. Gordon Nottingham
    December 27, 2018

    We really NEED to get OUT, now

  3. Peter Wood
    December 27, 2018

    Good Morning,

    Dr. Redwood, thank you so much for this analysis; it is sadly lacking in other publications.

    Our problem is Mrs. May has tried to get everyone to focus on just one issue, the Irish Backstop. This, I feel sure, is the negotiators classic ‘sacrificial issue’ (being of no great value to the EU as a whole), that we all put into a proposal that we allow the other side to negotiate away, they then feel they’ve got a good deal. I am sure she’ll play the audience by returning from a ‘hard negotiating weekend in Brussels’ waving a piece of paper that tells us the EU have accepted there is no need of a backstop. Then we all sign up happy.

    Please publicise your other objections as widely as possible, and continue with your colleagues to promote the facilitated WTO arrangements as the better alternative.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      December 27, 2018

      Spot on, it is impossible to understand how we have such dopes in the Cabinet.

      1. Dennis Zoff
        December 27, 2018

        …not if they all are in collusion with May?

      2. Robert Valence
        December 27, 2018

        Having “such dopes” is not a one-off thing.
        How is it that Parliament passed into law, Ed Milliband’s energy bill – in which we’re committed to getting rid of oil/gas/coal fired power and instituting the most unreliable and expensive (non) alternatives – wind & ?sun. What was in their tiny minds to pass this?
        On a similar theme, how could the dopes in the government have signed the UN Migration compact -which encourages migration (and delegitimises free speech by criminalising any criticism of immigration) – whilst at the same time Tories are committed to reducing immigration “to the 10s of thousands”.
        They obviously don’t select (most) MPs for their brains! And what/if they go along with May’s surrender document …….

    2. Fishknife
      December 27, 2018

      The reason there will be no need of a backstop is that we will have to accept that we won’t do any Trade Deals that are not in the EU’s interests (as neatly concealed in the Political Declaration).
      For which dubious honour we will give away the ultimate control of our Military, et al.

    3. Nigel Seymour
      December 27, 2018

      Peter, Well put. Alas, May is now totally untrustworthy as a PM and has been for sometime. Art50 will either be deferred or stopped indefinitely on or before March 2019. I recall a recent caller to LBC who said that he has voted all his life but the only vote he feels totally passionate and meaningful about was that cast in June 2016.
      Summed it for me…

    4. Robert Valence
      December 27, 2018

      Very disappointingly, Boris is exactly mirroring your argument – in demanding the removal of the backstop and ignoring the fact that the whole deal has been carefully crafted by the EU to enmesh us indefinitely, teach us a lesson and show to any other potential XXexiteers that it doesn’t pay to leave the EU.

      1. RichardS
        December 30, 2018

        No other country has enough ‘stupid people’ who want to leave.

        The backstop does not split up the country any more than it has been by devolution. Surely fiscal divergence by law exceeds regulatory divergence by possibility.

    5. Blackie
      December 27, 2018

      Peter Wood..I don’t think so..there will be no give on anything..the EU crowd are a determined bunch..it will be WA or no deal..and if it’s no deal then you’ll have to start again from scratch as a third country. It will take years and then even after all of that the terms of the current WA as it stands will still have to be met. So the backstop is there and if not accepted by UK side will remain as an obstacle to be resolved at some time in the future. Can’t see it any other way

    6. Caroline
      December 30, 2018

      Peter Wood – What, exactly, are “facilitated WTO arrangements”? Facilitated by whom? Certainly not the many countries which have submitted objections to our terms of membership! Such countries include Russia. Just how facilitating do you think they are going to be?

      No country trades solely on WTO terms, preferring, instead, to have trade agreements. Now why would any country want to buck that successful trend and go backwards?

  4. Peter
    December 27, 2018

    Hopefully there is still the same opposition to the Withdrawal Agreement among MPs as there was when the vote was postponed and claims that it can now get through Parliament are just empty government bravado.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      December 27, 2018

      Peter–Fervently hope you are right but May & Co’s patronage is vast and who knows what she has been promising? The Agreement is just plain bonkers.

    2. eeyore
      December 27, 2018

      Assuming the WA is voted down, the pressure for a delay to the leaving date will be enormous. The votes are there. So is the procedure. A Minister would have to introduce a statutory instrument as outlined here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/laws/secondary-legislation/statutory-instruments-commons/

      No doubt the EU would be happy to agree an extension, to be announced to MPs as yet another triumph of our wonderful British negotiating skills.

      So the important question is: can the SI can be delayed beyond March 29? If so WTO is home and dry. If not we can take it that we are scuppered, democracy in these islands is dead and Andy, bless him, is the winner.

      1. Andy
        December 27, 2018

        Whine. Democracy. Whinge. We won. Moan. EU, BBC, civil servants, Theresa May.

        I don’t want to stop your Brexit. I want to laugh at you when it goes predictably wrong.

        1. John C.
          December 27, 2018

          Charm, liberal intelligence, profound wisdom and reasoned philanthropy- all radiating from your deathless prose!

    3. Steve
      December 27, 2018


      They will have to vote down the WA, and leave on WTO without a deal as we demand, if they know what’s good for them.

  5. Mick
    December 27, 2018

    No deal then, bring it on just so long as we are out of the dreaded Eu

  6. Mark B
    December 27, 2018

    Good morning.

    This is an unbelievably bad Agreement . . .

    And who negotiated (sic) it ?

    There has been no ‘negotiation’s. What I believe has happened, is that our Civil Service has arranged what is for them, the best deal possible. Power without responsibility.

    The thing is, with all these scare stories and what not, if we Leave the EU without signing the Withdrawal Agreement (the term ‘dea’ is used to give it an air of a business arrangement when it is in fact a political capitulation) and nothing bad happens, what then for the Remainers ?

    1. Alison
      December 27, 2018

      Further to Mark B’s comments, I would be greatly reassured to see confirmed in black and white that Mr Robbins’ team (a) has not been in meetings with the EU without any elected UK representative present for the whole time, and (b) that signed reports have been prepared and filed of all these meetings with the EU, reports which are comprehensive and which will be made available, unredacted, to the public at an early date.

    2. Hope
      December 27, 2018

      Mark, I think you are correct to some extent. But I think it is now clear it was a collusion to a desired EU outcome not a negotiation. No one could negotiate to agree this servitude plan to leave the EU.

  7. Lifelogic
    December 27, 2018

    Exactly. As you say – This is an unbelievably bad Agreement for the UK and a great one for the EU. It is not a deal, as it does not offer the UK any of the things the PM said she wanted.

    Yet 200 Tory MPs still had confidence in the woman who produced this and still thinks it is the only way to go.

    Yet more ret tape is suggested this morning – after the damaging gender pay gap reporting ethnic pay gap reporting, then more plastic bag and other regulations. Government are certainly very good a damaging UK productivity and our ability to compete.

    1. Andy
      December 27, 2018

      It’s Brexit. It is what you voted for.

      Hush now, and let the grown ups fix it for you.

      1. libertarian
        December 27, 2018


        I’m really interested in how you are doing with your business. Before you offer to fix anything for anyone else. Having sacked all 35 of your staff just before Christmas and closed your multimillion business ” because of Brexit” what are you planning in order to fix yourself? Having proved you are incompetent at running your own business why would we allow you anywhere near anything else?

        ps you sound like Andrew Adonis…. Andy is that you ?

        1. Maybot
          December 27, 2018

          Libertarian – I know I’ve been too busy being with my kids to be visiting (let alone posting) much on this site.

          Andy tells us he has young kids – well look how much he’s been here.

          Lifelogic – I think the latest on calorie limits in restaurants and food outlets could be our Yellow Vest moment.

          Doubtless they’ll blame small food portions on Brexit.

          Far from having *adults* in control (*Andy’s word in one comment) we have a bunch of school prefects and bossy Head Girls.

          Only one thing will cure obesity and that’s the same as what worked for smoking and drink driving and that shaming. Don’t treat greedy people as victims.

      2. Glenn Vaughan
        December 27, 2018

        “Hush now, and let the grown ups fix it for you.” Andy

        That will exclude your participation.

      3. Edward2
        December 27, 2018

        We voted to leave.
        This withdrawal agreement has been written by remainers like you andy.

      4. Dennis Zoff
        December 27, 2018

        Yes Andy, let’s leave it to the laughable Remainer grown ups to fix it (like the grown up PPE educated Brexit negotiators), what could possibly go wrong? Oh yes, what we currently have, kindergarten theatrics and an impending long term self induced disaster!….and you think you are part of the so called educated generation…gawd help us!

      5. Seafort
        December 27, 2018

        This deal is nothing I voted for. I voted to be free from the EU not chained to their laws and regulations for eternity.

        How about you hush and let the democrats in the UK vote this deal down before the undemocratic Remainers destroy the UK for good.

      6. BR
        December 27, 2018

        I guess you got lost trying to comment on a football blog somewhere.

      7. barbara Jell
        December 31, 2018

        Still sore that you LOST Andy? Diddums, let the grown ups fix it for YOU.

    2. Peter Parsons
      December 27, 2018

      Plastics are designed to be stable, long lasting substances. Reusing plastic bags is nothing more than putting the substance of which they are made to the purpose for which it was designed. It’s not difficult to avoid being charged 5p for a plastic bag.

    3. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2018

      While statesmen posture, the little people will make ‘no deal’ a success
      James Bartholomew correctly says today in the Telegraph. Just get the state out of the way. Nearly all the problems that are sugested will arise from the WTO Brexit are government created ones. Illustrating the vast damage government does. At least after Brexit we can have far less parasitic government.

      Cressida Dick wheeled out for project fear over Brexit. Threatening all sort of dire civil order issues. Another very silly woman who even referred Boris to her hate crime experts! This while London murder rates soar and most serious crimes are ignored.

  8. Fedupsoutherner
    December 27, 2018

    It is inconceivable that any mp could betray his country by signing up to this crap. As you say John, what deal? Forget about the remain or leave camps. MP’s are thinking of making this country a vassal state and this is not what we were offered when we voted. Even any remained with half a brain should be able to grasp the fact that we will no longer be in charge of our own destiny. Its utter madness. What has become of your party John. They are a pathetic bunch of losers and not fit for office.

    1. Jagman84
      December 27, 2018

      If remain had won the referendum, it would been taken as a vote of confidence in the EU and this sort of agreement would have been dumped on us because ‘the people had spoken.’ Dragging us into full membership and, ultimately, full federation has been in planning for many years. They just wanted a crisis event to foist it upon us. The referendum was that crisis, especially after it produced the wrong result.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 27, 2018

      Yet 200 Tory MPs still have confidence in the appalling Theresa. Then again all but handful of MP voted for the Climate Change Act so they are clealy nearly all complete idiots and lack any understanding of science economics or human nature. Preferring irrational religions, beliefs and idiotic virtue signalling to reason and sound economics.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 27, 2018

        BBC again on about how “sad” as they see it that Trump has withdrawn from the Paris climate drivel. On this issue Trump is certainly right why on earth have we not don so too and why is thw BBC so misguided.

      2. John C.
        December 27, 2018

        I doubt it’s a matter of having confidence in May, which is a logical impossibility. It’s just that they consider their best chance of remaining at the trough a little longer means leaving the pot unstirred. It’s nothing to do with principles. Not these days.

    December 27, 2018

    What would be the consequences for the UK if this agreement becomes law?

    What would be the consequences for the UK if Merkel succeeds Juncker as President of the EC?

    What would be the consequences for the UK if the Anglophile President Trump is defeated or deposed and replaced with a Democrat that, like Obama, resents the UK and wishes it to stay in the EU?

    Will a Democrat President be less likely to sanction a FTA with the UK or even flatly refuse to agree to one simply to force us into a corner?

    A Merkel-Clinton-May triumvirate would signal the death knell of UK sovereignty and independence

    Therefore to end this uncertainty and the possibility of this happening we need to leave now and that means deposing the one barrier to our departure, May

    May must be deposed to save the UK and the integrity of British democracy

    1. L Jones
      December 27, 2018

      Well put, Duncan.
      With all this ”let’s get Trump” tosh that we read daily, it really does make you wonder if the media generally has a death wish for the UK. Why should we care about Mr Trump’s personality, peculiarity, eccentricity, etc, so long as he is an Anglophile? (Personally, I think they’re lucky to have him in this mad world – he understands ‘mad’ – doesn’t he, Mr Kim?)
      At least he speaks of ‘America First’, unlike our Mrs May’s ‘EU FIRST’ approach.)

    2. Andy
      December 27, 2018

      Why do you want an FTA with Trump-merica? Mr Trump cares about America First and America only. He will give you an even lousier deal than the EU.

      You will end up selling out the NHS to private American drug companies – who care more about their bottom line than your health.

      You will flood our country with American Frankenstein foods which have done wonders for the health of Americans.

      I have spent a lot of time in America. More, I’d wager than most of you. I lived there for a long time. Their ‘health system’ is lousy. Even basic treatment is expensive and the waits are inordinately long. Their food is appalling. Not a patch on what we have here. American workers are badly treated. Even consumers do not get as good a deal as they do here.

      Of course Dr Fox wants to be like America. He sees a chance to shaft the average Briton so he can make his rich friends richer. For the average Briton such a development would be extremely bad but Dr Fox keeps unpleasant trade friends like the Saudis and President Duterte – a man who thinks killing children is okay – and with whom Dr Fox ‘shares values’.

      I love America – but anyone who thinks ‘becoming like America’ is a solution to our problems is so very far off the mark that it’s embarrassing. Brexit Britain has lost its moral compass. Brexiteers have deeply unpleasant ‘friends’. They are no friends of mine.

      1. libertarian
        December 27, 2018


        Oh my word, how totally dumb are you?

        I too have lived and worked in the USA , so what. Its a TRADE DEAL not an occupation. What is wrong with you people?


        As the biggest investor in each others countries and as a huge user of each others products and services that is a good reason to have an FTA with USA


        If you own a computer or a smartphone you are using US products


        No one in their right mind would have a US style health system , however if being in a trade block meant we had to do that how come we never imported the French healthcare system ( which is the best in the world)


        GM foods has produced the greatest upsurge in health and poverty reduction and has almost eradicated famine , and you dont want it here, you’d prefer your food sprayed with pesticides ?

        The fact that you can’t tell the difference between trade and wholesale cultural appropriate is telling .

      2. Mike
        December 27, 2018

        I share your distaste of Trump but that is no argument as to why we should not try a negotiate a FTA with the USA. Your comments about Frankenstein foods and their health stories are the usual anti-American alarmist rubbish. Until we leave the EU properly without May’s deal we will be unable to negotiate trade agreements. Whether a FTA with the USA or elsewhere including the EU is worthwhile will depend on the detailed negotiations. No one can force us to sign up to an unfavourable deal.

      3. Edward2
        December 27, 2018

        That is a ridiculous rewrite of what duncan and L Jones actually said.

      4. Richard1
        December 27, 2018

        There is no need to become like America to have an FTA. We don’t need any favours from the US or any other country to reap the mutual benefits of free trade. Australia is 8x the size of NZ yet they have a balanced FTA covering goods, services etc and all based on mutual recognition. No need for NZ courts to submit to Australian ones, no talk of a political union between the countries. No need for EU style free movement. No common flag, army, currency etc etc. That’s the way trade agreements are going. All the stuff you wrote about frankenstein foods etc is of course guff as anyone who has been to America knows.

        Need some good arguments not all the project fear rubbish.

      5. L Jones
        December 27, 2018

        But what other friends do you have, Andy? You give the impression you’d be grateful for anyone’s affection.

      6. John C.
        December 27, 2018

        I’m fascinated by your reasons to love America, Pandy.

    3. Hope
      December 27, 2018

      Merkel was behind the UN immigration pact. Trump would not sign it nor Australia and a host of sensible countries.

      May underhand and lying again about her true intentions about immigration.

  10. Steve
    December 27, 2018

    On the nail head as usual Mr Redwood. I honestly can’t see this getting through, it’s surely dead on arrival.

    However there are some potential scenarios ; the EU could stuff one over on the Irish and remove the backstop at the eleventh hour.

    Our MP’s might just cave in anyway, but if they do it’ll be the end of them.

    If May’s WA gets through that will give the EU opportunity to force laws designed to keep us in. The trap is obvious even to a blind man.

    There is only one course of action now, that is leaving without a deal. Anything else will result in serious civil unrest and I don’t know how many times government needs to be warned about this, evidently we’re only kidding when we say all hell will break loose.

    1. James
      December 27, 2018

      Unfortunately Mrs May and too many Conservative MP’s do not appear to think that there are eight points wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement. She has acknowledged only one point as being wrong with it – the backstop. This clearly points to the probability of an announcement being made at some point in the next three weeks to the effect that magically (surprise, surprise) agreement has been reached for the backstop to be removed or amended so as to be inoperative. Hopefully enough Conservative MP’s won’t be fooled.

      1. Blackie
        December 27, 2018

        Conservatives won’t be fooled and neither will the NI people. After all of this the DUP will be dumped..when Sammy Gets back home again he’ll be toast..you’ll probably have to arrange a place for him in the Lords, the usual stuff at taxpayers expense.

      2. old salt
        December 27, 2018

        James – “Hopefully enough Conservative MP’s won’t be fooled.”
        I wouldn’t bet on it!

  11. oldtimer
    December 27, 2018

    The WA is a lesson in how not to kick the can down the road. In this respect, at least, May has matched if not outperformed Merkel’s efforts of recent years. The same could be said of their capacity for mushroom management.

  12. Everhopeful
    December 27, 2018

    Not that I know a lot about trade but a so-called “No Deal” seems to be exactly what we voted for. Unfortunately Mrs May appears determined to force through her surrender plan which will see us supplicant,humiliated and defeated. Exactly what France, Germany etc have wanted for centuries but could not achieve through mere warfare!

    1. Andy
      December 27, 2018

      Not true. No deal is NOT what any of you voted for – despite what you all claim now.

      The winning side in the referendum – Vote Leave – set out what Brexit would look like and – at best – the government has only a mandate for that. Whatever the whinging Tory right claims.

      Further, the mandate was complicated by the result of the 2017 general election in which Mrs May specifically sought a mandate for the hard Brexit so many on here want and SHE LOST. The majority voted against her and hard Brexit and voted for soft/no Brexit parties instead. And – yes – Labour had a soft Brexit manifesto pledging to retain the same benefits of the single market and customs union.

      So – whatever the ranters tell you – the only Brexit mandate which exists is for a Vote Leave cake and eat it soft Brexit. And that does not exist. Hence the Parliamentary problems. Nobody has the guts to be honest with 17.4m mainly angry people who were lied to.

      1. Cerby
        December 27, 2018

        I hate to break it to you but May won the last election and over 80% of the British electorate voted for parties that had a clean Brexit in their manifestos. The LibDems were the main party to support remaining and they were decimated.
        Inconvenient facts destroy your arguments, as ever.

        1. John C.
          December 27, 2018

          I really feel it’s just silly to try and reason with Andy; he’s not up to it. Stop wasting bytes and just have some fun at his expense.

          1. barbara Jell
            December 31, 2018

            Yes, let’s treat Remainer Andy’s negative attitude with the indifference and amusement it deserves.

      2. Steve
        December 27, 2018


        “No deal is NOT what any of you voted for – despite what you all claim now.”

        Rubbish !

        That’s exactly what we voted for, and you know it.

        I suspect that like most remain minority cry babies you either don’t have the guts or inclination to roll your sleeves up and actually do some graft to help restore this nation’s pride, or you have something personally to loose by us leaving the EU, which is typical of minority remoaners and is rather selfish.

        I’d say your mindset is incompatible with what we need when it comes to rebuilding the country, and when we do leave the EU you will not be getting a free ride.

        The brexit we voted for Andy will at least sort the do-ers from the shirkers.

      3. Edward2
        December 27, 2018

        Read the leaflet.
        It set out what leave meant
        It said it meant leaving the single market and customs union.

        1. Andy
          December 27, 2018

          If you are talking about Mr Cameron’s leaflet it did not mention the customs union. You can read it again online – and apologise for spreading untruths.

          1. Edward2
            December 27, 2018

            The single market is the beating heart of the EU and it links us to the ECJ and customs union.
            Cameron is on you tube showing him stating that leaving the EU meant leaving the CU and SM
            The leaflet warned we would be out of the SM if we dared to vote to leave.
            It was part of your Project Fear 1.0
            No apologies from me.

      4. BR
        December 27, 2018

        Yes. It is what we voted for. Please stop boring people with your made-up, vitriolic nonsense.

        A GE is on many issues, not only Brexit. May lost the GE because of her poor robotic performance and on policy issues such as the attempt to tax house-owning Tory voters for elderly care, when those are the very people who have paid into the NI system for years.

        You clearly have one agenda here – to find a slippery argument at all costs for Remain. Meanwhile ignoring inconvenient things such as… facts.

      5. JoolsB
        December 27, 2018

        With respect you are deluded. We were told in no uncertain terms by every politician on both the leave and remain side that leave would mean coming out of the customs union, the single market and the ECJ – in other words a CLEAN BREAK. No half in half out proposals as are now being suggested by our traitor politicians or May’s surrender document.

        The 2017 General election resulted in 80% of all votes going to the two main parties who both pledged to do the above. Just a pity they lied and are now trying to give us the opposite of what was in their manifestos.

        Why can’t people like you get over the fact you lost a democratic vote and the majority of us don’t want to be tied to the shackles of the corrupt, bullying, rotting EU? There is no soft or hard Brexit, only BREXIT.

        Have some pride in your country man.

        1. Andy
          December 27, 2018

          I do have pride in my country. Just not in the 17.4m or so idiots who
          live in it.

          1. fedupsoutherner
            December 27, 2018

            Andy. Pride doesn’t come across in any of your posts. Hatred does though.

        2. Steve
          December 27, 2018

          Jools B

          “Why can’t people like you [Andy] get over the fact you lost a democratic vote.

          Because like most of the remain cry babies he won’t have the EU forcing us to give him a free ride in life.

          Personal interest above the common good, selfish isn’t it.

          Most remoaners are the same, they stand to lose something so they whinge and cry about how democracy isn’t fair.

          One of the things I’ll relish about brexit is when these freeloaders get a rude awakening and have to graft hard for a living and pay their way like the rest of us.

      6. Original Richard
        December 27, 2018

        It was not Mrs. May’s policy on Brexit which cost Mrs. May her overall majority in the 2017 GE.

        The 10 reasons cited by the BBC were “wrong type of campaign”, “dodging TV debates”, “underestimating the opposition”, “Mrs. May’s u-turn on social care”, not reacting to the Labour surge”, “May’s personality”, “negativity and the youth vote”, “fox hunting and the “same old Tories””.

        No mention of her policy on Brexit.

        In fact, the Conservative & Unionist Party manifesto for the 2017 GE, in the section headed “Leaving the European Union”, very clearly states on pages 35 & 36 :

        “The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give and take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK”.

        The reason for the “Parliamentary problems” is because we have a Remain PM incapable of negotiating an exit from the EU because she does not believe in our leaving and because we have a Remain Parliament which is unrepresentative of the electorate (leave won 64:36 by constituency) and is trying to find ways to thwart Brexit other than by the outright and blatant seizure of power from the people who elect them.

      7. Stred
        December 27, 2018

        Bollocks. The condions of leaving were clearly set out in writing and debated during the referendum and repeated in the manifestos of both Labour and Conservative parties. These were not as in the Chequers plan or WD, secretly prepared behind the back of the Department for Exiting and called for by people with loyalty to the EU, such as yourself.

        Translation will be done on the net, remotely and your business will fail soon anyway. Don’t blame Brexit for your lack of vision and failure.

      8. Alison
        December 27, 2018

        Andy, a withdrawal agreement is NOT a deal. A ‘deal’ with the EU is what happens when the UK has left. And that is what the EU says.
        The proposed ‘deal’ is NOTHING OF THE SORT. It is a withdrawal agreement which massively favours the EU in every respect. There is not one single iota in the UK’s favour.
        It even includes extras for the EU, on top of the chains with which it loads the UK from day one.
        If the UK signs it, we will rightly be viewed as pathetic.

        1. Andy
          December 27, 2018

          Too late. You are rightly viewed as pathetic already. I say you because you voted for it – and I did not. People like me are views with sympathy by the rest of the world.

          It is not my fault that none of you understood what you were actually voting for.

          1. Edward2
            December 27, 2018

            The leaflet clearly explained what leaving meant
            As did many speeches by the PM and Chancellor.

          2. BR
            December 28, 2018

            “We” understood perfectly – leave and decide the future arrangements.

            What we did not understand that this would be handled so abysmally by the so-called leaders. And that squirming little remainers would try at every turn to thwart the will of the people.

      9. acorn
        December 27, 2018

        The Brexiteers are confident “leave” would win another referendum with a greater margin of votes. So surely they will have no qualms about a referendum to settle a prospectus that now offers two “leaves” and one “remain” as options. This from the same political party that brought you the first two option referendum. How did that happen I ask myself.

        UCL suggests a decision tree that can get this whole sorry mess to a closure; five ways parliament can get to, hopefully, the last referendum the UK ever has. https://constitution-unit.com/2018/09/07/how-could-a-second-brexit-referendum-be-triggered/

        Number crunchers would choose a two-stage referendum to get a true unambiguous Condorcet Winner. The first stage “remain” versus “leave”; the second stage, if required, “leave Mrs May” versus “leave ERG no-deal”. That way nothing happens by default. (HoC elected a Speaker that way.)

        BTW. In a UK general election, circa 50,000 Polling Stations are required to be set up for one ballot. Camelot has 46,000 Lotto Terminals and could hold a ballot twice a week if instructed by parliament.

        1. JoolsB
          December 27, 2018

          “So surely they will have no qualms about a referendum to settle a prospectus that now offers two “leaves” and one “remain” as option”

          Nice try. Not only can remainers not accept we have already had our referendum but they think the only way they can win a second one is by splitting the leave vote in two.

        2. Original Richard
          December 27, 2018

          But we’ve already had a leave v remain referendum!

          Leaving the EU has been decided by a referendum, a GE where both of the two main parties said they would respect the referendum result and by Parliament who not only said they would respect the result but voted overwhelmingly to trigger article 50.

          The current dispute is over HOW the UK is to leave the EU.

          So if a second referendum if to take place, because Parliament cannot decide upon how the UK is to leave, it will be illogical and undemocratic for “remain” to be an option on the ballot paper.

          Note that the House of Commons Speaker, Mr. Bercow himself, wrote to a constituent who wanted a second referendum for leave/remain saying :

          “It is fundamentally undemocratic to argue that the process should be re-run because the outcome was not what some people wanted.”

        3. libertarian
          December 27, 2018


          Luckily we aren’t all as thick as you and can spot a rigged vote a country mile away

          Let me explain how it works as you’re clearly struggling

          We had a very clear referendum where the options were also clear Stay or go . We chose to Leave. So you implement that decision, THEN once left we can look at negotiating deals. The government told us that, the EU told us that, the leave voters want that. So lets do it.

          BTW I’m all for government by referendum, but you can’t overturn something that hasn’t been done yet

        4. fedupsoutherner
          December 27, 2018

          Acorn. If remain had won and leave wanted a second referendum would it be granted? You bet your life it wouldn’t. What makes you think you are so special? For goodness sake. Accept the fact that more people voted to leave and in a democracy that must be honored. What would you think if your voted was overturned?

      10. R.T.G.
        December 27, 2018

        @ Andy

        A definition of the EU:

        The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

        The referendum framing and promise by the Government:

        “The referendum on Thursday, 23rd June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union.
        The Government believes it is in the best interests of the UK to remain in the EU.
        This is the way to protect jobs, provide security, and strengthen the UK’s economy for every family in this country – a clear path into the future, in contrast to the uncertainty of leaving.
        This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”

        At the conclusion of the various campaigns, the referendum question :

        “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
        Remain a member of the European Union
        Leave the European Union”

        @ Andy “No deal is NOT what any of you voted for” etc.

        You are right, in so far as no-one voted in the referendum either to have a deal or not to have a deal. Neither a ‘no deal’, the price of tea in China nor anything else you or anyone else can dream up, can be tacked onto the simple refendum question which was actually put to, and decided by (the) demos.

        Everything should have flowed logically from that decision. It hasn’t, and that is why you might have a reason to criticise the handling of the decision.

        What you can’t do is to keep on, ad nauseam, criticising the people for their majority decision; that is blaming democracy for being democratic.

      11. old salt
        December 27, 2018

        Andy – “Nobody has the guts to be honest with 17.4m mainly angry people who were lied to.”

        Care to share your list of so called lies?

      12. BR
        December 28, 2018

        “No deal is NOT what any of you voted for”

        Nor is it what we would get. The EU have already published their plans for us leaving without a WA, which covers all the basics (flight, trade, transport etc). That is efectively the set of ‘side deals’ that they said they wouldn’t do.

        Neighbouring states always make these arrangements except when they are at war. Even when we have sanctions in place against Russia we can still fly there.

        This is what managed WTO looks like. Labelling it as ‘no deal’ or ‘crashing out’ etc are (deliberately) unhelpful – it is a managed WTO scenario. Life will go on such that there won’t be any noticeable difference.

        Furthermore – that is Day One. After that, things change and we will get to sensible long-term arrangements in this way – which is essentially playing the aces from our cards, not the twos, as May and Robbins have been doing.

  13. Mike Stallard
    December 27, 2018

    Mrs May has painted herself into a corner.
    We can accept this Diktat. It is the sort of thing a conquering nation dictates to a conquered one at the end of a war.
    We can crash out. In which case we face national economic ruin immediately (wait and see) or quite likely world ruin. (Lehman brothers triggered 2008). Britain crashing out of the world economy – as we would – is much bigger than Lehman Brothers.
    We can re enter the EU by revoking Article 50 (not going to happen.)

    There was a glimmer of hope just before Christmas when the Efta door swung open a little. But that has simply slipped away now.

    Interesting times…

    1. Know-Dice
      December 27, 2018

      We can crash out. In which case we face national economic ruin immediately

      I’m thick Mike, please explain why this would happen?

      Companies would still continue to trade, consumers will still buy.

      Is what happened to Lehman Brothers relevant in this scenario?

      1. Jagman84
        December 27, 2018

        Like the Greeks, I think that he’s lost his marbles. And he has a irrational fixation on EFTA, an EU-dominated organisation. Out of the frying pan, etc, so-to-speak.

    2. Mark B
      December 27, 2018


      The EEA / EFTA boat has sailed as there simply is no time left.

      I never too either our kind hosts predictions, or that of Dr. North’s as absolute as I always believed that common sense will prevail once the enormity of the situation becomes clear. If the EU want to hurt the UK, then fine. But in the long run it is all about Germany and, if Germany also suffers as a result this is going to have a serious domino effect on the rEU27. This in turn will lead to the eventual ruin of the Project as Germany will finally pull out as the costs of keeping it all going become too great.

      There will be some economic hardship as we readjust, there is no escape from that but, I do not see utter ruin unless you think it will be on a scale just after World War Two when, as I am sure you know, that the UK was bankrupt and her Empire in full retreat.

      No country in history that has gained independence peacefully suddenly fell off a cliff the very next day. They may have embraced Socialism and then preceded to go off the rails but not from +1 day if independence. So leaving without a WA is not the end and I see the EU is making arrangements for smooth transition.

      In short, I believe both our kind host and Dr. North to be both wrong and right on their predictions.

    3. piglet
      December 27, 2018

      Britain crashing out of the world economy…

      What ridiculous, hysterical language. Are you unwell?

      We will be re-asserting our rights as an independent country and normalisingour relationship with the EU. If anything, we will be joining the world economy.

    4. Charles v
      December 27, 2018

      I think you are unfair on Mrs May. She was pushed in the corner by those around her.

      1. barbara Jell
        December 31, 2018

        Oh please! Don’t make me laugh! May has deliberately engineered the worst deal in the history of this country and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. She is knowingly steering the Titanic into the biggest iceberg in history!

    5. agricola
      December 27, 2018

      It has the smell of Versailles about it, and we all know where that led.

    6. Steve
      December 27, 2018

      Mike Stallard

      “We can crash out. In which case we face national economic ruin immediately”

      Not so. We already do more trade with non EU countries.

      There will be no ‘crash’ as you put it. Yes there will be some initial difficulty, but so what.

    7. Billy Marlene
      December 27, 2018

      EFTA door?

      Am I missing something; isn’t an invitation necessary?

      I seem to recall the Norway PM rejecting it with a statement ‘like inviting someone to your party so they can spike your drinks’.

      EFTA Membership is, and always will be, a pipe dream of the desperate (or of vested interest like……….).

    8. L Jones
      December 27, 2018

      ”Crash out”? Perhaps you could elucidate, Mike S. This emotive phrase is used again and again by remainders (along with ”cliff edge” and so forth) with no explanation of how they envisage this ”crash” unfolding.
      Perhaps YOU could explain.

  14. Stred
    December 27, 2018

    It also commits the UK to paying more than it pays at present but without getting anything back, such as grants for scientific research or membership of Euratom, the drugs agency and other useful bodies which are independent of the EU. We should have spent the last two years preparing to replace these, using money saved from contributions to EU grants to others and their expanding programme for military and other needless adventures.

    The ban on prosecuting or taxing EU employees and pensioners is the final insult.

    As reported by D.Hannan, Clegg, Major and Heseltine wrote to the German press asking for a deal worse than staying in the EU and no doubt other plotters following advice in Cl eggs book have been collaborating to complicate negotiations when having private meetings in Brussels. The civil service have provided this deal par excellence and the PM and others believe that, by forcing a choice between capitulation and a second referendum, they will overturn the democratic result.

    1. Cerby
      December 27, 2018

      We have a national regulatory agency for medicines (MHRA). They do about a third of all assessment work for the European Medicines Agency.

      1. Stred
        December 27, 2018

        We should have done a deal to continue or just recognize theirs and not contribute. We can open an office in the EU and sub the work to labs in the UK. The civil service didn’t want it to work.

      2. Andy
        December 27, 2018

        That’s great! (Unless you need one of the other two thirds of medicines).

        1. Stred
          December 27, 2018

          Existing UK manufactured drugs will have an EU approval certified. As such, they can be sold into the EU market, as can US or Swiss drugs. The UK can continue to recognise EU certification of drugs, especially as we certified them. You must need as thinking drug.

        2. CR
          December 27, 2018

          The EMA appoints a lead member state to conduct a particular piece of assessment work. The UK is the rapporteur for a third of these procedures. The remaining two thirds of procedures are still assessed by the UK and our opinion is voiced at the appropriate EU committee when each procedure is discussed. No labs are involved.

          1. Stred
            December 28, 2018

            No lab work is involved in assessing drugs. Are you joking? Statistical work is also carried out in the UK and EU.

    2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      December 27, 2018

      @Stred: No need writing to Germany, any deal for a non-member would/will always be worse than for paying-up members, that is only natural!

      I thought your Brexit was about being “independent”.

      1. Stred
        December 27, 2018

        We were offered a Canada plus deal by Tusk and the civil service had to torpedo this, as they wanted the worst possible in order to make a second referendum a possibility. They, the PM and previous PMs like Major and Blair have been working with you since they lost. For the sake of good relationships between British and continental countries, they should have honoured their promise. The Norwegians still think their politicians were Quislings. If the MPs stiff the electorate, resistance will continue, but without a belief in the ballot box. We don’t blame ordinary Dutch, Germans or French. We were giving the thumbs up to the Gilets in Bordeaux two weeks ago.

        1. Steve
          December 27, 2018


          “If the MPs stuff the electorate, resistance will continue, but without a belief in the ballot box.”

          Oh you can bet your life on it. Many have said of the potential for mass non-compliance.

          It could easily go ‘guerrilla -like’. The minority traitors actually think they can thwart what the majority voted for i.e. sovereignty and independence, and that we’re soft enough to just let them get away with it.

          Boy are they in for a shock.

    3. BOF
      December 27, 2018


      Following Clegg’s advice is no recipe for success. He proclaimed that an EU army was ‘a dangerous fantasy’ but nobody believed him. When he took part in a TV debate with Nigel Farage he was completely outclassed and it was a great contribution to leaving the EU.

  15. Javelin
    December 27, 2018

    Art 50 was designed for countries that the EU wanted to leave the Eu.

    During negotiations the pressure would be on the EU while they tried to pay off a rogue state.

    The problem for the UK is the EU have zero pressure to compromise anything because they don’t want the UK to leave.

    Beyond that the “backstop” is illegal under the strong and enforceable international law of the right to political self determination (along with slavery and genocide) and would fail any judical review.

  16. Richard1
    December 27, 2018

    Well let’s hope it’s recognised the EU has over- played it’s hand and MPs vote it down. Then I guess it’s back to the drawing board. It seems to be clear the only way to move from being an EU member to having a comprehensive FTA but being out of the political structures is just to leave and then negotiate from a position of independence. It just isn’t going to work to have any kind of withdrawal agreement. A pity, as there will be disruption and economic damage for both sides. The EU hardly needs more problems than it has.

  17. Scott W.
    December 27, 2018

    In response to the Contempt Vote, AG Cox presented pages of his Legal Advice to Parliament. Its content was limited to The Backstop. I find it hard to believe that the AG’s Legal Advice in response to the 800+ page WA was only a few pages long and did not cover the other topics. Bill Cash and others asked TM the appropriate question following one of her statements to the House, but were fobbed off. How can MPs meaningfully vote blindfold? Why no pressure to produce the full Advice? What is going on?

  18. mickc
    December 27, 2018

    But it will be passed by Parliament. The Tories opposing it are crumbling by the minute, which is exactly what May intended.

  19. Kenneth Morton
    December 27, 2018

    I do so hope that those avid correspondents Dame Lucy Berk and Mr Frank Inn-Stein use their spare time today to read and understand this simple and straightforward post.

    It is obvious in their closed world logical thinking is never in vogue!

  20. Bryan Harris
    December 27, 2018

    As we move towards the new year, we have the old problem still lingering – a failed and deceitful agreement that harms us incredibly.
    Comedians should be making mincemeat of this agreement – Just imagine how Spitting Images could portray the sequential surrenders:
    MAY – “I think I’ve run out of concessions.”
    Juncker – “Non Non, We haven’t spoken yet about UK asset stripping.”

    Most of our comedians seem to work heartedly for the BBC, so lacking any real talent fail to inform of the details of the sad agreement to viewers.

  21. agricola
    December 27, 2018

    Do not back it in Parliament. Do not allow T May to sig n the WA. Leave the EU on WTO terms. Reconsider the powers that a PM has because it is obvious that she has abused the 17.4 million who voted leave. No honest PM intent on leaving the EU could possibly have been party to such a one sided abomination. The only other interpretation is that she and her team are promoted way beyond their collective talents.

    1. Oxiana321
      December 27, 2018

      Don’t be fooled by the ‘talent’ argument. I don’t know why contributors to this blog continue to believe that the Govt and Civil Service are not up to the job. They know exactly what they are doing.

      1. Mark B
        December 27, 2018

        They know exactly what they are doing.

        I am sure they do. It just isn’t in our favour.

  22. Freeborn John
    December 27, 2018

    The Irish Times are reporting that the Irish government believes the UK will follow the EU Commission in abolishing summer time from April 2019. It will be catrosphic for Theresa May if two days after we leave the EU the UK is seen to meekly allow the EU Commission to set the time in the UK. If we have not got control over clocks what will we have control over?


    1. Steve
      December 27, 2018

      Freeborn John

      “The Irish Times are reporting that the Irish government believes the UK will follow the EU Commission in abolishing summer time from April 2019.”

      Well John you can expect the Euro Celts to try and attack British Summer Time for the following reasons:
      1) It’s British.
      2) The best they can do is wave a stick at us from behind the EU’s skirt.

    2. Original Richard
      December 27, 2018

      This clock change issue hasn’t yet been settled by the EU.

  23. gordon
    December 27, 2018

    so how can any government in their right mind promote such a deal as being good for britain
    what possible motivation exists for this as it seems to defy all logic.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    December 27, 2018

    Thank you. Why on earth did your colleagues vote to retain Mrs May as leader and PM after such an appalling failure of negotiation?

  25. The PrangWizard
    December 27, 2018

    May and her treacherous clique have without doubt been hard at work over the holiday trying to find ways of getting round the objections, undermining opposition to the WA and putting out as many threats to MPs they can think of.

  26. Caterpillar
    December 27, 2018

    And yet we are in a position where we now expect MPs to support this as the PM pushes the vote back to scare a few more with the fear of an unprepared, unplanned, no deal. My prediction is that the WA will go ahead, Mrs May will stay in power for several years whilst the Conservatives remain more interested in a leader from the next generation … the ‘thinking’ seems to be that sacrificing the country and democracy is worth it if it stops Boris.

    Perhaps, after all, it would be better to stay in the EU, the ability of the UK’s political class is so low, I am wondering whether we do want power back.

  27. Andy
    December 27, 2018

    “An unbelievably bad agreement for the UK.”

    Yes. It’s called Brexit. It is what most of you campaigned and voted for.

    Of course, it’s not the fantasy unicorn version of Brexit which has only ever existed in the minds of the deluded.

    A brave little England – global superpower – sailing merrily out into the world to reclaim its 19th century power.

    Rather, the Withdrawal Agreement is reality Brexit – which reflects our actual size and status in the world. As a small and insignificant island which is reliant on the EU for many of our basic supplies.

    In any case, in terms of Brexit the Withdrawal Agreeemnt it is all any of you are going to get – so you have to decide whether to stop the insufferable whining and accept the dogs dinner you’ve gifted us or whether you let the grown ups take charge and call the whole thing off.

    1. Len Hamill
      December 27, 2018

      I have to agree. The refusal of Leave voters to understand what Leave means is just cowardly. Leaving means massively reduced trade, lost jobs and damage to public services. Leavers, this is what you voted for. Stop whining

      1. fedupsoutherner
        December 27, 2018

        Len Hamill. Do you have even half a brain? Surely even with your biased thoughts you can see this is NOT what we voted for. It’s more like what you voted for. I know its Christmas and New Year but surely you can cut back on whatever it is you are having too much of?

    2. Jagman84
      December 27, 2018

      A bit desperate today, aren’t you? If you were in any way confident about the eventual outcome, as you claim, then keeping schtum would be the best policy. The optimum course for the UK is completely out of the EU, satisfying the result of the referendum. Then we all get a say in how we progress from there. Which is how it should be, despite your protestations/rants.

    3. Edward2
      December 27, 2018

      Stop your nonsense andy
      Read the leaflet.
      Leave was what we voted for.
      This WA means we remain in the EU

  28. Kenneth
    December 27, 2018

    Far from making a positive case for the eu, Remainers have painted it as petulant and told us that the eu will “punish us”. This is not a clever tactic imho.

    It almost seems like a last desperate throw of the dice to come up with the worst deal possible just to prove to us how nasty the eu is and panic MPs into voting for it.

    It is either that or gross incompetence – I am not sure which.

    This “deal” needs to be thrown out. Let us just get out now!

    1. Andy
      December 27, 2018

      No – Leavers paint it as petulant.

      Remainers say, clearly, that the EU has shown how powerful it is when its member work together. How good its negotiators are. How clearly it sticks to its stated goals and values.

      I am sorry Brexit disappoints you. You are all catching up with Remainers. We knew in 2016 how rubbish Brexit would be compared to what we had. You lot are only just figuring it out now.

      1. libertarian
        December 27, 2018


        Sticks to its stated goals does it

        The French deficit ( worse than Italy) infringes EU rules. The EU has said no punishment as its a one off…. Ha ha ha , So why not Italy and Greece?

        The EU is corrupt and you know it

        The EU is for dummies who can’t think for themselves

        1. Rien Huizer
          December 28, 2018

          Sanctions are not “punishments”. As you may have seen, the EU is not at all antagonistic towards the good mr Salvini (who will now continue to make life difficult for his “coalition partners” and prepare for an election that will hurt 5* more than anyone else) and Macron did the right thing with this social media mediated “movement”. No European version of the Arab Spring, alas and Brussels has a decent feel for what is important for the membership, like a well run golf club. Besides, the markets have other things on their mind and the numbers in the Stability Pact are by all academic accounts, arbitrary, especially with interest rates as low as they are and debt service noiw much lower than it was 10 years ago, despite slightly higher principal amounts. Not that we won’t see a return to periods of EUR crisis, but all in all that looks like it will be containable. And of course we will move towards the posibility of sovereign defaults of EUR countries, as well as IMF-like intervention mechanisms, as the price for banking union and a EU-wide deposit guarantee system.

      2. Original Richard
        December 27, 2018

        The reason Brexit is “rubbish” is not down to the skills of the EU negotiators, or the power of the EU, but because it has been negotiated on our behalf by a committed remainer who does not believe in Brexit and who is colluding with the EU and our largely remainer Parliament to thwart the result of a democratic referendum.

        They’re searching for a way to do this without it looking like they have blatantly stolen the sovereignty of the British people without their permission in order to give it back to the EU.

        Hence the disastrous WA, which has been so over-cooked in favour of the EU that even remainers are having difficulty in accepting it!

        Probably a Mrs. May/EU negotiating tactic to make us think that when she gets some small concession from the EU, Parliament will have an excuse for voting for it.

        BTW, remainers are also unable to define how the EU will look in the future when it is composed of 34 or more disparate countries.

        What will be the tax rates ?
        Will there be compulsory military service ?
        What will be the EU’s immigration, trade and foreign policies ?

        The same can be asked of course of an independent UK but at least we will feel that we have some influence on these issues through the ballot box. The same cannot be said for the undemocratic EU.

        1. Rien Huizer
          December 28, 2018

          HOw do you go from 28 to 34? There is no appetite among the majority of EU members to add more members. Associates, fine but not members. Maybe you are not aware that successive UK governments were the most active in promoting enlargement and labour mobility. With the UK gone, things will de different.

          1. Edward2
            December 28, 2018

            Expansion is in the Treaties.
            Expansion is in the Five Presidents Report.
            The Commission want more members.
            It will happen.

  29. Charles v
    December 27, 2018

    It’s so sad that you, like many others, remain in broadcast mode.

    We have this flawed withdrawal agreement as it is clear to the people we are negotiating with that our government, parliament and population are completely divided and have conflicting priorities.

    The withdrawal agreement is flawed because of this. It was impossible for Mrs May to negotiate when there are so many like you (and I include the die hard retainers in this) who have made it virtually impossible to adopt a sensible set of negotiating priorities around which a consensus can be formed.

    Our leverage was completely shot the moment we triggered article 50 without having any idea what we as a nation wanted/were prepared to live with.

    The WA is what we deserve so either we live with it or we revoke Article 50 and try again when we are able to have a mature debate as a country. There is no majority for living without a signed WA.

    1. Mark B
      December 27, 2018

      . . . our government, parliament and population are completely divided and have conflicting priorities.

      We voted Leave so that those we elect can serve OUR wishes. Parliamentarians are not elected to serve their own. The problem is not the referendum result, or indeed the government, but parliament itself. If parliament cannot, or will not, do as we commanded both in the referendum and in the subsequent GE of 2017 when, the two main parties stood on a manifesto promise to Leave the EU, then we need to change parliament.

      1. Rien Huizer
        December 28, 2018

        Another election?

    2. Kenneth
      December 27, 2018

      It was because Parliament was so conflicted that a referendum was used to provide a clear direction.

      The People decided we should leave the eu.

      Unfortunately, many politicians and civil servants have not accepted this decision and we still have not left!

  30. FranzB
    December 27, 2018

    I don’t know what you guys are going to do but from the outside it’s not looking good.

    What’s going on here has nothing at all to do with what’s legal- it’s more to do about politics, and politics trumps economics every time, the same as it did when UK voted to leave in the referendum.

    So sign the WA or don’t sign it, either way the EU is going to push ahead with its own agenda- the next thing for them is the EU parliament elections, and one thing we can be sure about is they are determined that come next session in the parliament there will be no UK representation causing distraction and throwing insults- so don’t know how Farage and D Hannan are going to fill their time then post everything?

    And Yes, it was a big mistake to think you were going to get a deal with them as equal partners- their negotiaters are streets ahead, streets ahead, and have their feet firmly planted. They are not going to complain about 39B or the Irish border they know it will all come right for them in the end.- it’s called playing the long game

    1. Mark B
      December 27, 2018

      I only voted to Leave the EU and not to cherry pick as our political class and establishment think is their right.

      The further the EU progresses the happier I shall be.

    2. A.Sedgwick
      December 27, 2018

      As we are in our pantomine season, I am reminded the best one I have seen is the twice yearly transportation of MEPs and their baggage trains between Brussels and Strasburg.

  31. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    December 27, 2018

    IMHO it is your elected Tory government which got you your deal.
    What does that say about a Tory government?

    1. Jagman84
      December 27, 2018

      They are all Socialists at heart. That why they **** up everything they touch. It’s in their DNA.

    2. Mark B
      December 27, 2018


      Nothing that we did not know already. After all, it was the Tories that took us in – on a lie no less.

    3. anon
      December 27, 2018

      The government and parliament is clearly submissive to the EU not the electorate vai the referendum or its manifesto pledges.

      Anything less than leaving , the Single Market, the Customs union and the ECJ is not leaving the EU.

      Parliament must choose to leave with a clean break.

      Problems afterwards are manageable in a democratic society.

      To not leave completely as above likely opens Pandora’s box.
      This time hope may not be found in the democratic process as it will have proved to have been corrupted by parliament itself.

      History rhymes. Only economic collapse of the EU will then free us.

      QED. EUSSR mark 2

  32. Alan Jutson
    December 27, 2018

    It took the 27 Countries in the EU 30 mins to agree it.

    So far our own Parliament will take more than a month, and still no decision.

    Perhaps this is a clue as to how one sided this surrender document is.

    For the sake of our Country Parliament needs to just reject this proposal, walk away, and do our own thing with the rest of the World, the EU will soon come knocking at our door, then we can do business on our own terms.

  33. Newmania
    December 27, 2018

    Is the suggestion that Brexitland will contest the payment of moneys owing or that we will cease to be governed by International Law and send a gun boat or something ?
    Why were people under the impression that when dealing with an organisation 8 times our size we would get a good deal?
    You voted for Brexit and this is Brexit … yup it is absolutely awful as most of the country now sees WTO is considerably worse and if you cares about Ireland you would not have brought this about . It is going to be a grim grim, year

    1. Jagman84
      December 27, 2018

      Project fear on steroids in 2019. Yawn! It’s not about money. it’s about who has the final say on what happens in the UK. You focus on trade as you (and your co-conspirators) have no answer to the sovereignty issue.

      1. Andy
        December 27, 2018

        Ironically we will have less say what happens in the UK after Brexit.
        Not figured that one out yet, eh?

        1. Edward2
          December 28, 2018

          What, even less say than one vote in 28 with increasing QMV?
          Not ironic at all.

  34. Excalibur
    December 27, 2018

    Keep up the exposure of this disastrous and costly capitulation, JR. We are relying on you to hold TM’s feet to the fire. Our country must not be sold out in this way. The Remainers will not relent and we must not.

  35. Martin
    December 27, 2018

    There is also the matter of the UK’s defence:

    Sir Richard Dearlove and Major-General Julian Thompson:
    ‘The way this deal and set of promises and future agreements has been composed is actively in conflict with the UK’s interests across the board because it not only puts power in the EU’s hands but all future leverage potential also. In defence, foreign policy and intelligence, the EU finds itself given an unconditional de facto pledge pre-emptively by Mrs May to continue as a rule-taker only with a level of UK commitment which resembles the current relationship but without membership. The Technical Note of 24 May (Clause 25) states that a defence treaty containing the administrative agreements, intelligence deal and association agreements will be signed as early as possible in the transition as an international treaty under prerogative powers provided the EU believes that deal adequately commits the UK to the EU defence rulebook. Mrs May has surrendered all leverage.’
    Briefings for Brexit early December 2018

  36. Rien Huizer
    December 27, 2018

    Mr Redwood,

    Wrong 50%: it is not “great for the EU”. It is a set of concessions to UK political demands to have some cake and eat it, in order to show the domestic audience: (a) you were not completely at odds with self-interest and (b) this government can indeed psotpone the onset of negatives and who knows find a part to a good post-brexit life.

    But good for the EU? unlikely. Continued membership (and then real membership not the Thatcher-Major ersatz EU membership without EUR, Schengen and normal contributions) wopuld ahve been better for both and easier to integrate and a “clean break” would have been better too, because that would have set the stage for a trade war that the EU would always win and, in fact, make it stronger. It would also finsish of the semblance of political parties that the first past the post system has given to Britain: two p[arties where the internal division span a greater range than the distance between the mid-points (on political economic positions, not ideology of course).

    So, Mr redwood we agree that this is bad for the UK (but who cares ,not you and fellow politicians) but not that it is good for the EU. That also means that ratifying the Agreement will not be as easy as thought, especially if it appears that the UK is too divided to make adherence by a future government reliable.

    The main brexit issue is not UK “independence” (how can a country aspire to anachronistic independence in a completely interdependent world? Go to the Moon?) the issue is distrust magnified and the potential for non-routine conflict. Diplomacy can tolerate a certain degree of politics, even democratic spectacle. But it cannot survive anarchy.

    1. Edward2
      December 27, 2018

      Odd that the EU has done deals recently with Japan Canada and other nations where tens of billions were not paid and two way trade using WTO schedules was agreed.
      Is this your idea of anarchy?

      1. Andy
        December 27, 2018

        And yet both of these free trade deals are significantly worse than what we currently have. They allow for largely tariff free trade but NOT barrier free trade – and that is your problem with Brexit right there.

        The EU rules you all say you hate actually facilitate the frictionless trade you claim to love. The products move easily around the single market because they are basically the same. And this is because the rules are basically the same. Unlike products which come from Canada or Japan which require additional bureaucracy, delay and cost. And therein lies the incoherence behind Brexit.

        Plus we all know the Leave vote was mainly about foreigners and not trade anyway. So why are you all still pretending?

        1. John C.
          December 27, 2018

          You’re right there. It was, and still is, about foreigners telling us what to do. OK with you, no doubt, but not the majority of your countrymen.

        2. Edward2
          December 27, 2018

          Coats these countries nothing to trade.
          Better than the tens of billions it costs us.
          I see no friction with imports of Chinese American Japanese nor Canadian goods.
          Do you?

          1. Edward2
            December 27, 2018

            Typo not coats….Costs.

      2. Rien Huizer
        December 28, 2018

        Not quite sure what you mean. Those trade treaties are normal and the product of diplomacy between countries able to commit themselves. My (writing this from Brussels for a change) and also the general EU problem with the British is that they have a Parliament that appears to accept rogue behaviour (“walking away, ignoring existing agreements with Treaty status). Someone here invoked obscure International Law doctrine to justify unilateral behavior. By anarchy I menst the situation in London where the government can -apparently- spend a year or more negotiating in good faith (at least that is what the other side was made to believe) and then face a Parilament where that government has not quite a majority but feels strong enogh to govern and then lacks the strength to make Party members support the result of tjose negotiations. That is an anarchic situation that drives diplomats crazy. Maybe you should read some decent history works dealing with the relationship between the British Empire in its period of decline and the US in its perios of international ascendancy. For instance “Allies of a Kind” by Thorpe and “The Lion and the Eagle” by B. Collier. A decent university library should have them. It is very hard for nationalists to see their country losing status and power, but until recently, British governments did not try to promote anachronistic and diplomatically unfeasible sentiments. I guess Cameron lost it.

        1. Edward2
          December 29, 2018

          What a bizarre post rien.

          1. Rien Huizer
            December 29, 2018

            Let me explain slowly: for diplomacy to work, negotiators on both sides must be equipped with credible expectations to project in order to arrive at an outcome that needs little more than formal approval.

            The spectable in Westminster where the result of almost two years of negotiation (we are only talking about the terms of Britain’s departure, not even the scope of the future relationship) seems to be completely open for discussion as if there had not been negotiations at all, or worse, where the negotiators are ridiculed by MPs, is indicative of what amounts to anarchy (regarding this set of issues, not that the police is not functioning etc) in external relations. Look at the writings of our host. His views are his own and he writes not on a Party website. Fair enough, private views. But then he does not submit to the discipline of the party that he represents in Parliament. How can a government function if it cannot discipline the MPs of its own party? Such an MP should try to convince his fellow MPs that his POV should be the party line and if he fails, leave the party or comply with the party line.

            Would you deal with a government in that condition? Maybe you believe that parliamentary sovereignty means that your borough’s MP can do as they please in order to serve your interests. That is not constitutional democratic government, but a form of anarchy.

            Reply So far this Parliament the Conservative MPs who have failed to follow the party line have been the pro Remain MPs who voted against or sought to amend the Withdrawal Act. Are you suggesting all of them should be expelled? I do not think so, as MPs are entitled to exercise their judgement against their party line occasionally. The government wisely decided not to trigger a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement which I oppose, and there may still not be a vote on this Agreement if the government cannot get a possible majority or if Parliament amends the motion before it is put. My view is based on the words of the Conservative party Manifesto of 2017 which pledged to implement Leave and said the Withdrawal Agreement and the Future Partnership Agreement had to be negotiated together.

          2. Rien Huizer
            December 30, 2018

            Reply to Mr Redwood’s reply: I am not suggesting that either wing of the Party is to blame for anything. I am just pointing out that treating with a government that appears to have insufficient support (popular or Parliamentary) is very risky. In fact you are probably aware that Lloyd George (in October 1918) did not want to treat with “a makeshift power for the purpose of striking a bargain which the real rulers of Germany might repudiate when they felt strong enough to do so” in a communication with the more idealistic US president Wilson (Collier, Allies of a Kind, p 194). This “anarchic condition” (from a diplomacy point of view) may well be one of two main problems that the EU has with the UK: (1) problems of substance and especially lack of space within the EU’s structural regulations to offer further concessions and (2) lack of (this) UK government credibility. Maybe the reference to the end of WWI is inappropriate but it is a good example of of the situation mentioned under (2) that arises when the one negotiating partner is not considered reliable enough for normal diplomatic intercourse due to lack of government credibility and one that is clearly part of the UK’s own ionternational relations memory.

    2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      December 27, 2018

      @Rien Huizer:
      Indeed not “great for the EU”!
      If not just blaming British ignorance (something virtually the whole world minus the countries with ulterior motives agrees with the EU27), but any economic damage that the UK will cause on the continent will be blamed on the UK and will anger lots of affected people on the continent.

      I remember this website trying to claim that the 2008 financial crisis had no Anglo Saxon origin. That won’t work with Brexit, the whole world knows whose decision it was.

      1. John C.
        December 27, 2018

        By God, they must be sharp!

  37. DUNCAN
    December 27, 2018



    Is this constitutionally possible? If it were then that would be an assault on British democracy itself and would trigger both a constitutional crisis and a national crisis

    It seems democrats are being attacked and labelled extremists. I have never seen this form of politics before and places the British people in a position in which our fundamental rights are on the verge

    we won’t take this authoritarian behaviour lying down

      December 27, 2018

      I was surprised by comments made by Matthew Parris in the current edition of The Spectator
      ‘Tories like me .. see good government as an effort to live with democracy rather than to an effort to live by democracy .. We are wary of the populace and instinctively hostile to the instincts of the mob. We see the popular will as a sometimes dangerous thing, to be handled, guided and on key occasions (and subtly) thwarted ..’

  38. Anoneumouse
    December 27, 2018

    Your parliamentary colleagues should be reminded

    That the roads that lead to parliament are lined with lamp posts.

    1. Mark B
      December 27, 2018

      As do the ones leading to prison.


    2. Stred
      December 27, 2018

      And the Thames swirls beside it.

  39. Iain Moore
    December 27, 2018

    ” It is an invitation to much more uncertainty and more talks on worse terms for the UK.”

    Doesn’t you last line sum up Mrs May’s time as Prime Minister to date? Dither , delay, a load of talk and no delivery.

  40. BOF
    December 27, 2018

    It is mind numbing that ANY MP could consider supporting this atrocious deal which will, without doubt cause immense harm to the UK over many years.

    Mr Redwood, there is one aspect I never see reported and that is the huge sums handed over to the EU from duties on goods coming into the EU from non EU countries and how much of our VAT is paid to them. This amounts to many £billions. Why is this not readily accessible information and why is it not heavily publicised?

    1. Robert
      December 27, 2018

      Very good point. How much tax do we pay to the EU on our trading, and WHY?

  41. oldwulf
    December 27, 2018

    So.. a french company has recently paid £2.9bn for a controlling stake in Gatwick Airport.

    Is this a good thing or a bad thing ?

    Is their only reason the cheap £ ?

    1. Mark B
      December 27, 2018

      Who too ? And does HMRC get a cut much like they get a cut when you buy a house 😉 ?

    2. Nicholas Murphy
      December 27, 2018

      Foreign ownership of our critical infrastructure and utilities is a bad thing. It drains wealth from the country, to the detriment of our balance of payments. Throw a light-switch and you can almost hear your pounds leave your pocket and head for Germany. How to correct this situation? Set up an OEIC or investment trust, under the aegis of the NS&I, and have it buy up large stakes in CNI/utility companies. And limit membership to British nationals.

      1. TRP
        December 27, 2018

        Just one example: Thames Water. Have a look at Ownership Structure on corporate.thameswater.co.uk
        Most UK infrastructure and utilities are likely to follow a similar model, model accepted if not supported and encouraged by successive UK governments, Conservative and Labour, starting in the ‘80s, accelerating in ‘90s and ‘00s.
        It might be interesting to look at who were the advisers and Business ministers in those years.
        As for the idea to correct the situation, look at the Thames Water case and see how your last request is likely to ever be fulfilled …

  42. Javelin
    December 27, 2018

    I read the latest article on Guidos website. He makes some good points that the speaker could use various Parliamentary procedures to delay or block Brexit.

    However it is 100% true that Article 50 is part of International Treaty law and that the only mechanisms ultimately available are to either

    (1) continue with Art 50 until March 29th when the UK leaves the EU and continues with the common transit and WTO arrangements.

    (2) pull Art 50 then possibly revoke Art 50 which will take another 2 years – which is all being done under treaty law.

    (3) just walk away from the EU based on our international legal right to political self determination and our right to walk away from any treaty.

    (4) All 27 EU states vote for a change in Treaty law to offer the UK a different mechanism.

    As I keep saying the Brexiteers need to be ready with a judicial review. At which point a judge will dismiss May”s deal because the backstop is illegal.

    We are dealing with international Treaty Law here not just Bercows whine. Stepping outside of International Treaty law is the territory of despots and dictators.

    The right to political self determination of the nation state is a very severe obstacle to overcome and would require a 2/3 (like) majority to give away soverigntity.

    International treaty law is in place to stop civil unrest, civil war and ultimately inter state war and Parliament needs to be aware the territory the Globalisits are dragging this country into when voting for May’s deal.

    1. Robert
      December 27, 2018

      Lawyers for Britain should be able to help with our legal rights under International treaty Law.


      I would like to know how the PM and Cabinet can be prosecuted for Treason.

    2. robert lewy
      December 27, 2018

      The intention of the vote in Parliament was to give Parliament a meaningful vote
      on a deal for our future relationship with EU.

      However, the vote on the WA is nothing of the kind it only covers the basis on which we leave rather than the future relationship which lies somewhere in the mists of the future in a “framework for the future relationship”

      The proper time for a meaningful vote is when a full deal is at hand i.e after we leave.

    3. MPC
      December 27, 2018

      Given that Bill Cash also thinks the WA is illegal we may see a legal challenge which would mirror, ironically, Gina Miller’s post referendum case. Many in the London legal profession are distinctly pro EU however. Hopefully a judicial review, if it came to that, would be conducted impartially!

  43. bigneil
    December 27, 2018

    TM is still hoping for her next job to be in Brussels, her reward for selling us down the river. A “mere” £39bn+ of taxpayer’s cash is of no consequence to her.

    1. JoolsB
      December 27, 2018

      Or she’ll just ride off into the sunset on her £100,000 plus pension despite objecting to women like me who are older than her getting any pensions at all until we are 66.

  44. hans christian ivers
    December 27, 2018


    I prefer to read your log when we deal with local problems and every day problems like you excellent contribution on working with the homeless at local level.

    thank you

    Reply Not stopping you

    1. libertarian
      December 27, 2018


      Well thats really easy to deal with, just read and comment on the non Brexit blogs

      There fixed that for you

  45. Peter Martin
    December 27, 2018

    @ John,

    I think I’m quoting you correctly as follows:

    “As UK GDP data begins in 1948 I’ve now confirmed that between 1948 & 1972 when we joined the EC, growth amounted to 118%. From 1993 to 2017, following completion of the single market, growth was just 69% In other words, growth inside the EU was 41% lower than before we joined.”

    The period (48 -72) was essentially defined by the post war Labour Govt and its nationalisations of a quarter of the UK economy. 1972 Britain was a quite a socialist place by comparison to what we have now.

    And in spite of all that we still did quite well? Maybe it should be because of all that?

    Reply State as a share of GDP was lower in the 1950s

  46. iain
    December 27, 2018

    I have voted Conservative for the last 50+ years. If this bad deal gets voted through I shall give up voting as my faith in democracy in the UK will have been completely broken. Of course nobody will care . When I think of what my Grandparents and Parents went through to preserve democracy within Europe and what these Head Honchos in the EU are doing i.e. creating a superstate which they will control although unelected to a man it really saddens me.

  47. Charles Forsyth
    December 27, 2018

    ” We cannot sign any trade deals with other countries all the time we stay in the so called Implementation period.”

    That’s legally not quite right. Article 129(4) provides that

    Notwithstanding paragraph 3, during the transition period, the United Kingdom may
    negotiate, sign and ratify international agreements entered into in its own capacity in the areas of exclusive competence of the Union, provided those agreements do not enter into force or apply during the transition period, unless so authorised by the Union.

    The constraint is that it requires “authorisation” by the EU for anything to come into effect during Transition. In practice, it’s hard to imagine being able to negotiate let alone sign and ratify agreements with other countries during Transition given that the future relationship with the EU is still unspecified. What can the UK offer? Who knows until it’s properly out of the EU! Of course, if it ends up in the backstop because of the usual delays, only GB can offer anything, and that only at the cost of increased barriers from GB to NI. So for potentially an indefinite period the UK will have new internal borders for internal trade, and no independent commercial policy.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 27, 2018

      Precisely and the main reason the WA is bad is that nobody will make trade deals with us before the EU has agreed ours, so we are totally hamstrung.

  48. Den
    December 27, 2018

    You do not have to convince me nor my family that this “Agreement” is WRONG for this country – OUR country. Neither do you have to convince several hundred MPs in Parliament nor the many millions of voters from all parties.
    So, why is it so difficult for Mrs May to see that such a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU would condemn Britain and us, the British people to never ending servitude to the EU Commission in Brussels?
    To tell us that her “deal” fulfills ALL of our requirements given in National Referendum when, after the clear opinions from the Attorney General, it is blatantly obvious even to the layman, that it will do no such thing, is to either deliberately tell us lies or demonstrate that she is suffering from Chronic Delusional Disorder.
    It is very worrying for us that we have such a Prime Minister supposedly arranging our actual LEAVE programme!

  49. Original Richard
    December 27, 2018

    The draft WA is asymmetrically detrimental to the UK :

    Article 129, paragraph 3, of the Withdrawal Agreement states that the UK ‘shall refrain, during the transition period, from any action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the European Union’s interests, in particular in the framework of any international organisation, agency, conference or forum of which the UK is a party in its own right’.

    The implication of this seems to be that we could not set our own tax rates, regulate businesses such as Uber, or pursue an independent foreign policy at the UN Security Council.

    Yet the Agreement specifies no reciprocal obligation on the EU to refrain from prejudicing the UK’s interests

  50. Original Richard
    December 27, 2018

    The Withdrawal Agreement allows the EU to set rules and regulations for the UK which do not apply to the EU itself.

    For instance, the EU can set the limits of state aid that can be authorised by the UK for agriculture. So the UK would not be free to set levels of subsidy for UK agriculture, but the EU would remain free to adjust its Common Agricultural Policy however it liked thus giving its farmers an unfair price advantage over the UK’s farmers.

  51. ukretired123
    December 27, 2018

    Poisonous deal in fact to disadvantage and torpedo us before we get a real EUexit.

  52. Ronald Olden
    December 27, 2018

    The Irish Backstop DOES NOT ‘split up’ the UK.

    The EU had initially pushed for the backstop to apply only to Northern Ireland, but the UK refused, saying we would not accept any situation in which the region had different customs rules to the rest of the UK.

    The ‘Backstop’ as proposed, applies to the WHOLE UK in the sense that it keeps the whole UK in the Customs Union until something else is negotiated.

    That in itself is terrible idea but it DOES NOT split up the UK.

    The only difference between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland is that Northern Ireland will continue to apply Single Market rules.

    That again is a terrible idea in principle, but as it’s likely that the UK will itself want to continue to respect most Single Market rules anyway, it’s of little practical significance,

    It was the UK itself under the Mrs Thatcher which promoted the Single Market in the first place.

    But, again, it Northern Ireland having some different rules to suit its’ requirements and circumstances DOES NOT ‘split up’ the UK.

    There are already numerous commercial rules (and even tax rates) which apply differently and variously in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and we already spot check things that come and go, to and from, Northern Ireland.

    The extent of any ‘backstop’ inspired ‘checks’ which have been suggested in goods passing between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, are WHOLLY within the legislative powers of the UK Parliament to determine and enforce.

    If we don’t apply any, or make them so lightweight that they are useless, there’s nothing the EU can do about it.

    Both the UK and Ireland have already stated categorically that there will be no Northern Ireland land border checks.

    We can should we wish simply require that traders self certify that their goods are compliant and leave it at that.

    The Withdrawal Agreement will only be legally binding if Parliament passes the necessary laws to make it so and keeps them in place.

    The only other relevant law is ‘International Law’ which is ‘consent based’ and which we can disregard in our National Interest whenever we like.

    Countries in the world repeatedly invoke National Interest to get out of Treaties. I’ve lost count of the number of Treaties that the USA has withdrawn from or even refused to ratify after intimidated others into signing.

    The UK will have no difficulty whatsoever in justifying unilaterally withdrawing from any agreement which is affecting its’ internal territorial integrity.

    The only (small) fly in the ointment however will be the fact that some reckless Tory backbenchers recently sided with the Remainer opposition and forced the Government to publish its’ legal advice, the consequence of which the EU will be able to show that the UK knew one interpretation of the law when it ratified.

    We don’t know what the EU’s own legal advice was. Perhaps it said the opposite to what our own cautious advice said. Not being as thick as two short planks themselves however, the EU didn’t tell everyone.

    Thanks to certain Tory MPs we showed our legal hand whilst the EU still has its’ covered.

  53. Barry
    December 27, 2018

    There’s no point is saying there’s 8 things wrong with the Agreement. The negotiations for the agreement are closed, it is signed off by the EU Commission and the UK Cabinet. What needs to be done now is for both Parliaments, UK and EU, to ratify it, or not, it is only a WA after all. If it is not ratified then there will be no basis for a new trade agreement going forward- we can just leave to WTO rules- and presumably pick up the pieces best way we can as we muddle through for the next few years, at least. But saying that we will very likely still have to return to the terms of the Agreement at some stage, ie.the 39Billion +interest owing, the Irish border situation, question mark, and movement of people and to do all of this we may have then to look at adjusting some of our red lines- possibly- who knows- whatever but right now it looks a complete mess.

  54. Denis Cooper
    December 27, 2018

    The CBI likes Theresa May’s ‘deal’, and the Irish government also likes it. Both would prefer that we stayed in the EU formally rather than just remaining under swathes of EU law, but if the UK really has to remove itself from the EU treaties then sooner or later her new treaty arrangements will replicate what they both see as the most important effects. Most senior Tories, who like her are covert eurofederalists, also favour her ‘deal’ insofar as they hope that it will be an easy route back to full membership of the EU, and of the euro as well if they can swing it. So everything is more or less as hunky-dory as it can be for the Tories and for the Irish and for big business, given that the Tory government lost the referendum vote, and it is jolly useful that the Irish government has adopted an absurd extreme and intransigent position over the border, now recruiting extra border guards to defend the Republic against its now potentially hostile neighbour to the north and at least go through the motions of trying tackle resurgent nationalist terrorism.

    1. Matt
      December 27, 2018

      Was wondering how long it would take before sombody over there would have a swipe at the Irish..just a country of four and a half million people. Wow! I can see now that you’re in big trouble..but rest assured it’s not our fault..it’s what you yourselves voted for..and what a lot of your MEP’S MP’S including ERG types clearly want and now looks like you’re going to get it. For info the WA doesn’t really matter in the long term, it was meant only as a conveyance to help tidy things up..it is about Withdrawal..but if you don’t agree then just leave it and take things from there and good luck with that. Matt Dublin

      1. Stred
        December 28, 2018

        Guido has reported that O’Varadakara is now thinking of putting his customs posts on the Irish sea and airports, as suggested in this blog. Glad to see that a bit of sense dawn’s occasionally.

      2. Denis Cooper
        December 28, 2018

        If you had been paying attention you would know that I have been criticising the Irish government for over a year, that is hardly something new, and you could even have read my letter about it published in the Irish Examiner on December 5th 2017:


        You will see there:

        “Having seen that Sky interview I formed the view that it would be quite pointless for the UK to even try to negotiate any “deep and special” trade relationship with the EU when one of its continuing member states is adopting such an absurd, extreme and intransigent position and has been foolishly awarded an effective veto on any agreement.

        Far better to say now that the UK intends to trade on WTO terms, which would hurt the UK to a small extent and certain EU countries such as Ireland to a somewhat greater extent, but would at least remove much of the uncertainty which is a troubling business.”


        “It is unfortunate that our two countries should be at odds about this, but bear in mind that we in the UK are merely making use of the new “exit clause” which was inserted into the EU treaties by the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty which the Irish government supported so strongly that it forced the Irish people to vote a second time and get the correct answer.

        Some would argue that observing how the EU behaved towards Ireland, and also towards some other member states, persuaded a significant segment of British voters that they did not really want to be part of it.”

        But I have since realised that the governments of our two countries are not actually at odds; Theresa May is happy with what Leo Varadkar has been doing, and in all probability the two have been conniving.

    2. Original Richard
      December 27, 2018

      BTW, the CBI is a secret organisation that does not publish a list of its members. So we have no way of knowing who and how it is funded, although we do know it receives some funding from the EU.

      Its main funders may not even be companies, as opposed to private individuals, and even if their members are companies we have no way of knowing what proportion of them are in fact British owned and run.

  55. BR
    December 27, 2018

    Re ‘removing’ May.

    Many have assumed that she is safe for 12 months. However, this is merely safe from the official Conservative Party mechanisms – it ignores the other ways it could be achieved. We are all aware of the possibility of removal via internal pressure, especially if her deal is defeated in the Commons.

    However, the elephant in the room is the Parliamentary mechanism via the FTPA. This would be where the DUP could be power brokers. It would go something like this:

    1. Vote of no confidence in the govt (not only May as PM). A ‘properly-worded’ motion needs only a simple majority to pass.

    2. The govt has 14 days to pass a confidence motion (same wording, with the word ‘not’ removed).
    Note: that the Parliament authority has issued a statement saying that in their ‘interpretation’, 14 days is not actually the limit. I struggle to see how they would justify this – the intention of the House is clear in the wording of the FTPA, else why put it in?

    3. Any government formed would face a VoNC, so Conservative and DUP MPs would vote down any socialists coalition.

    4. The only government that could form, therefore, would be a Conservative-led one with the DUP on board – and with someone other than May as leader.

    Since the DUP are a pro-Brexit party, they would only agree to support a Brexiteer as leader.

    The risk is that loonies such as Soubry, Grieve, Boles may vote against their own party – perhaps believing that their days in Parliament are numbered anyway. Perhaps Labour rebels such as Field and Hooey can get it over the line, but there is an element of risk of a GE. And a GE before 2022 could see May stand (I’d expect the pressure on her to go would be enormous, but could there be a leadership election before a GE anyway in these circumstances? It would have to be another ‘coronation’). And she is so stubborn that she might ignore the pressures – unless there are 117 who say that they won’t support her in Parliament.

    Anyway – all I’m saying is that there is a (somewhat risky) Parliamentary mechanism to removing May. The DUP must be thinking about how they might vote in a confidence and supply vote and what pressures they could bring to bear on May to hold up their end of the confidence part of the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement, given that they feel betrayed over the backstop etc they have justification.

  56. margaret
    December 27, 2018

    And they don’t think the EU is any good with farces.

  57. Dennis
    December 27, 2018

    JR’s post sets out why the WA is impossible in every aspect but wait – if so then every commentator, media outlet, MP and all the Queen’s horses would laugh it right out into the gutter and Mrs May would not like to have that pointed out to her . This hasn’t happened – why not? Because it offers (maybe) what many want? She says the UK will be out of the ECJ, out of the CAP and Fisheries, make our own trade deals etc., etc. although she doesn’t say when and what it will cost us and no one asks her.
    The view that the WA is completely absurd is not shared by many and is perplexing – if this perception can happen all bets are off.

  58. Nicholas Murphy
    December 27, 2018

    A good rap-sheet, Mr Redwood. Has there ever been a bigger capitulation by No 10? It shames the Conservative Party.

  59. Mike of Wokingham
    December 27, 2018

    As you said in your Guardian article, leaving under these terms would be worse than remaining in the EU.

  60. Norman
    December 27, 2018

    After Mark Carney, we now have Cressida Dick of the Met speaking out against a ‘no deal’ Brexit. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46693156 I should have thought that if these senior officials have any concerns, they should be making them known in private to Ministers, not shouting from the roof tops! Surely, John, they are totally out of order, and under normal circumstances would be hauled over the coals. This amounts to insurrection against the people who voted for Brexit and is very troubling. If we go on like this, the country will be ungovernable.
    Quite apart from that, its surely fatuous to say there’ll be no co-operation after a no deal Brexit. If that would harm the public here, would it not harm the EU public also? Or Ms Dick trying to suggest the criminals are all from over there? I cannot see any good reason why co-operation should not continue. I understand Israel has briefed EU countries a great deal on matters of terrorism on a good will basis, and have also provided the anti-drone technology in the recent Gatwick episode (hush, hush!) You really couldn’t make up all this nonsense. I certainly helps us to see the true colours of the Deep State, and why we must not yield to such black-mail.

    1. cosmic
      December 27, 2018

      I’m surprised that Cressida Dick should put so fine a point on it as talking about “putting the public at risk”. I’d have thought she’d have concentrated more on the threat to diversity and the risk of hate speech.

  61. Julia
    December 27, 2018

    Very true

  62. James Snell
    December 27, 2018

    Problem is people voted as they did because of the load of lies they were told by fake politicians, the red bus etc and now that they have had two years of looking listening they are very much the wiser, but alas it is too late. Leave with no deal is very probably the only way out now.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 27, 2018

      James. There is no problem. We voted to leave with no deal. We voted out. That is what the government promised us. Not negotiations for years to come offering nothing. For those that want to be under the thumb of the EU its fine but for the rest of us it’s a catastrophe.

    2. Edward2
      December 28, 2018

      It is odd how so many people think everyone who voted to leave the EU, other than themselves, had no idea what they were doing, yet all remain voters were super bright and had full knowledge of why the voted the way they did.
      I reckon it symbolises the contempt our new rich elite on both sides of the professional political divide have for the voters.

  63. Original Richard
    December 27, 2018

    I can only see political and social trouble ahead if this WA is approved by Parliament in defiance of the referendum result and the manifestos of both main parties at the 2017 GE.

    The Conservative Party will be seen as causing this never-ending vassal status which can only be bad for the UK. And promoting a treaty without a legal exit other than by the dissolution of the UK, made more likely by the people of Scotland and N.I wanting to be members of the EU with England wanting to be out of the EU.

    As new, unpopular directives, rules and regulations roll in from the EU, with no ability to veto or amend such EU legislation, such as VAT harmonisation bringing 20% VAT on food etc,.the Conservative Party will suffer the anger from not only Leavers but also Remainers for “negotiating” such a disastrous WA.

    A majority of the UK voted to leave, despite accepting the Government’s warning of economic disaster, because they wanted to retain some control over their laws and taxes via the ballot box and saw that if remain won it would be the last meaningful vote they ever had. A remain vote would have been taken as a mandate for further integration, the adoption of the Euro, our military and position at the UN given over to the EU, and all our major political, environmental, trade, immigration and foreign affairs decided by an unelected elite in Brussels.

    If a remain Parliament refuses to implement a true (not a Mrs. May’s false) Brexit, then many people, remainers as well as leavers, will surely believe that UK democracy has died. Mrs. May/the EU are not going to be able to fool the whole country, or indeed the rest of the World, that this agreement is anything else than a disaster for the UK.

    There is only one way now out of this mess which saves us from humiliation and vassal status, saves us from business uncertainty for years ahead, and still shows the world that we respect democratic decisions made by the country and that is to not sign this treacherous agreement.

    If the EU is not prepared to make concessions we must leave with “no deal” on WTO terms.

  64. Captain Peacock
    December 28, 2018

    One think wrong with the Tory Party ……..Mrs May.

  65. Fred Harding
    December 29, 2018

    I have just checked the petition “Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019” and so far, and it is early days yet, it has garnered 284,176 signatures. 17.1 million people voted to leave the EU and that is what we want. We don’t want half in half out BINO. We want to cut free from the EU completely. Thank goodness this is enshrined in law and that Britain will have to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, regardless of whether there is a deal or not. The longer May delays her deal the greater chance that Brexit will happen with no deal. Let’s do it.

  66. McBryde
    December 29, 2018

    This is just depressing to see the process unfold through these two and a half years just as I thought they would.

    It confirms to me that sovereign nations are on the way out and globalism/Marxism is riding the wave.

    But I do believe the trend has changed, and that will mean trouble ahead as sensible people gradually gain control.

    This era of post modernist neo marxism is full of hypocrisy and contradiction. All the bleating for equality through compassion and academia is really just ugly hunger for power – probably motivated by greed and envy.

    I can’t watch. I wish the people on this blog were ministers!

  67. Simon Blanchard
    January 1, 2019

    There is a 9th bad thing about the Agreement. The UK government and civil service are so keen for us to join EU military union in kit-kat clauses. As part of the Withdrawal Agreement is signing up to all the EU defence and security institutions with the idea of after leaving in name only also signing into PESCO, which stands for Permanent Structured Cooperation on Security and defence, which would end UK national defence & foreign policy and force UK defence procurement to follow EU procurement rules. Read the joint letter from MI6 boss Sir Richard Dearlove and Maj-Gen Julian Thompson

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