My letter to the Attorney General about the delay Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Given the government’s difficulty in replying to this, I am re issuing it and encourage all to circulate it more widely. The conventional media refuse to ask these questions of the government and supporters of the Agreement.

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 us 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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed


  1. sm
    May 10, 2019

    I would like to see this letter sent to The Guardian, The Independent, the FT, the DT, The Times, Mr Umunna, Sir Vince Cable, Sir Oliver Letwin, Gavin Essler, Sir Keir Starmer et al, with the challenge that they should give their response, which will be made public.

    1. Hope
      May 10, 2019

      The govt tried to hide the legal advice on which the servitude plan was based before a vote took place. Cox claimed it was private between client and govt. So your letter will have not get a reply. It also failed to provide legal adivce demanded by parliament after being found in contempt.

      Why not ask for the full legal advice as an urgent question so you all can be properly be informed before Traitor May puts her indicative votes or servitude plan for the fourth time before the House? Very reasonable as it was a ruling by parliament. If the advice is damping it will also mean her servitude plan brought down by historic margins again.

      1. acorn
        May 10, 2019

        Under the UK’s non-constitution, the law is whatever the government of the day says the law is.

        If there is an existing parliamentary “convention”, that says the Attorney General’s advice to the “Executive” in Downing Street, is a private matter, that is what it is. There is no Court in the UK that has the power to adjudicate on a parliamentary “convention”.

        1. Steve
          May 10, 2019


          “Under the UK’s non-constitution, the law is whatever the government of the day says the law is.”

          Therein lies the problem. All law should be subject to public vote, Parliament simply cannot be trusted.

          1. Edward2
            May 10, 2019

            And there is the nub of the problem Steve.
            They no longer like us, nor trust us to make correct decisions.
            They feel they are better than us and that they know best.
            Apart from those like our gracious host obviously.

    2. Oggy
      May 10, 2019

      I forwarded Sir John’s letter to my MP, my local rag, the Daily and Sunday Express and the Daily Mail, not one of them published it or answered my letter to them.
      My MP did answer who said she would vote against it, but the various party whips may have other ideas.

  2. Brigham
    May 10, 2019

    Sir John,
    Once again you seem to expect your fellow Tories to behave in an honorable manner. Some might, but the ones that matter will just ignore the will of the people and try by any means to thwart Brexit.

    1. Peter
      May 10, 2019

      It will be an uphill struggle to get this discussed anywhere in the mainstream media.

      The Prime Minister can shamelessly state she voted for Brexit without anybody being heard to challenge her.

      ’Crashing out’ is a phrase that is still used (the fat Scottish Tory woman is the most recent example)

      1. Fred H
        May 10, 2019

        Peter….do you mean fat before or after her recent childbirth?

    2. Peter Wood
      May 10, 2019

      Sad but true!
      The age old ‘wo will replace the king’ politics now holds sway. As Mrs. May’s authority declines so does her support; a trickle turns into a flood as soon as it becomes clear that supporting her is less advantageous than leaving her. It must be soon over.

      1. L Jones
        May 10, 2019

        The question is, why do MPs STILL support her? Is it for personal reasons, gain, promotion, etc? Because it’s clear now that it can’t be for Party reasons as she has turned against the Party.

  3. Duyfken
    May 10, 2019

    Duly sent to my MP, Philip Dunne, asking for his considered response. He, unfortunately for his constituents, is a remainer led by the nose and I expect no joy.

  4. NickW
    May 10, 2019

    Sir John;

    If it comes to another vote in Parliament, may I suggest you remind the SNP as clearly as possible, that in blocking the implementation of the UK Referendum result they establish a precedent which ensures that Westminster will never implement the result of a Scottish Referendum which had a majority for Independence; and this being the case, any request for another Scottish Independence Referendum will be likely refused.

    The SNP cannot arbitrarily pick and choose which Referendum result will be honoured, and which will be rejected, that would be nonsensical.

    If the SNP block Brexit, they will remove the reason for their existence and make it pointless for Scottish voters to support them.

    1. James Morrison
      May 10, 2019

      Woah, I like that point, genuinely, and shall repeat it!

  5. javelin
    May 10, 2019

    I understand the Conservative manifesto for the EU elections is being delivered by freepost because the members refuse to deliver it.

    Please persuade me to vote for a party whose own members don’t want their policies.

    1. Julie Dyson
      May 10, 2019

      An excellent point.

      Interestingly, yesterday I received my postal ballot papers, and today my vote is in the mail. The only election literature I have received to date also arrived yesterday, delivered by the same postman — it was from The Brexit Party.

      Just think about that for a minute. There were eight or nine options on my ballot slip and the only outfit professional and dedicated enough to get their own message to me in time to influence my vote is a party that is literally just four weeks old and has not even had time to build a local support base.

      And we wonder why this country is in the mess it’s in.

      1. Angel
        May 10, 2019

        I have to say the same happened to me also yesterday and l thought how professional the “Brexit” party were sending out literature
        I have watched several of their events on fb and noticed how they have candidates from all walks of life business men who obviously have had to promote their businesses
        So l think like anyone wanting to sell themselves they know that advertising is a must

        Well done “Brexit” party

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    May 10, 2019

    Have you seen the Attorney General since you sent this letter?

    What is his explanation for not responding (at all) to an MP’s questions. Is this normal behaviour?

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      May 10, 2019

      Please ignore. Now seen the earlier post about your chat with the AG

  7. Lifelogic
    May 10, 2019

    Indeed in short it is nothing like Brexit in any shape of form. Yet the totally deluded May still says “If I had had my way we would have left the EU already”. The reason we have not left dear is because you keep asking for extensions, and very expensive and damaging ones they are too. Extending uncertainty and delaying the final agreements.

    Corbyn called Farage a snake oil salesman yesterday. This from the man who promistes almost everything to everyone without a clue as to how he is going to magic up any of the money. He would bankrupt the county in no time and yet despite this people still think Labour are yn better bet than May’s appalling fake “Conservatives”.

    Keep up the good work JR and rescue the UK from May, Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP and the EU. It can still be done.

  8. bigneil
    May 10, 2019

    Well John – – your version is a LOT more polite than what mine would be.

  9. Sir Joe Soap
    May 10, 2019

    This needs to be on peoples’ minds when the vote on May 23rd. Clearly the legacy parties have no answer to these questions. In that sense the only reasonable choices are Libdem for remain, one of the legacy parties for surrender or Brexit Party to leave.

    1. Know-Dice
      May 10, 2019

      And SJS it is essential that we DO vote on May 23rd.

      Mrs May will certainly try and get the EU’s surrender agreement before Parliament [again] before then 🙁

  10. Lifelogic
    May 10, 2019

    The highest taxes for 70 year from Hammond and yet number of GPs per 100,000 patients falls from 65 to 60 and with an ageing population. Well done yet again to this government. Economic illiterate Philip Hammond’s idiotic over 100% tax rates are doing huge damage here and all over the place.

    1. a-tracy
      May 10, 2019

      It’s time for a rethink on GPs. Practices started using Nurse Practitioners (specialists in specific care like diabetes), nearly all maternity care and antenatal care in our local surgeries is carried out by midwives and not GPs – so have their numbers increased?

      Women clinics have been set up to deal with the more regular checks females need because of their child providing bodies (which is the only reason I’ve ever had more appointments at the surgery than my husband) do we have more senior staff in those?

      If we have a net immigration figure of around 300,000 people per year where are they all coming in to? Is an extra GP hired for every 100,000 people? If not why not if they are all paying their national insurance contributions are all the fit, able workers we need and coming here for economic reasons as I believe the majority are.

      1. Ian wragg
        May 10, 2019

        They may be fit etc but they use disproportionate resources of the NHS.
        Many illegals use A&E as their GP because no questions asked.
        We have a similar problem with Care homes when recently arrived immigrants are bringing their aged parents and putting them in homes.
        We are taxpaying mugs for the whole world.

  11. Richard1
    May 10, 2019

    It seems a very powerful list of reasons for not signing the WA. I will forward it to my MP and request that the govt provides a proper response.

    1. Fred H
      May 10, 2019

      Richard….best of luck with that.

  12. MPC
    May 10, 2019

    But Martin Howe QC has tried something similar. I think all you will get, eventually if at all, will be a generalised response from Government akin to Mrs May’s replies at PM Questions in the Commons. It will fail to address all your points and will refer to the political declaration saying something like ‘it confirms the goodwill on both sides to reach a solution which benefits the UK and EU and which fully respects the referendum result’.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 10, 2019


  13. formula57
    May 10, 2019

    Mr. Cox is the bravest member of the Cabinet for who else would do so much to incur the enduring and inextinguishable displeasure of us Redwoodistas?

    His correspondence-challenged state is of course a disgrace and he will carry the shame of it for ever.

    1. formula57
      May 10, 2019

      My comment above was written before I saw your earlier post announcing Attorney General Cox’s intent to arrange a reply of some sort.

      My comment still stands though and if the chance arises, I will still give evidence against him to the UnBrexit Activities Committee.

  14. Kevin
    May 10, 2019

    Thank you for reposting this. During the referendum campaign, both sides appeared
    openly to accept that the transfer of £350 million a week was unacceptable to
    most voters, which is why the figure was quoted on one side and criticised as
    misleading by the other. How then, after we voted to Leave, can the transfer of, as
    you state, a minimum of £39 billion be presented as honouring the voters’ intentions?

  15. Mick
    May 10, 2019

    No wonder Mrs May cannot get her deal through there seems to be a lot of loopholes for future governments to keep us shackled to the corpse of the Eu indefinitely , but never mind come the European elections the politicians in Westminster will see the full fury of the people at the ballot box

  16. Ian wragg
    May 10, 2019

    So why do 75% of MPs support it
    Even Brussels admits it confers Colonial status on us.
    Let’s have a judicial review to see who the real traitors are.

    1. Iain Moore
      May 10, 2019

      Because the British establishment lost faith with our country a long time ago. They wanted us in the EEC to ‘manage our decline’. They failed to defend our industrial base or technology, in fact pretty much gave it away. They will happily have the Chinese build nuclear power stations here, or control our 5G network, and they can’t be bothered to train our own people, preferring to raid other countries for Nurses, Doctors etc. The referendum exposed this divide , and the British establishment still can’t come to terms with the fact that people still have faith in our country and its people. This they sneeringly call nativist , little Englander or even racist , and ever since the referendum they have been trying to unpick , water down, or sell us out, the WA being the latter . By hook or by crook they intend to get back to their decadent old ways.

      1. APL
        May 10, 2019

        Iain Moore: “This they sneeringly call nativist , little Englander or even racist , ”

        They don’t yet realise that such a sneering insult from such as they, is actually a complement.

  17. majorfrustration
    May 10, 2019

    You might get a reply if this was published in the MSM

    1. sm
      May 10, 2019

      But as our host points out, the MSM will NOT ask these questions!

  18. William Long
    May 10, 2019

    I am not surprised you have received no reply, because virtually all the questions you ask are unanswerable if there really is any intention in the Government to get us clear of the EU, and Mr Cox would no doubt get similar treatment to Mr Williamson if he admitted this.

  19. a-tracy
    May 10, 2019

    John, all the people in your party that disagree with this WA need to coalesce behind a simple message and what you want. These points you make are simple to understand and need bullet pointing. When May writes to us telling us it is you rebels and the Labour party stopping Brexit she is clearly being disingenuous, she is trying to put through a bad deal even after she promised no deal was better than a bad deal, she has been told three times it is a bad deal it is BRINO Brexit in Name Only we are told.

    The EU have been gloating about how easy it was to tie her in knots, locking doors to her, leaving her on the sidelines – they saw how weak and wobbly she and her oily Olly were (he was even reported as asking for Belgium citizenship in yesterdays papers).

    Reply We do say we want often. We want to leave now! No Agreement or surrender document.

    1. a-tracy
      May 10, 2019

      When Farage said this on Question Time last night a very angry male audience member said ‘tell us one Country that trades on WTO just one who only has that’, a better immediate response to that is required, it was sort of agreed that Liam Fox has done a very poor job setting up free trade agreements but I thought he wasn’t allowed or is he now the A50 time period has passed? It was pointed out I think by Rudd that Ministers voted in a majority not to allow the UK to leave now with no agreement and just WTO.

      Fiona Bruce 4 mins into Farage starting to speak interrupted him to throw him off his patter, (someone must have spoken in her earpiece because she stopped) she had allowed Soubry and another panel member to talk freely for a couple of minutes. Soubry said she wanted to stop ya-boo angry politics then did that thing that passive aggressive women do – that so frustrates men – interrupting every statement with a very quiet, patronising tone so that when Farage reacts with frustration he comes off looking bullish.

  20. Prigger
    May 10, 2019

    Scientists in Cambridge plan a research centre developing new ways in repairing the Earth’s climate.

    …radical approaches: refreezing the Earth’s poles and removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Is there any way Cambridge University can be closed down immediately?

    1. Fred H
      May 10, 2019

      Prigger…what a wonderful scheme to keep them in the manner to which they have been accustomed! Smart people over there.

  21. PeteS
    May 10, 2019

    Your fellow MPs, if there were enough of them, could compel the AG to give a fulsome reply, but they don’t.

  22. J.A. Burdon-Cooper
    May 10, 2019

    One of the most disturbing things I find is seeing Theresa May’s condescending smile when she replied to Andrea Jenkyns yesterday (and to Sir Bill Cash a few days ago) . It is like a superior school teacher telling off her pupils, so obviously knowing she is right, and everyone else is stupid. She does just not get the plot, that the problem is with her, and her dreadful Agreement, which no semi intelligent person could accept. Of course she has been aided and abetted by the Tory “Remainers” who want to ignore all earlier commitments and manifestos, but they would not have been able to do it if we had not had the worst prime minister of my lifetime. Does she not CARE that she is destroying the conservative party, and the country, and her reputation is now irretrievable. WHY CANT ANYONE GET RID OF HER?

  23. Shieldsman
    May 10, 2019

    You supported the democratic rights of 17.4 million voters.
    The Conservative Party leaflet pushed though my door is dishonest and denigrating your efforts to achieve a clean Brexit
    The leaflet shows that the party is effectively using the campaign to criticise the 34 Tory Brexiteers who call themselves the “Spartans” as well as the second referendum supporters who declined to back Mrs May’s deal in March, causing it to fall in the Commons. In addition, the leaflet fails to say that an independent trading policy would be a benefit of Brexit, which is being seen by some as a hint that she might agree to a permanent customs union in the latest talks with Labour.
    Dishing the dirt will lose more voters.

    1. a-tracy
      May 10, 2019

      I felt that as well Shieldman, mine went in the bin.

  24. graham1946
    May 10, 2019

    Last night I watched the second part of a programme filmed in the EU on BBC 4 about the ‘negotiations’. Apart from being extremely boring, I found the contempt which I had always suspected from Barnier, Verhostadt and co for the UK totally unacceptable and their contempt for Mrs. May was not hidden. Their language was vile in every scene and one of her speeches to them was described as sh*t. Two of the apparatchiks said they had forced the UK into becoming a ‘colony’ of the EU and that they had ‘chucked us out’. They thought they had achieved all they wanted whilst giving the UK nothing. Tell us something we don’t know.
    May may be the worst PM ever, but they showed no respect for her and ridiculed her and our Parliament at every turn. Even the ‘Remainers’ in Parliament were abused. Why would anyone want to pay to be in a club of small time jerks such as these? If Mrs. May watched this as she should, maybe she will get the backbone to tell them in their own style to ‘f’ off and get out without their rotten deal. All past gaffes would be forgiven and the Tories might get some respect back.

    1. graham1946
      May 10, 2019

      A further thought from the programme. Verhofstadt said that Olly Robbins had asked him if he could get Belgian nationality as he thought he would not be able to return to the UK after ‘negotiating’ this surrender document. Joke? Shows how they think and what he really did do.

  25. Sorrytosay
    May 10, 2019

    Yeah by any yardstick you guys should leave without a deal and ASAP..only then will you have the chance to prove something to yourselves and unite your country again.. the cliff is the only answer now

    1. L Jones
      May 10, 2019

      What ”cliff” would that be, then?

  26. Stred
    May 10, 2019

    Yesterday on BBC lunchtime politics, the female Conservative MP said that 90% of MPs support May’s WA and that, if she asked what the others objected to in the 600 pages of the agreement they couldn’t tell you. It is a good agreement to get us out of the EU after the 40 years and she understands this having worked in industry and left school at 16. This is the line taken by the government and the media.

    There are other outrageous clauses such as non taxation and secrecy for our civil service which are ignored. The inability to trade with the EU as we do with the rest of the world is another lie. The closing down of this option by the top Remain civil servants is never mentioned. The revelation of the Verhofsdaft plan to keep us as a colony is silenced. The conclusion is that the government has control of the media and that 75% of Tory MPs are either lying, stupid or both. In order to prevent May and the welchers selling us out to big business and the civil service, MPs loyal to the UK need to join the Brexit Party and soon.

    1. a-tracy
      May 10, 2019

      ” female Conservative MP said that 90% of MPs support May’s WA and that, if she asked what the others objected to in the 600 pages of the agreement they couldn’t tell you.”

      Yes Stred this is the line I’m picking up all the time, that those that oppose the WA COULDN’T TELL YOU WHAT THEY OBJECTED TO. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.

      Reply Those who say that could read this blog to find out!

      1. stred
        May 11, 2019

        But they can’t be bothered to read it or any of the other articles criticising the agreement. How else could they stay so ignorant?

  27. Stred
    May 10, 2019

    Repetition caused by capcha didn’t verify message.

  28. WestDevonDemocrat
    May 10, 2019

    Geoffrey Cox is my MP and I emailed him and requested a copy of his answer to the original letter. To date I have no reply. This government is a disgrace.

    1. Mike Wilson
      May 10, 2019

      As a constituent you could go and ask him for a response in his constituency surgery.

  29. Edwardm
    May 10, 2019

    The points and questions you raise are on specific WA articles and are not hypotheticals, so they reasonably demand an answer.
    One likes a government that can justify its proposals.
    Silence speaks.
    Thank you to JR for your persistence and support for true Brexit.

    Reply I am not expecting an answer that persuades me the Agreement is a good one. If I eventually get a reply it will nit pick over a few details, but will not answer the main charge that this is a delay agreement locking us back in to the EU with a very uncertain and difficult way out in due course if all goes well.

  30. John Partington
    May 10, 2019

    There is a lot more wrong with the WA than listed but that is a good start,Sir John.

  31. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    May 10, 2019

    Dear Sir John

    Forcing the Government to publish the Full Legal Advice on the WA would be political dynamite just before the EU Elections.

    Please, please work with your colleagues to do this.

  32. Jacey
    May 10, 2019

    If the talks between the Government and the Labour Party fail ( as has always been the most likely outcome ) there are suggestions that Mrs. May’s latest ripping wheeze will be to have a system of ” indicative votes ” where MPs state their preferences ; ” I’ll have a large gin and tonic old boy thanks very much”. What could possibly go wrong ? Well it could all end in utter chaos of course there is that I suppose.

  33. Chris
    May 10, 2019

    Can you not send it to Fraser Nelson for The Spectator and to Guido?

  34. MartinC
    May 10, 2019

    You say: “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.”

    Would that include the EU requiring the UK to join the Euro and transferring the gold in the Bank of England to the Central European Bank?

  35. BillMayes
    May 10, 2019

    Had a reply yet? I’m certainly not going to hold my breath. The arrogance and ignorance of Mrs May stretches to her Attorney General.

  36. John Booth
    May 10, 2019

    Sir John

    “She needs to make it clear we now intend to leave without signing the Withdrawal Agreement prior to the European Parliamentary elections.”

    But she has already signed it hasn’t she?

  37. Geoffrey
    May 10, 2019

    Dear John, the withdrawal agreement takes us out of the EU. Full stop. It does not take us out on your preferred terms but the voters in 2016 did not vote for your version of Leave. Most voters have no idea who you are. Kindly stop wasting my time, and if you really want us to Leave (do you?) then vote for the deal agreed by the EU and HM’s government

    Reply The Agreement binds us back into the EU with no voice or vote for at least 21 months and probably for 45 months with no clear way out.

    1. Ken Bull
      May 10, 2019

      Nope. The agreement takes us out of the EU tout de suite

      1. TheyWontCrushBrexit
        May 10, 2019

        Please read the 595 page WA and also carefully read Sir John’s letter to Cox above.

        After that you will be far better placed to actually understand why the WA can never be allowed to pass.

      2. Caterpillar
        May 10, 2019

        Ken Bull, Geoffrey,

        During the transition period (21 months, 45 months …) the following is the case:-
        1) EU Law applies to the UK as if it were a member state
        2) UK remains in CU and Single Market with all four freedoms
        3) UK is bound by obligations from EU international agreements – UK cannot apply new agreements if in areas of EU competence
        4) UK is not represented !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        So, during the implementation period the only thing that the UK has escaped from is representation, in everything else it is as though it is a member of the EU, but cannot walk away. This is why people make ‘colony’ comments. This is the situation in which May thinks a future relationship should be negotiated, in which the commitments should be calculated (only methodology is mentioned in WA), in which fishing access vs. trade amongst other things is traded, etc.

        Imagine that UK had held a referendum in 2016 that said

        a) Remain

        b) Remain but give up having any political representation.

        I don’t think any political party would have thought that that constituted a referendum on EU membership.

        1. Ken Bull
          May 11, 2019

          Agree, it is a terrible deal. But it IS leaving the EU. It might not be what you hoped for but it is what you voted for. Accept responsibility

          1. Edward2
            May 11, 2019

            It is bizarre logic Ken, to read the letter from Sir John to the Attorney General or read the the Withdrawal Agreement or read Caterpillar’s excellent post and then state it is leaving the EU and it is what you voted for.

            The Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal and it is not leaving the EU.
            That can, very plainly, be seen to be a fact regardless which way one voted in the referendum several years ago.

      3. mancunius
        May 11, 2019

        No, it really doesn’t ‘take us out’, not ‘toute de suite’, nor ‘en temps voulu’ – in fact ‘jamais’.
        All the WA does is to remove our membership rights. In all practical respects – submission to the ECJ, inability to make our own trading arrangements, regulatory jurisdiction – we remain shackled to the EU, and Northern Ireland becomes an EU rule-taker – unless the whole UK fully embraces the EU customs union, in which we would be a passive rule-taker.

        It is a mad idea – like claiming to be divorced, but not allowed to remarry and chained permanently to the front door of your ex-spouse’s house. Simply because you were daft enough to sign such a stupid agreement.

        The EU negotiators Guy Verhofstadt and Sabine Weyand have pointed out that the WA turns us into a ‘colony of the EU’ and that we should be forced to accept the customs union ‘as the basis’ of a future agreement at the very least’, to avoid losing Northern Ireland – which is part of the EU’s intended punishment.

        It is rather too late to try to fool people about the WA. Too many of us have already read it – and we know it does not mean ‘leaving the EU’.

    2. stred
      May 11, 2019

      Presumably, the real Geoffrey isn’t this daft.

  38. L Jones
    May 10, 2019

    A little ”off topic” but still Brexit-related:
    ​Heard on the BBC Radio 2 Hereford and Worcester news today – it seems that UK
    manufacturing figures are up! Great! However…… this apparently is due to people stockpiling before Brexit on 29 March. (And of course they’d only stock-pile UK-made goods.)
    According to the news item reader: ”Everyone (or ‘we all’, I can’t remember exactly) breathed a sigh of relief on 30 March (to find we hadn’t left)”. And there was I, waiting for them to say it was because we were still in the EU!
    You couldn’t make it up. Though they do.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      May 10, 2019

      Not quite sure why we’d be making goods in the UK to stockpile here. Surely our only customers, EU countries, were going to close their borders to us after Brexit, so stockpiling here would be a bit silly. Or was our export volume massively up?

      1. L Jones
        May 10, 2019

        I was trying to be ironic! Not very cleverly so, though. Sorry.
        And goodness only knows what point the BBC was trying to make.

  39. Steve
    May 10, 2019


    You shouldn’t hold your breath waiting for a reply from the AG, clearly the man’s ignoring your letter.

    If I might say; I find his failure to respond somewhat rude, arrogant, and unprofessional. His apparent tactic of refusing to answer questions that have public interest, does, in my opinion reflect one of the things we abhor about anyone connected with politics these days.

    He and his kind believe they are above the rest of us and think themselves as having some kind of divine dispensation from public scrutiny.

    They ignore us like we’re trash. I am coming around to the notion that possibly the only way to get them to answer questions is a last resort of grabbing them by the scruff. Nothing else works.

    1. L Jones
      May 10, 2019

      He could at least have given you the courtesy of an acknowledgement, Sir John, if no more than that.
      Don’t you just hate it when people say ”I didn’t reply because I was busy/thinking about it/putting together an answer/etc”? Why not just make an initial acknowledgement? Very discourteous.

  40. […] My letter to the Attorney General about the delay Brexit Withdrawal Agreement […]

  41. Steve
    May 10, 2019


    “It would probably result even in failure to take back control of our fishing grounds.”

    Wouldn’t surprise me if she’s already given those away to Macron.

  42. Lynn Atkinson
    May 10, 2019

    Last year Rodney and I planted a Redwood. It’s for you, in gratitude. I hope we can’t climb it before you get a response to this letter.

  43. Anthony frank
    May 11, 2019

    More like terms of surrender after losing a war.

  44. ferdinand
    May 11, 2019

    If only.

  45. Patricia Ann Northall
    May 11, 2019

    I have read this letter twice now, and having witnessed how the Government and Mrs May have behaved for three years. It confirms everything I have thought was and could be happening. I would just like to say, I wish Sir John had considered putting his name forward as our next PM.

  46. Steven
    May 12, 2019

    I can keep hearing it…
    ‘In many ways, she is a good Prime Minister…’
    ‘I support the Prime Minister, I just disagree with her deal’
    ‘A new leader changes nothing…’

    All from the mouths of our leading ‘Brexiteers’.

    She is trying to force us into slavery. She is the worst Prime Minister in our history and a threat to the security of our country. Civil war is inevitable with her slavery treaty or a Corbyn government, her two favoured options.

    I have voted for the Brexit Party by postal vote, John.

    The euroloving Conservative party, of which I was stupidly a member until last year, will never receive my vote again. Keep your traitor in power for as long as you like. When Farage takes power, I hope he uses an SAS platoon to deliver our treaty withdrawal notice to Brussels.

    The shame that must be felt by the two or three genuine patriots left in Parliament must be almost overwhelming. I pity you, as one of those few.

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