The economic damage done by our membership of the EU

Too many in the media just accept the assumption that we have done well out of being in the EU and will lose when we leave. There is little  evidence to support either of these contentions.

We joined in 1972. We were made to remove all tariffs on products the rest of the EU was good at, whilst they maintained many barriers to service exports which we were good at. As a result there was a predictable deterioration in our goods trade balance with the EU, and closure or slimming of many of our factories. Our car industry suffered heavily from the tariff free competition of VW, BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Fiat and the others. BLMC in particular had to slim and close plants. Our Lancashire cotton industry and Yorkshire woollen industry was hit by Italian and German textiles. Our ceramic tile industry was damaged by Italian competition and later by Spanish. In the 1970s we lost a lot of manufacturing capacity. The nationalised steel industry had to start closing its five new large scale plants for lack of demand as steel using industries fell away in the EEC.

We also saw a further deterioration in our balance of  payments as a result of high financial contributions we  had to make to the EEC, as all those charges were negative flows across the exchanges. Soon after we joined there was a deep western slump which hit the UK particularly badly. Whilst this was not mainly the result of EEC membership, it exacerbated the bad trends EEC membership was causing.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s we saw another recession brought on by the UK’s membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. These job losses and factory closures were entirely the result of EU membership, and very damaging.

More recently we have seen a lot of factories shift elsewhere in Europe thanks in part to EU grants tempting businesses away. When I was a business Minister one of the regular complaints from UK companies was unfair competition from the rest of the EU where companies in favoured locations got special EU grants and financial assistance on favourable terms or free.

The UK growth rate has been slower since 1972 than it was 1945 to 1972. Some try to say the war disrupts the picture,  but it is difficult to see why. Whilst the war was a terrible thing, it gave us very full employment with the diversion of many people into the armed services. All their efforts did under standard accounting count as national output. There were also big increases in manufacturing output domestically as we had to produce most of our planes, vehicles and bombs nationally. There was a also a surge in home food production. Of course there was also a fall in non military output as factories were diverted to war work.  Imports from the continent obviously stopped as it was under German control, and imports from the rest of the world were restrained by German military action to prevent or destroy them.

An EU study has showed practically no gain from EU membership for the UK economy, but it is on optimistic assumptions. To me there has clearly been a modest net overall loss of output compared to what would have happened if we had stayed out, though of course output is up over our time in the EU as you would expect. The headwind of big financial contributions  to the EU has been damaging. Margaret Thatcher’s renegotiation helped a bit  by cutting the burden.


  1. Stephen Priest
    March 26, 2019

    Every EU institution such as the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Euro slows down growth in the EU. Italy was post war Europe’s fasted growing economy (averaging 4% growth annually until it joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1979). Since it joined the Euro there has been no growth.

    Germany has had two recession since joining the Euro.

    1. Julie Dyson
      March 26, 2019

      “Germany has had two recession since joining the Euro.”

      Indeed — and together with France is right now frantically scrabbling on a slippery slope to avoid another, while French and German banks are up to their eyeballs in hock to Italy’s massive debt and things there are just going from very bad to worse… It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see where all of this is going. When the German business federation (the equivalent of the UK’s CBI) demands that the EU Commission come to reasonable terms with Britain as a matter of some urgency, as they did recently (and of course were promptly ignored) then one can see the writing on the wall with absolute clarity.

      The EU is a failed experiment. The only way they can see out of the mess they’ve created is ever-closer union, so they can take complete control of everything and thereby end up with something not entirely unlike the Soviet Union (and we all know how that particular experiment ended, too).

      What amazes me is just how blind to all of this the bulk of our MPs and media are, serving only to keep many of our people in the dark. 400,000 of the poor blind buggers were marching in London just the other day.

    2. Hope
      March 26, 2019

      JR, your party will be held to account for this utter failure and humiliation of our nation. Who will vote for your party?

      I had my election card through the door yesterday. I will never vote for your party at parish, local authority or national level. I will vote to spite the Tory party.

      May’s dishonesty supported by her cabinet demonstrate unequivocally it will lie just to get in office. They are still at it. Sammi Wilson DUP MP made it clear yesterday he would not support May’s deal which is based on a lie, referring to the scam Irish backstop. I hope the DUP brings the govt down for separating N.Ireland to a new country of the EU. May broke the supply agreement.

      It is clear to me in 2017 when May went sculking at night to meet the EU it was a trap to lock the UK in the EU.

      The traitors in parliament are being heralded by EU leaders! Yesterdays vote should not have taken place it should mean a general election. 30/40 Tory MPs and ministers do not want its govt. to be in charge! They do not want to leave the EU and are trying everything to stop the will of the people and betray democracy. It also shows what some of us have been saying for years there is no difference between Tory and Labour because the EU runs the show.

      Traitor Letwin was trying to demonstrate his ‘reasonableness’ in parliament yesterday when advocating to stage a coup of the govt! Letwin could never win an election look at his poll tax fiasco.

      Tory associations need to withdraw support from these EU fanatics immediately.

    3. Andy
      March 26, 2019

      The United States also had its worst recession since the 1930s – and it is not in the Eurozone. How can this be when the EU is the cause of all global evil?

      1. NickC
        March 27, 2019

        Andy, It isn’t. But neither is it the font of all sweetness, light and prosperity. In fact the EU adds nothing, and takes away self-determination.

    4. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      Stephen Priest, When I look at the graph of UK GDP annual increase it is clear that not only is UK growth lower after joining the EU (EEC), it is also more volatile.

      The ‘sick man of Europe’ epithet (origin Tsar Nicholas about Turkey) was most apposite in the 1970s and mainly after we joined the EU. However, instability and shortages in the 1970s were largely the result of far left trades unions in effect attempting a coup. Their role in bringing this country to its knees has now been replaced by the current EU/Remain coup.

  2. Lifelogic
    March 26, 2019

    Indeed it has not been a net benefit to the economy at all quite the reverse. Open door immigration regardless of criminal records, health needs or ability to get a good job has been a further negative and cost. Then we have all the daft regulations, the green crap, bonkers employment laws and other PC drivel.

    Then again we are quite good at mad actions ourselves. Nearly everything May and Hammond do for example. HS2, gender pay reporting, police recruiting by gender and ethnic background rather than abilility. Passing the climate change act and spending circa £700 million on subsidies to Drax to burn wood instead of coal – thus actually increasing their CO2 output perhaps two of the most idiotic.

    1. Andy
      March 26, 2019

      We do not have open door immigration. Saying it does not make it true.

      1. NickC
        March 27, 2019

        Andy, Anyone from the EU can come here. They can be checked (unlike under Schengen) but they are free to come. That is an open door.

  3. William Simpson
    March 26, 2019

    “Alas poor Yorick…” Brexit has been and gone. The “process” some describe is coming to its usurped conclusion. Removal of the “no deal” option, the lack of appetite for May’s WA (thank the Lord), and the stupidity of “Norway”, mean that Revocation of A50 is the likely outcome of the Indicative Votes. In true EU style, the will of the people has been ignored.

    What a sad waste of time, energy and good will amongst us all and towards each other.

    But for sure, the political landscape of British politics will never be the same. I hope what replaces the traditional alliances in parties, will have a healing capacity, because it’s sorely needed in UK.

    1. G Wilson
      March 26, 2019

      The only way to get out of the EU is going to be electing a Parliament that agrees with the people on the matter of our independence.

      That now means crushing the Tory party, and supporting a new Brexit party instead. The Tories have proved they cannot be trusted.

      1. Merlin
        March 26, 2019

        This assumes the will of the people is to leave. I’m not so sure. Sir John Curtice summarises the current situation very well.

        ‘In truth, the polls are too close for opponents of Brexit to assume that a second ballot would produce a different result. But, equally, supporters of Brexit cannot say with confidence that the balance of opinion remains as it was in June 2016.’

      2. Leslie Singleton
        March 26, 2019

        Dear G–My jaw hit my bacon and eggs reading as I just did that Mrs May is now talking about possibly going beyond 22 May whereas last week that was the No No to end all No No’s and would not under any circumstances happen under her PM-ship blah blah, with many interpreting that to mean she would resign first. Once again she was talking out of both sides of her mouth at once. Nothing she says can be given the slightest credence. I hope legal action is taken to make the letter sent by our ambassador ultra vires which could yet have us out on a WTO deal if Parliament declines the SI needed to authorise his letter.

      3. Lifelogic
        March 26, 2019

        Proved again and again and again from Ted Heath, Thatcher (even), Major, Cameron and now the most appalling of all Appeaser May. Labour even worse though. With first past the post a take over of the Tory party is needed.

      4. Lynn Atkinson
        March 26, 2019

        The new Brexit Party is not standing candidates in General elections. Only in E.U. elections.
        We need more than just Farage anyway, he has proved insuffient for decades.
        The Parliamentary Leavers must provide us with a peaceful, ballot box solution. If they don’t I dread to think what people with nothing to lose (ie all of us!) will be driven to.

      5. Bob
        March 26, 2019

        “The only way to get out of the EU is going to be electing a Parliament that agrees with the people on the matter of our independence.”

        If the Brexiteer Tories brought down the current treacherous govt and forced a GE, then Brexit would happen by default while we’re busy campaigning and voting for a sea change in our political establishment.

      6. Captain Peacock
        March 26, 2019

        After this betrayal the Tory party is finished its no surprise they kept this useless appeaser as leader.

      7. John C
        March 26, 2019

        Correct. But it’s vital May’s deal is squashed, because that’s really the end of Brexit. I would prefer staying in, electing a proper Brexit government, and then doing the job properly. That seems to me our only hope, and it is doable.

      8. James
        March 26, 2019

        Any MP who votes to approve the giving away of £39 billion of taxpayers hard earned money to the EU for nothing in return really ought to have their sanity questioned.

    2. Mike Wilson
      March 26, 2019

      What will replace the traditional alliances in parties? 17.4 million people voting for the Brexit Party at the next election.

      We are now going to have a referendum with the options being May’s Deal or Remain. Parliament has decided to simply ignore the fact that we had a referendum and voted to leave the EU. Our votes don’t count.

      No one in the media ever asks people like Hilary Benn ‘What do you think will happen in the next election if we don’t leave? Do you think people will vote again for Tory and Labour MPs who have reneged on the promises they made in their 2017 manifestos?’

      1. Fed up with the bull
        March 26, 2019

        Mike, I refuse to vote for any of the 3 main parties ever again. What’s the point? They have all lied to us. I hope Farage gets himself together and gives them a good kicking.

    3. Merlin
      March 26, 2019

      Well said William.

      I agree. The will of the people has not been respected. I feel May’s deal would have done so, but hey ho …

      I was hoping a No Deal against Remain referendum might heal things, but it looks like parliament has taken No Deal of the table. I sympathise with their thinking, but fear it will sit badly with the significant proportion of the country who are hardcore No Dealers.

      But, anyway, a toast to healing and compromise.

      1. NickC
        March 27, 2019

        Merlin, It is an illusion to think you can compromise with the EU. In the EU, however slightly, means being controlled by the EU. And it is the thin end of the wedge, as demonstrated by us joining the “common market” and ending up a province of the EU empire. You would not advocate such a thing with Russia, or the USA.

    4. Richard1
      March 26, 2019

      I dont think they will quite dare to revoke article 50 though that’s the thing many of them would love to do. Personally I think that’s a better option than Brino. The absurdity of all this is the one thing they agree on is we can’t leave the EU without the EU’s permission (ie WTO brexit) but they pretend there are still different options. There aren’t. May and her hapless civil servants have got us into a position where the EU will only give us permission to leave if we give them a great bung of money we don’t owe and agree to remain forever bound in the customs union – negating the point of brexit.

      Best thing is a long extension until Dec 20 (after all the WA keeps us effectively in anyway) and then a complete reset and new negotiation under a new PM.

    5. Anonymous
      March 26, 2019

      There is no point in a UK Parliament. The EU transcends it.

      Brexit failed because our Parliament refused to implement the referendum decision as they said they would.

      It’s easy to destroy the UK Parliament. Just stay at home and have a beer instead of voting.

      Leave the voting to students – Andy keeps telling us how wise and intelligent they are.

      1. Phil
        March 26, 2019

        Regrettably this is true. Parliament, if proceedings continue in the current vein, will simply be a facade of the European Commission when it comes to nodding or rubber stamping laws. Why not use local and regional authorities?

        That said, it’s never over until ‘the fat lady sings’ so although the omens don’t look good at present, it will take a complete set of lunatics or the mentally deranged to openly defy the voters decision in 2016 so let’s offer them the bone of encouragement while we can.

      2. Andy
        March 26, 2019

        Younger people in general have behaved admirably throughout the Brexit debate. They are literally having their futures stolen from them by privileged rich old white men – and they have not rioted. Yet.

        1. libertarian
          March 27, 2019


          Most of the young people that I know that actually voted, voted to leave

        2. Edward2
          March 27, 2019

          Only 36% of them bothered to vote.

      3. Tad Davison
        March 26, 2019

        Our education system is awash with the liberal left. No wonder our kids are brainwashed.

        As an experiment, when my youngest was at university, she wrote an essay that was sympathetic towards leaving the EU. It was marked down. The exact same essay was very slightly re-worded to favour a left-wing ‘leave’ opinion, and submitted by another student. Guess what? It got a better grade!

        Don’t ever let people tell you our universities are a places of equality and parity of esteem – they’re not – they are places where ‘think-alike’ clones roll off the assembly line! Fortunately, through parental input countering bad influences, ours wasn’t one of them


      4. Lifelogic
        March 26, 2019

        Most are not clever enough to work out the half the degrees they are paying £50k and three years loss of earnings for are not worth anything like £50k.

      5. Steve
        March 26, 2019


        “There is no point in a UK Parliament. The EU transcends it.”

        Fully agree. Don’t know what an MP’s salary is these days but to be paying for 650 of these con merchants whom it must be said, re as useful as a cardboard bath seat, is pointless and a waste of money.

        If we stay in the EU it should be on condition these shysters are all sacked, we don’t need them.

        “Brexit failed because our Parliament refused to implement the referendum decision as they said they would.”

        I see it differently; Brexit failed because Theresa May didn’t wipe the floor with those who lost the referendum. Instead, aided and abetted by Bercow she allowed the remain side to incessantly moan and interfere to naff the whole thing up.

        Astute people know the EU has been threatening the UK, Theresa May should have revealed that to the nation rather than cowering.

      6. Grahame ASH
        March 26, 2019

        “Leave the voting to students – Andy keeps telling us how wise and intelligent they are.”

        Bright, intelligent young things voting Remain and thereby waiting for call up to the EU army.

        They complained about not being able to travel. Travel to the hot spots, like Ukraine as a memebr of the EU forces.

    6. Denis Cooper
      March 26, 2019

      The indicative votes will have no binding legal effect, and if Brexit is killed off that will be done by Theresa May through the exercise of prerogative powers.

      And I predict that if she just sent in a letter revoking the Article 50 notice then we would hear very little from those stout defenders of parliamentary democracy who previously objected to her sending in the notice without the prior express approval of Parliament through an Act.

      Unless and until she got her rubbish deal passed she could just keep deferring our withdrawal through a succession of statutory instruments until the EU finally lost all patience, when she would revoke the notice.

      With great reluctance, of course, but she would have to do it …

      Here is the implied death threat she issued yesterday, at Column 25:

      “… unless this House agrees to it, no deal will not happen … ”

      which was picked up by those who want to see Brexit dead and buried and who will move heaven and earth to stop the House ever agreeing to no deal.

      I’m not sure there’s a lot more I can usefully say about this.

    7. Turboterrier.
      March 26, 2019

      William Simpson
      I hope what replaces the traditional alliances in parties, will have a healing capacity, because it’s sorely needed in UK.

      I really do think we need something stronger than just hope.

      We are experiencing the death throes of what was once a parliament driven by democracy and people who actually had experienced and managed life and change in general. It fills one with dread as to what we will ultimately end up with. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  4. Mark B
    March 26, 2019

    Good morning

    Economic damage in the 60’s and 70’s can also be attributed to poor management, militant trades unionism, nationalisation and poor government. We must also not forget the numerous Middle Eastern wars and the oil crisis.

    The above just paints a more complex picture into which the then EEC played its part.

    But one thing that is in little doubt is the damage done to our fishing industry and communities. This through the CFP which reduced the levels our fisherman could catch in our own waters.

    But as we look back we would be in neglect if we chose not to look forward. And to look at what Remaining in an EU means deserves a while new post 😉 But let us just say that without any special magic crystal ball it will involve, EVERMORE CLOSER UNION.

  5. /IKH
    March 26, 2019

    I agree with most of your post but I take exception to the following:

    “In the late 1980s and early 1990s we saw another recession brought on by the UK’s membership of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.”

    That recession was caused by excessive third world lending by the Banks. By the early 90’s it became clear that many of these loans were no going to be repaid, leading to a third world debt crisis. As a result, the Banks greatly reduced the availability of credit causing a recession.

    Membership of the ERM simply exacerbated the problem.


    1. Edward2
      March 26, 2019

      It was interest rates going up to 15% to hold the pound at an artificial level in order to stay within ERM required levels that wrecked the economy at the time.
      Still no apology from John Major.
      House repossessions, many good businesses closed and huge increase in unemployment.
      All created by the obsession of the government to give up the pound in favour of the Euro.

    2. Mike Wilson
      March 26, 2019

      That recession was caused by Tory changes loosening credit which caused a massive boom in hose prices. When interest rates went up there was a recession and hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes. That recession was caused by government sanctioned credit boom and bust.

      Reply They had to loosen to keep the pound down in value to comply with ERM rules!

      1. Tad Davison
        March 26, 2019

        Reply to reply: Good old John Major! What a fantastic bloke!

      2. /IKH
        March 26, 2019

        Yes, there was a house boom in the UK. But it was a world wide recession. Caused by excessive secured loans to third world countries. Which, when the banks tried to collect on the secured assets, they discovered that the govt’s would not allow it ( what a surprise 😉 ) When the banks realised that they were over extended they shutdown the supply of credit causing interest rates to rise.


      3. Mike Wilson
        March 26, 2019

        The loosening started in 1985. The housing market went into overdrive until an idiotic chancellor gave 6 months notice of his intention to remove joint mortgage tax relief. This pored petrol on an already overheating housing market. There were people advertising in the papers for strangers to buy a property with, desperate to get the tax relief before it ended. The housing market simply stopped on 1st August 1988 – the day the tax relief ended. Hose prices fell. Confidence left the housing market. You couldn’t sell for love nor money. The gloom spread to the general economy. Then, a few years later, the ERM fuelled the recession. It was a goog old fashioned Tory government fuelled credit boom and bust.

  6. Everhopeful
    March 26, 2019

    It now becomes clear that despite assertions to the contrary over the years,the EU is very much our overlord.
    Thus whatever negatives one sees around one …social and economic decay…the sovietising of our town centres….the closing of about every service…the crowded roads…overpriced houses…appalling jobs…violence…crime on a scale not seen since the 18th C …noise…bad behaviour…our disgusting ( with one exception only) politicians…crippling censorship and the annihilation of our culture.
    Well, we can and should lay the blame for every single one of those wounds at the door of the EU.
    Like a cat might deposit a large, dead, grey rat on the doormat as a gift for her master!

    1. Steve
      March 26, 2019


      Spot on.

    2. John P
      March 27, 2019

      ‘It now becomes clear that despite assertions to the contrary over the years,the EU is very much our overlord.
      Thus whatever negatives one sees around one …social and economic decay…the sovietising of our town centres….the closing of about every service…the crowded roads…overpriced houses…appalling jobs…violence…crime on a scale not seen since the 18th C …noise…bad behaviour…our disgusting ( with one exception only) politicians…crippling censorship and the annihilation of our culture.
      Well, we can and should lay the blame for every single one of those wounds at the door of the EU.
      Like a cat might deposit a large, dead, grey rat on the doormat as a gift for her master!’

      Try unfettered democracy and you’ll be closer to the mark.

      1. Everhopeful
        March 27, 2019

        John P
        If you mean that all woes should be blamed on unfettered democracy then just remember who delivered it to us ( first in 1832 and then rolling out the franchise in stages…soon my cat will have the vote).
        And more importantly WHY the establishment’s version of what it terms/ termed democracy was delivered.
        IMO 1832 was very similar to May’s “Deal”.

  7. oldtimer
    March 26, 2019

    On the evidence of yesterday’s debate and vote Parliament is determined to keep it that way. And Mrs May failed the answer Sir William Cash’s question about the letter signed by Barrow, including whether the AG was consulted first before he signed it. Mrs May was unable to say if it was under authority conferred by the Withdrawal Act. It also emerged that the government (civil service) lacks necessary powers to cope with Brexit in Northern Ireland to the obvious astonishment of Mr Dodds. The May government appears utterly incompetent. With luck, that incompetence may result in the UK leaving the EU despite all her efforts to keep us in.

    1. Sean
      March 26, 2019

      But leaving May’s humiliating deal aside, and assuming none of the indicative votes is adopted and voted through, the only way we can leave is by the default of no deal /WTO on 8th April or whatever future date the can is kicked down the road to.Even this incompetent govt. can kick cans down the road – until the EU loses patience. If it does, perhaps it will save us eventualy by refusing an extension. I suspect Macron is itching to get rid of us. Humiliating. It’s like that 1960s song by Tom Lehrer ‘The Masochism Tango’.

    2. Onlyjoken
      March 26, 2019

      So true. I anticipate that in April the EU will reply to a request for a long extension with a number of significant last minute conditions and a short time to agree them [eg a lot of extra money]. It is essential that the PM is put on notice well in advance that she may not legally use prerogative powers agree such conditions, nor may she just rely on Parliament’s consent to agreeing a long extension.

      1. miami.mode
        March 26, 2019

        Oj, money is one thing, but a really damaging condition would be a compulsory further referendum or general election.

        We would then know the price of complete subjugation.

    3. Turboterrier.
      March 26, 2019


      The May government appears utterly incompetent.


    4. Steve
      March 26, 2019


      Didn’t you know?……Bercow does as he likes regardless of the law. He doesn’t need to consult the AG, he’s the most powerful person in the land, or so he thinks.

  8. Kevin
    March 26, 2019

    I note that the statutory instrument seeking to delay independence has been laid before Parliament. It appears that accusations of “betrayal” are having no effect on those attempting to overturn the People’s Vote. The only word they seem to care about is, “lose”. This week, please ensure that this is exactly what they do.

    1. Mockbeggar
      March 26, 2019

      Not only must the Statutory Instrument be passed by both houses of Parliament, but it must be sent to the EU for their approval before it can be formally signed. See the article by The Right Honourable Sir Richards Aikins, a former member of the Court of Appeal and a former vice president of the Consultative Council of European Judges written in Briefings for Brexit yesterday.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 26, 2019

        Oddly enough the Parliament website has missed out that final stage, see the link in my comment below. However I think that his criticism only boils down to the government jumping the gun and making an agreement with the EU to change the Article 50 withdrawal date before asking Parliament to agree to a corresponding change to “exit day” in the domestic withdrawal Act. I cannot see the present occupants of either House objecting to that infringement of their rights and powers; if the change had been the other way, so we would leave earlier, then that would have been a different matter.

  9. Mark steers
    March 26, 2019

    Mr Redwood, as far as I can tell these things I believe you to be a good constituency MP who genuinely has the interests of local inhabitants at heart and helped many people in their daily lives.

    However, as a town that voted strongly to remain I remain concerned that you are not representing the people on an issue that will have a significant impact on all our lives for years to come.

    As a prior Business Minister you are better placed than most to have a view of the benefits of the EU. However, if find you almost fervent EU all bad and LEAVE all good one which leaves me not alternative but to vote against you at the next election.

    Your job is to represent the view of the people that elected you….by any measure on this issues you are not. The people have voted leave in the UK and I reluctantly accept we should be placing all our efforts into this. In this instance at the very least, I would expect a person in your position to try and deliver a balanced pro’s and con’s of the options facing us based on an understanding of why this constuency votes remain.

    In my work, I speak to many medium sized businesses, almost all of them believe leaving the EU and NOT remaining in a customs union will have a long term negative impact on there business.

    You and many of your colleagues I think believe that leaving the EU without a deal will place us in a better negotiating position for the hard bit….namely the actual negotiation. I strugggle to see this, our economy will undoubtedly be hit, this will place real pressure on the Government and will therefore weaken the negotiating position.

    Can I therefore please have a reasoned and balanced view the person I elecectedcto represent me as to the type of relationship you would want, the pro’s and con’s for each outcome in order than I can decide whether I want to vote for you again.

    The reason I ask this is that this blog is the last straw….it has no mention of financial services where we had no protections either BUT London has become the de facto financial centre of the EU. Is it not true that we lost out…and continue to lose out in industry due to successive years of Government policy that did not encourage investment which means we became uncompetitive in the world. The legacy remains to this day….nothing to do with the EU.


    Reply. My mandate as MP comes from the 2017 General election when I and the Conservative party promised to implement the referendum result, taking the UK out of the EU, single market and Customs Union. I have consulted widely on the Withdrawal Agreement and am being urged by a large majority of my constituents to vote against it, which I will do again. It is also my strongly held view that the Agreement would be very bad for us. I have made the case for a comprehensive free trade agreement for our future relationship with a services chapter.

  10. Newmania
    March 26, 2019

    From 1958 to 1973, GDP per capita rose 95 % in France Germany and Italy, but only 50 per cent here. Since 73, GDP per head has grown faster in the UK than our neighbours ( source FT) . We have been the highest recipi-ent of inward EU investment ( UN Study) which has been useful for building our new motor industry, creating jobs, that sort of thing…….. All of this is now at risk.
    Treasury analysis suggests that Brexit would lead to a long-run fall in actual UK GDP of 3.8% under the Norway option, 6.2% under the Canada option and 7.5% under the WTO option. To put this into context, in in 2008/9, the UK lost 0.5% GDP and in 2009/10 4.2% before returning to something like normal growth.
    A Free trade in services is very hard to achieve and part of our long term problem, are exactly that we have banked the WTO benefits but as a late stage service economy are treading water. The EU with us , has been leading the way forward for the world and we were the hub of the new global service economy …….

    If at any time you wish to say something serious do let me know .

    Reply The fifteen year forecast from HMT will be wrong and is a forecast of slower growth, not of a decline. The ERM caused an actual drop

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      March 26, 2019

      Newmania. It wouldn’t be so bad reading your posts if you weren’t so rude to our host whose posts are full of accurate and interesting information. I do believe you stated some time ago that you were not going to post here anymore. What happened to that promise? Can’t tear yourself away?

      Your post today John is really depressing and one wonders how we manage to do as well as we do with one hand tied behind our backs. Let’s hope we gain our freedom soon. Nobody could ever accuse you of not doing your bit.

    2. Roy Grainger
      March 26, 2019

      Treasury analysis also showed 500,000 job losses in the year following a Leave vote and an immediate recession so your paragraph on their recent pronouncements is of limited value. Also, what is it about Remainers that leads them to always include a personal insult with their posts here ?

    3. Caterpillar
      March 26, 2019

      Newmania, I think you are right to put figures in context, though for some reason you did not.

      During the 3 month period of 3 day a week energy saving in the 70s the UK’s economy fell about 2% on an annualised basis; 12 weeks of yellowhammer is not as fundamental as a 3 day week.
      The shock of leaving is not forecast to be as large as that of the GFC. Even some of the dubious time series models were based on a third of the size of the GFC, from which we have been making steady recovery (currently in a slowing world background).
      A 7.5% lower GDP than it is otherwise would be (i.e still growing) over 15 years is in the GDP policy noise of 0.5% per year (based on questionable models). 0.5% per year is 50,000 houses per year (currently we are 33,000 a year down on need).
      Forecasting over 15 years takes in 1 or 2 economic cycles – impossible to forecast through and better to have broader and deeper choice international relations to respond to.
      The prime problem with the UK’s economy in the long run is insufficient saving and insufficient investment – at a basic textbook level UK is hugely below the golden rule. (There are many reasons for this, some cultural, but an infinite supply of cheap labour, government’s restricted freedoms, EU protectionist trade barriers – initially there was a positive effect on joining the common market here, this is now negative in the longrun).
      The often given argument about reducing friction with a CU will no longer offset the downsides. CUs are a last century approach – give the UK’s fintech and regtech innovators chance to show this.
      Over the next 15 years enormous technological changes are expected (AI, gene drives, quantum computing are now). The EU is generally over regulatory on technology, but either way, forecasting through this is silly (scenario planning is not).
      Some of the ‘GDP lower than it otherwise would be’ forecast is due to reduced immigration. Most literature shows uncontrolled immigration does not increase GDP per capita but only GDP i.e. there is not an average gain for those already in the country. Skilled based immigration can multiply the numerator more than the denominator (- it is of course subject to gaming by firm lobbying). Even if large scale uncontrolled immigration can be supported on ethical grounds, and even if gdp per capita went up then inequality and the associated social costs rise – being ready and able to cope with this is not easy.
      Related to both under investment and uncontrolled immigration is that the stock of capital does not keep up with the increase in labour, not only does this impact long run productivity, communities feel it instantly where publically provided services are inadequate.

      The other point is there is more to life than economics. If the forecasts of not growing as fast as we otherwise would (and this having a per capita effect) turned out to be true this may well be a price people are prepared to pay, the benefit of how people feel by being more sovereign, only having to choose national representatives etc., adds more to the quality of life than the small measurable cost.

    4. L Jones
      March 26, 2019

      Remainer = no comment without an insult.
      Why bother to allow his/her comments, Sir John if he/she can’t present arguments without resort to sneering? It’s not even as if he/she is well-informed.

      1. William1995
        March 26, 2019

        Because there are still MPs who are free-market conservatives and who believe in freedom of expression no matter how flawed the opinions are. Hard to find these days I admit.

      2. Turboterrier.
        March 26, 2019

        L Jones

        Well said. But you must remember that it is in their DNA thy know no better.

      3. Turboterrier.
        March 26, 2019

        L Jones

        Well said. But you must remember that it is in their DNA they know no better.

      4. John C
        March 26, 2019

        You can pretty well tell whether a Leaver or Remainer is writing by the tone of the contribution. I can’t believe all Remainers are unpleasant, nasty, sneering and sarcastic, but an awful lot seem to be. Is it because the institution they support is basically overbearing and undemocratic?

        Reply Most Remain voters are not as you describe

    5. Woody
      March 26, 2019

      Over the period 1950-73, per capita GDP in the EU6 grew at an unprecedentedly rapid average rate of 4.6% per annum, as you say, almost twice as fast as the UK’s sedate 2.4% per annum but mainly due to post war reconstruction benefits in europe … with the uk suffering from having to pay back its massive war loans until c 2006 and helping europe rebuild. Growth in the EU6 economies slowed down very soon after UK accession to the EEC. From 1979 to 2007 growth in per capita GDP in the EU6 was only 1.6% per annum, well under half the pre-1973 rate. the UK’s relative improvement post joining was wholly due to the slowdown in the EU6. A better comparison for the UK economy is the USA. In this case, UK GDP per head has remained close to 72% of the US level throughout the post-war period. There is no sign that joining the EU improved UK economic growth relative to the USA.

    6. Richard1
      March 26, 2019

      You’re in business aren’t you? You must know that trumpeting the output of a model without looking at the assumptions is nonsense. All these negative prognoses assume such ludicrous assumptions as the UK continuing with EU tariff schedules, not achieving any new FTAs etc. The purpose of these partial announcements / leaks has been to undermine the case for clean Brexit in the hope of promoting Brino or Remain.

    7. acorn
      March 26, 2019

      There are some sadist number crunchers in Europe. They are looking forward to the UK leaving the EU with “no-deal”. The fourteen Contingency Action Plans, which are solely for the EU27’s benefit, will blunt the sharpness of the “cliff-edge” macroeconomic paradigm shift; but only a bit. For EU Think-Tanks, a no deal Brexit will be the greatest macroeconomic experiment since the Great Depression.

      “It is not what the UK economy has failed to gain as an EU member. It is what it hasn’t lost by being a member of the EU.” A no-deal Brexit will leave them wondering, if it was the EU Braces and/or the EU belt, that has been holding up the UK’s pants for the last three decades.

    8. Oliver
      March 26, 2019

      The 15 year forecast from HMT IS ALREADY PROVEN WRONG. Even the November 2018 document uses largely different assumption – elimination of both productivity and FDI effects that previously made up 25% of the overall decline.

      The assumptions they made on the impact of non-tariff barriers (2016 document, page 163, para a47) are laughable – simply taking the reciprocal of the benefit from new FTA’s – which is an assumption you could only justify with significant empirical evidence – and there isn’t any (except, as HMT themselves now admit) from the breakup of the USSR.

      Reply Yes, and the slower growth for 15 years assumes much lower inward migration. What matters is per head income growth

    9. Newmania
      March 26, 2019

      The words “in my humble opinion” are customary when making unsupported assertions about authoritative evidence. I appreciate we may still experience a low growth pattern.
      Try knocking that growth off the last fifteen years and think where we would be now, where do you propose making cuts, what taxes will you increase, what jobs do you consider worth losing?
      The single market is a unique step forward, it is the new age for developed economies surely you see that, surely even you can see what we are losing, what we had to offer?

      1. Edward2
        March 27, 2019

        You think there will be no growth at all for the next 15 years Newmania.
        Come off it.
        Ridiculous project fear.

    10. Jagman84
      March 26, 2019

      All nice figures but it’s about Sovereignty, not quibbling about a few % points on a balance sheet. That’s what the extreme Remainers like you would prefer to ignore.

    11. Merlin
      March 26, 2019

      While I agree with your view, I think we can talk numbers all day, but isn’t it simply the case that:

      1. All major economies are very dependent on trade
      2. The majority of that trade is conducted with countries nearby (55% in the case of the U.K stripping out gold exports)
      3. For the economy to work properly, it is vital to have trade deals with those countries

      If you simply tear those deals up, I don’t think you need to be a mathematician to work out the consequences.

      1. NickC
        March 26, 2019

        Merlin, What Newmania said about Brexit causing an actual fall in our GDP (Treasury) is factually in error. So your agreeing with his view is peculiar. You are also wrong about the importance of the EU. The UK GDP derived from our exports to the rest of the world is nearly 50% greater than our exports to the EU.

        About 12% of UK GDP is derived from exports to the EU. That is important, but not nearly as important as the other nearly 88%. Why do Remains like you focus only on our trade with the EU whilst ignoring or downplaying all the rest; and especially ignoring the effect of EU control on the rest?

      2. a-tracy
        March 26, 2019

        Do you truly believe the EU won’t wish to trade with us on good terms?

      3. Edward2
        March 26, 2019

        Japan has just signed such a deal with the EU, Merlin.
        Yet no shortages of Japanese goods for sale all over Europe and the UK in the last 40 plus years.

      4. Jasg
        March 26, 2019

        1. I’d rather have Germany’s trade surplus than the UK’s trade deficit. Tariffs mean extra money for the UK, all other things being equal.
        2. Containerisation means distance is no problem nowadays.
        3. Substitute ‘vital’ for ‘desirable’. Then tell us what the EU supplies that we cannot get from elsewhere cheaper.

        Having said that I’m pretty sure our industrial decline had a lot to do with the incumbent Tory government devauing manufacturing in favour of service jobs. Germany sure didn’t suffer any manufacturing decline.

    12. Denis Cooper
      March 26, 2019

      “Treasury analysis suggests that Brexit would lead to a long-run fall in actual UK GDP of 3.8% under the Norway option, 6.2% under the Canada option and 7.5% under the WTO option.”

      All rubbish, as I said yet again only yesterday:

      ““The Treasury’s 2016 document and the more recent ‘cross-Whitehall briefing’ claimed UK GDP would fall by 8% in the long-run in the event of the UK leaving the EU and reverting to ‘WTO rules’. This estimate is probably 3-8 times too high.”

      The odd thing is that a clutch of studies reported by two German bodies and by the EU Commission itself all support the criticism that the UK Treasury is out by some factor between 3 (which would make it 2.7%) and 8 (which would make it 1%).

      And this is all in the context of the UK’s long term trend growth rate being 2.5% a year, hence even if such losses did materialise in unmitigated form their magnitude would be equivalent to natural economic growth over just 5 to 13 average months.”

    13. Anonymous
      March 26, 2019

      Meanwhile, the real impact.

      An MChem and an MBChB can’t afford the house that their postie dad bought on a single wage at a similar age. Not by a very very long shot.

    14. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      Newmania said: “… Brexit would lead to a long-run fall in actual UK GDP …”. Wrong. Not even the Treasury said that. There was no prediction of an actual fall in our GDP due to Brexit.

  11. Geoff kean
    March 26, 2019

    Brexit is lost. It is lost because of a small bunch of extremists, of whom you are one, refusing to agree to Mrs May’s deal, which would categorically have got us out of the EU on 29 March. I hope you are proud

    1. NickC
      March 27, 2019

      Geoff Kean, Mrs May’s dWA is not a deal it is a temporary (!!?) arrangement whereby we rejoin the EU (single customs territory, SM + CFP + CAP rules, ECJ etc) by splitting the NI from the rest of the UK, without an exit clause, and without even figleaf representation.

  12. Jumeirah
    March 26, 2019

    When Article 50 is revoked in a few days time and with it hands and knees time- what additional penalties will the EU impose on us in order for them to agree to ‘revocation’. Our own humiliation will not be enough for them – they will want complete ‘shock and awe – why? because they’re good like that!

  13. agricola
    March 26, 2019

    Your first paragraph rings very true, our media wallow in self denigration.

    However when you site BLMC the whole story was not the EU favoured competition but the abysmal quality of management and appalling industrial relations. A fact that I had embarassing personal experience of. Much heavy industry was tainted with the same brush.

    Overall the current trade balance, I believe to be £90 billion PA in favour of the EU bares out your arguement, even though many other factors were involved. Not least of which was the political imperative to join in the first place.

    The great boost to UK car and component manufacturing was the adoption of ISO 9000 principals, originating with Professor Deming in the USA, by the Japanese. They began producing a reliable product, chose the UK as a favoured EU manufacturing base, and the rest is history. It gave an imeasurable boost to the quality of UK manufacturing that has now spread way beyond the car industry.

    Our success is such that for the EU we are a cash cow, that they will realise they miss ,when this whole sorry political shambles is finalised with our departure. I expect you and your colleagues in the ERG to spell out the means by which, and the fulsome advantages of leaving without a deal but on WTO terms. For the average elector who just wants to get on in life it must be a very confusing and disquieting time.

  14. Mick
    March 26, 2019

    I’m fed up with all this nonsense about what and ifs about the benefits about being in and out of the Eu , we voted overwhelmingly to be out and our mps are totally rubbing our faces in it well enough is enough call a General Election so we can get rid of the Eu loving mps and put into Parliament people who believe in Great Britain because this bunch in Westminster are not doing what they were voted in to do and carry out the wish of the people, this current lot must go

  15. Dominic
    March 26, 2019

    This article’s almost an admission of defeat. If May’s treachery leads to a Marxist Labour government then so be it.

  16. steadyeddie
    March 26, 2019

    Statistics can show whatever you wish to show. Maybe look at Japan for a realistic comparison. The good sense of our HoC is starting to show through instead of the deluded rebels who have damned the Conservative party for many years.

  17. agricola
    March 26, 2019

    Last nights vote has encouraged further, 650 would be navigators , using the same chart, the majority of whom are incapable of reading, to get somewhere they have no conception of. While playing out this fiasco the passengers are totally ignored after stipulating the destination when they bought a ticket.

  18. Mike Stallard
    March 26, 2019

    I was born a month or so before the 1939-1945 war broke out. I remember the endless meals of Farmers’ Glory cornflakes with secretly watered milk. I remember the hunger at school where I kidded myself that the end of my pencil tasted like asparagus.
    Yes, we can do it alone. We usually end up doing that when Europe goes crazy.
    But it will take a lot of self-discipline and I am not at all sure that years of living off the fat of the land has not turned us into a different people.

  19. Martin Bowden
    March 26, 2019

    This report uses up to date data from the ONS and backs up Sir John’s comments:

  20. ukretired123
    March 26, 2019

    Having lived and worked in southern France and travelled around Spain and Greece they all have experienced a loss of buying power and increased prices / inflation particularly after being forced to adopt the Euro around the year 2000.
    Even before that they were experiencing big government taxes and have moved from low income communities to state dependent benefits.
    Cumulatively the net result has been seriously damaging unemployment of levels around 25% but more seriously up to 50% youth unemployment…
    The imbalances around Europe are conveniently not given air time for obvious reasons.
    Yellow jacket concerns have been part of EU for all its just and will not go away despite throwing good money away.
    The EU don’t solve problems only throw money at them, hence always asking for money, correction £Billions. Do not give them £39 Billion and we can help more once we are out.

  21. Narrow Shoulders
    March 26, 2019

    Again the voice of pragmatism has lost the propaganda war.

    Real conservatives need to improve their soundbites

  22. Gary C
    March 26, 2019

    “Ministers voted 329 to 302 for Sir Oliver Letwin’s amendment to enable MPs to take control”

    It would appear a proper Brexit is no longer possible!

  23. Franz
    March 26, 2019

    You know what the old lady said when she watched the parade-“they’re all out of step except my son John”

  24. A.Sedgwick
    March 26, 2019

    I cannot bear to watch May in action anymore but a radio summary of her speech yesterday basically said sign my great agreement, I am not resigning, no deal is not an option but a lengthy i.e. permanent extension of A50 is with participation in EU elections.

    Shame on 200 MPs who kept her “leader”, she is beyond appalling and approaching dangerously dictatorial. Will the real MPs stand up, tell her go or the Government will be voted down and out by the real patriots. The DUP seem to be the only allies of people’s democracy.

  25. BrianW
    March 26, 2019

    On the other hand I have had a wonderful working and living life moving freely about the place importing exporting without hindrance from officialdom not to mention time spent on hols in Italy and spain. But lucky me I have an EU passport now to see me through retirement.

    1. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      BrianW, And I have visited the USA on holiday and for business. Last time I looked they weren’t in the EU.

    2. John C
      March 26, 2019

      Bully for you. Don’t worry about the working class who have seen their incomes decline because of mass unskilled immigration. So nice to have holidays in Spain and Italy, unvisited of course before the Common Market.

  26. Andrew S
    March 26, 2019

    You TPs can’t have the control any more having betrayed democracy. Sing and prance as much as you like but tories and labour parties will have to be demolished split and let’s see what forms after that. Its bizarre, only the SNP and Lib Dems actually stayed true to their word. Time for direct PR.

  27. JM
    March 26, 2019

    Whilst I take the point about comparison of economic performance between 1945 and 1972 and 1972 and to date, the fact is that today we start from a different position than that from which we started in 1945. The world is a very different place.

    My concern before the Referendum was always that the UK was in EU terms a business friendly place and that was why we enjoyed the level of inward investment that we had. I feared that over time, decision by decision, that investment would seep away and we would end up poorer as a result. I was also clear that our so-called partners and friends would be bloody and do their best to make sure that others were discouraged from following us if we were to vote out. The question was whether to regain our sovereignty made that a price worth paying.

    We now have reached a position of political failure. Having endorsed the principle of holding a referendum by a large majority and then having endorsed the policy of implementing the referendum by a big majority, our politicians have since failed us. They have shown themselves unable to follow through on the logic of those earlier decisions; we are told that this is because a large majority of MPs and the civil services which provides advice to ministers think that Brexit is a fundamental error and very bad for the country. So now we have a position of stalemate and paralysis.

    This leads me to the conclusion, like it or not, that having delegated the initial decision to the electorate, the final decision will also have to be delegated. Given that the PM’s deal has been so roundly rejected as a bad deal, it appears that the binary choice has to be leave without a deal or remain in the EU. I have no idea how that will be resolved by the electorate, but I cannot see another way forward.

  28. Lynn Atkinson
    March 26, 2019

    Well I had to laugh! To Crispin Blunt:
    ‘ MPs have voted twice against ‘no deal’’
    TM Please note:

    What’s wrong with this woman – no sequential thinking at all!

  29. Everhopeful
    March 26, 2019

    I suppose that realistically a political ideology masquerading as an economic union would inevitably bring all its members to ruin.

    The success of the Euro ( tho’ I believe it has served Germany well?) was never of any importance to the EU it was just a mechanism for ever closer political unity.

    And even though …mirabile dictu…our weak kneed govt kept us out of the Euro ( don’t think we could meet criteria anyway)…we STILL can not escape the sticky spider’s web.

  30. ChrisS
    March 26, 2019

    Most of us agree with you.

    But why are you and your Brexiteer colleagues doing your best to help the Remainers keep us in the organisation we all dislike so much ?

    May’s deal is now the only game in town that has any chance of delivering a proper Brexit.

    Failure to back it is almost certainly going to end in us staying in or a Brexit so soft that it isn’t worth having.

    Reply MRs Mays Agreement locks us back into the EU for 21 to 45 months and may end up forcing us to stay in the customs union with alignment of laws.

    1. Nigl
      March 26, 2019

      And it now looks that JRM/Fabricant etc are backing it as this or nothing. As a well known blues singer sang, I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.

      From what you are telling us, we may as well stay as we are. Even more so if May and her cohorts are in charge of the so called negotiations again.

    2. ChrisS
      March 26, 2019

      Reply to Reply :
      I understand and agree that the deal is terrible but your party leader’s hopeless negotiating strategy has got us into a position that there is now no other realistic way of getting us out of the EU.

      The Remainer majority in Parliament is determined to keep us in at all costs and they will succeed if they manage to delay Brexit for more than a few weeks.

      At least a new Cabinet led by a proper Brexiteer PM would then have a chance of rescuing something from the complete mess your leader and Cabinet has got us into.

      But we need to be OUT to do that.

    3. Denis Cooper
      March 26, 2019

      JR, what we need is a joint declaration of intent that UK will be free to operate its own independent trade policy, perhaps with a date by which that must happen.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 26, 2019

        As pointed out previously:

        For the past 45 years our trade deals have been those negotiated by the EU and its antecedents on behalf of all member states, and that must continue to be the case until we are free of the EU customs union.

        “The European Union created a Common Commercial Policy to govern its trade relations with non-EU countries. The creation of a common commercial policy followed as a logical consequence of the formation of a customs union among its Member States. The European Union’s trade policy therefore establishes common rules including, among others, a common customs tariff, a common import and export regime and the undertaking of uniform trade liberalization measures as well as trade defence instruments.

        The Common Commercial Policy is explicitly placed under the exclusive competence of the Union (Article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon). This confirms existing case-law of the European Court of Justice and means that the Union alone is able to legislate and conclude international agreements in this field.”

    4. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      ChrisS, Theresa May’s dWA does not result in the UK leaving the EU treaties. It also comes with the baggage of splitting the UK; no exit clause; and not even figleaf representation.

      Any party voting for May’s dWA will have to own it when it goes wrong. Which it will.

    5. Stred
      March 26, 2019

      May’s WA was designed to be as bad as remaining but with no eurosceptic MEPs. It would be better to be cheated by MPs and still cause hell in the EU.
      Verhofstdaft has said he is pleased by what is happening in the Commons. He wants a deal cobbled together by MPs. What does that tell you?

    6. Andy
      March 26, 2019

      Mrs May’s so called Withdrawal Agreement is nothing of the sort: it is ‘passive membership’ and that is what it is all about. She has deliberately created a situation where we are being kept closely aligned with the EU so we rejoin the damn thing in less than 6 years.

      May’s deal was rejected not once but twice by Parliament. It should be dead. We should Leave on Friday without a WA. That is the Law. But no, she trots off and begs for an extension to the process.

    7. Helen Smith
      March 26, 2019

      In addition if it is her ‘deal’ or no Brexit Brexiteers can vote for it as much as they like, Remainers will just vote against.

  31. Original Richard
    March 26, 2019

    The reason why the UK voted to leave the EU was because a majority wanted to retain some influence on their laws and taxes through the ballot box by keeping the ability to be able to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

    It was never about the economy and a majority voted to leave DESPITE being told by the PM, the Chancellor, the Governor of the BoE, the EU funded CBI and BBC, the majority of the MSM, the IMF, the POTUS and the Archbishop of Canterbury etc. that voting to leave would make us poorer.

    BTW, since none of the threats for just voting to leave, namely 500K loss of jobs, decline in GDP, emergency budget etc. came to pass I would expect that in a second referendum leave would gain all those leave supporting voters who were frightened into voting remain by the false project fear predictions.

  32. Peter Martin
    March 26, 2019

    Much of this has occurred since the 2008 GFC. The EU consists of countries which are either highly mercantilistic, like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, or in poor economic shape like Italy and France. They aren’t good export markets.

    The resultant trade deficit causes us a debt problem. If the UK as whole is importing more than it exports, someone in the UK has to borrow to pay the net bill.

    At least partially that has to be down to government. If the Government doesn’t deficit spend then the economy slumps as it runs out of money. We’ve all seen how much economic damage that causes.

  33. Original Richard
    March 26, 2019

    Remainers are fighting for a second referendum.

    But before any second referendum takes place we need them to clearly define what sort of EU they want to see, particularly as so many have said they want to remain in a “reformed” EU, so that we know “what we are voting for”.

    Do they want :

    Ever closer union with all laws and taxes set by Brussels Eurocrats ?
    Us to join the Euro as it is intended to be made mandatory ?
    Our putting our armed forces and nuclear arsenal under the control of Brussels ?
    Our giving over our permanent seat at the UN to the EU (already demanded)
    The EU to continue with its expansion eastwards to include at least another 7 countries, and if Mr. Cameron had his way all the ‘stan’ countries as far as the Urals (Kazakhstan speech July 2013) ?
    Us to continue with unlimited immigration from all other EU countries ?
    To continue with the CAP, where we subsidise other EU countries to sell us food we cannot produce and can buy cheaper elsewhere ?
    Other EU countries to continue to have a greater access to our fishing grounds than we have ?
    To continue with our inability to elect or remove those who make our laws and taxation and foreign policies or would they want to see a change ?

  34. Bryan Harris
    March 26, 2019

    If that catalogue of economic issues was everything that was wrong with the EU, then it would be logically still a very good reason to leave… But it isn’t – There is a whole list of things that EU watchers have fumed over through the years, feeling helpless, waiting for others to wake up to what the EU was becoming:
    – ignoring democratic decisions;
    – secret meetings, and a large degree of dishonesty – ‘Do as we say, not as we do’;
    – inherently socialist by nature, and indeed too many communists in key positions;
    – imposition of politically correct dogma;
    – the EU gravy train;
    – making the EU elite exempt from prosecution;
    – pandering to lobbyists, while ignoring what people wanted and taking away choice;
    – imposition of ever more red tape, strangling industry and business;
    – imposing mass immigration on us;
    – rules favouring Germany and France to our cost;
    – the ECHR, with it’s lack of real justice;
    – many rules that were hard to understand, resulting in £hundredofsmillions in fines;
    – UK industries destroyed or moved abroad at our expense;
    – wealth sharing – using our taxes to upgrade European countries infrastructure;
    – the EP – not really a parliament, no second chamber, and no opposition party;
    – making life ever more expensive while keeping down wages.

    ….and many more

    1. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      Bryan Harris, Well said. It is a pity that the likes of Remain Andy, Margaret Howard and Merlin won’t address these problems.

    2. Turboterrier.
      March 26, 2019

      Bryan Harris

      Totally in agreement with your excellent post.

    3. Andy
      March 26, 2019

      The ECHR is nothing to do with the EU. #justsayin’

      1. Edward2
        March 27, 2019

        It is linked our EU membership via treaties we’ve signed.
        We are obliged to agree to rulings of the ECHR now.

      2. Bryan Harris
        March 27, 2019

        ECHR and the EU work hand in glove to dominate the ‘justice’ system.

        The ECHR favour EU institutions in most rulings, but I’m damned certain that if the ECHR stopped doing this that the EU could bring it to heel.

    4. What Tiler
      March 26, 2019

      And today they passed articles 11 and 13 of the eu copyright directive; effectively killing the internet, or at least any dissenting voices on it.

    5. Tad Davison
      March 26, 2019

      Well said! A lot of people need to wake up!


  35. Richard1
    March 26, 2019

    I heard the former minister Mr Harrington this am saying he had resigned to stop this ‘nonsense of no deal’ which he said (normal continuity remain insults) was promoted by a ‘discredited minority’ of economists. Indeed it’s a minority. But the economists who back clean Brexit such as Minford and Bootle are the ones who have been right over issues such as the ERM the euro, also the Labour boom-bust-bank bailout, and earlier Thatchers reforms. But always a minority – just a correct minority.

    My question to the likes of Mr Harrington and the other continuity remain forces in parliament is why they voted for a referendum and article 50 in the first place? If they regard it as unthinkably terrible to leave the EU without the EU’s permission they should have argued all along that a referendum was unthinkable as we could never implement the leave option. Ken Clarke, to his credit, was against the referendum and triggering article 50 – at least a logically consistent position. The rest of these weasels ought to have the courage of their convictions and just say they want to stop brexit altogether.

  36. Michael
    March 26, 2019

    If it becomes truly not possible to leave the EU with no deal should we at that point switch to remain?

    1. Bob
      March 26, 2019

      The Article 50 clause is a one shot option. Once triggered it used up and if cancelled cannot be used again. That your lot, so don’t think about running away to fight another day. The only possibility to leave would be to elect a UKIP govt.

      1. Bob
        March 26, 2019

        * That’s your lot

    2. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      Michael, There is no rational reason why the Remains are so besotted with the EU. If they think the UK is too small or is incapable of self-government then the issue becomes which empire is it best to be subjugated by. Certainly the USA is better than the EU – it is more democratic and freer. But of course they don’t have a coherent argument but a fixation – theirs is just a general wail that Nanny EU knows best.

    3. Oldwulf
      March 26, 2019

      Michael. I do not believe that the EU will permit us to “switch to remain”.

      It will want some changes to make it even more difficult for us to “leave” next time.

    4. Jagman84
      March 26, 2019

      Remain will now be everything contained in the WA, with extras added on as the Lisbon Treaty evolves. There is no status quo in the EU. Ever closer union?

    5. Stred
      March 26, 2019

      It would be better to get MPs to feel safe to withdraw A50. Then over the next 3 years the full horror of what they have done will become clear, with MEPs and bye elections allowing Ukip and the Brexit making videos of the the proceedings. Then the General Election and wipeout for Conservative and Labour quislings

    6. William Simpson
      March 26, 2019

      Yes, unfortunately. I am rapidly coming to this conclusion.
      There is no point in flogging a dead horse vis-a-vis the cataclysmic WA.
      Stay instead. We tried. Events and the elite conspired against us. The best fallback is to stay. Seriously.

    7. Tad Davison
      March 26, 2019

      Never! And I mean NEVER!

      The only obstacles to our exit are man-made, therefore, they can be un-made by man. The problem here is the people of low calibre and even lower integrity at Westminster who continue to manufacture obstacles and ways to turn the result of the referendum around. We need to oust them and make sure their like can never find their way into positions of trust and influence ever again.


    8. Steve
      March 26, 2019


      That is the remain agenda, and the reason why they insisted no deal was removed.

  37. Denis Cooper
    March 26, 2019

    Off-topic, I recall that back in the days when I often journeyed by Tube they sometimes displayed this poem, by Roger McGough apparently:

    The Leader

    I wanna be the leader
    I wanna be the leader
    Can I be the leader?
    Can I? I can?
    Promise? Promise?
    Yippee I’m the leader.
    I’m the leader.

    OK what shall we do?

    I was reminded of that yesterday, watching Oliver Letwin and his Revolutionary Council discussing what they should do next.

    Just to be clear I am not against MPs asserting themselves; there should be more of it, and in this case they should have started a lot earlier, rejecting from the start Theresa May’s impudent refusal to provide what she called “a running commentary”, and demanding to see details of what she was trying to negotiate even if some committee sessions had to be held in camera; but I am against disloyal MPs setting out to overturn a decision which Parliament asked the electorate to make directly and which the government promised would be implemented.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      March 27, 2019

      Oliver Letwin, he who was originally a 100% Leaver is now a 100% Remainer – that’s showbiz!

  38. HJ
    March 26, 2019

    “An EU study has showed practically no gain from EU membership for the UK economy, but it is on optimistic assumptions.”

    John, could you provide a link to this study please?

    1. Chris Bowley
      March 26, 2019

      I’d be interested in seeing that study too.

    2. hans christian ivers
      March 26, 2019


      Sir JR, has unfortunately got his fact wrong I am afraid

      1. NickC
        March 27, 2019

        Hans, Don’t be afraid, Brexit is here to hold your hand.

  39. BW
    March 26, 2019

    That’s a shame. I was hoping to read Sir John’s take on the defeat of The government last night. I am beginning to fear all is lost for us Brexiteers especially those that were happy with no deal. Now I fear that unless we accept this ridiculous WA the exit we do get, if we get one will definitely be worse.
    Is the object by remainers to tie us with the Eu with such a bad deal that within a few years we are begging to rejoin. I do wish she would prorogue parliament before the SI so we left on the 29th with no deal ,as I understand the law stands at the moment.

    Reply The vote last night means Parliament will now express preferences for the way forward but these cannot be binding on the government especially where they require movement from the EU.

    1. Richard1
      March 26, 2019

      The continuity Remain plan is an exceptionally soft and squishy Brexit and a long extension to agree it all. As tony Blair points out there is no point in soft Brexit, you may as well remain. The logic of this will mean we all eventually agree to a new referendum or just give it up and remain anyway.

    2. NickC
      March 26, 2019

      BW, It’s a shambles. Leave MPs have been comprehensively out-manoeuvred but that is not surprising since they are outnumbered 5:1. The main point now is that those parties and MPs voting for a Remain outcome must be made to own it.

    3. BW
      March 26, 2019

      It’s the Total collapses I dread. The vote of no confidence. A Corbyn government with a Marxist Chancellor. A soft Brexit. Surely nobody wants a general election except the Labour Party as they smell power. With the anger in the country at the moment nobody could predict who gained power.

    4. L Jones
      March 26, 2019

      It’s all the smoke and mirrors of what was just to be a ‘trade’ deal – and we were going to bribe them to talk about trade with our £39 billion. Brexit was never just to do with trade – in the way that this Surrender Treaty is not just to do with trade. The people were lied to about the ‘Common Market’ that we were to join, and it’s all been downhill since then.
      The more this goes on the more choreographed it seems. As if it were known the moves that would be made as we were being herded into a blind tunnel – remainers too. Divide and rule has been the EU intent all along, with an end game of ‘ever closer union’. And STILL many of our MPs are playing into their hands. Are they infected with some kind of madness? Do they forget this is our precious country they are damaging, or are their party politics trumping everything in the real world?

    5. miami.mode
      March 26, 2019

      Reply to reply.

      This perhaps shows the arrogance of Remainer MPs. They seem to automatically assume the EU will agree with whatever they come up with.

  40. hans christian ivers
    March 26, 2019

    Sir JR,

    This is an interesting but totally flawed analysis of the UK economic performance that you blame on the EU as we should be looking closer to home for the lack of growth after 1972
    1) BLMC lost out to foreign competition due to low quality car production , some of it was blame of the unions, not because of tariffs.
    2) Special grants for setting up factories and regional assistance was also granted to Wales , Cornwall, Scotland and the north-east , so this was not only other parts of the EU, getting significant grants
    3) Growth in Europe was on average 4 % a year after 1945to 1972 and about 2% a year thereafter and this did not only include Eu members so this has very little do with the EU, this is a fundamentally structural change in the European economies.

    4) The lack of productivity growth in the UK during the 1970s(compared to for example Denmark and Netherlands) also had a major impact on our competitiveness. (Stanford University research 2015.)
    5) We lost out on the Exchange Rate Mechanism because we were not sufficiently competitive and should never have joined in the first place.
    6) Actually during this period Europe had higher productivity gains in 13 out of 15 years than the US. (Warwick University research 2011.)
    So overall your conclusions do not stick up to the facts as they have been presented above

  41. agricola
    March 26, 2019

    I am begining to understand, thanks to Brexit, how our system of government works. Last night I concluded that Mrs May has been very machevalian clever. She has thrown the dogs of Parliament a load of largely rotten offal. They will no doubt fight over it for the next few days.

    Only two possibilities come near satisfying those who voted leave. The same two are in line with manifesto and speech promises . When the dogs have gorged themselves or fought to a standstill the actual decision rests with Cabinet and May. They are the government, Parliament is a talkng shop sometimes to good effect often not.

    If the leave minus the WA group in the conservative party wish to prevail they must comprise the Cabinet and Government. I see no other way, as at the moment May and her toxic WA are holding the reins.

  42. Dominic
    March 26, 2019

    Mogg’s now prepared to back May’s deal. The ERG showing a complete lack of integrity.

    It seems the ERG and its members do believe that popular democracy is a mere plaything and the result of the EU ref result was indeed not to be taken seriously

    They could bring down this government and take the brave step of breaking the two party duopoly by becoming a separate political party but it seems they also prefer to betray all that we are

    It’s very simple. Backing May is collusion in the arrogant circumvention of our democracy by a Parliamentary coup

    I do hope the Marxists get in to expose all those who backed May’s deal the disastrous consequences of their spineless capitulation

    Reply I thought Mr Rees Mogg had said he could never vote for the Agreement all the time the DUP said it was bad for Northern Ireland, which they are still saying when I last heard them on the media.

    1. Alan Jutson
      March 26, 2019


      Agree with your many points.

      Seems like too many of our Mp’s have become loyal to the EU Commission rather than the UK population.

      This is a very dangerous path to walk which holds no long term future that act in such a manner.

      As I said in my post a few days ago choosing between a slow death or a long drawn out one is not a choice when you are fighting for your life.
      Mrs Mays surrender document or existing membership is simply not a valid choice, when the majority have already voted for a clear cut leave option.

      Please stand firm JR, do not vote for Mays proposal under any circumstances even if it means no Brexit, because we will eventually get a parliament that will lead properly in the future once people realise which way the EU is going, then at least you can say I told you so..

    2. James Bertram
      March 26, 2019

      Mr Rees Mogg makes no mention of Northern Ireland in his latest Moggcast on Conservative Home: The Moggcast. Deal-or-No-Brexit “becomes the choice eventually…May’s deal is better than not leaving at all”
      Last updated: March 26, 2019 at 10:28 am
      However, no self-respecting MP could vote for May’s surrender document, under any circumstance. Sorry, Jacob.

      Dominic is spot on in his analysis. A separate pro-Brexit Tory party should win a General Election by a landslide. They would represent the 17.4 million Leave voters whilst the issue is central to voters’ minds. You have the support of the local party machine, activists and members, and should get sufficient funding from Leave backers. It is all possible. The Remain vote is split amongst all the other parties. Too, the pro-Brexit Tory party can reform as the Conservative Party (minus the Remain element) soon after winning the election. It is the logical and honourable way forward.

      It looks likely that a General Election will be called in the next 2 weeks: either because the indicative votes are asking for something the Government cannot deliver; or because the Government loses a Vote of Confidence.

      So, the question is: do Brexiteers, in sufficient numbers, have the courage to fight the election as a pro-Brexit Tory party; and are they prepared to put Country before Party?

      I’ll not hold my breath.

      There is perhaps one alternative in between, though. That they lose the Vote of Confidence, but instead of holding a GE, they form a (cross-party?) Government that has the support of the House and will respect the people’s decision to Leave the EU with a simple FTA (GATT24 transition) – but, given the anti-democratic position of most MPs, this is probably a non-starter.

    3. percy openshaw
      March 26, 2019

      Replying to your Reply, Sir John, the Guido Fawkes website has footage of Mr Rees Mogg explaining his decision to back the May arrangements. If he caves in now then the justly angered Brexit majority will have reason for further bitter disappointment. It will look as though the entire political class with rare exceptions has chosen to put bigotry or cowardice or personal interest and party games before the claims of democracy itself. This risks the result of a Corbyn government by default and the permanent fracture of the right.

      Reply Mr Rees Mogg will vote with the DUP who are currently against the Agreement

      1. percy openshaw
        March 27, 2019

        He seems to have resiled from his opposition to the agreement now, alas.

    4. a-tracy
      March 26, 2019

      They’re reporting Mogg said May’s Deal or No Brexit. Well if it’s May’s Deal or Revoke A50 then Revoke A50 and see what happens. You shouldn’t have left this up to remain MPs in your own party.

    5. BW
      March 26, 2019

      I was never in favour of the WA. I wanted no deal. However it does seem now that the opportunity for a largely remain parliament are too great. I believe they have seven options that are worse ,with the ultimate aim of revoking A50 or another referendum. I am not so clued up on politics but I think we have taken this to the wire and the only way we are going to leave is with this WA., albeit a bad deal. I desperately want to leave.

    6. Stred
      March 26, 2019

      The Ergs could be humouring the deluded stooge
      in order to make her delay until 13th April, expecting her EU trap to be passed. Then it will be too late for Letwin and Boles to pull their treacherous stunts.

    7. James
      March 26, 2019

      The barefaced betrayal of Leave voters, and the monumental incompetence and duplicity will be neither forgiven nor forgotten. A record number of remainer MPs are going to lose their seats at the next election. They will keep until then.

    8. William Simpson
      March 26, 2019

      Exactly JR. But no longer. Back a Revocation. I’m sad to say this is now the best option for those of us who wanted to leave. The WA is a complete and utter disaster.

      “We shall never forget”. Or who you were.
      We will concede defeat of this Brexit, but you will never ever be in parliament again.

    9. Nicholas Murphy
      March 26, 2019

      The actions of the ERG are causing me to think that they, like the rest of the Conservatives in Parliament, have no idea about how to campaign. With the Daily Mail now talking-up the likelihood of yet another GE, that augurs ill.

    10. L Jones
      March 26, 2019

      See Sammy Wilson’s article in the Daily Telegraph today – and give him three cheers for a lucid and succinct description of what’s going on.

    11. John Payne
      March 26, 2019

      Northern Ireland will have a problem if we remain in the European Union

      Everyone should understand if we remain in EU Northern Ireland will be integrated with Ireland anyway as a Region of proposed EU State. BEST TO LEAVE NOW and sort out the rest afterwards

    12. Steve
      March 26, 2019


      “I do hope the Marxists get in to expose all those who backed May’s deal the disastrous consequences of their spineless capitulation”

      We won’t need the marxists to identify the shysters…… records for every MP are a matter of public record, available for free on the net.

  43. Pete Else
    March 26, 2019

    As far as I can see parliament, government and the civil service are all working against the interests of Britain and the will of the people. If they succeed in their destruction of Brexit even the most brainwashed voter will be able to see that our “Mother of Parliaments” is just a sham for corrupt, career political hacks to sell us out for their own benefit. Just today we see the alleged Brexiteer Mogg selling us out and backing May’s surrender document. Disgusting. Sickening. Every single turncoat MP should lose their seat and the Conservative party and Labour party should be eviscerated at the polls.

  44. Jeremy
    March 26, 2019

    John – the ERG need to abstain in a vote of no confidence. That would focus minds of the errant parliamentarians.

    Unfortunately I don’t think you are courageous enough to abstain because Tories always choose party over country. But what if your party is wiped out at the next election? Then what? It makes no sense to choose party now if that party will be no more after facing the electorate.

    If you want to see what’s possible at the next election, then look at the 1993 Canadian election when the Tories there went from a majority to only 2 seats. It won’t be only the Tories that suffer, Labour are complicit too and will take a beating with the rise of parties that believe in Britain and campaign on really leaving the caustic EU.

  45. MickN
    March 26, 2019

    When she was elected Mrs May had to go to Her Majesty and tell her that she could form a government. After last night it is obvious that she cannot.
    Are there not enough Privy Councillors amongst the ranks of the leavers that could ask for an audience with the Queen and tell her that as they will no longer vote for any bill that the government puts to the house.

  46. Whichever
    March 26, 2019

    When we joined the EEC later to become the EU we had a voice at the Council table and in the EU Parliament and because our politicians over the years did not speak out more forcefully to represent us we did not get a fair shake- but can hardly blame the Europeans for that – we had sixty to seventy MEPs there that could have cross referenced and built bridges with like minded but instead they preferred to waste time by whinging on the benches and so now it has brought us to this sorry state.

  47. Abendrot
    March 26, 2019

    I have just listened to this week’s Moggcast and, sensing the flat defeat in the voice, wrote the following as an immediate response. Please, Sir John, remain firm in your convictions and intentions!

    This is a great error by Jacob; the enslavement act will be seen by the British people in time as nothing less than incarceration in an open prison, and the general (shallow) memory will regard JRM as no different to Anna Soubry et al. Much better, I think, to stand firm and be on the right side of events when the inevitable revocation amendment is made. Then we’ll have the b***ard’s names plain for all to see so that electors can exact their revenge when the opportunity presents itself. We now have to look beyond this parliament for our freedom. Much better for the staunch brexiteers to support a no-confidence motion in the hope of forcing a general election. Cameron has a lot to answer for; not only his pathetic negotiation with the EU, but his cowardice in running away when the country needed leadership, and his bringing in the FTPA that effectively allows a puppet prime minister to remain in power against the interests of the country.

  48. AndyC
    March 26, 2019

    Agreed, there’s no good economic evidence for any benefits from EEC/EC/EU membership over the years, indeed the reverse. I suppose I would argue that the war severely damaged the UK economy in two ways. First, we were faced with the full costs of reconstruction (here and in the bits of Europe we controlled post-war), while western Europe received a lot of US aid. Second, we lost access to many pre-war export markets as a result of Lend Lease. That loss proved permanent and was a direct result of US government policy.

    History aside, I don’t know which I find more depressing. That British law can apparently be unilaterally rewritten over dinner in Brussels, or that the British government and parliament are so eager to acquiesce. It’s hard to put into civil words the depth of my contempt for these people. I’m beginninng to feel for the first time that this country has actually gone, and isn’t coming back.

    May’s ‘deal’ is vile, but, given the treason of this week, the only option is to support it, in the hope that in the near future a differently-constituted government and parliament will have the wit and sense of duty to substantially revise it. I hate that, it’s a gamble, and it’s what May and her fellow seditionists have plotted all along, but at this point the brexit cause has nothing left to lose.

    It’s a waste of time waiting for no deal on April 12th. Even if the government were to swing behind it, we’ve already established that Brussels can simply change the date at will. May’s ‘deal’ does at least begin the process of unplugging EU law – and its corrosive superiority over UK law. With that done, the next task is to remove the seditionists from parliament and government.

    I suppose an historic analogy is with the English Republic. It ‘won’, but spent so much time arguing about how pure it wanted to be that it failed to see the gathering strength of its enemies. Or, if you will, the Frankfurt parliament of 1848-50. Same story. We don’t want to end up there. So, through gritted teeth, give May her deal, kick her into the Lords (if the Tower of London isn’t a realisitic option, shame), then get on with a proper and wholly different negotiation of our future relations with Europe. Might work.

  49. Peter
    March 26, 2019

    “Mogg’s now prepared to back May’s deal.”. Yes, according to the Conservative Home interview. A timid change of heart. Mogg lacks the strength to be a leader.

    Bridgen, Francois etc are still sound. The DUP are still resolutely opposed too.

    The Withdrawal Agreement must be voted down. If whatever else emerges (after Indicative votes) does not suit then ‘The Spartans” should trigger an election to get to the root of the problem and vote out intransigent Remainers.

  50. The Prangwizard
    March 26, 2019

    Rees-Mogg is reverting to type. He’s prepared to sell out and betray the country and support May’s surrender to keep the Tory party together.

  51. ian
    March 26, 2019

    Everything going great at the moment with no deal still the default for leaving and WA with the future relationship still in the race, the long extension might be in the minds of remain politicians in the HOC but at this time it is not favoured in Brussels or by the gov.

    Brussels needs European election in the UK like a hole in their head, most countries in Europe will be electing more right-wing MEPs than ever before with the latest blow coming from Holland where rightwing MEPs have had a huge surge of support, the last thing they need now, is the UK sending a massive load of rightwing MEPs to Brussels, the thought of that at the EU commission is unthinkable and will be avoided at all costs.

    That only leaves a deal with the WA and the future relationship or no deal by default.

    Any deal put together by rebel remain politicians in parliament will be no different than deal already on the table, that is, WA with an outline of a future relationship which is not set in stone, which can run on for years, leaving businesses in the dark about what the end result will be.

    Even if remain politicians come with a deal, Mrs T May can block it and say her deal is better than their deal on costs and flexibility, also they need their deal if there is one approved in the next 12 days by Brussels.

    The thing to do now is to get the right team in place to handle the last stage, be it deal or no deal.

  52. villaking
    March 26, 2019

    Sir John,
    Your colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg has today said that he may vote for Mrs May’s deal despite his view that it turns Britain into a “slave state” and despite previously having said that it was worse than remaining in the EU. Might we see you moving in the same direction now?

    Reply No

  53. ian
    March 26, 2019

    All remain, politicians, hope relies on a long extension to Article 50, without that they have no way forward apart from revoking article 50 which would be a hard sell and a bitter pill for all MPs.

  54. NickC
    March 26, 2019

    Theresa May’s dWA – which will become a treaty – locks us back into the EU plus there is no exit clause, NI is split off from the UK, and there is not even any figleaf representation.

    Worse, May’s dWA will go wrong. And then those voting for it will be blamed. So J R-M and other waverers will be c0ntributing to the destruction of the Conservative party.

  55. Jane
    March 26, 2019

    The EU superstate as it wishes to be will crumble.

    The UK has been asset stripped over time outside of the big cities. So the Referendum result was predicable if you did not ignore the ordinary working class vote.
    Most Milennials are concerned about their travel, roaming and foreign jobs being at risk. Not about vassallage or freedom as they do not see the EU as serfdom.

    I hope the PM has her feet up with a cup of tea watching Letwin et al Panto unfold!
    Then the time for the winning third vote – it is truly the stuff of a political thriller.

    I would prefer WTO but it is not a perfect world with so many Remainer MPs.
    I shall not be voting for mine in the next GE that is certain.

  56. Alan Jutson
    March 26, 2019

    Cannot understand the argument that we should vote for May’s deal if she leaves/stands down.

    Why sack a politician after her policy has been passed, that’s just daft thinking.

    The proper thing to do is sack her for being incompetent, and then vote her proposals down.

  57. Mark
    March 26, 2019

    I suspect that the ERG needs to table one or more indicative resolutions agreeing to the WA provided that certain clauses of it are excised or amended. It would have the advantage of giving the EU Council a clear choice as to whether to accept such amendment. Most obviously, the minimum is that the backstop is removed.

    We need to be sure we will be free of EU law.

  58. Rien Huizer
    March 26, 2019

    Mr Redwood,
    With all due respect, this is as nosensical as the argument that the UK economy has benefited from EU membership. There is simply no way to know, in the absence of a reliable counterfactual: a UK that was not a member during the period you mention. There is anecdotal evidence (like factory closures on the one hand and the reemergence of a UK car manufacturing industry on the other) that there have been changes.

    The effect on economic conditions that membership of a very large market has could well be stronger near the center of gravity of economic Europe (roughly an area 750 kms around Stuttgart) than the periphery, countries like Greece, Spain, Finland and the British Isles. However at the same time the great spatial reordering of industry within Europe (and not to forget, Turkey and other nearby associates with trade facilities) was taking place, China emerged as the manufacturing centre of choice for many industries, especially garments, electronics and in the near future, cars. The Koreans and Japanese have seen their shipbuilding industries losing market share to China. Pistons for Mercedes cars are made in India (by a subsidiary of a German firm). What this results in, is much noise and very little signal as to cause end effect of those spatial restructurings. One movement is closer to cheap factors (labour, materials, pollution regimes) and another is even closer to the end user, using the internet (Amazon).

    This to illustrate the term “nonsensical” used in the opening sentence.

    What counts about EU membership or alternatives is where the incremental costs and benefits are wrt to the near- to medium term future, ie the part within investment and model cycles for industry. Will the UK be a better place to invest in for already resident MNCs or not. Will a specific relationship with the EU attract or repell new investors? That question is far more lelevant than looking at a past with questions no one can answer.

  59. Christine
    March 26, 2019

    Please, please don’t fold now. I am so despondent now that I hear that JRM will vote for the WA. I despair that the outcome of the referendum will ever be respected. And what will the consequences be for our democracy? I shudder to think.

  60. Richard W
    March 26, 2019

    Two simple points:
    – The UK chose to join the ERM. There was no obligation to do so, even as a then EEC member. So if ERM membership did damage to the UK economy, you can’t blame its membership of the EEC for it.
    – You compare growth rates 1945-72 and 1972-today and then talk about the war economy as a potentially confounding factor. But the war ended in 1945.

  61. Denis Cooper
    March 26, 2019

    This is worth a look:

    Their claim is that overall, taking into account gains as well as losses:

    “WTO-based Brexit could yield the UK £80 billion per year”,

    As always I will put those billions into proper perspective as 4% of GDP.

    Touching upon an earlier comment:

    the penultimate paragraph in this article runs:

    “Now it is quite likely that not all the upsides would materialise, and also that trade costs might be higher. But even more pessimistic – but still realistic – takes on trade costs such as in the German IFO study of 2017, CEP (2017), Gudgin, Coutts et al (2017) or Ciuriak et al (2018) suggest costs of only around 1.5%-2.5% of GDP. The midpoint of these estimates is still only half of the potential upsides we have identified.”

  62. graham1946
    March 26, 2019

    On the rebate won by Mrs. T, Tony Blair gave away at least one billion a year in exchange for empty promises of reform of the EU.. They took the money and then welshed on the deal by doing no reforms. These are our Friends and partners?

  63. margaret howard
    March 26, 2019

    From a continent in rubble only 70 years ago the people of Europe have worked for and created the most successful trading bloc in the world

    The EU poured money into our impoverished regions and cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff etc which are all now thriving.

    Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2014 generated a nominal gross domestic product of $18.495 tril, constituting approximately 24% of global nominal GDP

    In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Because of its global influence, the EU has been described as a current or as a potential superpower.

    Some failure!

    1. Edward2
      March 27, 2019

      The EU has no money of its own.
      It is just sending us some of our own contributions back and pretending to be generous.
      And look up GDP per head and compare the EU with Australia or USA

    2. A.Sedgwick
      March 27, 2019

      Marshall Plan and our own money.

    3. Original Richard
      March 27, 2019

      “The EU poured money into our impoverished regions and cities like Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff etc which are all now thriving. ”

      And from where did this “EU money come” ?

      It came from our net contributions to the EU budget, whilst most countries are net recipients.

      The logic has to be that if we were not paying money into the EU budget we would have more money to spend at home instead of paying for infrastructure improvements in other EU countries, as we have been doing for the last 40+ years.

      In fact, the EU has now, or is close to, with further enlargement, to being an organisation where the recipient countries have more QMV votes than the donor countries.

      So it is clear where the budget will be going in the future and this, together with other issues, such as the inevitable long-term consequence of the Euro, the EU’s plans for enlargement and for unlimited immigration, will eventually lead to instability and collapse.

  64. Gareth Warren
    March 26, 2019

    I hear today Mogg and others are turning to support the withdrawal agreement, I am split on this.
    It is a very un-tory idea to spend more on government expecting prosperity, although his idea that we gain independence appeals.
    But watching parliament scupper brexit and cause an early election is also interesting since it exposes those who want to prevent a democratic process to the consequences. I suspect many would not face voters due to local organisations deselecting them.

  65. agricola
    March 26, 2019

    In line with the way you have suggested in the past the first two options on Mrs Mays inconclusive vote options could be combined. Leave on 12th April, submitt a FTA proposal, invoke Art 24 of GATT and you are there. Talking about anything else on the wish list does not fully respect the referendum result.

    The EEA possibility of joining Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein should be just about acceptable for those who wish to still hold hands with the EU. We would still be contributing financially but much less I believe. Most important we would be free to negotiate our own trade deals around the World. Immigration is as it is now but I get the impression that the thinking is changing particularly in Norway. On the plus side free movement of goods services and capital remains. It is not ideal but it could be an acceptable compromise.

  66. BR
    March 26, 2019

    A rather strange choice of subject matter given the events of yesterday, with Comrade Letwin & co?

  67. John P McDonald
    March 26, 2019

    I had a quick scan through the comments on this subject and many are more inform than I am on the economics. But I get the impression that most politicians, of all parties, view their role as a career opportunity rather than what is really best for the country. It would seem that the majority of politicians are not capable of running a country and are very happy to rubber stamp what the EU says.
    The EU is solely there for the benefit of Global companies not individuals. Irrespective of how our PM has handled the issue, one cannot fail to see the Dictatorial stance of the EU. They know full well that without the UK the EU will fall apart.
    The Irish border is a major issue for all parties but is it being blown out of all proportion when we have modern technology ?
    It was an obvious waste of time negotiating with the EU. The time to negotiated was when we left with no-deal.
    And what exactly does a no- deal mean. Can we just carry on as before except not being told by Brussels what we can and can’t do ? Are we forced to put tariffs on EU goods ?
    The subject is so politically charged rather than what is really good for the country.
    There can be no dispute that the majority voted to leave the EU, But MP’s don’t like the majority view. How can we criticise China, Russia and many more for “un-democratic” governance ????? and want to go to war with them ?????

  68. Denis Cooper
    March 26, 2019

    The BBC refers to “the options available to MPs” as if they will be free to choose whatever they like and be sure of getting it. That is not the case: it is more like looking down a menu in a restaurant and then being told by the waiter that your preferred dish is “off”.

    Some of the items being widely mooted will definitely be “off”; so for example you could certainly ask for your Norway to be cooked in an EU Customs Union sauce if you liked, but the chef would refuse to serve that and probably throw a fit at the very idea.

    Article 3 of EFTA’s 2013 Vaduz Convention:

    “Customs duties on imports and exports, and any charges having equivalent effect, shall
    be prohibited between the Member States.”

    EU Customs Union:

    “The EU is a Customs Union – its 28 member countries form a single territory for customs purposes. This means that:

    … all apply a common customs tariff for goods imported from outside the EU … ”

    This incompatibility, and the consequent legal impossibility of so-called “Norway plus”, was made clear by a Norwegian politician nearly four months ago:

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

    And yet some MPs are too stupid or pigheaded to accept that, and carry on pushing for it because they see it as the softest form of Brexit.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 26, 2019

      I’ve just read the Common Market 2.0 Motion for tomorrow, in which it is implicitly assumed that 31 other countries will all happily go along with what Nick Boles wants, including derogation from one article of the EFTA Convention and ignoring another and agreeing that the UK could simply slide across from the EU group of the EEA to the EFTA group, and at the end of it all if the Irish government would be compelled by the EU to man their side of the land border and intercept and inspect incoming goods under no deal then they would still have to do that under the Boles deal.

  69. Lindsay McDougall
    March 26, 2019

    You could make a very good speech to the House of Commons on the basis of this blog. The problem is whether this House of Commons has enough MPs with the wit and willingness to listen. The Remoaners think that they have won the economic argument; it would lower their morale considerably to realise that they had not.

    Of the seven options being put up for discussion by ‘Prime Minister’ Letwin, the one most likely to gain Commons approval is Mrs May’s deal + Customs Union + EEA. Under this:
    – Would we be able to control immigration? No
    – Would we be able to negotiate our own trade agreements? No
    – Would we cease making annual payments to the EC? No
    – Would we cease being rule takers? No
    – Would it honour the referendum result? No
    – Would there be any way of avoiding it without getting rid of this rotten parliament? No

  70. John Payne
    March 26, 2019

    UK Assets sold since joining EU by following its free Market Privatisation Policy. Many of these assets were sold to European enterprises including some are owned by EU Nation States.

    Atomic Energy Authority, Associated British Ports, British Airports Authority, British Airways British Coal, British Energy (National Power), British Gas, British Leyland, British Nuclear Fuels, British Petroleum, British Rail, British Shipbuilders, British Steel Corporation, British Sugar Corporation, British Technology Group, British Telecom, Buses, Cable and Wireless, Electricity and Wireless, Electricity Supply Industry, Export Credit Guarantee Dept, Girobank, National Air Traffic Services, QinetiQ (GB defence tech), Rolls Royce, Royal Dockyards, Royal Mail, Royal Ordinance Factories, Short Brothers, Water Industry, Tote.
    Before we joined our Police vehicles and Ambulances were British made unfortunately now they are built in Europe. Even. now our latest nuclear power is being built be French State owned EDF
    Despite we have an annual trade deficit over £80,000,000,000 and our stupid Parliament is surrendering British Sovereignty to remain a member. It should the job Media to pass this terrible situation onto the public.
    Parliament must get a grip before we are dragged down further into a one State Europe

  71. mariusz
    March 26, 2019

    There are signs now that some of the ERG are changing sides, meanwhile Sammy Wilson DUP for East Antrim would like an extension for another year.. making it up as they go’d have to wonder about the sense in all of this, in any case the EU is unlikely to grant such and extension without there being a very good reason.

    Am afraid it’s all pie in the sky and a bit late in the day, and so time now for the middle ground politicians to do their jobs- for too long we have been held up by the rump ERG and the greedy DUP, ie. always the Unionist tail wagging the dog

  72. Jumeirah
    March 26, 2019

    Who says that the EU will agree to a Norway plus ++if /when we revoke Article 50. Politicians keep talking about a Norway or Canada deal as if that is going to be easy to achieve. We’ve got to understand that with Article 50 revoked NOTHING is going to be straightforward with them because they need to come down really hard on us and they will be in the perfect position to do it. In the meantime our concentration should be to begin the process to remove the Scots and NI from the English Parliament which of course means Scottish Independence and force the NI to return Government to Stormont and an alliance with ROI.

  73. Brit
    March 26, 2019

    Brexiteers of some ilk appear to have blood of thin gruel

  74. Original Richard
    March 26, 2019

    Whatever damage the EU can do to the UK when it is outside of the EU it is nothing compared to the damage the EU can do the UK when inside the EU and thus subject to all the directives, rules and regulations covering taxation, trade, budgetary contributions, immigration, welfare, energy, fishing, agricultural, environmental and foreign policies etc. all decided by persons we do not know, who do not care for the wellbeing of the UK and its peoples, and whom we did not elect and cannot remove.

    Especially if we sign the EU’s WA where we will have no say or veto and no lawful means of exit.

  75. 'None of the above'.
    March 26, 2019

    Most MPs seem to be in denial of some essential facts (I know that the word ‘fact’ will be disputed by some), or at least have short memories.
    This pointless exercise of indicative votes reminds of me of some playground arguments that I witnessed as a child. The ideas being put forward are likely to have insufficient support to be helpful. Some of the proposals leave me with the feeling that most MPs don’t seem to understand that the EU has refused to reopen the WA for negotiation. Others make it clear to me that many MPs must think that people other than the EU Council of Ministers can make decisions about an extension to the Art.50 time period.

    I think that it is pretty unlikely that a deal different to the WA can be made.
    I think that the EU would be most unwilling to grant any extension which carried the danger of UK candidates taking part in EU elections.
    Logically this leaves just 3 options:-

    1. The HoC must pass the WA.
    2. The UK must leave the EU without an agreement on 12th April.
    3. Parliament must revoke Art.50 Notice and remain in the EU.

    The first would be a disaster of the long and slow kind. The second would be manageable, indeed I believe that 3 months down the line people would be demanding to know what all the fuss was about. The third would bring forth a backlash from the electorate of unimaginable ferocity and forgiveness would be a long time coming (if ever).

    I vote for option number 2.

  76. Al
    March 26, 2019

    Article 13 has been passed, so further damage is being done.

    The discussion on the tech boards this afternoon has been largely about whether to simply blacklist all EU IP addresses from accessing sites since it is obvious that even more poorly thought-out laws will be coming to digital down the line.

    We also have small content creators concerned about uploading their own work on their own sites as they can’t afford to pay for systems to comply with Article 11 & 13 and don’t want to licence their work in the first place.

  77. ChrisS
    March 26, 2019

    I see the European Parliament has approved the abolition of Daylight saving time from 2021.

    That will seriously piss off Sturgeon and her motley crew just when they want to leave the UK and rejoin the 27. After all, they are the only reason we are still changing the clocks here.

    If they get their way and leave, they will now be forced to move to the Euro and accept those darker mornings !

  78. ian
    March 26, 2019

    Brexiteers falling by the wayside as the going gets tuff, so much for your heroes.

  79. Steve
    March 26, 2019

    Well as far as I’m concerned my country has left the EU on 29th. God help anyone who starts giving me EU law BS.

  80. Caterpillar
    March 26, 2019

    Off the economic topic, into the real topic:

    300 years have gone by and Spain regret ceding Gibraltar in the Treaty/Peace of Utrecht. This is a lesson that MPs need to learn rapidly – whether this is the in perpetuity backstop of May’s WA or the (insane) permanent CU option tabled by the Father of the House.

    The UK leased the New Territories from China for 99 years, a casual thought without consideration of the implications (whilst returning Weihaiwei without thought). Perhaps there was an unquestioned belief that the UK’s interests would be more strongly considered in a second stage. After 99 years …

    The PM, Father of the House, and all MP’s need to get their heads around this basic concept of ‘forever’ and the future effect on the millions that make the UK their home. Forever is a long time and it does not easily go away. No WA with inescapable backstop, no permanent anything. None of these dangerous options must occur.

    ( and, it should go without saying, the consequences of making a defeated people feel helpless has history as well.)

  81. Monza 71
    March 26, 2019

    From online news reports this evening, it seems that Boris, Michael Fabricant and JRM and others have at last come to the same conclusion as Denis, Chris S and several others posting here have been urging for the last couple of weeks :

    They have done the arithmetic and realised that No Deal is dead and that the only possible way for Brexit to have any chance of happening anytime soon, if at all, is to back May’s terrible deal.

    When are you going to smell the coffee, Sir John ?

  82. Big John
    March 27, 2019

    There seems to be a problem with the current system.

    I am still waiting for any positive reason why we should be in the EU.

    Where the current system is wrong, is the current party system.

    This system worked fine, as long as the party electecd followed what the majority wanted.

    The party sytem is now about to end, because it won’t do what the real world want’s.

    The only remoners I have met, are all public sector workers, (expecting free money from the EU, which is not free money, as it comes from us).

    There are some serious problem with the conservitive party.

    Who are deciding who the Candidates are ?

    And who is checking they are not some PPE plant (Brainwashed liberals who have never work for a living) ?

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