Letter to the Attorney General about the legal impact of signing the wrongly named Withdrawal Treaty

Dear Geoffrey

Let me have another go at getting a reply from you concerning the way the Withdrawal Agreement stops us leaving the EU. Would you kindly confirm

1. If we sign this Treaty we will be locked into the EU and have to obey all its rules and pay all the bills it sends us for a period of at least 21 months, and probably for 45 months if we have not surrendered further to reach an exit agreement at the 21 month stage. This would mean remaining in the EU for at least 5 years from the decision to leave and probably for 7 years. The EU would be able to legislate and spend against UK interests during this period, whilst we would have no vote or voice in the matter.

2. In order to “leave” in your terms at the 5 to 7 year stage the UK will need to stay in the customs union and accept all single market rules and laws, unless the EU relented over the alleged Irish border issue. 3 years on and the EU has given no ground on the made up border issue, so why would they over the next two years? Isn’t the most likely outcome we would remain in the single market and customs union contrary to the government promise leaving meant leaving them in its referendum literature ?

3. After the 45 month period fully in the EU, the UK still would face financial obligations under the Withdrawal Treaty. The bills will be decided by the EU and we will have to pay them. Any attempt to query them would be adjudicated by the EU’s own court! The longer we stay in the more the future bills are likely to be. The £39 bn figure is likely to be a considerable underestimate.

4 The Treaty creates a category of super citizen in the UK. EU nationals living in the UK when we “leave” the EU will have their access to benefits guaranteed in a way the rest of us do not for their entire lifetimes. So we will not be taking back control of our benefit system.

I am also concerned about a number of Articles in the draft Treaty that expressly extend EU powers and jurisdiction for a further 4 to 8 years beyond our departure date after the 21 to 45 month delay.

Article 3 asserts EU legal jurisdiction over Gibraltar and British overseas territories in general terms, where disputes about the extent of EU control would fall via the Agreement under the European Court of justice.
Article 5 reintroduces the powers of the European Court and enforces “sincere co-operation ” on us as they do not want us impeding their plans for economic, monetary and political union.
Article 31 imposes social security co-ordination on us.
Article 39 gives special protection to EU citizens currently living in the UK from changes to social security for the whole of their lives, protection which the rest of us do not enjoy.
Article 51 applies parts of the VAT regime for an additional 5 years after the long transition envisaged in the Treaty
Articles 92-3 imposes the EU state aids regime on the UK for 4 years beyond transition
Article 95 imposes binding decisions by EU quangos and bodies for 4 years beyond transition
Article 99 requires us to pay for access to records to handle issues over indirect tax where the EU keeps powers for 4 years beyond transition
Article 127 applies the whole panoply of EU law throughout transition, including the right to legislate any way they wish against our interests and enforce it on us via the ECJ
Article 130 prevents us taking back control of our fish any time soon. Doubtless more of our fishing rights would be given away trying to get an exit deal.
Article 135 allows them to send extra bills up to the end of 2028
Article 140 imposes on us financial liabilities up to December 2020 and carry over into 2021
Articles 144 and 150 prevent us getting back accumulated reserves and profits from our European Investment Fund and EIB shareholdings
Article 143 imposes adverse conditions on us over pension and loan liabilities of the Union
Article 155 requires to make continuing payments to Turkey under an EU programme after we have left
Article 158 gives the European Court continuing power for 8 years after transition
Article 164 makes a Joint Committee an effective legislator and government over us
Article 168, the exclusivity clause , denies us access to normal international law remedies in the event of disputes. Presumably this closes off use of the Vienna Convention to renounce an onerous Treaty where there has been a material change of circumstances.
Article 174 requires any arbitration to be governed by ECJ judgements on the application of law in disputes
The Protocol on Northern Ireland will require us to stay in the Customs Union with regulatory and legal alignment with the single market, or split off a separate place called UK (NI) which will be governed differently to the rest of the UK on an island of Ireland basis.
There is much more I could object to. This is no Treaty to take back control, no Treaty for a newly independent nation. It does not quantify the financial liabilities, which are open ended and could be much larger than the low field £39bn Treasury estimate. We have little power to abate the bills and no power to abort the bills. It would probably result even in failure to take back control of our fishing grounds.
Mrs May needs to go back to the EU and explain why the UK people and Parliament have opposed this Treaty, and ask them to think again if they want an agreement before we leave. She needs to make it clear we now intend to leave without signing the Withdrawal Agreement prior to the European Parliamentary elections.
John Redwood

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  1. Ian wragg
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    I would like to see where any negotiations are within the treaty.
    To me it looks like a surrender document and the perpetrators should be prosecuted for their duplicity.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Do you remember back in the early days of the ‘negotiations’, the EU members were complaining that Mrs May was going around saying ‘make me an offer’. So they did; writing an exit treaty that gave them everything, and the bill to the UK. To their amazement Mrs May just said ‘OK’. We had no input. David Davis had a go but was out-maneuvered (DD’s effort was the only real threat to May’s Plan) and Mr. Robbins, a supporter since university of a Federal Europe, was given the task to make sure that, if we left at all, we only left to bide a few years in an EU ‘waiting room’, to be re-admitted later when we realised our error.

      • Timaction
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        A breach of the Ministerial code as well as treason by May. Colluding with foreign leaders and the EU behind the backs of her own Ministers and Cabinet before ambushing them with the worst deal in history at Chequers. An awful Government that needs to go!

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          Timothy Bradshaw writes a good article in Conservative Woman, suggest you read it. It highlights Goves statement in HoC 16/01/2019 and compares with negotiating with Labour today. Once more, Gove totally discredited.

          Hammond declaring how good it is not to leave the EU in a speech in the US, Lidington negotiating with Labour about a customs union that is already in traitor May’s servitude plan!

          Tory association abandoned by May and her remainer cohorts. They must withdraw all support immediately until May is ousted.

          • Hope
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Why is May not subject of lying and/or misleading to parliament after 108 versions of her stating the UK leaving on 29/03/2019? Contempt of Parliament? Impeachment?

        • Lennard
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          This is absolutely disgusting why are we not being told about this on the news channels

          • Simon
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            Well why do you think? They are ALL pro-remain.

          • Stephen Priest
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 4:40 am | Permalink

            News channels mislead the public by calling it “Theresa May’s Brexit Deal”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        Well, you can choose between:

        a) Leaving the EU with some chance that your life outside the EU will have been made so bad that you will end up trying to rejoin it; or

        b) Not leaving the EU, and with very little chance that having learned such a hard lesson there will ever be another attempt to leave.

        For me personally b) would be the easier course – I could give up on the EU issue and do other things – but even so I would choose a).

        • Know-Dice
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          Thanks Denis, insightful as always..

          Certainly May’s “blackmail” style of politics is not acceptable and she should have been replaced last year when it was clear what her direction of travel was…

          It’s interesting to hear the press extolling the virtues of her “talking” to Labour, but forgetting to mention that regardless of the outcome of these talks ALL she wants is Parliament to agree to the Withdrawal Agreement as it stands and maybe change the wish list Political Declaration which we all know will NEVER be delivered on.

        • ian wragg
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          But Denis, neither of these options must be allowed to happen. I think Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph states that getting the WA voted through is only the beginning of Mays problems.
          When it comes to ratification, each sector must be debated and voted on, this will likely waken up the numb nuts in Parliament as too the extent of betrayal in this document and turf it out.
          The fact that some of the ERG voted for it sickens me, job before country.
          We have to rely on Nigel now, he’s the only patriot.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            I have a high regard for Nigel, but unfortunately even he cannot miraculously transform the House of Commons so that it will accept a no deal withdrawal.

          • margaret howard
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


            Patriot? He is a consummate opportunist. He has been an MEP for 20 years, an organisation he dislikes and hopes to destroy yet has been happy to pocket a hefty salary in the meantime.

            Would you work for someone you despise?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            I would walk through the gates of hell with Nigel Farage and pay him for the privilege if it got us out of the evil corrupt and malignant European Union. Some fools are so besotted with the place, they will never be convinced that it isn’t a force for good. It’s called ‘drinking the coolade’. There must be something in the water in some households. Can anyone really be so blinkered as not to see what is right in front of them?

          • APL
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            Margaret howard: “Would you work for someone you despise?”

            Yes, if the terms of my employment included criticizing my employer.

            But, you frame the question in a misleading manner. Nigel Farage for all his shortcomings doesn’t work for the European Parliament. He works for, or should work for the best interests of the people that elected him.

          • Mark Constable
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            For the last 15 years I have backed Mr. Farage 100% BUT now I am 100% against him, there was a huge chance of UKIP getting a large MP presents but Mr. Farage has now split the vote , which I find horrendous, he kept saying forget party politics vote UKIP to get us out of the EU now when there is a chance he starts a new group and splits the vote pretty disgusting I think.

          • Ron Eccles
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Ian. You think the numb nuts will wake up? If they have been this numb for almost three years, I think they are beyond help, and all need replacing.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Neither option is viable. Never give in to tyranny or blackmail. It never stops. May and Hammond must be ousted by whatever means. They cannot exist without a party.

          • Hope
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

            JR, the terms of the extension to October are very onerous- servitude in itself. Look at Facts4eu interpretation. Other than sign her servitude plan is the UK able to unilaterally leave before October? No voice against the EU 27 under acting in spirit cooperation.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

            Fine stirring words, but I will ask you the same question that I asked our host the other day, with no answer so far:


            How do you think this will end?

        • Jane
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          I dispute your choices and actually so glad you are not in charge, or it would have been accepted already. Giving up……never.
          I prefer to resist to the bitter end and can actually see yet one of other choices. The legal route which proves we have left already.
          Be sure the legals are circling and we will win sooner rather than later. We will take care of you and carry on the hard work. You could help a bit by forwarding on John Redwoods letter to your MP for their information….I am certain some just do not understand it enough.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

            “We will take care of you and carry on the hard work.”

            Thanks, it would be good to have a break from over twenty years of doing my small bit to get us out of the EU.

            “… by forwarding on John Redwoods letter to your MP … ”

            Firstly my MP is Theresa May and on several occasions I have sent her copies of my own letters submitted for publication in our local newspaper, as I have sometimes mentioned in my comments on this blog; secondly I would not in any case send her anything which I knew started with a factually incorrect claim; and thirdly I have decided to send it to another Tory MP, Sir William Cash, and ask him to give his informed legal opinion on the disputed statement.

        • Original Richard
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

          Either way it will be interesting to see Mr. Lammy, MP’s reaction to EU laws, taxes and policies coming at us where the AfD will have been very influential at the very least and could in the near future, together with other right wing groups, be effectively in charge.

          In which case even Mr. Lammy, MP may start to believe that Brexit is better than EU membership as we can then elect and remove those who govern us.

        • Robert Francis
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 1:53 am | Permalink

          I don’t understand why anybody could think we would be worse off out of it. USA, China, Japan, Australia, Canada and many many more all seem do be doing ok without being EU members! and we would not have to pay billions to prop up unelected morons who will just take us for all they can. Why do you think they are so anxious to help May in her illegal attempt to make us stay? Not because they love us thats for sure, they want our money and our obedience as just as traitor May has offered them!!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

            You wouldn’t have to convince me, but enough voters, to get another crack at leaving the EU after failing this time.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        The EU couldn’t believe their luck when they got May to do the negotiations. And she agreed to pay them £39 billion for the ‘privilege’. No wonder they refuse to open the surrender document. Also John, how much will the EU elections and the months we are in the extention cost us? May’s arrogance is costing us billions extra.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          At first, I merely thought May was unbelievably incompetent. Her time at the Home Office wasn’t exactly salubrious, so I couldn’t understand why anyone would have willingly voted for her to become leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, but they did anyway.

          As PM, she mishandled the EU negotiations so very badly. Thereafter, I came to the conclusion there was more to this person than meets the eye, so I watched her body language very closely, waited patiently, and listened intently to her every public word. Then I saw the real character behind the façade.

          This was no mismanaged EU negotiation at all. This was a carefully thought-out and choreographed strategy to stop Brexit, all the time facing into the cameras with a look of sincerity, repeating the same old line that Brexit meant Brexit, and that we would be out on the 29th March. There’s a word for Theresa May that sums her up well. That word is………dangerous!

          A good, honest, decent politician could have taken this country out of the European Union on schedule, but Theresa May is none of those things. She could have negotiated a good trade deal if that was ever her intention, Sir John’s letter shows just how embedded and complicated the Withdrawal Agreement actually is, and it is the work of the devil. It effectively gives us nothing, but takes away so very much. She has outwitted everybody, even the DUP, but she hasn’t done it fairly. She has diminished everything she has touched.

          Even at this late hour, the Tories have the chance to get rid of a snake in the grass and put a good decent honest Brexiteer in its place. The party’s redemption, even its very existence, and the nation’s future will depend upon them finally doing the right thing.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


          It will end with the public demanding leave on WTO that they voted for. It might be delayed but cannot be cancelled. The truth is out.

          Traitor May clearly tried deceive by bouncing her servitude plan without MPs reading it or understanding it. She is dishonest. I am baffled why it took so long to try to oust her when it was so obvious at Chequers.

          It requires associations to withdraw support, people to write, donate and people to protest until we get what we voted for.

          There are far better ways of being informed through people like yourself on the internet. Unlike before it was difficult to get to the truth and just lies from MPs.

    • Hilary Edge
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      May has several court cases to answer about the illegality of her extensions!
      Can’t waot to see the sullen and defeated gaces of all those remoaners!
      We may have already left the EU!…:)

    • Larry Darmanin
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


  2. Mark B
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    As we all kept saying, it is not just the backstop that is the problem. It is the whole bloody thing !

    I th I k our kind hosts letter would be more use if it was to be published in the papers. Further, he should send if to ALL MP’s asking them for their views on that in the WA he highlights. Though I’d doubt many also would want to respond.

    The WA makes the Treaty of Versailles look only half as bad.

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      I can but agree with Mark, Sir John — offer it to one or more of the many Remainer dailies and see if any of them have the gumption to print it. It may be an exercise in futility but we have to do what we can to try to open more eyes to the simple truth of the matter, and there it is in black and white for any misguided fool to understand.

      May I also add that I’ve never even seen mentioned some of those other negative points drawn from the finer detail (such as the bits concerning EU citizen rights and indeed, Turkey), so thank you for highlighting these.

      Reply Anyone can reproduce it and use it

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Thank you Sir John, I have just sent it to my ‘brexiteer’ MP, David Davies (Mon) who has voted for this WA 3 times because he thinks it’s less bad than the alternative!

      • Original Richard
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        “Thanks”, I have sent it to my Conservative remain MP.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Dear Mark–I wonder how many MP’s have read the WA or for that matter might read Sir John’s article today. Shades of Clarke boasting of (“of course”) his not having read Maastricht. Clarke said (I listened to him) that he thought the WA “rather good”. How can he possibly have meant that? It is all like a bad dream and coming down as I said here a little while ago to degrees of appallingness–it is really something when staying in the EU (albeit hopefully temporarily) starts to seem acceptable on basis not quite so absolutely appalling as the WA. Ditch her forthwith.

  3. Pominoz
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Congratulations on producing a powerful letter which needs public airing on a large scale. It will be most interesting to see the response.

    How can anyone who has genuinely been negotiating for the benefit of the UK end up with such a wretched withdrawal document an expect anyone fully aware of its content to agree to it. Those who have supported clearly do not have the interests of the UK as their priority. The WA must not ever be accepted, even with potential tweaks to the backstop arrangement. If it is, you so eloquently make the point that we shall not, as a Nation, be free.

    All those involved in drawing up this attempt at abject surrender should face justice.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Trouble is Pominoz, loads of MP’s have signed up to this rubbish deal

  4. Stred
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    The most sinister article is that criticism of the EU will be illegal and the police will prosecute.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed surprising T May did not get a clause to stop people calling them any MPs and Lords traitors too. As many clearly are.

      The whole treaty, even without the backstop, is totally unacceptable. How could the government have agreed it and want to ram it through?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        May has a white paper in progress part of which seeks to stop abuse and criticism of politicians on the internet.
        Probably be open to very wide interpretation?
        No more cartoons?

      • Hope
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        May is doing this by clamping down on social media. Wright is on the case as you write LL. do not forget hermsnoopr chartermto look at,your co outer by a host of public sector bodies including local authorities and food agency!

        Lammy still not investigated for hate speech yesterday!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        So Jeremy Hunt (PPE yet again) took a pop at his Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson, telling the Today programme: ‘The one difference between Boris Johnson and me is that I am foreign secretary and have a big job to do.’

        Well perhaps, but Jeremy Hunt was health secretary for nearly four years and did nothing to mend the structures and funding of the appalling NHS on indeed long term care. He was good at apologising for the endless damage injuries and deaths it caused. Thousands of people killed by its incompetence just over those four years.

        Today have the dire James Brokenshire (Law at Exeter) is trying to kill off the property rental sector (and reduce supply) by effectively part stealing properties off Landlords. It would help neither tenants nor landlords, but will of course create load of parasitic activity for lawyers like himself and waste loads of landlords and tenants time and money.

        Or to put it another way trying to distract people for the Brexit Betrayal and the lying traitors May and Hammond.

        Can this appalling government really get any worse?

        • Stred
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

          It’s a return to the security of tenure that killed the private rental market in the 1960s. A Conservative government is implementing a Labour law that was not in the manifesto. Brokenshire is a socialist. Even New Labour would no have tried to destroy BTL investment. Many Labour supporters have invested in this since pensions became inadequate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Which article? Does it have a number?

      • stred
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Page 71. The individuals working for the UK government will have the same obligations for secrecy as they would if they worked for the Commission.
        A civil servant who wishes to be critical of the many agreements and the decisions of the committee would be breaking the law, which will be adjudicated by the European Court. The police would then be bound to prosecute.
        Critical articles such as those published by Briefings for Brexit would be illegal. Presumably, citizens not employed by the government will be free to criticise.

        • acorn
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Complete and utter nonsense. The UK Civil Service code of ethics is exactly the same as the EU Civil Service code of ethics. “A [serving] civil servant who wishes to be critical …”. Just how dumb are you?

          • Stred
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

            Why don’t you read it? The UK agrees that its civil service will be bound by the secrecy law of the EU and that law will be interpreted by the European Court and the British police will act on its decision. No doubt this will suit many civil servants who are already loyal to the EU. Including yourself?

      • acorn
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Denis, there is no such article in the WA document; I have read every word in it. Commenters on this and similar sites, are making it up as they go along; displaying levels of paranoia that academics will write papers about in future. The now proved connection between paranoia and educational attainment, makes Brexit sites like this one, a useful source for further academic study.

        • Mark B
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:09 am | Permalink

          Are you accusing our kind host of not telling the truth ?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          There are relevant articles, as I detailed in my own comment which was vaporised – presumably to make room for your anti-Brexit comment – but they do not mean what has been claimed.

  5. Tony Henry
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    This is John Redwood at his best. Detailed, forensic and relentless. This piece makes uncomfortable reading and I just cannot fathom why any MP would vote for it. The fact that Mrs May pushes it with such energy makes her a traitor. She is a total disgrace. Can you imagine Merkle, Macron, Putin or Trump signing such a document against their people? Not a chance but somehow the UK has got Treason May to bat for us.

    I was a fool. I believed her early promises. Now she disgusts me. She must hate independent minds like our host and the DUP who will not be bribed, threatened or flannelled.

    If this deal goes through it will be the worst political experience of my life and I shall never be proud to be British again. Total sellout. Shameful.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      Exactly. I was never a fan of Theresa May, but she did initially say broadly the right things on Brexit (though she was clearly a idiotic socialist in many other areas hence the absurd levels of tax, micro management and red tape she spews out). She was however clearly just lying all the time and is trying now to break every promise she made on Brexit.

      As JR says she need to make it clear we are leaving and not signing the WA. She has no right to lock the next leader into her expensive straight jacket. Just go woman go and go now, in richly deserved ignominy. Take your totally undeserved pension and go.

      Anything other than just leaving now will destroy the Conservative party and put the UK people under her expensive servitude plan. She is far worse and more dangerous even than John ERM Major. etc ed

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        “Take your totally undeserved pension and go.”

        Totally agree with everything you say except the pension bit. As a waspie a year older than May who refuses to address the unfair way in which women my age’s pensions have been denied, there is no way this hypocrite must be allowed to take her undeserved £100K plus PM pension until she is at least 66.

        • Hope
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          The Traitor needs investigating not a pension.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        LL, I said the same months ago. She has no right to lock us into this farcical deal. It makes life impossible for everyone.

    • robert valence
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      “Can you imagine Merkle, Macron, Putin or Trump signing such a document against their people?”
      Well the Europeans & Obama, Canada etc all signed the Paris Accord which impacted seriously on traditional industries whilst giving a free run to India, China etc. It took a Trump to actually read and identify the hurt it caused to American industries and communities dependent on those industries. Again with the Immigration rights signed up to by nearly all in December.
      It seems to me that many of these people can’t actually read & even if they do, they don’t believe what they’re reading. Didn’t Milliband’s energy bill commit Britain to phasing out coal, ? gas & efficient energy production in favour of wind etc. Did the honourable members of the HoC actually read this bill and understand its implications?

  6. oldtimer
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    MPs who voted for this WA were turkeys voting for Xmas.

    I am not surprised you did not receive a reply to your earlier letter.

    • eeyore
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      No sir, we are the turkeys when we vote for MPs.

      Next month voters will have two chances to express their opinions on WA, the negotiations and the government. Each and every cross against a Conservative candidate will be hailed as a personal endorsement of Mrs May and her policies.

      Let’s send a message even she can’t ignore.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Absolutely. It’s the Brexit party for me. Trouble is May is so arrogant and deluded even total annihilation of the Tory party will be nothing to do with her. It will be the fault of all those MPs who didn’t back her surrender treaty.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        I get your point! However MPs are paid to study and vote on the detail. We, foolishly, trusted them to deliver what they said they would do – deliver Brexit.

        As for voting in the forthcoming elections I am mulling over a two pronged strategy. In the locals it will be to spoil my ballot by writing “toilet paper” over the candidate list and make a point of showing it the official in charge before depositing in the box. In the European elections it will be to vote the Brexit party ticket with no transfers to any other party.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Well I might vote for Dan Hannan were I in his area but otherwise! I certainly can never vote for anyone who supported T May and Voted for her straightjacket treaty.

  7. Dominic
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    A punishment and deterrent treaty. To think that a British PM would conspire with a foreign leader (Merkel) to concoct such a destructive document defies any rationale.

    I am sure if we look closer at this document it contains other provisos that directly attacks on liberties and freedoms regarding speech, the internet, social control and other such considerations

    My contempt for this PM cannot be and nor do I possess the ability to put it into words. We are shamed and tainted by May’s presence.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Her actions need to be subject to a Trump type enquiry to impeach her!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Not just her but Hammond and very many other ministers and Civil “Servants” it is a total outrage. Plus of course the remoaner MPs who have ensured that the EU had no incentive to offer a sensible deal. Knowing that the remoaners would do all their dirty work for them.

    • forthurst
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I do not know what it would be like to live without close blood relatives but I imagine such people can easily become detached from any sense of belonging; one could speculate that such people as with Macron and Merkel have been talent spotted from an early age for just this qualification amongst others. Who are the talent spotters lurking behind the curtain? I couldn’t possibly comment.

  8. Cis
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    The question is not so much “would you kindly confirm?” as “can you deny?”

    And “what was your legal advice on these clauses?” The people have a right to know before May and Robbins sell us out to Brussels.

  9. Ken Young
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Or, put another way, Brexit is national humiliation. Call it off!!

    • sm
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      I think you have inadvertently made a typo, Ken:

      Mrs May and her advisors are a national humiliation.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Exactly and unbelievable people like Ken want to further humiliate us by asking the EU if we can stay in after the way they have treated us. Remainers seem to be devoid in all pride, especially pride in what our country is capable of free from the shackles of the bullying EU.

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      It is not fair to call Brexit a national humiliation. I have always been anti-Brexit. I have always been clear why. I have no need to feel humiliated.

      But there is no doubt that Brexit is humiliating for those who voted for it. It is very humiliating for the Tories. And it is particularly humiliating for those who have spent their careers campaigning for it. They are to blame.

      • Amanda
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        It is perfectly clear from Sir John’s letter that ‘remaining in the EU’ is the National humiliation; along with fanatical supporters of such a course.

        Personally, I am extremely proud of voting to leave, of having campaigned to leave, of continuing to campaign to leave, and of joining the Brexit Party this weekend.

        The UK WILL leave the EU sooner or later, the forces of ‘truth’ and justice are on our side; people such as John Redwood, Bill Cash, DUP and Nigel Farage et al are all leading elements of that fight. We will win; and strengthen democracy whilst we are at it.

        • Iago
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Nigel Farage and his new party have arrived to split the Ukip vote. Please ponder the alacrity with which the Electoral Commission approved his new party and the great publicity the BBC, Sky and the mainstream media immediately began to give him and still withhold from Ukip and others.
          Farage refuses pointblank to consider, let alone oppose, other dangers facing our country. I do not consider him to be a force for truth.

          Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          I’m joining the brexit party also,but will pass my vote for u k I p in the locals because there is no brexit party for local elections good luck to us all .OPTIMISM IS my name and pain is my gain.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        You keep saying the demographics are on your side but they aren’t.

        Demographics seem to indicate some kind of ultra ‘conservative’ patriarchy ascending in this country and in Europe by the time our children have reached old age.

  10. Bob Dixon
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    This treaty is far worse than I have read about so far.

  11. Richard1
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    A good letter. I cannot see why any Conservative MP – or really any MP – would support this dreadful agreement. Maybe they haven’t read it, or haven’t understood it. It will be interesting to see whether Mr Cox provides a detailed response.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      If this agreement does go through – especially if permanent customs union membership is locked in formally – I will favour a second referendum, or better still just revocation of article 50 (which is what Parliament really wants to do but doesn’t dare), as Remain is a better option.

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Richard 1

        Trouble is, by the time the Lisbon treaty kicks in, there won’t be much difference between one and the other. Even more sovereignty is to be taken away from all the member countries. We shall be like an un-democratic/anti-democratic version of the USA .

        People have likened the EU to the USSR, and I think they are correct in their analogy.

        • Ken Young
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          The Lisbon Treaty kicked in in 2009, ten years ago. Your comnent makes no sense.

          • Anne Smith
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

            Not ALL of the Lisbon Treachery became effective in 2009. There WILL be further implementation in 2020 – you really should check your facts.

      • JoolsB
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Richard, that is what they want. For leavers to give up and accept their treachery. Better to kick them where it hurts – at the ballot box.

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      They will support it because Mrs May’s deal is Brexit – and 17.4m people voted for it.

      This deal IS Brexit. Not fantasy cake and eat it side of a bus Brexit.

      This is reality Brexit. It is what Brexit really means.

      The good news is that now you know what Brexit actual is you are still not ever allowed to change your mind about it. You voted for this turkey – I am sure unknowingly but still. Your support is consistently quoted by politicians delivering it. You are one of the 17.4m. You are not allowed to reconsider. The Brexit turkey is partly your fault. Happy turkey day.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Another stupid post by you. You do not know how I voted.

        The deal is clearly not Brexit as it does not take back control of the UK’s laws borders or money which was the prospectus of the Leave campaign. It does not allow an independent trade policy. It is a Remain parody of Brexit. As Mervyn King wisely said, there were arguments for Brexit and arguments for Remain. But no argument at all for leaving but not obtaining any of the advantages of doing so.

      • Jagman84
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        It’s a Remainers Brexit. That is, not leaving the EU in any meaningful way. A concoction of hate from a bunch of bad losers. If we remained in we’d be getting all of this via the self amending Lisbon treaty. That’s why rejection of the surrender document is the only logical way forward.

      • acorn
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.
        David Davis MP speech “Europe: It’s Time To Decide” (19 November 2012)

        • Edward2
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          That’s a very odd idea.
          What if in a democracy voters keep deciding to vote in a particular way.
          It has no reality because plainly in a democracy we can change our minds if we want to.
          I have an idea that quote is taken way out of its context.
          But I will award you two remainer bonus points for you acorn.

      • Julian Flood
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        So you believe you can redefine the English language to score a point? No. No you can’t. Brexit is leaving the control of the EU. Mrs Bay’s WA is not Brexit.

        But you know that. You’re just being a pain.


        • acorn
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Who is “Mrs Bay”.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Happy turkey day to you too.

        Uncle Corbyn is going to make sure you get plenty of it.

  12. steadyeddie
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    This letter is more like a rant than a persuasive, carefully argued opinion. Must do better!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink


      It is a list issues when a) there is concern whether the AG has published all advice and b) some wonder whether the govt ‘s explanatory document fully represents the WA.

      Since the PM was trying to persuade her MPs to back the WA it is right that Sir John is answered and that such answers are public. All that is needed from the AG and PM is a table; column 1 Sir John’s point; column 2 T/F; column 3 if T why does govt accept it, if F what does article actually imply. This is how the Govt should have been persuading its MPs all along. (It is interesting that the Govt seems have spent more time with the opposition than it did with its own members at the ‘Chequers weekend’).

      It is not a humanities essay competition as you seem to think.

    • Robert mcdonald
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      If you want to read a rant then read Andy’s comment above about what he thinks Brexit is. The bus is of course mentioned to “support” his tirade, the only argument I ever see from that group of stick in the muds.

      • Jagman84
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        He is correct on the bus though. The £350 million/week was incorrect. It was far more than that. About £430 million/week at 2014 prices. Add on the fact that we have to match the returning “EU money”, pound for pound, to spend on EU approved projects and the costs go through the roof.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        The bus appeared in only one news cycle as I recall.

        Its wider publicity has been from Remain using it.

  13. Duyfken
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Sent to my local (remainer) Tory MP, but I am as confident of receiving a considered reply as would appear you are from Cox.

    • Norman
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Difficult to understand why the ERG did not present this as a corporate, legally-crafted declaration long ago, with preamble, conclusion and detailed legal analysis attached – perhaps they did?
      On the other hand, I guess it’s been a terrible time for everyone, under such peer pressure from the centre and a constant flack-prone media exposure, it’s probably been difficult to co-ordinate a unified approach. Hopefully, the Easter recess should help.
      The information in your letter, duly substantiated, should be presented to all MPs and media outlets as soon as possible, before it’s too late. If the PM and her remaining cabinet fall as a result, it seems to me its the only thing that can redeem the Conservatives, not to mention our sovereign freedom: high stakes, no doubt, and I imagine, ‘wheels within wheels’ at every level, but such is the hour!
      Thank you, Sir John, for all your hard work.

    • JoolsB
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Maybe more should do as I have and write directly to the PM not that I expect a reply or even that she is even made aware of what’s in her mail bag from angry Brexiteers like me but if there were enough sent, maybe one of her toadies would have to enlighten her. Then again, is she interested in the anger out there at grass roots level, with Tory voters and the country at large at her abysmal ‘leadership’ and treachery? Obviously not! After all she’s an arrogant nanny state politician and nanny knows best.

    • formula57
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I have done the same, drawing particular attention to the penultimate paragraph.

      The letter places us in unchartered waters for never before has one carrying the ignominious label “correspondence-challenged” been afforded a chance for some redemption.

    • Al
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I would send this to my MP, but I discovered this morning that they have taken a post from May with a substantial salary rise attached. Curiously I found this out not from their website, where it isn’t mentioned, the local Tory association, who also do not mention it, or wikipedia which doesn’t mention it, but from pulling the Register of Interests.

      Strange, as you would expect them to have more pride in such appointments and loyalty to the PM.

  14. agricola
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Those that evolved such a document on behalf of tbe UK and have hidden behind it as good for the the UK should be castigated for the rest of their lives and history. A more traitorous document I could not think of. We should leave on WTO terms, end of story.

    • agricola
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      To quote M Barnier circa 2016. “I will be seen to have done my job when the UK decides to remain.” It would seem that the majority of parliamentarians plus the loosly described establishment would enjoy such a situation. Robins must not recieve more than a bath plug on a rotting string for being complicit in such a surrender document. Not so many centuries ago it would have been a short trial in Westminster Hall and a terminal journey thereafter.

  15. Dominic
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I notice today that Hunt’s in Japan reassuring Japanese investors with assets in the UK that under no circumstances will there be a ‘No Deal Brexit’. In effect, the UK is expected to sacrifice its nationhood, sovereignty and independence to protect foreign investments in the UK.

    I doubt the Japanese people would agree to such a state of affairs under normal circumstances and yet Japanese politicians expect the British people to succumb to such an onerous set of circumstances

    I would rather live in abject poverty than live in a slave nation

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      You would not be saying this if you lived in abject poverty.

      • Oggy
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Absolute rubbish. Better to be a poor master than a rich slave, give me abject poverty any day.

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

          A rich slave. Well, basically that’s a well paid job, isn’t it ?

          Millions would kill for one of those.

          A silly phrase, Oggy. Please dispense with it.

          • Oggy
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            You know what I meant – just using a metaphor to make the point.

      • Oggy
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        PS, we will all be living in abject poverty soon when Corbyn enters number 10.
        ….. and not long before he confiscates all your assets to give to the unemployed of Spain and Italy.

        • Andy
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          I don’t back Corbyn. And, in case you missed it, Corbyn backs Brexit.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink


          I am not a Labour supporter in any shape or form but you do write a lot of nonsense on Europe and the future you really do not understand

          • Edward2
            Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

            So tell us why hans.
            You snearing reply is simply not good enough.

        • JoolsB
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Corbyn can only get in with the help of the SNP and the price extracted will be agreeing to fleece the English in order to provide more goodies north of the border denied to the English. Oh wait a minute, that’s already happening under this ‘Conservative’ Government. A Corbyn/SNP Government might be just what England needs to realise the rotten deal it gets from both parties.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Andy – We’ll check your prediction if Corbyn gets elected.

  16. Andy
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Gosh – your Brexit sounds awful.

    Who would have thought that EU membership was far superior? Well, me for a start.

    Still despite the evident awfulness of the Brexit deal most of the ERG will sign up to it.

    Think about that. They will knowing sign up to harm out country and our children.

    That is why they should fear the inevitable public inquiry.

    • William1995
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Andy, will you also be supporting a public enquiry into the lies and collusion of the Remain campaign (emergency budget on the vote to leave, blockades on pharmaceutical imports, grounding of flights etc)? Or are your witch hunts reserved only for those that disagree with you? It feels as though you are on a dangerously arrogant slippery slope towards a desire for totalitarianism and perseecuation of opposition.

      • Andy
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        I am fully supportive of a full public inquiry into all aspects of Brexit – remain and leave. It is inevitable there will be one so let’s start it now.

        But while the leaders of the remain campaign have some hard questions to answer when the prison doors slam shut it will be mainly Brexit backers occupying the cells.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          On what chages?
          Do tell us andy.

          Stalinist show trials
          Is that really what you desire?

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2,

            Tell us why your answer is unsatisfactory?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        No, self-identifying liberals like Andy only want those associated with the Leave campaign to be put in jail. However those who said there would be 500,000 job losses in the year following a Leave vote were justified.

        Let’s see if Andy is happy with the EU when Le Pen and the AfD are running the show in a few years time – the assumption that the Left will be permanently in control of the EU is incorrect, just as it is for any individual nation.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      You are the David Lammy of this blog in the absurdity of your posts. A living argument for voting for clean Brexit if there’s a chance.

    • outsider
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Dear Andy, I agree that remaining in the EU would have been better than the prime minister’s proposed version of “non-Brexit”, even more as possibly amended in cross-party talks. If that had been the choice in 2016 (it was not), I would have voted to stay. But please do not think that our position in the EU would be anything like it was before if we revoked Article 50.
      Even before 2015-16,, the UK was understandably weakened by our being “semi-detached”. If we revoked Article 50, there would doubtless be some formal welcome back for the prodigal to be followed by the pathetic and disloyal UK’s influence and credibility with other members and the Commission being reduced to zero for the foreseeable future.

  17. Christine
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    What’s the point of all the scrutiny committees if this abomination can be put to parliament? There needs to be a public enquiry into how this treaty was drafted. Those complicit should be put on trial for fraud and treason. No wonder the treaty has a clause protecting those involved. When the truth gets out the British people will be very angry.

  18. Annette
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Well written Sir John, though I thought that you may also have mentioned A4 which gives “direct effect” of EU law.
    I recall reading, way back when ‘Chequers’ (which hasn’t changed by a full stop or comma) first appeared that the Treaty, for it is no deal, would be illegal under international law as it removes the right of self-determination.
    As with the other unlawful activities, including abuse of our Constitution, demonstrating collusion with a foreign power against our democracy I would be happy to participate in any crowdfunding for a case to
    a) declare the Treaty unlawful,
    b) confirm that we did lawfully leave the EU on 29th March, as activities to change this were both unlawful and Constitutional abuses and anti-democratic.

    I believe that the intent now is to use the inevitable & projected ‘wipeout’ of the Conservative & (European) Unionist Party at the polls to ‘persuade’ the weak sheep to vote this abomination through after Easter. Surrendering our country for a few more weeks of ‘power’ at any price is the goal. If they are as unprincipled as to surrender the country, how do they think that they will be ‘trusted’ to stand up for us in anything else? There are none so blind as those that will not see.
    The ballot box has now been shown to fail twice. The people are running out of alternatives to effect change. The only thing keeping Parliament standing are the, sadly, too few democrats on both sides of the House. The genie is out of the bottle.

    • Turboterrier
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink


      I with many I am sure would help fund such a legal process

  19. Richard1
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Curious behaviour by the Japanese govt in campaigning for Continuity Remain. I hope and assume that the UK govt (& indeed UK industry) doesn’t do the same in Japanese politics – openly campaign for a particular party, or side of an argument, or policy outcome.

    I can understand why Japanese companies would prefer the UK to remain in the EU, or at least locked into the SM & CU, just as I can understand why they also urged the UK to join the euro 20 years ago. But that doesn’t make it the right decision for the UK & it’s people. Mr Hunt should point this out in a friendly way.

    Of course it also reminds us that the UK will need to focus relentlessly on providing a highly competitive environment for business post-Brexit (if that point is ever reached). Voters might want to think about what the election of a Marxist govt wanting Venezuela-in-the-rain would do for that.

  20. John Sheridan
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Henry Newman tweeted the results of some push polling (one-sided polling designed to influence a given response) which indicated that voters would back Mrs May’s deal when only the benefits were presented.

    If your letter was presented to voters as a counterbalance, I would be surprised if they still supported the flawed WA.

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      One of his twitter followers replied to the effect that you could make the same argument for having your legs amputated-think of how much you would save on footwear,socks,corn plasters,bunion treatments etc!

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    So Hammond says he will not stand for the next leader, well if he did he would surely have zero chance of winning. He is despised as much as Traitor May. He goes on:- the Tories need to “rejuvenate our economic thinking” with “judicious tax cuts”, by slashing stamp duty and fixing the housing market. “Soon, if we can get Brexit over the line, we will finally be able to begin the positive narrative about Brexit Britain – the world leader in so many fields, set to overtake Germany, by 2050, as the largest and most prosperous economy in Europe. That is the opportunity. We cannot afford to fail.”

    How on earth will putting May’s £39 billion straight jacket on help with these opportunities? Hammond is the man who gives us 15% stamp duty, the highest taxes for nearly 70 years and he is damaging the housing market hugely with his idiotic unsustainable taxes on landlords and tenants and misguided bank lending restrictions. Has this idiotic incompetent finally seen the light on taxes at last?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Odd, he used to be quite sound.

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Did they learn nothing from the Treaty of Versailles?

    Maybe we can get legal aid to help us fight this.

  23. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sight of your letter. Please ensure it has wider distribution. I have done my bit by sending it on to friends and family.

  24. RichardM
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    In a reply yesterday you wrote :
    “Reply The puppet master is the EU. I was elected to change this!”
    Besides the ludicrous notion that the EU are ‘puppetmasters’, can I remind you how fortunate you are to be PM of Wokingham which has never voted for any parliamentarian other than Tory but 57 % also voted to Remain.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    JR, as I have said before many times it is commonplace for international treaties to include transitional provisions which may gradually accomplish various changes over quite long periods. For example, under the 1957 Treaty of Rome the six founding EEC members gave themselves twelve years to complete their common market in stages. And as I have also said many times it must be rare to have a “status quo” or “standstill” transitional period during which nothing at all changes, there is no gradual transition. Since that was first proposed by Labour the word I have used to describe it has been “oxymoronic”, but your party leader has accepted it and she just tries to remember to call it an “implementation” period.

    And as I have also said on at least one occasion, back in February 2017 here:


    the Indians were still tidying up some of the laws inherited from the British Raj fifty five years after independence, are probably still doing it now.

    Reply India’s independence was a clean break. It was their choice to keep various UK laws. This is not transition but servitude.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Yes, but even though it was a clean break it was not feasible to sweep away all traces of the Raj overnight. And nor did that matte too much for the laws insofar as the most objectionable colonial laws could be dealt with earliest once the Indian government and Parliament had the power to do that, and it would only be some minor laws which lingered on for decades without attention. Similarly I would not be bothered to find that some minor EU laws preserved through the withdrawal legislation were still in place in a few decades time, like some other things that would need to be seen in its proper historical perspective.

    • Peter Z
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I don’t recall Britain having control over fishing in Indian waters, extracting billions in payments, or India having to pay a fiefdom towards UK bureaucrats’ pensions after 1947?
      Having said that I agree with Edmund Burke’s indictments and his impeachment trial of the East India Company and the view taken that Britain even though she invested hugely in India and increased its irrigated lands and the overall productiveness of its economy, also – for reasons of protectionism – damaged India’s ability to industrialise and to control its economy, resulting in stagnation and poverty. It was right that Britain and in particular the East India company relinquish its stranglehold over goods, just as it is wrong for the EU to increase its, over the sovereign nations of Europe, for reasons of corporate greed. India now has competitive advantages that Britain can only dream of under the thumb of the EU diktat,
      This imperialism led to the same poverty and lack of self-government that we now see spreading across Southern Europe as measures to enforce corporate interests are doubled down.
      What’s the difference between legitimate Indian anger at British Imperialism – that nonetheless conferred sovereignty and self-governance back to them instantly once it ended- and EU Imperialism that maintains legal, customs, and other imperial-style controls and fees over Britain in spite of Britons not wanting these things and having decided to set themselves free of it in light of 45 years of asset-stripping by the technocrats in their ideological and lazy luxury, and policies that starve Africans and look after the unelected powerful and privileged groups?
      Ah yes – the EU version of greedy exploitation is mysteriously liked by “progressives” hoodwinked by the nice cosy rhetoric and “friendly expansionism” that keeps its coffers full even when its economy is collapsing and young people have no future.

  26. Graham Wood
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    This is the Versailles Treaty in spades. Well said once again Sir John. “Surrender ” document is the only word to describe it.
    I suggest that even the persuasive powers of Mr Cox could neither explain nor justify it.
    No doubt we all look forward with keen interest to see his response – mission impossible really!

  27. Oggy
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Sir John, many thanks for clarifying many points of this obscene document. Why traitor May believes this is Brexit is anyone’s guess, it must not be signed at any cost and she must be removed ASAP.
    I think many of us would like to see your letter on the front pages of the national newspapers or even send it to our local rags, would that be possible ?
    Keep up the good work.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      “Why traitor May believes this is Brexit is anyone’s guess.”

      Indeed, and why does anyone else? It is not remotely Brexit, it is clearly far worse than remain as it has no escape. If she makes her “I want Brexit and regret that I have not persuaded the commons to vote for this rancid turd” again I shall smash the TVs and all the radios.

  28. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Even if you had chosen the “Norway option” right from the start would have been sensible for the short term in order to properly prepare a further, more gradual divorce, keeping your country more united in the process), you would already have left the EU.
    With “winner takes all”, even on a small margin, the politicians have become very disunited and have created an utterly disunited society.
    Why not seek common ground and be prepared to compromise?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      From an English point of view, Dutch independence is stupid. Why not join Germany?
      Come on, be reasonable!
      Compromise a bit!

      • Iain Moore
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        I believe they already have, for they have placed the Dutch armour brigade under the control of the German army.

        “The 11th Airmobile Brigade came under German command in 2014. Then on March 17, the 43rd Mechanized Brigade officially became part of the German 1st Armored Division. The Dutch Army now has only the 13th Mechanized Brigade, plus special forces, support and headquarters staff under its own command.”

        • Ian wragg
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          How many Euros did they pay for the agreement. Germany is slowly absorbing Europe Into the 4th Reich.

    • Dominic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      British democracy is far too important to be sacrificed on the altar of German economic expansionism

      Compromise is merely a term used by Europhiles to describe capitulation to an all powerful political entity, namely the EU

      We can see right through your insincerity

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


        Peter, meant it well like a true European who wold have preferred to keep the UK part of the EU. SO please stop this sort of nonsense

        • Stred
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          It’s the compromise where the UK keeps paying and follows the regulations of the EU while UK civil servants are bound by EU secrecy that the EU prefers. The comprise for the UK is that it can start to subsidise its farmers the same way as the EU does and can limit immigration providing, once here, EU citizens are guaranteed welfare and pensions for life, unlike UK citizens. Some comprise.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Leave and Remain are like two points on a dangling rope, with compromise points in between all down from the two points. Whether Leave or Remain is higher depends on your point of view.
      The people didn’t like where they were on the Remain point, so David Cameron set out to push up the Remain curve, but came back with essentially nothing. The referendum vote was then to leave.
      The solution isn’t to compromise for a worse in between place but to push up the Leave curve to make it better. Either that, or the powers that be need to be honest and tell us they aren’t up to the job and we have to remain for now until they are replaced.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      It is perhaps true that had there been a clear plan for EEA / EFTA from the start that could have provided such a smooth transition. But as soon as the EU realised Mrs May was going to fall for the trap of the sequenced negotiations and Irish border backstop that became redundant. Perhaps the EU has played a blinder and succeeded effectively in colonising the UK. Or perhaps it’s stored up terrible problems for the future which will be resolved when some Trump style leader is chosen in the UK due to public rage to blast us out of it, with great costs at many levels to both sides. It would have been a better strategy to propose a sensible compromise – even during Cameron’s negotiation – given all the other problems the EU & the world have to solve.

    • A week in politics
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Our Country is united. It never ceased to be.
      Politicos “The Country is greatly divided” means politicos are greatly divided. That’s all.

    • agricola
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      The disunite in UK society is between the people who voted to leave on the assurance that their verdict would be carried out and what can be described loosly as the establishment who have vested interests in keeping us in. The loose establishment are a good 75% of the HoC , possibly a higher percentage of the HoL, the senior Civil Service, the Banks, the BBC, the CBI, the TUC, those with exclusive access to Davos and Bilderberg who have their own vision of World order.

      Uk democracy is many hundreds of years established in the DNA of our citizens irrespective of political leanings. It is not shiftable through the slight of hand dealing of either the EU or our own politicians who we generally rate lower than estate agents. Look around the nation states of the EU and admitt that the democracy you think you have is largely no older than the end of WW2 and some infinitely less. You have suffered the naivity of being sucked into an EU that is the antithisis of democracy. Sad because the initial ideas of nations that trade together have less inclination to war with each other was a laudable one. It got killed off by second rate ambitious politicians. Never mind the UK and Brexit, the cracks are showing all over the EU. You have bred the very situation you were set up to avoid. You did not have the experience of democracy to see it coming. We in the UK can see it and want out.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted April 16, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Democracy may well be in the British DNA, but that doesn’t mean that your “system of democracy” is still workable. Not only have all your devolved parliaments chosen a more proportional and representative system of democracy (surprise surprise!), but even your own brexiteer hero Nigel Farage has claimed last week that your national democracy is “not fit for purpose”.
        I would date the Dutch origin of democracy, electing representatives, and the inclination to work together and seek compromises to the 13th century formation of our waterboards. After all, Holland has always had a common enemy, water, which makes working together a necessity (this form of seeking agreements between different interests if often called “poldering”)
        During my life so far, I have seen the EU being build up, concurrent with the British Empire disintegrating, and after its end in 1997 (date set by your Prince Charles), you can only hope that further disintegration (now of the UK) will not take place. I’m at peace with the (IMHO) primitive British understanding of the EU. I’ve experienced British coming to Brussels and being perplexed by how the real EU is functioning from what they have been spoon-fed by their own media over decades.

  29. William Long
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I find it impossible to believe that anyone who has actually read this agreement and wants to leave the EU could even contemplate voting for it. No doubt they are all like Kenneth Clarke who happily admitted he had never read the Mastricht Treaty but was in no doubt that signing it was in all our best interests.
    It has confirmed my view held for some time that May and Hammond and their cronies are determined to keep us tied in to Brussells whatever it takes.
    Sir John, I think you should make this a fully open letter: the full implications of this so called Withdrawal (‘Retention’ would be a more accurate descriptor) Agreement have not yet been exposed to all and certainly should be.

    Reply It is fully open. I have published it today and others may circulate or reproduce it.

    • outsider
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Dear Sir John, It would be a wonderful education if your letter were read beyond your constituents and readers of your weblog but I fear that it will be suppressed/ignored elsewhere.

  30. Everhopeful
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Mrs May’s WA ( commonly known as Surrender Treaty)
    To fool us into thinking we were leaving.
    To bind nasty old Leavers even more closely to the EU. For ever and ever.
    To have a stick stick to beat Leave MPs with when they realised the hoax and voted it down.

    The internet has nearly scuppered the grand deception plan.
    So now they are scuppering the Internet!

    • Al
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      “So now they are scuppering the Internet!”

      You may be refering to Article15&17 (once 11&13), but it seems our government has worse in the works courtesy of the information watchdog requiring age validation to visit websites. Not only will this shut down many support groups for victims of abuse, mental health suffers, the homeless, and those who need to get assistance anonymously, but the use of credit cards to validate age is, of course, a violation of the international PCI DSS standard governing what credit cards may be used for. The proposed alternative age check – that every website should have to take ID data and then presumably store it for ten years – is ridiculous.

  31. Mike Stallard
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for studying the document (I wish everyone else would!), for doing something positive with your research, and for speaking so frankly and openly to us out here.

    Please do make sure that Mrs May does not manage to slip this disastrous piece of legislation through a demoralised House of Commons.

  32. Robert Riley
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Reading through the list of our ‘obligations’ to the EU should we be stupid enough to go along with this sounds more like we’re being let out of a prison on parole.
    I’ve always thought that all the project fear at the time of the referendum wasn’t because the Government thought we would suffer by leaving, it was that the EU would suffer hugely to the point of collapse without us in it. They not only desperately need our money but also the prestige of having the UK (the only naturally English speaking country) a member. This new EU treaty that Mrs May is trying to force on the country seems to prove that theory.

  33. rick hamilton
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I believe May isn’t a political leader type at all, but a super-bureaucrat who not only feels at home in Brussels, but in her innermost soul actually takes their side. Of course she listens to our own civil servants who think the same way. What could be better for them than a system run by technocrats which is deliberately set up to ensure that the voice of the people can be ignored ?

    Negotiators with real business experience such as David Davis are a threat to this mindset. So we end up with this 585 page horror and are told it is the only deal we can get. To which the only sensible response has to be – Don’t sign it ! Get rid of May and find somebody who has a track record of successful negotiation to start again, after Juncker and his gang have gone. There is a very good man available who will not let us down, namely our host.

  34. FranzB
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    John- you still don’t get it- what is going on is a giant fudge to give us a so called feeling of brexit but to keep us aligned and not take us too much out of synch so that we are ready for re-entry in the next generation. You don’t seriously think we can walk away without further ado and after forty five years sitting at the top table and that there will be no consequences?

    Reply Yes of course we can just leave if only Parliament would let us

    • Ian wragg
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      But Parliament won’t let us so expect a wipe out at the next election.

  35. miami.mode
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    If point 4 relating to benefits was more widely publicised it would cause a furore .

  36. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve copied a link to FB – but it would be nice to see this published in a newspaper – It should be fully circulated

  37. Paul Cohen
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    What a depressing piece from you today JR, although full marks for it’s content and your tenacity in producing it – it deserves nationwide circulation to have a proper impact.

    It seems we have been painted into a corner, and headed for oblivion then? Hopefully those useful idiots who have bought about the present log jam will get their comeuppance in the near future.

  38. SueW
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Sir Johm,

    May I have your permission to send this to my MP, Mr Matt Warman, whom I have repeatedly begged to accept that the WA is poison, to no avail.?

    It is a most enlightening and horrifying document that, as others have said, needs widespread circulation. if you cannot get it in the msm here, what about the US, or Australia?

    Again, my thanks to you for your steadfast integrity and sheer hard work.

    Reply Yes, feel free to send it or reproduce it

  39. Chris
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Excellent, Sir John. Thank you for all your efforts.
    Just some much needed light relief, if you will permit me:

    Sign of the times? A Wokingham pub has this chalked up on its blackboard of offers outside the pub this morning:

    Tell the barmaid what you want
    and she will serve you something else.

    Just brilliant.

  40. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Thank you again for showing how horrendous this Treaty is. The whole Cabinet needs removing and this is not possible with the Conservative Party as it is. It is effectively finished as may be the country.

    The only option is for a general election to be forced by the true Brits resigning their seats and re-standing as Brexit independents or for The Brexit Party in by elections.

    I do now wonder why we fought two world wars as might those who fought them and are gone.

  41. Captain Peacock
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    With the greatest respect John they don’t care about the wishes of 17 million people they wont worry about your letter.
    The Tories don’t deserve our votes get out while you can.

  42. RAF
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Sir John, your précis of May’s capitulation document is worrying but the most worrying statement in your article is:

    There is much more I could object to.

    Sadly, I’ve just heard Mr Rees-Mogg in an interview on LBC confirm that he will vote for May’s “deal” if it is brought forward again. He believes it is leaving and a new leader would be able to negotiate and improve the terms. In my opinion he has a misplaced faith in the EU changing the terms they have agreed with Mrs May than many other people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Indeed no one should vote for this straight jacket. May has no right to put the UK and future governments into this £39 billion straightjacket.

    • Ken Carson
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Rees Mogg promised to stand by the DUP. He lied. He is doing the work of the Irish Republicans. Why?

  43. Iain Moore
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    As I understood it, our entablement with the EU only marginally stayed on the legal side of our constitutional law , the right to leave the EU giving them a fig leaf of legal cover to say their project didn’t contravene our Bill of Rights, notably the clause ..

    ‘I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate has, or ought to have, any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God..’

    May’s Withdrawal Treaty, that removes our right to unilaterally leave the confines of the EU’s authority seems to remove the fig leaf of legal cover they had.

  44. NigelE
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Seeing it all laid out like that emphasises what a disgrace the draft treaty is.

    Would it help if I and the other proper Brexit orientated readers of this column emailed/wrote to G Cox asking him to respond this time to your letter?

  45. Andrea Wood
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Is it ok if I cut n paste the bulk of this letter onto my Facebook page to highlight to the uninformed just how much of a surrender document this ‘Agreement’ is and also send to My Remainer MP to ask for clarification?

  46. Steve
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    John, Is there any particular reason you didn’t support this “prayer”?


    Reply I wrote to the Commons authorities saying I support the prayer against this SI so I will check out why my name does not appear on your summary

  47. ukretired123
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Sir John you have an excellent grasp of your brief and do us all excellent service all round unlike many who just grasp straws and display shallow thinking.
    The EU is like a mega Ponzi scheme where billions disappear in a black hole. Whistle blowers are fired and waverers are paid off. Fraud is still occuring as the EU is not transparent with its accounts and has never been fully audited in its existence.
    Anyone doubting this needs to look at how the EU’s first Chief Accountant was fired by the EU Commissioner for finding fraud on a massive scale many years ago.
    You couldn’t make it up that this was the first time EU created the position to counter criticism on unaccountability and given to a lady to counter male appointment bias in EU but the EU Commissioner was no less than Neale Kinnock MP previously Labour over paid generously by EU.
    Anyone doubting this needs to do their homework first especially MPs like David Lammy and several hundred more.
    Well done JR for calling out the puppet parliament for what it really is.

  48. BOF
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Sir John, can it get any worse? Well yes, if a Labour CU agreement is added to it as well then the UK will effectively be a region of the EU forever more.

    I find it staggering that any member of your party could agree this shabby stitch up. Or indeed any MP who has sworn allegiance to Queen and country.

  49. DaveM
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    OT – in a period where people are despairing of the govt and cabinet, we find out today that the ISIS woman is receiving legal aid from UK taxpayers. Madness.

  50. Iain Gill
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Mrs May needs to go.

  51. Rhoddas
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sir John, thank you for your very sage critique, what is surreal is that the Remainer MPs, Civil Service, Press and TV channels never mention ANY OF THIS – it actually is 1984, incredible, suppression of the ACTUAL FACTS, just Project Fear, cliff edge adjectives yah de yah.

    It is vital this WA analysis gets out everyone and we drain the swamp asap, head Croc to go first!

  52. Colin Iles
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    An excellent letter for which I thank you and I look forward to Mr Cox’s timely response entering your diary.
    Keep up the good work.

  53. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The state aid provisions which extend 4 years beyond transition are interesting. Of course the EU want these to stop us competing with them but why did we agree to it ? Also surely Corbyn doesn’t want those to continue as they would hamper his economic plans. As the EU say the WA must be signed irrespective of what the future deal is I just can’t understand why Corbyn is negotiating with May as he surely doesn’t want the WA. Starmer I understand – he wants Labour to approve a hopeless deal which will then get thrown out in his Deal/Remain referendum and then Corbyn’s economic policies are permanently disabled which suits his Blairite chums.

  54. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It’s a corker of a letter.

    Let’s hope that being in the public domain it is read carefully by those who keep telling us that the surrender treaty – her’s and their WA – is innocuous; that it does not keep us tied to the EU and even if it does we will not lose sovereignty or pride.

    However, I fear that those that should read it won’t as they know their case is indefensible and they are in denial. Bring on their demise.

  55. Simeon
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Johnson, Raab and Rees Mogg voted for this. Why? If it was a political calculation based on their recognition that it wouldn’t pass anyway, but they could claim to be statesmanlike and reasonable by reluctantly supporting it, then it was a terrible miscalculation. Other supposed Brexiters, including the other face of the Leave campaign, Gove, champion it. Why? Venality? Stupidity? Something else? And the voice, Cox, another supposed Brexiter, maintains his support despite being aware of the implications. Why?

  56. Fred H
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Has any national daily printed anything close to your letter? I doubt the general public has any idea of the implications in WA. However, the H of C voting against WA 3 times rather says it all. Seems more like signing up to lower level of influence, caving in on our rights, and yet contributing more!

  57. Edwardm
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    This list of pin-pointed objections to the WA needs wide circulation, especially to all MPs, and ought to be publicised by the press.
    How any government can contemplate anything like this is beyond normal credence. Except of course Mrs May and her cohorts are. In agreeing to let the EU trample over us, they pushing disloyalty to new extremes.
    I do not understand why the Attorney General, having given critical advice on the backstop then votes for it and the WA, so aligns his reputation with that of Mrs May.

    Thank you to Sir John Redwood for continuing to strive on behalf of us all.

    • Oggy
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      I have already sent a copy of John’s letter to my remainer MP and local newspaper. It remains to be seen if they print it.

  58. a-tracy
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    You are going to come under considerable pressure to sign this Withdrawal Agreement to save your party, you’ll be asked to sign your Country down the River so that the Conservative Party isn’t annihilated in the Local and EU elections.

    How can you convince parliament to work together to ask for some of these issues to be removed to reach a deal everyone can agree with. Especially if Labour, as reported today, will gain with extra EU MEPs.

  59. iain
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I wonder if the most senior judges in our highest Court would decide that this WA does in fact mean that we are leaving the EU. To my knowledge Mrs May has NEVER said that we would be tied in for years after a leaving date. In fact I seem to recall her saying that leaving means leaving.

  60. Dorothy Johnston
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Maybe Mrs. May should sit down in front of a TV camera and go through her Surrender Treaty, article by article, one by one. Then she could explain why each article is included and why she thinks it is nessaccery to be included. I realize this would take some time, but hey, we have six months.

  61. Lorna
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I await his response!

    • William Long
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      You are likely to be waiting a long long time!

  62. Carolyn
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I am very concerned that Theresa May has in fact already signed the Withdrawal treaty; hence her refusal to countenance any other plan.
    How can we be sure that she has not done so?
    To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet asked her straight out in Parliament – might it be an idea to do so?

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

      If someone asks her why should we believe her reply ?

      • Carolyn
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        I see your point, but it would be yet another outright lie that would be recorded on camera, which could be useful evidence to have, if we were ever fortunate enough to be able to put her on trial; ie were it to be discovered and proved that she signed the document without getting Parliament’s approval!

  63. David Penn
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Having read the nasty implications of this appalling surrender document, it really does beggar belief that Jacob Rees-Mogg could ever have voted in favour of it.

    • Chris
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, DP, and his “justifications” have been pathetic. Not PM material in my mind, and neither is Boris. Did he sign the WA for opportunistic reasons, or simply because he can’t stand up for his principles under pressure? We will probably never know, but neither casts him in a good light at all. Just as well we know now, before any leadership election.

  64. Sue Doughty
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you for showing us the detail.

  65. nshgp
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Write to Hammond and demand the costings.

  66. Ignoramus
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    A brilliant legal analysis. Thank you Sir John.

    If only a wealthy Brexiteer would put it in a newspaper as a full page advertisement.

  67. Grahame ASH
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant article. When Parliament re-opens will you read your article out to the other MPs so they will know what they are voting for. Am I too naive to think they will change their minds.

  68. Tony Sharp
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    Your letter to AG Cox is entirely irrelevant to the real political issue before you as a conservative. That is you must find any means at all to remove May from her position- and the rest of the useless cabinet – which if necessary would be to abstain if not vote with the Opposition in a Vote of No Confidence . Such a tactic would be no worse than May’s attempts currently to treat with Corbyn to destroy any meaningful Brexit.

  69. rose
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    And you haven’t even included the clauses which say their employees cannot ever be prosecuted by us; that we cannot ever say anything against the EU after we have “left” and that we must not do anything against their interests; and that their employees and ex employees shall enjoy for ever a favourable rate of tax. There are of course no such reciprocal clauses.

    Already we have seen the EU suddenly and precipitately (for it) concluding a treaty with Japan which gives tariff free access to the EU for Japanese cars. Can anyone imagine that would have happened if they were not putting punishment of Britain ahead of their protection racket?

  70. Abendrot
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    John – a frightening list of actual and potential consequences of signing this surrender document. I’ve been listening to Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning, on LBC, when he explained that he saw the preferred hierarchy of Brexit as No Deal, Mrs May WA, Extension, and since no deal was not available he had to choose Mrs May WA. I wonder how you view Jacob’s thinking in terms of the immediate future?

    • matthu
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      The only explanation I can suggest is that he calculates his supporting it will provoke an even greater opposition from others.

  71. villaking
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    If you can accept that a WTO exit is unlikely with the current parliament, what is the alternative way forward in your opinion? Everything I have read from you suggests that the WTO exit is the only outcome you will countenance, zero compromise. But if parliament simply won’t allow that, could you reluctantly support any other way of fixing this such as a general election or a binding referendum with your WTO exit as one of the options?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      One route is to ditch May, manoeuvre Boris or Raab into the final two in the leadership campaign, have the membership elect one of them, let the likes of Grieve and co quit and join the CUKs (never to be seen again) and call a GE with WTO as a manifesto commitment. High risk strategy, the biggest risk being that the Conservative MPs will ignore the manifesto once elected. Personally I like the long game – force MPs to vote on No Deal vs Revoke when the current extension runs out. Revoke wins. Brexit party cleans up at the next GE. Resubmit A50 and prepare for WTO for 2 years.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      villaking, Only Mrs May promised parliament that should not allow UK to leave without a deal. Remove Mrs May and the law as it stands may continue on course to leave on 31 October (or earlier by agreement with a new PM) without a deal. No need for a general election. Just change one person who could then throw Hammond and the other arch Remainers out of the Government. The PM’s power to hire and fire ministers is absolute. That this will not happen is the responsibility of the Tory Party as a whole.

  72. P Warrilow
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    John Redwood, I won’t be voting for Tories again ever,this is happening in your party.I have left the Tories because the whole party is either going along with it or letting it go ahead.The above letter is too little too late.But, you all know that don’t you?

  73. Ian
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,
    Very many thanks again for this latest piece of excellent work.
    You are one of the decent people, you have out grown what is now called the Tory party.
    To think we could be frightened of Labour, no party could conceivably be worse that this.
    Like Boris said you can not put a shine on this.
    We do truely value those of you that are decent, just concerned that you will not be able to change your party, this can now not be saved and it will always be from now on though history The National Betrayal
    Join Farage, he will not let us down, you do not owe your party anything, they betrayed you aswell.

  74. Chris
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Yes indeed . Your letter needs to be more widely published as it succinctly makes clear how truly disgraceful and scurrilous this deal is . It has reminded me of the horror I first experienced when I glanced through the wording of the treaty document – aka Mays deal . It is not just the Irish backstop which is objectionable but the whole thing . It is clearly designed to make leaving the EU a matter on little substance and to ensure that our the resultant associate membership [ or if your prefer colonial/vassal] status so unpleasant that the UK decides either not to leave at all [ Mays present trajectory ] or to rejoin the club at the earliest opportunity. One suspects the EU [and especially Macron ] would actually prefer the latter since that would enable the EU to to move towards further integration more easily [there being no UK opposition to deal with ] . Then when the EU decides the time is right to entertain our likely request to rejoin , the UK would then have to accept a “reformed” and more integrated EU [harmonised taxes, an EU army , Euro support/bailout mechanisms , rules over borrowing , sharing of illegal migrants/asyulum seekers and a federal / central treasury , inappropriate new member states or whatever etc etc ] lock stock and barrel . It would also probably mean that a number of the opt outs we presently have would not be granted either . The deal if agreed is a victory for the EU and a total capitulation for Britain . No No No.

    • Chris
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      The above not posted by me, and I am the Chris who has posted for some years on this site. I cannot understand why there is not basic security on this site to prevent two people using the same name. Other sites, when you register, inform you that a particular name is already taken.

      I have asked you before, Mr Redwood, but please do something about it. It is possible to do something (other sites routinely employ this precaution), and it is a serious security issue because I have no wish to be attributed with remarks which I did not make. In these days of monitoring of content and posters on sites, it is doubly important as punitive action against posters and banning can occur, based on what one posts.

      Reply I suggest you choose a distinct name. I do not write the software for the site, only the comments

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink


      Can you please use another name / tag ?

      It has been site etiquette for as long as I can remember and have observed this myself.


  75. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    I see Cabinet Remainers are briefing that they’ll leave May in place till November (at least) as part of their Stop Boris strategy. As I’m never voting Conservative again myself let me offer some impartial advice. Boris alone has the charisma and appeal across age groups and the political spectrum to even start rescuing your party from the abyss. But if you leave it till November there’ll be nothing left to rescue.

  76. Peter Z
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I take the view having studied European political ideology and Economic History in the late 70s (under Alan S Milward who later advised the Cabinet Office) that Remain and the EU in general are are extension of utopian romantic continental ideas to essentially re-feudalise society under collectivist corporatist ideals. I think also that, sadly, the Conservatives have long been in the grip of 3rd-Way (essentially Blairite) corporatism and have lost touch both with their electorate and with their philosophical and historical rationale. What is to stop true Conservatives leaving the Party and joining the Brexit Party with a view to re-starting conservative traditional economic liberalism and self-determination – that will also attract Labour MPs who are in favour of sovereignty and responsible capitalism and internationalism?
    With 40 or so Brexit Party members in the HoC we might start getting somewhere. Not only that, but this would also force the Tory “wets” to side with Labourite marxists and LibDem social darwinists to defend the imperial project that – arguably – is the future of the militarising EU.
    Then the cat will be out of the bag and we will all be able to see the reality that Remain is essentially a 3rd-Way corporatist/collectivist re-engineering – some would argue, re-feudalising – of society under this “revolutionary elite” dedicated to the destruction of popular sovereignty. (Just as the 20s/30s Fabians, Communists, romantic utopian aristocrats and Fascists wanted). My former Professor Alan S Milward argued in his book ‘The European Rescue of the Nation State (1992)’ that – paradoxically – ever-closer union could somehow strengthen nationstate identity within the colossus that was being designed by the unelected elites, and, as a Socialist-leaning free marketeer (another 3rd-Way paradox) he influenced policy in the Cabinet Office by challenging the eurosceptics who believed that European Union integration of nation-states would undermine sovereignty and lead to a federalist superstate. He was wrong, the greater union creates an unworkable economic model and brings about inevitable (imperial-style) enforcement – now in fact threatened by the Eurogendarmerie. My learned professor was wrong, and it’s this romantic Utopianism that (knowingly or unknowingly) closes its eyes to the 3rd-Way imperialism that is behind the EU and its purpose, and that allows Remainers to claim they are in favour or defending freedoms, while progressively taking them away, under the terrifying Corpus Juris.

    Rebranding 40 Conservatives as pro Brexit in the current Commons woukd make no difference on any EU vote!

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Interesting post.

      Many thanks.

  77. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    JR, however many times you vaporise my comments – twice so far- you will not change the fact that it is incorrect to say “If we sign this Treaty we will be locked into the EU”.

    If you think it is correct you should publish the comment and answer it.

    I will mention here that looking back over the past two and a bit years there have half a dozen important, even critical, junctures at which you took to vaporising my comments, but doing that did not change the unpleasant reality I was describing.

    Reply Your two long comments on this were simply wrong. I do publish a huge amount of your material.I have set out the nature of the WA here but you ignore it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      A 198 word comment is not particularly long, but I will cut it down to this:

      “It is wrong to say that if we sign this treaty we will be locked into the EU”

      and refer to my previous comment as proof of that statement of legal fact:


      Reply Yes you are completely wrong.Why cant you understand that the WA will repeal the EU withdrawal Act and put us back under the EU Treaties and ECJ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        How does it repeal the EU Withdrawal Act? How could it even possibly have that effect, when it is an agreement on the international plane while the EU Withdrawal Act is a domestic Act of Parliament?

        You do not answer my question of whether you would expect to see the Queen still listed as a High Contracting Party to the EU treaties.

        Reply The Withdrawal Treaty will need UK legislation which will repeal the Withdrawal Act and place us back under EU control. Just read the Agreement!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Or, why don’t you cite the parts of the Withdrawal Agreement which would require Parliament to repeal the Withdrawal Act?

          Bill Cash on April 8th, a speech for which you were present:


          “Section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 says that European Communities Act 1972 will be repealed on exit day. All that this Bill does is to move exit day. And by the way, exit day will move, if it ever does, in lockstep with the repeal of the 1972 Act unless someone is prepared to get up and tell me that they intend to repeal the repeal of the 1972 Act. We are still going to repeal that Act, and I think that that is completely lost on Opposition Members.”

          So has anybody said since then that “they intend to repeal the repeal of the 1972 Act”? Not to my knowledge.

          Reaply Of course any Withdrawal Agreement legislation reimposes the full powers of the EU as Bill has pointed out

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            JR has obviously read the full text of the Withdrawal Agreement – otherwise how would he be able to comment in such detail? I have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through 585 pages of turgid, legalistic crap. If, like me, you want an accurate summary of the WA, you will find one in the House of Commons library site.

            How can ANY self respecting Brexiteer vote for this WA this side of the river Styx?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

            Yet he cannot cite the provision(s) which would mean that we continued to be an EU member state even after the Withdrawal Agreement had come into force. The point in contention here is not whether the agreement is a bad agreement, or whether the UK would still remain subject to swathes of EU laws even after leaving the EU, perhaps in perpetuity, but whether the UK would still continue to be in the EU.

  78. Polly
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Imho, Sir, it’s vitally important that the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified because it looks deliberately designed to drain Britain of everything she’s got.

    Are you familiar with the persistent rumors relating to the Iran deal and who allegedly did very well out of that ?

    Looks like some of the very same players are behind the WA.

  79. Pam Travis
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I am in my 70’s and have always voted Conservative. I do not understand why the Conservative Association do not call by-elections to oust Members that vote against their constituencies such as Anna Soubury and Dominic Grieve. They may loose the odd by-election but it would bring back some credibility to the party. I hope in the next few (EU, local and maybe general) elections that a Leave and a Remain politician stand so at least the public can vote again and hopefully the 17.4 million number will rise to put a stop to this charade. At the end of the day how can a Remain PM with a majority of remain cabinet ministers ever get Brexit through. Hurrah for the ERG!

    • Richard416
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      First thank you Sir John for this analysis. I hope you get an answer from the Attourney General. Perhaps you could try asking the prime minister how this proposed treaty returns control of our borders, our money and our laws?, I’m sure I heard her say it would. I’d be fascinated to know. It almost seems like she thought parliament would vote for it because members would not have time to read it. I think they have had the time now.

      Sorry to say it but, unlikely though it may be, if this treaty does go through with the connivance of the parliamentary labour party, the Conservative Party will take the blame. The pool of talent will be somewhat dried up after that.

  80. Fred H
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    We have had Cameron running off to family money at the first knockback, his chum Osborne somehow convincing the rich capitalist that he knows what he is talking about, and even more incredulous that he can edit a daily newspaper. Now we have May and Hammond experts in denial, who at some stage will be shown the door, but I’m not at all convinced they will find cosy pastures new. What a terrible indictment on Tory PMs, and sidekicks. We may have seen the last of their kind for quite a few years come the next GE.

  81. Janice Lello
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    This is not a withdrawal deal , it is a full blown legallt bin ding Surrender/Capitulation EU Treaty. NO LEADER OR NATION ON EARTH WOULD EVER SIGN SUCH A DOCUMENT UNLESS THEY HAD BEEN DEFEATED IN WAR. We haven’t been defeated in War and any politician who signs this Surrender document is guilty of Sedition and High Treason and will be held accountable. Treason is punishable by Life Imprisonment.

    • Nellie
      Posted April 20, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Here here!

  82. Iain Gill
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Had the postal vote for the council elections through, the choice was Conservatives, Labour or Liberals… So I just wrote “Brexit please” all over the ballot paper and returned it like that.

    I am sure I will not be the only one.

    Quite how the Conservative party hope to survive is beyond me.

    • Oggy
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Just seen my candidates too, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and green. Looks like I will be writing ‘none of the above’ on the ballot paper.
      It’s like asking someone which method of execution they would prefer.

    • Dominic
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink


    • miami.mode
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Iain, agree with your point about the Conservative party, but surely their MPs must be aware of the feeling with its voters and within its membership.

      They appear to be caught up in the London bubble just talking amongst themselves and with the press and TV and not realising the very real possibility that other parties will profit from their attitude to Brexit with Labour waiting in the wings. Heads in the sand does not come close.

      How they could even contemplate sitting down with Jeremy Corbyn is beyond explanation. Hopefully the local elections will prove a wake-up call.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill,

      In order to send a message there would need to be a large identifiable number. The least common (very rare) reason for ballots to be rejected is that the voter can be identified. If a message is to get through then you would need a campaign to write your name for WTO now (writing your name on the ballot will spoil it but it will be counted on the otherwise rare pile). If the count of self identified voters is high then the reason for spoilt ballots would be clear. I don’t know how you can get such a campaign out in a short time.

  83. bigneil
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic
    I hope you have a side topic on Tuesday about this

    I have just seen that Legal Aid is to be awarded to Ms Begum. I have absolutely NO doubt that she will end up back here, with a pile of compensation based on that if she’d got back earlier her baby would have been saved. She will be a “celebrity” – very well funded from the taxpayer. The door will be opened and the flood of blatant terror supporters will be welcomed with open arms, with absolutely NO need to deny what they are. A very well funded life on the taxpayer awaits for the lot of them. Open doors and free movement of people = the end of civilised countries.

  84. John Turner
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Your letter to the Attorney General posted 14th April 2019 says it all. Well done.

    Having said that it saddens me to have to inform you that after forty years of voting Conservative I have now joined the Brexit Party and will, in future, be voting for them until such time as the Conservative Party leader and all its members of parliament honour the result of the referendum and leave the EU in a manner that makes us an independent country again.

    Your leader and many of your fellow MP’s are showing complete disregard and contempt for democracy.

    I have been lied to time and time again with promises of -Leave means Leave – No deal is better than a bad deal – We will leave on the 29th of March. All lies. Mrs May and many of your fellow MP’s have proven that they never had any intention of truly leaving the EU in the way I and the 17.4m others were promised.

    I cannot find polite words to express the depth of my frustration, disappointment and anger that I feel about the way my ex-party has let me down after receiving so many years of my loyalty.

  85. Ian Stafford
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    All of this is of course true. I concur. But we need to be getting this out to the public. It is obvious that MPs favouring the capitulation document are impervious to its contents. I do not normally deal in conspiracy theories but it has become more obvious to me that the intention to keep within the legal constraints of the EU is part of a policy to permit easy re-entry to the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      You cannot consistently start by saying “All of this is of course true”, including the contention that we would not have left the EU, but end by saying that it is “part of a policy to permit easy re-entry to the EU”, which we would not have left …

  86. monza 71
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    If everything you say it correct, and I have no reason to doubt it, it would appear that May’s deal is worse than staying in the EU.

    If that is the case, Barnier has played a blinder and, as we all know, May and Robbins have just rolled over and accepted everything. Total Surrender.

    Because the cowards in Parliament will do everything necessary to prevent us leaving with no deal, we might as well stay in.

    There, I’ve said it. The bastards appear to have beaten us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      It might indeed be worse than staying in the EU for some years, but the alternative of staying in the EU would be forever.

  87. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    And we should refuse to participate in the European parliament elections. We would be kicked out PDQ.

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Nice thought – but it isn’t going to happen. The EP elections do, however, give us Brexiteers a chance to show what we think of the WA and to serve notice on the Remainer element in Commons.

  88. Stred
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    This weekend an EU spokesman told us that they were ready for s no deal WTO Brexit. Last week May signed off an agreement with the EU not to exit on WTO terms in exchange for the EU agreeing to the extension of A50 beyond the period that she had asked for. If the EU is prepared for WTO, why is it a disastrous cliff edge for the UK ot perhaps Japanese car makers?

  89. Steve Pitts
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see prosecutions for treason, that would involve aiding enemies and as most countries in the EU are also in NATO they are not officially enemies so helping their interests cannot officially be treason I wouldn’t have thought not like assisting the old Soviet Union for example.

  90. Carolyn
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Given Theresa May’s track record of acting unlawfully, I am very worried by the article ‘The Great British Brexit Showstopper May Yet Be To Come’ on the website Briefings for Brexit. According the the writer, ‘Theresa May is proposing to bring forward – completely unchanged – the very Withdrawal Agreement that Parliament (and not least Jeremy Corbyn) has so resoundingly rejected. But not for MV4. She cannot get another MV. So she’ll just skip over that step. She is going to table it as primary legislation, as though it had already passed a meaningful vote…’
    I suggest reading the article if anyone here has not yet seen it.

  91. john lillie
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    if newspapers won’t publish your letter, can we not fund the purchase of a full page to have it in every paper? Shall we start a crowdfund appeal?

    • mancunius
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear! I would certainly subscribe.

  92. E Bendex
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    We are never ever signing this treaty, have all MP s read this and they are still voting for it.What planet are they on leave without signing anything.

  93. outsider
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, I may have missed it but I do not recall any detailed debate in Parliament or even Select Committee about the £39 billion figure: how it is arrived at, what specific purposes it is for, what are the risks of it being inaccurate. or underestimated. It reminds me strongly of Parkinson’s rule of Finance Committees, the Law of Triviality. This states that the time spent on any item on the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sums involved, because, after a certain point, the numbers become meaningless to the average member/MP. The same applies, of course, to HS2.

  94. Robert
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    John, I think it is rather sad that you, and many of your colleagues are still asking your Prime Minister to change course; to stop trying to get the WA through. She never will. She will have to be separated from her WA, kicking and screaming. You have described what it does: it achieves the total subjugation of the 5th largest Nation on the planet. It obliterates our Sovereignty and delivers our servitude to Brussels for as long as they want. They will never change it. It is National Suicide, only something a Nation that has lost a bloody war would agree to. Yet most of your colleagues wish to vote for it. Even BJ and JRM. It is nothing less than High Treason, completely illegal and against our Constitution. It must be stopped in our highest courts, before civil war breaks out. You must remove your PM immediately. You must destroy the Government that has allowed this to be produced and to threaten the very existence of our Kingdom. You must realise the Conservatives are dead. Time to move.

    • Carolyn
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

    • Nellie
      Posted April 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      Not only is the Prime Minister betraying our country she is also employing blackmail to push the horrendous withdrawal treaty through. As far as I am aware blackmail is illegal in this country. Why are no charges being made?

  95. Paul Flanagan
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Why is it so hard for other supposedly “intelligent” MPs not able to see this, the facts are there in black&awhile, undisputed, how could any leader want to impose this oh their people.

    I agree with a previous post, May should be put in front of TV cameras and let her go through each article in front of independent experts, then let her tell us it’s a good deal

  96. Stephen May
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I would wager the EU have drawn up a media strategy ready to go when the WA is passed in the HoC with the strapline “We have Control”. Separate articles will be fed to EU friendly U.K. media describing all the points you make John rubbing our noses in what we have signed and cannot get out of. The Backstop, which must change to Alternative Arrangements, is a diversion to attract attention away from these many bad deal issues.

  97. Polly
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    The fact that the WA is wrongly named shows that it’s intended to deceive.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      It is not wrongly named.

      • Polly
        Posted April 16, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Are you sure you’re not wrongly named ?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          Is that the best answer you can come up with?

  98. A week in politics
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Paris is not having a good time.
    It’s one thing after another> I go into a deep sleep when I think about this idiom and count sheep but before I go to sleep. (It depends how you read it)

  99. john scott
    Posted April 16, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Why are the BBC allowed to call it a withdrawal deal ? when it is no such thing every time a brexiteer appears on the BBC they should insist on calling them out over it.

  100. Donna
    Posted April 16, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    It isn’t a Withdrawal Agreement. It’s an EU-dictated Association Treaty intended to change our status from Member of the EU to Associate Member of the EU.

    It’s intended to keep us permanently shackled to the EU and effectively ruled by them.

    And it’s going to destroy the Not-a-Conservative-Party.

  101. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted April 16, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    You missed your calling, Sir John; you should have gone into forensic science. That the Remainer cabal in Cabinet has allowed May to get away with imposing this dreadful WA on us damns the Conservatives’ claim to being the natural party of government. A grass-roots rebellion by the party’s membership is now needed. It needs to start on May 2nd.

  102. Ian Heath
    Posted April 16, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Shocking! The WA and PD are even worse than I had understood. We have clearly been cunningly stitched up by Barnier and our colluding negotiators. I look forward to hearing Geoffrey’s response though I am not holding my breath.

    The big question now is “Where can we go from here?”. The no-deal I now crave will be blocked by our Remain-dominated Parliament. I also see no chance of it happening by legal default. We would need a new PM and then an election that returns a no-deal Parliament – which is most unlikely.

    I’d prefer to Revoke Article 50 than accept May’s deal. We could then be an awkward EU member and have another shot at Brexit after a few years or perhaps help unravel the EU project and form a breakaway group of members that could leave on better terms.

  103. Peter Z
    Posted April 16, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I take the view having studied European political ideology and Economic History in the late 70s (under Alan S Milward who later advised the Cabinet Office) that Remain and the EU in general are are extension of utopian romantic continental ideas to essentially re-feudalise society under collectivist corporatist ideals. I think also that, sadly, the Conservatives have long been in the grip of 3rd-Way (essentially Blairite) corporatism and have lost touch both with their electorate and with their philosophical and historical rationale. What is to stop true Conservatives leaving the Party and joining the Brexit Party with a view to re-starting conservative traditional economic liberalism and self-determination – that will also attract Labour MPs who are in favour of sovereignty and responsible capitalism and internationalism?
    With 40 or so Brexit Party members in the HoC we might start getting somewhere. Not only that, but this would also force the Tory “wets” to side with Labourite marxists and LibDem social darwinists to defend the imperial project that – arguably – is the future of the militarising EU.
    Then the cat will be out of the bag and we will all be able to see the reality that Remain is essentially a 3rd-Way corporatist/collectivist re-engineering – some would argue, re-feudalising – of society under this “revolutionary elite” dedicated to the destruction of popular sovereignty. (Just as the 20s/30s Fabians, Communists, romantic utopian aristocrats and Fascists wanted). My former Professor Alan S Milward argued in his book ‘The European Rescue of the Nation State (1992)’ that – paradoxically – ever-closer union could somehow strengthen nationstate identity within the colossus that was being designed by the unelected elites, and, as a Socialist-leaning free marketeer (another 3rd-Way paradox) he influenced policy in the Cabinet Office by challenging the eurosceptics who believed that European Union integration of nation-states would undermine sovereignty and lead to a federalist superstate. He was wrong, the greater union creates an unworkable economic model and brings about inevitable (imperial-style) enforcement – now in fact threatened by the Eurogendarmerie. My learned professor was wrong, and it’s this romantic Utopianism that (knowingly or unknowingly) closes its eyes to the 3rd-Way imperialism that is behind the EU and its purpose, and that allows Remainers to claim they are in favour or defending freedoms, while progressively taking them away, under the terrifying Corpus Juris.

    reply. Rebranding 40 Conservative MPs as Pro Brexit woukd make no difference to current voting patterns in the Commons

    • Peter Z
      Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      It removes the Whip and makes a clear statement regarding the unacceptable ideological premises of Remain that are being lost in the 3rd-Way myth that is essentially very extreme but portrays itself as “moderate and reasonable”. That is classic reframing and destabilising that serves two purposes: Divide and Rule (the alliance of opposite philosophies namely the Hard Left Bennites and the Hard Right Powellites as they used to be) against an imaginary “Centre”.
      Mussolini and even the National Socialists also re-branded their extreme Socialism as “Liberal” and “3rd-Way Centre”. The EU continues the trend of corporate collectivism of the 30s towards dictatorship via cultural change and over-regulation, their “communautaire” ideology is essentially a tool for the re-feudalising of society to benefit certain very powerful, influential and privileged groups. It does this by shaming the so-called “extremes”.
      However we know that the reasonable and freedom-loving, sovereign and self-determining position as argued by Edmund Burke and Walter Bagehot and that is the essence of Conservatism and rejects continental romantic utopian social revolutionary ideas, is a true Centre position and that the former is the extreme (as the last 250 years of European history have shown more than once).
      Conservatism has lost its philosophy ever since after roughly Gladstone’s time and the C20th saw it selling out to the 3rd-Way philosophy as the antics of the “high intellectual class” of MacMillan demonstrated, leaning evermore towards the Liberal/3rd-Way Labour extreme idea of corporatism and utopian corporate globalism. This is the very antithesis of Thatcherite/Josephite free-market self-governance of the responsible enlightened capitalist (F V Hayek/Milton Friedman) school. Mrs May and the Cabinet are exponents of this seriously misguided approach to Conservatism. It is essentially an imperialist ideology and this is what we are seeing the EU become. Conservatives should oppose imperialism.
      The Brexit Party, as an opponent of the 3rd-Way takeover that has continued ever since the 1920s when Fabianists began their incursions into British institutions, including Tory philosophy inasmuch as it has kowtowed to the one-nation-Europe ideal not in other ways as much perhaps (Mr K Clarke is a good example of this fallacious romantic position) can revitalise the philosophical debate around this essential point and the misleading tactics that have so damaged the EU – now in fatal decline and propped up only by aggressive expansionism and by raiding the coffers of the struggling economies (a typical 3rd-Way socialist approach using collective pressure to enforce its diktat) – and it will at last allow people to see that the true internationalist approach, freedom-loving and responsible, is where the future lies if we want a happy society where people are truly heard, can express their individual competitive advantage and have an influence over government. I don’t think the Conservative Party can do this any more as the 3rd-way brainwashing appears complete.!
      We do really need a realignment around this position because the argument has been progressively undermined for 3 generations. Perhaps the Brexit Party provides now this torch of hope.
      Sorry this is so long.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:39 am | Permalink

      Essentially the debate is technocratic supra-nationalism vs sovereign national democracy. That is indeed the issue. Bit it is the debate we have never had.
      The immediate problem is that Remainers cling to their ideology but seem not to know what the EU actually has in the pipeline. If they knew many would change their minds. Leavers should be demanding of Remainer MPs why they are not standing up and extolling the benefits to Uk of what is in store over the next five years in the EU culminating in the new treaty in 2025, some of which would apply to UK during the transition/implementation period:
      • Removal of UK’s and other rebates.
      • Uniform corporate and personal taxation.
      • Uniform regulation of financial services.
      • Budgetary supervision by an EU treasury.
      • Removal of all opt outs from Union treaties, including the Euro and Schengen.
      • Mandatory migrant quotas.
      • EU Jurisprudence.
      • Primacy of EU Foreign, Defence and Security Policies over national policies (already in May’s deal).
      • Formalised EU armed forces, defence operational and procurement structures (already in May’s deal).
      • Extension of the EU Gendarmerie (Armed police) throughout the EU – tricky but on the agenda.
      • Removal or time limiting of Article 50 – it would be absurd to continue with this in the constitution of a Federal State of Europe (intended around 2028-30).
      • Other transfers of competencies from member states to the EU, ie., further losses of sovereignty, further hollowing out of UK’s capacity for self-government.

  104. Karen
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    It is still a Draft Withdrawal Agreement. Draft means it can be amended up to the point when it is signed and becomes Final.

  105. Mike E
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    How can we get this properly discussed on media

    If all realised that we are totally surrendering the UK Union, our economy and everything to be trapped in the EU with its taxes, its army, its majority voting.

    Please lets just get out

  106. David Hatton
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    As far as I understand it, the UK left the EU on the 29th March. Both Housed of Parliament passed into Law, an act making this happen. I have not read or heard anything about this Law being set aside or otherwise removed from the Statute Book,
    It seem to me that the Lower House is acting in contempt of British Law.

  107. david collins
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It needs some drastic changes in the Tory Party’s manifesto and it also needs to be written into it that MPs are there to obey in most cases the will of the people they are supposed to be representing.Carrying on this manner that can only be described as Childish in the extreme. Either the |part has to reformulate its policies otherwise it will become unelectable for the foreseeable future.
    Is this what we want? A credible country run by Lunatics and self centered politicians who dont give a damn for their constituents or indeed the Country.
    most of these so called politicians know nothin about business having entered politics directly from university. They have no experience of negotiating . We need people with a broad spectrum of qualifications and moreover people who understand how business operates. Until we have this then the country will be lost. and so will the voters show their disdain for any right wing politicians and the party will cease to exist as we currently know it.

  108. david collins
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    It will be more than £Billions lost.
    We will also lose any self esteem that we have shown in the past.

  109. English Outsider
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    May I comment on some issues arising from your letter to the Attorney General.

    1. The “alleged Irish Border issue.”

    It was reported that the EU had prepared contingency plans in the event of do deal. These plans were reported to entail unobtrusive customs and other checks, set back from the border in order not to upset those living in the border area. The Irish government has been surveying the border for a year now to see if similarly unobtrusive measures could be taken.

    If these arrangements could be put in place for no deal, why was it not possible to discuss them as part of a deal? Why has HMG not pointed this out?

    2. I have seen no reference to the agencies. Over the years the UK has invested in setting up or developing a number of joint institutions with the EU. EASA is one such, We now see that investment of money and expertise appropriated by the EU as if it were the sole property of the EU.

    Not only has our investement been appropriated, we can be denied the use of these essential agencies at the will of the EU. I have seen no objection to this from HMG.

    3. As we attempt to leave the EU we are committing ourselves ever more emphatically to joint EU defence arrangements. This is inconsistent. HMG is supposedly “fighting our corner” while simultaneously acting as an important component of defence for the 27.

    4. The arrangements Mr Barnier had made for the 29th, now presumably held for the moment, involved the instantaneous changeover of customs and other checks to WTO rules. Since no such instant changeover, to WTO or to any other arrangement, can be done overnight the resultant disruption would have been damaging. It is the threat of that instant changeover, rather than the change to WTO rules, that has alarmed so many this side of the channel and that has led to the general belief that “No deal” is too dangerous to risk.

    In fact Mr Barnier’s instant change amounts to a partial trade blockade and would in normal circumstances be seen as a hostile act. We have not seen HMG pointing this out, let alone protesting this proposed hostile act.

    4. The dissatisfaction on the continent and particularly in Germany with the manner in which these trade negotiations are being conducted by the EU seems to go unnoticed here. I see no complaint from HMG, let alone any steps taken to remedy matters. You will also be aware of the scathing comments from Sir Ivan Rogers on the manner in which HMG has allowed itself to be tied hand and foot in these negotiations by the EU negotiating team.

    These considerations lead me to believe that HMG is not “fighting our corner” with the EU. It is, rather, fighting the EU’s corner and wants us to remain as closely aligned with the EU as possible

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      English Outsider. The reason Mrs May’s Government is portrayed as incompetent is because nobody wants to admit to the obvious explanation: that Mrs May has no intention of allowing UK ever to become independent. Sir Ivan Rogers does not even consider the possibility that Mrs May agrees concessions for the simple reason that she wants to.
      My contention that Mrs May’s betrayal is deliberate is published in TCW in two articles, the second one referencing the first, heer: https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/mays-treacherous-endgame/

      BTW. The Irish ‘No Deal’ legislation was enacted on 19 March 2019 and includes for example, continuation of the Common Travel Area and continuing access to health care by British citizens. [https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blog/irish-parliament-completes-legislative-preparations-for-a-no-deal-brexit]
      No hard border.

      • English Outsider
        Posted April 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. Also for your articles in TCW, which I read with attention.

        Sir Ivan Rogers. Exemplary civil servant, seems to me. I now believe his approach to Brexit is entirely misconceived. I do not, as many do, suspect his motives. I question his understanding of the position. I do not believe that he understands we are engaged in a conflict with a powerful and unyielding entity, and not some difficulty that could be smoothed over if only we had the sense to find the right way to accommodate ourselves to the EU framework.

        What I myself fail to understand is how we can be deepening our defence ties with an entity we are in conflict with. I hope you, with your specialist knowledge, will be able to examine this question in future editions of TCW.

  110. Alex Tickell
    Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid we are pissing into the wind, May has deceived us, but we always knew she would. The real obstacle to delivery of Brexit it the current “liberal” attitude of most MPs, almost all of the media and a large portion of the population…..People are afraid that the social change we have seen in the last couple of decades, will be reversed or curtailed in some way after we become a sovereign nation again. I view much of the social change as a danger to society and a very expensive danger at that……”Equality” does not come cheap, neither is it always beneficial to society, it requires…..like immigration, a little regulation.

  111. Peter D Gardner
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Excellent Sir John. But you missed Article 168 by which UK forfeits recourse to the Vienna Convention and the International Court of Justice. I have raised this with my MP and with the House of Commons Library which has amended its briefing note accordingly. See House of Commons Briefing paper ‘Could the Withdrawal Agreement be terminated under international law?’ – Number 8463, 19 March 2019.
    Please ask Sir Geoffrey Cox QC, specifically to explain the significance of Article 168 and why he has not, to my knowledge at least, made any reference to it in his legal advice to the government.

  112. mike Smith
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    M. Barnier has been reported to have said that if Remaining would appear to be more attractive than Leaving , then he would have done his job.
    Seems like he might have done his job.

  113. Geoffrey Spencer
    Posted April 18, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I think the whole negotiations have been handled in an Amateur fashion. I have had misgivings about Brexit all along. I have written to my MP with my concerns . I think we should walk away from the “Talks” put the 40 billion to good use here and get on with trading with the rest of the world .(which fool went and offered 40 Billion? pathetic negotiation. A hiden agenda to move time on to the Lisbon agreement .In short a Disgrace. By the way,we left on March 29 .

  114. Sean Flanagan
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink


    Please have your PR Company issue your letter to GC AG as a formal Press Release to all the National Newspapers, and all TV and Radio stations. As well as offering to be interviewed. Please take Steve Baker MP with you to the interviews. As an Engineer who understands technicalities and reads detail, it will be very helpful for the Voting Public and supportive of your Analysis to have Steve there with you.

    MSM media needs to get your excellent Analysis out to the Voting Public.

    Reply I have published my letter but the conventional media are not interested as it does not fit with their spin on events so they do not reproduce it or even ask these questions of Ministers.

  115. Alison Batt
    Posted April 20, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir
    Thank you for continuing to clarify and attempts to get answers.
    I would like to ask your permission to copy and paste your letter (with my details of course) and send to Geoffrey Cox and others, someone mentioned Martin Howe QC for example.

    Many people want those answers as you know, perhaps a flood of emails and letters will help them swim to the surface and face their responsibilities.

    If you agree Mr Redwood, perhaps you could add that permission to the page.
    With great respect,
    Alison Batt

    Reply Yes Anything published on this site can be quoted or circulated for a legal non commercial purpose without needing my consent

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  • 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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