Trading under WTO rules

There is a lot of confusion and deliberate misinformation about trading under the WTO. Here are some facts that might help.

1. All our current trade is under the WTO, as the EU is a member. The UK will become a full member with vote and voice as soon as we leave the EU, as we never surrendered our membership when we joined the EU.
2. There is no WTO schedule of tariffs that automatically comes in. Each member of the WTO files its own tariff schedule and trades with anyone under that who wish to trade. The WTO requires a member to trade with any other member on the same terms, unless there is an approved Free Trade Agreement that exempts the countries from the common tariff of the Schedules. A country is always free unilaterally to cut or remove tariffs.
3. If a country’s trading terms are disputed by another member there is a dispute resolution procedure. A dispute does not stop trading under the published terms whilst the dispute is being resolved.
4. The EU does not have Free Trade Agreements with the USA, China, Brazil etc so we trade successfully with them at the moment under WTO rules and under the tariff schedule set by the EU. Once out we can sign Free Trade deals with these countries removing these tariffs, or could cut some of the tariffs unilaterally any time we wanted to make imports cheaper.
5. The so called side deals the EU has with these countries are mainly unimportant or unrelated to trade. Some are multilateral agreements that the UK has signed anyway.
6.The one agreement we currently have through the EU that may be important, the General Procurement Agreement, gives us access to public procurement opportunities in signatory states, and gives them the same access to the UK. The WTO has now agreed the UK will be a member of that Agreement in our own right on departure from the EU.
7. The EU has free trade agreements with a number of mainly smaller countries. The top five, Switzerland, Canada, Korea, Norway and Turkey account for three quarters of the exports involved. Switzerland, for example, has agreed to continue all current preferences with the UK as well as with the rest of the EU on our exit. No country with an FTA with the EU has indicated any wish to terminate the agreement with the UK once we leave. Transferring the current deal to both the remaining EU and to the UK is a relatively straightforward process.
8. The WTO does not require us to impose new checks at borders or delay imports into the UK. They recommend risk based checks. As the risks of EU product will not go up the day we leave the EU there is no requirement to impose new difficult checks.
9. If the UK and the EU agree to negotiate a free trade agreement once the UK has left the EU on March 29 this year, we could agree to impose no tariffs on each other and would get WTO consent to not impose them pending the negotiation of a full free trade agreement.

Peter Lilley has published a good pamphlet with Global Britain and Labour Leave setting out more detail called “30 Truths about leaving on WTO terms”


  1. Gary Rollo
    January 10, 2019

    1 and 4 are false. A network of agreements, going far beyondthe WTO, govern EU trade with US, China etc, and we lose the benefot of all of them after Brexit. 7 is also false. It is not a question of terminating the FTAs – after brexit, they simply do not apply to the UK because they are the EUs agreements. The UK can try and renegotiate – but ten weeks before brexit, not a single third country has shown any interest in doing so. WTO Brexit = disaster

    Reply EU agreements novate to both the rest of the EU and to the UK unless the other country objects. None have.
    There are no crucial agreements with China etc that we will lose which will stop trade

    1. Roy Grainger
      January 10, 2019

      You’re like Margaret of this parish – moaning that we haven’t put any third-party trade agreements in place when we’re not allowed to because we’re still members of the EU.

      I read 1, 4, and 7 again. They’re all simply factual and demonstrably true. Get a grip.

    2. Edward2
      January 10, 2019

      “Not a single country…etc”
      Apart from (for example) Canada Australia New Zealand USA Japan, the list goes on.
      You post is nonsense from start to finish Gary

      1. hans christian ivers
        January 10, 2019

        Edward 2

        So that means Gary’s input is of about the same quality as yours then you talk about EU countries ad their finances and generalise across the board with no good reason or statistics

        1. NickC
          January 10, 2019

          Hans, Edward2 is accurate and succinct with fact based statements. You on the other hand are a dupe for the monstrous anti-democratic peculating and rotten EU empire.

        2. Edward2
          January 10, 2019

          Well hans I don’t agree with you at all.

          Gary said ” not a single third country has shown any interest….”
          I said that was not correct and gave a few specific examples.
          No generalisations.

          I don’t “talk about EU countries ad their finances” either.

        3. libertarian
          January 10, 2019


          No comment from you on the collapsing economy of Germany then ? Germany technically entered a recession in 2018. France? manufacturing down, economic growth down, economy technically bust. Hmm Merkel not in trouble though, oh no. All is good with the world of the EU

          1. hans christian ivers
            January 11, 2019


            Look up the definition of empire and then come back an argue

          2. hans christian ivers
            January 11, 2019


            A recession is three quarters without growth and that is not the case for Germany at this stage.
            What does economy technically bust actually mean?
            Merkel, is still chancellor in spite of your predictions you do talk a lot of nonsense

    3. Denis Cooper
      January 10, 2019

      Well, of course they have no interest in doing so, because why on earth should they want their present trade with the UK to continue uninterrupted and unimpeded? Why on earth should they want to continue to get hold of whatever it is that we supply to them now that they like, and why should they want us to continue to buy whatever it is that they produce that we like and buy from them now? Of course they would much prefer to create artificial shortages of whatever it is that they are importing from us now by immediately blocking those imports, and of course they would much prefer to have their people thrown out of work by refusing to export their products to us. All that is obvious, or at least it is obvious to those like Gary Rollo who think that because they have essentially stupid ideas others around the world will also have essentially stupid ideas.

    4. jerry
      January 10, 2019

      @Gary Rollo; Nonsense, try actually reading what our host said, and check your facts own facts! In reply to the bullet points you raised;

      1/. The WTO’s own website lists the UK as a member, joined 1995. Perhaps you are getting confused between membership of the WTO and how the WTO currently presents UK statistics (as part of the EU block)?

      4/. There are no agreements in force, nor are their any provisionally agreed with those countries our host named, nor many others he eluded to.

      7/. Again you have failed to read what our host said, “No country with an FTA with the EU has indicated any wish to terminate the agreement with the UK once we leave.”; If you have evidence that such countries HAVE indicated any wish to terminate then please cite it. Nor do we or a third party have to “renegotiate”, the agreement is already in force, all that needs to be done is to file their tariff schedule and trades, as our host correctly explained.

      Such third countries are free to carry on using the technical detail within the EU FTA, applying it formally/informally to another third country (in this case the UK) as they wish, the EU doesn’t hold some kind of copyright on the detail within the FTA.

      1. Edward2
        January 10, 2019

        Excellent post jerry

    5. Al
      January 10, 2019

      I export to the US and many of the countries on this list, after the EU’s rules in 2015 hampered trade with EU countries, and 1 & 4 are quite true. We currently trade under WTO terms like most exporters to those countries, because the EU agreements that affect trade with them are limited to a few very specific areas (e.g. wine) and don’t touch on general export.

      As our host says, 7 is a matter of agreeing the agreements roll over, which Switzerland has already done and others seem to want to follow.

    6. Woody
      January 10, 2019

      The entirety of your comment is false. Trade deals with many interested non eu nations are on going and have been publicly reported so. WTO = trade soaring.

    7. Richard1
      January 10, 2019

      What are you talking about? The UK is prohibited from negotiating any FTAs while a member of the EU. Switzerland has expressly confirmed it’s desire to continue current arrangements and no countries have said they don’t wish to do so. Why would they? Again and again all we have from Continuity Remain is unfounded scare stories but no positive reasons for reversing brexit.

    8. Adam
      January 10, 2019

      Gary Rollo:

      In that a disaster is an event that causes unfortunate circumstances, the EU prevails as a disaster from which we can free ourselves.

    9. Jagman84
      January 10, 2019

      Turn your arguments around 180 degrees. Why are the EU trade agreements still valid after the UK leaves the EU? Maybe some nations signed agreements simply to allow them access to the lucrative UK market? It works both ways.

    10. JOHN FINN
      January 10, 2019

      A network of agreements, going far beyond the WTO, govern EU trade with US, China etc, and we lose the benefit of all of them after Brexit.

      Explain the benefits of this “network of agreements” that we will lose. Please enlighten us.

    11. forthurst
      January 10, 2019

      The EU was designed economically as a cartel to benefit France and Germany before we joined; we will not inherit the EU’s free trade deals when we leave. Who cares? No doubt the French have ensured that their ex-colonial banana republics have free trade with the EU, but we do not grow bananas and so under WTO, we can offer zero tariffs to the whole world.

      We get fish from Norway to replace those stolen from our waters by Spanish, Dutch and French thieves but if we leave under WTO, we also inherit an exclusive economic zone stretching to 200 nm which contain all the fish we can eat and more.

      We grow some sugar beet although the French are the world’s largest producers; however, under WTO we can import cane sugar which is far cheaper and encourage our farmers to grow other temperate crops on land that the Tories have not yet earmarked to house all the millions of projected third world STEM imports and their burgeoning families to replace the English who they have decided to phase out.

      We need to say goodbye to a French racket which has never benefited us because it was never designed to.

    12. G Wilson
      January 10, 2019

      The EU does not have free trade deals with the USA and China, according to the EU.

      You plainly have never heard of novation.

      The lackeys of Project Fear find facts very hard to swallow.

      1. Maria Smith
        January 10, 2019

        Novation does not exist in international Treaty law. It is a domestic contract law concept, and irrelevant to Brexit. After Brexit, the UK waves goodbye to all existing trade agreements.

        1. NickC
          January 10, 2019

          Maria Smith, No the UK doesn’t. The WTO system is the fundamental building block of 98% of global trade. The RTAs and MRAs negotiated by the EU are minor modifiers of the WTO rules, mostly with minor economies, negotiated under WTO rules and registered at the WTO (because they have to be – under WTO rules).

        2. libertarian
          January 10, 2019

          Maria Smith

          I really hope you’re not a lawyer

          A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

          Treaties can be loosely compared to contracts: both are examples of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and any party that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.


          READ the second paragraph

    13. a-tracy
      January 10, 2019

      Gary, do you work for the EU? The British Civil service? Can you please say how you know 1, 4 and 7 are false?

    14. Merlin
      January 10, 2019

      Bit alarmed here. If points one, four and seven are false – then that means either Gary or John are wrong – and consequently that even this close to the big day, people are unclear what WTO terms means. Does anybody actually know what’s going on here?

      Also, I’m mystified why everyone isn’t supporting the Prime Minister’s deal. The people voted for the government to deliver Brexit. The government’s delivered it. Will of the people says it must be passed. End of story. Yet I appear to see the very people who pushed for Brexit shooting down their own deal.

      Sorry to provide questions and no answers, but things seem to be becoming more surreal with every passing day.

      1. NickC
        January 10, 2019

        Merlin, No, we did not vote “for the government to deliver Brexit”, we voted to Leave. And Leave means leaving the EU treaties without signing back up to new treaties with the EU covering the same competences. Mrs May’s draft withdrawal agreement does sign us back up to subservience to the EU. Which is why we oppose it.

        1. jerry
          January 12, 2019

          @NickC; we did not vote “for the government to deliver Brexit”

          Oh yes we did! Legally the referendum was only advisory.

          we voted to Leave.

          The question asked was;

          Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

          As has been pointed out many times before, Norway, Switzerland & Monaco are not members of the EU but each has signed up to certain “treaties with the EU covering the same competences” as if they were a member. What is more, some of the 28 Brexit campaign groups advocated only leaving the political EU, for example “Flexcit” idea was often debated by Eurosceptics, even on this very site.

          Whilst all Leave votes were equal in respect of deciding to Leave they were far from equal as to How or even When the UK should leave. Just as a majority of Remain votes would have kept us in the European Union, but not all would have been advocating joining the Euro!

      2. John Hatfield
        January 10, 2019

        Sir John Redwood checks his facts. He is not wrong. And people do know what trading under WTO rules means. It means we save a lot of money.
        You say the government has delivered Brexit. I suggest you read the Spectator article below. You might learn something.

    15. mancunius
      January 10, 2019

      On the contrary, other countries have shown a great deal of interest. They know that EU treaties forbid us from renegotiating until we are out, 29 March.
      After that date we can sign any and every Free Trade deal with these countries, as JR says, either “removing these tariffs, or could cut some of the tariffs unilaterally any time we wanted to make imports cheaper.”

    16. Merlin
      January 10, 2019

      Also, I understand the argument is the people voted to leave the E.U and the government’s deal is not leaving the E.U.

      However, I believe the government has been charged with deciding what leaving the E.U is – not anyone else. Otherwise we risk ending up with hundreds of interpretations of what leaving the E.U means – and remain in this quagmire indefinitely.

      1. mancunius
        January 11, 2019

        The government has not been charged with altering the dictionary definition of the word ‘leave’.
        The WA does not leave the EU: As the EU negotiator Sabine Weyand explained to the Commission, the WA backstop provision sensures that in any future trade agreement beyond the transition period the UK will be unable to relinquish being tied to the Customs Union, and will therefore be subservient to EU law and incapable of forging independent trade links or independent laws.

    17. Jiminyjim
      January 10, 2019

      Just because you wish to put out a torrent of complete disinformation, Gary Rollo, does not make it true. Instead of regurgitating BBC disinformation, why not check the source documents for a change? You might find it both enlightens you and removes some of your evident fear.

    18. BR
      January 10, 2019

      Supply your evidence. Your personal assertions are worthless in a forum such as this.

      N.B. Any such evidence must be from bona fide sources, not articles in the grauniad.

    19. Barry
      January 10, 2019

      Redwood is spot on although the losing remoaners will always pretend otherwise I have even seen them claim every import would cost us 40% more, because they are so ignorant of real facts, instead relying on the propaganda “true facts” pamphlet and remain project fear claims to be honest.

    20. Dennis
      January 10, 2019

      Gary Rollo’s comment – what do you have to say Mr Redwood to this? I can’t believe there is no response.

      1. Dennis
        January 10, 2019

        So Gary Rollo, what is your response to the trashing of your post?

        1. Maria Smith
          January 10, 2019

          Gary’s post is 100 per cent correct. I am a solicitor working in international trade

          1. libertarian
            January 10, 2019

            Maria Smith

            Oh my God , have you just qualified? Do you not understand how trade agreements work in practice?

            All that needs to happen is that both parties agree

            Treaties can be loosely compared to contracts: both are examples of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and any party that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.

            Please let us know which firm you work for so that I can avoid engaging you

          2. BR
            January 10, 2019

            And your evidence is…?

            Sorry, but I don’t believe you. I could claim to be God posting here and no-one could disprove it.

          3. mancunius
            January 11, 2019

            That seems highly unlikely, given the completely fallacious basis of your assertions.

        2. Simon Coleman
          January 10, 2019

          You Leave people have probably spent the whole day researching WTO online just to attack his post. As you’re all retired, you’ve got the time to do it. Your time would be better spent looking at the small print of Norway’s deal, because there’s a far greater chance of that outcome than a no deal exit.

          1. Edward2
            January 10, 2019

            Many on here have explained to you Simon, why Norway is not an option.
            The first problem is that the EU are completely opposed to it.
            There are loads of others.
            Best look them up.

          2. mancunius
            January 11, 2019

            We voted to leave. Norwegians point out daily that EEA is owned by the EU, and means they are tied to the EU, the customs union and single market that PM Cameron promised we would leave behind in voting leave, and EEA is essentially governed at one remove by the ECJ.

            There is no parliamentary majority for joining the EEA, and Norway has already said it will veto any such move.

    21. L Jones
      January 10, 2019

      Having read the well-informed and often erudite comments in reply to your post this morning, perhaps you might keep in mind the old adage:
      It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

      (Yes, I know it’s oft repeated, but there are so many fools, it just seems a neat way of summing them up….)

    22. acorn
      January 10, 2019

      Gary, all non-EU countries that currently have trade agreements with the EU (including with the UK that will cease on Brexit day), won’t “novate” trade deals to the post-Brexit UK until they know what the final deal will be between the EU and the UK. That could be anytime between April 2019 and December 2020; possibly.

      The TRQ quota splits the EU has lodged with the WTO are already under fire from WTO members. The latter will all be gunning for a bigger share of the UK import pie. They know the UK outside of the EU power bloc and being import dependent on food, will give pricing power to foreign exporters.

      Commenters on this site are saying there are loads of trade deals sorted and ready to go on Brexit day. I bow to their superior knowledge. They must have much better contacts in Whitehall that know what’s going on than I have.

      1. Edward2
        January 10, 2019

        There are many quotes from senior government ministers in other nations that wish to show their willingness to carry on trading with the UK if we ever leave the EU.
        They are easily readable if you want to do a Google search.

  2. Lifelogic
    January 10, 2019

    Exactly right and and we will quickly make some additional agreements as needed post Brexit. This as they will be in the EU’s interests as well as ours. The Peter Lilley pamphlet is excellent.

    Meanwhile T May is still blatantly lying that her appalling deal delivers for leave voters. It is not even remotely close to doing so. Thanks to Gove knifing Boris and lumbering us with the dithering, visionless, dope May the Brexiteers lost control. A once-in-a-50-year opportunity to save democracy, capitalism and globalisation hangs in the balance at best. The Conservative party seems bent on self destruction in a John Major II way yet again.

    1. Stred
      January 10, 2019

      There was a speech on why he backed the May/Robbins capitulation by a Tory MP called Djangology yesterday. He realized it had some drawbacks but still thought it was better than trading on WTO rules, like we do with the rest of the world. Half way through I came to the conclusion that with 5/6th of MPs are as daft and that at present it is not fit for purpose. I turned him off. Parliament makes us ashamed to be British.

      Sir JR and Lord Lilley are right but the joke of a speaker and the welchers will never let them prove it. The turncoat Minister for Exiting even denied the opinion of the boss of the Port of Calais and said it would only apply to goods bound for Dover. They will lie and lie and their cheating speaker will run the place like a Newsnight studio.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 10, 2019

        He said that he could favour “Norway plus”:

        “Rather than add to the fudge, let me explain why and how, if this deal fails, Members of all parties should coalesce around a Norway-plus option, and why the “plus” element – being in a customs union with the EU – is a good thing.”

        So I dropped him an email pointing out that whether or not it would be a good thing it would be a legal impossibility, as pointed out here:

        “If the UK remained in a customs union with the EU it would not have control over the duties it was imposing on imports, including on imports from EFTA countries, and therefore it could not sign up to this article in the EFTA treaty.”

        Copied to yet another MP who hadn’t understood this, and now today so far two more of them have surfaced …

  3. Lifelogic
    January 10, 2019

    I read that the Socialist T May is minded to back a Labour amendment on workers rights now. It should do wonders to further reduce the UK sclerotic productivity ”growth” figures, out the other day.

    Not that easy to improve you business productivity with the highest and most complex taxes for 40 years, endless strangling red tape, daft employment laws preventing you having the right staff, restrictive and slow planning, endless government waste, a poor education system with expensive and often worthless degrees, expensive green crap energy, a visionless Government, second rate monopoly health care, and a lack of real competition in
    banking plus Venezuella Corbyn waiting to take over. Yet May and Hammond want to make it even worse it seems.

    1. jerry
      January 10, 2019

      @LL; It’s not so much the amendment on workers rights etc, the problem is TM attempting to get support for her WA by doing so, offer the same safeguards as part of a WTO Brexit.

      Out of the EU what is done can always be undone! Also Corbyn needs a WTO exit just as much as Tory Brexiteers do, because so much of his (likely) Manifesto plans need to undo EU restrictions on state aid etc.

      Some people, Mr LL, need to decide what would be more damaging to the UK, 5 years of a Corbyn govt or an indefinite number of years under the WA as a Vessel state of the EU (or indeed as a full member, having scrapped Brexit). As has been said by others eurosceptics, and non-partisans, what ever damage a UK sovereign govt does to the country whilst in office can be undone by the next, as a member of the EU (full or Vessel) no future UK govt will be able to undo that damage.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 10, 2019

      Good news, it seems HMS Queen Elizabeth (aircraft carrier) now has at least on aircraft on it (for a photo shoot at least). An F-35 ready “for the resurgent Russian threat they say”.

      Great all we need now is something to detect a £1000 drone at our airports.

    3. Jiminyjim
      January 10, 2019

      It’s worth also bearing in mind that high unemployment improves a country’s productivity figures. If you find this as astonishing as I did, check it out. French friends who have experience of working in both countries found it impossible to believe that french productivity was higher than in the UK, until I explained this

  4. Stephen Priest
    January 10, 2019

    You are right. But large numbers of the political and media classes are only interested in being tied to the EU for ever.

    1. Stephen Priest
      January 10, 2019

      But continue with this WTO message. Sadly whenever you or Owen Paterson try to put your case the BBC, Sky and others will constantly interupt, mainly becasue they know you make sense.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 10, 2019

        Indeed and any pro Brexit person on a BBC political question panel has about five people all interrupting him, plus a slanted (untypical of the public) BBC type audience too.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      January 10, 2019

      Stephen, yes, and Corbyn is only interested in party politics. He wants an election at all costs even if it means the UK goes under. Thanks a bunch………….

    3. Antoinette Givant
      January 10, 2019

      Presumably their EU pensions, payments, etc depend on continued membership.

  5. Dougal Hamer
    January 10, 2019

    The large majority of the UK economy is services. The WTO does almost nothing for services. It follows that trading on WTO terms will be a catastrophe for the UK economy. Vast numbers of service providers – IT firms, banks, insurance etc – will simply move their base to the EU. They are already doing so, as they watch in horror at the UK being pushed over the cliff edge by the ideologues of the ERG

    Reply Just not true. Even Deutschebank signed a 25 year lease on 469000 square feet of space in London after the vote!

    1. saynomore
      January 10, 2019

      5000 jobs finance IT etc have already moved to Dublin..and today Jaguar is to announce more heavy job losses, Nero fiddles while Rome burns, and still the ERG types come out with preposterous suggestions – Theresa Villiers yesterday said that the WA should be reopened to renegotiate the 39Billion, maybe get it down a little – Andrew Bridgen wants to renegotiate the whole thing – the DUP want the part about the border removed entirely from the WA – all of this is mad stuff. And as far as the Deutschebank is concerned, all of these big banks will have a foot in all camps, even mad camps, as a matter of good business sense.

      1. mancunius
        January 11, 2019

        GregH, cryingoutloud, meAgain, PrezleB, blake, bleak, StanleyW, jack Snell, Ahem, TedC, Harry, Anton, LiamB, hellbent, crackersjohn, DanB, navalgazing, Jonp, Drachma, sobeit, timeout, hellbent, GregL, homebird, Backtoback, Hardlyever, dittoagain, BretW, Harry, James Neill, jason wells, saynomore – etc etc.

        The usual rubbish from you.

        1. meAgain
          January 11, 2019

          Wow! I’m impressed, you’ve been following me, maybe I should start up an account on twitter-

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 10, 2019

      “The WTO does almost nothing for services.”

      And the EU Single Market does little more than that almost nothing, as the EU itself occasionally laments … there was a lengthy discussion about this here:

    3. Richard1
      January 10, 2019

      We are early at the point where the best thing is to get out, make temporary arrangements, trade under WTO rules and get on with agreeing FTAs with the EU along with other countries. May has played the UK’s hand appallingly badly, but the EU and Ireland should see that their undoubted victory is a hollow one, as it’s clearly not going to work to subjugate a sovereign democracy. It’s particularly surprising Ireland can’t see this with their history.

    4. Stred
      January 10, 2019

      Deutschebank has an office in Deutschland and is doing the work in London. It would be good to send Dougal to an office in Calais and let him commute to Edinburgh at the weekend if he finds the cultural life inadequate. Everyone else can stay in London.

    5. A different Simon
      January 10, 2019

      Dougal ,

      Are you saying that if the EU is not interested in doing a deal that the referendum result must be ignored ?

    6. Jagman84
      January 10, 2019

      It’s our EU trade that gives us such a big deficit! The non-EU, WTO trade is at a healthy surplus. A private company would be insolvent in short time with such an imbalance.

    7. Steven Fielding
      January 10, 2019

      For example, the Brexit process has prompted financial companies to move at least £800 billion ($1 trillion) worth of assets out of the UK and into the European Union, a new report reveals. Consultancy company EY said the assets represent approximately 10 percent of the total assets of the UK banking sector.

      Reply Jobs and activity up in the City since Brexit vote

    8. nhsgp
      January 10, 2019

      Will it?

      We introduce tax laws that exempt EU nationals from Tax if they invest in the UK. We could also introduce banking secrecy.

      That protects EU nationals against their governments and the EU expropriating their assets. They can’t be bailed in is one example.

      Or we change the law and remove it from the Greek bailout. They are subject to English law.

      The Greeks will then walk away, the ECB goes bust, and DB won’t need that new building

      Just think about what you are saying. The EU is going to try and damage the UK. That’s an act of aggression.

    9. margaret howard
      January 10, 2019

      Reply to reply

      “The commitment comes despite a warning in April that thousands of Deutsche Bank’s UK staff may be forced to relocate after Brexit, since the UK’s departure from the EU is likely to limit banks’ ability to serve European clients from London.


      “Banks have begun making public their post-Brexit plans in recent months, with Japanese banks focusing on Frankfurt as their new home for pan-EU business, along with US lenders Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. Bank of America will move some operations to Dublin.”

      1. Edward2
        January 10, 2019

        Firstly banks you refer to have offices in all the worlds financial capitals.
        Secondly it is not possible for the EU to ban world financial businesses to do trading operations only from inside the EU.

    10. BR
      January 10, 2019

      I don’t believe the EU has much regulation of services. They’ve tried but largely failed.

      Many companies have looked at moving abroad but have concluded that it’s not viable for many reasons, including getting the personnel with the financial services skills.

  6. Lifelogic
    January 10, 2019

    Heseltine has for a change has actually said something sensible:- May should step down if she loses the vote next week – we cannot go on like this.

    A bit odd as Heseltine is rather like T May politically, essentially another socialist, big government knows best remainer. Though he is probably not quite as dire, robotic and wrong headed as May.

    Corbyn and not Brexit is the real threat. But would we get another disembling, visionless, Tax and regulate to death, electoral liability, remainer as the new PM? Given the current Tory MPs we probably would.

    1. jerry
      January 10, 2019

      @LL; Heseltine and Corbyn (also Clarke) are political sign-posts, you might not like were you’re heading but you know the destination. May on the other hand is a political weather vain, pointing in what ever direction she thinks the votes lie.

      1. L Jones
        January 10, 2019

        The misspelling of ”vane” is an appropriately witty one!

      2. Lifelogic
        January 10, 2019

        Alas a weather vane that is nearly always 180 degrees out.

    2. JOHN FINN
      January 10, 2019

      Heseltine has for a change has actually said something sensible:- May should step down if she loses the vote next week – we cannot go on like this.

      To be replaced by who? At the moment May is the only person that stands in the way of a total cancellation of Brexit. While she maintains that the UK leaves on March 29th then Brexit remains alive. I’m not sure I trust her but I’m not sure I trust any of her likely replacements either. Let’s face it, JRM or Boris aren’t going to be elected leader.

      1. Bob
        January 10, 2019

        “JRM or Boris aren’t going to be elected leader”

        Not if the men in grey suits stitch it up again to preclude a vote by the membership.

        1. jerry
          January 11, 2019

          @Bob; There was no ‘stitch-up’ in 2016, unless you mean within the grey suits of Vote Leave…

          When TM does go, for either JRM or Boris to be elected as Leader first one or both actually need to stand for the position, and remain standing until the votes are cast!

          1. Bob
            January 11, 2019


            “There was no ‘stitch-up’ in 2016”

            It was an obvious stitch up to prevent the membership electing a Brexiter as leader.

          2. jerry
            January 11, 2019

            @Bob; Oh do get real. How was Brexiteers withdrawing their declared names from the ballot at ‘stitch-up. How was the in-fighting between some senior Brexiteers, in the immediate days after Cameron announced his resignation, the fault of Remain, how did Remain or the ‘establishment’ engineer that ‘stitch-ups’?

            You’re always so full of conspiracy Bob, I suppose you also believe NASA faked the Moon landings too!

          3. Bob
            January 13, 2019

            Conspiracies do happen, especially in politics, it’s a fact whether you choose to accept it or not.

          4. jerry
            January 13, 2019

            @Bob: No it is not a fact, unless you can prove it, otherwise it is at best day-dreaming because you cannot accept the available facts, and at worse your theory its self is the conspiracy – ‘Let’s sow a seed of doubt, you never know, it might grow and thus force the result we want.’

          5. Bob
            January 14, 2019

            Watergate was a conspiracy theory once.
            The way that the leadership contenders fell away one by one is a good indicator that the men in grey suits wanted May, because she was prepared to lie.

            To quote Me Juncker, “When it becomes serious, you have to lie”,

    3. formula57
      January 10, 2019

      @ Lifelogic – What makes Corbyn as PM materially worse than “another disembling, visionless, Tax and regulate to death, electoral liability, remainer”?

    4. mancunius
      January 10, 2019

      Lifelogic – I rather fancy that Lord Heseltine – a stubborn eurofanatic sans pareil – envisages May being replaced in a gerrymandered move by an arch-Remainer such as Hammond, or by a chameleon such as Hunt. Not by somebody who would carry out the expressed wishes of the majority to leave the EU.

  7. Dominic
    January 10, 2019

    The contents of this article are academic to a degree as the UK’s still a member of the constitutionally destructive EU. Of more importance is the behaviour of this PM, Grieve, Bercow and others as they coordinate their activities in the Commons to weaken the opposition against May and force through her plans to keep the UK tied into the EU.

    Betty Boothroyd was heard to express her contempt for the Speaker yesterday. That’s an unusual intervention from someone so esteemed. It is evident that Bercow remains in his position thanks to the connivance of Labour and the Tories working together in the Commons. And this is the problem. Both Labour and Tory party managers (whips) working together in the Commons to undermine the EU referenda result.

    May agrees to Labour amendments on certain socialist legislation and Labour agree to back May’s plans in the Commons. This horse-trading, unprincipled as it is, displays May as she really is. Sneaky and conniving. Unconcerned with principle, honesty and morality. Always looking to capitulate to save her political skin

    My contempt for May is as intense today as it’s been since some spineless, gutless Tory MPs chose her to lead our party. It is indicative of how far the EU virus as infected our party that a Europhile as vehement as she is could become our leader

    She is without question the most authoritarian PM this country’s ever seen. An offence to democracy. And a politician that will sacrifice our democracy, our freedoms and our nation for a few scabby political victories

    1. Lifelogic
      January 10, 2019

      I have always found Bercow to be most unsuitable for the job. One wonders how he managed to get elected (then again perhaps that is why he was elected). Then again, before him, they had (now Baron) Michael Martin – so hardly any better is those days!

    2. BOF
      January 10, 2019

      I can only agree with you Dominic. I am sure that the other small item on the sacrificial fire is the Conservative Party. All to ensure the domination of our country by the EU.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      January 10, 2019

      @Dominic. Your best post to date. What more is there to say? Brilliant and so true. We all despair at what has happened to the Conservative party and indeed, to parliament. The people have no way to say what they want anymore because MP’s have put the jack boot over us.

    4. L Jones
      January 10, 2019

      Reading Dominic’s words makes one realise that Parliament as a whole seems to be more and more divorced from reality and the man in the street. Seen from where we’re standing, they appear to be a bunch of squabbling, self-interested, arrogant, blinkered oafs, all scrabbling for their own positions in the pecking order, and for their own ends.
      Of course, this is seen through the eyes of the media generally, but even that little televised stuff that we see reinforces the perception that they are not acting in a professional and dignified manner, considering the grave importance of their roles. (There are exceptions, obviously – Sir John R, for a fine example.)
      But it’s no wonder people are feeling helpless, angry and frustrated with all this jostling and spite – for the good of themselves, not their country. With a generally disparaged leader, behaving as she does for the good of the EU, what hope for us ”little people” until we can officially kick her out – if the EU allows us to, that is?

    5. percy openshaw
      January 10, 2019

      I entirely agree with every word. It is one of the most depressing aspects of our time that reasoned, lucid exposition from wise commentators such as Dr Redwood should count for so little in the corridors of power. Those same corridors are instead infested with a swarm of careerist (people ed), busily gnawing their way through the foundations of democracy. When the building collapses we will have the transient pleasure of watching them flee to other berths in the international bureaucracy which has bloated and crimsoned by stealth over the last twenty years. The future appears haunted by the grim alternate prospects of EU subordination or Corbynite poverty and conflict. I have never been more distressed or depressed by the political and cultural situation and see no way forward and no way out. What manifests itself as despair in some moods and some personalities may well break out into furious rage in others.

    6. Alan Joyce
      January 10, 2019

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      Some people say that the Prime Minister went into the Brexit negotiations without a strategy. I think this is wrong. Her overriding aim was to keep the UK tethered to the EU until such a time as it could be subsumed back into the morass. Once again this would be done very subtly and behind the backs of the British people. It may still happen.

      As for hard bargaining on behalf of Britain; I doubt it. Rather, our civil servant led Brexit team set out their wish to keep the UK chained to the EU and the EU was, of course, happy to oblige. Hence the one-sided withdrawal agreement.

      Secretive, cowardly and inarticulate. The great mystery is how did she ever rise to the top?

      Perhaps, when Brexit is settled one way or another she will take her place as a fully paid up member of the liberal establishment elite.

      “Wearing her blue and yellow starred ermine robes Lady May, Baroness of Maidenhead said, with the help of our European partners we have not just successfully rolled back the threat of an independent Britain but seen vassalage re-imposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

      1. Mark B
        January 11, 2019

        The great mystery is how did she ever rise to the top?

        An empty vessel willing to be filled.

    7. ian wragg
      January 10, 2019

      of course it’s academic. We’ve lost to the establishment. Parliament is a joke and the inhabitants are the lunatics.
      Mays strategy is paying off. Prevaricate and publish a rubbish deal then declare there is no will in Parliament to leave the EU so cancel Article 50 or extend it indefinitely. Anything to keep us shackled to Brussels.
      Soubry has a cheek complaining of harassment when she has spent the past 2 years calling people like me stupid, etc. etc.
      She is obviously one of Mays outriders which explains why she is never disciplined.

      1. Steve
        January 10, 2019

        Ian Wragg

        “Soubry has a cheek complaining of harassment”

        Indeed. And her contempt for the will of the people ? she is a fine one to complain about harassment, she spends her time harassing us.

        No sympathy, if the cap fits.

      2. Antoinette Givant
        January 10, 2019

        Agree, we are all being lied to and manipulated under the guise of delivering Brexit so diluted that we may as well not voted and gone through all this turmoil and anxiety. I for one will never forgive Parliament, yes each and every one, for this huge scam.

    8. Rien Huizer
      January 10, 2019


      A member of the Churchill family (not the Duke of Marlborough once took (and more importantly, held) a highly divided country into a struggle for which the country was hardly equipped given that he could convince an institutionally handicapped US (strong legislation banning assistance to any belligerents) that supporting the UK was a good (and rewarding) cause, he survived the struggle and acquired the political equivalent of sainthood, despite losing a general election as soon as his job was done.

      The Mrs May that you appear to despise (along with most of her colleagues), may well be on her way to sainthood too: protecting the UK from the twin disasters of EU isolation and Corbyn..

  8. Mark B
    January 10, 2019

    Good morning.
    The General Procurement Agreement favours the EU more than the UK. The UK tends to allow fairer competition with non-UK companies allowed to obtain UK service contracts on good terms. UK Companies however have not fared so well. Like the Common Transit Convention, the EU (RoI) will only agree things that are in its interests.

    So I am not surprised that the EU are happy to allow this.

  9. am
    January 10, 2019

    The British public have been spared for three weeks the sight and sound of our politicians. They are back now from their holidays and none the better for their break. Westminster, with Bercow’s ruling, has fully degenerated into the British equivalent of the Washington swamp.

  10. dittoagain
    January 10, 2019

    Now that you have listed all of the strengths of going to WTO rules after we leave 29 March- perhaps you could also give us an example of what could be described as a weakness in all of this?

    My own thoughts?
    Point No.9 doesn’t add up – if we leave without a WA then there will be no FTA with them- doesn’t matter what WTO rules say – worse than this there will be so much bad blood that barriers will go up – maybe not at EU or government level but in the ports, seaports and airports there will be chaos

    Point No.8 you talk about UK not making customs checks etc by WTO rules but we have absolutely no control over what checks EU are going to insist on.

    Point No.7 All of these side agreements the EU has with other smaller countries etc will not matter to us once we leave the bloc, they will not carry over, we will have to start afresh and negotiate with each country one by one. Nice try John – but no cigar

    1. mancunius
      January 11, 2019

      FTAs are drawn up freely by economies that see a benefit to trade. Similarly, they do not make artificial problems in order to stymie trade. That is illegal under international law.
      What you are in essence saying is that the EU Commission will try to cause maximum friction of trade. Why would continental Europeans put up with that?
      If they were so unwise, we have means of retaliation.

  11. Denis Cooper
    January 10, 2019

    Here is my letter on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, as published today in our local newspaper the Maidenhead Advertiser, which is also Theresa May’s local newspaper, under the rather unsatisfactory heading:

    “Medicine imports will be ‘no more at risk’ after we leave EU”

    “The World Trade Organisation, WTO, is founded on international treaties, one of the most recent being the Trade Facilitation Agreement which came into force on February 22 2017. The EU collectively, and each of its member states individually, are all parties to this treaty.

    Just as with the WTO as a whole the purpose of this agreement is to remove obstacles to trade, not as some imply to impose irrational rules that unnecessarily impede trade.

    Hence its Article 7.4 requires each member to ‘adopt or maintain a risk management system for customs control’, based on a wide range of factors including the country of origin of the imports, with the aim of concentrating its controls on high risk consignments.

    Why, therefore, should Theresa May – incidentally herself a diabetic – order UK customs officers to unnecessarily hold up consignments of insulin and other medicines from well-known companies on the continent, which will be no more risky after we have left the EU than they are now?

    And if she really believes that French customs officers may arbitrarily delay such consignments on their way to the UK, as well as arbitrarily delaying the clearance of our exports which will present no higher risk to the EU Single Market after March 29 than they did before, when they were almost all just nodded through, why is she not publicly protesting to the French government and pointing out their obligations under that treaty article?”

    The answer to that last question being that she knows perfectly well that it is all baseless scaremongering, as the chief of the Calais and Boulogne ports made very clear yesterday on the Today programme:

    and while it is one kind of insult – or ‘disrespect’, as he put it – to him and his colleagues and the French government to indirectly pretend to the British public that those wicked French will be going out of their way to obstruct our trade it would be quite another kind of insult to directly and falsely denounce them in public statements.

  12. Anonymous
    January 10, 2019

    OT (sorry)

    Margaret Howard insinuates that 17.4m Brexit voters should be tarnished with the same brush as one lone nut-job or a group of gobby blokes outside Parliament.

    So will we stop using the name Daesh then ?

    Around 17.4m Brexit voters have been the model of patience over the past 2 1/2 years.

  13. Anonymous
    January 10, 2019

    A general election as soon as possible please.

    All candidates to wear an EU badge if they are pro EU.

    High street shopping down. My shop owner friends are telling me that their online competitors are selling goods below cost. Amazon particularly bad.

  14. rick hamilton
    January 10, 2019

    Looking at the British affection for illogical fudges – half-baked metrication is a good example – I suspect that we will end up with some sort of horrible fudge at the eleventh hour which pleases nobody. T.May can then go down in history as the noble Remainer who, against her better judgement, did get the UK out of the EU without total collapse of the economy, as so gleefully predicted by the BBC and others.

    She can then bow out relatively gracefully and leave somebody else to sort out the ensuing struggle to achieve the FTA. A poisoned chalice for her successor, the fall guy.

  15. Newmania
    January 10, 2019

    As At this stage its a question of trampling over the women and children to get to a life boat , if Sir John wishes to stand around telling us how warm the water is .. fine a man should have a hobby.

    1. Anonymous
      January 10, 2019

      The *inflow* to Britain of pushy young blokes in little rubber boats is about to get much worse.

      Such an awful lot we are !

  16. StanleyW
    January 10, 2019

    All of the advantages and strengths are what would you say are the weaknesses, if any? In all of this

    My thoughts
    Point 9 there will be no FTA with them without an WA

    Point 8 whatever about checks at UK borders, we will have no say about chechs at EU borders

    Point 7 when we leave the existing trade agreements between EU and smaller countries will not carry over for us – we will have to start from fresh

    1. mancunius
      January 11, 2019

      An FTA with the EU is not essential. We can make up for it with other FTAs elsewhere, and by unilaterally allowing generally low import tariffs.
      Under the WA there will be no FTA that does not insist on dismembering the UK, preventing us from having trade deals elsewhere, and having it helpless to avoid punitive laws imposed from Strasbourg.
      Read up on novation – the EU cannot prevent us novating our deals.

  17. agrictola
    January 10, 2019

    You and Owen Paterson apart, the WTO departure route is absent from the current debate in Parliament. It has been reduced to cliff edge nonesense, largely because few in Parliament know anything about trade, but use language that is high on image and short on fact. The preference is for leemings swarming over a cliff.
    The paucity of information continues in the media to the point where it is probably banned as a topic at the BBC. The debate has been highjacked by those who are fearful of debate.
    Currently those in charge of the ship don’t give damn for the passengers. I have the feeling that democracy is reaching it’s effective limits because so many tools of it have been stolen.

  18. Mark J
    January 10, 2019

    John Bercow needs to be axed from his post as speaker. he has shown such utter contempt towards the Brexit debates through abuse of his Parliamentary power. How can he allow un-amendeable motions to be amended? As they suit his “impartial” beliefs.

    Luckily (for us) rumblings are that a petition will be launched on the Government Petitions website asking for Bercow to either step down or face the axe. Hopefully this will exceed the 100k signatories required for a Parlimentary debate.

    Bercow has consistently shown he is NOT fit for purpose, has become somewhat complacent after years in the role, is not impartial, continually sides with the opposition and holds the public (who pays his wages) with contempt.

    Why should we, the public, continue to be forced to subsidise this charlatan through our taxes?

    Also congratulations on your elevation to Sir Redwood of Wokingham! 🙂

  19. Bob
    January 10, 2019

    I see that Speaker Bercow has finally broken cover.
    Margaret Becket on R4 this morning says that the outcome of the vote proves that he was right to tear up the rule book.

  20. majorfrustration
    January 10, 2019

    Great message but we are still talking to ourselves – your message should be in the daily’s.

  21. Sakara Gold
    January 10, 2019

    Yesterdaythe Chief of the Port of Calais M Jean-Marc Puissesseau was interviewed on the Today program (Radio 4). He made a number of reassuring observations on trade with the UK after 29th March:-

    “Lorries will run smoothly across the Channel even in the event of a no deal Brexit”
    “The UK Government’s warnings over a crisis at the border are “shocking” and “disrespectful”
    “We have been preparing for a no-deal Brexit for over a year – there will be no additional delays”
    “For the 29th March, we will be ready. When the transport minister came to Calais, we told him we would be ready. We will not check trucks more than we are today with the migrants.”

    This comprehensively demolishes the project fear arguments about food shortages etc. One of the main reasons why I changed my mind about brexit was the demonstrably untrue lies put about by the Remainer side. Desparation!

    Here’s another one – this from Tuesday’s Guardian:-

    “£800 billion and 35,000 jobs ready to move to Frankfurt if there is a no-deal Brexit with another £450 billion shortly afterwards”

    The public is getting cheesed off with all these lies, they are not a stupid as the political class thinks. If there is a general election, who do you think will win? Theresa May? No chance!

  22. Alan Jutson
    January 10, 2019

    JR your outline is the same understanding as mine, although I do not attempt to be any sort of expert in these matters.

    The biggest failure of us leaving without any sort of agreement with the EU is to call it NO Deal, when the default position is WTO Terms.

    Those who have not a clue as to what is going on, and it appears many MP”S fall into this position, as well as huge numbers of the population, are thinking that NO deal means we will do absolutely no trade with the EU, which is completely false.

    For goodness sake can leavers start talking about a managed WTO deal as the default position, as it means we have some control, thus there is no crashing out, no cliff edge.

    All the Government has to do is publish the chosen tariffs which it proposes and everyone knows what the score will be, and can plan accordingly. Something which should have been done on day one, not after over 2 years of totally confused thinking.

  23. Anonymous
    January 10, 2019

    I’ve just received this from Parliament:

    “The Committee has decided not to schedule a debate on this petition because the UN Global Compact on Migration has already been agreed by the UK Government. ”

    Why does the Tory party always ALWAYS put other peoples before their own ?

    M6 blocked yesterday.

    Channel trickle soon to become a flood because the Tories will not do the obvious and turn the boats back.

    Brexit sabotaged by May – a majority deliberately thrown away.

    Andy and Newmania are the true face of the Tories.

    Stop voting for it.

  24. javelin
    January 10, 2019

    As far as I understand the situation. May is able to pull Art 50 then reapply it. This will give 2 more years of negotiation with a legal backstop. So what then is the difference between the WA and Art50-+?

    I think there key thing is there is no difference to the negotiations. Either route will leave the EU offering the same insipid and divisive options.

  25. A different Simon
    January 10, 2019

    There cannot be many MP’s in parliament who are authentically so delusional as to believe that the EU is interested in doing any deal which is not totally one sided .

    Any attempt to block the UK’s exit from the EU in the case of no deal being agreed is thus transparently merely an attempt to keep the UK in .

    The UK voted to take back control . It is unacceptable therefore for the EU to be able to decide whether the UK can leave or not by agreeing/failing to agree to a deal .

    Has this point (that a deal requires agreement of all parties) been made clear in parliament ?

    1. Antoinette Givant
      January 10, 2019

      It certainly seems to be a simple and obvious question, but when did those qualities apply to our parliament?

  26. BOF
    January 10, 2019

    I heard the Business Secretary saying this very morning that WTO rules were ‘rudimentary’ arrangements for trade. He forgot to say that under WA we will have no say on any changes that will be made and will be rule takers. Are there any members of Cabinet that are fit for purpose?

  27. Shieldsman
    January 10, 2019

    So called free trade deals between UK and EU under the Political Declaration are never going to be satisfactory, with a finite end. Warm words are no guarantee.
    Historically with the Commissions paranoia over competition and ‘level playing fields’ they will drag on endlessly.
    With WTO we are out and we know the terms under which we are trading.

    1. Antoinette Givant
      January 10, 2019

      Seems a straight forward decision doesn’t it? But we are obviously normal thinking people unlike our MPs.

  28. Alan Jutson
    January 10, 2019

    It would seem that the huge danger to a sensible Brexit, if it now happens at all, are the Parliamentary Mp’s, the Speaker, the Prime Minister and her present Cabinet.
    All seem dedicated to keep us tied into the EU in some way shape or form.

    Never in my life have I seen such a threat to our democracy as is happening now.
    We have a situation where we have the government against the people.

    Not a single political party which has a seat in the House of Commons appears to have a majority of its MP”S who wish to honour the referendum, with perhaps the exception of the DUP.
    So if we have a general election, which I think is perhaps closer than many think, due to May’s total and utter incompetence, the people have no where to go.
    Not a single party leader wants to leave the EU, so in effect at least 17.4 million people have no one to vote for.

    What a complete and utter mockery our Mp’s have made of our so called democracy, they couldn’t organise a p…s up in a Brewery, they would be arguing over what drinks should be made available (including non alcoholic, and perhaps even milk, and then it would be an argument over full cream, semi skimmed or fully skimmed)

    I absolutely despair, and am getting rather angry.

    Quite honestly if this is the standard of competence of our MP’s perhaps we should let The EU take over completely, and then turn Parliament into a warehouse where it can then distribute the orders it gets from Brussels, as there is no point in us having any MP’s, but perhaps this has been the plan all along, play the long game and it will all go away and never happen.

  29. Adam
    January 10, 2019

    Removing the EU bars from its restrictive cage enables our freer access to the whole world.

  30. Turboterrier.
    January 10, 2019

    You can have all the trade agreements you want, but one thing is constant:

    This amendment voted in by politicians shouts out from the roof tops that we will have all their red lines regarding workers rights etc.

    These people have learnt nothing. Over the years British producers do not have the best track record on quality and reliability. Fact of life get educated, get a good job and work hard and be flexible you will succeed.

    Perception on this latest vote instigated by the traitor Grieve is no more and no less than a charter for lazy b******s . If you want to work and cannot be flexible you ain’t going to find secure employment. It is all in the mind and perception of the employers and their customers.

  31. fedupsoutherner
    January 10, 2019

    I’ve just listened to Leadsome saying that May’s deal is good as it is a ‘compromise’!!!!!

    We did not vote for a half in half out scenario. We voted to LEAVE. What doesn’t she and May and others understand about this? Is it too difficult for them to comprehend? I find it horrifying that MP’s like Leadsome can stand there and tell the public that we are leaving the EU when in reality we are not. We will be stuck forever and a day. No chance of another referendum if the EU goes tits up. Why isn’t May looking at your list today John and using it as part of her plan B? Answer, because she wants to stay in just like most of parliament and so we will be shut up and will have no way of ever having a say in much again. This kind of behaviour in parliament wont’ stop with Brexit. It will be applied to so much more and in the end we will resemble a dictatorship. Welcome to hell.

    1. Mark B
      January 11, 2019

      A bit like Edward Heath telling the people that there will be no loss of significant Sovereignty. They lie and they lie.

  32. hans christian ivers
    January 10, 2019

    Sir JR

    I am afraid the facts do not really help and this is due to a number of other factual issues
    1) Why, do nations negotiate free trade agreements on top of their WTO commitments?
    2) Why, did Canada want such a deal with the EU?
    3) Why do such negotiations take years?
    4) Why, is not other developed country content on trading on WTO rules only?

    On top of this the UK has dozens of agreements with non-EU countries , through EU which cannot just be pasted into new bilateral agreements

    Trade is based on strong international agreements and alliances, which positions Britain particularly strong through the EU-frame work.

    THe WTO frame-work and judgement system is weak and has lately not been respected by China and the US and does not replace a full political frame-work.

    Reply The 70 EU agreements novate to the UK on leaving.
    FTAs add a bit to trade opportunity but are very difficult for the EU to agree as the 28 countries all have to agree and want different things. Trade under WTO rules is fine with an FTA adding a bit of extra growth.

    1. hans christian ivers
      January 10, 2019


      Thank you for your reply I am not sure it covers all the facts and questions raised

      1. Edward2
        January 10, 2019

        Meanwhile world trade gathers pace hans.
        And the EU continues its downward share ofthis rising volume of world trade.
        The dynamism and growth is outside the EU

        1. hans christian ivers
          January 11, 2019


          Growth out side the developed world has been higher for the past 20 years so tell us something new

          1. Edward2
            January 11, 2019

            Something new for you hans
            Outside of the EU the rest of the developed world also does well,
            USA Canada Australia N Zealand Singapore etc all having good growth with much lower unemployment than the EU

      2. BR
        January 10, 2019

        If you read around the subject yourself you will see that the EU agreements are by no means as comprehensive as you may have been led to believe.

        1. hans christian ivers
          January 10, 2019


          I actually did but thank you for reminding me

  33. a-tracy
    January 10, 2019

    This pantomime going on in our British parliament seems like the film the 300! The Ephors are our own MPs.

    1. Mitchel
      January 11, 2019

      “THIS IS SPARTA!!”

      (No,sadly,it’s not!)

  34. nhsgp
    January 10, 2019

    A WTO member state cannot increase or introduce, barriers or tariffs against another WTO member. The WTO jargon is being bound.

    If any EU country does that, we go to the WTO and we get the right to penalise them, and they can’t retaliate without leaving the WTO.

    1. Maria Smith
      January 10, 2019

      Rubbish. A WTO state can increase barriers and tariffs as much as it pleases. The only constraint is that it must apply that increase to all other WTO states, it cannot be selective

  35. rose
    January 10, 2019

    And a question for our sceptical Japanese friends: Would they ever go into political union with mainland Asia? Would they accept free movement of people from Asia, including everyone who had managed to get residency in Asia? Would they submit to being ruled and regulated out of their competitiveness by China? And all this with no practical, unilateral means of escape?

  36. Denis Cooper
    January 10, 2019

    Just a brief off-topic comment that while I have reservations about the procedural aspect on balance I welcome the substance of yesterday’s vote forcing Theresa May to reveal her Plan B within three sitting days of the expected rejection of her rubbish Plan A. She has had a long time to draw up such a contingency plan and in the unlikely event that she has been foolish and hasn’t even started she still has more than a week to pull it together. A previous Plan B was being explored in March 2017:

    And of course there was the outline plan I first proposed in November 2017:

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

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 10, 2019

      Yesterday the eurofederalist Kenneth Clarke helpfully provided this illuminating comment, which echoes the position taken by the Irish government in an attempt to protect the Irish economy and then adopted by Theresa May as a useful pretext to enable her to placate the CBI and other loud voices from among the 6% of UK business which export 12% of UK GDP to the rest of the EU.

      “… there can only be a permanently open border if there is a customs union and regulatory alignment. If they are to be permanent, that must be kept permanently … The answer is to have the same open border for the whole United Kingdom and for the United Kingdom to be in a single market and regulatory alignment, and that is not inconsistent with the referendum.”

      Note the permanence of that perceived requirement, even if one particular legal device to meet it – the so-called ‘backstop’ – is intended to be temporary.

    2. Sir Joe Soap
      January 10, 2019

      I agree this woman needs a sharp steel-capped toe on a buttock to get her moving to a sensible solution.

  37. MickN
    January 10, 2019

    Have I got this wrong or does the Grieve amendment mean that the PM can represent her bill every 3 days with a simple change of a word or two? It would be called “Plan B” and would be repeatedly voted down, but would comply with the amendment.

  38. acorn
    January 10, 2019

    All this cross-party cooperation between MPs is quite a refreshing change in our Punch & Judy Westminster playground! Mr Speaker seems to like it and is giving it some of the space and time that is normally the sole property of the Downing Street dictatorship. MPs making voting decisions on their own; would you believe it.

    Now we have a bunch of right-wing Tory Peers (Global Britain), consorting with Labour eurosceptics (Labour Leave), that appears to be sponsored by right-wing Tories. That will be an attempt to split the Labour vote in the HoC.

    Peter Lilley’s latest script for a fantasy Brexit sees him having to invent a new phrase “micro-agreements” in point 13 out of 30. Either he is trying to camouflage the truth from the leavers; or, he doesn’t understand the proper words that have established internationally meanings in global trade. I favour the latter.

  39. David Webb
    January 10, 2019

    The EU is fundamentally a political project. Parliament decided that the British people should decide whether they wished to remain in it. Arguments for and against were heard, and the decision was made. The economic risks were clearly stated (perhaps overstated, but that was fair game).

    Government and Parliament’s job was to implement it – a task which they are performing miserably, because of their dislike of the electorate’s decision.

    Government did not conduct a negotiation to leave – instead they conducted a negotiation not to leave, but to become a satellite state of the EU … effectively to become a paying, but non-voting, member with no unilateral option to leave. The UK will become, in the immortal words of Sandie Shaw, a Puppet on a String. Realistically the only escape from the Withdrawal Agreement would be to rejoin entirely on Brussels’ terms.

    1. Antoinette Givant
      January 10, 2019

      But why? Except for their own and individual benefits and political aspirations.

      1. hans christian ivers
        January 10, 2019


        I think that conclusion is a bit far fetched

  40. Gordon Blear
    January 10, 2019

    William Shakespeare, “King Richard II”, Act 2 scene 1

  41. Andy
    January 10, 2019

    You should publish 5000 copies of this.

    One for each of the Jaguar Lans Rover workers who are exchanging their jobs for Universal Credit – with your Brexit significantly to blame.

    Actually you should make more than 5000 copies as Ford workers and Axa people are losing their jobs too.

    Thanks Brexit. The economic gift which keeps giving.

    1. Richard1
      January 10, 2019

      Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created since the Brexit vote whereas we were assured by Remain that there would be a recession and 1/2m new unemployed. Those who like me felt sure a leave vote would cause major disruption as forecast, feel aggrieved we were so misled. The 48% would surely have been much lower if you exclude all those who voted reluctantly due to project fear.

      JLR has of course been hit by the global downturn in the car industry and in particular due to their 90% concentration on diesel – a policy foisted on UK and EU car buyers by the EU which has, it is estimated, led to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths. Thanks EU. Thanks.

      1. hans christian ivers
        January 10, 2019

        there was manipulation and too much false propaganda on both sides, so let us move on

        1. Edward2
          January 10, 2019

          No propaganda and no manipulation.hans
          Remain predicted 500,000 extra unemployment for immediately after the Brexit vote.
          And a recession
          It is all on record.
          Instead the opposite happened.
          The official figures are available for all to read.

          1. hans christian ivers
            January 11, 2019


            Keep going it does not change the fatcs about both camps

          2. Edward2
            January 11, 2019

            But it does
            One is giving facts about the predictions made by remain’s project fear and that the current govt dat shows they were completely wrong
            The other is making further project fear predictions.

        2. Richard1
          January 10, 2019

          Indeed so, but we have to remind Andy of this.

          1. Edward2
            January 10, 2019

            Indeed Richard
            They need telling.
            It seems to take a long time to sink in.

    2. Anonymous
      January 10, 2019

      And the impact of increased VED on diesel ? Stoppage of car loans ? A slump in Chinese and European sales ? A push towards electric with nothing but sticks for diesel ?

  42. margaret howard
    January 10, 2019


    “The contents of this article are academic to a degree as the UK’s still a member of the constitutionally destructive EU.”

    Can you explain how our EU membership of over 40 years destroyed our constitution?

    Reply See my “Death of Britain?” book which wets it all out

  43. Auberon Raw
    January 10, 2019

    The prospect of Parliament having sovereignty of any kind, war-making, intelligent decisions defaced by ideological impregnations into our English language, and especially of late, a demonstrable disregard in upholding Law and Order of its MPs in the Westminster Estate. No.

    The EU Parliament does at least maintain law ond order in regard to the conduct of its MEPs on its own ground.

    Better the EU strip the UK Parliament, as it will eventually do, of all law and order matters and certainly its war-making capacity. The Parliament cross-party will not do as it is instructed and will not obey its own rules of proper conduct. One may asso cite that of the conduct of its Speaker. A travesty of democracy no less!

  44. Rien Huizer
    January 10, 2019

    Mr Redwood,

    We must be close to the end of the brexit charade.You are running out of rational arguments. There is not going to be a “no deal” .Furthermore, your friends in the US have lost the ability to force ratification of a Trumpian sweatheart deal so it does no longer matter whether there is a transition period or not. And, as far as I can see, the true problem for you and other ERG members was to avoid a two year transition period during which the no deal with the US could be agreed (in practice) , let alone ratified. And without a US deal to replace the EU relationship there is simply no point in having the economic consequences of brexit. You cannot believe the nonsense about WTO trading. A year of no-deal and you will have Corbyn in 10 Downing street, rather than Raab or someone like him.

    So, I guess it must be time to pack up. Yet another great spectacle is coming to an end with an unspectacular result: a Labour modified May deal guaranteeing second tier status within Europe for a couple or years or more as a price for not going to the electorate for either a second (and properly organised) referendum, or an election of MPs.

    I am sure most EU governments will be relieved that art 50 will not be reversed (the UK with its completely unreliable machhiavellian politics that would put Italy to shame, is distinctly unwelcome by now) and even a NO Deal is probably preferable to the UK returning to the membership. As far as I can see, nowhere in the UK media this EU position which is clearly identifiable for anyone with connections in Brussels or one of the more influential capitals, is even reported, probably because it might inflame pretty ugly sentiments. Better to maintain the fiction that the EU wants the UK to be a vassal state.

    Reply What a nasty misrepresentation of the People’s vote and the position of our country. We will trade fine if we just leave and will prosper spending our own money and making our own decisions

    1. Rien Huizer
      January 11, 2019

      Reply to reply

      Mr Redwood,

      Nothing nasty about this. The referendum was poorly organized, especially the question. For mainly party political purposes and the result was unexpected to the chief organizer. The EU has been fed up with UK exceptionalism for a long time (viz Cameron’s meagre results compared yo Salvini’s recently). “WTO terms” are not supported by any serious research institute or multilateral. UK politics are a shambles and may continue to be so for a while, making the UK an unreliable negotiating partner. A Corbyn government would be bad for the UK and even more for the EU should the UK remain in. . Plenty of reasons for the EU to feel rather good about what the UK has done to itself.

      Did I mischaracterize “the People’s vote” I guess not: putting a binary choice in front of a poorly informed and possibly manipulated audience tends to result in a 50/50 distribution. The result is within two standard deviations from 50/50. A properly organized referendum regarding a constitutional change (the EU treaty has constitutional status in every member state) would have required a better defined alternative to the status quo and required a qualified majority in favour of change to the status quo.

      The US angle is my own understanding of what could have motivated you and several other respectable UK politicians to support such a radical change. We seem to agree that the UK is not an ideal member of the EU (the Common Market was probably OK) hence do not consider me a sort of retainer. However, my understanding of the US/UK relationship over the past 100 odd years is that the US is not more generous than the Continent and the UK does not have a lot to offer in return. So why would Congress accommodate an FTA that would exclude, for instance, agriculture? The root of this problem is the cake and eat syndrome. The EU does not afford it and neither will the US.

      I would be grateful if you would publish this. “Nasty” is a qualification I tend to avoid, contrary to many commenters here who hide behind pseudonyms. I use my own name and mainstream arguments, mixed with some familiarity with continental politics.

  45. Glenn Vaughan
    January 10, 2019


    I was anticipating a blog entry from you today on the role of the Speaker in the House of Commons. Can we expect such a blog from you soon?

  46. Denis Cooper
    January 10, 2019

    Off-topic, for anybody who has time to read it I would strongly recommend the speech made yesterday evening by the DUP MP Gavin Robinson, starting here:

    There is a stark contradiction between the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar saying in November 2017:

    “No hard border, no physical infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

    with his Europe Minister Helen McEntee going even further:

    “… there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”

    and Gavin Robinson saying here:

    “There is a border on the island of Ireland … We have physical infrastructure. It was a mistake to believe that the aspiration to have no hard border on the island of Ireland meant that there should be no infrastructure whatsoever, because there is infrastructure today. There is this fanciful notion of cameras being attacked or any infrastructure being subject to vandalism or worse, but it is there today. There are cameras right across the main roads and arterial routes that take people from Northern Ireland to the south.”


    “The third and final thing that we were foolish to accept was the notion that there had to be a solution to the border problem because in the event of no deal there would be a hard border. What did we see just before Christmas? The publication of the preparation plans from the European Union and the Dublin Government. What was strangely absent from those ​documents? Any provision for border infrastructure. It is a shibboleth. We have spent two years tearing ourselves apart trying to solve an issue that does not amount to a hill of beans.”

    Or as I have put it: Theresa May has deliberately allowed the Irish government to turn a molehill on the Irish border into an apparently insurmountable mountain, and she has done that to provide a pretext for doing what the CBI and similar loud voices of business wanted her to do as well, as what she herself really wanted to do.

    1. sm
      January 10, 2019


      “Ireland – the graveyard of English statesmanship….”

  47. Ronald Olden
    January 10, 2019

    All EU Member States are members of the WTO, each in its’ own right. The EU is also a member.

    The UK will not inherit the terms of any EU Free Trade Agreements with anyone in the world when we Leave, unless, as with the General Procurement Agreement, we agree with the WTO that any new bilateral agreements we enter into comply with its’ rules.

    But first, we have to negotiate them.

    Transferring ‘the current deals’ with non EU member states to both the remaining EU and to the UK, is NOT as John Redwood claims a ‘relatively straightforward process’ for the UK.

    The existing EU Free Trade Deals remain intact for the remaining 27 Members and its participating satellite (Single Market etc) states. The UK however has to conclude new deals with each and every party including the EU itself.

    Each one has different considerations. The countries concerned might not want a Free Trade Deal with the UK on the same terms as it has had them with the EU, nor we with them.

    The EU itself is also in difficulty with its existing deals because the countries concerned (e.g Australia), entered into them on the assumption that the UK would be delivered up as an EU Single Market Member.

    The EU Single Market which will exist after March 29th however not the same EU that these countries concluded deals with.

    So the EU (but not the UK) will be in breach of ALL its’ major Trade Agreements, and, unless the UK carries on honouring the EU’s Trade Deal commitments to Non Member states on EXACTLY the same terms as if we were Single Market Members, liable to be sued.

    The WTO does not impose any obligation on the part of the UK to impose ANY import checks or ANY tariffs on any imports. It does however require us to treat all exporters to us the same.

    We therefore, cannot have an open trading border with the Republic of Ireland, nor the EU with us, unless we have a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

    The EU however will no agree that one remaining Member State have an external border arrangements different from the rest, nor we agree that Northern Ireland can be treated differently to rest of the UK. Hence the Border issue.

    John Redwood says:-

    ”If the UK and the EU agree to negotiate a free trade agreement once the UK has left the EU on March 29 this year, we could agree to impose no tariffs on each other and would get WTO consent to not impose them pending the negotiation of a full free trade agreement”.

    That’s EXACTLY what Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is, an achieves.

    But the John Redwood insists on voting against it unless the EU changes its terms. The EU however, has said IT WILL NOT change the terms. Hence the impasse.

    John Redwood’s position is exactly the same as Corbyn’s. They both say they don’t agree the deal but, even were they in office themselves have no means of obtaining any other.

    Repky I set out two years ago how we might get a good deal. I now accept we will not get one because the UK mishandled the talks, so I am happy to leave with no deal. Mr Corbyn does not want to do that and thinks we could renegotiate.

  48. Nigel
    January 10, 2019

    Your point 9 is very relevant. This would give us an extra 2 years to negotiate a free trade deal without the need to hand out £39bn. It would end all talk of “crashing out”. This needs to be publicised!

    1. Maria Smith
      January 10, 2019

      His point 9 is 100 per cent wrong

  49. mancunius
    January 10, 2019

    I see John Baron, in his fund management commentary today intended for the Investors’ Chronicle, has confirmed JR’s view, writing:
    “Close to home, concerns about Brexit are largely responsible for the UK market looking attractive. We believe this presents an opportunity and are therefore gradually increasing exposure.
    “We should remember the UK profitably trades with the rest of the world on WTO terms. Meanwhile, investment is about relative advantage – witness the present strength of the UK economy despite the perceived uncertainty about a ‘No deal’ Brexit. And there are many upsides to leaving on WTO terms including a one-off bonus of around £38 billion no longer paid to the EU, an annual bounty of billions of pounds courtesy of 3-5% tariffs, and cheaper supermarket prices as EU tariffs would no longer need to apply to imported foodstuffs.”

  50. A.Sedgwick
    January 10, 2019

    Dominic Grieve said his group had rebutted Peter Lilley’s 30 in a counter paper. My internet searching is not wonderful but no sign under his name that I can find.

  51. Remington Norman
    January 10, 2019


    I and doubtless many others agree with you on WTO. However, your task is to persuade your fellow MPs who seem too thick, indolent, or obstructive to wish to understand.

  52. BR
    January 10, 2019

    A good informative article.

    I was expecting a piece on the (Speaker ed) and ways to turn his booster seat into an ejector seat. I guess that won’t happen while the remainers see him as their ‘useful idiot’.

    I’d be interested to hear JR’s thoughts as to how this will affect constitutional matters going forward though. Also, I believe yesterday’s vote is nothing more than mere nuisance value since the only requirement is to table a motion (no vote required)?

  53. Captain Peacock
    January 10, 2019

    Its never going to happen if fact we will be more in that now with zero say in anything just paying these crooks billions. The elite were never going to let this happen this is why May was allowed to be PM. This Tory government are a complete disaster they done nothing about immigration, nothing about the BBC , nothing about postal voting fraud. Appointed what has turned out to be the most useless Commissioner of the Met.
    What is the point in voting for them?

  54. Bitterend
    January 10, 2019

    4500 jobs gone ..Christmas spending on the high street is way down..this is just the start of it now..all part of Pol Pot scheme to get us back into the fields..

    Reply Part of the general economic slowdown across the EU and the result of new EU vehicle emissions regs

  55. John Miller
    January 10, 2019

    So Parliament is guilty of treason? Deliberately preventing this country even having a chance of leaving by putting patients at risk through lack of funding for the NHS? So murder as well.
    Fanatic is the only word that fits.

  56. Ian Pennell
    January 10, 2019

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    Any chance of a true WTO “No Deal” Brexit is fast receding. Dominic Grieve and his Amendment, Yvette Cooper and her Amandment to the Finance Bill- all passed by Remainer MPs in the House of Commons. Next will be the Trade Bill, with Amendments to stop Britain striking Trade Deals if we leave on WTO terms.

    Theresa May is weak. She is planning to capitulate to Labour’s demands, in the hope of getting Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour to support her Deal- and she remains set to lose the vote by more than 200 MPs.

    Remainer MPs now smell blood: They have already threatened contempt proceedings and having ministers’ pay docked if the Government allows any drift towards “No Deal” in the face of (what is certain to be) more Remainer Amendments inflicted upon the Government! They are not going to give up without a fight. The Speaker, John Bercow has demonstrated that he is a paid- up Remainer and will conduct business through the House of Commons in a manner that has maximum effect in thwarting Brexit.

    A managed WTO “No Deal” Brexit would be fantastic for Britain: But, lets be honest, Theresa May is not going to stand firm in the face of such implacable opposition to “no Deal” from Remainers. She will buckle, there will be no true Brexit on 29th March and I put money on there being an extension to Arcticle 50 and a 2nd Referendum. Remain could well win this summer’s second Referendum- and we will have No Brexit at all.

    As one who voted “Leave” on 23rd June 2016 I am bitterly disappointed about this. I am also sorely disappointed that ERG Conservative MPs are not seriously considering all avenues to depose Theresa May, force a new General Election and go to the country under a Brexiteer leader on a popular pro- growth, WTO “No Deal” Brexit platform. It’s now looking like the only way a proper Brexit will happen, but I shall not hold my breath!

    Ian Pennell

    Reply Mr Rees Mogg led a movement get rid of Mrs May and failed. She showed she has the support of a majority of Conservative MPs.

  57. Denis Cooper
    January 10, 2019

    Well done during the debate today, JR, because I had watched several MPs following Michael Gove by harping on about the problems our farmers might face in exporting produce to the EU over the EU’s tariff wall, and until you spoke nobody mentioned the basic fact that we run a massive trade deficit in food with the EU.

    It’s funny how sometimes this is remembered, for example:

    “Brexit: UK faces unprecedented food crisis if no trade deal secured with EU, says Sainsbury’s boss”

    “The country already has a “catastrophic” £22.5bn trade deficit in food, Professor Tim Lang of the Centre for Food Policy at City University told the Lords EU energy and environment sub-committee.

    A long-term decline in Britain’s self-sufficiency has left the food system in a “fragile” state, he said, adding that it was “extraordinary” that the prospect of Brexit had not sparked a debate about food security.”

    But at other times it is completely forgotten …. the MP who spoke before you was talking about farmers’ exports worth just over £3 billion, small beer compared to the £20 billion deficit you highlighted.

    There is obviously plenty of scope there for import substitution, even if it was not always a matter of exactly equivalent products replacing the EU imports.

    For example, if UK grown beef was to be priced out of the EU market through high tariffs then we could legitimately price Irish and other EU beef out of the UK market, making space for UK farmers to sell more of their beef into the UK market without the tariffs suffered by foreign producers.

  58. James Matthews
    January 10, 2019

    No reservations about the thrust of the article. The problematic part is whether “our” Parliament will ever allow us the opportunity to test it or will it sell us out? At present the auguries do not look encouraging.

  59. georgeP
    January 10, 2019

    You make a great argument sir, the only trouble is that you and your friends suffer from a serious disadvantage? – and what’s that you might ask? Well you’re all delusional, completely off track if you think that crashing out to WTO rules is going to be the answer to make us great again.

  60. Baz Lloyd
    January 11, 2019

    The best way by far around all this is for the UK to to declare unilaterally that we will not impose import taxes on goods coming from anywhere in the world, and that any checks on goods coming in will be solely for reasonable security purposes.

    This suggestion however, would not satisfy John Redwood and Corbyn because they are both Protectionists.

    John Redwood for example, has all sorts of socialist schemes in mind to ‘protect’ and ‘develop’ various British industries, most of which involve us imposing taxes or product ‘standards’ upon British consumers and businesses so as to direct us away from buying imported things we would otherwise choose to buy.

    Like the Remainers, John Redwood thinks free international trade is something Governments allow by agreement when it suits them.

    The UK however has a Trade surplus with non EU countries and some of them won’t want trade agreements with us to suit John Redwood’s pet projects.

    The fact that the EU has a huge Trade Deficit with us isn’t decisive either. The EU is a supranational organisation and doesn’t give toss a what’s beneficial to its’ members in the short run.

    John Redwood has three choices. Accept the Deal, Leave with No Deal and declare Unilateral free Trade, or Remain in.

    All this talk about getting these Trade Deals he wants to suit his own Protectionist Nationalistic preferences, are Pie in the Sky.

    Although what he’s doing would ruin the US and the world in the long run, Trump might (just about) be able to get away with it for now because the US has a big and varied domestic home market.

    But the UK is and always has been a trading base and our economy will suffer very severe hardship relatively quickly without Free Trade.

    Reply Nonsense. I propose cutting the EU tariff levels we have to have now when we leave

  61. Seb Zeitzmann
    January 11, 2019

    There is one question I have had in quite a while and given there seems to be a bit of WTO expertise around here:
    If trading on WTO terms is so beneficial (as many in favour of Brexit say) and saves so much money (as has been said here as to the meaning of trading unter WTO rules):
    How come the UK is so desperately looking for trading partners globally to sign deals with derogating from WTO rules? Could someone explain? JR himself maybe?

    1. Edward2
      January 11, 2019

      WTO is an organisation which protests the expansion of world trade
      They have a system of rules for members to follow as a basis on which to trade and a disputes procedure where arguments break out.
      If two nations decide to make bi lateral trade agreements which are in line with WTO schedules then this is allowed and makes trade even more free.

      1. Seb Zeitzmann
        January 12, 2019

        Thank you, but that does not answer my question, Edward2.
        I understand that WTO trade itself can be beneficial but why then is it such a huge win post Brexit to be able to striking free trade deals, making trade even more free – when such an even more free trade with the EU (arguably a pretty huge trading partner) is not too important?
        Also, when Brexiteers talk about wanting to win sovereignty back – how is this in line with subordinating to rules such as WTO ones? Is this not also a loss of sovereignty? Why then if WTO benefits are smaller than those under bilateral free trade rules?

  62. John Barleycorn
    January 12, 2019

    Sir John,
    Thanks for putting some thought into how a WTO deal might work. I believe it might do if there were a 2-3 year transition period but without one there are major costs and risks. As an example, I work in the chemical industry which faces significant costs with the UK Government’s proposed UK REACH that will come in within 2 years if the UK can’t agree with the EU/ECHA.
    I am still perplexed by this concept of ‘novate’. I’ve not been able to find any sensible references to it on independent and trustworthy web sites, so please could you point me towards some which describe it? I would not include Peter Linley in this category.

    REPLY. WTO site

  63. Baz Lloyd
    January 16, 2019

    No wonder Remainers were celebrating in Parliament Square and other public places up and down the country last night.

    Following the vote in the House of Commons it seems to me that the UK will NOT leave the EU on March 29th 2019.

    By early next week Bercow will likely have started calling the shots, which, given the Remainer/Ultra Soft Brexiter majority in the House of Commons, he is perfectly capable of doing.

    The Spread Betting Market is now showing only a 22% chance of us leaving on March 29th and even showing a 1 in 4 chance we will still be full members in 2022.

    If and when we do now Leave it will be in accordance with a cross party agreement entered into with Remainers, which will include permanent membership of the Customs Union and likely most of the elements of Freedom of Movement.

    Whatever ‘Deal’ we now get, will, from a Leave voters’ point of view be worse than the ‘May Deal’ and worse than Cameron’s ‘renegotiated’ terms.

    Well done John Redwood and Co. What a complete waste of time all this effort has been. I might as well have voted Remain, and if there’s another Referendum I will seriously consider doing so.

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