Let’s rule out some options

Amidst all the silly scares the government put round last week to frighten MPs into voting for their Agreement some were sillier than others. Let’s look at the most unlikely.


This would require Parliament to repeal the EU Withdrawal Act and the EU Notification of Withdrawal Act. I cannot see either Mrs May or Mr Corbyn putting a three line whip on their parties to do this. It would be such a flagrant  denial of the referendum and a complete about turn from their  election Manifesto. Most Conservative MPs and many Labour MPs would refuse to support.


This would require a substantial number of Conservative MPs to back an early election to override the 5 Year Parliament Act, which requires a two thirds majority of MPs. Practically every Conservative MP I know is against an early election and thinks we need to sort out Brexit now in this Parliament.  Alternatively it would require sufficient Conservative MPs to defy a three line whip to vote against their government in a motion of no confidence and threaten to do the same if an alternative leader emerged on a temporary basis within the two week limit to try again. Again I do not think there are MPs wishing to do this.


This would require a government sponsored Bill to pass both Houses of Parliament., or for the government to be unable or unwilling to stop someone else’s bill when the government should control the timetable, money resolutions and the rest that a Bill needs.  The proposal for a second referendum has twice been voted down in the Commons. The Prime Minister says she is strongly against a second referendum, as are most of the Conservative Parliamentary party. There are probably more Labour rebels against a second referendum than Conservative rebels for one. It seems unlikely the government will flip flop on this, and unlikely there would be a majority in the Commons for it.

That leaves us to discuss the same three options that have been around for a long time – leaving without signing the Agreement, leaving with signing the Agreement, and delaying exit.


Under the Speaker’s ruling the government cannot bring back the Agreement and Political Declaration for a third vote, or bring back the Agreement on its own for a second vote. These have now been decided. It is also the case that the UK is out of time under the revised EU timetable for our departure to get the extra time to implement the Agreement, as they had to pass the motion by Friday. Reviving the Agreement therefore requires some way to get it back on the order paper, for 29 MPs to change their minds on it, and for the EU to accept another change to the timetable. The EU has continued to make clear it will not change the Agreement, so it will still be the same Agreement they want Parliament to accept.


The EU has said it would consider a long delay if the UK wanted to have a second referendum or a General election to change the political situation in the UK. They have always ruled out a delay to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement which Parliament has now rejected three times. They might consider a delay if the UK wanted to work out a new negotiating position for the future partnership, which seems to be what the indicative votes are about. This however, would require the UK to sign the Withdrawal Agreement as proof of good faith.

It is of course possible the EU will weaken over the rules of delay if the UK presses them. Both sides are reluctant to trigger European elections in the UK which would be needed for any delay beyond April 12, as both sides have a lot to lose in such elections. There are countries in the EU  now asking more insistently what is the point of any delay given the inability of the UK government to deliver a Parliamentary majority for the EU Withdrawal Agreement which they see as a starting point for more talks. Were the UK Parliament to indicate a preference for a customs union – having previously voted it down several times – the EU is likely to say that is only negotiable after signing the Withdrawal Agreement. It would be anathema to many Conservatives who stood on a Manifesto against customs union membership in 2017. Mrs May so far has always been strongly against customs union membership.


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  1. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    A most useful summary of the situation which certainly helps focus my thoughts and, dare I say it, leaves me with more optimism as regards a clean WTO Brexit.

    I worry that, somehow, Mrs May will find a way to get that dreadful WA voted on once again. Over here in Australia some of my Aussie friends (not the British Expats) say “the UK look idiots on the World stage” and keep asking me “Why on earth do the British MPs not simply support Theresa May’s deal and get out of the EU once and for all?”

    I ask them “Would you agree to handing, say the Chinese, total control of the Australian trade, defence and immigration polices, leaving Aussies with no say whatsoever, ad infinitum, about their decisions?” They then get it! If the offspring of convicts can understand, why can those Oxbridge educated MPs fail to do so? Perhaps it’s because the Aussies do not see their future with a first-class seat on the Euro gravy train.

    Please continue your excellent work in the House and let us hope that 12th April can become a day of celebration.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Agreed and thanks to Sir John for this beautifully clear summary. And given the long, long line of ancestors we all have, we here are surely the offspring of convicts too! My own great-grandpapa disappeared around the time of the assizes, but we never talk about him.

      I think the EU will extend. They are always flexible when it suits them. But I hope and pray they don’t.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Get real MPs! – What couldn’t be thrashed out over 2.5 years won’t be accomplished in any sort of delay.

        It is just extend and pretend all over again – the EU’s tried and tested delaying tactic!

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Petition: Leave EU by April 12th 2019 https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/250967

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Just a small correction; not all ‘Strines are convict descendants; in fact few may claim that. Most of us, and I am one, have ancestors who were pioneering free settlers.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        And then there was the £10 pom. Like my Dad.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      An early General Election is one of my preferred options. I had hoped if things were going really badly one of the Spartans would try to trigger and election ally with Labour in a vote of no confidence.

      There is talk of May having a fourth attempt at her Withdrawal/Surrender Agreement. Seems plausible – same old, same old has been her strategy to date.

      EU refusing further delay is a comforting long shot.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        The EU saying No Deal is starting to look likely because they’re getting fed up is pure bluff. There is no way they want an independent UK. I’m afraid this week, following the indicative votes, we’re heading for the WA passing with a commitment to a Customs Union in the future agreement. In other words, a remainer’s non-Brexit.
        Parliament cares nothing for democracy. Many MPs simply don’t accept that when it came to the EU referendum, their votes counted ‘one’ just like everybody else’s.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          The EU may not be quite so antagonistic to No Deal as we think – because according to their recent statements they would demand the £39bil. etc. again as conditional to new trading arrangements etc. So there are still large difficulties to overcome in a No Deal scenario. But the UK would have a different basis for negotiations than those which May allowed to be imposed on her; and hopefully better negotiators – ones who have recognised the foul methods of the EU.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        There are no good outcomes from a General election. Either Corbyn wins and we get Venezuela without the sunshine or may wins and uses that as an excuse to remain in office, with all the unsatisfactory implications of that.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          The good outcome is that the electorate get a chance to purge the worst MPs. So many of them would go, which is useful pour encourager les autres.

          A new party may get a foothold. Large numbers of votes more likely than large numbers of MPs, because that is the usual outcome in our system. A terminal decline for the main two parties might also begin.

          Fear of upheaval is understandable but upheaval there has to be. It could be a long war.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        I can see your point of view Peter, but as it stands, if there was a General Election any time soon, it could throw up any number of unusual results. The EU mad Lib Dems would get wiped out (a good thing). I can’t see Soubry’s mob doing much better as they will have their divisions exposed (also a good thing).

        The two large ‘traditional’ parties are now seen as untrustworthy and could lose heavily to a new untainted insurgent party. Civil war would break out in both Labour and the Conservatives and my predictions of a meltdown would have been vindicated.

        There are those elsewhere who would be elated at the political instability they had caused, so I’d go for the safest option at this time. Get rid of May ASAP. put a solid Brexiteer in her place who has both the spirit and the Anglo-Saxon vocabulary to stand up to the totalitarian regime across the English Channel, tell them they can stuff THEIR withdrawal agreement, and lets get out on WTO terms. It wouldn’t take long to silence all the scaremongers and the country could begin the healing process.


      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Any General Election won’t be announced until after the result of the Newport West by-election on the 4th April.
        Jeremy was canvassing yesterday, but Theresa stayed away.
        It will be interesting to see if the Brexit shambles figures higher than the long term memories of the decline of the coal mining and steel industries.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Dominic Lawson,The Times: “Yet on the most existential matter, cabinet ministers are completely united. Not a single one of them is anything other than horrified by the thought of going into (another) snap general election under the leadership of Theresa May.”

        Sir John points out that Conservative MPs think likewise.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I’m intrigued as to why the Defence aspects haven’t been mentioned more in this never-ending debate. Not least because I’m in Defence. Veterans for Britain – which contains some very senior and influential figures – has consistently railed against May’s surrender agreement.

      There are some serious questions to be asked. For a start: 28 years ago I signed a document pledging allegiance to “HM the Queen, her heirs and successors, etc”. The Crown, of course, being the physical embodiment of the UK’s sovereignty and thus the sovereignty of the British people. To that end, giving Royal Assent to May’s Deal would effectively be telling the Queen to sign over control of her Armed Forces to a foreign power, over which the British people have no control. Therefore, taking into account my attestation, the EU cannot – without Royal Assent – legally use British forces.

      Additionally, my Commission states that the Crown instructs me “to exercise and well discipline in their duties such officers, men and women as may be placed under your orders from time to time and use your best endeavours to keep them in good order and discipline.” In other words, my contract tells me to obey orders issued to me by the Crown and ensure my subordinates do the same.

      I am under no obligation (neither are those in my charge) to follow any order that does not have Royal Assent. And I won’t.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink


        I understand your grave concerns. It seems to me that a lot of what is going on in Parliament at the moment is contravening constitutional law. Sovereignty cannot be given away and I would trust that, if the end result of the HoC decision is to try to do so, the appropriate action will be taken.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Well said!!!

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Agreed not a lot of people know anything about defence and security. The eu has little to offer in this space

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Excellent!!! Thank you!!


      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Something that I hadn’t thought about but makes great sense. You should post this on facebook or allow others to do it.People need to know these things!

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Robin Tilbrook knows it – as do my Twitter followers.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Good news: At least 170 MPs (incl 10 ministers) , have signed a letter telling May to pursue a no-deal departure from the EU rather than accept a soft Brexit. It also demands that the UK leave the EU by May 22.

      However, more than just a stiff letter will be required! http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/03/28/delay-in-brexit/#comment-1007886 (For MPs betraying their manifesto pledges, just as President Hollande told us, “There needs to be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price.”)

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink


        “President Hollande told us, “There needs to be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price.”

        A shame we don’t take a leaf out of Israel’s book; respond to threats with action.

        Then again, if anyone should be making threats, it should have been Mrs May threatening to kick EU fishing vessels out of our waters – immediately we exit. She could also have stopped Eurostar’s cry baby whinging in the courts by threatening to decommission the tunnel at our end. Also threaten to put a hard border across NI as well as leaving without the capitulation trap Withdrawal Agreement.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Steve Baker today: “By the grace of God, I changed my mind with the help of friends. … A gun was put to all our heads. Members of Parliament have been deliberately and systematically bullied by the British state towards a deal which is widely understood to be a betrayal of the fundamental principle of the referendum: a deal which converts a clear instruction to take back control into a surrender of our capacity for self-government with no voice, no vote and no escape. Events today are no longer about Europe or the European Union. By failing to accept a lawful democratic instruction, by constructing an exit deal which is a prison in which to await our defeated return to “The Project”, officialdom has made this a question of who governs and by what authority.”

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        The fact is that Conservative MPs have been put under such pressure because the Withdrawal Agreement is so awful I believe it is known in Brussels as the “British Prison”. The pressure the PM is putting on the HOC to pass her horrible “deal” is an extension of it.

        I came across this today it’s about how the leader of the AfD in Germany who is anti EU and Eurosceptic says the anti democratic coercive nature of the EU has its roots in National Socialism. And that it’s no co-incidence that it is the British that are most in opposition to it. No wonder the older generation are more likely to sense its bullying nature.

        How all these people vote types who call Brexiteers all the names under the sun to shut down any real discussion can support such an organisation is beyond me. They have got things completely the wrong way round. Brexiteers are for free trade, freedom of speech and thought.

        Think of the pressure the ERG have been put under, it is intolerable what is happening and someone needs to stand up and face all this down. Someone needs to tell them to go to hell. Can’t the conservatives change their constitution to get rid of May and put someone in with a back bone?

  2. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    Firstly, can I say what a pleasure it is reading your blog; also many thanks for the sterling work you’ve been doing in trying to save BREXIT.
    However, I disagree regarding the voting. I fully expect your deranged leader to bring back “her deal” for a 4th time – since she feels she’s going to win. This time she tried to bribe Labour MPs to vote with £100M each for their constituencies. Even if she doesn’t win this 4th time, she’ll be quite happy to sustain a long delay which will give her ample opportunity to try again and again to pass her deal.
    So I feel, the only solution IS to push for a General Election which would ensure a change of “so-called leadership”, cabinet and make up of the house. Surely, the country can’t go on like this for another year!

    So saying, I’d be more than happy were the EU to put her in her place and refuse an extension; bring it on!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      “I fully expect your deranged leader to bring back “her deal” for a 4th time”

      Maybe so, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that the EU deadline for the passing of the WA treaty by Parliament has now expired. Their ruling was quite explicit – Friday 29th.

      Even were they willing to bend on this, and even if things were somehow finagled to get a 4th vote next week, I genuinely think that perhaps 50-60 MPs are this weekend contemplating what a horrible, horrible decision they took to cave in on Friday. They are deeply, deeply regretting being frightened by the prospect of No Brexit into foolishly switching sides at the eleventh hour.

      Rejoice! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it’s now more likely than it has been for a very long time that a clean brexit on WTO terms is just around the corner.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Remain supporting MPs in constituencies that voted Leave should be spending part of the weekend contemplating what Dominic Grieve’s Conservative Association did.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          We need a whole lot more to be doing the same. Its obvious now that CCHQ are against the Associations with the leadership supporting rebels rather than the Associations themselves. From Major onward they have moved further and further to the left of centre and are no longer “conservative” but liberal left new Labour luvvies. Fortunately in the age of the internet and social media we all know it.

          • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            Spot on TA!

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        The longer this process is dragged out, the more light will be shone on those who have striven to overturn a democratic mandate and renege on their manifesto commitments. As some others have said here already, much better that it should be this way than vote for the WA and shut-down the debate. It is vitally important that MPs who caved on Friday make a stand against the WA on Monday and thereby help to strike down this miserable punishment agreement for good. I expect Steve Baker’s article in the DT chimes with how many of us feel.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Thanks. I feel a lot better already….!

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        I hope you are right Julie. Then there remains the task of replacing the PM. The Conservative party will doubtless and rightly focus on the 34 who stood fast for the integrity of their country. The rest of the Conservative MPs are ruled out. They buckled. When it came to the crunch they flinched and compromised their principles. Such a pity, as many of them are engaging characters, BJ, JR-M, ID-S, DR and others, but they failed the test. The new Cabinet should be chosen from the 34 who didn’t give in. They will serve as infinitely better replacements for the current incumbents. Every civil servant who had anything whatsoever to do with the capitulation in Brussels should also be immediately sent on gardening leave or transferred to wherever they can do no further damage.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Couldn’t agree more James. To give in to the EU on anything is so utterly dangerous. It merely keeps their creeping tentacles in our affairs.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Puppet May is following the Establishment instructions and the Establishment and its cohorts starts right at the very TOP. There is NO intention to leave the EU so WAKE UP PEOPLE. Bring on the General Election and let us see what happens. WE NEED CHANGE. The EU is disintegrating before our eyes and still gullible people are brainwashed into supporting it by the EU rhetoric broadcast daily by the EU financed and biased MSM. Look at France Spain Italy Greece Southern Ireland and the other smaller nations They are broken nations with broken economies and even Germany is struggling. The EU is an evil political machine where the People are irrelevant and Power is the ultimate.
      If the general public are gullible enough to vote for either of the two main parties then they deserve the consequences of such action. The whole existing corrupt political system needs to be changed.
      Oh how at this time we need a Donald Trump.

  3. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. I disagree with you on one small point. Revoking Article 50 requires a motion passed in the Commons and then the PM can revoke it under Treaty law. Its is then for the commons to catch up with U.K law.


    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      I doubt that it would be legally necessary to have the Commons motion.

  4. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    A very clear statement of the choices on offer. MPs are right to be wary of a GE. Many would face electoral annihilation. I do wonder how many, including May, actually comprehend the anger and fury that many, many voters feel about MPs failure to deliver a clean Brexit.

    May must go now. She is a liability to the nation, to parliament, to the government, to her party and to her own reputation. Conservative MPs must tell her she is no longer wanted on the voyage to leaving the EU and must fulfill her commitment to them (last December) to stand down when asked to do so.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink


      Good morning to you !

      I share your sentiments. However perhaps it might not be a bad thing if Mrs May stayed in No 10, but did nothing for the next couple of weeks. No changes to the WA, no more voting shenanigans etc. That way we could coast into default of no deal exit on 12th.

      Mrs May has been accused of kicking the can down the road, but now really is the time to do so.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        It is coming clearer just how wrong Mrs May’s Downing Street got the whole Brexit procedure.

        Hansard’s Dr Fowler said “However, to state the obvious, when an executive has negotiated a treaty that it can’t get through its legislature(s) at the first attempt, something in the process has gone wrong.

        One of the ironies of today’s debacle is that, by pre-Brexit law and precedent, the government did not need to give Parliament an explicit up-or-down vote on the Withdrawal Agreement at all.

        Normally Parliament gets involved in treaty-making only when it is asked to pass any necessary implementing legislation — after a treaty has been signed. Strictly speaking, votes at this stage are votes on the legislation, not the treaty as such.

        At the next stage in the treaty-making process, ratification, Parliament is not required to vote on its consent at all.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Of course something has gone wrong, and that something is Theresa May saying at the very outset that she would not be giving a running commentary, and trying to keep the negotiations shrouded in secrecy on the specious grounds that it would weaken our negotiating position to tell parliamentarians what was going on, even in closed committee sessions, let alone tell us the general public. She was warned against that modus operandi, which had caused problems in the past whenever it was a new EU treaty which had been negotiated and then could not be changed in any way by Parliament, not even so much as a comma or a word, but as usual she simply ignored what she did not want to hear.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      What makes you think that many MPs would face electoral oblivion. The UK uses a system where large changes in vote shares in many constituencies deliver absolutely no change whatsoever in the outcome. If you really want MPs to be scared of the electorate, we need a voting system that means changes in voting patterns in constituencies actually deliver changes in results, and that requires changing the voting system to one which is representative of the will of the people. Under the FPTP system most MPs whose personal view on Brexit is at odds with that of their constituents don’t have to worry because the system protects them.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Correct, and that is also why a new Parliament would still include most of the present members and so would be unlikely to solve anything.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Oldtimer. There are many MPs who simply do not comprehend the anger. They should all pay heed to the reception Grieve had from longstanding grassroots Conservatives in the Beaconsifeld constituency. Guido has posted a videoclip on his website. I think it is essential viewing, particular for Remainer and wavering Brexiter MPs. My comment on this yesterday was not posted.

  5. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    It seems Mr Bercow can change the rules as he sees fit so nothing can be relied upon. How many were we told the the leaving date the 29th was the law. Now Prime Minister Letwin and Co want to make their own law on Monday. I thank Sir John for giving explanations of this type to give some perspective.
    As for not accepting the results of a vote, I see the member for Beaconsfield won’t accept the vote of no confidence. Apparently is all a conspiracy. What is it about some MPs who simply can’t cope with a vote they don’t like the result. It couldn’t possibly be because he gained his seat on the manifest he vehemently disagrees with.

  6. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Good Morning Sir John,

    Item 2 – General Election. Not popular among MP’s, but is popular among the electorate who wish to remove their ‘Remainer’ representatives! What does is reveal about the character of those MP’s who do not wish to submit themselves to the judgement of their constituency? Truly shameful. I do not understand those wishing to remain under the ever increasing rule of the EU; if an MP does not want the responsibility of making law, then don’t be an MP – that’s the job!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      With the EU takeover their burden of responsibility was being substantially reduced
      and there was always the promotion to Brussels to look foreward to, rather after the style of the nearly Labour prime minister and wife of a few years back who would have run a half decent paper round between them had they stayed in Wales.
      What is the situation with the £39 billion. Does that have to be voted through as part
      of something or has Mrs May written that off.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        “What is the situation with the £39 billion.”

        It’s part and parcel of the whole, no separate / additional vote required. Moreover, it’s likely the absolute minimum amount we would have to pay for virtually any form of deal now — if it’s not a pure No Deal, the EU would have our collective feet over the coals and can and will roast us for a whole lot more in the years to come — make absolutely no mistake about that.

        It has been properly calculated that we actually “owe” about £8bn, at best, so I have absolutely no idea where the £39bn figure even comes from. It seems to have been plucked out of thin air (and started much higher so we could win “concessions” and negotiate it down to that! Michel Barnier certainly earned his pay).

        If we leave with No Deal then we supposedly don’t owe a penny (House of Lords conclusion), but few would likely object to up to £8bn as part and parcel of some sort of deal worth having, thereby covering our basic previous commitments.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          One should also ask how much Canada and Japan paid for their trade deals… I would suggest nothing. So why would we need to pay?

          • Posted April 1, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            “So why would we need to pay?”

            A fair question. Such a payment would mostly be goodwill, to fairly honour commitments made by previous governments in good faith. As a rule, in international circles we Brits don’t tend to whinge and whine and try to squirm out of previous commitments (unlike so many others, it’s worth mentioning) and it’s one of the reasons why — prior to the Brexit debacle, anyway — Britain’s standing on the international stage was so highly respected, valued and trusted.

            As a country, we need to get back to that and regain our reputation, and with it our prestige and influence. Therein lies a golden future in international trade and all the prosperity that would bring. Paying our genuine debts would be the way to start.

            Conversely, submitting to EU blackmail and extortion, is not.

  7. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Let’s rule out the Turkey Trap, and expose those who think that a better, “softer”, Brexit must be one in which we allow the EU to have even more power over our trade and our economy than it has now. Which of course the eurocrats may well welcome, and that in itself should be enough to set alarm bells ringing.


    Shadow Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner in July 2017:

    “Brexit means leaving the single market and the customs union. Here’s why”

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      It is worrying that HoC was coalescing around the Turkey trap. I would hope to see the PM come out and argue why no deal is better than that.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t the idea of the saboteurs that if they bolt on a CU to the DWA and then put that to us in a second referendum, up against the original membership of the EU, then we will be bound to choose the original membership?

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


          Or HoC support WA with commitment for permanent CU. The worst outcome.

  8. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    It is strange that you, an experienced politician, don’t understand the basic function of a manifesto. A manifesto is an offer to the British people at the time of a General Election: vote us into power with a majority and this is what we will do. In 2017 no party won a majority. The British people therefore rejected all the manifestos that were put to them, Tory, Labour, LibDem, Green etc. Promises made in the manifestos are therefore now irrelevant. In fact, to try now to ram through manifesto promises from 2017 is to oppose the will of the British people who made clear we wanted none of the offered manifestos

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Just sophistry.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        No, not exactly sophistry. More like a load of cobblers.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          A very large and transparently ridiculous load of cobblers.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      The vast majority (over 82%) voted for the Tory or Labour Manifestos both of which promised to respect the Brexit vote. They certainly rejected the Libdem and Green ones who had very little support.

      I think you are clutching at straws Helena to justify a massive betrayal of the voters in both the referendum and the last election. As you say “vote us in to power and this is what we will do we will do” – respect the referendum result – 82% supported this but are being betrayed by all the remoaner MPs.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        The Conservative and Labour manifestos may have been in agreement on “what”, but they were certainly not in agreement on “how”. To argue that someone who voted Labour voted in favour of the Conservative’s manifesto proposals, or vice versa, is not credible.

        Neither position gained majority support either amongst the voters in terms of vote share, nor even in terms of a majority of MPs under the rigged FPTP system.

        We are seeing the consequences of this, and the consequences of a system whereby working together to get to a consensus is considered anathema, with the current Prime Minister being a shining example of this fundamental flaw.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          When you left your last house, did you stay in all or any of the rooms?

          • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            I retained the right to access all of them under certain conditions. Your point is?

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Andrew Marr, Tom Watson, John ERM disaster Major, Gauke and Gesela Stuart on Marr today. So five lefties, four remoaners & only one remainer.

        Good to see the BBC balance at work as usual.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          This while the country is actually crying out for a real leave, lower taxes, less red tape and far less government.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          The only leaver wasn’t in the studio either, just down the line, and the interview was taken up with false accusations by Marr rather than discussing how we get out of the EU by the next deadline.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      What a load of codswollop.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Not quite right in this case. Both the main parties had manifestos supporting Brexit, leaving the customs union etc etc. So there was a clear Mandate for Brexit in Parliament. It is the case that many MPs got their seats on the back of supporting Brexit who really did agree with it at all. Hence the impass. Not withstanding a clear win on the referendum.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      You could easily say that a lot of people, and a lot of people did vote, liked the manifestos they were offered but prefered, for one reason or another, a particular one. If they didn’t any of them, why vote ?

      I also seem to remember the Labour Party offering to pay the tuition fees of students. A naked bribe that even they admitted was only an ‘aspiration’. Perhaps Leaving the EU is another one of those ‘aspirations’ politicians offer. If so, we need another GE to set them right 😉

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      What a load of nonsense. So, any coalition government can do whatever it likes! Nah. I heard the ‘father of the house, say yesterday that at the last election no-one sent Tory MPs a copy of the manifesto and that no-one read them anyway and that they could safely be ignored. Funny ideas some people have about democracy.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        A coalition government is obviously not bound by any manifesto promises because by definition it never produced a manifesto! A colalition government only exists because the voters refused to accept any of the party manifestos on offer

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

          What a misunderstanding of how it works. Manifestos are not dependent upon getting a majority – all parties produce one even if, like the LibDems and the other smaller parties they have no hope of winning. Manifestos are what the parties stand for, their intentions or if you like ‘principles’, not a word much associated with modern politics it is true.
          The people did not reject the manifestos just because they gave no party a majority. You have no idea why millions of voters did what they did, so don’t try to judge just to fit your own agenda. I suggest you spend some time looking up the definition of a manifesto.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Yes but it is a nonsense to say that because a party is in power because of a confidence and supply agreement it can therefore ignore all its manifesto pledges.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Your view that a manifesto only counts if the party that produces it wins is , pure and simple, rubbish.

          Every MP is accountable to the electorate that elected them, on the basis of the manifesto they stood on.

          The fact that Ken Clark admitted he’d never read the manifesto is simply what one would expect of a man who’s done, and is doing, more damage to this country than most of his colleagues (despite healthy competition).

          The fact he’s popular just because he purports to like beer and jazz just show what a tawdry populist he is behind the sanctimonious exterior.

          • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            He also said he’d never read the Treaty of Maastricht. Odd for a lawyer. Even odder for a lifelong EU maniac.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Helena, I see you are reading Lewis Carroll.

      “When I use a word” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Helena – So why did anyone complain when Nick Clegg supported tuition fees ? Didn’t they understand that what he’d put in his manifesto was 100% irrelevant ? Did you argue that point at the time ?

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      But the MPs were elected on the Manifesto; the will of the constituents was therefore that the MP seek to carry it out, not disregard it.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      “It is strange that you, an experienced politician, don’t understand the basic function of a manifesto.”
      Have you ever considered the possibility that it’s you that may not really understand it?….. Thought not! Anyway, it was good jibe for one of your daily insults, I suppose.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink


      ” In 2017 no party won a majority. The British people therefore rejected all the manifestos that were put to them, Tory, Labour, LibDem, Green etc. ”

      Nobody I know ever votes for or against manifestos put to them at a general election. They mostly vote for any party that promises them the most knowing that they will break that promise as soon as they get into power.

      Do you really believe that, say, a Tory voter has the same interests at heart as a Green voter?

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        They may well have the same interests.
        It is just they have different views on what the best policies are to achieve that end result.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Both Labour and Conservative deliberately had in their manifestos that they would honour and effect Brexit. This was to ward off voters going for UKIP. It worked and many UKIP voters returned to Cons and Labour because they assured the voters they would honour the referendum.

      Being elected on that promise yet apparently being determined not only to not enact that promise and in some cases actively scheme and plot against it means that those particular MPs got their vote under false pretences. They should be thrown out, if that is what the local Party votes for.

      Basic standards of honesty, Helena, which the majority of the electorate recognise and respect.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. Any party forming a government, even a minority one, should feel under an obligation to deliver on its promises.

    • Posted April 1, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that. I will never take anyone’s manifesto seriously again. Won’t be difficult.

  9. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A wonderful summary that our so called media are incapable of doing. Many thanks.

    The government and the PM, by their actions, have weakened the UK’s negotiating position to such an extent, that it has been impossible to have any meaningful negotiations which the UK could agree to. The government should have held firm over its position that we should have conducted talks in parallel with our future relationship.

    Now we find ourselves in the invidious position of our government and PM issuing thinly veiled threats. This is no way to behave.

    The government and parliament need to accept that there really are only two offers on the table as per Art.50. Either we sign the WA or, we Leave after two years. Our two years were up on Friday and, as the government went on bended knee to the EU, we find ourselves in an even weaker and worse position than before.

    The PM cannot control her cabinet, her party (both MP’s and members), the House or the time of our departure. She has lost all respect and confidence not only in the above but, the country and the entire world. This is getting painful to watch.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      This is getting painful to watch…………………that has been the case since “Chequers” when she ambushed her own Cabinet and revealed the extent of her underhanded behaviour in cahoots with the EU, Merkle, other EU leaders and duplicious Civil Serpents to bring forth her WA. History and subsequent investigations may reveal the extent of her traitorous behaviour against the well being of the British people.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Yes, dear old Mrs Total-joke must think we haven’t notice the way she constantly said she would honour the result of the referendum, and that Brexit meant Brexit, then loaded the dice against it ever happening at every opportunity.

        How can it be that some MPs still afford her any respect whatsoever?

        They need to get out of the Westminster bubble and start talking to REAL brexiteers if they want to know the truth!


  10. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Yes, as a prominent leave supporter who was pictured in the press yesterday said ( I am putting it politely) her word and therefore her government cannot be trusted.

    If the reports of a large number or Tort MPs writing to say they have no confidence and want no delay/no deal etc are true, electoral reality is starting to kick in and an OP this morning confirms it.

    You leader has ruined our Brexit negotiations and is now trashing your party.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      She is indeed.

      Her Chancellor and her economic policies are mad too. Huge problems with surgeons and doctors not wanting to work overtime as if they do extra shifts they take home less money than if they do not do them. So bonkers are the tax laws in relation to pensions. We have a totally mad and absurdly complex tax system.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I keep making this point, but … a football manager doing this badly would have been sacked earlier rather than later.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      But the ‘cricketeers’ still want to play the gentleman’s game. It’s as if they can’t see they’re constantly being turned over by these unscrupulous con-artists. The latter play dirty and always get their way. They couldn’t give a stuff about ethical procedures and any long-term damage to the Conservative party. They think all they have to do is tell more lies at election time and the stupid plebs will come running.

      In the past, that’s been true, but surely even they can’t now be blind to these ruses by pro-EU con-men who are only out to deny them their democratic right?


  11. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Once again thank you for your comforting sense. I say that as someone with substantial left wing affiliations, but, like you, a strong aderence to democracy. We all need to get past this road block as quickly as possible, and then get on with using the released freedoms to build a better UK and a genuine internationalism.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Some of the most erudite and eloquent Brexiteers were of the left Wilfrid – Peter Shore, Barbara Castle, Tony Benn. And let’s not forget a lady for whom I have the very greatest admiration and respect – Kate Hoey. She has been the subject of absolutely intolerable abuse from her own side for speaking out against the European Union.

      Unlike the bulk of those presently on the Labour benches, (in reality just neo-liberals as opposed to real socialists). The aforementioned could/can see the dangers of an undemocratic system (the EU) and how it can be used against the people rather than for them. The EU is designed by a corporatist elite, for a corporatist elite, and that comes straight from the horse’s mouth.


  12. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Indeed, so what is going to happen next under this appalling PM and this dire rudderless government? Perhaps best that it is rudderless, given the utter stupidity of the captain and her number two.

    Let us hope we can still escape the EU and Communist Corbyn/Mc Donnall /SNP who would cofiscate assets off people and businesses, tax to death and destroy the economy in very short order. Rather like Hammond is trying to but far worse.

    I see HS2 expenditure is out of control. The sooner it is cancelled the better why is this taking so long? Time for Grayling and this government to do something sensible for once.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      HS2 is fundamental for the rebalancing of UK (which will be key for uniting after Brexit is completed). It does have a frivolity/early poor management issue, it’s timescale is too long, but it is fundamentally important. (There are questions to be asked about when the bit across London should have been scheduled, and whether just connecting Manchester to Leeds for scale, rather than the east Midlands route, should be done first, but it’s budget is less than 150% of May’s minimum bung to the EU and it will deliver a huge change…eventually.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        ”.. bring a huge change..” Yes, I’m sure it will – especially to all those people who have lost or will lose their homes. Or don’t they count?

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        It will deliver almost nothing of any real value perhaps 10% of what would have been delivered if we just had tax cuts to the same value as the cost if HS2 (which will surely exceed £100 billion at this rate).

        It is further damaging many businesses and people’s lives who are caught up and blighted by it. It is an insane white elephant, vanity project.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        They should have done Newcastle Leeds Manchester Liverpool rather than a line which saves 20 minutes

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          I agree that Leeds-Manchester is crucial this gets city scale. Birmingham hub also gets city scale. Moving from 1 city at scale for growth to 3 is fundamental for UK growth, getting this to happen will move country forward and rebalance. Having 3 cities at scale connected allows them to leverage each other. Separating out long distance / non-stop from local services keeps the local catchment working efficiently.

          (I do not know why the distraction of 20 minutes is always mentioned.)
          (Rail linking Cambridge westwards is also sensible for leverage, though of course the Oxford-Cambridge expressway will help).

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        HS2 is fundamental to the EU’s Trans-European Networks; it has nothing whatsoever to do with re-balancing anything. Once we leave the EU, we will then theoretically be able to focus on our own priorities not those of the Brussels regime.

        When people want to travel over larger distances, they fly because it is faster and cheaper. HS2 is a white elephant and an appalling waste of taxpayers money which is why this imbecilic government is in favour of it.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          HS2 is fundamental, nonetheless I agree that internal flight are important for other cities and removing APD would assist this. Supporting regional airports in this way is more than reasonable.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sold on HS2 and the economic case is unconvincing. In a country with vast distances to cross, a high-speed line can have its advantages. This ill-conceived project is prone to obsolescence. It shaves but minutes off a 100 mile journey and projected ticket prices are beyond the reach of most people. Far better to scrap it now and improve the rest of the tired and creaking rail network with the money thus saved.


        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          Tad Davison,

          Improvement doesn’t separate. Capacity, separation and linking to cities approaching scale for economic growth is why (I think) HS2 matters.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      There are already plenty of ‘shovels in the ground’ so the likelihood of cancellation is remote, unless we get a UKIP government in the very near future. If cancelled, the money will be not available for other rail uses. Or, indeed, any other project. This was stated at the time of HS2 Bill.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Still better to cancel it even now rather than to continue to piss tax payers money down the drain.

      • Posted April 1, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        Of course the money will not be available for anything else. It does not exist. It will all have to be borrowed. As for stating it in the bill – would that be our honest joe government talking?

  13. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink


    “In 2017 no party won a majority. The British people therefore rejected all the manifestos that were put to them”

    That is not how it works.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Increasingly, I find myself thinking that President Trump might just pull off a re-election coup. How? By being steadfast in trying to deliver what he promised. Ultimately, people will remember that trait more than his many, many character flaws.

  14. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink


    Nicely written summary, which as anyone can see leaves only one option – leave on 12th without WA.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Steve, I reckon your suggestion is worth a punt. It would bring this whole sorry mess to a destination. The sooner we get the Downing Street “executive” out of the HoC and elect the PM and Cabinet separately to the Westminster “legislature”, the more USA Trump like we could become.

      Amateur democracy has passed its sell-by date. Being on a supermarket check-out before the election; then becoming a Secretary of State after the election, gets us in the mess we have today.

      PS. A no-deal 12th April Brexit may hit Sterling hard, who knows? Hopefully the BoE will let it ride and not jack-up interest rates to try and support it. We will have to live with imported inflation for a while.

  15. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    All fairly toxic options, not designed to earn tories any browny points in the country at large. Were it possible to change the tory party to one of leave by deselecting the largely remain members of the HoC it would have some appeal. However the real poison chalice were there an election would be the writing of the tory manifesto. Who would believe it were it to be written.

    A real leader would bite the bullet on 12 April and leave minus any agreement. It has many advantages, not least saving us £39 billion plus. It returns sovereignty to the UK, frees our World trade policy, our fishing grounds etc. The question is, does May still have the power to do it after the cul de sac of indicative votes.

    At present all we have to look forward to is twelve days of verbal flatulence. The HoC is now a disperate mob of voices, all thinking the know the route across the Red Sea, but in reality set to get us drowned.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      She does have the means to do it but will use indicative votes to claim the House doesn’t support a no deal scenario so will, as always, delay and kick the can down the road. We need her out and an election to clear the swamp!

  16. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Thank-you for taking the time to explain in simple terms the current constitutional position regarding our membership of the EU. It serves to highlight just how desperate and indeed sinister recent government behaviour has become regarding their use propaganda to whip up uncertainty amongst Tory MP and indeed across the UK.

    A Tory government indulging in such behaviour is an indictment of the poison of the EU and those in politics including this person now occupying the office of PM who support the circumvention of the EU referendum result

    May must be deposed and soon for all concerned but she’s an EU acolyte and therefore capable of anything to satisfy the destructive urges of her paymasters in Berlin and Brussels

    The one upside of this entire charade is that’s it’s exposed the autocratic nature of the EU and those in politics who support it. Now, can we see those who have worked tirelessly to challenge the democratic will of the people in the name of political control. I do hope the British people will not forget their treachery at the next GE

    Thanks for your efforts

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      If May’s deal gets through we have to hope that we are allowed to have a GE when we want one. Dictatorships don’t like elections, unless they are on their own terms, with an outcome they can predict and to their benefit. Our voting in a ‘leave’ government wouldn’t suit the EU one bit – so we wouldn’t be allowed to.

  17. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    On the matter of revocation of the Article 50 notice – which I suspect could be done by Theresa May relying on Royal Prerogative without the need even for a Commons motion, just in strictly legal and constitutional terms – I would recollect from last December the main reason why the ECJ decided that the UK has a unilateral, albeit conditional, right under EU law to revoke its notice of withdrawal:


    “Last night MPs spent nearly an hour questioning Steve Barclay about the ECJ judgment, but nobody pointed out that the leading reason the judges gave to allow us to revoke the Article 50 notice is also the leading reason why we should not revoke it:

    “As regards the context of Article 50 TEU … those treaties have as their purpose the creation of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe … ”

    “… it would be inconsistent with the Treaties’ purpose of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe to force the withdrawal of a Member State … ””

    And so forth …

    It is another one of those queer paradoxes that the strongest advocates of revocation in the Commons are the MPs for a party which demands that a part of the UK should return to being an independent sovereign state, but would then be perfectly content to see that newly regained national independence and sovereignty disappear into the maw of the EU through its unremitting and unlimited process of “ever closer union”.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      That is a truly exceptional piece Denis, but it has a fatal flaw. In my experience, the bulk of Westminster politicians do not, and never will have the capacity to understand it. That, I venture, is how the crafty manipulative ones influence those who just make up the numbers and bend with the wind.


  18. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    All of which leads me to believe May and Co. will seek a never ending delay to the (dis)UK’s departure in the hope the public become utterly exhausted by the whole affair.
    Then revoke article 50 stand for re-election and get a majority through all the ‘Remainiacs’ gratitude. Combined with ‘Leavers’ total disgust with the whole affair, leading to pledges to never vote again.
    If (when) we fail to leave the EU, it will mark the end of democracy in the (dis)UK.

  19. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Yeah- we’re in a right fix now- how we’re even going to get through this week I dunno! everyday drama and more drama- am not even watching Coronation street or Eastenders anymore- I don’t buy the newspaper because by the time I get it home it’s all old news ! so far all you have succeeded in doing is turning my whole world upside down!

    Tuesday Veradkar is going to Paris to discuss probably EU border controls with Macron, Thursday Merkel is going to Dublin to discuss the same- we can only suppose- leaves only one option ie. Borders- because they know UK is leaving without a deal 12th April- heaven for some, disaster for others!

  20. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Thank you for the clarification on a number of issues. May I take this opportunity to ask you a question.

    There’s talk that the SI to extend the Brexit date was done illegally or at the very least by dubious means. Is this true?

    Thank you for all your efforts.

    Reply There were issues but Parliament did then approve it

  21. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    The Sunday Times is up to its usual mischief-making again, with a claim that if MPs take control Theresa May will ask the Queen to block a “soft” Brexit.

    The constitutional reality is that the government is Her Majesty’s Government and Theresa May is the Queen’s Prime Minister, and apart from those who are also Ministers of the Crown MPs have no standing to attempt to govern the country:


    And even their scope to legislate is circumscribed by the need for both the consent of the Queen before they start and for Royal Assent to any Bill they may pass so it can take effect as an Act of Parliament. There is loose talk about how MPs could legislate to force the government to take a certain course, but every Bill introduced into Parliament starts with the words:

    “Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty … ”

    Under the Parliament Acts the Queen and the Commons acting together can dispense with “the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal”, but the Commons cannot similarly dispense with that of the Queen nor vice versa.

  22. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    You have my sincere admiration for your principled and – yes – scholarly stand.
    Some people slickly dismiss all MPs as fools and in it for the money etc. By your dogged determination, you just make them look silly. Your (edited) speech thrilled me.
    Very well played!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Yes, MS, Sir John has gained the admiration of many, and rightly so. If we could have that calibre of MP in our government then Brexit would be honoured and we would soar afterwards.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Aimed at me Mike? I have that opinion of any number of political representatives, and I speak with absolute certainty when I say some are there purely for position, money, and advancement. I have rubbed shoulders with hundreds of them. Some are indeed good people of true character. Others are downright dishonest charlatans, ever eager to do the work of the highest bidder.

  23. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    There was nothing in the referendum about when we left the EU , it did not stipulate the immediate triggering of article 50 ( which was done quickly from weakness to the Nations great cost ) . Both this option and a Public vote on the real options have many times the support in Parliament and the country than your own No Deal preference.
    Your horror and the thought of any voter involvement is hilarious after all that self righteous guff about your democratic principles

    The suggestion that anyone voted for this cart crash is quite quite absurd and if Parliament cannot recognise this obvious fact then it really is past having any useful purpose whatsoever

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Three years. THREE YEARS. With a Chancellor who refused to prepare for No Deal whatever was stipulated.

      No Deal or Remain.

      Kicking cans down the road so that Brexit can die of old age has not worked. MPs need the balls and defy the referendum result, to make a decision or go.

      We cannot continue with this zombie Parliament.

      We have various crises – especially the REMAIN capital London getting all stabby stabby.

      Can you really not see how aghast we are in the Leave provinces that Londoners think we should be like them ?

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Pariament (aka the 7 civil servants who’ve taken over May’s office) should either cancel Brexit or WTO – SOON.

        we cannot go on like this.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Remainer = never a comment without insult.

      I daresay, Newmania, that your own personalised referendum ballot paper had the words:
      Leave the European Union – but only if a trade deal can be agreed that benefits the EU in any way the EU stipulates and Article 50 will not be triggered until the EU says it can be.
      Remain in the European Union.

      Perhaps Sir John is mischievous enough to allow your posts through so that you can show yourself up as ill-informed and narrow-minded.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        It certainly did not contain the words” ..oh and by that we do mean leave the single market the customs union and plunge the country into a supply side recession….” .In fact I recall the supposed Brexit Bonus writ large on a bus and without fail we WERE assured that there would be no trouble negotiating a trade deal .
        Had anyone suggested those words were included Leave would have shrieked with horror .

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          Read the Leaflet
          Listen to speeches by Cameron talkging about what leaving the EU meant.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Were there any facts in this latest rant or were you simply venting your spleen at our host with a torrent of undeserved insults? The voter involvement was in June 2016. A referendum that gave a leave result that you did not like so you have had a continuous whine about it ever since. Get over it!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      David Cameron said he would do it immediately!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Actually polls show that nearly 50% of the population now favour a WTO Brexit with the rest either against it or undecided. Many major business leaders (bankers excluded) and French academics, to name but a few see no problem and deride the “car crash” analogy. Even BBC interviews with the public show a strong support for no deal.

      As so often Parliament is out of step with reality.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, but it’s a bit late now to be saying the referendum result needs to be acted on with consideration. It was all about submitting the A50 the day after, and implementing the people’s decision.
      If only they had said at the time that the government was too inept to take back the powers from Brussels and they didn’t have a clue how to implement the result.
      Rather than peddle Project Fear, the Stronger in Europe campaign should have removed all politicians from the debate, on the basis they couldn’t be expected to campaign on a “we’re too incompetent” argument, and base it on the inability of the politicians we elect to make leaving the EU work.
      That would have swayed many more people and be far more convincing.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Or rather the Government (civil service) told us that they would sabotage Brexit. Not just be “inept” about it.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Cameron “promised” he will issue the section 50 notice the day after the referendum. Not sure if this was a cast iron promise or not. Not that this made much difference with any Cameron promises.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Which if Art.50 had been submitted the day after the referendum would have made the exit date the 24 or 25 June 2018. Given that practically nothing had been prepared on the Leave side about what to do following a referendum victory, and considering the present mess in Parliament in March 2019, how can you keep on repeating this argument?
        Do you really think it would have made things easier?

  24. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    “The Prime Minister says she is strongly against a second referendum”

    Coming from Mrs. May John, that means absolutely nothing. About the only thing she is good at is saying one thing and doing completely the opposite. Rumour now has it that she will give (blackmail) the house next week with a binary choice – either back her rotten deal or back the most popular indicative vote decided on Monday which will probably be to stay in the customs union. Lose lose for Brexiteers. She will have got her way in the most treacherous and deceitful way and alienated 17.4 million voters in the process.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB, did you notice how she argued in Parliament, here:


      that we could not leave the EU without a deal because at present one part of the UK has no devolved government to make the necessary preparations?

      “… I am conscious of my duties as Prime Minister to all parts of our United Kingdom and of the damage to that Union that leaving without a deal could do when one part of it is without devolved government and unable, therefore, to prepare properly … ”

      No, she didn’t mean England.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        If not England, then who ?

        All I could find was this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution_in_the_United_Kingdom#England

        England is the only country of the United Kingdom to not have a devolved Parliament or Assembly . . .

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          She meant NI Mark B. This is how May and UK MPs insult England at every turn. They think it terrible that NI does not currently have an executive but not so England yet it is ENGLAND that is being betrayed over Brexit as it was England which overwhelmingly for it but we do not deserve a mention to traitors like May let alone a devolved parliament.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          She means Northern Ireland. She is exploiting that part of our country and its tragedies in the same way that the EU and Southern Ireland are.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Northern Ireland, of course, where the assembly is suspended. Hence my earlier comment:


          “Theresa May is willing to allow Sinn Fein to delay our exit, sine die; she says that we cannot leave without a deal on March 29th because at present there is no devolved assembly to make preparations, but that could still be the case at any time in the future, at the pleasure of Sinn Fein, even if her deal was approved.”

        • Posted April 1, 2019 at 4:07 am | Permalink

          Cheers guys. I half guessed it would be Ulster.

          Jools B

          Not to forget that they owe their place to we the ‘non-people’ of England.

  25. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you Sir John for an excellent summary of the current situation, which does give me a little more hope that we will be coming out of the EU very shortly.

    My two areas of concern are the second referendum and customs union type of Brexit as these are two routes the PM says she is strongly against. However one cannot rely on anything Mrs May says as she overturned every one of her promises that she has made so far.

    Couple with this her determination to try yet again to get the WA passed, one has to ask several question.

    Is she suffering some form of mental breakdown? Does she have a ”death wish” for this country? Is she so unbelievably thick that she doesn’t understand what she is doing?

    Now that we see some of the results from the decisions she took during her time in the Home Office such as the ‘Windrush’ and the ‘curtailment of stop and search’ it is possible that she shuts her mind completely to any advice or alternative view.

    Tragic and very difficult to circumvent but we must persevere and leave under WTO.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      I recall another person who had such delusions and a total blindness to what was really going on around them. It didn’t end well for them or their country. Best we remove May before she can do any more damage and get her a little cottage and a rocking chair in the country somewhere where she can converse with the fairies.

  26. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Strange that last nights news on both the BBC and Sky didn’t mention WTO as an option and most MPs seem afriad to even utter the words WTO

    Is there an embargo from the media and politicans towards discussing the pros of WTO

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      I am firmly of the opinion that there is. If an honest discussion were held in parliament and the media, including required work around for those genuinely adversely affected, I think the country would be behind it (stand fast the remoaners). My view is that the next two weeks will be wasted trying to keep us in the EU and the much like the proportional representation referendum the offer will be choices nobody actually wants.

  27. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    One thing that never seems to be mentioned about May is her serial lying in claiming that her WA is leaving the EU when in fact it leaves us in a worse position than remaining a member.

    She needs to be called out for it and told to tell the truth for a change.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes but David, but she has such a sincere voice. Can a vicar’s daughter with such a sincere voice possibly be telling us such massive whoppers and secretly selling us down the river?

      Regrettably, there are those who would still buy the Forth Bridge from a door-to-door salesman, and she is on the same level in my view. The low ethical standards are just about the same.

      She seems to be doing a good job of slowly grinding down those supposedly ‘solid’ Brexiteers in her party, into accepting her way. Okay, we might be up to WA6 or 7 by then, but if the lies are consistent, and the subterfuge big enough, they (she hopes) will eventually give in.


  28. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    It seems almost certain there will be a long extension with some fudged form of words to justify it. Mrs May must be held to her stated intention to go – her actual wording I believe would allow her to remain for this extension, presumably bringing her wretched WA back for MVs 4, 5,…

    Given the transition period has no advantages whatsoever over actual membership and many disadvantages, I don’t see this as a bad thing. It is an opportunity to replace mrs May and go back to square one and do the negotiation again, as it should have been some from the first.

  29. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    This is a battle that should have been fought to a finish much earlier.
    JR has said a couple of times that concerns over the years regarding the EU were brushed aside by Europhiles.
    Tony Benn, a Eurosceptic accepted defeat in 1975 with huge statesmanship. No whines for a second referendum from him!
    Brexiteers/ Eurosceptics ( “ bastards” according to one PM…how rude!) ALONE have played by the rules
    Yet our very entry into the EU was extremely dodgy,based on the lying denial of empire-building.
    Please….all our Brexiteers be wary at this crucial time.
    Not all those in govt. are as good/ principled as you.

  30. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I notice that, unlike in her dealings with the EU, Mrs. May’s attempted horse-trading with Conservative MPs is not a two-phase process.

    She is not giving up her negotiating power by resigning first and then discussing with MPs how she would like them to vote on her deal. And yet she expects MPs to vote for her deal, which, as Bill Cash writes, requires MPs to give up their (legislative) power as an opening move in our negotiations with the EU.

  31. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Is not T. May likely to manoeuvre to oblige Parliament to face the choices of her Withdrawal Surrender agreement or a no-deal Brexit, other choices being excluded through lack of time available to adopt them?

    Then the “any deal at any price” Remoaner M.P.s will use MV4 (n) to pass May’s quislings’ Brexit deal and we shall have the worst of all worlds.

  32. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness there are some capable MPs such as you amidst the low calibre that pervades the HoC.
    Our democracy is being destroyed by those elected to uphold and protect it.
    The Conservative party is facing oblivion. There seems to be a death wish which is exemplified by the number of senior MPs in your party publicly supporting Grieve against his Association’s vote of no confidence. The Westminster bubble needs to be broken open. Your councillors are going to be the first to feel the wrath of the electorate but no doubt those in their Whitehall ivory towers care little.
    Meanwhile your party has allowed the atrocious Corbyn to play Brexit from both ends and expose your party to public opprobrium.

  33. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    PS when you come to think of it No Deal has no possibility of happening other than by accident and the May horror also has no chance of passing .( I must say , appalling though No deal is, I cannot see that it can be worse than the May option ).
    That leaves delay as the only way forward and the conditions that may be agreed for delay .A two year delay would only follow the transition period and I feel the only possible resolution would be a public vote on the real life options

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink


      Defy the referendum result now.

      Cancel Brexit. Have the balls to admit what you’ve done rather than, cowardly, trick people into waiting for Brexit to die of old age and make them think it was their idea.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Any true decent honest Prime Minister would have delivered Brexit by now, but not the one we presently have! She drags it out, and drags it out, and then drags it out some more.

        Some Tories are worthy of the label ‘honest’ but May definitely is NOT one of them!

        Brexit is eminently viable. The Tories and Labour certainly are not.

        There needs to be some personal penalty or forfeiture these lairs are obliged to pay to compel them to do their duty. I was of the impression misconduct in a public office was punishable, and lying in a public office was a qualification!

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      The only real life options are WTO or Remain. All others are unicorns.

  34. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Mrs May has painted herself into a tiny red corner all of her own making.
    It was obvious the EU need to show the world they are stronger than a smaller nation so got an elitist Frenchman delegated solely for the task with limited powers and frame of reference.
    The Conservatives should have appointed a strong leader who also delegated and tasked Brexit to another. We know what happened, the weakest link was TM who made fatal mistakes, especially doing both roles herself . Sadly she does not appear a heavyweight unlike Trump with gravitas and when in trousers looks like she could be bowled over in a strong wind.
    We now have only one strong card left and we should play it to show we are strong and Sir John it is your rational one of No Deal. Thank you once again for your clearing the as when all about are emotional wrecks with limited powers of thinking clearly.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      I cannot throw off the notion that all this subterfuge and chicanery was pre-planned. I predicted it, as some senior Brexiteers will confirm. Indeed, I told them what to look out for.

      May couldn’t care less what people call her. She’s not bothered about her reputation or being thought of as a buffoon. Just watch her emotionless expressions as she suffers defeat after defeat. That is the mark of cold callousness befitting a sociopath. She wants no Brexit, and she is determined by hook or by crook to get it. Tomorrow could be our last chance to stop her, her lackeys in both houses of parliament, and her civil service cohorts.

      I’d feel a little better if those listed above were to provide a written undertaking, that they would not work for the European Union nor agencies thereof, in any capacity whatsoever, for the terms of their natural lives, and that to do so would constitute an unacceptable conflict of interests incurring the most severe penalties. I would also extend that to include their close family members.

      Maybe then, we could finally get some decent people to do our bidding who were not motivated by financial inducements or grand palaces in the sky. Just the concern for the welfare of their fellow man, and a wish to make life better.


  35. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Once again your summary, a small lifeboat of sanity on a troubled sea of tribal hysteria, gives me hope that the outcome will come soon, and will not be calamitous. Sincerely, thank you for your time and effort.

  36. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    PS when you come to think of it No Deal has no possibility of happening other than by accident and the May horror also has no chance of passing .( I must say , appalling though No deal is, I cannot see that it can be worse than the May option ).
    That leaves delay as the only way forward and the conditions that may be agreed for delay .A two year delay would only follow the transition period and I feel the only possible resolution would be a public vote on the real life options.
    The other key point is the pivotal role of Jeremy Corbyn in making sure the is no real opposition to Brexit . If I didn`t despise him already …. once again we have to ask , who do the grown ups vote for ?

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Why would a delay only follow the transition? Without accepting the WA there is no transition period, it is part of it, or do you mean it is only the same thing, which it can’t be. Delay is mere can kicking to try to thwart Brexit. As May said a hundred times no deal is better than a bad deal. The EU have prepared for it and Calais confirmed it is ready once again only this week and I simply don’t accept that the UK hasn’t. This is another scare put about by Remoaners and their MSM. They cant say we spent 4 billion on Brexit and then say we didn’t.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      The hypocrite Corbyn just voted for a second referendum.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Jeremy Corbyn is now 5% ahead there is a real possibility we will for the first time have a hard left government in this country and many of us who would have fought against it are now so alienated form the extremists of the ERG and UKIP that will not lift a finger to help
        If you think Corbyn is a remainer you have seriously misunderstood him. He just wants the car crash not to be his fault without saying anything much , if there was a real change of a People`s vote he would be as against it now as he always has been
        Look at his record , he is one of yours

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          I was a floating voter as it happens. I thought leave had the best of the argument but a brexit vote could be bad for business near term. after all, all remain had to say in the referendum was there’s going to be a horrible recession and anyone who votes for Brexit is a xenophobic bigot. Both assertions were plainly false.

          Corbyn is a humbug – he will be like Lenin at Brest-Litovsk. Anything in order to implement socialism in one country. You’d be a fool not to vote in any way you can to stop the (socialists? ed)

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      The fact is we are in purgatory because we deserve to be.

      Most of us voted for a PM (Blair or Cameron) who went about destroying Middle Eastern civilisations.

      The ensuing refugee crisis caused the Leave win.

      We simply do not deserve peace, prosperity, unity nor stability – so we shan’t have any of those things.

      This is Universal justice.

  37. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Sir John i find your posts really useful in terms of clarification of what is occuring. Am I right in thinking that the EU is now losing patience with the continual and contrary behaviour of Theresa May who seems to me to a woman obsessed with her deal and just can’t stand back and see what she is doing

    Reply I assume so from what they did to her request for a simple extension to June 30 last time. They want to see she can command Parliament to get something done

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I see the “EU losing patience” as just them playing games. While we are still in, I assume we are still handing millions to them every day. Why would they want to cut that off as early as possible? They are desperate for our cash. Staying in would inevitably mean the daily handout ramping up.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        I see them as manipulating our country by seeing opposition MPs and past Prime Ministers etc in order to create havoc and then hold us up as an example to other EU countries.

        • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          That is exactly what it is!


  38. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    What will the Conservative Party do if there is an extension and European elections? Do they run candidates and see their vote collapse, or do they abstain to avoid humiliation?

  39. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Considering the UK rather than the Conservative or Labour parties, everything must be done to avoid any of the rule taking options that have a permanent risk. So no to an in perpetuity backstop and no to a comprehensive permanent CU. Either no deal or revocation of A50 are superior to such worst of both worlds compromises. (If UK leaves contributing to rule making it must definitely leave rule taking, untIL continues to take rules of must be in a place to contribute to making them.)

    If there needs to be a compromise between no deal and remain then Lord King’s suggestion of a 6 month extension to prepare for no deal would be it. (If a longer term compromise is sought then a guaranteed referendum in 50 years whether to rejoin the EU would be reasonable…50 years is of course less than permanent so is a more than reasonable compromise to offer remainers).

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink


      There is no need for a 6 month extension. Get out on 12th April on WTO basis and the EU should agree that trade will continue on the existing basis for six months to permit all necessary preparations to be concluded.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink


        I agree, but 12th April won’t happen.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      They could have the same period of time we had to tolerate their beloved EU. Brexiteers have proven to be far more patient and democratic than the anti democratic leftie remainers!

  40. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Ah, but you haven’t voted against a “confirmatory” referendum at the end of the trade negotiations have you ? Deal or Remain. That option would have great appeal to May and Corbyn as it kicks the problem way down the road. Also to Remainers who would conspire to get a hopeless trade deal.

    I wonder at what point Macron will refuse to authorise further delays ? He’s got his own problems, and having Farage and colleagues disrupting the EU Parliament wouldn’t help his plans to offload some of his domestic problems onto a more integrated EU superstate.

  41. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Most people in the press are missing the key point. What May or Corbyn or Parliament want to do is entirely irrelevant. All that is important is what the EU will ALLOW us to do. The only exceptions are No Deal or Revoke A50. Those are under our control. Time for Parliament to vote on just those two, head to head, and implement. Then at the next GE the parties can attempt to reverse via manifesto promises to Rejoin EU or Resubmit A50 (no deal) as they wish.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      The ECJ is a political court. It is deliberating on whether or not we can resubmit A50. At present it is thought we can’t.

  42. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Leave first. Deal later.

    And no payments to the EU.

    In the withdrawal agreement there are no numbers. The payments have been hidden because they are so large, the public would be very angry, livid, violent even, that more austerity is forced on them to pay the Eurocrats for their mess.

  43. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    To Nick: “SI to extend the Brexit date was done illegally.”
    The fact that it is illegal wouldn’t stop them. The EU Treaties including 1972 Act of Accession are illegal and against our ancient constitution-of-sorts, and Governments have transgressed the Rule of Law to suit themselves. They’ve repealed the Treason laws. Bypassed the required HoC scrutiny when signing up to EU military initiatives over the last year; but what the heck, they do as they like . We’re here dealing with bandits and politicians who work for the EU not the UK ; surely you don’t think the little matter of illegality would stop them? Yourself not included in this tirade Sir
    John !

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      Good post!


  44. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    So, it’s leaving on WTO terms, leaving with signing the Agreement, or delaying exit.

    Providing the sensible MP’s can hold their nerve, May’s deal is dead, but that count against is getting smaller each time, and she may find a way to reintroduce that vote.

    The most important thing that needs to be done is to prevent may running off to Brussels for a long extension – Surely there must be something we can do to stop that?

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      There is, but it isn’t legal.


  45. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    There are a lot of MP’s who do not want a general election because, having carried on in the way that they have, they are now terrified of being dumped on their backsides.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      If we did not have that snap election in 2017 we would be looking at one much sooner. Makes you think that having it then was a way of buying themselves a little more time 😉

  46. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid that you can’t see the wood for the trees. All outcomes depend of MP’s behaving “honourably” The vast majority of MP’s have now shown that they are a bunch of self serving ratbags that do not deserve to be in the positions that they are in. When I look at the parliament channel all I feel now is utter disgust.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      With me, it is anger. There are some I would still trust, but it is a diminishing number.


  47. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    If the Suicide Treaty (WA) is presented a 4th time say without the backstop, I hope MPs (I am looking at Mogg in particular) are not under mistaken impression thatwe the public are OK with that. It has been pointed out many many many times that the whole WA Treaty is poison; for example just 2 nasties among many are: it will join us at the hip to EU Militarily and re security, endangering security, detaching us from 5 eyes and NATO. Didnt Sir Richard Dearlove MI6 write to Conservative associations all over the UK about this. Plus it will put us under totalitarian control of the laughably-named “Joint” Committee with the EU totally in charge and its operatives kept secret. I can envisage May and Robbins traitorously getting jobs on this committee working with the EU against their own people. Ig Mogg caves again he will be remembered for all time for this alone.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      He,s my MP and I wrote to him twice asking him to not vote for May’s surrender document that makes us a vassal state forever. The rest is history. I didn’t vote at the last election as I couldn’t bring myself to vote Tory and no other suitable candidate. My choice is now vindicated by this turncoat.

  48. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the biggest mistake that has been made in all these so-called ‘negotiations’ is believing that the EU would act honourably, according to the rules and in a neighbourly fashion.
    They proved us wrong, didn’t they?

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      They acted in their own self interest. Both as a single entity (EU) and as individual members (eg the RoI). It seems such a shame that those supposedly on our side did not, or would not act in ours.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      I never once believed the EU would act honourably. It is not in their DNA, and it is not in the interest of their Grand Project.


  49. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood
    In last week’s indicative votes, the Customs Union option was only a few shy of obtaining a majority. If you are a genuine leaver who understands what a CU entails you wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. However, if you are a remainer/Labour MP/surrender-compromiser, you may well take it. I think you’ll find the numbers in the latter group will be sufficiently swelled to get a CU through on Monday. Theresa May would be happy with a CU while the EU would bite your hand off. So I suspect she can get the WA passed with a commitment to negotiating a CU afterwards. That’s what you’re up against this week. What can you do about it?

  50. Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Again JR provides the most incisive summary of the current situation.

    Mrs May seems to want to do everything possible to frustrate a clean orderly WTO Brexit, but there is hope that we might just default to it.

  51. Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    As Parliament has voted for note leaving without a deal , a Customs Union might actually be the best idea at this late stage

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      It’s already on the statute books. If they did not want it to happen, they should not have voted for the bill in that form. Though luck to them.

  52. Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Piers Morgan and Edwina Curry say that if there is a second referendum, they will vote Leave!
    That’s why a second referendum will not be held, it will change nothing.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Depends on the question and the choice of possible answers.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Leave is not going to be an option in the referendum they’re planning b

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        I appreciate that point. Proof that they know Leave would win again. With the whole world watching our MPs will be able to force another fair referendum as they did last time – huge effort. BTW while our Leave MPs were fighting for the fair referendum Farage was commissioning ‘no Campaign’ merchandise, ie he had conceded the referendum befor it started!

  53. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I recalled the Sunday morning over a year ago when I had watched four politics programmes and there had been a universal assumption that the/a customs union would solve the largely invented problem of the Irish border:


    This morning I have watched just the two programmes which are now running, and find that nobody is prepared to tell the truth about the implications of that policy.

    Emily Thornberry was interviewed by Sophy Ridge, and she condemned Theresa May’s proposal as “full of unicorns and rainbows” while representing Labour’s position that we should be “in a customs union”, “close to the single market”, with “dynamic alliance of rules and regulations” as “common sense”.

    When did it become “common sense” for us to actively seek not independence but a kind of colonial status, whereby the EU would continue to control our trade and our economy even after we had left? Note that I am not going as far as some by saying that we could end up as a “vassal state”, but just as a kind of colony, or at best a dominion?

    (It may be helpful here to put [“american revolution” “navigation acts”] into google.)

    Why has the government, led by a Prime Minister who keeps saying that she wants us to have an independent trade policy, allowed this total, self-contradictory, garbage from the Labour party to go completely unchallenged, with the consequence that many members of the general public may now believe that “bolting on” a customs union to her agreed deal would be a good “compromise”?

    Well, Emily Thornberry admitted that “in our hearts we want to remain”, and the Labour MP Lisa Nandy then agreed with that; and so does Theresa May and most of her cabinet and most Tory MPs on top of almost all the other MPs; and that is why there have never been any attempts to refute the constant stream of anti-Brexit propaganda.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes Denis- you see they know we have been living in an inflated balloon with completely unreasonable expectations as to our potential as free traders in the world in the year 2019. They also know that there are no new trade deals lined up out there with large trading blocs far away that will in any way compensate for our loss of trade with the EU. They know that we were never going to get a deal with them from outside as equal trading partners- we should know all of this since we had our own huge Empire at one time. So what is going on now is governments attempt at trying to deflate this overinflated balloon without the whole thing going off. It is their attempt at controlling the masses 65 million and reversing their expectation trend set in place by Cameron’s stupid foolish risk taking referendum in trying to take on UKIP at their own game..stupid foolish..and now they have to try to fix it..as they see it

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        Why do you think trade between us and Europe will stop?
        Millions of customers and millions of suppliers.
        You overstate the importance of trade deals.
        Japan has very profitably sold its goods into Europe since 1970 yet only this year signed a trade deal with the EU

      • Posted April 1, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        They know that they are vastly overstating the economic impact of our EU membership, and they know that the effect on GDP of any loss of trade with the EU would be minimal, and they know that it is toss up whether we would be a bit better off or a bit worse off but either way it would only be a bit and would barely register on our economic growth curve:


        They know all this, but they do not want to tell the voters the truth.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      I think its because Mrs. May wants it too (but Shhhh – don’t tell anyone I told you so)


  54. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    There a couple of caveats to your review.

    The first is that no one in the Conservative Party is advocating a General Election while Mrs May is still leader. But once there is a more Eurosceptic leader and a Brexiteers manifesto has been produced, a General Election in the Autumn will be desirable. If there are mass de-selections of pro-Remain MPs and candidates between now and then, the Brexiteers can campaign as the Conservative Party. If not, there will have to be a Brexiteers’ Party to go with the manifesto.

    The second is that there is a way that Mrs May could get the Commons to approve the draft Withdrawal Agreement. The first is to add a single sentence “All provisions in this Agreement are time limited to 31st December 2020” and to say that it’s the amended Agreement or No Deal. She would then have to say to the European Commission: either you accept the amended Withdrawal Agreement or it’s No Deal. I think that they would accept on the half a loaf principle.

    Personally, I’m hoping that Macron uses his veto over any further time extension and dumps us out with No Deal on April 12th.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      ‘Personally, I’m hoping that Macron uses his veto over any further time extension and dumps us out with No Deal on April 12th.’

      OOOOOH If I were May, I’d be over in France right this minute and offering Macron every deal and incentive I could to get him to use his veto and dump us out on April 12th! But I am speaking as a leaver. May is someone who just pays lip-service to Brexit but doesn’t really want it.

      Maybe a good kicking at the polls is now just what the Tories need to get rid of the chaff and re-invent themselves. Just as long as we don’t get another load of Thornberry-esque shysters to take their place, but seriously, we’ve had enough of all remain rabble this time.


  55. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you for such a clear summary of where we are.
    I think there are two possible desirable options, both preferable to Mrs May’s deal. First and preferably, a WTO ‘No deal’ exit. This can probably only happen by accident, but in the current circumstances, accidents can happen. Secondly, Revocation of Article 50 seems to me preferable to most other outcomes because unlike them, it does at least offer the possibility of invoking it again in the future when we can hope to have a new leader of the Conservative party who is actually a Conservative.

  56. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    The idea that the EU will never budge on anything is of course complete remainer nonsense designed, as was the “we cannot leave without a deal” vote in Parliament, to strengthen the EU’s negotiating position.

    Unless we have a GE to make MPs more representative of the electorate then genuine leavers best option is to go for a long extension, which I fully expect the EU to grant as firstly they will not want to be seen as causing a “no deal” exit and secondly because it would not be good for them economically.

    Importantly during this time we can still vote in the Council of Ministers, sill veto (where it still exist of course) new legislation which is damaging to UK interests and still elect MEPs and thus can still be influencing EU policies and legislation. None of this is feasible if we sign the EU’s WA.

    I believe that our continued involvement in EU business will make the EU take the sensible course of action to negotiate the “future arrangement” at the same time as the WA, as it should have been from the very beginning.

  57. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink


    Are you able to find out how many of the vitally important BREXIT projects are outstanding and when they are due to complete?

    This has to be the indicator of whether we leave 12 Apr or extend

  58. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    A WTO exit has always been my preferred option because I never thought the EU would give us a deal worth having. Judging by what we have been offered in the withdrawal agreement, that’s probably looking to be a correct assessment for phase 2 if we ever get there.

    The Remainer majority in Parliament has been flexing its muscles and it seems all but certain that they will be able to cobble together some form of majority to push for a Customs Union and/or single market membership. That is clearly not a form of Brexit we can recognise but they have the votes to force it through.

    But what is the alternative ? Even if it wanted to, I can’t see how the Government can force through a WTO exit in the face of such strident opposition.

    That seems to leave us with the nuclear option of a General Election – suicide with May still in No 10 – or vote for the hated withdrawal agreement in the hope that a new Brexit-led Government can repair the damage May has undoubtedly done to the whole concept of Brexit.

    Neither option is what we would want to see but is there a sensible alternative ?
    I don’t think so.

  59. Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    Only one policy matters – remove Mrs May who will destroy your Party rather than Exit EU. The DUP and ERG can do so by Abstaining from a Commons No Confidence Vote and letting the Payroll MPs and Sir Graham Brady tell her to go immediately, you say these people would not support an early GE, well prove it that way. If they insist on letting her stay then let them disappear in a GE through the Second Vote of Confidence, it is the only way to rid of us this dreadful woman and delevier Brexit in accordance with the Manifesto commitments of 2017.

  60. Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Your summary, Sir John, is extremely helpful and instructive, and a much needed anchor in these turbulent times. Thank you.

    What I fear so much is that all sorts of political shenanigans will be carried out by May, maybe using arcane procedures, in order to ram through her WA. She seems utterly intent on pursuing it.

    Secondly, her word cannot be taken as the truth, or as any indication of what she might or might not do. She has completely destroyed any trust in her.

    Put simply, I do not think anyone knows exactly what she will do, and neither can we be assured that she will not deceive us all again. She really is not worthy of being PM, in my view, and in charge of Brexit. She should go and immediately.

  61. Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I seeJohn Major is proposing a government of national unity composed of Remainers. Showing that deft touch for popular policy that led us into the ERM. He is no doubt giddy from the realisation that he is no longer the most incompetent PM of modern times.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      LOL After spending a day lobbying, that put a smile on my face. Thank you Roy!


  62. Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Another query, Sir John:
    ” It is also the case that the UK is out of time under the revised EU timetable for our departure to get the extra time to implement the Agreement, as they had to pass the motion by Friday. ”
    Yet the Express carries :
    “On Friday, Theresa May lost a third vote in Parliament, with ministers voting down her withdrawal agreement by 344 votes to 286 – a margin of 58. Now Mrs May has been told she must win round MPs to her Brexit agreement by April 12 to seek another extension to delay exit day. Failure to do this will see the UK leave without any kind of deal – a prospect that Brussels believes is “high likely”.
    Will she be able to “win round” – will she have the opportunity to?

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Re last sentence, rv, the establishment will ensure that she will have the opportunity to. They do not seem to play by the rules. That is why honest MPs are often put on the back foot.

      • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Hence my analogy about the good guys playing by the gentlemanly rules of cricket, whilst the remainers play rugby. That strategy got us nowhere in World War Two, and only when the good guys started playing rough did we make any progress.


  63. Posted March 31, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    The last part re CU is a gamble. If that goes through on the indicative votes tomorrow then May could try to tack it on to the WA. Yes I know she said she doesn’t want A B an C but we know that she lies and has backtracked on just about everything so why not the CU as well.

    No doubt the traitors will be running a round trying t convince MPs to vote for that. The only saving grace will be if there are many abstentions, such as the cabinet again, which will make the vote ‘not as indicative as if everyone could be bothered to vote’.

    You really need to convince the backsliding ERG who have moved to vote for the WA to vote against it again, or with a CU attached … it could get through?

  64. Posted March 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I see the way forward as simple provided May has the guts to do it.

    – Tell the country that we must leave the EU to deliver on the referendum result
    – Bring the deal back for a 4th time and say that if MPs vote for it we leave with the deal
    – If MPs vote against it we leave with no deal.
    – This gives MPs a clear choice – deal or no deal. To all those who complain it’s simple to point out that MPs voted against every alternative
    – Tell the cabinet she will accept resignations from all the remainers who don’t like the choice

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      No deal – which is in fact a good deal on WTO terms.
      May’s deal – which is in fact a bloody awful deal and not worthy of the name.

      Seems an easy choice to make. Fancy, all those highly-paid politicians struggling with such a simple decision.

  65. Posted March 31, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    It is a fascinating time in parliament, government has not been at this level of crises since the early days of WW2.

    The options she has are also interesting to view from a re-election point of view.

    The WA would likely lose the next election, with paltry support from both remainers and brexiteers.
    Calling a general election, which has been publicly reported would likely hand Corbyn the PMs job with an okay majority. Between voters and constituents, those MPs who do not match their constituencies (mostly remainers) would fare worst. Brexit would likely come 5-10 years later.

    The soft brexit option betrays brexiteers and her manifesto, likely no better repealing article 50, likely a massive vote loser.

    All this is obvious to me, yet Theresa is so fanatical about staying in the EU, clearly now the purpose of the WA, that she is prepared to publicly commit political suicide if it helps implement it, the threat of calling a general election makes me wonder if she has a vat of cool aid she will be sharing.

    To me the conservative parties best hope of winning the next election is a no deal brexit asap, and within two years the economic dislocation will likely have died down. The problem is I expect bthe EU will now lose all credibility by offering us a long extension on the 10th of April. The conservative party will be well advised not to take up that poison cup.

  66. Posted March 31, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your vote. Thank you also for this very clear article. Hopefully seeing things laid out in such a straightforward manner will bring back your colleagues who panicked last time and backed the terrible withdrawal agreement. An increase in the margin of defeat should finally lay to rest this nonsense, and Mrs May’s premiership with it.

  67. Posted March 31, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Posted elsewhere, but an excellent summary of the things Remainers didn’t know what they were voting for:

    Very little was made of the future plans of the EU during the referendum campaign even though the Five Presidents’ Report was published in June 2015. Now these plans are to be centre stage after the elections in May. Ever closer union has reached the limits of the Lisbon Treaty. Progress requires treaty change. Hence everything focusing on convergence in 2025. My previous article mentioned some of these plans. If UK remains it can expect the following within two to ten years:
    1) Losing its rebate;
    2) Joining Schengen;
    3) Joining the euro;
    4) Uniform corporate and personal taxation;
    5) Uniform regulation of financial services;
    6) EU jurisprudence;
    7) Budgetary supervision by an EU treasury;
    8) Formalised EU armed forces, operational and procurement structures;
    9) EU foreign, defence and security policies taking precedence over national forces and policies;
    10) Mandatory migrant quotas;
    11) Removal of Article 50;
    12) Other transfers of competencies from member states to the EU, i.e. further losses of sovereignty.

    Brexit – sovereign national democracy versus Remain – technocratic supra-nationalism.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Q Do remainers read anything that might be contrary to their blind beliefs?
      Q Do remainers read and believe anything bad about their much-revered EU?
      Q Do remainers read and understand how, exactly, the WA shackles us to the EU?
      Q Do remainers read about the EU’s aspirations of ‘ever closer union’?
      Q Do remainers read about the EU’s plans for its military expansion, etc?
      Q Do remainers read?

    • Posted April 1, 2019 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      All lies. Apart from 6 (which is what we signed up to in 1972) , every single one of the things on your list is subject to a UK veto – as long as we remain a member

      • Posted April 1, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Lies? Really? Is it April 1st Helena?

      • Posted April 1, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        That may be the current position Helena, but the point being made was the general direction of the EU. The points listed require treaty change and that future change may also mean the UK veto counts for nothing. The EU will manipulate in any way it can to get the result it wants. We need to break free on a WTO basis and negotiate a free trade agreement.

  68. Posted March 31, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood.

    Very clear illustration of the different options available. However, I think that you and your fellow ERG colleagues might be a little naíve to think that the triumvirate of Sir Oliver Letwin, Sir Nicholas Boles and Yvette Cooper will not succeed in getting the HoC to pass legislation binding on the Government that would require Theresa May to go for a Customs Union type non- Brexit. Parliament has the numbers to get this approved and make it binding on the Government (with the help of the Very Remainer Speaker, Sir John Bercow)- just as Parliament has the means to make a “No Deal” Brexit illegal.

    Theresa May could, of course, quickly decide to Prorogue Parliament until 13th April to ensure a proper Brexit happens (but she would need to act fast). However, the Prime Minister is a Remainer and she is happy to find a “consensus” with MPs who wish to go against the result of the 2016 Referendum.

    If Theresa May stays in office and we end up with a “Customs Union” non- Brexit the electorate will quickly sense the betrayal and the Conservatives will be obliterated at the next Election (1997- style) for this and the apparent shambles of the Government. That in turn could lead to years of a hard- left Labour Government that will further undermine British democracy by muzzling the Press (Leveson 3), turning the BBC into a Labour Propaganda outlet, state- funding of approved political Parties and votes for 16 year-olds: Labour gerry-mandering on a grand scale!

    Should Labour get in with a big majority and do the above, the Conservatives might never get to govern again and may well split: This could be you and your colleagues’ legacy for not having the courage to really move Heaven and Earth to topple Theresa May and get a Brexit-supporter in place as Prime Minister ASAP.

    By the way, there is now a poll showing Labour 5% ahead of the Conservatives (https://www.westmonster.com/poll-labour-up-tories-down-after-may-bottles-29th-march-brexit/). If Theresa May stays in office the only way is Down!

    Ian Pennell

    Reply The government should be able to stop any customs union legislation if it wishes. I also assume the EU would want the UK to sign the Withdrawal Treaty before talking Customs Unions.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes. That is an interesting point. The Customs Union can’t go in the WA because that is closed isn’t it, they’ve said that over and over again. Put it in the Political Declaration by all means, then ignore it with a new PM.

      Reply The Customs Union is in the Agreement via the Irish backstop

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      I am not so sure that Theresa May will resist a majority of MPs simply telling her in tomorrow’s Indicative Votes to go for a “Customs Union” non- Brexit. She is very good at backing down at the first sign of grapeshot!

      The Conservatives need a Leader who believes in Britain and believes in Brexit- and who is not afraid to fight and take measured risks to secure a true Brexit. Unfortunately we (still) have Theresa May.

  69. Posted March 31, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Or we could simply leave as was promised several times by both the referendum and general election. Back by the mps backing overwhelmingly for the article 50. That would put an end to all the indecision in parliament and 17.4 million people would be very happy, because we can start looking forward to an independent sovereign free nation trading. At no time did the referendum say that parliament had to decide how we leave, and nor did they say we have to have a deal. Now get on with it.

  70. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I know I will busy with other matters tomorrow, so I have made this first draft of a letter to our local newspaper, the deadline being 9 am Tuesday. Of course if she does appear at the debate to argue against a/the customs union then I will amend that part.

    “We all know that Prime Minister Theresa May repeatedly pledged that we would leave the EU on March 29th, but now she has broken her word.

    Perhaps less widely known is that she has also repeatedly stated that we must have our own independent trade policy after we have left the EU.

    Why, then, did she fail to appear to argue that case when MPs were debating whether we should seek a continuing customs union with the EU?

    Would she really be content to see this country reduced to the same humiliating position as Turkey, which has foolishly accepted EU control of its trade policy without any say, even to the extent of being forced to open its market to other countries without any reciprocation on their part?

    If not, if she does not want us to be treated by Brussels in the same way that London treated the American colonies before they finally rose up and freed themselves, why did she not knock this crazy idea on the head the moment it was first proposed by the Labour party?”

  71. Posted March 31, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    It has been reported today that there is a battle going in within CCHQ about whether to call an early election. I realise that you say, Sir John, that many Tory MPs do not want it, so it would be unlikely, but what if May decided anyway to go for an election? I personally think that an early election is a distinct possibility as the situation is so volatile and the government is broken.

    If you go into that election with May as leader and the dreaded WAPD, the Cons would crash, I believe. It is foolish to think that some will not vote for Corbyn. F but far more likely they will either not vote at all or vote for Independent candidates or an alternative Party. Corbyn could easily get in on that basis. If you are to have a good chance of winning an election you will have to replace May first, and with a Brexiteer.

    I have also seen it suggested that the DUP and key Brexiteers were meeting with the PM today to emphasise the importance of honouring the vote of the 17.4 million. Maybe you are able to tell if this is true, Sir John?

    Reply Mrs May cannot call an election without Parliament approving it with a two thirds majority

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Decided this afternoon to prepare now for life under Corbyn.

  72. Posted March 31, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood

    The Referendum Ballot listed Leave the European Union. You and Parliament gave that decision to the people but you retained the right to determine method. Otherwise there would have been a second ballot page.

    There are many voters like me who simply want to get outside the door with that first step. Once we are no longer members it will be easier to fight the next battle to get away from the door.

    If we do not get out the door…..we will never ever be granted another referendum again. It’s over………

    I do understand the noble position that you are taking but frankly no trust the Speaker nor do I believe the PM has the strength left.

    Can you guarantee to us that your noble position is not going to put the basic act of leaving at stake? I ask that question because Jacob Mogg is effectively stating that.

    From my point of view you and your colleagues are putting in danger getting outside the door where the reality is it will be easier to fight on the other side of the door.

    In a year if Brexit is killed off you and the ERG 28 will bear a degree of responsibility.

    George Stewart

    Reply The Withdrawal Treaty is misnamed. It locks us back into the EU for 21-45 months and may entail permanent membership of the customs union with legal alignment.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the WA is not an exit. The whole absurd debate about cliff edges will simply be repeated 2-4 years hence but with the UK in a much worse negotiating position. Besides Brino, which we would surely then end up with, is worse than remain.

    • Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      GS, the WA and PD have also purposely been drawn up as a platform for swift re-entry into the EU. All carefully choreographed over these last 2+years, and carefully designed to dupe us and to force us into being a vassal state. Do not fall for the Boris and J R-M “justifications” that we would lose Brexit if they didn’t vote for May’s vassal state deal. The European Commission itself posted a statement in response to the voting down of May’s deal saying that this made leaving with No Deal “a likely scenario”. No Deal was not off the table, but it would demand Tory MPs fighting to retain it.

      BJ and JR-M behaved very tellingly when “the chips were down”. They cannot obviously be trusted and they seem to have put their personal ambitions and Party before the country. At least we found out now. They won’t get my support at all and from reading the blogosphere I see that there is outright condemnation of their behaviour.

  73. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ve lost the plot. How far do the executive powers of a prime minister take him/her? When did we stop being a democracy and start being an oligarchy? Or, even worse, a dictatorship?

  74. Posted March 31, 2019 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Is it constitutionally possible for HM The Queen to intervene, peacefully, thus protecting ourselves economically via world stock markets etc.?
    Most people would approve if it was not seen as the imposition of dictatorship. Didn’t Spain do something similar, once?
    The EU would be brave to resist.
    It just seems to me at least, it would heighten and not diminish Parliamentary Democracy long-term in that there is a Safety Valve when such deplorable behaviour of our MPs has rendered their position dire.
    It would have to look good, in the sense of believable without tortuous MP moanings, and accepting their lot which isn’t alot just now. It’s next to nothing. The clock ticks.
    An Ermine revolution? Similar in some part like a Velvet Revolution(!)

  75. Posted March 31, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Well, whatever happens next week, I’d like to echo the various comments here thanking Sir John for the quality of this blog, which is a veritable oasis of calm reasonablemess! His summaries are always informative and measured and he is unfailingly polite in the face of often unforgiveable rudeness from some contributors.

    • Posted April 1, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Sorry– a typo— “reasonablemess” was not me trying to be funny!
      Please definitely read “reasonableness”!

  76. Posted March 31, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Nobody seems to ask the obvious question – will the other 27 EU countries have any interest in having us belong to their club any longer?

    We begged to be allowed to join and with German help achieved it against de Gaulle’s repeated ‘NON’. He did not trust England to be a reliable partner.

    This Brexit debacle, after initial amusement and now bemusement by our EU partners, has proved to them that de Gaulle was right. Since we joined we tried to change the rules to suit us and basically attempted to take over the running of it. The other members got tired of us asking for special treatments and demanding opt outs to suit ourselves not the bloc as a whole.

    Seeing that our own previous efforts to establish trading blocs like EFTA and the commonwealth failed to keep up with the much more successful EU, the other members resisted those attempts.

    When Cameron’s demands for yet more favours fell on deaf ears he stamped his feet and called a referendum.

    There will now be a huge sigh of relief after our departure.

    • Posted April 1, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Let them carry happily along creating The United States of Europe.
      Centralised and protectionist like a a more friendly modern day version of the USSR.
      Its not for us we are more outward looking and freedom loving.

      • Posted April 2, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        “Its not for us we are more outward looking and freedom loving.”

        Is that why we hang on to America’s coattails following them into illegal wars and usually saying ‘how high’ when they ask us to jump?

  • About John Redwood

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

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