Expect plenty of spin before a possible third vote on the Agreement

The government is proceeding as if there will be a third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on Monday. They will of course need to persuade the Speaker that something meaningful has changed from the previous version they put to the Commons, which lost by 149 votes.

The government approach to get MPs to vote for the Agreement depends on which MP they are talking to. Leave supporting MPs I hear are  told  there will be  a long delay to Brexit or no Brexit if they do not vote for the Agreement. Remain voting MPs are told there would be  a no deal Brexit on 29 March. As all this has appeared in the press, the two sides can see that at least one side is not getting the truth. The danger for the government is both sides may choose not to believe the government, knowing it faces different ways.

There are some Conservative Leave inclining MPs who switched votes between the first vote on the Agreement and the second. They were mainly won over to what they still regard as a very bad Agreement by the worry that maybe the alternative was a long delay. Now the government has revealed its hand to the European Council and has not even asked for a long delay, some of them may switch back to opposing the Agreement as the worry they were told about has not yet materialised.

The DUP have always taken a principled stance on this matter. Their simple red line is they cannot accept anything which gives different treatment to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. They deeply resent the EU attempt to create a new country called UK (NI) which would have different laws and customs arrangements from the rest of the UK. The difficulties for them lie in the Agreement text itself, with many pages creating island of Ireland solutions where the DUP want UK solutions. It is difficult to see how they can be persuaded to change their vote. Press briefing about making  more payments to Northern Ireland went down very badly with the DUP who were not proposing any such deal.

Meanwhile Remain MPs cannot accept the Agreement either because its vagueness on what shape the future partnership will take gives them no legal or bankable guarantees of the close relationship including customs union membership, EU environmental and employment laws  and single market rules that they want. They are very concerned that if the UK did sign the Agreement we could end up with a very bad deal  not including  the features of the EU they most wish to protect. Mrs May’s insistence that the UK will be leaving the Customs union and the single market , necessary to keep to her Manifesto, alienates the opposition parties and a handful of Conservatives. To Remain the Withdrawal Agreement is nowhere near as good as staying in. They want the PM to tear it up and try again. They want as Labour sets out at the  very least a customs union membership with close convergence of legislation.

In summary it is a very bad deal for the UK as a whole. It upsets both sides for different reasons, but Remain and Leave do agree by a big majority that this Agreement is not the way forward. The next few days will be crucial for both the government and for Brexit.  Labour sense that the government is very unstable and are likely to see this as a good opportunity to maximise opposition to a very unpopular deal to build their case against the government generally.


  1. Pominoz
    March 22, 2019

    Sir John,

    Thank you for your summary. As ever you are so very succinct. A great blessing at this time.

    You are, however, exceedingly polite. ‘Spin’ I trust, is you way of saying ‘blatantly lying’, so nothing new there.

    Do hope your view, that any MV3 will not get through, prevails.

    I am looking forward to a good night’s sleep next Friday night.

    1. eeyore
      March 22, 2019

      The last sentence of Sir John’s post looks very significant to me. Perhaps I am reading more into it than he meant. Or perhaps desperate times do demand desperate measures.

    2. Merlin
      March 22, 2019

      I agree. May’s deal is going down.

      Though it leaves me in a position where I have to choose a long extension or No Deal, which is unfortunate as I wanted us to leave on March 29th. But No Deal has no political support whatsoever, so it’s a dead duck.

      I think we need a Brexiteer as P.M to see if they can negotiate a better deal than May did. Then see where we stand. Though my prediction is that a Brexiteer P.M will bring back exactly the same deal by the way.

    3. Peter
      March 22, 2019

      Agreed. Withdrawal / Surrender Agreement still needs to be finally seen off, either by Bercow or a vote.

      It is difficult to see past that. A General Election would be nice if an exit on WTO terms does not happen.

    4. Tad Davison
      March 22, 2019

      Donald Tusk said this lunchtime that he’s very happy about the outcome of the ‘negotiations’ yesterday evening.

      I bet he is!

      I am left wondering where these gutless cowards in government and the civil service keep coming from?

      Those of us who know how to negotiate are dying of embarrassment!

      How pitifully weak we must look to others who will now be making plans to plunder these islands through a lack of ‘strong and stable leadership’, and pick over and feast upon the flesh the UK corpse.

      But we are being killed before our time. The body is doing well. It’s the head that is failing the rest, and that’s the part that needs the major radical surgery in order to save the patient.


      1. Lifelogic
        March 23, 2019

        Where they keep coming from? Mainly Oxford courses such as PPE and Geography it seems, then almost directly into politics or the civil service.

    5. Stephen Priest
      March 22, 2019

      Share this petition:

      Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019.


      392967 signatures

      1. Everhopeful
        March 22, 2019

        That seems to be an old petition. They debated it in Jan 2019.
        There is a new counter petition though. Haven’t seen it yet!
        Did you sign it and not get a “duplicate signature” e mail?

    6. Hope
      March 22, 2019

      May said any delay would not achieve anything. Why has she asked for it? May wound down the clock to vote for her deal, pulled it once and it was rejected twice by historic margins, after wasting so much time she asks for an extension! Come on, time for men in white coats.

      May has lost the plot or thinks she will be able to change the publics mind it was those horrible MPs not her and her bad servitude plan.

      JR, tell us why Cooper, Letwin and Boles traitor types are allowed to lay a motion, again, to take control of our govt decision making? We certainly did not vote for remain MPs to betray the national nor its vote to leave the EU entirely. As for indicative votes, no we did not vote for that either! We voted leave, not half in and not remain in part or under servitude.

      I agree with Bercow, Mays plan should not be brought again. Nothing has changed and it had historic defeats.

      1. Hope
        March 22, 2019

        Just read in The Sun May is allowing indicative votes. So no more govt remainers taking control. Six appear to remain in one form or another and one leave without a deal!

        As I wrote above, time to bring down the govt.

  2. Margaret
    March 22, 2019

    The point is that there should not be any room for believability.There should be truthful facts.

    1. Mike Wilson
      March 22, 2019

      We don’t want any of those pesky truthful facts. We want ‘politician’s facts’. At lease, that is what we will get.

    2. Merlin
      March 22, 2019

      I agree, but Brexit hasn’t happened yet, so facts are a bit thin on the ground.

      1. Margaret
        March 23, 2019

        Truthful facts Merlin.A lie or a comment is a fact in the world.It exists.This is why I distinguish facts from truth ensuring those two words together evoke a ethical meaning.

    3. Steve
      March 22, 2019


      “There should be truthful facts.”

      You expect too much.

      1. margaret
        March 22, 2019

        I only expect the same standards as I myself use particularly in my job to keep people alive.

  3. Ian McDougall
    March 22, 2019

    The EU has highjacked the UK Parliament, giving time for the remainders to revoke article 50 by making the 29th leave date in UK law null and void.

    If we ever needed to see the true threat to the UK of being in the EU there it is

    1. Peter Wood
      March 22, 2019

      Exactly so. It is clear they don’t expect May’s WA to pass, so they have allowed time for Remainers to cause havoc and prevarication.

      I do hope our host and fellow Brexiteers have a good defense strategy to prevent impending shenanigans by Benn, Cooper, Letwin and Co. next week. We want out on the 29th with no strings.

    2. NickC
      March 22, 2019

      Well, I did repeat on here and elsewhere that the 29 March date was not set in stone and could be amended. There were howls of derision where I was told “it is the law we will leave on 29 March”. Perhaps now people will learn that the law is what the powerful say it is.

      1. Jagman84
        March 22, 2019


        Have a read of this and see whether or not you are correct. It’s not as clear-cut as I’d imagined.

      2. Peter Wood
        March 22, 2019

        Yes you are proved correct; perhaps our host will expand on the possible timetable and method to amend the departure date by S I. Who can do it and what can be done to prevent it.

    3. William Long
      March 22, 2019

      Surely it is not the case that the EU granted extension overrides UK legislation that says we leave on 29 March?

    4. Jagman84
      March 22, 2019

      Such interference in Parliament has probably been going on for decades, albeit comfortably under the radar.

    5. Andy
      March 22, 2019

      It isn’t null and void. That is the date we Leave unless and until the Government changes the Law. The EU, for all its arrogance, cannot alter UK Law.

      1. Steve
        March 22, 2019


        “The EU, for all its arrogance, cannot alter UK Law.”

        Well it’s done a pretty good job of it so far, by using it’s people in Westminster.

    6. Alan Jutson
      March 22, 2019


      If you have viewed the midday news you will see how absolutely delighted all the EU members are at getting the deadline extended, glad handing each other, slapping each other on the back, huge smiles all round..

      They are celebrating victory because they know Mrs May does not want a no deal, and she will accept any deal.

      What an opportunity to get a better deal, now thrown away by our incompetent Prime Minister, the EU was and still is terrified of no deal

      1. Mark B
        March 23, 2019

        Not incompetent. Complicit.

    7. piglet
      March 22, 2019

      Agreed. Government must honour the 29th March leaving date. Conservative democrats must, at all costs, prevent a change to the law enabling Brexit to be postponed. This is all about democracy now. Delaying will also cause the destruction of the Conservative Party.

      1. Turboterrier.
        March 22, 2019

        @ piglet

        Delaying will also cause the destruction of the Conservative Party.

        From where a lot of us are sitting Mrs May has already done that ably assisted bt Hammond, Grieve, Rudd, Clark to name a few and the majority of the media and the good old Bull dung Broadcasting Company.

      2. Lifelogic
        March 22, 2019

        It will indeed destroy the Conservative Party and rightly so. They are mainly remainer, green crap pushing, SJW, identity politics, PC, tax to death socialists after all. Apart from perhaps 100 on the sensible wing. That or they are just on the make from pushing changes laws so as to profit people who pay them as “consultants”.

        If this appalling deal does go through the remoaners and May will have hugely stitched up the nation. The reason the EU are offering nothing sensible at all is due to the remoaners completely undermining our negotiation strength. That and May/Hammond’s appalling negligence in totally failing to be serious (and to have prepared fully) for a real Brexit.

      3. Hope
        March 22, 2019

        I think it time for DUP and leave MPs to make it absolutely clear no leaving on 29/03/2019 will mean the govt will need to be brought down. How could the DUP do anything else with the other options that might happen?

        For all its faults Labour are in opposition. So any debate about their policy etc is irrelevant. The public will blame the party in govt. for failing to deliver leaving the EU.

        I note CCHQ prevent MPs from being deselected. Siding with those who threaten to bring down the govt against its supporters and activists for supporting the govt policy! That is a good plan! Associations need to withdraw a support immediately.

        May invites Umuna and Soubry for a chat!

      4. Steve
        March 22, 2019


        Agreed, but the government seems to think they have divine right to merely change the law ad hoc to suit their own agenda, thus making a complete mockery of the rule of law.

        As far as they’re concerned, they regard themselves as above the law.

    8. rose
      March 22, 2019

      I notice the MSM is keeping quiet about the SI which the ex Mandarins have been nagging for openly. Is it to be brought on Monday and what can be done about it?

    9. James Brown
      March 22, 2019

      Absolute rubbish. The EU want the UK to remain for sure. But the delay to the final outcome is 100% down to the UK parliament

  4. oldtimer
    March 22, 2019

    We know from experience that May is two faced and not to be trusted. We know from what they say that for a majority of MPs the Referendum was a disaster. Both will conspire to flush the result, and the ballot papers, down the toilet. Such is their regard for voters.

    1. Timaction
      March 22, 2019

      This is your Government and Party Sir John. I’m ashamed of them as I have been since 2010 when Shameron took charge of your now Liberal Conservatives. Your Party has sunk lower and further to the left with Mrs May. We know that Labour is worse. Your Party is now a left of centre monstrosity but you won’t acknowledge this. We need change and a voting system that gives us choice. Politics is broken in this Country. I’ve witnessed the debates and wholesale lies and deceit in this Parliament. We deserve better with far fewer Mp’s, Lords and a real representative democracy. FPTP is 18th Century legacy party representation.

  5. eeyore
    March 22, 2019

    A short extension to April 12 without a deal has been offered. As it serves no purpose and a short delay will certainly become a longer one, I hope MPs will turn it down. But I have no faith in most of them, and no faith whatever in this government.

    We are also told 3500 troops are on standby but not what they are expected to do. Given the stories of mass protests by pro-Brexit lorry drivers, this looks ominous. Is Project Fear about to become Project Force?

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      Probably, the many traitors in Parliament, the speaker, May, Hammond and the rest of the remainers, most people at the BBC and most in the Civil Service will be entirely responsible. They are clearly very intentionally trying to fully usurp the democratic will.

    2. Steve Pitts
      March 22, 2019

      That date is to allow Cooper Boles and Letwin and others to sieze the agenda and increase chances of a soft Brexit Norway style , a 2nd referendum, or a General Election, or if none of these will allow a longer delay, anything to avoid us leaving with no deal. They want us to sign the surrender WA which is unlikely, but in any event if we don’t agree it, will do anything to avoid us leaving with no deal.

    3. Steve
      March 22, 2019


      “We are also told 3500 troops are on standby but not what they are expected to do. Given the stories of mass protests by pro-Brexit lorry drivers, this looks ominous. Is Project Fear about to become Project Force?”

      MP’s advised not to leave Parliament on foot. Beefing up anti – stalking laws, and Army on standby.

      Those facts are no coincidence. They are going to revoke A50 and they know there will be trouble.

      Thing is, we don’t have to lift a finger, we’ll get them at the next general election anyway. Libs Lab, and conservatives alike are all finished.

  6. Siobhan
    March 22, 2019

    It is false to claim that the DUP cannot accept anything which gives different treatment to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Go check Northern Ireland’s laws on abortion, gay rights and equality generally – all far more restrictive than GB’s as a direct result of DUP lobbying. The DUP are a bunch of money grabbing bigots who do NOT speak for the majority in N.I.

    1. Nicholas Murphy
      March 22, 2019

      The legal differences between GB and NI are the result of legislation here – not legislation from Brussels.

    2. matthu
      March 22, 2019

      Perhaps then: “the DUP cannot accept anything imposed on themwhich gives different treatment to Northern Ireland”

    3. 'None of the above'.
      March 22, 2019

      Whist I sympathise with your views about the Laws in NI, this has nothing to do with the Sovereignty of the UK and the integrity it’s Union. If you don’t like legislation supported by the DUP should use your vote in a GE.

    4. L Jones
      March 22, 2019

      But they are useful bigots who are being manipulated by money, it appears. They have ”their country” in mind and s*d the rest of us.
      They certainly fight their corner. It’s a pity TM didn’t treat the EU in the same way on her country’s behalf.

    5. NickC
      March 22, 2019

      Siobhan, It is false to claim that the DUP want different treatment for Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The issues you describe are within the remit of the devolved powers available to all the constituent parts of the UK (except England). Moreover there is common ground between Protestant and Catholic on the issues you mention – abortion in particular.

    6. Jagman84
      March 22, 2019

      Scotland has variations in laws as well, so what is your point meant to be?

    7. rose
      March 22, 2019

      These are devolved matters, as they are in Scotland and Wales. Being ruled by a foreign power is quite different. The DUP speak for the unionists and the majority of the unionists voted for Brexit. They don’t want to be ruled by a foreign power.

      The republicans have their own representatives and should not begrudge the unionists theirs.

      1. Kees
        March 22, 2019

        Rose..but the Unionists are already ruled by a foreign power..always were..if not by westminister then the Kirk..they are the lost tribe, naysayers only happy when surrounded by high walls ..not at all principaled (consider 1 billion for what) 100 per cent bigoted

        1. rose
          March 23, 2019

          They negotiated 1 billion for needs such as mental health, mainly the legacy of the troubles. They also negotiated for old people across the United Kingdom to retain the benefits Mrs May was threatening. The old people who haven’t been brainwashed by the hatred and bigotry displayed towards the Democratic Unionists are grateful. And they are democratic unionists, unlike some in their mainland sister party.

    8. Leslie Singleton
      March 22, 2019

      Dear Siobhan–Complete Tosh–The Laws you mention are internal to the UK and are not at the behest of foreign countries

      1. James Brown
        March 22, 2019

        But just not this part of the UK !!!!
        NI is completely different from the rest of the UK.
        As a simple test … Do you have a massive peace wall running through your town?!!!

        1. Leslie Singleton
          March 22, 2019

          Dear James–eg Essex is different from eg Wales but so what?

  7. Mark B
    March 22, 2019

    Good morning

    The danger for the government is both sides may choose not to believe the government, knowing it faces different ways.

    Does anyone believe or trust the Government or especially, the PM anymore?

    I think the way, and especially after the PM’s address to the nation, has and is being handled finds many decent people the world over, both shocked and appalled. Whatever happens after this Sir John, and you know I have never been one to demand Teresa May MP to resign, I think she no should go. To blame others after all that she has done reminds me of the of
    last few days of a certain German Chancellor when blamed his people for failing to achieve that which he himself set out to do. And on that score Teresa May MP is manifestly unfit for office.

    1. Turboterrier.
      March 22, 2019

      Mark B

      Does anyone believe or trust the Government or especially, the PM anymore?


  8. Lifelogic
    March 22, 2019

    Indeed. What an appalling mess has been created by May, Robbins the Civil Service’s gross incompetence to prepare for a WTO leave. This and her patent inablility to understand how to negotiate. Also by the many traitors in parliament (who were elected on clear Brexit Labour and Conservative manifestos) but have chosen to ignore these and undercut the EU negotiation at every turn. Thus ensuring that such an appalling deal is the only one on offer.

    I further blame Gove for inflicting such patent dope as May on the country and the Tory party. Also the Speaker for his clear anti Brexit agenda. 17.4 Million may vote for Brexit but a mere handful of traitors and incompetents can usurp them it seems.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      Now I notice in the Telegraph that Claire Tominey is suggesting Gove is a tempting next Tory leader option! A Tory leader who wants to prevent people having the freedom to pay to educate their children or grandchildren. This one assumes so as to have a dire state monopoly in education just as we have in healthcare killing thousands. Assassin Gove is the reason we suffer under the dire May. Recently he seems to have swallowed all the green crap too.

      No thanks he is nearly as dire as T May. Apparently 61% of people reading medicine went to private schools so there might be even more of a shortage of Doctors if the foolish & dangerous Gove abolished them or even just put VAT on them.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      “Brexit no-deal planning now underway in nuclear bunker beneath the MOD” I read.

      I assume this is actually a combination of yet more project fear to try ram May’s appalling deal down the throats of the sound wing of the Tory partly and secondly (should that not work) they think they might need them to supress the protesters that T May and this appalling government are about to betray.

      Thus destroying their party and hugely damaging residual democracy in the UK. Probably never to recover it. Bercow may not think their that many MPs are traitors but about 17.4 million people certainly do.

    3. Bob
      March 22, 2019

      “Thus ensuring that such an appalling deal is the only one on offer.”

      It’s not a “deal”. It requires the UK to give up it’s negotiating position and pay £39 billion into the bargain. What incentive would the EU have to strike a fair deal after that?

      You don’t go into a negotiation and put the full asking price on the table before you start negotiating. Can we all agree to stop referring to the WA as a “deal”.

  9. Newmania
    March 22, 2019

    This is hard Brexit .It puts the Uk in roughly the position of Turkey , ie within the customs union but out of the single market and every other supporting structure. It has prioritised ethnic purity over prosperity and leaves the UK isolated and powerless. You might think that Leavers would like it , but they were never going to like any reality.
    It avoids some initial visible suffering and stops foreigners coming in, the cost is
    It is crafted for its political use not its economic . It is not a new tragedy , just the same one. It isn`t a kind of Brexit; it is Brexit

    1. Stred
      March 22, 2019

      Given that Europeans are the same ethnic as British and some of their birds are very nice examples of European ethnic, how is the German/EU WA prioritising ethnic purity?

      1. Steve
        March 22, 2019


        “Given that Europeans are the same ethnic as British”

        Wrong, totally wrong.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      “Ethnic purity” what complete and utter drivel you talk.

      The EU system of open door immigration to EU citizens but not to Australian, US, Chinese or Indian engineers, scientists, business people and similar is clearly inherently racist. Further we will be much better off out. In a Singapore twice as rich way if we ever get a sensible low tax government.

      We should just take the best people on merit regardless after leaving and scrap the racist system that May presided over at the Home Office and as PM.

      Nor should we select police according to ethnic quotas as Cressida Dick suggests as this ensures you will never get the best people, recruitment will be far more difficult
      and you will by definition have to discriminate against some groups.

    3. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2019

      It is not hard Brexit because it doesn’t allow UK to have a trade policy of its own – we can’t sign a trade deal with anyone, and the EU can sign trade deals which disadvantage UK and we can do nothing about it. It is a form of Remain. Hence unacceptable.

    4. Pud
      March 22, 2019

      Newmania March 22, 2019 at 6:24 am: “This is hard Brexit”
      Newmania March 22, 2019 at 6:24 am: “It isn`t a kind of Brexit; it is Brexit”

      We’ve all seen that Remainers’ arguments are often inconsistent but contradicting yourself in the same post is an achievement.

    5. Richard1
      March 22, 2019

      No, hard – or clean – Brexit would of course be out of the CU so an independent trade policy is possible. Mays Brino prevents that. The govt seems to have proposed no restrictions on immigrants earning over £30k, and applying the same criteria to all immigrants wherever they are from below that. Why is that either stopping foreigners coming in or a policy of ethnic purity?

    6. Jagman84
      March 22, 2019

      Wrong. It is a remainers ‘Brexit’. The sort that inadequates likely and Mrs May come up with. Personally, I voted to leave the EU and all of its institutions. Not for some sort of political deal that drags us back in at a later date, if we actually left at all. Remainers say that we did not know what we were voting for. I say that they did not know that they were voting for the abolition of the UK, via full Federalisation. Maybe if they had, their choice may have been quite different.

    7. rose
      March 22, 2019

      “ethnic purity” and “stops foreigners coming in” Which country are you talking about?

    8. sm
      March 22, 2019

      Newmania: should have gone to Specsavers!

    9. outsider
      March 22, 2019

      Dear Newmania, You must move in very strange fringe circles if you imagine that we English consider ourselves ethically pure, though some Scots and a few Welsh-speakers may think themselves so. And if you are thinking of European versus non-European, may I point out that there are many fine black English men and women and that Brexit makes no difference to immigration from the other continents.

    10. Anonymous
      March 22, 2019


      All we wanted was *controlled* immigration after a swell of 10 million unexpected people, of which we are far more likely to be victims of crime than they.

      Yet all we get (and you are quite typical of the arrogant Remain middle class) is abuse and defamation in order to invalidate our vote.

      Despite provocations far more intense than those in Australia or New Zealand or Norway we have not produced a single mass killer.

      We have used the ballot box.

      It’s about time you started bloody well respecting it.

  10. Roy Grainger
    March 22, 2019

    May didn’t need to ask for a long delay because it’s already been arranged that that is what will happen, the EU have indicated they will agree to it and May has said she will follow whatever Parliament tells her to do and they will ask for it too.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      Exactly her betrayal continues.

    2. John C.
      March 22, 2019

      I thought the EU had made it very clear that it was either April 11th or May 22nd. If they agree to anything else, they’re not going to appear the tough guys any more.

  11. Prigger
    March 22, 2019

    Meanwhile the Electorate are conscious of the fact that they did not decide on the idea of a deal in voting, but on leaving the EU, in fact, last year as Cameron promised he would sign Article 50, “the very next day after a Leave result” ( He said, I believe in the MORNING of the very next day, that is it would be 24th June…. 2o18,…exit from the EU.
    This baby is long overdue

  12. Mike Stallard
    March 22, 2019

    Thank you for explaining the “backstop” so very simply. I have not seen anyone do it that simply before and now, I think, at last I understand the problem quite clearly.

    Two enormous questions need to be asked:

    1. Is a hard Brexit really that bad?

    2. The Joint Committee will handle all disagreements within Britain if the Withdrawal Treaty imposed by the EU – and accepted by the Prime Minister – comes to pass. Who will be sitting on it? The EU has Guy Verhofstadt who is a leading member of the Spinelli Group and who gets very angry about things, seems to be a leading figure in Brexit on the continent. M. Barnier would expect to be on the joint committee too. So would Sabine Weyand who has been his strong support throughout the negotiations. There were rumours too that Martin Selmayr, M. Juncker’s eminence grise, would chair the committee.
    The court of referral of disputes is, of course, the EUCJ.

    If this guesswork is correct, the Withdrawal agreement is literally selling our country out to our enemies.

    1. Roy Grainger
      March 22, 2019

      Mike: You can also be sure that at least half of the UK’s nominated representatives on the Joint Committee would always vote with the EU too.

    2. Lifelogic
      March 22, 2019

      A real Brexit is clearly by far the best option long term and not a real problem short term.

      Negotiate after leaving with a new and competent PM and without May’s expensive straight jacket.

    3. APL
      March 22, 2019

      ” If this guesswork is correct, the Withdrawal agreement is literally selling our country out to our enemies.”

      Innovative use of the word selling, there Mr Stallard. Usually when you sell something of value, you get something tangible in return. We will be paying the EU to take over our country.

      It’s as if our politicians don’t think they are up to the job of running the country.

    4. Dave Andrews
      March 22, 2019

      Worse than that, the WA makes the UK like an insurance company that has to cough up whatever the policy holder EU demands, with no recourse to a loss adjuster.

    5. Nigl
      March 22, 2019

      Didn’t Theresa May assure us we would be leaving the jurisdiction of the EUCJ and that the WA confirmed it.

      Whoops. Another ‘lie’.

    6. Mockbeggar
      March 22, 2019


      In answer, partly, to your first question:

      a) The pound will fall quite sharply (good for exports) but in my view recover within a short period (see post referendum).

      b) A lot of businesses will come out loudly complaining, but then get over it and adjust pretty quickly.

      c) There will be some disruption to fresh fruit and vegetables, or at least sharp price increases. Either the British public will grumble and get on with it knowing why – after all they were told about it often enough by the Project Fear people, or loud protests by (mainly Spanish) producers in the EU 27 that will bring Brussels back to the negotiating table to mitigate the effect.

      d) Unless there are strikes by people in France responsible for customs dues etc. as happened the other day, who want more money for perceived extra work, there will be NO holdups for traffic at either Calais or Dover.

      1. Mockbeggar
        March 22, 2019

        Just to add a footnote to c) above: ‘Smart’ champagne Socialist remainers will have to pay more for the French and Italian wines that they drink at their posh North London dinner partners.

    7. Martin R
      March 22, 2019

      The WA always was selling out the country to our enemies. That was Cameron and May’s intention all along and a majority of Tory MP’s seem minded to go along with that while still expecting voters to return them to Westminster next time around. Or do they simply assume our memories are as short as theirs?

    8. forthurst
      March 22, 2019

      Of course a ‘hard’ Brexit is not bad; it is very good. Predictably, the Remainers hate it because rather that leaving us anchored to their favourite country, the United States of Europe, the Utopian dream of Guy Verhofstadt’s febrile imagination, it means that HMS GB has weighed anchor and sailed away to seek its fortune with more propitious enterprises.

    9. Tad Davison
      March 22, 2019

      I don’t get the ‘guesswork’ bit?

      It has been pretty clear to most people on this site what would happen all along. That is why we have been expressing ourselves so strongly. If you have just come to the same conclusion,
      in terms you will understand, God loves best of all, a sinner who repenteth.

      Let us hope a lot of remainers now see who really governs our country, and why we leavers want to make it an independent sovereign entity once again.


  13. Andy
    March 22, 2019

    It is a very bad deal for the UK.

    But it is Brexit.

    You campaigned for it for 30 years – and now you have it.

    To steal a favourite Brexiteer phrase, shut up – you won.

    Now enjoy the booby prize you have ontained for the country.

    1. NickC
      March 23, 2019

      Andy, I don’t know what you hope to gain by lying or by deliberate ignorance. Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement keeps the UK tied in a “single customs territory” with the EU, and under the EU’s control in a range of issues from fish to security, all subject to the ECJ and paying £39bn for two years – around the same amount as we pay now. If you don’t know you should read it. It is everything we don’t want.

  14. Stred
    March 22, 2019

    Listening to some of the MPs who support the German /EU WA, they say that they understand that it is not ideal or that it has some aspects that are not terribly nice. That rather lovely Caroline something, a Labour MP who is much more reasonable than most of the other idiots, was on LBC while I was at the tip and said she supported May’s capitulation. The impression given is that they have not even read the various legal opinions given in the Spectator and political blogs. Perhaps they only watch the BBC. If they vote for it and the truth becomes apparent by the next election, it will be a shame to see them disappear from the scene.

  15. Dominic
    March 22, 2019

    To sacrifice the territorial integrity of the UK by hiving off Northern Ireland on the altar of EU appeasement is tantamount to sedition and reveals just how far May, Merkel and her vicious allies will go to impose their power upon us and how we run our nation’s affairs

    May isn’t the PM of the UK. May is the enemy within. She’s also a vicious politician who’s now blaming her woes on Tory Brexit MPs and courting sympathy.

    This will not end well for Brexit. The fact that this person is still leader of the Tory party reveals just how weak Tory Brexiteers are. They are neutralised and that spells disaster for British democracy

  16. Andy
    March 22, 2019

    Last night’s European Council was telling.

    27 EU leaders sat in a room deciding what would happen to Britain.

    The British PM sat outside having no say.

    This is what ‘Taking Back Control’ looks like.

    Churchill and Thatcher would be turning in their graves at the way the Brexiteers have belittled Britain.

    A once great country being told what to do by Luxembourg. Pathetic.

    1. Richard1
      March 22, 2019

      Indeed it is a pathetic spectacle. But it needn’t have been so. Mrs may is completely unequal to her task. Conservative MPs now need to recognise this and replace her.

    2. Mike Wilson
      March 23, 2019

      Yeah! Kind of makes you want to leave properly so the humiliation can end

    3. agricola
      March 23, 2019

      Andy it is not Brexiteers wanting a soverein nation back in their own control that has produced this abysmal situation. It is a thoroughly dishonest PM backed by a remain civil service who are responsible. Add to this a CBI whose members do not wish to lose their seat at the table they can influence and control, plus of course remain socialist thinkIng across all parties that wants close ties to a largely socialist EU

      While I share your disquiet, honest analysis will reveal that it has been a largely remain cabal who have controlled th agenda. What you see since Chequers is that it has been rumbled and is now falling apart. Ask yourself why the process has produced so many resignations.

    4. Timaction
      March 23, 2019

      Wrong. We were outside as we are leaving. End of. If we were inside we would be remaining. Either way what an example to show how the legacies have stitched us up in this monstrosity for over 40 years at huge costs and NO benefits!!!

  17. Bob W
    March 22, 2019

    Surely there will be no third vote. I can’t see that she has brought anything new in the agreement that Mr Bercow demanded to allow a third vote.

  18. Bob W
    March 22, 2019

    I have been longing for huge independence street parties next Saturday. I now get the feeling this will never end.

  19. Lynn Atkinson
    March 22, 2019

    Join the club!

  20. DaveM
    March 22, 2019

    Why April 12? I can’t see the logic.

    1. DaveM
      March 22, 2019

      Our PM has allowed herself – and by extension our country – to be treated derisively and shamefully. Trump, Obama, Blair, Merkel, Cameron (the list is endless) would not have allowed themselves to be treated like this. She has even allowed the EU to dismiss a date set in U.K. law without even so much as a whimper. She’s an absolute embarrassment.

      Stand strong Mr Redwood. Enough is enough.

  21. […] “The government is proceeding as if there will be a third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement on Monday. They will of course need to persuade the Speaker that something meaningful has changed from the previous version they put to the Commons, which lost by 149 votes. The government approach to get MPs to vote for the Agreement depends on which MP they are talking to. Leave supporting MPs I hear are  told there will be a long delay to Brexit or no Brexit if they do not vote for the Agreement. Remain voting MPs are told there would be a no deal Brexit on 29 March. As all this has appeared in the press, the two sides can see that at least one side is not getting the truth. The danger for the government is both sides may choose not to believe the government, knowing it faces different ways. (here) […]

  22. Lifelogic
    March 22, 2019

    Not much point in buying a new car as secondhand ones are so very cheap and usually rather better, simpler and cheaper to maintain overall. Wait until they force you to buy one by banning the old ones as they doubless will do.

  23. Oliver
    March 22, 2019

    I hope the ERG+ have been explicit that they are prepared to en masse split from the party. The Tories will never be elected again, without a clean exit, so you have nothing to lose.

    The wimps can combine with Chukka and the LibUndemocrats, and will annihilate Labour, so at least it would eradicate the communist threat.

  24. Shieldsman
    March 22, 2019

    Does Mrs May’s one woman agenda suite the old guard and controlling interests (CBI) within the Conservative Party? It would appear so.
    It definitely is antagonising the grass roots membership and the Tory and leave voter.
    I raise the grand old Churchillian gesture to the Withdrawal Agreement.
    My TV set is being peppered with my slippers.

  25. Narrow Shoulders
    March 22, 2019

    What I found most interesting last night was the reports of splits within the EU 27. Coupled with letters sent by European business to the commission demanding easy trade this finally gives us real traction in the negotiations.

    The closer it gets to April 12 the more nervous they will get and we can get a fudge that works for us rather than them.

    Such is the way with the EU.

  26. James Bertram
    March 22, 2019

    Watching the press conference last night, the questions following, and the commentators on Sky, it became clear that the EU had blinked. Junker and Tusk looked battered, and were lost for words. Their political editor said that, for the first time, the EU leaders believed that Mrs May was prepared to walk away and accept No Deal and that she no longer feared it, and it was clear that the EU feared No Deal far more. The length of time it took to come to a decision supports this view. This hardball approach is what you and the strong Brexiteers have been saying would work all along, Sir John. It is how Donald Trump would have handled negotiations from the beginning. It is how any businessman would have approached the talks. It is the first time we’ve played our (T)/trump card. Well done.
    The way forward now is to first make sure May’s atrocious WA MUST NOT PASS. Hopefully you can convince your fellow Brexiteers to stand firm. Once disposed of, then is the time to offer a WTO exit + GATT24 transition before the 12th April. The 2 year transition will allow a consensus in the HofC to form for the type of arrangement we then want – whether Canada+ or a softer EFTA or EEA type deal. (The EU indicated that they had left the door open to all possibilities.)
    All to play for, and it would be ridiculous if anyone in the HofC, whether Leave or Remain, now backed May’s mad surrender document.

  27. George Brooks
    March 22, 2019

    During the last 24 hours we have had the clearest illustration of how we have ended up in this appalling situation due to Theresa May’s total inability to negotiate. She has no foresight and has now handed control back to the EU.

    One can now see very clearly how we ended up with Chequers and then the WA. The ‘good lady’ has to be removed from office very quickly before she does any more damage.

    We, the people voted to leave , we did not vote to pass the decision to be taken on our behalf by Parliament. The instruction to leave was very clear and that we must do next Friday without fail.

    Yes, it will be rough for a short while but we will get our country back and regain our leading position in the world.

    Anything else and we sink into the back ground as a vassal state of a failing European Union.

  28. Prunella vulgaris
    March 22, 2019

    Some seem anxious to get in the local elections at the beginning of May.
    We should leave on 29th March 2019 as planned.

  29. Brian Tomkinson
    March 22, 2019

    If, as seems likely, Mrs May’s “deal” is once again voted down, the EU expects the UK to tell it what it wants to do by 12th April. They say that a new approach would be considered. All options would remain open. How is this possible after all the time taken to reach this point and oft repeated statements by Mrs May and the EU that this “deal” is the only one possible? Furthermore, the EU has stated that it will not re-open this “deal”. This is surely just another delay intended to result in the UK staying in the EU.
    MPs have betrayed the British people by asking them to decide the question of UK membership of the EU and when they didn’t get the result they wanted they have done all they can to overturn it despite making manifesto pledges to the contrary. Our democracy has been undermined by those elected to uphold and protect it.

  30. Alan Jutson
    March 22, 2019

    I thought if no deal/agreement, it was written in Law that we leave on 29th March.

    If that is the case how can Mrs May extend this date without changing the law.

    Surely changing the law of the default date is required, then that will need a vote in Parliament, and that then risks no deal to be legally taken out completely.

    JR Does anything need to happen in Parliament lf/when we reach 29th March with no agreement passed, is it automatic we leave.

  31. Nicholas Murphy
    March 22, 2019

    On Monday? Guess that means that May will be resigning that evening. My tip: Hunt to act as a temporary PM.

  32. Alan Jutson
    March 22, 2019

    Afraid few people now trust Mrs May, both at home and abroad.

    The Eu are now starting to get desperate, but they are also getting frustrated, she says one thing, but does many others.
    She is sometimes clear in voice, but never in action, and they have only just recently found that out.

    She must not be allowed to get her agreement through Parliament, its a very bad deal for the UK but an excellent one for the EU, because they will remain in control.

    The Eu thought it was in the bag, now they fear it may not be, and we actually may just leave without any agreement, other than WTO terms.

  33. Captain Peacock
    March 22, 2019

    I keep saying its never going to happen come back in 10 years we will still be in the EU and our country will be broken up with parts aliened to France, Ireland. Spain. Thanks May. Clarke, Morgan, Rudd, Soubry, to name but a few of the traitors.

  34. Bryan Harris
    March 22, 2019

    Was it in the Blair era when the term ‘Spin’ came into it’s own, after which we all recognized that this meant someone wasn’t being totally upfront and honest.
    We can all accept a little spin on political events, but the May government has taken it to a whole new level …. It seems as if, as Parliament moved ever further left, that over-spin has become the normal state of play – Is it any wonder that the reputation of Parliament has reached an all time low.

    One suspects May will be ‘spinning’ to the very end, and beyond – But what drives her?

  35. Kevin
    March 22, 2019

    BBC has the following headline on its Web site (under “Top Stories”): “MPs have ‘clear choice’ as Brexit delayed”.

    Surely it is not true that Brexit has been delayed beyond March 29th, as the law remains unchanged?

    1. Kevin
      March 22, 2019

      BBC is now running this headline (under “Top Stories”): “Brexit: Departure date pushed back by at least two weeks”.

      But if I scroll down the article, it contains the following line:
      “The UK’s departure date is still written into law as next Friday, 29 March.”

  36. Adam
    March 22, 2019

    DUP might say:

    The WA skeleton was pronounced dead in the second vote so it won’t need a turd.

  37. William
    March 22, 2019

    Mrs May’s incompetence has been laid bare for all to see in the last 48 hours. First, she belatedly addresses the nation and used the time to berate MPs for being indecisive (rich coming from her); these are the same MPs that she is trying to get on her side. Second, she went to Brussels and used the threat of No Deal to delay Brexit, thereby undermining what she has been telling Leave MPs for the last week, which is that without her deal going through there will be no Brexit.

    These two manoeuvres have weakened her deal’s position in parliament even further. She might have managed to actually INCREASE her margin of defeat in the third meaningful vote. What a shambles. How did this individual become leader of our County?

  38. Edwardm
    March 22, 2019

    I always find you provide the best analysis. Thank you for your articles, especially useful at critical times like the present.

  39. Simon Hodges
    March 22, 2019

    The extra 2 week extension makes it more likely that May’s deal will be voted down on Monday or Tuesday. The question is what will the deluded woman do next? The trouble here is that one cannot trust a single thing she says. Brexit means Brexit meant Brexit means Brino. Do deal is better than a bad deal meant any deal was better than no deal. Leaving on the 29th March without asking for an extension meant not leaving and asking for an extension. On every count May has shown herself to be an habitual liar, duplicitous remainer and traitor. Following the 3rd defeat of the WA, even if May came out and apparently committed herself to a WTO deal Brexit why would anyone believe her to be sincere given her dishonourable track record?

    No deal of any description would ever have been acceptable to the democratically unrepresentative HoC with 80% of its members fully in the remainer camp. Given an absolute guarantee of never being able to agree a deal then a WTO deal exit was always the only logical outcome. How despairing that democracy itself dies in such a fashion cast adrift by Westminster’s ship of fools in a sea where hopelessness now springs eternal.

    I wouldn’t even rule out the possibility that May went out of her way to get the very worst transition proposal available simply to drive everyone into wanting to revoke article 50 as from my perspective remaining would be a better offer than her bondage and capitulation proposal in which the UK would be a zombie state trapped in permanent EU limbo.

  40. CvM
    March 22, 2019

    This appears to be the situation now:

    3rd vote: will fail.
    No deal proponents will vote against to keep no deal available
    Softer Brexit / referendum MPs will vote against to keep those options on the table
    Then next votes.
    no deal: will not wanted so MP’s will find a majority for either a much softer Brexit, a referendum or revocation, probably in that order of probability to happen. They will manage to find a majority in order to avoid no deal.

    So the choice for those who believe a no deal / WTO solution I think is do they think a soft Brexit (Norway or common market 2.0) is better than May’s deal because that could well be the only 2 realistic options left.

    Saying no deal is the logical outcome of the process is fine, but ignores the reality of what is happening

  41. a-tracy
    March 22, 2019

    Truth and Trust has died today.

    1. Mark B
      March 23, 2019

      It died a long time ago. Only now has it been pronounced dead.

  42. Mike Wilson
    March 22, 2019

    We are about to lose the best thing about the EU – freedom of movement. And keep the bad things.

    All governments had to do was restrict freedom of movement, WITHIN THE RULES, and none of this would ever have happened. Even now I read, in the conrxt of warnings about us running out of water, that part of the reason is a predicted growth in population from 65 million to 72 million in the next 25 years. That cannot all be down to the increase in longevity. Why do we have to have this endless increase? Oh yes, because it is the only way the government can get the economy to grow.

  43. bigneil
    March 22, 2019

    I don’t sleep well and wake regularly during the night. Living on a quiet cul-de-sac I tend to hear anything, especially odd sounds.Last night It took a while for me to realise the noise was Jean-Claude and his buddies in Brussels having a party in celebration at getting still more cash from the UK. I think it was “we’re in the money” they were singing.

  44. Monza 71
    March 22, 2019

    A very good summary of the position, albeit with several omissions :

    First, a long delay is certainly not off the table :
    If Parliament is willing to hold the European elections in May, MPs can vote for a delay of as long as they like, within reason. In desperation, after losing all other options, Remainers might jump at this in the hope that a two-year delay will give them a chance to hold another referendum or revoke A50 altogether. Some Leavers might foolishly be tempted in the hope of renegotiating a brand new deal. Almost no chance of that given the dismay with Brexit felt all across Europe. It is a result that poses the greatest risk to Brexit happening at all and will inevitably end in a much softer deal.

    Secondly, The Deal itself :
    If the deal was passed, your summary does not give any indication of what will happen then :
    Will May resign and further talks led by a Brexiteer Government even more committed to leaving the Customs Union and Single Market ?

    What are the real chances of us being stuck in the backstop indefinitely ? I suspect they are very low.

    My conclusion is that we simply have to secure Brexit in the next month.

    If we can’t get the numbers to vote for a WTO exit, we have to take the risk associated with May’s deal. The forces of Remain are so strong across the whole of the media and the establishment that a longer delay will almost certainly kill off Brexit in any recognisable form.

    Can you really take that risk, Sir John ?

  45. ukretired123
    March 22, 2019

    Thank you Sir John for your clearing the fog as usual as few can appreciate just what is going on in a sensible manner, least of all Corbin , Labour, the EU27 and the rest of the world.
    Many thanks indeed.

  46. 'None of the above'.
    March 22, 2019

    Hear! Hear!

  47. NickC
    March 22, 2019

    I voted to Leave knowing, like everyone else, that there was no guarantee of a “deal”. The dWA is not just a bad deal, it is Remain without even the possibility of leaving which our current membership entails. Yes, a good trade deal, if it satisfies the apprehensive, might be worth suffering. But I never wanted a deal in the first place – because I did not trust the EU. And how right that was.

    What is interesting is to observe the Remains as they convince themselves that the dWA is Leave; that Leave was contingent upon a deal; and that being as independent as New Zealand is impossible for the UK because we are too insignificant. We voted Leave in a binary Referendum – because it is not possible to be a little bit out of the EU – it’s either in or out. Leave won more than fairly given the disparity in spending, inertia, and establishment power for the Remain side.

    We expect to leave the EU treaties. We will not accept being cheated.

  48. javelin
    March 22, 2019

    Think Nick Clegg.

    Derided. Ignored. Untrusted. Out of Power.

    Now think Conservative Party.

  49. Know-Dice
    March 22, 2019

    Sir JR,

    So, the voting schedule for next week.

    1. MV3 if the Speaker allows it
    2. SI in the House of Commons and the Lords to change leaving date to either 12 April [WA rejected] or 22 May [WA voted through]

    In the case of the WA being rejected will the SI pass?

    1. Know-Dice
      March 22, 2019

      I should also say that uncertainty is the biggest problem for companies. The boss of KFC said this morning that tariffs/taxes are inconsequential in comparison to uncertainty.

      Maybe, it is also time to unilaterally make an offer to EU citizens living in the UK to give them some certainty – they and UK citizens in the EU should never have been “bargaining chips”.

    2. Know-Dice
      March 22, 2019

      From the BBC Website:

      “Mrs May is expected to table secondary legislation – that has to go through the Commons and the Lords by next Friday – to remove 29 March from UK law.

      But Downing Street sources say an agreement with the EU to extend the Brexit deadline would be a piece of international law and would take precedence even if Parliament rejected it.”

      Hmm… isn’t that why we wanted to leave the EU?

      1. rose
        March 23, 2019

        This is a really horrifying briefing to the PM. Surely even the most ardent remainer must balk at EU law trumping ours in this matter of our exit?

  50. L Jones
    March 22, 2019

    How sinister it all sounds. ”The EC will permit this…”, ”The EC will allow…”, ”The EC expects…” and so on.
    This is outrageous. We should have just told them we ARE leaving, when and how, on OUR terms.
    If this surrender treaty is voted through many of us believe it will be the end of our country as we know it – the change may be gradual, but in the end it will be apparent that our children are living in a far inferior (and more threatening) world than we had wished for them. I love my country, but I would rather live elsewhere and remember it as it was rather than watch as the sinister stratagems of the EU ruin it for us all.

  51. oldtimer
    March 22, 2019

    If I understand the law as it stands, we leave the EU on 29 March 2019. This date may be delayed provided (1) the EU agrees (it has with conditions) and (2) a statutory instrument is put in place to give it effect.

    In reply to a question on your previous diary post, you said that it needs to be approved by both Houses and that would require about a day for each. It would be very helpful to me if you could explain the procedures involved in this particular instance. I looked up Statutory Instruments Practice 5th edition at the National Archive to discover there are indeed many types of SI and procedures for enabling them. So what exactly applies in this case? Does it require a vote? Can a vote be demanded? How would that demand be made and what hurdles must it overcome to succeed? Delay is and will continue to be contentious. Does May have a free hand? It would be helpful to voters to know which MPs supported Brexit on its due date, those who voted to delay and who abstained.

  52. robert lewy
    March 22, 2019

    Surely it must be the case that any new arrangement that Parliament is likely to come up with will only affect the contents of the Political Declaration. The Withdrawal Agreement will remain unsullied by the hand of a third country.

    The EU would allow nothing else.

    I cannot see any possibility that Parliament will actually make any proposal which could “improve” the Withdrawal Agreement.

    Further, since the changes that they are likely to ask for will only appear in the Political Declaration however emphatic their proposals there will be no legally binding commitment on the EU to these changes which will not be tested until after the WA is signed and delivered.

  53. Doug Summers
    March 22, 2019

    Sir John’s analysis shows that the May deal, with all its imperfections, is the only viable route out. There is no majority for a WTO Brexit in the House so if May is ruled out the we will be saddled with a pretend Brexit or no Brexit at all. Leavers should hold their noses and vote for the May deal.

  54. NickC
    March 22, 2019

    JR said: “Mrs May’s insistence that the UK will be leaving the Customs Union and the single market , necessary to keep to her Manifesto, alienates the opposition parties and a handful of Conservatives.”

    But the draft Withdrawal Agreement explicitly states the UK and the EU will be a “single customs territory”. That is a customs union – which is a distinction without a difference to the current customs union. It also states that we will be subject to all single market rules including “agri-food” (so CAP). And effectively the CFP.

    That’s no different to what we have now. And Remain MPs are still complaining?

  55. Nicholas Murphy
    March 22, 2019

    Do it, Russ! Very happy with my new Jag. I’ll never buy anything German again.

  56. Ian wragg
    March 22, 2019

    I think today will be officially recognised as the day the Conservative Party ceased to exist .
    May has totally humiliated this country and should be locked in the Tower..

  57. Malcolm White
    March 22, 2019

    It’s interesting to note that the European Parliament has been totally absent in this negotiation process – just the EU Commission and the Council – which simply goes to highlight, what we’ve known all along, that elected representatives in the EU have little or no say in proceedings. The EU Parliament is the EU Commission’s way of claiming some democratic legitimacy, where none exists.

    1. Mark B
      March 23, 2019

      Good point.

  58. Tooley Stu
    March 22, 2019

    A voice of reason in a time of great confusion.

    Although we should forget about Article 50 and start focusing on Article 61.

    Tooley Stu

  59. agricola
    March 22, 2019

    Once the WA is voted down I would have the hope that May would have the good grace to go. This might then open the door on what in the modern vernacular they call blue sky thinking. We all know that there are ways in which we can work towards a good trading relationship with the EU while maintaining the current relationship until such time as we have a final FTA. With a bit of intelligent discussion the UK & EU could cherry pick the WA for all items of mutual benefit and call it a way forward agreement. It only requires good leadership. The EU have been repeticious over the past three years on not knowing what the UK wants. I sympathise with them as we have all suffered the presence of T May. Between the DUP, a few from Labour and a constructively led Conservative party it is achievable. Forced to choose I think Boris is the man to do it.

    1. agricola
      March 22, 2019

      Why not, I don’t think it offends your criterior for none publication.

  60. Martin R
    March 22, 2019

    Is it not about time that Parliament returned to the convention of expecting ministers to resign if they tell lies in the House? This PM should have been forced out several years ago on that basis and now grows more mendacious by the day. To say that is a sorry state of affairs for the mother of parliaments to be in would be a gross understatement. What’s more there is no hiding it, there cannot be a soul in the country now who doesn’t know May for a compulsive liar.

  61. dripdrip
    March 22, 2019

    Of course you yourself JR are one of the biggest spinners going..well known and well integrated into the spinners camp.. but you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you that..after all it is the main reason for keeping the diary going.. but one of these days the diary will be all wrapped up..it will happen quite suddenly..about the same time as you hightail it for the hills –

  62. Ian Pennell
    March 22, 2019

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    The Conservative Party is now in a terrible place. The Government has a net satisfaction rating of -75%, the lowest since 1994 (when John Major´s government was so deeply unpopular with splits over Europe and following a series of sleaze scandals). This poll is here for you to digest:

    Theresa May´s delaying of Brexit until 12th April (and Brexit will probably delayed again), ministers threatening to resign in order to vote against a “No Deal” Brexit, an appalling Withdrawal Agreement that satisfies no one and some Conservative MPs threatening to vote (with Labour) to enable Parliament to table “indicitive votes” on various forms of non Brexit – all feed in to a narrative of Government Shambles and Incompetence. I dread to think what the next polls will show!

    For Brexit (the Brexit that 17.4 million voters understood it to be in 2016) – and for your Party- this whole scene is an utter Disaster! Don`t be surprised to see Opinion Polls with the Conservatives adrift by double- figures: Members of Parliament, such as your good self, Sir who are concerned about Brexit – and Conservative Party fortunes going forward must be losing sleep at the utter shambles Theresa May has made of the whole proceedings whilst a majority of MPs are- through Parliamentary chicanery- doing their utmost to completely derail Brexit (and they are winning).

    Drastic times require drastic means. Swift Catharsis is now of the utmost essence to rescue Brexit and save the Conservatives from complete obliteration: You – along with your ERG colleagues – MUST NOW contact Jeremy Corbyn to arrange for a “Vote of No Confidence” in Theresa May and her Government ASAP and you must vote to bring the Government down. I understand your reluctance to vote to bring down against a “Conservative Government”, but we now have a situation whereby destroying a (nominally) Conservative Government is vital to save the Conservative Party from electoral obliteration- and that is something that you and your ERG colleagues must grasp as fact so that you resolve to undertake the required Catharsis!

    Then – through a show of hands- the Conservatives must coalesce around a True Brexit Leader to stop Jeremy Corbyn/ Remainers from forming a Government- whilst pushing firmly and eloquently for the General Election. Then the General Election must be fought on a WTO “No Deal” Brexit platform complete with popular pro- growth and tax- cutting policies. A Brexit- supporting Conservative Government would be the likely result (and even if this did not happen, this would surely be the result in the subsequent Election).

    THIS Strategy is now the only Hope for Rescuing Brexit and saving the Conservatives from a 1997 style Electoral defeat. You don`t have much time to act.

  63. Caterpillar
    March 22, 2019

    It seems that all news is now stating the earliest UK can leave is 12th April – has the law already been changed?

    1. Caterpillar
      March 22, 2019

      Given the Daily Mail’s change of editorial policy in recent months, it was refreshing to see its basic appraisal on ‘no deal’ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6836781/ROSS-CLARK-reveals-truth-Brexit-without-deal-REALLY-mean.html
      In summary, even the transients wouldn’t be that bad.

      Why are so many MPs so against just leaving?

      1. Mark B
        March 23, 2019

        Why are so many MPs so against just leaving?

        Because they all know that most of them cannot cut it.

  64. glen cullen
    March 22, 2019

    Not one word of the MV3 has changed ? How can the PM present this to Parliament next week

  65. Original Richard
    March 22, 2019

    I think it’s even more important to boycot goods from Southern Ireland/Eire.

  66. RichardM
    March 22, 2019

    Petition Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU : 2,783,605
    Petition Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019 : 392,966

    This is a good current indication as to the relative popularity of the 2 paths. Now at 7:1

    Around 4% of the Revoke votes are from outside UK, consistent with offshore UK population sizes and patterns, not any large scale bot activity, which would be easily detectable. Names and postcodes correlated with electoral registers. Emails were taking several hours yesterday to arrive enabling voters to register due to the huge demand post-May speech slagging off Parliament.

    Of course these partitions exist only to allow the public to trigger parliamentary debates, nothing more. Much as the non-binding referendum should have been, especially since it has been proven to have been influenced by illegal Leave campaign activities.

    1. rose
      March 23, 2019

      You forgot to point out that one of these two is advertised every hour on the hour by all broadcasters. As the anti Trump one was. The other is not.

  67. TomTomTom
    March 22, 2019

    Categorising it as “May’s Deal” is a mistake.

    It’s a joint deal between two parties and one of those parties does not accept it.

    Therefore both sides of the negotiation are equally at fault and both sides should be looking to resolve it.

    Adding in a paragraph to time-limit the backstop would resolve this issue ( it could be along time-limit ). Other flaws aside, the deal would get through.

    My prefered method to solve the backstop is not to time-limit it but instead to simply do this:

    If the UK wishes to leave the backstop and the other EU does not agree then they pay us £1.

    The next month if the status is still the same they pay £2

    Then £4, £8, £16 and so forth.

    The backstop is therefore not time-limited but will gradually build up the pressure until exit is guaranteed.

  68. Original Richard
    March 22, 2019

    Before the HoC embarks on “taking control” and/or starts “indicative votes” to determine whether they revoke Article 50 or if we leave, how we leave, there should first be a general election as many MPs are no longer even pretending to adhere to their election promises and many are certainly not representing their constituents’ wishes.

    Constituencies voted 64:36 to leave.

  69. David Brooke
    March 22, 2019

    I profess to being a hard Brexiteer. Isn’t this debate all rather hypothetical now? The EU (via parliament and thanks to Blair) will dictate the government agenda now that they have the extra 2 weeks to manoeuvre? Even if the WA is defeated (as it should be) then parliamentarians are likely to prevent us from leaving at all costs. The maths prevent anything to stop it.

  70. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    March 22, 2019

    May and the EU’s disgusting Withdrawal Agreement is like being mugged, bound, gagged and dumped in a ‘side-road’ that is supposedly some sort of ‘Exit’ from the EU.

    The only option to save the Tory Party is to leave on WTO terms.

    The Tory Party drifts towards its end, with a whimper and Rigor Mortis is just about to set in.

  71. Everhopeful
    March 22, 2019

    MPs had their votes in the Referendum.
    One vote each as per the “democracy” they invade other countries to impose.
    After that their single duty was to implement the result.
    NOT to play party politics at the expense of the nation’s freedom.
    NOR to indulge their delusions of grandeur thinking they can play with the “ Big Boys.”.
    It did not end well for Quisling.

  72. Iain Gill
    March 22, 2019

    I think May will fail to get anything through parliament.

    She will be forced to go.

    Some other remainer will be put in as PM.

    They will ask for an even longer extension.

    The voters will give up on politicians.

    The Conservatives will be devastated at elections.

    People like me will simply stop engaging with politics, and will willfully obstruct it in any small way we can.

    Some people will get very angry indeed, and outcome of that is very unpredictable.

    Any presence at free speech will disappear.

    Its not looking good.

    We are looking like a tin pot dictatorship, where a minority self selected bubble in politics, journalism, middle classes, are imposing their will on the rest of us.

    What a disaster for the country.

    What a predictable mess.

  73. VotedOut
    March 22, 2019

    Please replace the PM immediately.

    This is way beyond two party politics.

    My country is being eviscerated by this incompetence.

    How on earth is the UK to be taken seriously after all this regardless of what now happens?

  74. Sue Doughty
    March 22, 2019

    This is being fixed so that MPs can decide to overrule the referendum result and have the UK remain in the EU and pay a lot more, ditch the £ and adopt the euro, turn Westminster into a museum.
    It is very upsetting. The voters of Britain, and businesses, are very upset.

  75. Newmania
    March 22, 2019

    In the U Gov poll the May thing gets 12% support 28% no deal and Remain 45%. Overall the majority that think leaving the EU is a bad thing is a solid and consistent one
    Al, of this encourages me to think that at some point this outbreak of la la land logic will pas and the country will return to its calm pragmatic status quo the log jame ins the two Party duopoly and the extremist old and young who are inflicting their nonsense on the rest of us

    1. Caterpillar
      March 22, 2019


      It is interesting that after nearly three more years of project fear, a biased media, a completely dodgy negotiation that (as a point estimate) the yougov poll shows essentially the same prediction as the populus pole on the 22nd June 2016. I think this is very telling. There was a real opportunity for MPs to get behind the referendum result, unite the country, get a positive attitude and solve some of the many problems we have. I think the opportunity is still there to move the country forward, I think MPs with childish debates next week will throw this possible recovery a way. It means leaving with no deal but there is still an opportunity to pull the country together and move on. It requires.leadership and belief from all sections of the HoC, and so won’t happen.

  76. Owen
    March 22, 2019

    Dear Sir John,

    According to the .json document linking from the “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU” petition page, you have signed the petition, as your name is there in the list. Is this an error, or are you not always completely straight with us ?


    PS in fact many of your close colleagues seem to have signed it including Mark Francois and Peter Bone, and Jacob Rees Mogg.

    Reply Of course I didnt sign it

    1. Owen
      March 22, 2019

      PS In fact occurring to the “signature count” field you appear to have signed the petition over 3000 times which honestly I think is a little bit naughty.

      1. Know-Dice
        March 22, 2019

        You should point this out to the BBC as they have an article on their website saying that it’s unlikely that bots are involved. And how hard it is to generate that quantity of email accounts

        1. Owen
          March 23, 2019

          Nobody really knows who many fake duplicate signatures there. Leaving aside bots, any individual with several different e-mail addresses could vote several times, possibly even from the same device or location. If a substantial number of people did this then obviously the vote count would be way overstated.

      2. Owen
        March 22, 2019

        FWIW I did not realise initially that the votes are allocated to constituencies associated with the names of MPs so even my attempted jokes are off the mark.

    2. Richard1
      March 22, 2019

      Interesting these petitions are a fraud.

      Conservatives should have nothing to do with them in any case. Mobs are for leftists.

  77. Gareth
    March 22, 2019

    Sadly, I think we will now need to turn our minds to considering what deal the Corbyn Government will seek.

  78. Helen Smith
    March 22, 2019

    I don’t really care what Remain supporting MPs want, Remain lost the referendum, Leave won and this is supposed to be about effecting that decision.

  79. Tad Davison
    March 22, 2019

    What about all those goods that come from our most cherished and loyal friend, southern Ireland?

    To express our anger, my family have already taken the unilateral decision to boycott their goods too. Just imagine if every UK citizen exercised their right to do the same?

    And dear old Macron hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory.

    But the bottom line is, a lot of Tories gave us this rubbish gutless prime Minister and their judgement is seriously questionable to put it mildly.

    They all need to know how cheated we feel, and in no uncertain terms. The British people are strongest when forcibly backed into a corner.


  80. Helen Smith
    March 22, 2019

    Boycott Irish goods, I am

  81. Original Richard
    March 22, 2019

    If the EU’s WA does not pass through the HoC, which is still very likely given that a surrender treaty where we give up making our laws, deciding how to run our economy, setting our tax rates etc. to the EU in perpetuity until the EU releases us, is unacceptable to remainers and leavers alike, then we are going to have a long extension “to sort matters out”.

    If the Conservative Party wishes to survive, it needs to prevent the take-over of the Brexit process by a remainer HoC and the only way to do this is to vote for a general election, which the Labour Party would surely support.

    Mrs. May should then resign as she has promised to do and the Conservative Party could elect quickly a new leader with a new Brexit policy based upon the EU’s position in these negotaiations.

  82. DaveK
    March 22, 2019

    It now appears according to the BBC that the EU has told us our legal leaving date is scrapped and is now moved to potentially 12th April or possibly longer.

    1. Michael
      March 22, 2019

      Yes DaveK, it’s called waking up, waking up to reality. Things could be so different if only, if only we were geographically located somewhere else like mid Atlantic. But we’re not, we are only 20 miles from France, Belgium, near enough, and the Netherlands, and always will be, so time to get real, days of Empire have passed, days when we had a huge conveyor belt of shipping trade to Oz NZ the Far East, Africa, the world over, in the 1960s, all gone, all gone like in a puff of smoke. So we have to take a fresh look and make the most of our circumstance for ourselves and especially for our children, it’ll be a steep learning curve but will be well worth it in the end. The EU is not the devil only our warped thinking makes it so.

  83. Kees
    March 22, 2019

    What DUP wish above all else is to have a return of hard border around NI but this time with ten feet high barbed wire and watch towers. Nothing else will ever make them feel secure

  84. Dominic
    March 22, 2019

    According to a BBC journalist all ERG members are fascists, racists and extremists. No doubt May’s encouraged this cretin to use slander politics to discredit you and your fellow colleagues

    Time to issue civil proceedings against this idiot

    We desperately need a Eurosceptic, anti-liberal left Tory leader to get us out of the EU, crush the BBC and smash liberal left fascism

    We’re all heartily sick of the race, misogyny, homophobe and Islamaphobe card being played against decent, moral people

  85. John Lewis
    March 22, 2019

    Sir John,
    Thank you so much for all your postings, most enlightning. As of yesterday, I was quite hopeful for a No Deal exit due to Betfair odds having steadily fallen from 15/2 to 7/2. However, this morning tthe odds are now over 20/1. Perhaps a result of the 3 million signing up for 2nd Referendum petition. I despair. All power to your pen Sir, I tip my hat.

    1. Anonymous
      March 22, 2019

      It needs to be pointed out somewhere that if this petition has effect then it has more power than a properly counted referendum.

      In other words a Celebrity/Remain petition is more valuable than a proletarian referendum win. This is incendiary !

      And the BBC has the cheek to bang on about equality. One good thing about that is that the Remain middle class can’t get their sons decent jobs at the Beeb – not that their useless arts degrees are worth anything.

      (Sports reporters, journalists, presenters etc all effectively barred to white boys.)

    2. Caterpillar
      March 22, 2019

      John Lewis,

      To be honest I thought these numbers were surprisingly low. Though I appreciate the site has gone down a few times, I thought with all the publicity it would crank up to an ‘honest’23 or 24 million (half the electorate) + some gaming on top. Considering the country is described as divided, the government has made a hash of things and the remain voters are supposedly the educated, thoughtful ‘class’ (no doubt all with several devices) it pleasantly surprises me that it is only at 4 million. If it did reach the 23 million or so verifiable, valid and unique signature over this weekend then I would be worried that the country is divided. Sitting at less than 10% of the electorate at the moment indicates to me that a bit of grown up realism (lol) from MPs and a backtrack to just leave with no deal wouldn’t terminally divide the country, and in fact we’d just get on with it.

  86. Ian T.
    March 22, 2019

    Me!! My thoughts, I think we should be getting the message across to the public that the EU certainly do not want a No Deal & the problems they would have. Their beginning to ” Be uncomfortable now” We should stay in there & see it through, we can only end up with WTO.

  87. Barbara Stevens
    March 22, 2019

    I have nevcr felt so ashamed, annoyed, and angry in all my life.. in fact this decision is giving our sovereignty away and making this a vassal state.. something even Hitler failed to do..this has to be stopped and stopped whenever possible.. and I question if Mrs May can remain as PM.. she should resign and lets someone else take over, one who knows what the nation wants.. and its certainly not her deal..for me I will never vote Conservative again as long as she remains at the helm..

  88. Freeborn John
    March 22, 2019

    If Gina Millar’s case required primary legislation to invoke Article 50 then surely someone should raise a case now to ensure such lengthy legislation is required before revoking it. It would be better to demand the courts settle this before the government actually tries to do it as once such a letter is received in Brussels it would be too late to appeal in the courts.

  89. mancunius
    March 22, 2019

    I am far more concerned about the extension of the deadline to 19 April if the WA fails again (as I trust it will).
    April 19 gives anti-brexit forces in parliament the time they need to wrest control of Parliament from this weak government, and force through legislation that would mean we would not leave.
    What that legislation might be, I need not spell it out here.

    May is terminally cowardly, and will not let the country leave the EU.

    1. mancunius
      March 22, 2019

      Correction: 12 April, not 19 April.

  90. Poultice Scathingly
    March 22, 2019

    “In BBC Parliament’s Knife Crime..Urgent Questions” to Victoria Atkin Home Office Minister 22nd march 2019

    Stella Judith Creasy MP for Walthamstow stated that “exclusion from school”, is the main thing of them joining gangs, knifing people and wished the Minister do something to stop it (being excluded from school)

    According to Wiki: Ms Creasy MP

    1/ has argued that misogyny should be made a HATE CRIME
    2/ has been described as “one of the brightest lights of Labour’s new generation”
    3/She was deputy director of a THINK TANK, Involve
    4/has worked as a researcher and speech writer for various Labour government ministers,

    It’s hard for the Tories to top Labour Party intelligence

  91. Fairweather
    March 22, 2019

    I can’t believe why none of the MPs or even the cabinet didn’t challenge Mrs May about how the deal came about. They should ask did the cabinet sit round the table and go through it line by line….?? Who actually wrote it ? Why weren’t the cabinet able to scrutiny it? Could you ask someone to ask these questions in the H of C. This is the cause of the mess. She should be put on the spot

    1. rose
      March 22, 2019

      The method of the kitchen cabinet has been all along to deprive the real Cabinet of sight of any document of importance until just before the meeting, and then to require them to sign up or else. No time to read properly, or to reflect or consult, and certainly not to discuss with each other. Cabinet Government has gone, along with democracy.

    2. Dennis
      March 22, 2019

      Fairweather – very good points – I’d like to know those answers too.

    3. miami.mode
      March 22, 2019

      Fairweather, we’ll probably never know the whole story, but it would appear that Olly Robbins (reputedly a Europhile) has overseen the entire procedure. Initially he worked for David Davis, who was supposedly described as lazy by M. Barnier, but perhaps this was because Robbins acted as a Sir Humphrey and Davis left him to it. Subsequently he was snaffled by Mrs May and it is assumed that this partnership took sole charge of the negotiations and undermined Davis and other Brexit Secretaries.

      If this is accurate, then Mrs May deserves all the opprobrium heaped upon her.

      1. rose
        March 22, 2019

        He had already been in the HO with her.

        Davis was briefed against as part of the process of removing Brexit from the Brexiteers after the 2017 election. Brexit Minister David Jones was sacked as the first move.

        1. miami.mode
          March 23, 2019

          Interesting that, rose. If Robbins had previously worked with Mrs May, then it would suggest he was a plant from the outset.

    4. agricola
      March 22, 2019

      In fairness to two Brexit Secretaries, a Foreign Secretary post Chequers, and numerous other ministers and functionaries did resign and have since espoused Brexit. Those that the PM has gathered about her are largely remainers so expectations could not be high. I have a sneaking feeling that Michael Gove has tried to push her in the right direction but to no avail.

      It is now up to Parliament to plunge a stake through the heart of the WA, and then get down to creating a Brexit scenario that works. Hopefully minus the unhelpful hand of T May.

  92. Jeremy
    March 22, 2019

    Steve Baker just sent out a tweet in which he said “The wrong Conservatives have the levers of power”

    Isn’t it about time that the ERG did something to change that?

    1. rose
      March 22, 2019

      Outnumbered at least 2:1

    2. Andy
      March 22, 2019

      Steve Baker is not a Conservative. He is a UKIPPer in the wrong party.

    3. Henry Carter
      March 22, 2019

      Typical Baker. Brexit is a disaster but of course it is NEVER his fault. Despite the fact he was a Minister with responsibility for it for a long time. Like Johnson, Davis, Raab – they snipe from the sidelines now but were as much use as a chocolate teapot when they were in charge

      1. rose
        March 22, 2019

        They were never in charge. Davis and Jones were partly in charge of Brexit before the election when negotiations were going quite well, despite the PM having insisted on accepting the EU sequencing, but when Mrs May threw away the majority, Jones was sacked and Davis was marginalised. Robbins was brought into the no 10 bunker and DEXEU became in Baker’s words a Potemkin department. As each minister resigned in protest his or her successor suffered the same fate. You cannot blame them. Raab did manage to accelerate preparations for WTO.

    4. oldtimer
      March 22, 2019

      They tried with their no confidence vote last December. Not enough Conservative MPs supported them so May remained party leader. She is safe under that procedure for one year; otherwise men (or women) in gray suits are the only way to persuade her to go. Having spent her political lifetime climbing the greasy pole to become party leader and PM, she will not go quietly.

  93. Jane
    March 22, 2019

    Indicative votes – what a shambles!
    There is no government line so please replace PM May with a brexiteer.

    Weak negotiating skills? I don’t believe it, it is all part of keeping us in.

    There will be uproar and a total disconnect between politicians and public.

    Why do we cave in before the deadline is even upon us, I wonder – part of the same sorry unplanned plan?

    1. rose
      March 22, 2019

      How do we get a Brexiteer when 200 Conservative MPs voted to keep her? Only 117 voted for a fresh start when they could all see the writing on the wall which had been there a long time.

  94. Yorkie
    March 22, 2019

    A Tory MP in “Points of Order” in Parliament today 22/03/2019 condemned the BBC as one of its journalists had stated the Tory Party ERG is equivalent to the AfD in Germany and “The National Front” of France.
    In fact the title National Front does not exist since June 2018. It is now called “Rassemblement national”( or National Rally )
    In the 2017 Presidential Election Marie Le Pen scored 7.600,000 VOTES
    A larger number of votes than all the adults in Scotland and Wales put together

    In the 2017 Federal Elections Alice Weidel leader of the AfD in the Bundestag got 5,878,115 VOTES
    A larger number of votes than all the adults in the Republic of Ireland and the North of Ireland put together.

    The ERG is not a political Party of course. No.
    If the ERG were a Political Party it might realise that the next leaders of France and Germany may not be atuned with the ERG lack of success in getting its message across.
    But those two Parties may be more attuned with British sentiment to come, but very soon.
    No need to thank me

    1. Yorkie
      March 22, 2019

      And they are both LEGAL as are many alleged extreme Far Right organisations and their political members and supporters activity.
      If the MP in question wishes to disassociate himself with the Law of the UK, Germany, France the EU, and the considerations of the UN on Human Rights. then he should make it clear. Also why a journalist should not have the Right of Free-Speech and shock-horror verbal behaviour as is the journalistic trade.
      Make clear because some might say the MPs free-speech amounts to fascism verbalised in itself. That is free-speech, as there is only one form of free speech, but it may worry him unduly. He may try to think like a British person: he should find calm…

  95. miami.mode
    March 22, 2019

    Mrs May is “famed” for her dancing, but unfortunately it is currently to the EU’s tune. They are making all the decisions.

    The heads of government were apparently frustrated by not getting definitive answers from her during a 90 minute presentation – we know precisely how they feel.

    1. Oggy
      March 22, 2019

      Miami.mode – ‘They (the EU) are making all the decisions.’ – correct.

      The EU is now in control of Brexit thanks to Mrs May pleading for an extension. The trap is laid.
      The HoC is being manouvered into where the EU wants it.

      When Mrs May’s deal is voted down again we will get the EU telling us we leave with no deal on April 12th. Great you might think but as this is completely unacceptable to most MP’s the EU will then offer a 1 year extension with the proviso the UK holds a second referendum and our MP’s will accept that.

      Mrs May will then absolve herself from all responsibility again blaming everyone else, remainer MP’s, the ERG, the EU. and resign knowing it’s job done.

      The UK establishment and the EU never had any intention of allowing the UK to leave the EU. This has been facilitated by the majority of MP’s not willing to accept the referendum result.

      This whole debacle has highlighted (with a few exceptions such as yourself and Kate Hoey) what a bunch of …….. we have in Parliament. (fill in your own words)
      Democracy is all but dead in the UK.

  96. robert lewy
    March 22, 2019

    I understand that moving the date from 28th March to 12th April requires a SI.
    Would it possible to introduce an amendment or motion stating that the change in the date
    is dependent on leaving No-Deal on the table?

    1. rose
      March 22, 2019

      Good idea.

  97. Steve Reay
    March 22, 2019

    No doubt the PM has already had the nod from the speaker. If the vote is rejected mps might be given a free vote on 7 options, they can’t agree on one so God help us all. The PM just digs the hole deeper, she sure is the queen of hole diggers and should be awarded with a golden spade.

  98. mancunius
    March 22, 2019

    So now we can see May’s little plan. She knows the WA will lose – so under the guise of a ‘free vote’ she’s going to enlist the help of opposition MPs to request a long delay and a pseudo-referendum, or even revoking Art. 50.

    Anything to avoid carrying out the Leave mandate given in the 2016 referendum and 2017 General Election.

    1. James Brown
      March 22, 2019

      So … The ERG can hang head’s in shame.
      They missed the open goal

      1. mancunius
        March 22, 2019

        The ERG are not a majority of Tory MPs – what were they supposed to do? When they challenged her, the other Tory MPs decided to stick with her out of fear for their own survival. Those who voted for her are surely the ones to be blamed.

  99. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    March 22, 2019

    IMHO: why not go for national elections. Then, from a government without the DUP (was always opposed to the 1998 peace agreement). If you cannot make a broad based coalition government (due to your FPTP election system), make a government of national emergency which is more reflective of the different fellings in England and the other three UK nations. Then you’ll have government which can perform a Brexit which brings more people together.

    1. rose
      March 22, 2019

      The Belfast Agreement was opposed by most people who actually read it. As with so many of these treaties, which get through on the back of ignorance. That goes for the Treaties of Lisbon and Maastricht too.

      The DUP are very widely admired on the mainland for being honest and principled as well as moral and patriotic. They are a bright lot too. In fact many people ask them to extend the party.

      1. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        March 23, 2019

        @Rose: I don’t think that is actually true or that you could assert that, myself having close English family who’ve lived in N. Ireland over 40 years now. Seeing these very angry faces of current Orangemen parading, and soon to start again, the term ” bright lot” didn’t come to my mind but that might bright lot be my bias of course.

        Anyway as someone who believes in referendums, you should know that in 1998 they were quite overwhelming:
        The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the Republic, 56% of the electorate voted, with 94% of the votes in favour of the amendment to the constitution. The turnout in Northern Ireland was 81%, with 71% of the votes in favour of the agreement.

        Then, when the Good Friday agreement came into force, The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement (source wikipedia)

        1. rose
          March 23, 2019

          You are arguing very loosely with what I said, Peter.

          I was referring to the MPs of the DUP and their leader. No-one could deny they are a bright lot. To take just one example, Nigel Dodds, the Leader at Westminster, took a first in Law at St John’s College, Cambridge. While he was there he took all the law prizes. He knows a thing or too as well: he was for twelve years an EU civil servant. He also knows about negotiating with gangsters.

          Don’t be too snooty about people like him who have been on the receiving end of bombs and bullets and come from humble homes.

          1. rose
            March 23, 2019

            PS that a lot of people voted for a treaty doesn’t mean a lot of people read it. The DUP are serious and thorough, with lawyers among them, and they do read things very carefully – as they would a biblical text.

          2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            March 23, 2019

            @Hi Rose,
            I’m afraid that we have very different appraisals of the DUP, but such differences are possible. Stil fun to discuss, I know you to be patriotic. I remember that you wrote me years ago that we would come begging to you to have a deal with you (the UK). I’m afraid that didn’t quite happen. 🙂 These days I notice that even the Dutch in the street have had it with the British and really want you gone by next week. So, in a way, they are all supportive of your case now! 🙂
            P.S. Rotterdam is prepared for the hard Brexit, Dutch financial papers quote them today (23/3)

          3. rose
            March 23, 2019

            “I remember that you wrote me years ago that we would come begging to you to have a deal with you (the UK).” Are you sure you aren’t thinking of someone else? I don’t remember saying such a thing to anyone, let alone someone on the Continent.

            Good for Rotterdam. I wish the Chancellor here was as responsible.

            It is indeed sad what our PM has brought us to. She has dragged us through the mire. I was very opposed to her being chosen, but she has turned out far worse than even I had feared..

    2. Edward2
      March 23, 2019

      “…perform a Brexit which brings more people together….”
      Remain in the EU is what you actually mean Peter.
      Just say it.

    3. Pud
      March 23, 2019

      In the last general election people voted for MPs and parties that purported to take the UK out of the EU as instructed by the referendum, but since then government and much of parliament in general has done their best to thwart Brexit.
      In a future election, why should I trust any party to deliver on its manifesto promises?

    4. Original Richard
      March 23, 2019

      I agree that a general election is a good idea to remove all those MPs who stood on a platform to respect the referendum result and leave the EU but are now voting to delay or thwart Brexit, or for the EU’s anti-democracy WA or for revoking Article 50, can be removed by the 64% leave voting constituencies.

  100. Anthony
    March 22, 2019

    It’s all true.

    But now we understand it’s true, what do we do?

    May doesn’t want no deal. If she did, it could probably be forced, but she doesn’t and there only 200 votes in the Commons to support no deal. Instead, May has said the House will decide how to proceed if MV3 fails. The House wants indicative votes. The house will not vote for no deal or May’s deal, and all the other options are softer.

    May’s deal is the hardest brexit on offer, unless you can get rid of May, and might be the hardest even then. Please vote in favour of the deal. Not because it’s great or I like it, but because it’s the best we’ll manage for now.

    Get us out, build lots of houses, win a majority with a brexiteer as leader and THEN we’ll get the brexit we want.

  101. The Prangwizard
    March 22, 2019

    I have been sure for some time that Mrs May is mentally ill. Whether she is merely sociopathic or worse I do not know but she is clearly incapable of making rational and sensible decisions. She, as a result of her failings and her consequent misjudgements, is taking the country where it does not wish to go. If her dangerous Treaty is signed it must surely need to be regarded as illegitimate and void.

    1. Julian Flood
      March 22, 2019



      1. mancunius
        March 22, 2019

        ‘Bonkers’ is the correct medical term.

  102. Steve Reay
    March 22, 2019

    If mps are given the choice of 7 options should MV3 fail then what about our choice ,we were given in or out and we chose out. Is it now for mps to choose and overrule what we voted for. It just gets worse and worse, the pms dereliction of duty.

  103. Sakara Gold
    March 22, 2019

    The reality is that having secured a (first) short delay to Brexit, Tusk – who couldnt stop grinning at his press interview yesterday – will now extend the delay to three months, then two years and the whole Brexit project will die of old age. The Remainers have won a famous victory.

    Theresa May has destroyed the nations’ belief in politicians. Nothing will ever be the same again; I can forsee the Conservative Party being out of power for a generation over this, as the Gang of Four press home their advantage and secure indefinate tribute from us without our being able to veto anything.

    Talk about lying through her teeth – “We will be leaving the EU on the 29th March 2019” Remember that one? I wont forget that – and I suspect that neither will the nation.

  104. Martyn G
    March 22, 2019

    It is said that what goes around, comes around and I am minded that in the summer of 1940 Britain stood alone as a nation pretty much united in defiance of Hitler. However, there was an upper class political faction eager to seek a negotiated peace with him and had another man other than Churchill been Prime Minister, would probably have had their way.
    Happily for Britain, Churchill could see, but Halifax and like-minded terms seeking others could or would not see, was that the simple act of opening peace terms with the dictator would greatly weaken Britain’s negotiating position – pretty much where we are today with the EU, who increasingly look to many as being yet another European dictatorship, albeit thus far a peaceful, but potentially vindictive construct.

  105. Lucas
    March 22, 2019

    It only goes to show that democracy doesn’t always work! If it did we’d be well shut of this business by now. So what to do? We need a peoples advisory group of say 100 to 200 people anonymously and randomly chosen from the electoral list to be locked into a room for a week, let them decide, a bit like a Papal Enclave. It is clear that politicians cannot be trusted to come up with the correct way to go because they are too much in hoc to voters andalways looking over their shoulder at voter pressure and vested interests

  106. margaret howard
    March 22, 2019


    Why? It is the British (english, not Irish or Scottish) that voted Brexit. What’s that got to do with Germany or Mrs Merkel?

    Still, it makes a change from blaming the BBC.

    1. Edward2
      March 22, 2019

      You plainly do not understand what is included in what it means to be part of the United Kingdom Margaret
      Yet when it is the 28 nations involved in the EU you suddenly have a cull understanding..
      What a surprise.

    2. Anonymous
      March 22, 2019

      It’s Germany that insists we can only trade with them if we are politically entwined.

  107. Penelope Coalshaft
    March 22, 2019

    JR I saw on Telly arguing via an interviewer today with your opponent a remainer shape-shifter and you expressed wonderfully a restrained annoyance we all feel with 2 years 8 months and 108 29ths of our too long sentence

  108. BW
    March 22, 2019

    I don’t think anyone believes anything anymore the PM has lied so much she is delusional. She has broken every promise she made to the British people. It appears she is governed by the EU. I for one am so fed up with the back and forth. Nonsense. We voted to leave. Bercow can say until the cows come home that there are no traitors in parliament, but they are there. Backing the EU all the way for nearly three years against such a huge democratic vote. I don’t expect more spin. We have been spun since the vote to leave. How depressing that such a wonderful opportunity is nearly lost.

  109. Denis Cooper
    March 22, 2019

    According to the Telegraph Theresa May intends to offer MPs seven alternative plans, but I don’t expect that any one of them will involve the passage and enforcement of a new UK law to apply all EU requirements just to goods being taken across the land border into the Irish Republic and so into the EU Single Market:


    Or, for that matter, just to all goods being exported to the EU by any route.

    Oh no, what she wants is a continuation of the present legal position whereby all goods in circulation anywhere in the UK must conform to all EU requirements, whether or not they are intended to be part of the 12% of our GDP which is exported to the EU.

    And that is why she is content to let the Irish government get away with their nonsensical ruse over the land border, which provides her with a useful pretext for doing what she has always really wanted to do – keep us under the economic thumb of the EU:


    “All this goes back to the autumn of 2017 when Theresa May took the strategic decision to exploit the largely fabricated problem of the Irish land border as a pretext to go back on what she had said in her Lancaster House speech on January 17th and instead give the CBI and other business pressure groups what they wanted (that is to say, short of the UK actually staying in the EU, which they may well now hope to get) … “

  110. Kees
    March 22, 2019

    The DUP is a rump party in the pocket of the main Ulster Protestant churches..completely opposed to freedoms already existing in allnother pattsbof UK AND ROI..naysayers to everything who would like to turn the clock backvto 1860..nothing principaled about them..but their bubble is burst in NI as the next GE and local elections will show

  111. Lindsay McDougall
    March 22, 2019

    So what happens when the draft Withdrawal Agreement is voted down for a third time? It should be “three strikes and you’re out”. And if her deal goes, shouldn’t Mrs May go? No useful purpose would be served by her staying in Office.

    I still think that Conservative Brexiteers should tell Mrs May that no other course except No Deal is acceptable, and that they are prepared to support a Labour No Confidence motion in order to force a General Election. Context is important. We first need to draw up a Brexiteers’ Manifesto, a practical proposal for Government that commands the support of most of the 52% who voted Leave.

  112. acorn
    March 22, 2019

    Pascal Lamy, the previous boss of the WTO has recently explained to WTO members, that the UK “leaving on WTO rules” guarantees nothing for a “no-deal” Brexiting UK. Regardless of what the ERG may claim, see. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/conversation-with/pascal-lamy-former-director-general-world-trade-organisation-11371430

    Leave voting muppets, have to understand that the ERG 62 motives, are based on getting rid of EU rules and regulations on financial services. The ERG 62, as the bought and paid for HoC members for the Spiv City of London; desperately need to get rid of EU laws that make money laundering and tax dodging, a crime.

    1. Edward2
      March 22, 2019

      Why do you pro EU fans need to be so abusive…muppets,…it is just a different opinion.
      Have a little respect . Who says you are right?
      It is just two predictions of the future.
      Killing the City of London is a desire of yours and the EU Commission.
      Odd that you acorn, as a UK citizen, support that ambition.

    2. Mark B
      March 23, 2019

      . . . getting rid of EU rules and regulations on financial services.

      Rules and regulations that France and Germany help create to suit themselves. There is a reason why the Single Market for services is not complete.

  113. RichardM
    March 22, 2019

    Predictions for this weekend :
    The PutItToThePeopleMarch will be the biggest march in the UK since the 2002 Iraq war march. Farages march will continue to be small enough to fit in a handful of buses.
    The Revoke Article 50 petition will exceed 4 million.
    Leavers will claim bot voting. (repeatedly). The Petitions service will disprove.( Again)

    Prediction for next week :
    Letwin and Benn will again put forward their amendment for MPs to take control of the parliamentary timetable. This will win by quite a margin after Mays abysmal performance this week. It only lost by 2 last time, and May and the Government have done nothing worthwhile since.
    MP’s will put in place a schedule as to how to proceed with Parliament Taking Back Control. They may not succeed in reaching any consensus, one of the the main blockages being tiresome ERG members sticking rigidly to their mythical Gatt24 nonsense no-deal. no-plan.

    Current Brexit Exchange Odds:
    Leaving 29th with no deal 4% Probability (25/1, and rising)
    Revoke Article 50 : 25% Probability (3/1 , and falling)

  114. Iain Gill
    March 22, 2019

    Douglas Carswell has tweeted:

    “Brexit negotiations have revealed a hideous truth. For years now we must have had some pretty third rate muppets negotiating deals in Brussels on our behalf.”

    Pretty spot on in my view.

    1. James
      March 22, 2019

      What to make of our PM? Instead of telling the unvarnished truth, she has distorted, ignored and disguised the truth. If she wishes to retain a semblance of dignity she should consign her dishonourable draft withdrawal treaty to the 10 Downing Street dustbin, wish the unelected gang in Brussels the best of luck, get behind the UK’s exit on Friday of next week, and resign the following day.

      1. L Jones
        March 22, 2019

        That word ”should” again.

      2. rose
        March 23, 2019


    2. mary
      March 23, 2019

      ” third rate muppets” ? More like filthy traitors who would sell their own mothers.

  115. Peter Thompson
    March 22, 2019

    So when May’s deal is voted down next week according to the news the Prime Minister will offer 7 choices to parliament. No Deal will again be rejected by a large majority leaving the choice between Norway or a new referendum. I think the Norway option will succeed rather than a new referendum.

  116. Julian Flood
    March 22, 2019

    Buying a new German car is an unpatriotic act.


  117. Julian Flood
    March 22, 2019

    We spent the millennium New Year in Australia diving on the Great Barrier Reef. On the last day I buddied with a German academic, a mathematician who specialised in advising on voting systems. Looking back I can guess that he was involved in government work to find the most advantageous system for the German government.

    The Germans have approached this business seriously while the UK has let the right sort of chaps with PPE* degrees do our thinking. The results are what might be expected.

    *The Oxford equivalent of Media Studies for poshoes.

  118. Oldwulf
    March 22, 2019

    If the current crop of MPs are unwilling to deliver the result of the 2016 “Leave” vote, then we must make sure that the next crop of MPs are more democratically minded.

  119. BlokeInBrum
    March 22, 2019

    John, if I may.
    I’ve lurked here for a long time and I’m not sure if I’m representative of the many others who do so too.
    It seems that we’re nearing the end game and for what it’s worth I would like to say that everyone I know are staunchly determined that we leave the confines of the EU.
    Noone is fooled by the Prime Ministers Withdrawal Agreement, it is clearly Brexit In Name Only.
    I hope that MPs show some testicular fortitude and resist the temptation to flip and support her agreement as somehow better than the alternatives. A poor deal is a poor deal however it is presented.
    I know that you are not swayed by these arguments, but it seems that some are easier to bend to the Prime Minister’s will and I would prefer that they showed greater integrity.
    I find it incredibly sad that the majority of the Conservative Party has completely abdicated it’s responsibility to deliver a proper Brexit. As you know, in business, its first necessary to put a proper and appropriate team in place to deliver the results desired.
    The fact that the Cabinet and House are majority remain shows all too clearly the intended and desired direction of travel.
    Were a different Prime Minister and Cabinet in place the outcome could be so much different and positive.
    It seems that members of the House need to be reminded that the majority of the country, of the party, and of the constituencies voted to leave. If voting for the Conservatives achieves nothing then people like me, who are natural Conservative voters will be only too glad to vote for another party who will actually deliver on their promises and manifesto commitments.
    TLDR; keep the faith and thank you for your hard work and efforts on our behalf.

  120. javelin
    March 22, 2019

    Just looked on google maps at 22:42

    M20 near M25 is shut
    A1 south of peterborough is shut
    M62 West of Hull is shut
    M180 North of Scunthorpe is shut
    M6 South of Manchester is shut
    M62 North of Manchester is shut
    M8 Glasgow is shut
    M8 West of Edinburgh is shut
    M4 Swindon is shut
    M4 Bridge to Wales is shut

    So it begins.

    1. javelin
      March 22, 2019

      M3 North of Southampton is shut
      M42 Near Solihull is shut

      1. javelin
        March 22, 2019

        M1 North of Leicester is shut

        1. javelin
          March 22, 2019

          M2 in Kent Shut

  121. agricola
    March 22, 2019

    Remain have organised a petition signed by 1.5 million to date. Wake me up when it reaches 17.5 million.

    1. rose
      March 24, 2019

      Won’t it go beyond that as people from all over the world are signing it, including people who aren’t really people?

  122. Prigger
    March 22, 2019

    Why, really, apart from nasty criticisms some may make about “careerists” have Remainer MPs got things to such a pitch on essentially a trade deal where the Speaker today advised MPs to travel “in twos” if they use a taxi?

    He did not issue such advise even when terrorists were slaughtering in London and a white van was driven towards Parliament, PC Keith Palmer gave his life to serve his Country.

    Surely they should cool the nation down and stop this war-mode incitement? They ARE intelligent people after all.

  123. Mike Wilson
    March 23, 2019

    On the one hand we are staying in the EU. On the other this should mean the end of the Tory and Labour Parties being able to govern. I look forward to the 2022 election and the shock as Tory and Labour politicians poll less than the Brexit Party.

  124. George Brooks
    March 23, 2019

    Shame you didn’t like my comment made at 0802 yesterday but I can’t think why.

  125. mary
    March 23, 2019

    “They were mainly won over to what they still regard as a very bad Agreement by the worry that maybe the alternative was a long delay”. What kind of brain cells have these MPs got to arrive at that ridiculous conclusion? That this appalling suicide surrender treaty aka “Withdrawal” Afreement could ever be acceptable under any circumstances whatever?

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