The UK should lead freer trade worldwide

I have made two consistent requests of the UK government whilst I have watched the negotiators reach an Agreement Parliament could not possibly accept. I have asked that the UK tables a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU and says we should negotiate it once we have left, allowing both sides to avoid any new barriers or tariffs whilst we negotiate it. I have also asked that the UK tables its own schedule of tariffs for April 2019 assuming the EU refuses all co-operation. These tariffs should be lower than those imposed by the EU on the rest of the world, thereby cutting our tariffs on the bulk of our trade whilst imposing them on EU trade for the first time as we have to under WTO rules.

There are two advantages of tabling a draft Free Trade Agreement. The first is the EU has indicated that would be easier to agree with the UK than a half in half out arrangement of the kind the present UK negotiators seem to want. The EU has free trade agreements with various smaller countries already and has just managed one with Japan. Our draft should be based on the best of the EU/ Canada and Japan agreements, so we can say to them we are only asking for what they have already granted to others. They and we might then want to add some more to that.  The second is we could then under Article 24 of Gatt/WTO  agree to no new barriers  pending agreement. This would be especially advantageous to the rest of the EU given their huge surplus with us in food and cars, where tariffs would otherwise be imposed.

The ERG is working with experts to produce a full legal text draft. I look forward to its early publication, as then the government could just table that one if they still have not drafted one of their own.  The government could itself produce a scissors and paste version of the EU/Canada or EU/Japan treaties to get the conversation started. I hear there will be a launch of a comprehensive FTA text on Wednesday.

I have also repeatedly asked for publication of our own tariff schedule.I think EU tariffs are in some cases too high. I would want us to remove all tariffs from imported components so we can say to industrialists based here it will be cheaper to make things once we have left. I would like us to remove tariffs on food we cannot grow for ourselves. I would suggest lowering other food tariffs a bit. It is an important judgement to balance consumer interests in no tariffs with farmers interest in some tariff protection, which would for the first time extend to protection against EU as well as non EU produce.

The publication is essential for two reasons. The first is we may well leave with no Withdrawal and future partnership agreement in March, so farmers and traders need to know what the tariff regime will look like when they decide what to grow and what to buy from world markets.  It would also be a timely reminder to the big food exporting industries of the rest of the EU that they will face tariiff barriers in default of a Free Trade Agreement, which might make them keener on a Free Trade Agreement.

The government should also tell us how it will spend all the extra tariff revenue it could collect. A mixture of spending increases and tax cuts would provide a welcome boost to the economy, jobs and wages.


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  1. Nigl
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Is the government working on a tariff schedule. You keep asking, they apparently keep ignoring. Why?

    Reply Yes I think it is. I guess there have been disagreements delaying publication.I have never been told they are not planning one when urging them in public to publish it.

    • eeyore
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I’ve read that a schedule has been lodged with WTO but not published. Anyone know?

      • acorn
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        UK submitted draft schedule to the WTO outlining post-Brexit goods commitments on 24 July 2018. That was another “backstop” move. It is implied that a “no-deal” version will be ready for exit day.

        Reply That was a mirror of the EU schedule, not the lower and better UK schedule I am asking for.

        • acorn
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          BTW. If you fancy having a go at constructing your own goods tariff schedule, the following is a good data source.

          I still think leaving the EU trading bloc at this point in the Trump destabilized global economic cycle, is a bad idea. A “no-deal” Brexit will import price inflation for the voters, for a few years. The voters will blame our neoliberal austeritising Conservative government for that at the next election.

          Sadly, the UK now has a working age population, that on a temporal average, has suffered the poorest educational system in Europe. It is understandable that they should be easily conned into voting for Brexit by a bunch of Snake Oil salesmen.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            You remainers are so negative.

          • libertarian
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink


            Yeh us multimillionaire business people are all really thick

            Meanwhile you genius level people are really nailing it

            ps have you found what part of France South Korea is in yet?

        • Mark B
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply

          That was a mirror of the EU schedule . . .

          As I keep saying, we are not Leaving.

      • mancunius
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        It seems the UK submitted a tariff schedule to the WTO on 24 July 2018.
        It is being kept confidential at the UK’s request. Which suggests the WTO is a more competent and professional organisation than the EU or the Cabinet – each of which would have leaked the data within three days.

    • Alison Houston
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I think the plan is to keep us in a C.U, May will switch to this after the 14th Feb. having pretended to have tried reopening the negotiations on the backstop but to have failed. Liam Fox announced in Dec. 2016 that we would be in a C.U, “like Turkey”. He was made to shut up, at the time because the charade had another two years to run. But this insulting vassal status, without any of Fox’s free trade agreements is what was cooked up in the first few weeks of May’s Premiership and this is what we will be made to suffer in perpetuity, in the end.

      Of course added to this will be full Eu military Union. This requires a loss of sovereignty and an over throwing of the Bill of Rights of 1689, which is why Civil Contingency Measures will be imposed ‘post Brexit’, as the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus though both part of our Constitution and not amendable Acts of parliament are included as Acts that can be overturned by these Blair era ‘emergency powers’.

      We are heading for a very deep and special partnership within the European Empire, unrepresented, but still paying taxation for the upkeep of a standing army, controlled by Brussels, in perpetuity.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        The CU is what the CBI wants. It protects their business interests from competition and provides a means to keep money flowing to the EU via duties.

      • Chris
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Yes, agree AH. I see in the papers this morning that May is in danger of not pushing the EU to reopen the WA but merely to tack on the Backstop in a Codicil. It appears that Steve Baker, Andrea Jenkyns and others are now speaking out saying that although they supported May in the WA vote it was to send a message to Brussels to reopen the WA. They are now saying that there are many other issues wrong with the WA. Of course there are, and they should never have sacrificed principle in order to gain a very short term “victory”.

        I believe that the Brexiters who decided to support the WA have shot themselves in the foot. It is on record that they now support the WA with a change to the backstop situation, and many Brexiter followers of Rees-Mogg et al have decided to support this new approach as they thought they could trust R-M. See ConsHome survey report on support from Cons Associations members.

        Thus, May now goes to Brussels and gets a codicil, and NOTHING else is changed, and hey presto. Deal done. There will be enough Remainers and Labour voters to support her to get it through and again it shows that the ERG have misjudged the situation. They lack experience in real political battles as they hadn’t had to think for themselves and fight for a cause for such a long time. They do not know how to “strain every sinew” as virtually everything was taken care of by those eurocrats.

        Additionally, it has been suggested by one pundit that the numbers of MPs who vote for May’s WA was not a true representation and that the figure will be much higher next time. For tactical reasons significant number of MPs were apparently holding fire. The ERG et al may have an unpleasant surprise. A real tragedy, and all due to the lack of courage, boldness, conviction, straightforward talking, and common sense. Theresa May was never going to deliver Brexit and yet they pandered to her, often in gentlemanly speeches, which went nowhere. What was needed was guts and action.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Well, I have little time for Liam Fox, but if I google just for [“liam fox” “customs union”] then all the references that immediately come up are about his opposition to a continuing customs union, apart from one that drags up something he wrote in 2012. If I delve further and google for [“liam fox” “customs union” turkey december] then I find this rather mischievous article on the Daily Telegraph website:

        “Britain could be like Turkey and remain part of the customs union after leaving the EU, says Liam Fox in first TV interview since promotion”

        That was published on the website during the afternoon of December 18th 2016, and it included an edited video of what Liam Fox had said on the Andrew Marr show that morning. The full transcript is still available, it is here for anybody to read if they care to do so:

        And it does not support your assertion that:

        “Liam Fox announced in Dec. 2016 that we would be in a C.U, “like Turkey”.”

        Liam Fox saying:

        “It’s not binary, I hear people talking about ‘hard’ Brexit and ‘soft’ Brexit as though it’s a boiled egg we’re talking about. It’s a little more complex. So Turkey, for example, is in part of the customs union but not other parts. What we need to do – before we make final decisions is look at the costs.”

        did not amount to Liam Fox supporting our continued participation in any kind of customs union with the EU, one like Turkey or one like Monaco or any other.

        As Andrew Marr had just said in that interview:

        “… if we stay inside the customs union we can’t do international trade deals
        of the kind that your department was set up to create, and therefore, in a sense, there’s no point in Liam Fox.”

        and to be ignorant of that fact Liam Fox would have to be pretty stupid, in fact even more stupid than Jeremy Corbyn with his delusion that the EU would allow the UK to have a say in the/a customs union, despite:

        “… it being the exclusive prerogative of the EU member states to set their, that is to say the EU’s, common commercial policy … ”

        Either stupid, or brazenly deceitful.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        The Express online today has Liam Fox saying he “couldn’t stomach” a customs union and that this would not fulfil the promises made and voted for in the referendum.

      • Richard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        I agree with your view. I think even if we are lucky enough to get a WTO Brexit that Mrs May & The Cabinet office will continue to fight a rearguard action against a UK independent UK Trade policy with RoW FTAs:

        Plenty of evidence they undermined a UK independent UK Trade policy:
        1) The WA intended to permanently trap the UK as a Colony of Brussels.
        2) Ignored legal opinions that the UK was entitled to negotiate (both EU & RoW) FTAs before Brexit, so long as they are only intended to come into force after the date of exit.
        3) Owen Patterson said Trump offered a free trade deal “on a plate” to Mrs May, but she turned him down.
        4) Mrs May’s continuous Doormat Strategy in her “negotiations”.
        5) Agreeing to Sequencing, the Backstop Ruse, no future relationship discussion contrary to Art 50, undermining No Deal preparations etc
        6) Charles Moore thinks similarly and cites other evidence:

        No10-Brussels-Berlin will rapidly ensure that EU-UK trade will continue much as now under even a WTO Brexit (via Article 24). Good.
        But the anti-WTO propaganda is all about preserving EU big business’ control over the lucrative UK market and preventing UK-RoW FTAs that would lower UK prices.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Preserving EU big business’ control is Hammond’s motive.

    • Hope
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Great article in conhome by John Strafford. A must read if you want to understand why the Conservative party is becoming extinct and nothing like a Conservative party but rather a left wing liberal Westminster elite out of touch with conservative grass roots and the country.

      JR, you will see from this article why your plan has no purpose and is very unlikely to succeed. Your leader, past and present, fails to listen to its members, think it is unaccountable to her as the leadership got rid of all means of influence from its members to the party leadership. All your leaders want from them is money and foot soldiers to deliver leaflets without any say whatsoever.

      I have to say Mr Strafford has hit the nail bang on the head.

      Good to read Letwin recorded in planning to delay Brexit and tells his association he did not beleive in the manifesto. A more decent person would not have stood for election because it could be viewed he was deceiving his electors.

      • jerry
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        @Hope; The Conservative Party of the 1950s was far more to the left than currently, the conservative Party of the 1980s was in many ways was far more to the left than the party is today, the Conservative Party was in Govt between 1951 and 1964, only loosing power due to sleaze, it was also in power from 1979 to 1997, and again only lost power due to sleaze.

        It’s people like you Hope, the hard right, who is making the party unelectable, not those who look for the consensus.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, in what way was it further left than it is now, what reforms or positions did it take for you to say that?

          The UK car market did well in the 80’s from company cars, high taxation now makes this not as viable.
          There wasn’t tax on insurance or private medical.
          There wasn’t child tax credits or working tax credits.
          They didn’t give a years maternity holiday pay and SMP past 18 weeks.
          I think the Conservative party is quite high tax centrist now,
          They passed changes considered left liberal changes,

          • jerry
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; Taxation is not the only measure, nor even the best, after all no one pays any tax under a communist regime…

            There is a whole gamut of policies that need to be considered when placing how left, right or centrist a govt is. You appear to be suggesting that Blair’s govt must have been a log want left of centre, yet many place his govt. right of centre and on comparison with the 1960s and ’70s well right of centre.

          • a-tracy
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

            I’m not suggesting anything Jerry, I’m just asking you in what way was the 1950’s conservative party further left than it is now?

          • jerry
            Posted February 5, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            @a-tracy; ” in what way was the 1950’s conservative party further left than it is now?”

            Social housing, the NHS and welfare state, transport polices, access to adult higher education [1], even workers rights, and the acceptance that some industries were better in state control than private (but others defiantly not, such as road transport). Of the current tax credit type of payments you cite, often these existed years ago, but under a more general social services umbrella. Also do not forget that maternity pay was less of an issue back then as it was far less necessary for both spouses to work plus, when it was, there were far greater provision of subsidised (workplace) daycare/nursery – or provided via the LAs away from the workplace.

            [1] talking of education, in the 1950s the Tory party accepted that many children were not academic, thus the craft subjects were fully funded and timetabled, when was the last time you saw bricklaying on the secondary school curriculum?

        • Hope
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, good to read you are back to drivel.

          I am not hard right anything. Trying to smear people does not make your view true. I guess anything in your view which is right from Corbyn is hard right!

          • jerry
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            @Hope; You’re the one talking drivel, trying to deign historic facts!

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink


        Appears to be lots of talk about a possible June general election in the media.

        That means May will still be in control and leading it, if she is not persuaded to quit soon

        What on earth is she going to go to the Country with !!!!!

        Trust me to fight for Britain.
        I really did put forward a good deal.
        No deal is better than a bad deal, but I am not sure what a bad deal is.
        I made a mess of the last election, but this will be better.
        I’ve made a mess since the last election, but next time it will be better.
        I am a tough negotiator, so cannot understand why the World is laughing at us.
        How many noughts are there in £39 Billion ?
        I have listened and learnt lessons since the last promises I made, but my thoughts have not changed.
        I lied to my own Party when I said I would not fight another election, and the fools believed me, and did not vote me out.
        I am convinced UKIP voters will still stick with me rather than Corbyn or Cable.

        Brilliant manifesto !!!!

        Oh and my Social Care plan is back as a real proposal, because I think it was misunderstood last time.

        • Chris
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          May will be the one crashing out, and the Cons Party with it, if she were still at the helm.

        • bigneil
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          Are you saying TM is not to be trusted? DC promised to cut immigration and increased it ( resulting in many MANY crimes on innocent people and a massive cost to the taxpayer). DC also said he would trigger Art 50 if it was a Leave vote – he walked. Is ANY party leader to be trusted as an honest person? They ought to try living in the REAL world – -the one that THEY created, the one that is getting more dangerous due to importation of the 3rd world.

        • Hope
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          I fail to see why the eighteen Tory MPs who voted last week in a series ofmremain motions plus she the ministers did not join the lib dem,,at least they honestly campaigned to remain in the EU. These Pseudo Tory people had no belief in their manifesto, election promises or referendum- May, Rudd, Letwin, Boles, Soubry, Clarke, Hammond, Morgan, Wollaston, Vazy etc. Who is going to vote for them?

          Reading John Straffords article I am not sure why,anyone,would donate money or deliver leaflets for this tribe of shysters. Getting people to deliver leaflets they presumably do not beleive in! You could not make it up.

          • Chris
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Hope, they are actually very worried about who will deliver those leaflets….I think they are sunk, and deservedly so.

        • Turboterrier.
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          @ Alan Jutson

          Spot on Alan. Read your comments and yes I reached for the sick bucket. The way the higher echelon of the party has operated is enough to make any body throw up. If they will not llisten to some of the best brains on the back benches they (she) is hell not going to listen to the likes of us. Your other replies do rather vindicate you.

      • Richard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, full details of the anti-democratic takeover of The Conservative Party 1998+

        Are there any viable routes out of the current mess? eg Strafford suggests: “Now, before it is too late, is the time to reform the Conservative Party. We must close the gap between the party hierarchy and the members. That can only happen with member involvement. We can start by having an Annual General Meeting to which all Party members are invited…”

      • rose
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        I am sorry to say, Sir Oliver is one of those benighted people who thinks the British people would accept out of control and often incompatible continuing mass immigration if only it were explained to them properly. He represents a part of Dorset!

    • Merlin
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      7000 workers are losing their jobs at Nissan in Sunderland, the very same day Sir John Redwood wrote an article entitled ‘Another round of Project Fear.’

      Oh, and the direct reason given by Nissan was Brexit, before I hear arguments that its was something else. This is starting to bite. Please stop this madness now. You still can.

      Reply NO, the job losses are nothing to do with Brexit as we have not yet left the EU. They are to do with the collapse of car sales from the squeeze and attack on diesels I highlighted, predicting just this outcome.

      • Merlin
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        I’ll amend that slightly – because I like to check my facts. They haven’t lost their jobs – but production of the model they were scheduled to make is being moved to Japan directly as a result of Brexit uncertainty. This has consequences.

        Reply Ending of EU tariffs on Japanese cars under new EU/Japan trade deal probably a factor

        • Original Richard
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          According to the BBC today, there will be no job losses at Nissan, Sunderland and the proposed new model will be built in Japan and NOT in the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          With typical remainer hysteria Merlin, you claimed 7000 out of 16000 jobs at Nissan Sunderland would lose their job.
          In the same story you read the Nissan spokesperson went on to say “we have full confidence in its Sunderand plant and workforce and we are investing heavily in the new Juke model and the next generation Qashquai”

          Additionally you might ask yourself Merli, why they decided on Japan.
          If it were primarily a Brexit issue might you think inside the EU would have been the decision?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            This morning the BBC is still desperate to a) greatly exaggerate the significance of this decision and b) blame Brexit.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

            I have also noticed the biased spin put on this business decision but not just by the BBC but other broadcasters.

            The X Trail has never been made outside Japan.
            With the EU now openly hostile towards diesel engined vehicles it was predictable that Nissan would carry on producing X Trails inside Japan

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink


        The problem is with May.

        Business does not have a clue what we or they are in for after more than 2 years of waiting, and she wants to extend this fiasco for another 2 years with ever more so called negotiation.

        Our Backstop position of WTO terms could have been set, complete with proposed tariffs, at the outset, at least that would have provided businesses with a clue..

      • Captain Peacock
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:21 am | Permalink

        Check out how many UK jobs were lost because the EU paid grants to move jobs out of the UK.
        Cadbury, Ford Transit , Jaguar Land Rover , Peugeot to name but a small few all given grants to move production out of UK.

  2. Mark B
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EU Commission does not care. All is cares about is the integrity of the ‘Project’. It is happy to let the rEU27 suffer as policy is not decided in their respective parliaments, it is decided in Brussels and, not matter who you vote for things are not going to change. That is why I voted to Leave, I want our MP’s, government and parliament to decide.

    The government, or more precisely the PM, is fixated on her ‘deal’, a misnomer if ever there was one. Parliament and the MSM are equally fixated with the so called ‘backstop’, when in truth it is the whole thing that must be thrown out.

    I am grateful that our kind host and many of his colleagues are working on an alternative proposal around a FTA. The sad thing is, it seems they are doing the job that government itself should be doing, if it hasn’t done so already. What our kind host and others are doing is working on a POSITIVE solution all the while those who wish us to Remain in the EU continue with their trademark NEGATIVITY. Had these poor souls been incharge at the dawn of mankind we would never have descended from the trees.

    • Andy
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      What can our MPs and Parliament currently not decide which they will be able to decide after Brexit?

      • mancunius
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        62% of our laws.

        “If you count all EU regulations, EU-related Acts of Parliament, and EU-related Statutory Instruments, about 62% of laws introduced between 1993 and 2014 that apply in the UK implemented EU obligations.”

        BBC Reality Check 8 June 2016.

        • Andy
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Again – seeing that you can not answer – what will our MPs be able to decide after Brexit that they can not decide now?

          What you talk about 62% of laws you do realise you are talking mostly about production regulations. Things like making sure TVs are safe, that fridge freezers are efficient and that something described as a toaster is actually a toaster.

          What I am taking about is the important stuff like the NHS, education, housing and transport. What will our MPs be able to decide after Brexit that they can not decide now? Except, of course, to allow a kettle to be described as a toaster.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            You have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Al
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        A few examples:
        The level of VAT on fuel, as we no longer need to be in compliance with the EU VAT code.
        The allocation of fishing grounds and tarrifs.
        The management of digital rights by the owner.
        The existence of, access to, and contribution of Creative Commons (threatened by Article 11 & 13).
        Which countries businesses trade with – the EU tries to make selling to members compulsory, despite the extra costs.

        There are many others. As a businessman, I would expect you to have encountered more than a few.

        • Steve
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink


          “There are many others. As a businessman, I would expect you to have encountered more than a few.”

          Oh he’s a businessman is he ? That’s rather amusing. 🙂

    • Steve
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      “The government, or more precisely the PM, is fixated on her ‘deal’ ”

      I’m not entirely convinced it is ‘her’ deal. The Merkel – Macron – Barnier – Tusk criminal syndicate might well have had more to do with it than we’re being led to believe.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        I agree, but she is the one still plugging it when, after the mother of all defeats, she sees as going back to the EU as an opportunity even though they have already said they are not going to renegotiate.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        If TM gets a load of Valentine’s cards in a few days time, all from abroad, we’ll have our answer.

  3. oldtimer
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    These are sensible ideas that the government should have adopted from the outset. Unfortunately we do not have a sensible government. So far as Mrs May is concerned they are Not Invented Here. She is obsessed with her customs union notions. These have left her tied up in knots of her own making and, worse still, would leave the UK at the mercy of EU regulatory control. With luck, by accident or design, the UK will escape the death by a thousand regulations that May and her minions appear to wish upon this country by the EU refusing to play her games anymore.

    • Peter
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      The EU response now seems our best chance of escape. The Brady amendment unfortunately gave May another lifeline. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Brexiteer MPs continue to place trust in her.

    • Andy
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Which regulations do you not like? Ones which keep the products you buy safe? Or the ones which protect consumers? Or the ones which give workers rights – like paid holiday and not having to do something dangerous? Or the ones which protect the planet?

      We know you don’t like these things but being anti-something is not very helpful. We want to know precisely what you would scrap to do it better.

      • Cliff. Wokingham
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        The things you mentioned are important however, it is more the way the regulations are implemented that many of us see as a problem. For example, a sledgehammer would crack a walnut but a simple nutcracker is a far better tool for the job. Many of the EU’s regulations are too akin to the former.

        It is far better for the UK to make its own rules which suit our country and people better in my opinion however, I am only a right wing traditional Conservative pensioner so my opinion doesn’t really count in your little world

        • Andy
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          I am very happy to hear your opinion. You give no examples though. I wonder why this is?

          To be sure, some EU law is absurd. But then so is some British law. In Brexit you are the ones using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

          • Steve
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm | Permalink


            “you are the ones using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

            Did it hurt ?

      • Steve
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        “being anti-something is not very helpful.”

        You should know.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        “The Single Market’s regulations do not come cheap. Günter Verheugen, EU commissioner for enterprise and industry, recently announced that EU regulations were costing the European economy some €600 bn a year (this was almost twice as high as previous estimates). €600 bn is some 5.5 pc of total EU GDP, equivalent to the size of the Dutch economy.”

        “Comparing the Single Market’s costs with its benefits makes for painful reading. In 2003 the Commission published its assessment that EU GDP in 2002 was around €165 bn higher than it would have been without the Single Market. Even after allowing for the extra GDP growth since 2002, this means that the benefits are less than a third of the costs.”

      • Jagman84
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Nothing will be ‘scrapped’ as we exit. That was the point of the oddly-named, Great Repeal bill. The repeal of the 1972 European Communities Act, on March 29th, requires all current EU law to be adopted as ongoing UK law for continuity. Once out of the EU, the whole of Parliament can debate on what legislation needs to be retained, improved on, or discarded. Just like we used to do before it became a rubber-stamping chamber for EU directives.

      • GilesB
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Jam. I don’t like the regulations on jam.

        Jam has been made and traded for centuries. It does not need 50,000 words of regulations.

        Italians prefer sweeter jam, Swedes prefer more fruit. Which is absolutely fine. Let them produce and buy and sell what they like.

        Diversity is better for trade. The Chinese don’t like bland Eurojam. They used to relish the varieties from different localities.

        Diversity is better for the environment. Different recipes developed in response to the different varieties of fruit in different localities.

        Subsidiarity is better for human dignity. People can aspire to be the best jam-maker for their local variety. No-one is excited by Eurojam.

        • Andy
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          So what is jam then?

          Here, in the UK and in some other EU countries, jam is usually packed full of fruit.

          In other European countries jam has very little fruit and is nearly all sugar.

          I like the former but not the latter. As a consumer how do I know which is which when it is all called jam?

          What if an American peanut butter company decided to call its new peanut butter ‘jam’ – and I bought that, thinking it was actually jam?

          Oh – and I have a peanut allergy.

          Examples of why regulation is needed. Even for jam.

          • mancunius
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            “What if an American peanut butter company decided to call its new peanut butter ‘jam’ – and I bought that, thinking it was actually jam? Oh – and I have a peanut allergy.”

            That would be what they call ‘a result’.

          • GilesB
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            You read the label.

            The UK can have regulations which are different from Italy, or Turkey, or wherever

            If the UK regulations say jam should contain fruit not peanuts, then the US supplier needs to comply or fall out with the Trading Standards Officer. Nothing to do with imports anyway.

        • Steve
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


          Make your own jam, the EU can’t regulate that.

          It’s easier than you might think.

          • GilesB
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

            I do.

            But I shouldn’t put surplus jars on my garden wall with an honesty box

      • Adam
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        The regulations we like are those our elected representatives enact into law in our national interest, not an amalgam of what 27 others mix up to serve like kippers & custard for all.

        • Andy
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          And yet – collectively – the only EU regulation you lot have come up with that you don’t like is about jam. If it’s that much of a problem you should have loads of examples. But jam seems to be the only one.

          • Mark
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:17 am | Permalink

            I am sure we could clog up the blog with great lists of regulations we would change. Let me start with most of the Energy Directives (requiring high cost unreliable energy), the Water Directives (designed for the Rhine, not the UK), the rules about biofuels (that are actually environmentally damaging), GDPR (it’s censorship effectively), rules requiring benefits be paid at local rates for children living in low cost countries (Austria is in dispute over this now), absurd pollution targets (I side with the German lung doctors for instance) that will cost a fortune for very little benefit, REACH which has left us with many effective products banned for no good reason, the rules that leave us liable as a member to pay for any bailouts without limit if other states do not stump up their share, the CAP, and fisheries policy.

            Perhaps I should ask you to point to a regulation you think I would approve.

      • oldtimer
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        You are clueless about what I like or do not like.

        The regulations I do not like are those that are designed to protect the interests of big business and their well funded lobbyists. These are designed to strangle smaller firms, inhibit innovation and reduce competition. I also do not like regulations that are needlessly bureaucratic. Such regulations do not consist only of the outcome desired or required but dwell in excessive detail on how it is to be achieved.

        Nor do I speak in the abstract. I saw it up close many years ago; it is not a recent phenomenon.

      • Edward2
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        Internet restrictions
        Regs on hairdryers toasters and kettles
        Restrictions on light bulbs
        Restriction on garden weedkiller products
        EU patents system
        Common fisheries policy and its throw back rules
        Dieselgate, EU regs led to deaths
        Restrictions on real cheese made with unpasteurised milk
        Loads more.
        But just a few for you Andy.

        • gordon winton
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          You used to be able to buy fantastic country cheese in the north east of Scotland that was 40 years ago thanks eu!

        • margaret howard
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          Ahhhh, the good old days. I remember my local grocer complaining that EU regulations forced him to buy a second refrigerated display cabinet because cooked and uncooked meats could no longer be displayed next to each other.

          Before that he only needed one fridge so the blood from his slices of raw liver could happily seep into the cooked ham or haslet next to it.

          And his sausages had to have a certain high meat content where before he could put in so much (stale) bread that instead of going bad
          they became mouldy.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            What you describe in your story margaret would have led to your local grocer being prosecuted by local council hygene inspectors back in the 1960s let alone in the 1990s

      • anon
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        Any regulation that cant be changed directly by a UK parliament!

      • libertarian
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


        The UK’s workers rights laws are far in excess of most EU countries , including the 6 that dont have a national minimum wage and the 10 who’s NMW is less than 2 euros an hour

        I’ve given you multiple lists of regulations that need to go, you are just a cult follower.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The backstop is a smokescreen to hide the rest of the awful subjugate state agreement. Accepting all rules and alignment on everything else with no say. May is the worst Prime Minister ever. Going behind the backs of her own cabinet to collude with foreign leaders, the EU and the useless Ollie!

      • Hope
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        Today she says in an article she battles for Britain. Which begs the question why she has not until now?

        Secondly, why should there be any hint of a delay to article 50 when she wasted over a month from December until January to return to parliament not with legal assurances as promised but empty letters saying nothing has changed! The deferred and legal position is that if no agreement is made the UK leaves. May failed to get a trade deal that is not going to change therefore leave we must.

        There is no longer a suggestion of a transition, nothing to transition to, no mention of implementation, nothing to implement because she has not got a trade deal.
        It was never said or mentioned we should have an extension to talk about trade! Nothing agreed until everything was agreed that is what May told us repeatedly to get her first two stages of servitude through the leave MPs.

        In fairness to the EU it did not want halfmin and half out it offered a trade deal. May turned the EU down. Therefore there should not be any question of leaving later than 11pm 29/03/2019.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          May has royally screwed this up and is desperately trying to save the situation. Chancellor Merkel and President Juncker have publicly mocked her. The most important decision in the last 50 years handed to the worst person imaginable.

          • Steve
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            Mark B

            “May has royally screwed this up and is desperately trying to save the situation”

            Desperate to improve circumstances, yes. But at present a lot of criticism is down to speculation. I think she could help herself a lot by coming clean about what has been going on behind closed EU doors.

            One day the truth will out, and I think we might find Mrs May was treated far more appallingly by the EU than was disclosed.

            Clearly she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. The best and only sensible course now is to get to 29th March and leave with no deal / WTO.

        • Steve
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink


          “Today she says in an article she battles for Britain. Which begs the question why she has not until now?”

          I wondered that too. I’m thinking maybe she was supposed to deliver the EU’s brexit, but failed and has fallen out of favour, no longer considered in line for a nice little number at Brussels.

          If that’s the case then she’d be wasting her time trying to suck up to patriots, we’ll see right through it.

          Yesterday she tried to shaft us, today she’s on our side. I don’t buy it.

          We’re going to have to stand firm against any attempt to stop, delay, or water down brexit and just get to 29th March and be out on WTO exit.

          We will be holding Theresa May to what she promised; “no deal is better than a bad deal” and if that turns out to have been a lie…God help her.

          • Turboterrier.
            Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            @ Steve

            You are very much not alone

  4. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Your suggestions are far too sensible, and far too simple, for our Micro manager of a Prime Minister and her sidekick to understand, let alone implement, but I hope someone can make her see some sense.
    Kicking the can down the road with extensions, implementation periods and the like yet again, just adds to uncertainty and frustration for everyone concerned.

    • Hope
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      There s nothing tomtransition to or implement, May has failed to get a trade deal. Therefore the auK,must,leave and negotiate one after we left. This is May’s fault, no one else.

      • Jagman84
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        To be fair to her, it is hardly the fault of Mrs May for the lack of a trade deal as the EU refuse to talk trade until we have exited the club. I think that Donald Tusk’s offer was a case of him talking out of turn and giving away the EU’s fallback position.

        • Hope
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Not so, the EU offered a trade deal May refused. Everyone knows it could have been negotiated but not signed until after we left. Or in Davis’s words a nano second after we left.

          May wanted her Cheqers proposal, the her servitude plan. Now she wants Robbins to go back! He miserably failed twice! So ardent remainer Liddington is going to help him!

          Meanwhile Letwin and co are still scheming to keep the UK in the EU or delay leaving despite current legislation, manifesto, referendum! Did it escape his mind when campaigning to be elected about a year ago? Treason? Dishonest? I think so.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink


          So if they refused to talk about trade, why did we not refuse to talk about money.

          Paying out £39 billion and being tied into a legal contract, not knowing what you are going to get, let alone be offered, is absolute madness.

          May is to blame because she supposedly is in charge of our sides negotiations.
          Although why we bothered to continue to talk at all once it was obvious what the EU plan was absolutely baffles me.

          If she gets anything next week it will be crumbs off of the floor which have already been discarded, she will not be able to choose from the table even crumbs.

          Total and utter humiliation and subservience nearly complete.

  5. Bob Dixon
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I met a client yesterday. His business is hi tech motor cars. He cannot plan ,after 29th of March, for components he sources from Poland. He could if the tariff’s were available .

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Cost in a tariff of 10%.

      How is he dealing with varying rates of exchange which may be larger than tariffs?

  6. Mick
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink
    His constituents should get together and deselect him along with all the other remoaners in Parliament
    The sooner theres a general election the better so we can drain the swamp of these people

    • Andy
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Why? Mr Redwood has said repeatedly on here that he did not agree to Conservative pro-EU manifesto commitments over a period of decades. Mr Letwin should be held to a different standard?

      Reply The difference is I stated prior to the election any disagreement I had with the official Manifesto. I made clear how my personal manifesto deviated from the official one by wanting an EU referendum in 2010 before it became official policy. Otherwise I took seriously what each Conservative Manifesto said – no more transfers of power to the EU, which the government in office did not stick to. BY 2015 the official Manifesto said exactly the same as my personal statement on the EU, and on EU matters the same again in 2017. In 2017 I disagreed with the care policy set out, as did the PM before the end of the election campaign.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Reply – Reply

        As one of your constituents I can confirm that your position was made absolutely and perfectly clear to the electorate, before and during the election campaign, and it has since been confirmed many times after the election campaign.

        Anyone who did not realise what you stood for, clearly did not bother to read any election literature, visit your website, or listen to the many tv and radio interviews you gave.

        The real Problem you have is the present leader of your Party, who has consistently told porky pies, and totally misrepresented her own policy promises.

    • Enrico
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Letwin should never have stood if he didn’t believe in the manifesto but the bright lights of Westminster beckoned alongside the gravy train.It is too good an opportunity to miss.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Good ! Thanks to people like him more and more people will come round to the idea of a People’s’ General Election.

  7. agricola
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Yours is a positive approach. May’s is in unbelievable confusion. I am not optimistic for the future. Spain is already intent on imposing new rules even on those who have been permanently resident for 10 or 20 years. Notwithstanding their ramped up beligerence towards Gibraltar. They are total hypocrits of course, having two territories of their own sitting on Moroco.
    Such attitudes come from politicians, definitely not from the people.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Not just Morocco but Portugal as well.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Next you’ll demand Minorca back.

        “In addition, under Article X of the treaty Spain ceded Gibraltar and Menorca to Great Britain”

        Britain made many attempts to hang on to it but were finally forced to return it to Spain.

        The same will happen to Gibraltar eventually. The days of empire building are long gone.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 5, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          Would you allow the people living on Gibraltar to decide margaret?
          Or just decide for them yourself?

        • David Price
          Posted February 5, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          @mh … yet you welcome the EU empire building.

    • formula57
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Not just Spain’s colonies on the Moroccan coast, but Catalunya too (and perhaps others).

  8. Kenneth
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Not only is it essential to propose a FTA and publish the tariff schedule (why has this not been done?), the government should also be positive and demonstrate the benefits of a WTO arrangement.

    The problem of course is the determination of the Tory rebels, including the pm and chancellor, along with leaky civil servants, to present Brexit in the most negative light.

    The BBC is also playing its part, trawling for bad-news stories based around mythical traffic jams.

  9. Simon
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Your interpretation of GATT Article 24 is completely wrong as many trade experts have amply demonstrated.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Go on ?

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Maybe they are not as expert as you believe? I trust our host to have fully researched the facts before making any statements on the subject. I suspect that your ‘experts’ have a very large axe to grind!

      • acorn
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Boy oh boy have you got that one wrong Jagman. JR is a politician, facts are irrelevant. But, I do admire your capacity, like most on this site; to lap up Brexiteer bullshit day after day; and, keep coming back for more!

        • Steve
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          @ acorn.

          There’s no need for that nastiness. The fact that Mr Redwood still allowed your vitriolic post speaks volumes about the kind of man he is.

          • acorn
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            I am practicing t0 be vitriolic like lifelogic and Duncan and a dozen others who praise daily the charm, competence and supreme leadership of Mrs May …NOT!!!

    • mancunius
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just read it, and can find no discrepancy. It is easily available for you to consult and quote from. Why have you not done so?

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    A voice in the wilderness John.

  11. Richard1
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    It would be better not to introduce tarfiffs with the EU where they don’t now exist. Temporary arrangements post Brexit pending a comprehensive FTA is what we need.

  12. agricola
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Something you should be aware of. After the announcement by Nissan that they will not build the new X-Trail in the UK. It should be known that Nissan is only part of an alliance between Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. To what extent does Renault and the French government have a hand in this decision. To me it has the smell of grenouille about it.

    • TRP
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Well, what about the smell of sake? After the Ghosn saga, the Japanese appear very keen to keep a keener eye on Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi. I would think it makes more sense given the recently signed Japan-EU agreement.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Recalling Tory objections to the country being governed by trade union bosses I wonder whether their preferred alternative is for the country to be governed by company bosses. Somebody on TV wondered why the Nissan management had chosen to make this announcement now, rather than waiting for a bit until the position had become clearer. Well, for me the obvious answer is that it is part of a intense public campaign to push MPs into accepting the deal that Theresa May has negotiated. I pointed out as long ago as last August that the CBI and other business groups thought they had got as much of what they wanted as could be expected, and now the task was to get Parliament behind the deal. I have also pointed out that for Theresa May the fictitious problem of the Irish border provides a useful pretext for giving the biggest and most vociferous among the 6% of UK companies which export 12% of UK GDP to the rest of the EU what they demanded.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        It is about time a broadcaster or politician asked the CBI who they represent.

        The CBI do not publish a list of members or from where they receive their funding, although we do know they do receive some funding from the EU.

        So they may even be representing businesses or persons who have no manufacturing or warehousing or even offices in the UK.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      It has a small of diesel about it, that is all.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes, my thoughts exactly. Fortunately the cars will be built in Japan as even they are not stupid enough to trust the French to build it.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        At least France have a car industry left. Which is more than we have as we just put foreign models together – like lego bricks.

        • Original Richard
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink


          Which demonstrates the poor position we are in after 40+ years of Common Market/EEC/EU membership where other countries have been far better at playing the game and bending the rules than our useless, under-peforming Governments and Civil Servants and why we need to leave.

          Even now both France and Germany are not obeying the Euro fiscal rules.

          • margaret howard
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            No, it proves that countries were free to pursue their own industries and therefore the success/failure of them. We failed to invest in new machinery and generally produced items like cars that nobody wanted to buy.

            You admit as much in the second part of your sentence. But instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, we should get rid of our under performing ministers/civil servants, not leave the world’s biggest, most successful trading bloc.

          • Original Richard
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            “Underperforming” was a euphemism for inability to cheat the way others can, such as was demonstrated by the German diesel emissions testing fraud.

            To keep believing time and again we can somehow reform the EU so we have a level playing field and do not have a £100bn/year trading deficit is the definition of insanity.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      @ agricola

      How cynical you are becoming!!

      Could you be right I ask myself

  13. Prigger
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The EU verbal responses to Mrs May’s efforts now have a ring of truth about them.
    Mr Verhofstadt always did speak with much of his body language.Mr Juncker and Mr Tusk were more careful. What they show is:
    “Why won’t the UK say what it wants????????”

    You get the impression Mrs May has not been negotiating our exit from the EU at all.

    Instead she has been trying the impossible of staying in the EU but with extra-special status.
    Of course the EU has said repeatedly “No”. You can’t stay IN the EU and have an OUT deal.
    Silly as it may seem, she needs someone in Authority to say and mean we are leaving.
    Then it could be they will know we want an OUT deal.

    Mrs May and her team have consistently double-crossed us and will not accept democracy. The EU, ironically will, accept our democracy when we say we want it.

    • Chris
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      The EU has always been crystal clear about cherry picking, and they also made clear that the WA was agreed, not to be reopened. They are apparently still sticking to this saying that the backstop could be dealt with in a codicil, but still no reopening of the WA. The damage was done in December 2017 when May signed the Dublin agreement. The WA was just following on from that. As far as the EU is concerned May has committed us to vassal state status, and they are not budging. However, if MPs had not voted for the WA then things would have been different. May has won again by duplicity, in my mind, and with help from gullible and weak MPs.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      You get the impression Mrs May has not been negotiating our exit from the EU at all.

      No impression. FACT !!

  14. Dominic
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Of course May will refuse to publish a table of tariffs on EU imports into the UK. That would be an admission of our full escape from the EU imprisonment we’ve had to endure since 1973. She isn’t going to admit that by acting in such a manner.

    The infantile nature of the fools running the EU as been on show again. The EU (Merkel, Macron and other EU cronies) have climbed into bed with Putin, Iran and Erdogan simply to spite Trump. How pathetic is that?

    Understand one thing. The power-brokers of the EU will try and restrain the UK from asserting its sovereignty and independence and if they can they will damage our interests. The EU will act politically throwing common sense out of the window. It’s what spiteful, childish people do.

    So yes, don’t expect May to act rationally and morally. She will act according to the interests of the EU and she will act even if that damages our country.

    May’s on the same page as Alistair Campbell and his ilk. These people desire the EU to inflict damage on the UK to keep us in the EU. They will use the threat of this to keep us tied within and to the EU.

    May and her ilk including Clarke, Grieve, Blair, Heseltine, Mandelson and others want the EU to inflict damage and threaten damage to force us to abandon our sovereignty plans

    What our Brexit victory has achieved is expose those who actually want to see the UK consumed by an all enveloping, seemingly ominpresent entity

    So yes, come on May publish those tariff tables on EU imports into the UK. Let’s see your plans for FTA’s with other sovereign nations like Japan, the US, China etc, Australia.

    We also need to see Tory Eurosceptic MPs making noises again about challenging May’s leadership. Making plans to unseat her. She’s not conservative, if conservative means anything any more. I don’t want to see a liberal left acolyte as our leader.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      I take it you will not be voting for her at the next GE ? 😉


      The EU will act politically throwing common sense out of the window. It’s what spiteful, childish people do.

      I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that but would like to add, that it is also maybe down to the fact that their jobs are never at risk if they mess up. The nation state and the politicians there always take the blame for the EU. Witness Greece.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        “Witness Greece.”

        Without the EU Greece would be Venezuela. That’s why they cheated to get in.

        Fortunately the Greek voters know it and voted in a pro EU government.
        A wise move since it is now emerging from years of mismanagement and corruption and beginning to do well.

        Before EU help?

        World bank extract on Greece in Global Economy:

        On doing business – 61st, just behind Tunisia

        Reliability – 155th, just behind Malawi

        Tax Collecting – behind Solomon Islands

        In other criteria it compared favourably to Tongo and Morocco

        • Mark B
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          And a FULL member of the EU and that includes the EURO.

          You really are a stupid woman.

  15. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Yes, this was the whole point of 17.4 million voting Leave.
    This should have been the two year plan, but wasn’t.
    Therefore your party has betrayed us and should go.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      This is true, but to be replaced by what? The opposition parties have also not held the Govt to account on this, the media has not held the Govt to account on this.

  16. Andy
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Margaret Thatcher’s single market is – by far – the most advanced free trade area in the world.

    It still needs work for services but nothing else on Earth comes close. And you want out.

    And you want out so you can make your own rules and regulations.

    Yet it is these shares rules and regulations which facilitate the free trade you claim to love.

    The evidence is damning. Tory Brexiteers do not love free trade. They are protectionists.

    How’s Nissan getting on? Perhaps they should move to the colony of Gibraltar. Or is that where the Queen will be taken to avoid the Leaver riots?

    • Steve
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


      “It still needs work for services but nothing else on Earth comes close.”

      Rubbish, total Rubbish.

      “The evidence is damning. Tory Brexiteers do not love free trade. They are protectionists.”

      Again, rubbish. The EU mafia are the protectionists, terrified of the UK being a competitor.

      “How’s Nissan getting on? Perhaps they should move to the colony of Gibraltar. Or is that where the Queen will be taken to avoid the Leaver riots?”

      Personally I don’t care about Nissan, their build quality failed to meet with my expectations and went downhill when they jumped in bed with Renault.

      From your comments concerning Gibraltar, HM the Queen, and use of the word colony intended to slur, I politely suggest you wind your neck in. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

      I do wonder where YOU will be when said leaver riots caused by you and your ilk finally kick off ?

      It can only be somewhere like under the bed.

      • Andy
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        You can say rubbish as much as you like – it does not make it true.

        Show me a trade arrangement anywhere in the world that is a complete and as comprehensive as Margaret Thatcher’s single market.

        You can pick any. Just give us the details and we can judge whether or not you are correct based on actual facts.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink


          How about the UK, before we joined the EU,

          Likewise after we leave, although not under May’s plan.

          Not as large as the EU, I would happily agree, but then we can choose what level of protectionism we want, it will not be for others to tell us.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink


        “From your comments concerning Gibraltar, HM the Queen, and use of the word colony intended to slur, I politely suggest you wind your neck in. You clearly don’t know what you’re talking about”

        So what is it then?

        Free Dictionary

        Gi·bral·tar 1 (jə-brôl′tər)

        A British colony centered around the heavily fortified Rock of Gibraltar, a strategically located peninsula on the north side of the Strait of Gibraltar, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean between Spain and northern Africa.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

          Some colony where over 90% in secret ballot voted to remain part of the UK.
          Whilst the UK said that if a majority voted to divorce their views would be respected.

          • margaret howard
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            So how about respecting the overwhelming majority in Scotland and NIreland who voted Remain?

          • Edward2
            Posted February 5, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

            Silly “whataboutery” argument as usual from you margaret.
            The UK had a referendum
            N Ireland and Scotland and Wales are all part of the UK
            Scotland recently voted to remain part of the UK.

        • Mark
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:25 am | Permalink

          An out of date publication is what it is.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The King and Queen stayed in London throughout the Blitz, while their daughters were moved to Windsor. In the event of an invasion a plan to evacuate the Royal Family could have been put into effect; apparently in the first instance that would have been to Worcester, and then if necessary onwards to Canada.

      Do you really think that having been through that, and having actively served her country in the ATS, the Queen would willingly agree to flee London because of riots over Brexit, even in the unlikely event that there riots over Brexit?

      I cannot believe how low the Times newspapers have now sunk in their efforts to frustrate the will of the people as expressed in the referendum.

      • mancunius
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        The Times apparently had the information leaked (or invented) by a remainer minister in the cabinet.

        I can think of several who would be underhand enough to do their own country the maximum reputational damage in pursuit of their own aims.

  17. Richard
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Free Trade Agreement without Freedom of Movement = Cakeism.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      So I take it Canada and Japan have agreed to the Four Freedoms then ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Really? So do all the trade agreements which the EU has made with third countries involve freedom of movement of persons, for example giving every one of 127 million Japanese citizens the automatic right to come and live and work, and receive welfare benefits, and even vote, in the EU? Or is the EU guilty of “cakeism”?

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      So the EU has FOM with Canada, Japan and South Korea,….oh, wait……

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      The Japanese must be overflowing with cake them. Free trade with the EU, with NO freedom of movement.

      • Andy
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Free trade is not frictionless trade. We can have a free trade deal with the EU – but it means a hard border and, pretty soon, a united Ireland. Will you tell the DUP?

    • mancunius
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense. The EU doesn’t get to define what Free Trade is and isn’t.

  18. Topsy-turvy
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Our Prime Minister has wasted two years.
    If I were in the EU’s shoes I would continue saying No.

    It is as if we live in New South Wales, have all the privileges trading with Queensland and yet have New South Wales having its own defence policy, independent judiciary, foreign trade practices and have controls of whether Queenslanders could enter New South Wales.
    That is the EU angle, broadly speaking, figuratively.
    Our PM does not believe in leaving greater Australia. We voted for it. But she is an Aussie.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Australia is a federation, while the EU aspires to become a federation and could at its present stage of development perhaps be characterised as a proto-federation, but Theresa May will never publicly admit to being a eurofederalist. She will continue with the pretence of most top level Tories for more than sixty years.

  19. rick hamilton
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    It is worth noting that the EU-Japan trade deal that has just come into effect has some pretty long drawn out provisions. Japanese tariffs on EU wine are removed immediately, but those on cheese will not go to zero for 16 years. Likewise import duty on Japanese cars to the EU will be phased down from 10% to zero in 8 years.

    Some people seem to think that trade deals happen all at once. Even when we entered the EEC it took 5 years for duties to be eliminated. My point is that panic about WTO terms, cliff edges and so on assumes an immediate disaster which won’t happen if both sides are reasonable.

    Of course whether the EU is capable of being reasonable is another matter entirely.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Under Article 8 of their 1957 Treaty of Rome the founding members of the EEC gave themselves twelve years to complete their common market in stages:

      “1. The common market shall be progressively established during a transitional period of twelve years.

      This transitional period shall be divided into three stages of four years each; the length of each stage may be altered in accordance with the provisions set out below.

      2. To each stage there shall be assigned a set of actions to be initiated … ”

      But that was completely different to the current Brexit proposal inasmuch as it was a real transitional period during which things actually changed, albeit gradually, not an oxymoronic “status quo” transitional period during which nothing changed., a politicians’ insult to the intelligence of the general public.

  20. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink


    As this current government has provided every indication it wishes to retain EU membership status, your repeated requests are likely to continue to be ignored.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      @ Steve

      Brilliant, another yorker.

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed. freer trade, freer people freer to choose how they spend their own money as they like. Get the state and taxes down to a sensible level about half of the current parasitic levels. Levels that kill productivity and jobs and the UK’s ability to compete.

    I see that the regulation of banks on professional landlords with more than four properties means than some banks simply will not lend if you have more than this number regardless of merit. Which halfwit in government decided to damage a whole important industry in this idiotic way? Under May, Hammond and Carney command one assumes. We are governed by economic halfwits.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Government vandalism to the very important private rented sector through daft taxes and bank regulation. Thus restricting supply and pushing up the costs of much needed properties for tenants. Also destroying jobs in construction, so just where is the rational exactly?

  22. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It is probably worth you dealing with what actually happens if we just leave on 29/3 and nobody enters any tariff schedules, FTA’s or anything else?
    I can imagine T May taking it to this, then resigning and slinking off on 30 March, Cameron style, having screwed up the country over 2 and a half years.

  23. Nigl
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    There seems to be some worrying ‘smoke signals’ coming out about staying in the Customs Union.

    Theresa May uses the word pragmatic. It was the go to word for all ministers when the Chequers Agreement came out. Code for giving in.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      A customs unions is the price of Labour support. But it goes against the Conservative manifesto promise and what we voted for in the referendum (if Cameron’s leaflet is the be believed). In addition, the DUP have indicated in recent days that they would want out of a whole UK customs union, let alone a NI-only one.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Labour policy is to be in “a” CU with the EU where both the UK and the EU are equal partners in any future trade negotiations. The EU will never agree to this.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          Because the Tory party has itself spent many decades deliberately deceiving the public over the nature of the EEC/EC/EU/USE project it is now difficult for a Tory government to do what it should do and really get stuck into this or any other stupid Labour policy. That is why Theresa May tends to restrict herself to oblique criticisms which she hopes will not provoke too many questions about what the Tories agreed to over the decades, which she herself solidly supported. It was a previous Tory, Ted Heath, who agreed that the UK would no longer have the independent trade policy that this present Tory now says she wants, whether or not that is true.

          From the 1957 Treaty of Rome:

          “DESIRING to contribute, by means of a common commercial policy, to the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade”

          “… the activities of the Community shall include …

          … (b) the establishment of a common customs tariff and of a common commercial policy towards third countries … ”

          And so forth.

  24. Old Albion
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The EU will not agree anything that gives the (dis)UK an advantage in the world. The EU continues to offer scraps designed to make our exit as complex as possible.
    The EU knows when (if) we leave and we thrive, as I expect us to. It will show the 27, success is possible outside of the Iron grip of Brussels. This will of course lead to other countries seeking an escape. This fear is what drives the unelected Mandarins of the EU project.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think they will mind losing the likes of Malta or Romania but, the Netherlands, Denmark & Italy might give them a few sleepless nights.

    • James
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      It is sad that so many of the people who operate the self-serving gravy train in Brussels are terrified that we will prosper after withdrawal from the EU. They are terrified of the strong signal that will send to people in Italy, Spain, Greece, Poland, Ireland and others. Speaking of Ireland, it would be fair to say that their economy is little short of being a basket case in terms of debt and the interest payments they are having to make to service it. Given the financial recession problems that are set to hit them, their politicians would be well advised to work day and night to try to ensure that a free trade agreement is reached with the UK. With German taxpayers increasingly showing disinclination to fund deficits within other EU countries it is more than likely that other countries (including Ireland) will exit the EU. Whilst the EU may still exist it will inevitably exist in a different form, less relevant and with fewer people taking any notice of it. I guess they can always let some of their vacant office space to put the rental income towards some of their absurd projects.

      • Original Richard
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Ireland will suffer badly when the EU brings in harmonised corporation tax, which it will do when they no longer require Ireland’s help to disadvantage the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion

      “The EU knows when (if) we leave and we thrive, as I expect us to”

      Makes you wonder why we begged to join the EU in the first place.

      We were called the ‘Sick man of Europe’ and were on the verge of collapse before we joined.

      Industry was collapsing, interest rates were spiralling and inflation was rampant. We had food, fuel and power shortages and a steadily growing balance of payments deficit. The common market had to pump in 25% of its regional development funds to stabilise Britain, the highest ever figure

      EU membership turned us from this shambles into the world’s 5th biggest economy.

      Why should we thrive this time after we leave?

      • Mark
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:29 am | Permalink

        It was the Thatcher government that turned the UK around – not the EU.

        • margaret howard
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          If she did that on her own, why was she such an ardent EU supporter? She even had a special jumper knitted with all EU flags on it during her electioneering campaign for EU membership during the 1975 referendum.

          • rose
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            When she was an ardent EU supporter as you put it, the EEC was seen as brake on socialism at home. But by the time she made her famous Bruges speech (with which our host helped her?), the situation had changed right round. Look it up.

            “And we have not embarked on the business of throwing back the frontiers of the state at home, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a new European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

          • Edward2
            Posted February 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Many current leave supporters were previously in favour of the UK joining the Common Market as it called back in the 1970s
            It is a tragedy how the original ideals have been hijacked.

  25. Kevin
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting extract from a BBC article dated May 26th 1999:

    “Millennium bug ‘disaster’ warning
    A government watchdog is warning that some parts of the UK may not be ready for emergencies caused by the millennium bug. The National Audit Office is urging the government millennium bug taskforce Action 2000 and the Cabinet Office to apply pressure to councils to ensure they have contingencies in place. The NAO’s report says the public sector is largely ready for potential bug problems, caused by computer chips being unable to deal with the year 2000. But it warns there is still ‘a wide variation in progress by local authorities’. The report says: ‘Despite best efforts, unforeseen disaster could nevertheless arise…’.”

    Why did the Government not simply delay the year 2000, so that today would be approximately December 7,000th 1999?

    • TRP
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      With the 8-bit architecture mostly prevalent in those days, you could not have your 7000 in the 8-bit storage for the day information. But you might have changed the calendar and introduce years of up to 255 months with each month of up to 255 days each.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if they made plans to evacuate the queen in the event of riots due to no food because fridges would stop working!!!

  26. Lifelogic
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I have always distrusted the many pushers of green crap and taxpayer subsidies for this crony “industry” both in Parliament and the Lords. Why is it OK to promote this lunacy so long as you have merely declared you vested interests? It is still lunacy and total misuse of tax payers money. Cheap reliable energy please, “Renewables” only when they are competitive without any subsidy.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      @ Lifelogic

      Totally 100% correct. The way the majority of politicians have run our energy policies, you couldn’t make it up

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Tax cuts are far preferable to increased government spending. You get at least twice the value as government spend it so inefficiently and generallly on the wrong things.

  28. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Now we read in the Telegraph that Letwin didn’t believe in the promises made in the 2017 manifesto. So another cuckoo in the nest of the Tory party! It seems we were actually voting Cuckoo in 2017 by voting Tory in West Dorset, Totnes…. so many who stood on a manifesto they didn’t believe in!
    How do you expect us to vote Tory again? (Not a rhetorical question)

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      It does not matter whether he believed them or not, the people that voted for him did.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Well it matters if he turns around later and wilfully acts against the manifesto commitments to deny them to his constituents with his Parliamentary actions. This being done not because anything has changed in the outside world, but because he never thought he should have to comply with them in the first place. It seems to be a hallmark of this administration however.

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Letwin’s views do not matter on the issue of whether the UK leaves or remains in the UK because not only did his constituency vote to leave but so did the whole of Dorset and he should therefore be implementing their decision.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

        “should be” but alas …

  29. Sakara Gold
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Tesco and Asda have already announced that there will be shortages of fresh produce from Spain post 29th March, citing delays at Calais preventing lorries from crossing.

    As has been discussed here ad nauseam, there will be no delays at Calais, the French have planned for a no-deal Brexit from the start.

    Clearly, the supermarkets are planning to use this as an excuse to double food prices. Time for a windfall profits tax anyone?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed, a good idea to have a sales tax at say circa 7% on everything including food and children’s clothes and abolish the idiotically complex and very inefficient 20% VAT.

      Anyway the government are endlessly saying they are worried about obesity so a bit less food might be good, not that it will actually happen.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t think Tesco had signed the letter warning that Brexit would cause shortages and price rises. I made note that Tesco, Aldi and Morrisons were not signatories and resolved to continue shopping at these stores.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, one wouldn’t want to cause more shortages at these supermarkets by shopping there.

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Leavers could help to mitigate any problems of the availability of fresh produce from Spain, or indeed any produce from an EU country, by cutting back now on the purchase of EU produced goods in favour of local or non-EU goods.

  30. William Long
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    These very sensible questions would have been addressed by a sensible Government from the start and publication of their tariff schedule would have been evidence to the EU of the UK’s determination to leave, and might have served to focus their minds. Failure to publish can only be evidence of this Government’s determination to remain tied to the EU’s apron strings and will be seen as such.
    But I suppose without the schedule there is more chance of the chaos promised by Project Fear becoming real, so failure to publish is serving the Remainers’ purpose.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Not just sensible, but honest.

  31. formula57
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    This government seems to have a reluctance, damaging and self-defeating, to say or do anything that might offend the Evil Empire and that may well account in part for the refusal to get on with publishing a schedule of tariffs.

    I hope the disagreements referred to in your Reply to Nigl first above do not arise from the antics of quislings in the Business Department and elsewhere.

  32. Caterpillar
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    All quite reasonable, so (1) No CU fudge between May and Corbyn, also (2) increase threshold on which customs duties become payable – this will help with the problem of small flows across the Irish non-border and help with trade agreement with USA.

  33. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    We should be more specific about who is holding up decisions on tariffs – The ultimate responsibility is surely with May, but the ministers that are supposed to be engaged should be asked directly, rather than just saying ‘the government’.

    We should also make it clear to the EU commission, that when they start their mindless prohibition of non-EU owned airlines operating in the EU, then we will simply have to adjust tariffs on imported German and French luxury items…

    • Original Richard
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      No problem for “British Airways” as it owned by IAG who are a Spanish Registered company.

      In fact I have asked before how it is possible that British Arways can continue to use this name.

  34. Baz Lloyd
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    John Redwood is NOT a ‘free trader’.

    He’s a protectionist, who’s far gone socialist mindset leads him to see the right to buy and sell things unmolested, as a treat to be given to us by the state in collusion with other states in accordance with their overall plans.

    ‘Tabling a schedule of ‘UK tariffs’ is the OPPOSITE of pursuing ‘free-er trade’.

    If the EU chooses to make its’ residents and businesses pay tax on goods they buy, and on the inputs they buy from businesses located here, more fool them.

    If your neighbour shoots a hole in his head it doesn’t benefit you to do the same.

    It doesn’t help us to be forced to pay tax on the things we buy. Consumers and businesses here are not hostages to be used to extract concessions from foreign governments.

    And John Redwood’s proposals would involve us continuing to levy taxes on things we buy from the rest of the world.

    This is NOT what I voted Leave for. I voted Leave to get of rid of all import taxes from day one, not bring in more. If we did, we would then at least have free trade on things and business inputs we buy.

    Reply I am suggesting lowering or cancelling tariffs on rest of world product!

  35. BOF
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Yes Sir John, you have said before on this site that the Government should publish its schedule of tariffs, but this is a secretive Government with an ultra secretive Prime Minister. The whole process of leaving the EU should have been open and honest. Sadly dishonesty and secrecy has been rife through the whole process.

    I now believe that the final betrayal will be to keep us in the Customs Union. This would get Labour on board and enough treacherous Conservative MP’s together with the DUP to get it through Parliament.

    Any half sensible new party will wreck havoc with the Labour and Tories at the next election.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      The WA specifically states that we will not ubdercut EU tariffs. So the government has lodged identical tariffs with the WTO
      May has no intention of leaving the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        As I keep saying.

  36. Alan Joyce
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Having made a pig’s ear out of negotiating the withdrawal agreement the Prime Minister now says she is going to ‘battle for Britain’ when she goes to Brussels to renegotiate the backstop that she negotiated in the first place.

    Any self-respecting person from whatever walk of life, who had made such a catastrophic mess of their job, would have had the decency to resign by now.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      ”… have had the decency to resign…” Yes. And to stop insulting people by putting her name to such crass and ill-considered headlines.
      As if we don’t know that a ”battle” isn’t required. And as if we don’t know that she is likening herself to a few brave souls who saved our country from the very enemy she is attempting to appease. She is placing herself beneath contempt, she and the Oilies with her.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Alan Joyce

      Any self-respecting person from whatever walk of life, who had made such a catastrophic mess of their job, would have had the decency to resign by now.

      Thereby is the root cause of the problem.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink


  37. jerry
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    More “Project Fear” from the rancid newsprint media this morning, now apparently even the Queen is in danger from a ‘no deal’ Brexit, with plans the Sunday Times reports…

    Time to regulate the press (again), they should be reporting news, not opinion, if the latter want to do that then they should become periodical magazine publications and thus be licences as such.

    Also the MSM is full of an -expected- announcement from Nissan about a future vehicle model, spinning it as a Brexit issue, yet if you look at a comparison of existing Nissan models my guess the real problem is internal completion within their range – my hunch is the announcement will simply axe one model -with expanded production of another. If so that could actually see production expand at the Sunderland plant. Brexit via a GATT24 WTO ‘deal’ would actually be a help more than a hindrance to Nissan (and other companies with sites in the UK), which is why europhiles hate and rubbish the idea!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Well we might need to implement differential tariffs to allow more access here to US and S Korean automobiles if the Japanese don’t want to make more cars here. I’m fairly happy to forego purchase of a Japanese X trail, thanks.

  38. hans christian ivers
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    The notice period you are proposing for a potential new draft trade agreement along the lines of a potential draft from ERG just shows you have never operated as an executive director (as oppose to a non-exec) in a manufacturing company. The time available does not make it possible for any realistic planning.

    Reply I have run companies, and started urging publication of the tariff schedule over a year ago!

    • jerry
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      @hans christian ivers; Thanks for the laugh!

      You really should keep your own council more. The point you miss is that an exit via a GATT24 WTO notice would see little immediate change and thus little or non of the planning you say companies need for Brexit.

      GATT24 actually prevents the (supposed) cliff edge that europhiles try using to stoke fear, which is why they busy themselves so much trying to rubbish the GATT idea, it debunks the idea that the UK has to enter either a post exit CU or WA with the EU.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      HCI – Never a comment without an insult. Tiresome.

    • hefner
      Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      HCI, you should have checked JR’s profile on Bloomberg. Then check the companies he was/is involved in, then decide what the best description is.

  39. Martyn G
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    All I can say is what an utter muddle we find ourselves in. I came across this item where Steve Baker MP addresses the Parliamentary European Scrutiny Committee on 30 Jan and exposes just how we, the people have been sold down the river by a treacherous civil service and Ministers. None of whom have any intent of allowing us to leave the EU.

    Well worth a watch and listen if you will permit it, Sir John? If not, I will understand.

    • Penny
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just watched this – thanks for sharing the link.

      What a sorry state of affairs.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Well done and thank you to our kind host for allowing this.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Watched this earlier today. I suppose we should be grateful that the committee proceedings were allowed to be filmed and made available for the public to view. The information disclosed ought to be a scandal. The fact it isn’t shows how lost we are as a country.

      Still, it is heartwarming to see that there still a few good men and women – such as Sir John – with this country’s interests are heart (and by that I mean the people’s interests, not those of the corporacrats).

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Stunningly clear, telling it like it was/is – a sad piece of history.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      That really is worth a view/listen. Steve Baker’s evidence is all the more shocking for being given in a restrained and unjudgmental way.

      It becomes clear that the staffing within No. 10 is a major problem.

    • Paul Cohen
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Martyn G

      After watching and hearing Steve Baker giving this account I am left feeling incensed that this has not been widely reported – what a lot of no-hopers we have negotiating for us ! Get them out for goodness sake.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that. Once again we find that Theresa May, possibly influenced by Olly Robbins or possibly of her own accord, opted for what Dominic Raab termed the “high legislative alignment” paradigm, keeping us tied to the EU’s apron strings, rather than the alternative “operational technological” paradigm which would not involve the UK remaining subject to large tranches of EU law:

      He said that to the Northern Ireland committee in the morning of the same day, January 3oth, from just before 09.52 here:

      He said that we need to find a ladder for the Irish government to climb down, but I doubt Theresa May would instigate any kind of search for it as that would destroy her pretext for doing what the Tories’ big business friends want.

  40. Everhopeful
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Terrible. Never before witnessed such a shambles. Total and utter incompetence ( or maybe subterfuge). Apparently shutting those who know what they are talking about ( like JR) out of the decision making or at least stuffing fingers in ears and singing “lalala”! Refusing to listen to the voices of sanity.
    If Brexit were a war, this country would alredy be laid waste…well ok…to a greater degree than it has already been by supposed “friendly” fire…

  41. ian
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    First of all, you have to understand the EU and Europe and how they think. They don’t want the UK coming along and undercutting them in taxes and with cheaper goods, outside the EU you can do what you want but not in Europe, they will only accept free trade from the UK if they have controls over it on pricing and not undercut their corporate tax system and lose money and jobs.

    That why they want you to leave first, they don’t want a trade deal of any kind, they want it open-ended so they can flag up things they do like and you to deal with it, that why in my opinion it is better for companies to deal with the EU themselves on the pricing of goods so they understand not to undercut them, what it means, companies have to charge more for their goods sold to the EU than elsewhere to avoid tariffs on their goods, gov cannot do it, only companies can do it by working together with the EU. As for services, is not that bad because you will employ people in the EU but again they will not accept being undercut on price.

    They want a level playing field as they say at the end of sale and to take any more companies of theirs into your tax system.

  42. fredH
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Passports and travel documents should be withdrawn / withheld from all politicians, newspaper editors, UKIP and ERG types etc etc who have played a large part and led us into this cul de sac so that there is no chance for them to escape to sunnier climes, at least not until they face the music for this sorry mess- post 29 March. Lord Lawson should also be summoned home too so that he can see everything firsthand

  43. ian
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    If the UK get a deal with the EU I will be surprised. EU does not want a deal they want to control or the UK to stay in and if the UK stay in the EU, parliament will have to find a way of keeping the ref vote alive for future parliaments so it can never go away with each parliament people elected having the choice to leave or stay in the EU, the UK should always retain the ref vote over the EU in any agreement with them, just like they have the backstop, it should always be the UK fall back position in law.

    As it is, the UK out the EU can vote for any law EU come up with if they want.

  44. Dioclese
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I am a paid up member of the Conservative Party. Indeed I used to vote for you when i lived in Winnersh. My local MP is Jo Churchill. She openly supports Remain despite her constituents voting to leave.

    I have written to her saying that of she voted to support the May deal then I would be unable to support her at the next election. My problem is that of I don’t vote Tory then who the hell do I vote for?

    I am seriously hoping that the main parties will split and there will be a new party formed that actually believes in this country and that its prepared to support democracy but I see no sign of it.

    I am also concerned that if another election is called then May will be exposed yet again as a liar after promising not to lead the party into the next election.

    I would vote for Boris or Rees-Mogg as the next leader but am fully aware that because the MPs select the final two the odds are a zero chance of either being on the final ballot despite the overwhelming support by the rank and file.

    I cannot see a future for either of the main parties at the moment.

    In other news is there seriously a plan to evacuate the Queen in the event of no deal!?!?!? I look forward to all the red faces when the cliff edge falls to materialise. In any case, if the Queen Mother refused to leave London during the war then i can’t see any prospect of her daughter leaving because of a no deal Brexit. What the hell are these people on??

    • James
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      The Queen will not allow herself to be “evacuated” anywhere. What utter nonsense. Her grace belies her toughness. She is made of sterner stuff thank goodness.

  45. ian
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    When you look at the people causing the most trouble in parliament over Brexit, they are nearly all lawyers, 70 on backbenchers of labour and 20 backbenchers in the con party and who started it all off, the high court in London.

    Maybe lawyers should be banned from entering parliament and causing trouble all the time, not only with Brexit are trouble making but also with human rights, PC and more against people, they seem to be the biggest problem other PMs and voters have, they mostly wrong in their thinking and have past a lot of bad laws people do not like and also seem to be in control of quango and committees.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      @ Ian

      Maybe lawyers should be banned from entering parliament and causing trouble all the time, not only with Brexit are trouble making but also with human rights,

      You get my vote on that one Ian and you can be assured we are not alone

  46. L Jones
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I really look forward to the day when all these ”shoulds” are replaced by ”wills”. You speak so much sense, Dr R. We need more of it, from people who can make these things happen.

  47. Flyer through Spaces
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Angela Smith Labour MP Penistone and Stocksbridge got a 27-20 No Confidence vote in her local clique very recently. 1500 majority over the Tory candidate 2017. Rumour she may join a new centre party because of “extreme left-wingers”. We must pray for Labour to get a centre party
    This seat and Wakefield are up for grabs if a PROPER Tory campaign is done in both, this time around.With compassion! Not a stereotype leaflet in the third person eg She has done this and that and never seen in the area before leaflet and has her own RICH business.
    Local female would be best who looks poor and dragged through a hedge like the rest of us. It’s rough UP North

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Any GE with May in charge would be a disaster for her and the Tories, so you’re not in for any imminent joy up there, I’m afraid. Probably better off voting UKIP – at least they’d vote in HoC with the Tory right.

  48. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    In order of preference though ignoring the pork barrel i’d suggest the referedum winners, those who voted Leave would rather:

    1:Live in a leave constituency represented by a leave mp who is a member of a leave party in a leave government.

    At the very bottom of the permutation list are referedum winners dying in the remain constituency, represented by a remain mp who is a member of a remain party in a remain government.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      (Did anyone get that?)

  49. Helen Smith
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Instead of a common sense approach we get ludicrous stories like the civil service working on plans to evacuate the queen in the event of riots due to lack of food in the shops. Did they evacuate her during the Brixton riots etc?

    These stories are so embarrassing, it makes our so called civil service look pathetic.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      @ Helen Smith

      makes our so called civil service look pathetic.

      But that is the problem the majority are.

  50. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    As it is we who voted leave are vulnerable because we see the remain government attempting to subdue leave MP’s, Leave Constituencies via deprivation and bribery and via remainer employers the leave voter who then suffers the remain DWP as punishment.

    The predatory EU firster is clearly a threat to those who democratically showed their hand at referendum.

    Collective punishment is widely accepted as unlawful.

  51. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Ergo,Leave voters selected Prosperity and Remain voters opted for Collective Punishment.

    The May Cabinet represent the latter and thus have no legitimacy in Great Britain, or anywhere else.

  52. mika
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Periodically John Redwood tells us how vital it is that the Parliament obeys the ‘instructions’ of ‘the people’ and usually goes on to quote opinion polls, and anecdotal evidence, in support of whatever it is he says he thinks we’re ‘instructing’ him to do now.

    So no doubt he’s been pouring over the most recent Brexit Poll from ‘Opinium’.

    55% of Conservative voters now think their MPs should back the Deal, up from 48% last week.

    Most voters would back staying in the EU over Mrs May’s deal. If a referendum were held with a choice between the two, 45% would vote to Remain, while 38% would vote for the deal.

    If there’s No Deal, 43% think Brexit should be delayed for a further people’s vote to be held on what to do next, and 42% think the UK should simply leave the European Union with no deal and without a Referendum.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      A dodgy remainer poll
      Other polls show no such figures
      One showed a majority backing a combination of either no deal or modified deal.
      In other news a poll shows Corbyn rating down again to 16% and the Conservatives having a 10% lead over Labour.

  53. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    So for Leave voters including MP’s and employers our work is to defend the realm, foster prosperity and guard against domestic agitators who claim participation in a referendum give them a collective punishment mandate.

    For Remain voters including MP’s and employers their work is to facillitate nation wrecking and collective punishment whilst avoiding a cusodial sentence and/or asset freezes.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      @ Andrew

      For Remain voters including MP’s and employers their work is to facillitate nation wrecking and collective punishment whilst avoiding a cusodial sentence and/or asset freezes.

      Andrew my god that is so very good got it in one

  54. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    In my observations there are far too many career nation wreckers in and around and among Westminster, they had a once in a lifetime chance to aquiesce to prosperity and they blew it.

  55. Den
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Sound, solid proposals with no doubt to follow, a very concise and acceptable legal text in the proposed ERG Withdrawal Agreement.
    Sadly it will never be adopted by Number 10. For they have their own agenda and no one is going to interfere with it. No matter to them that their version will neither be acceptable to the EU nor to our own Parliament, of course. Such is their arrogance, only equalled by that of the Brussels cabal.
    What is the matter with those Downing Street people? Why do they act like the three wise monkeys, blind, deaf and dumb to everything not of their creation? There should be an official psycho analysis of Mrs May and her “negotiating team” (if we can actually call it that), to establish they are of sound enough mind to be fully involved in the future or OUR country. They are a worry to me and must be an extreme worry to the Conservative Party as a whole.
    As far as I am concerned, only her counter snub to the EU and her abandonment of any further Brussels talks until we have left under a “No Deal” arrangement, will change my mind about her abilities as our Political Leader.

  56. Alan Rogers
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    So we can get away from the threat of a No-Deal Brexit by offering an Interim Deal Brexit. Let’s see what the doom-sayers think of that.

  57. Andy
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The Fantastic Mr Fox tells us today that a no-deal Brexit is ‘survivable’.

    So is a 100mph car crash.

    The Tory Brexiteers are putting their flawed ideology before people.

    It will not end well for the people.

    If will end even less well for the Tory Brexiteers.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      How many Tory brexiteers have any power or actual involvement in the leaving process?
      Seems to me there are no actual leavers involved.
      This is the remain camps version of leaving.
      Ignoring the majority vote of the people.

  58. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    EU firster are terrified of the electorate.

  59. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting really fed up with all the twaddle which is being spread around, much of it being initiated in Downing Street and little of it ever being subject to any kind of effective official correction. Does Theresa May think that it is her job to dupe the electorate? Once again I see that she is pretending to look for a new answer to the fabricated problem of the Irish border, when she has been repeatedly offered a simple alternative which does not involve keeping us under the thumb of the EU in perpetuity, but she ignores it. Why does she ignore it? Because she does not want any alternative solution which would mean that she lost her convenient pretext for giving the likes of the CBI as much as possible of what they want. Look at that important concession that she wrung from the EU: that the EU would keep a large measure of control over the whole of the UK, rather than just over Northern Ireland as the EU originally wanted. Does she think we are idiots? And now she plans to go off to Brussels to seek either a time limit to the ‘backstop’, knowing that the answer is bound to be “No” – quite reasonably from the Irish point of view – or a unilateral UK escape clause, knowing that the answer is bound to be “No” – also reasonably from the Irish point of view – while simulating perplexity on any other alternative.

  60. Andrew
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    How much subversion of democracy can the EU do among it’s colonies with £39 billion?
    In gold presumably.

    • Mark
      Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      I noted Maduro was selling his country’s gold for Euros. Perhaps he thinks he’s be welcome in Brussels?

      • Mitchel
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        No.He’s using Euros for the same reason the Eurasian bloc is switching out of $ and into Euros or gold-to take his country out of the reach of the $ payments system.

        Recently there have been sovereign Euro bond issues from Russia and Kazhakstan(albeit small-they don’t have much of an external financing requirement) and a corporate issue from Gazprom.These normally would have been in $.And the financing for Russia’s next Arctic development-the c$25 bn Arctic LNG 2-Gydan project has been switched from $ to Euros.

        The world is bifurcating into a western/globalist $ bloc and a Eurasian anti-$ bloc.Every country is going to have make a choice as to which they want to get into bed with.If we choose the USA,don’t expect much trade-at least on decent terms with the other bloc.

        • Mark
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          You mean like the arrangements for trading with Iran. I can see the sense in a debtor picking the Euro as a currency to hold his long term liabilities in. It has a risk of severe depreciation, making future repayment very easy, especially given the low coupon rates that follow from ECB manipulation of interest rates. Whether enough lenders can be found to take the other side of the risk is the interesting question.

  61. John O'Leary
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Your first paragraph seems highly contradictory. First you write

    ” have asked that the UK tables a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU and says we should negotiate it once we have left, allowing both sides to avoid any new barriers or tariffs whilst we negotiate it.”

    Then later proposing an April 2019 tariff schedule you write:

    “These tariffs should be lower than those imposed by the EU on the rest of the world, thereby cutting our tariffs on the bulk of our trade whilst imposing them on EU trade for the first time as we have to under WTO rules.

    So do you want tariffs on EU goods once we’re out or not?

    Reply Rather have free trade deal, with schedule of tariffs as second option and also as bargaining lever to get FTA

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      The British Retail Consortium doesn’t want tariffs on food imports because that would push up prices in the shops. On the other hand the President of the National Farmers Union was on TV this morning warning that the government might cut tariffs on food and then her members would have to compete with cheaper imports … both of them ignore the fact that we run a massive food and drink trade deficit with the rest of the EU, just as Vince Cable who was on earlier ignores the fact that our exports of cars to the rest of the EU are only a third of our imports of cars from the rest of the EU, so even if the UK is seen by the likes of Nissan as a “gateway to Europe” then the net flow through the gateway is in the wrong direction.

  62. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    It is worth reading this, from the Irish Times:

    “The big Brexit question: What does a hard Irish Border look like?”

    “Everyone is agreed that they don’t want a return to a hard Irish Border. But behind this apparent unanimity lies a world of a difference in defining what exactly this means. Most debate skims over this point, but Brexit is all about the details.

    Here in Ireland, our desire is that things would pretty much continue as they are now. People and goods would be able to pass freely and there would be no infrastructure or checks and controls.”

    Which is what the UK government should have unilaterally offered over a year ago, a declaration that it had no immediate intention to make any changes at all at, or even very near to, the border, and if any need for some changes did emerge in the future then it would consult the Irish government and seek its agreement.

    And if the EU really is worried that at some future point the UK might allow the importation of “chlorinated chicken” from the US, and then some of it might start to migrate across the border, then the UK government could make it a punishable offence for hauliers to take it across the border into the Republic and could work with the Irish authorities to suppress it.

  63. margaret howard
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    “Nissan has confirmed that the new X-Trail originally planned for its Sunderland plant will instead be made in Japan.

    In a letter to workers, it says continued Brexit uncertainty is not helping firms to “plan for the future”.

    In 2016 the carmaker said it would build the new model in the UK after “assurances” from the government”

    Another one leaving the sinking ship.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      We would seriously like to know just what May promised Nissan in 2016.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Like Andy you need to get a sense of perspective:

      How many people are employed in the UK?

      A record number, 32.5 million.

      How many of those jobs will be lost as a result of this Nissan decision?


    • Edward2
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      In the same article, the bit you carefully left out, the Nissan spokesperson said the had great faith in Sunderland plant and its 17,000 workforce and were investing heavily in its future.
      The new Juke and Qashqui models will be built there.
      Odd how you missed out that bit.
      Do you think Japan is better. Why not inside the EU?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Well the EU just gave Japan a free trade deal, so we could be importing all those X-Trails import duty free if suck in the EU, while we can export them our wine to them duty free! The usual lopsided trade deal by the EU, favouring Franco-German trade against ours.
      You do realise that when we can make deals ourselves, we can persuade such manufacturers to set up or expand here, or impose tariffs on their imports?

  64. HenryS
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    We already have a comprehensive FTA with the EU and now you want to leave and table another one..sounds more like some want a cherry picking type of arrangement but the EU have already said that such an arrangement is not on offer. The most we’ll get is a Canada plus or maybe a Norwegian style. Whatever and however it turns out we will not be at the decision making table. We are not going to get the same deal as those granted to others like Japan and Korea, please bear in mind we will be diverging away from the EU rules, Japan and Korea are converging their situations to suit..there is a big difference..a whole big difference.7

    • rose
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      How can it be an FTA with the EU if we have to pay billions each year for it, abide by their laws and regulations, and accept Free Movement of People? The EU is not a Free Trade Area but a Protection Racket from which it is proving difficult and dangerous to escape. They also want a huge ransom.

      • HenryS
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink and the other hardline sceptics can escape as much as you like 29 March.. and go far far away.. only problem is some of your brexiteer chums don’t really want to escape that much. They want to escape but to be still there on their own terms.. like being able to cherry pick their way to having cake and eating it ..unfortunately for them the EU has them well in their sights as we will see again later this week when May returns to Brussels.

        • rose
          Posted February 4, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

          The cherry pickers – or, as we call them, the remainiacs, want to opt back in. They are not Brexiteers but they have hijacked Brexit.

  65. Grant
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    It seems that in this case JR is a bit like Theresa May, they both have only to look into their hearts to know what the British people want

  66. Original Richard
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    I would not expect the EU Commission to be in favour of any (free trade) deal with the UK :

    1) Because they feel that the UK will suffer on WTO terms and thus a WTO Brexit will be to “encourages les autres” and

    2) Because they then can receive 80% of the import duties on goods the EU imports from the UK.

  67. ian
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Well Dioclese there will be lots of independent people standing at the next election like there always is in all areas in the country of England, you don’t have to vote for a party if you feel the need to vote, also you do not have to vote if you don’t want to, you have the power in your own hands, you have no room for complaint because you feel you cannot vote for a certain party that you like to see win an election all of the time.

  68. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Once again a comment referring to the paranoia of the EU over the Irish border, and the decision by Theresa May to exploit that ‘problem’ as a pretext for doing what she in any case wants to do – keep us under the thumb of the EU – does not pass moderation.

  69. cornishstu
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Watched Steve Baker giving evidence to the European scrutiny committee this afternoon, if you have the time worth watching quite damming of government.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      Quite an eye-opener!

  70. Doo Little Business
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Sharon Hodgson, Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West. and later Tory Gregg Clark MP for Tumbridge Wells on Sky News today referred to Brexit as a problem in regard to Sunderland and the X-Trail Model. Neitehr mentioned that the Company report stated The two reasons it had actually cancelled it: 1/ “Emisson concerns and 2/ Likely “decreasing sales in Europe”
    Nothing in the statement about Brexit at all. Politically, if one were to interpret it that way, was really all about the Green Agenda in Europe and recession setting in over the EU Empire.
    Mr Clark did mention in passing only that sales of cars worldwide were a problem but his stress was on the “uncertainty of Brexit.
    Well done, the both of you! Singing from the same EU Remainer song sheet!

  71. Dylan
    Posted February 3, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood’s deeply ingrained socialist attitudes are revealed in his final paragraph.

    He’s already trying to think up ways to spend the increased import tax income he hasn’t got.

    We need CUTS is the vastly bloated bureaucratic and inefficient state not yet more schemes to spend more.

    Making people and businesses pay discriminatory taxes on the things we buy, is not ‘Free Trade, and neither is dishing out the cash raised, on yet more spending, at a time when we already have a gigantic budget deficit, and National Debt, remotely ‘Conservative’.

  72. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 4, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    JR, I am submitting a further comment on this thread to avoid going too far off the topic of today’s article. My comment is that over the next three days a group of Tory MPs will meet under the chairmanship of Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay as the “Alternative Arrangements Working Group”, and I very much hope that they will not ignore the alternative arrangement that I have been proposing for over a year:

    “Easy solution to EU border conundrum”

    Which simple and easy solution can be roughly summarised in this letter that I drafted for Theresa May to send to Leo Varadkar, which was included in the body of another letter published in the Maidenhead Advertiser on July 5th; said published letter having been copied directly to Theresa May as my constituency MP, and gratefully acknowledged by her assistant Maya Mann with an assurance that she had taken on board the thoughts it contained.

    “Dear Leo

    Just to confirm that we do not intend to make any changes at all at the border.

    We have let goods in across that border without any checks for a quarter of a century now, and we will not suddenly start checking them just because we have left the EU.

    We presume they will continue to conform to EU rules, and so will be of an acceptable standard.

    We hope we will not have to collect any import duties, but if we do we will be sure to do it well away from the border.

    So we will not be building any customs posts, or other new infrastructure, or indeed making any other changes at all, on our side of the border. Of course it is up to you what you do on your side.

    However to reassure you and your EU colleagues that we will never knowingly allow this border to be used as a back door for contraband goods to enter the EU Single Market we will pass strong laws to prevent such goods being exported across the border.

    Any haulier who is found to have carried across goods which the EU deems unacceptable will be liable to loss of his haulage permit, and potentially criminal as well as civil penalties.

    I hope this meets with your approval.

    With my very best wishes


    I will repeat that it is time for our government to stop pandering to the paranoia of the EU and the Irish government; even though we will not be part of the EU we will not be trying to undermine its Customs Union or its Single Market; on the contrary, we will be happy to do whatever we can to help protect the integrity of those EU legal arrangements,


    • rose
      Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      They are not worried about the SM and CU being infringed: they are worried about our prospering when they want us to fail. To that end they want us tied up with the CU and SM so the commission can continue to collect the external tariffs and regulate us out of competitiveness.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 4, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Well, tomorrow Theresa May will give a speech in Northern Ireland:

        and she “… is expected to underline the UK’s commitment to ensuring there will be no hard border.” So how exactly is she going to do that?

        The UK can speak for itself and say what I suggested in my “letter to Leo”, that “we do not intend to make any changes at all at the border”, because that would be the UK’s unilateral decision, but how on earth can the UK go about “ensuring” that the EU in its paranoia will not erect a kind of Maginot line of defences on its side of the border?

        Bear in mind that in her Mansion House speech she gratuitously accepted responsibility for “ensuring” that the EU would behave sensibly:

        “But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.”

        And it gradually became clear that her preferred way to “help find a solution” just happened to coincide with what CBI wanted, as well as what the Irish government wanted, namely that the whole of the UK should remain forever subject to swathes of EU laws.”

        So the EU says “Jump”, and instead of saying “Go and take a jump yourself” our Prime Minister will just ask “How high?”.

        • rose
          Posted February 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

          And did you notice this morning that the BBC is censoring information on Lord Trimble’s proposed legal action against the government for breaching the Belfast Agreement? Not only was it not in the hourly bulletins – which contained instead press releases from Robbie Gibbs about the PM going to N Ireland – but when Mrs Foster alluded to it, Martha Kearney shouted her down, determined that we shouldn’t hear.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 4, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      “Brexit: Merkel hints at ‘creative’ solution on the Border”

      “Dr Merkel said the Irish backstop issue could be solved as part of a discussion over a separate agreement on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, offering Mrs May a potential way out of the deadlock.”

      Exactly how would that work? Would the EU have been cured of its paranoia by then, or would it still be insisting that the only way to protect the integrity of its Single Market was to keep at least Northern Ireland under EU control?

      “UK looking for alternatives to Border backstop. Do they exist?”

      “The EU side has pointed out that there is no border anywhere in the world where some physical checks do not take place.”

      Well, it may be a special case, but what about the Liechtenstein-Switzerland border that I have mentioned before?

      From the FT link:

      “Exports … are required to match the standards of their destination market … penalties act as a deterrent against circumvention …This allows an open border with Switzerland, even though goods circulate in Liechtenstein that do not meet Swiss standards … ”

      And see at the end of that article:

      “Ireland would like the Border to stay just as it is now – but this would require the UK, or at least the North, staying in a customs union with the EU and maintaining the same rules and regulations applying to goods in many areas.”

      And that fallacious belief is never going to change, is it? Not with a longer so-called transition period, nor even with any free trade agreement at the end of it; and this was already clear in November 2017, as I wrote at the time:

      “Whatever delusions the Irish government may entertain there is no political possibility of the UK remaining in either the Single Market or the Customs Union after leaving the EU, so there is now clearly no point in the UK even trying to negotiate any “special and deep” trade deal with the EU … 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.”

  73. margaret howard
    Posted February 4, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    The real reason Nissan pulled its investment”

    2. EU-Japan Trade Deal makes UK less important

    There are other powerful forces at work.

    As of last week, the free trade agreement between the EU and Japan came into force.

    Under that deal, tariffs on Japanese car exports to the EU begin to taper towards zero over the next ten years.

    That means there is a dwindling rationale for Japan to manufacture cars for European customers in the EU.

    In fact, post Brexit, cars from Japan entering the EU could attract lower tariffs than cars made in the UK.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 5, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      It isnt all about the tariffs.
      The X Trail has always been made in Japan
      The X Trail is mainly diesel engined.
      The UK and EU are hostile to such engines.
      The growing markets for this vehicle are in the East not Europe or UK so carrying on making X Trails in Japan is a predictable business decision.
      Have you not noticed the huge growth of imported Japanese vehicles, motor bikes and commercial vehicles in Europe and UK since the 1960s despite import taxes and tariffs?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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