The next Prime Minister and the EU

The next Prime Minister has one immediate and urgent task – to get us out of the EU. Unless the Conservative party delivers soon on its promise in 2017 to take us out the substantial loss of votes to the Brexit party suggested in recent Westminster polls will be confirmed or may accelerate. We are long past the position where we need a new leader to find a compromise between Leave and Remain, or who thinks that a few tweaks to the Withdrawal Agreement will enable it to pass. Only getting us out by October 31st at the latest is going to get the government and the party the right to a hearing again from voters, and the space and authority to press forward with all the many policies we can then offer based on the freedoms Brexit delivers.

Any new Leader has to understand the depth and range of feeling in the country that the outgoing government and the official opposition have let the country down badly, by delaying, diluting and querying the whole idea of Brexit. We have just witnessed a huge tidal wave of support for getting on with leaving, and against signing the Withdrawal Agreement. Mrs May’s Agreement was designed in Brussels by the EU, and met with great opposition from Leave and Remain voters alike.

I tried hard over many months to persuade her to go back to the EU and tell them the Agreement could not be sold to UK voters and had to be changed. I argued with her to stand up to the EU and tell them if necessary we would just leave without signing the Agreement. In the later stages of her tenure as PM I urged her to do herself a favour by dropping the Agreement, to ease the obvious strains on her of the repeated disagreements and negative votes. I was amazed at her resilience in defence of a proposal which the country had already rejected by a large margin, and which this Parliament was unlikely to accept.

Some say we cannot leave without signing the Agreement because Parliament will not allow it. The only hope this Parliament has to reconnect with voters who have left both main parties in droves is to leave. A new PM can do so. Best would be to go to the EU, say we have messed them around for too long and we wish to leave immediately. If the EU agrees it can be done as the delay in our exit was done by agreement between the new UK government and the EU. We should offer a comprehensive free trade agreement which would enable us to leave with no new tariffs or trade barriers whilst over the months after exit we seek to work out and sign the detailed proposal.

If the EU would not agree to an immediate exit, then we need to wait until 31 October. Parliament has legislated for our exit then. A new PM just has to ensure Parliament does not legislate to keep us in. Government has plenty of powers to do just that, which Mrs May declined to use last time because she had herself decided she wanted to delay our exit if she could not have her way and sign the Agreement.


  1. Pominoz
    May 25, 2019

    Sir John,

    Yes. Let’s get out as quickly as we can. I was concerned that the current make-up of the HOC would mean leaving on WTO terms might be difficult, whatever the sincere intention of the new PM. However, I am reassured by an interesting article by Maddy Thimont Jack on the website.

    Well worth a look for those as concerned as me.

  2. A Cannon
    May 25, 2019

    I trust your assertion that Parliament cannot prevent a no deal exit if it proves necessary. However it seems that it is Conservative MPs that favour remain that have prevented no deal by siding with Labour. Until these members are removed or change position I doubt the parliamentary arithmetic will change.

    1. Andy
      May 25, 2019

      How do you propose removing them? They were returned at a general election. An election which, unlike your advisory referendum, was binding. Do you advocate forcibly removing MPs who do not agree with you?

      1. NickC
        May 25, 2019

        Andy, MPs only derive their position from being elected by the people. You know, it’s that democracy thingy which you so loathe. The same demos that voted to Leave, in fact.

        And the 2016 Referendum is binding: there is no evidence – from the government, the EU Referendum Act 2015, the official Remain campaign, or the official Leave campaign – which shows they were agreed that that one result – Leave – was to be discarded; especially not merely on your say so. Otherwise it would have been pointless holding the Referendum.

      2. Steve
        May 25, 2019


        “Do you advocate forcibly removing MPs who do not agree with you?”

        If they go back on their manifesto and lie to us. and try to sell the country down the river then yes, it’s justified.

    2. Peter
      May 25, 2019

      May could have simply run the clock down and left on 29th March.

      She chose to pretend that she could not because of Parliament was not in favour. That was just a convenient excuse though. She never believed ‘No Deal is better than a bad deal.

      Johnson says he will leave in October with or without a deal if he is Prime Minister. Another Remainer May be installed though.

      Swamp draining is still required as Continuity Remain will not simply give up their fight.

      1. Steve
        May 25, 2019


        “Continuity Remain will not simply give up their fight.”

        Except being a bunch of cry babies they don’t have any ‘fight’ in them.

        What they won’t stop doing is whingeing and moaning that it isn’t fair they lost the referendum…..until someone gives ’em a rude awakening.

        As a nation we will all have to roll our sleeves up and get on with it when we leave the EU – there will be no room for liberal lefty work shy pansies.

  3. Lifelogic
    May 25, 2019

    Exactly, but which new leader can be trusted to do that? Anything else will ensure Brexit/UKIP will be strong in the next General and will destroy the Conservative Party.

    May says she will “always regret failing to deliver Brexit” she never even tried. Thank goodness she was not able to buy the £39 billion handcuff WA treaty. She was never remotely a Conservative. Still I suppose she planned to ban plastic straws and cotton buds and to introduce opt out organ donation. Though even these are not yet in place.

    Her leaving speech was lefty, pro EU lunacy from beginning to end. She was never remotely a Conservative. She even lied about reducing government debt in her leaving speech. She leaves with the highest taxes and most red tape for 70 years. She has no shame. May is surely despised by all right thinking, people even more than John Major who cost so many people their businesses, homes, marriages and lives event with his idiotic ERM fiasco. He did not even say sorry or learn anything from this.

    I see Mathew Parris thinks Boris will not deliver Brexit if elected. Well Parris is nearly always wrong let us hope he is on this. I suspect Boris is the time not person who can prevent Corbyn.

    1. Oxiana321
      May 25, 2019

      Could Steve Baker be the dark horse to lead the party? As a few others have pointed out elsewhere, he has many of the right credentials and perhaps less of the baggage of his contemporaries.

      1. NigelE
        May 25, 2019

        Yes, he’d be my choice too. He has consistently opposed Mrs. May’s WA, not like Johnson nor Raab, let alone Gove, Leadsom Hunt etc.

        He might be just a little too much of a dark horse though (if we’re allowed to say ‘dark horse’ nowadays ….)

      2. Tad Davison
        May 25, 2019

        He’d make an excellent choice, and if he decided to stand for the top job or even ministerial office, he wouldn’t be short of helpers.

      3. Ian terry
        May 25, 2019


        The state of the country let alone the party demands we gat a leader with a proven track record not only within parliament but in business and industry.

        We need a steady Eddy type to take the helm with the experience and respect of his peers to take us through the possible squalls ahead. Pick one of the candidates as a running mate/ apprentice.

        Our host ticks more than a few of the requirement boxes and his commitment to both party and country is beyond reproach and I feel that he has earned the respect of the electorate and his peers.

        The country could dod ahell a lot worse witness the last three years.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 25, 2019

          We need someone who can win elections and keep Corbyn out.

          1. Simon Coleman
            May 26, 2019

            Well that rules out everyone on the right of the party, because they have no appeal to anyone under the age of 50.

      4. Richard Mortimer
        May 25, 2019

        Steve Baker is an outstanding candidate. I don’t think he will get the support (yet) though. The ERG and eurosceptics need to be careful. They would be best to all get behind Boris Johnson.

        JRM said there when many good candidates, but only one who had the charisma and will to deliver in these special times – BJ!

      5. DaveK
        May 25, 2019

        Dream Team: Steve Baker – PM, Our Host – Chancellor and JRM – Home Secretary 😉

        1. Sharon Jagger
          May 26, 2019

          Dave K

          I agree, that would be a good combination of strengths.

  4. Shirley
    May 25, 2019

    Sorry, but I have no sympathy for Mrs May. She never even tried to give us a real Brexit. The WA she approved and tried to force upon the UK was worse than Remain. She discarded all other possibilities, all her promises, all her ‘red lines’, and ignored the manifesto upon which the party was elected. The Remainers and sycophants in the party kept her in power, and they have destroyed all trust. I doubt the party can recover from such a huge betrayal.

    A FTA is all we need, and we can manage without that if we have to. WTO is much better than EU membership.

    1. Sean Flanagan
      May 25, 2019

      100% Bang On Shirley. 👍

      1. Mark B
        May 25, 2019


    2. Emma Chantry
      May 25, 2019

      Shirley, could you explain to us what you think trading under the “WTO” means?

      1. NickC
        May 25, 2019

        Emma Chantry, According to the WTO, 98% of global trade is carried out under the WTO framework – principally the GATT and GATS treaties. So trading “under the WTO” means abiding by those treaties.

        The WTO allows minor bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade deals (RTAs, MRAs, etc) between nations (eg: EU-Albania) to modify those nations’ own trade terms, provided they are registered with the WTO and comply with WTO rules.

        Assuming the UK does not copy the EU’s “fortress Europe” mentality, and instead has low tariffs, the need for such modifiers will be low.

        1. Emma Chantry
          May 26, 2019

          Thank you, Nick. You (in common with most posters on here) are labouring under a very serious misunderstanding. Global trade is conducted on the basis of the WTO’s rules – but almost no trade anywhere is conducted EXCLUSIVELY under the WTO’s rules. That is because the WTO’s rules are so very basic – they require only that each member of the WTO must treat other members in the same way, and they say nothing – nothing! – about actually getting rid of barriers to trade such as tariffs, standards , health and safety checks, etc. So the whole globe is crisscrossed by networks of agreements which go far beyond the WTO’s rules, and which aim to reduce and even (in the most sophisticated example, the EU) eliminate such restrictions to trade. So the problem is that when Brexiters say they want to trade with no deal and under the WTO’s rules, what they are actually saying is that they want to trade under the most restrictive system which exists on the planet, and one which no other country uses.

          Reply Try reading the WTO Facilitation of Trade Agreement which is very detailed and binding on all members

          1. Edward2
            May 26, 2019

            It amazes me Emma how someone can be so wrong on such a straightforward subject.
            Have you ever actually imported or exported?

          2. Emma Chantry
            May 26, 2019

            No Mr Redwood, it is binding, but it is not detailed. That Agreement assumes the continuing existence of tariffs and border controls. It encourages signatories to work to reduce those barriers, but it contains no detail on how to do so (it is up to states to choose). There is nothing in it which a lawyer would recognise as an enforceable rule, it is just not specific enough for that

            Reply It is widely observed and governed by a disputes procedure

          3. NickC
            May 26, 2019

            Emily Chantry, It is you who is labouring under a delusion. 98% of global trade takes place under WTO rules: that is a fact. Where you make your mistake is assuming the registered RTAs, MRAs, etc, alter WTO rules – they don’t. The trade deals you cite alter the trade rules of the nations involved. Only.

    3. Ian wragg
      May 25, 2019

      Don’t be so sure the next PM will try to extract us from the EU.
      Politicians have a habit of going native where Brussels is concerned. Think William Hague.
      Rumour has it that Boris will accept the WA without the backstop backstop. This is not leaving and must be scorched immediately.

    4. Timaction
      May 25, 2019


    5. Steve
      May 25, 2019


      Mrs May wouldn’t try to give us a real brexit, she’s a remainer at heart, and a believer in turning the other cheek – which is not surprising really.

      Liberal mindedness, compromise, pacifism – just doesn’t work when dealing with the ungrateful French led EU.

      Let’s hope the conservatives elect someone with a bulldog spirit rather than a scrawny necked pansy. Which to be honest rules out most of the candidates, except maybe Dominic Raab – he certainly looks like a man of leadership and is a staunch brexiteer.

    6. glen cullen
      May 25, 2019

      Totally agree and that is also the mood in the country…we need out now with FTA/WTO

  5. /IKH
    May 25, 2019


    We never needed a compromise between leave and remain. We are a Country that is totally conversant with the first past the post system. Would remain voters have compromised with leave voters if the result had been the other way round! From my experience, at least half of remain voters believe sufficiently strongly in democracy that they support the result of the referendum.

    I fully agree that we need to ditch thew Withdrawal Agreement. The on;y part that is salvageable is the citizens rights agreement, and that needs to be redrafted in plain English
    and not in E.U. legalise. With a clear statement of how disputes are settled and not by the

    The next P.M. needs to be someone who is totally prepared to walk away from the table if the deal offered is not acceptable. And the E.U. need to believe that. Otherwise we can not get any kind of acceptable deal.


    1. J Bush
      May 25, 2019

      I agree.

      Boris Johnson is being touted, but I have my doubts. My preference would be for a true democrat who didn’t have to deliberate over remain or leave, and who never voted for May’s surrender document. Sadly, I don’t think that will happen.

      The cabinet under May was stuffed with remainers, fence sitters and sjw and what a dogs dinner they made of it. It is time for a complete change. The next PM choice of cabinet will be telling.

    2. oldwulf
      May 25, 2019

      /ikh. I agree. When our host said “We are long past the position where we need a new leader to find a compromise between Leave and Remain” I believe he was wrong. We never needed to find a compromise between the winners and the losers.

    3. Christine
      May 25, 2019

      Even with citizens rights it can’t acceptable that foreigners gain more rights than British citizens have. So even this should be rewritten.

      1. AlmostDead
        May 26, 2019

        I don’t see any reason to have any agreement on citizen rights. Individuals can work out what they need to do. If they need to move back, so be it. The government shouldn’t be involved.

  6. oldtimer
    May 25, 2019

    I agree with your position and arguments on the next steps. The logic is clear. The EU has stated it cannot agree a FTA with a member state; ergo we must first leave. That will be either with or without an understanding between the EU and UK of what follows the UK departure.

    Some of your parliamentary colleagues still do not get it. A Ms James MP, interviewed on TV, still does not accept no deal. She seemed to have no conception of the Brexit party tsunami which is engulfing both main parties. She and others like her deserve to be swept away at the next general election. I suspect some of the candidates for the leadership still do not get it either.

    Your description of Mrs May’s unchanging position as “resilient” is exceedingly polite.

  7. Henry Carter
    May 25, 2019

    The EU has made it plain – over and over again – that if the UK reneges on the agreed terms of Withdrawal there will be NO talks about trade. So please stop trying to mislead your readers on the reality of the situation

    1. Fed up with the bull
      May 25, 2019

      @Henry. Then that would do the people of Europe great harm. Much of Europe is already struggling and not agreeing a trade deal would be stupid. It is companies that trade and we will still trade under WTO rules. In the meantime we can find other markets.

      1. AlmostDead
        May 26, 2019

        So can they

        1. Tad Davison
          May 27, 2019

          You appear to be saying the EU would deliberately cut its nose off to spite its face. That doesn’t say much for the quality (or lack thereof) of the EU’s leaders and negotiators!

          All they have to do is give the UK a decent deal and all would be well. According to reports, Tusk would have accommodated us some time ago, except the duplicitous Theresa May and Robbins had other ideas. She wanted to have something far more complicated that tied us in by stealth and subterfuge. No wonder the Tories lost so heavily with her kind in charge!

          I wonder if you really appreciate how keen European manufacturers are to keep selling to us, despite the likes of Verhofstadt strutting around acting tough and telling everyone how we’ll be beaten into submission unless we so as they command?

          It’s fine to sound tough when dealing with a drip, but Verhofstadt and Barnier will meet their match if Nigel Farage ever gets to do the negotiating. If the Tories exclude him, they’ll try to sell us down the river again, but the next big test is the Westminster elections, and just watch what happens after that if the dish up any more of their remainer BS!

    2. agricola
      May 25, 2019

      I still believe that the EU are realists, and more important their industrialists are even greater ones when they look at the effect on their bottom line.

      1. Julie Dyson
        May 25, 2019

        And if the EU prove not to be, Germany most certainly is a realist and it will not permit the EU to wreck its own economic fortunes through megalomania, petulant stubborness and temper tantrums.

        Ultimately, what Germany wants, Germany gets. And that means a mutually beneficial trade deal out of self-preservation instincts alone.

      2. Henry Carter
        May 25, 2019

        Agricola – really? after three years of watching the EU’s unshakable unity, while the UK disintegrates in front of our very eyes, you really think that the German carmakers are going to come to our rescue? Really?

        1. NickC
          May 25, 2019

          Henry Carter, The German car makers are not “going to come to our rescue” – that’s your strawman. But telling your customers they must obey the EU before you will allow them to buy one of their products, is not a recipe for sales success.

        2. Edward2
          May 25, 2019

          Rescue us Henry ?
          No, but they will act in their own interests.
          If their future prosperity is risked by the Commission making trade difficult then they will put pressure on Merkel to stop that happening.

        3. agricola
          May 25, 2019

          No Henry, the German car manufacturers will for their own self interest pressure first tbeir own government, beneficiaries of their endevours, and through their government the EU. As the largest contributor to EU funds they have clout. They may in your judgement in some altruistic gesture to the EU forget about their bottom line, however having been in international business most of my life I sincerely doubt it.

    3. Alan Jutson
      May 25, 2019


      But we have not agreed on the Withdrawal agreement, that is exactly the point, only Mrs May said she did, and it failed to be passed by parliament 3 times !

      I am absolutely fed up with people who want to compromise with the EU after we have compromised with ourselves first, as that is an absolutely stupid way to start negotiations.

      We need to simply leave and get out first, then try and bring people together by getting a sensible agreement with the EU over trade and other things, whilst re- locating the money we used to pay into the EU coffers on supporting UK projects which will benefit the UK population.

      The UK should come first, not second, third or fourth after the EU.

      1. Ian wragg
        May 25, 2019

        Don’t confuse Henry with facts. Like all EU trolls he can’t accept alternative opinions.

    4. Richard1
      May 25, 2019

      There is no such thing as the UK reneging on the WA until such time as the WA is actually agreed by the UK – by vote in parliament. Until then it’s just a draft.

      If a new PM does adopt the tactics suggested by Sir John that will offer the best prospect of an agreement. What Mrs May showed is bending over backwards to accommodate the EU makes a deal less likely not more. A robust FTA based approach from the beginning would have produced a result a year ago & We’d have forgotten what brexit means by now.

    5. James1
      May 25, 2019

      I believe the EU insisted time and again that “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The UK Parliament never agreed Mrs May’s dishonourable Withdrawal Agreement.

    6. NickC
      May 25, 2019

      Henry Carter, There has been NO talks about trade anyway. The EU can only use that threat once.

    7. anon
      May 25, 2019

      Show us the proof from the EU that the agreement was signed by our PM, without parliament agreement.

      I consider that the EU has acted in bad faith in negotiating a withdrawal agreement, which is not a withdrawal agreement in the non-legal sense of the words.

      I would as PM demand that the entire EU immediately agree to a FTA loosely based around a non binding voluntary Canada plus deal but with an ability to change this unilaterally.

      Otherwise , i would exit immediately and unilaterally. We have had enough of this xxxx.

      Then get a deal with Mr T arranged and signed on or before his visit!

      Get on with it. May needs to be gone. Now. No leader is better than Mrs May.
      Only those who never voted for the WA should be considered as leader.
      We need one of the Spartans to lead us out, at the very least temporarily.

      1. agricola
        May 25, 2019

        Future mechanics of exit demand that you first exit.Then present an FTA followed by the offer of a status quo freeze on present trading arrangements by the mutual activation of Art 24 of GATT. This allows stability while you discuss the FTA.

        In fairness to the EU, for whom I have little love, they acted in self interest. Through lack of experience, and a remain agenda, Mrs May opened the door to the totally unacceptable WA. The EU were naive or malicious in asking for so much that was totally unaccptable. The last time this was done, largely by the French, it was at Versaille in 1919, and that led inexorably to WW2. Accepting that our reaction has been very muddled, I have faith that the right new PM can sort it for the mutual benefit of the UK and EU.

    8. Steve
      May 25, 2019

      Henry Carter

      May I suggest the following :

      1) What the EU Commission is saying = be locked into our control or we apply measures to make sure your independence from us fails.

      2) We do not need to take any notice whatsoever of these threats, there is a whole world out there to trade with.

      3) Many big corporate businesses in Germany and France would not be too happy with the Commission were these threats to be carried out. The likes of BMW, PSA and many others will see it that the Commission has cost them a lot of money.

      Besides, the Union is in trouble and they know it. I believe it will fragment within a decade once we have left.

      Personally I’m looking forward to the demise of German cars on our roads, the rebuilding of our fishing industry and absence of the French fishing fleet in our waters. I’d also like to see a lot more trade with the US.

  8. Emma Chantry
    May 25, 2019

    We are not going to leave without a deal. End of story. I have no doubt you have seen the civil service briefing notes on the catastrophes that would follow abandoning the deals that forms the very basis of our place in the world – the briefing notes that have persuaded every member of the government that leaving with no deal cannot for a moment be considered. It is deeply irresponsible of you to pretend that leaving with no deal is even remotely possible.

    1. agricola
      May 25, 2019

      Agreed, it is desirable to have a deal, but not at any price, which is what th WA was. Our hosts route is the way to go.3

    2. Alan Jutson
      May 25, 2019


      So you actually believe all of the one sided Government fear arguments which are based on the model statistics that has failed more than once before.

      I wonder how the other 176 Countries in the World who are outside the EU but still trade with them, many of whom are smaller than us, manage to survive and prosper.

      The “No Deal” headline I am afraid has confused so many, because it suggests that nothing is in place at all, but our actual default position is to leave on WTO terms, and then we move forwards from that position.

      Even the EU is a member of the WTO and abide by its rules, so how could they complain !

      1. glen cullen
        May 25, 2019

        I agree we have allowed the use of the term ‘no-deal’ which is negitive, the MPs and government should be promoting the correct term WTO

      2. Steve
        May 25, 2019

        Alan Jutson

        Alan, to touch on what you said ; Even if the EU was stupid enough to block trading with us, there would be WTO related consequences for them.

        I say let’s leave first, then let the EU negotiate with us…..we’d be happy to oblige on WTO terms, but marine, territorial and sovereign matters will not be on the table.

        1. AlmostDead
          May 26, 2019

          Fine…but services will be off the table

    3. Mike Stallard
      May 25, 2019

      Dr Richard North is of exactly the same opinion. (Am I allowed to mention him? I have been slung off his blog for mentioning both Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson favourably!)

      Let’s be realistic here.
      If we just leave on October 31st:
      The Northern Irish Border is not going to work if we just leave.
      Trade with Europe is not going to work either: they will see to that.
      Holidays in Europe will not be simple.
      There will be a lot of people on the dole for a time in UK – some of them from key industries (cars, steel?).

      Good things:
      We will be as free as Australia and Canada and Singapore.
      Parliament will have to come to its senses and reform after the inevitable election.
      The USA will perhaps become our major trading partner instead of Europe.
      We will be allies of America and other Anglophone countries, not drawn into “ever closer union” with an unelected Commission whose President has not yet been decided by the elite in Brussels.

      Reply The border and trade will work fine

      1. NickC
        May 25, 2019

        Mike Stallard, Let’s be realistic here.

        If we just leave on October 31st
        The UK can leave at any time, having not ratified the WA.

        The Northern Irish Border is not going to work if we just leave
        Of course it will “work” – depending on your definition of “work” which you don’t give – the UK/Belgian border will work, so the UK/Eire border will work (it already does for VAT, corporation tax, excise duties, currency, etc).

        Trade with Europe is not going to work either: they will see to that
        Again you do not define “work”. In my opinion a diminution of EU/UK trade is to be welcomed. But the idea that trade will cease is risible. So we’re only discussing how much rather than “not working”.

        Holidays in Europe will not be simple
        Again you don’t define “simple”. Do you really think that losing UK independence is worth it for the task of showing your passport? The EU as an artificial political entity is definitely not our friend, but we are not at war.

        There will be a lot of people on the dole for a time in UK – some of them from key industries (cars, steel?)
        Probably not; it depends on many factors, such as the number of EU citizens returning after our independence, and the c88% of UK GDP not dependent on exports to the EU. British Steel is bankrupt – whilst we are still in the EU. Car plants are already closing because of a reduction in demand, uncertainty over environmental laws (diesel, electric, etc), and the EU-Japan trade deal.

      2. Fred H
        May 25, 2019

        Mike … workers on the dole. You mean UK but don’t mention the EU workers in car manufacturing laid off, white goods workers hit in recession hit Italy, farm workers hit in France, tourism workers, hotel staff unemployed – go bust all over Europe as valuable UK visitors stick middle finger up. The pain will be more severe in EU than in UK.

    4. Bob Dixon
      May 25, 2019



    5. Bryan Harris
      May 25, 2019

      Nothing is impossible …

      Briefing papers are one thing, but with a decent PM that controls the civil service instead of the other way around, not to mention pressure from voters, then remain MP’s will be a lot more likely to go for a No-Deal.

    6. NickC
      May 25, 2019

      Emma Chantry, Why are you so frightened of the world? The vast majority of the planet is not in the EU but trades with it. So can we. The idea we cannot make our own way in the world and prosper is just silly. More importantly, we do not need, or want, our government to be Brussels based.

    7. jerry
      May 25, 2019

      @Emma Chantry; Leaving on WTO rules is a ‘deal’, just not with the EU, but one that the EU has signed up to (as if already a Federation) and will have to accept, the EU27 already trade with far more countries on WTO rules than they do either within the EU single market or under bespoke FTAs.

    8. Dennisa
      May 25, 2019

      Civil servants do not want to leave because the EU is a cosy club and all civil servants across Europe find it easy to get new regulations and policies into print simply by talking to their opposite numbers. Civil servants run governments and they become “The Deep State”.

      1. Tad Davison
        May 25, 2019

        You could well have a valid point, in which case, the politicians ought to have the balls to sort it out!

      2. Fred H
        May 25, 2019

        Dennisa – – -exactly. The cosy old boy network, and 50% pensions and titles on retirement at risk. ‘Yes Minister’ is the real world.

  9. Freeborn John
    May 25, 2019

    We have to be wary of unfamiliar candidates blagging that they will deliver a no deal brexit. History (Major, May, Hague) shows that the candidate who has little known eurosceptic credentials ends up being a europlastic who will bend to every demand from Brussels. Every current or recent member of the cabinet fails in this regard.

    The candidates need to state their plan to deliver no deal brexit given the current Remain Majority of MPs. They need to show their determination to use the perogative powers of the executive to conduct foreign policy irrespective of the views of Remain MPs. They each need to say how they will weed out Remain Tory MPs (confidence motion on no deal followed by withdrawal of whip and deselection of those remain MPs who oppose?) prior to a GE to be held just after we are out or, if necessary, before taking us out with a new pro-brexit majority won on a campaign contrasting their determination to deliver against the vacillation of Labour. Those former Tory MPs who have been deselected need to be replaced by real eurosceptics such as Dan Hannan.

    One of the mistakes that May made made was to stuff Parliament with Remainers like Vicky Ford. That needs to be reversed. The future composition of both Houses of Parliament must reflect the brexit majority in the country if it is to avoid being delegitimised.

    1. Dan Rushworth
      May 25, 2019

      Freeborn John, What you say is exactly right and how it’s done in the real world of business takeovers, new management etc. It would be good to hear the new PM clarify in this way to the ministers and public that they intend to whitewash in favour of the majority of the British People. A general election is too out of control. However I am intrigued on how the Scott’s would vote, as I can’t see them really wanting to stand by such contradictory nonsense of the SNP (we want to be ruled by a bigger controlling entity than Westminster).

  10. agricola
    May 25, 2019

    Your first paragraph says most. Remain is dead, internment should come after the UK/EU election results. Any conservative member of the HoC who is minded to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum and the manifesto they were elected on should lose the whip and face de-selection by his/her constituency party should they vote to do so. I do not include Ken Clarke in this disparate remain cabal. He has been an overt remainer since before day one so leave him alone to mumble on.4

    No member of the current cabinet, whatever they profess to believe, should be allowed anywhere near the premiership election. They have had their moment of glory, but have perpetuated the appalling time we have been through.

    Your penultimate paragraph would appear to be, leave on WTO terms, offer an FTA and continuity of the current trade arrangements until an FTA is agreed. This should kill off CBI&TUC opposition. It would also be clear to the EU and more important in the long term all European industrialists who benefit from trade. Their future trade will no longer be wthin the protectionist blanket of the EU, but they have their foot in the door and we like BMWs, flowers, and lemons figuratively speaking.

    I am pleased to read your last paragraph which I interperet as a determined PM has the power to go WTO terms without recourse to a parliament that is totally out of phase with the majority of the electorate. We will follow it all with avid interest. Thank you for your clarity even if expressed in concilliatory language.

    1. jerry
      May 25, 2019

      @agricola; “Any conservative member of the HoC who is minded to ignore the result of the 2016 referendum and the manifesto they were elected on should lose the whip and face de-selection”

      Thus almost forcing them to join CUK, and yes that party will survive the EP elections, even with ‘nul points’, meaning that the Tory party is likely to loose it’s majority in the HoC (even assuming that the the DUP carry on with their current arrangements), whilst not changing the parliamentary maths, other than perhaps that of any NC vote…

      That said, should a Remainer win they to will be unable to do a “Macmillan” either against Brexiteers, all but forcing them to either sit as a Ind or join TBP.

      1. NickC
        May 25, 2019

        Jerry, Alternatively, Tory Remain MPs who feel so strongly could do the honourable thing and implement Leave (which was not conditional upon a trade deal), whilst maintaining their personal opinion that Remain is Utopia. It boils down to belief in a policy (Remain) vs belief in democracy (our majority Leave vote). Remain MPs have to give up one or the other.

        1. jerry
          May 25, 2019

          @NickC; If the HoC is full of Remain MPs who elected them?! Also, if more Brexiteers actually believed in the democracy you keep trying to claim the people would have been asked to choose between the WA and a WTO exit. BOTH sides have to give some.

          1. Fred H
            May 25, 2019

            Leave MPs will have to abstain from Remain style Bills, and once GE takes place, a coalition might be needed with BREXIT looking for support, as they may well have the most seats. Don’t underestimate the swing should a Remainer become PM. The anger across the country will be unprecedented.

          2. jerry
            May 26, 2019

            @Fred H; “Leave MPs will have to abstain from Remain style Bills”

            Would that not make it rather to easy for europhiles to revoke A50 ?!

          3. NickC
            May 26, 2019

            Jerry, False. The WA was not leaving the EU, it was Remain under a different treaty. But a WTO exit is still Leave under the conditions of the Referendum – the other main option being a free trade deal (not my preference, but put that to one side). So we already voted against the (WA) Remain and for the (WTO) Leave.

          4. jerry
            May 27, 2019

            @NickC; Just because you keep repeating a (defunct) UKIP lie it will not become a fact, the WA is leaving the “European union”, just as much as Norway, Switzerland, Monaco & Andorra are not members of the “European Union” but all have very close trade or currency relationships with it.

            The 2016 referendum question did not carry any qualifying options, thus the WA, a Norway (Flexcit) type of deal are both still legally leaving the “European Union” – just not how you or I wish, an exit on WTO rules is. QED.

            That is why we need to persuade, not try claiming a mandate we do not own, a mandate no one (yet) owns.

      2. agricola
        May 25, 2019

        The mechanics of your scenario come after we leave on WTO terms. A positive forceful PM can go WTO without recourse to parliament. Backed by a leave cabinet it would be a straightforward act of government deciding it’s own foreign policy.They do not need parliaments or their parties permission, they are there to govern. In terms of an FTA, it is governments who sign treaties not political parties or Parliament.

        1. jerry
          May 25, 2019

          @agricola; “A positive forceful PM can go WTO without recourse to parliament.”

          Indeed, but they might become the shortest serving PM in history, after a good number of their own MPs cross the floor and the official opposition then calls a NC vote. Nor does it need a forceful PM, just someone who sits on their hands and does nothing (with regards Brexit) until 23:01hrs on Oct 31st.

  11. Bob Dixon
    May 25, 2019

    The next conservative to lead must have not voted for the WA agreement.

    1. formula57
      May 25, 2019

      A reasonable view, and one that would rule out Mr. Johnson (formerly the people’s Blue Boris).

    2. anon
      May 25, 2019

      ….at any stage or its variants or in any other votes (indicative or otherwise) undermined our leaving the EU.

    3. Dominic
      May 25, 2019

      Absolutely and holds in great contempt the actions of administrative Oligarchs in the Civil Service. They must also purge and dismantle Labour’s client state

      The new leader must be utterly ruthless in taking apart all that Labour’s constructed

      And then purge any Tory MP who conspired to undermine British democracy

    4. Denis Cooper
      May 25, 2019

      As that would knock out the two leading contenders, Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, I think that criterion will have to be set aside. Or possibly refined, with only those who voted for it the first time round being excluded:

  12. William1995
    May 25, 2019

    Sir John, I hope that the next leader, preferably Boris or Gove, gives you a position in the cabinet. We need steady hands and people around the PM who can give solid advice (yourself, Raab, Hunt, McVey etc). I look forward to seeing who you will be backing – hopefully an upgrade from Mrs Leadsom!

    1. Dennisa
      May 25, 2019

      Gove is untrustworthy in my opinion. He it was who stabbed Boris in the back to leave the way open for Mrs May. There was also the false indignation (not from Gove) over the harmless comments by Angela Leadsom. There was a clear strategy to get May into office and Gove did nothing to stop it.

      Also, Gove has been captured by the NGO’s at Defra, notably WWF and FoE. Appointing Tony Juniper as Chair of Natural England epitomises this. The silly climate nonsense needs to be wound down, not enhanced. We need to use Brexit to walk away from the EU commitments and get rid of the millstone of the Climate Change Act.

    2. Julian Flood
      May 25, 2019

      The image of Gove looking adoringly at that little Swedish girl should be enough to disqualify him from any government post whatsoever. Yes, it is time we addressed the whole global warming/climate change/climate emergency/climate hysteria thing, but I very much doubt that a sixteen year old has enough knowledge or understanding of the issues to guide a government minister in formulating policy.


      1. roger
        May 25, 2019

        That image of Gove mirrored by Ed Miliband is the most sickening sight that I have witnessed in Eighty years.
        There surely must be no place in any future Conservative government for anyone who has swallowed the man made Climate Change nonsense to the extent that it appears he has done.
        Destroying the UK car industry and causing unemployment by his thoughtless impracticable and electrical engineering illiteracy should have cost him his job there and then and yet it was lauded by his equally illiterate peers, unrecognised as being yet another nail in his party’s coffin.
        It is not only failure to implement Brexit that irks the electorate, dictatorial MPs have lost touch with the common man in a number of other areas.
        Like our American cousins, we have a swamp of equal proportion to drain

      2. Fred H
        May 25, 2019

        Julian, Gove was jealously admiring the interlect.

      3. Tad Davison
        May 25, 2019

        Yes, there was something phoney about it, and Gove likes to play to the cameras. His strategy appears to be to come across as the voice of stability and reason. Frankly, I don’t trust him an inch and have said as much to leading Brexiteers.

        I’ll give another instance of a politician who exaggerated an expression for odd if not devious purposes – one Theresa May – when she laughed at something someone said. Most people would have merely raised a smile, but she juffled her shoulders and slapped her thighs, and it wouldn’t have taken a professor of clinical psychology to conclude it was all for show. By contrast, a good orator can use body language in a measured and even entertaining way.

        So why do these people try to exaggerate expressions inappropriately?

        The answer must be for ulterior reasons and purposes. This is why I would much rather trust men like Sir John or Steve Baker. They go before the cameras and just tell it like it is without the flummery.

  13. James Brown
    May 25, 2019

    The numbers in the HoC still do not stack up. IF the next leader is a hard brexiter, the remain side of the party will thwart the process, like the 80 erg members did with a workable compromise agreement.

    An election won’t change the balance, because not enough conservative or Labour votes will switch.

    Only a 2nd referendum can unblock: 3 options, no deal, wta, stay. Only if parliament can the process move on.

    (As an aside. £39bn in government terms, is lose change.
    Aside 2. The reduction of the budget deficit has been a significant achievement)

    1. Pud
      May 25, 2019

      We have already had a referendum, in which the majority of those who voted chose Leave over Remain. Campaigning from both sides made it clear that Leave meant no Single Market, Customs Union or subservience to the ECJ. Since the referendum, we have had a government, aided and abetted by an opportunistic opposition, who have worked towards achieving the smallest split with the EU that they imagine they can fool the voters into thinking is Brexit. Mrs May even came up with a Withdrawal Agreement that was in many ways worse than the UK being an EU member.
      Imagine your suggested referendum took place and Leave with no deal won. The politicians didn’t act on their last instruction to leave the EU, what makes you think they would listen a second time?
      Apologies if you are a rare exception, but it appears that everyone calling for a second referendum wants to reverse the first, not confirm its result.

    2. James1
      May 25, 2019

      Anyone who thinks that £39 billion is “loose change” must have been very loosely educated in arithmetic and the ways of the world.

    3. NickC
      May 25, 2019

      James Brown, If you think £39bn is loose change, then you pay it. We had a Referendum already to choose whether to Remain or Leave. We chose to leave, go, exit, cease being subject to the EU treaties, cease being controlled by the EU, become independent, etc.

      The 2016 Referendum was to “unblock” – with the concomitant promise to implement what we chose. Now that must done. Or the UK parliament is pointless. In the end we are either a province of the EU empire, or we are independent. No compromise is possible.

    4. Alan Jutson
      May 25, 2019

      James why do you think politicians will respect the result of any second referendum when they have shown no willingness to approve the first. ?

      Its not the people out of touch with politicians, it is politicians out of touch with the people which is the problem, with Mrs May being out of touch with both.

      A second referendum is not the answer.

    5. graham1946
      May 25, 2019

      ‘The numbers in the HoC still do not stack up’

      Frankly, we don’t give a damn what Parliament thinks. The government of the day could not agree about the EU (the Tories have been fighting over it for 45 years and it has brought down more than one PM) and passed it to the people to decide. We did that and now they must just get on with it even if they don’t personally like it.

      They will be sent a message as clear as day this weekend how we feel about their activities and unless they wish to declare war on their employers, the voters, they must surely get the message, especially as another Remain PM has now gone. They ignore the voters at their peril. Do it again and they will be toast. They now have another chance to show if the prefer British or Continental rule.
      We could do with a bit more ‘loose change’ spent in this country rather than pay for Polish motorways whilst some of our people visit food banks.

    6. agricola
      May 25, 2019

      A determined leave PM backed by an equally determined leave cabinet does not need the permission of parliament or tbe party to decide on British foreign policy or the execution of it. Parliament and all parties have led themselves into a deluded idea of where real power lies.

    7. DaveK
      May 25, 2019

      Wow, a post completely full of remainer/BBC memes.

      1. The 80 ERG would only have made a difference in the last vote, by which time it was already a dead duck.
      2. Any second referendum should not include a leave option, that’s been answered already.
      3. Freudian slip on the “lose” change.

  14. Leslie Singleton
    May 25, 2019

    Dear Sir John–Thank God that vapid uninspiring unelected duplicitous hopelessly deluded ineffective wrong-all-the-time woman is going (but I don’t understand why she is not already gone–surely what we wanted was maximum impact on Brussels?). Stop mucking about with the crazy leadership process and get Boris in. What he needs to do is revert to our winning hand and threaten them in words of one syllable that if they do not start to be accommodating to their biggest customer we really will go to WTO. Half the problem was that Mrs May and that Olly Robbins bloke secretely telling them to the contrary so Brussels never came close to believing it, not without good reeason whilst she was PM. It could be very different now. The other powerful threat is that of an early GE which should make many an MP undersdtand that their jobs are at risk. Apart from threats, Boris might actually be able to debate with and persuade people which is the polar opposite of what Mrs May was able to do. Look Westward the land is bright and all that.

  15. Mike Wilson
    May 25, 2019

    Mr. Redwood, you say ‘the new PM has plenty of powers to stop Parliament taking control of the process and preventing us from leaving’. Could you explain? What is to prevent Letwin and Cooper from taking control?

    Reply Money resolution, timetable, crown prerogative etc. We told Mrs may how to do it but she didnt want to

  16. Fed up with the bull
    May 25, 2019

    If we don’t get a true Brexiteer and we don’t leave the EU by the 31st October then the Tory party will be no more. Surely they are not too dim to see this? They have to understand that voting is the only way the people can have their say. We were told it would be our decision and yet parliament has done everything it can to keep us in. The public are angry and quite rightly so. I am amazed at the number of friends that have said even though they voted to remain the issue is democracy now. We have had the vote and it has to be accepted and we have to support democracy or all is lost. We did not fight all these years to retain our sovereignty only to give it away when the people have voted to keep it.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 25, 2019

      Reading a few tweets from remain Tory MPs earlier, and they are STILL creeping and crawling, and telling May how fantastic she is. These are the ones who have brought a once great party to condemnation and ridicule and need to be de-selected post haste to save it. If they cannot be got rid of, then a very dark time awaits the party.

  17. Mike Stallard
    May 25, 2019

    The chairman of the Maidenhead Conservatives was on LBC yesterday evening and he told us how Mrs May was a very good local MP. She was actually doing house to house in the last few hectic days. She was an excellent constituency MP, he said and he thought there was a good chance she would continue as a back bencher for the constituency.
    Says it all really. A nice, Conservative family woman gets what she wants: the honour of being the second woman PM.
    And she is well out of her depth from day one.

    1. formula57
      May 25, 2019

      @ Mike Stallard “And she is well out of her depth from day one.”

      Agreed, and the reference to Margaret Thatcher in her dreadful, arrogant, exculpatory resignation address served only to highlight that the only comparison was the coincidence of them sharing gender.

      I heard Margaret Thatcher speak, I voted to support Margaret Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher was someone I admired and T. May was no Margaret Thatcher.

    2. MickN
      May 25, 2019

      Of course Mrs May will not resign her seat. CCHQ will have seen to that!
      The last thing they want now is a by election in their heartland they they would in all probability lose.

    3. Jobsworth
      May 25, 2019

      She said in her speech she was the second female PM and there WOULD ( incorporating ‘should’) be more! Why?
      It should not matter whether the PM and all her Cabinet and all MPs are female to a man. If I had a gold mine I would not care what gender the miners so long as they made me filthy rich.
      May could not focus on the day-job to the bitter end

    4. Caterpillar
      May 25, 2019

      Mike Stallard,

      Also highlights the problem with UK structure. On the one hand MPs are super-social workers for their constituency, on the other they are the pool from which government is selected. Having seen Bercow-Cooper-Letwin-Grieve’s effect within the current system, it is clear that an overhaul is necessary of the executive-legislature ‘structure’.

    5. Fred H
      May 25, 2019

      Mike……I doubt Mrs May will be as cowardly and spineless as posh-boy Cameron. Defeat for boy-David was felt as ridicule, ( abandoned his constituency sharpish) defeat for May possibly just a ‘turn the other cheek’ matter as someone here said.

  18. Richard1
    May 25, 2019

    One way Mrs May could enhance her reputation for posterity would be by remaining as MP for her constituency until the next election and not flouncing out of the Commons as Cameron and Osborne did after they lost office.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 25, 2019

      I think she should resign her seat. That way, she can’t snipe and bitch from the side lines and undermine the new (hopefully Brexit) Prime Minister.

      I would also want to see the back of the local constituency chairman, who exercised just appallingly bad judgement, and is an impediment to the selection of a proper Brexiteer candidate in May’s stead.

      And if that fails, the Brexit Party can step into the breach, so another Brexix MP in the House of Commons is virtually nailed on.

  19. John Sheridan
    May 25, 2019

    I agree with your article Sir John. No more delays or fudges.

    I will be voting for Boris, Raab or Baker (if he stands) in the election (if any reach the final two) on the basis that they will take us out of the EU by the 31st of October with a Free Trade Agreement or on WTO terms. Steve Baker has shown more steel than Boris or Raab as he did not support the WA during the third meaningful vote.

    I do not plan to vote for anyone that was part of the Cabinet and supported the WA, as I cannot believe they would entertain a WTO exit. They may say no deal is better than a bad deal but, like May, I suspect they would be just saying what is needed to be elected leader of the party.

  20. ian
    May 25, 2019

    Whatever you do the Tory party is not going to win the next election and won’t even be the biggest party, it’s already over, the party lost too much support and ever the party does will not win the voters back they just want change now.

    Politic has already changed for the better in this country, the media have lost control of the people minds.

  21. Nigl
    May 25, 2019

    Like the expenses scandal Parliament has completely underestimated the strength of feeling in the country and I find it ironic that the unexpected consequence of their failure, namely elections that were not planned has bought this home to them.

    I look forward to people like Amber Rudd/Soubry/Clarke etc looking as if they were sucking a lemon as they scramble to ‘reposition’ themselves merely to keep their seats instead of the loftier perches they think they should be occupying.

    Really good to see your Central Office looking to select new candidates for the Change constituencies, I hope the resukts in Sunday show what people think of them.

    Finally you and the ERG are up theirs with the legendary Arsenal back four of Tony Adams etc in stopping May and Hammond putting the ball in the net and up front, Nigel Farage playing the legendary striker role of Thierry Henry hammering away until they cracked.


  22. GilesB
    May 25, 2019

    The new PM should totally reject the process to date.

    In particular any discussions with the EU Commission should be solely about the future relationship, including trade.

    Once the future relationship is agreed, then and only then should their be any discussion about Withdrawal Arrangements.

    This sequence is exactly as proscribed by Art 50

  23. […] The last word must go to the incomparable Sir John Redwood who writes in his Diary today: […]

  24. Everhopeful
    May 25, 2019

    29th March x 108.
    And divers other dates too.
    Why would we believe the 7th June??

  25. Iain Moore
    May 25, 2019

    May’s WA is dead. The 31st October is a deadline which can’t and mustn’t be moved. This doesn’t give us the time to do very much. I believe we have to go back to the Canada +++, but as there isn’t time to complete the negotiations, sign up to a letter of intent, or what ever the diplomatic equivalent is, go to WTO , and complete the negotiation under GATT 24 that leaves tariffs unchanged for 2 years.

  26. Bryan Harris
    May 25, 2019

    The way forward to a WTO Brexit will not be a bed of roses even with LEAVE PM.

    Unless though Tory MP’s support us really leaving, then they have to understand that their careers are all but over after the next GE….. They are probably hoping for some relief in the shape of the EU elections, that it might not be as bad as predicted. We will see…!

  27. A.Sedgwick
    May 25, 2019

    Standby for Nigel Farage to become leader of the opposition.

    The EU politburo is boxed in after repeatedly saying no renegotiation.

    Is there a true no deal Conservative leader, who would simply order such plans to be implemented with no further debate in parliament? Matter decided and closed.

    Can a general election be avoided in 2019 given Commons’ numbers? Would one be facilitated by another extension beyond 31/10/19.

  28. Kevin
    May 25, 2019

    The bottom line is that the new leader must not be Mr. Johnson, Mr. Raab
    or anyone who has at any time voted for the Withdrawal Agreement. The
    men and women who have been put forward so far seem designed to please
    members of the current Parliament rather than voters. I’ve doubted Mr. Farage,
    yet I would trust him over any currently suggested Conservative candidate.

  29. stred
    May 25, 2019

    Remainer Conservative MPs are talking about fixing the backstop and carrying on with the rest of the WA. They just don’t get it. The Brexit Party will soon have a conservative manifesto with promises to clear out the Houses of Commons and Lords. Good riddance.

  30. formula57
    May 25, 2019

    Heeding your advice would have saved May the quisling and could yet save the Conservative Party. Her antics caused me to donate to the Brexit Party, despite now living in daily fear of a peerage.

    “Best would be to go to the EU, say we have messed them around for too long and we wish to leave immediately. If the EU agrees it can be done…” – the UK surely has messed them around but we should still declare we are out when we say we are out (as you wrote before T. May began her long road to defeat over three wasted years).

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    May 25, 2019

    We urgently need an interim trade agreement to be implemented by 31st October. Hopefully, we can do a bit better than WTO rules, for example by making car parts and aircraft parts tariff free in both directions. That might stop the Remoaners bellyaching about complex supply chains.

    In the longer term, we should start making cars and aircraft wholly within our own country.

    Mrs May has got 6 weeks or so before she is evicted from No 10. She should make herself useful by agreeing a managed No Deal. Her problems have arisen from the 2017 election, the Chequers White Paper and the draft Withdrawal Agreement. These are all ‘bastards of her own begetting’. There is no need to feel sorry for her; indeed, it needs a heart of stone not to laugh.

  32. jerry
    May 25, 2019

    This is not just a Brexit issue, yes the Tories might well loose further support to TBP, but it has been loosing support to the opposite swing of the pendulum also.

    It’s not as though a significantly larger number of voters sat on hands in 2017 compared to general elections since 2001. The Tory party, and especially those on your wing of the party Sir John, really have got to accept that the sands of opinion are shifting policy wise, yes the centrist parties did well in 2017 compared to 2015, but then UKIP did badly too, one has to ask were those UKIP votes went as they (presumably…) did not go to the europhile LibDems.

  33. MPC
    May 25, 2019

    I’m not sure Boris Johnson is the saviour as both he and Gove took a long time to come out on the Leave side in 2016. But if we do get a PM who believes in Brexit it could be done by:
    – dropping the phrase ‘No Deal’ and replacing it with say ‘Brexit Managed Agreements’,
    emphasising the agreements that have been drafted (plural) and to be reinstated
    – properly challenging the catastrophists who say we, the world’s 5th largest economy, can’t flourish without a single overarching agreement with the EC
    – publicising an acceleration of planned trade talks beyond the EU, especially the USA
    – a credible Brexit delivery and resourcing plan through to 31 October and beyond (drawing on the good practice guides on programme planning produced by several previous Governments!)
    – a PM and cabinet that speak optimistically about the many opportunities in Leaving the EU which will contrast dramatically with previous statements by a number of Cabinet members

  34. McBryde
    May 25, 2019

    I don’t expect you to publish this. Whenever I suggest there must be someone very heavy sitting on whoever gets into a top position of influence, it doesn’t get posted.
    I think it is now staring us in he face!

    I haven’t been surprised about May”s behaviour all along… And probably whoever takes over from her.
    They become like the EU Commissioner with a mask on.

    Call it globalism, new world order, military-industrial complex, etc, the public can see through the charade and doesn’t want to lose sovereignty no matter how it’s sold to them.

  35. John Leak
    May 25, 2019

    Do politicians read history?

    “But even on this point there had been no concession. Did the man [Austen Chamberlain] really believe that he could cajole the French into concessions? It was no use fencing with the French. They were clever. There was only one way to deal with them: to take a line and to stand rock-firm on it.”

    R.H. Bruce Lockhart. Retreat from Glory. London, Putnam, 1934

  36. Lynn Atkinson
    May 25, 2019

    In 1997 I stood in the polling booth and fought the battle of my life. I imagined Major smiling and waving in Downing Street, having won by 1 seat, and that seat (Monmouth) won by 1 vote – Mine. I voted Labour! I did so until Cameron promised the referendum. Voting Brexit Party is easy! The Tories need to understand how angry their supporters are. They have to do double backflips to please us now – NO more negotiation! Declaration that we leave eith on free trade terms or no deal. Constituencies must have freedom to propose and select their own ppcs.

    1. Iago
      May 25, 2019

      You voted for unlimited, nation-destroying immigration.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        May 25, 2019

        I did not expect the TORY Party to be so incapable of learning that they forced Tories like me to vote them down for 23 years. Our choice was only which party would impose Socialism on us. If we are to have socialism, I prefer it to be blamed on the Socialists.
        It was a hard thing to do! I’m telling the Tories now that their disaff4cted don’t have to do what I did which was very hard, it’s easy to vote for the Brexit Party by comparison, so they just shape up!

      2. forthurst
        May 25, 2019

        In 2017, the Tory party imported as many unassimilable aliens as Tony “rub their noses in diversity” Bliar did in 2005. Time to wake up and stop voting for all English-hating parties.

  37. Dominic
    May 25, 2019

    There are two main foes. The EU and Marxist Labour. Both are determined to bury the UK in their own ways. Both have oppressive and destructive intent.

    The next leader must be able to attract votes from Leave voters in Marxist Labour’s heartlands and with the right leader they can do just that. That rules out Gove, Hunt and all the other political players who see the issue of our sovereignty as political capital to promote their own careers

    Of course the person to replace the present incumbent must be a pure bred, principled Eurosceptic. We do not need another half breed but someone who is an instinctive Eurosceptic. No more political games but a brutal application of a plan to deliver the result of the EU referendum. A conviction politician of absolute repute.

    No more apologies from the new leader. No more backsliding. You look the electorate in the face and tell it as it is. The British want brutal honesty not political language designed to trigger them nor language to manipulate their perceptions. That’s Labour’s game. Let Marxists lie and manipulate. if we tell it as is the British people will see the difference

    The EU must be exposed. Their attempts to bind us and hijack us was appalling. A complete absence of dignity and respect. Their games must be detailed to the public. Forget the diplomatic norms of Statecraft.

    Marxist Labour must also be exposed. This rancid party died in the early 1970’s. Tell working folk like my parents exactly this. Many northern folk still believe old Labour exists. This ignorance needs to be remedied. Use all means to expose this once great party with a moral dimension

    I’d like to see Priti Patel. I believe she’s a dedicated, principled, honest and sincere Tory politician. Yes, she isn’t standing but many Tories could learn from her and indeed you John.

    If the British public detect bull and fakery in this new leader we’re finished.

  38. Jobsworth
    May 25, 2019

    JR I saw you yesterday on Sky News. You were sat or stood in front of a painting or photo featuring a Blue Montana cornflower or similar and a coppery surround light switch to your left. I can’t recall what you yourself looked like or your clothing 🙂

    Oh, you said something about choice of PM and suggested the candidates were too many and they needed to make realistic deals one with another and so narrow the field down to say six candidates who could get votes by Tory MPs. You would consider supporting anyone “life-long” who actually worked for a clean break with the EU.
    It rules out most of them.
    The fact you yourself possibly feel you would have insufficient MPs to back you as a candidate does not auger well. It seems unlikely any Tory PM just now will or could get us out of the EU.
    Obviously I do not know the result of the MEP Election but if The Brexit Party has performed well enough then it may do the Tory Party good to lose many MPs in the next GE so weeding out the chaff

    Reply It was a photo of an agapanthus

  39. Mark B
    May 25, 2019

    Good morning

    Sir John’s last sentence for me is the most telling. The PM, despite stating over 100 times in the house we would be Leaving, did not want to do so. She also wanted to Remain, if not in, but very closely aligned too, the EU. This I believe the EU knew and that is why we were offered such onerous terms in the WA.

    A new PM is not the answer. What is need is a Parliament and a PM, backed up by a committed Civil Service, to delivering an exit that does not need a WA. Whether or not that is enough to bring the EU to the negotiating table I cannot say. But to those that say Leaving without a WA will damage the UK I say this. It may very well do but, it will most CERTAINLY damage the EU and rEU27. And as I keep saying, when Germany and a few others can no longer meet the EU’s bills, it’s game over !

  40. rose
    May 25, 2019

    If we hang around till Hallowe’en, she will have cost us £7 billion extra, without, as far as I can tell, it having been money properly agreed by Parliament. What is the penalty for such behaviour? And how is the Tilbrook case going? Perhaps we can get a refund.

  41. Dave Andrews
    May 25, 2019

    Can we please have an end of the “compromise” rhetoric? We either stay or leave. As if the decision whether to pole vault a canal requires a compromise that leaves you stuck on the pole in the middle. You go hell for leather or not even try.
    I discover that fear was a major reason why people voted to remain, not so much any affection for the EU. The new PM needs to reassure those people that all will be well with no WA in place. Once we are out, and the prophecies of doom fail to materialise, the doom-mongers will melt away.

  42. graham1946
    May 25, 2019

    On the radio this morning Rory Stewart talked himself out of a government job and to becoming a permanent backbencher when he said he would not serve under Boris (although none of the present lot should not be considered anyway). The rest of them weasled their way through interviews about the good of the country and all that without saying what they would do.
    We have another two months of this nonsense to put up with whilst the country pays out 55 million a day and nothing gets done. If this is the best the Tories can come up with rather than a short, say one or two week election process, they don’t deserve to govern. Nigel Farage launched a party and got a lot of support in a couple of weeks whilst the Tories can’t even decide on a Leader. What a shower.

    1. James Bertram
      May 25, 2019

      Good articles today and yesterday on the facts4EU website questioning why is it taking so long to elect a Tory leader? It seems there won’t be a new leader in place before the end of July, then all MPs go on holiday for 6 weeks, so nothing will be done until early September.
      You start this article: ‘The next Prime Minister has one immediate and urgent task – to get us out of the EU.’ Well, what is urgent about this? Clearly the Conservative Party doesn’t give a damn about the state of the country May has left us with.
      Some questions:
      Why isn’t May thrown out immediately before she can do more harm?
      Why, as Facts4EU suggest, doesn’t the Tory Party change the leader election process so that it can be completed by the end of June?
      Why do you think that this current crop of MPs deserve any holiday whilst the country and business is waiting for decisive action?
      Why don’t we just leave the EU, and then negotiate FTA’s etcetera?
      Why should we wait to leave until 31st October, having been promised to leave on the 29th March over 100 times?
      There is no urgency here, Sir John; just more incompetent self-indulgent politicians fiddling while the UK burns.
      Time for a clean sweep of the lot of them.
      Time for political reform.
      Time for the Brexit Party.

  43. Edwardm
    May 25, 2019

    Just hope we get a true conservative for a PM – preferably one who has never voted for the WA.
    We need a PM who besides delivering WTO/FTA/GAT24 Brexit, will undo the moves to New Labourism and cultural Marxism under the last two PMs and who will get a grip of immigration, make good security decisions, support our armed forces etc. – and have someone such as yourself, JR, as Chancellor.

  44. Simeon
    May 25, 2019

    Sir John,

    Your analysis is surely correct; the Conservative party’s one chance to survive is to enact a proper Brexit. And of course you are correct to say that if the government simply did nothing between know and October’s end, we would leave and then be free to make a settlement with the EU on mutually acceptable terms.

    But if it is the government’s settled will to leave without the WA and instead lay the groundwork for an alternative agreement that constitutes a proper Brexit, the government will fall. You know as well as anyone that the Conservative Parliamentary party will not countenance what is disingenuously characterised as no deal. The best that can be hoped for is a credible Brexiteer elected as leader who is willing to split the party and fight a general election on the basis of achieving a proper Brexit. Even this, were it to happen – which I can’t see – I think, would be too little certainly too late.

    Is it time to consider that the presence of good people in the Conservative party presents the danger of splitting the Brexit vote? Is it not time to consider that perhaps the Brexit party offers the only credible vehicle to deliver Brexit?

    1. Steve
      May 25, 2019


      “the Conservative party’s one chance to survive is to enact a proper Brexit”

      I would agree, except that it’s probably game over anyway for the conservative party. They’re unlikely to elect a balls of steel bulldog PM, also the EU election results might be the final nail in the coffin.

      …..and all because of bloody liberal minded pacifist compromisers.

  45. Denis Cooper
    May 25, 2019

    I wonder what Oliver Letwin is thinking now, whether he has any regrets.

    1. Tad Davison
      May 25, 2019

      Letwin the traitor. Some balk at the use of such a word, but I can’t think of a more appropriate one to describe him and his ilk. Their removal from parliament is vital, as is the removal of all the other duplicitous John Major type pro-EU yes-men.

  46. Original Richard
    May 25, 2019

    Remain PM, Mrs. May, together with pro-EU Conservative MPs, thought they could get round the referendum result by signing the UK up to a new EU treaty where we accepted EU laws, budgets, taxes, fines and policies (trade, energy, environment, foreign etc) but without representation or veto and with no lawful means of exit – the one described by Mr. Verhofstadt’s assistants as reducing the UK to EU colony status.

    This was such a fantastic deal for the EU that they now say they are not prepared to make any changes to it.

    As a result, a new PM is left with only one option if we wish to show the world that we are a democratic country that respects the results of referendums (unlike the EU) and that is to tell the EU that we are leaving on 31/10 whether or not we have agreed a deal.

  47. Pat
    May 25, 2019

    Any negotiation that starts with one party insisting that there must be a deal of some sort will turn out very poorly for that party. The new PM needs to fully understand that. As do MPs of all parties. After all any member of the public who has bought or sold things privately – which means most of us- finds that obvious.

  48. rick hamilton
    May 25, 2019

    The best new leader is the one that both Labour and EU bureaucrats fear most: Boris.
    He may not be the long term saviour of the Tories but cometh the hour, cometh the man and we need a proven vote winner to get us out of the EU fast. Not another fudging, spineless loser who talks big then sub contracts the job to civil servants. Heaven’s sake we have had enough in 46 years of duplicity from Heath to May.

  49. Simon
    May 25, 2019

    More Unicorns Sir John. How long would your proposed FTA take to be concluded. What would it cover ? What would not be covered ?

    Reply The EU has said as comprehensive as possible. It does not matter how long it would take to agree it as whilst negotiating we continue tariff free

    1. Fred H
      May 25, 2019

      Simon….but in the meantime if we cannot trade with them, they cannot trade with us.. a very damaging situation to the EU. Project Fear claims we will get hurt, maybe a bit, but not a quarter of the damage to EU countries.

  50. Newmania
    May 25, 2019

    Under WTO rules as third country we cannot have tariff free EU imported goods without treating other members the same way. Services get nothing but it is not certain we can even unilaterally open our own borders to goods
    Whilst negotiating a Trade Deal we would in theory be allowed to continue under the existing regime but we cannot force the EU to accept our goods tariff free or the WTO to treat us differently by inventing a wish list.

    It takes 2 to tango. We would have to come up with a proposal the EU were prepared to consider and, they would probably feel that letting us stew for year would the best opening gambit. They are certainly not going to allow the UK to have the benefits of a customs union without being in one at any stage
    Essentially we are back where we were but with more masters than we have now –

    Reply There are no tariffs on services for non EU or EU. We can remove all tariffs if we wished to do so as long as we do it for all WTO members. The EU has said it wants an FTA.

    1. Emma Chantry
      May 26, 2019

      The EU has said it wants an FTA – but has also said it will not even start to discuss one until the UK signs off on the WA. Similarly Art 24 GATT is irrelevant unless and until the UK signs off on the WA

      1. Edward2
        May 26, 2019

        Nothing to stop the UK declaring itself a WTO no tariff or low tariff area and saying we are open for worldwide trade.
        Would the EU try to stop its member countries from trading with us.?
        Would EU troops blockade ports and airports?
        And if the EU applied big tariffs to UK exports out of spite, we just copy those same tariffs onto EU imports.

        1. Emma Chantry
          May 26, 2019

          Edward, if we do declare ourselves a no tariff area, why would any other country in the world discuss a trade deal with us? We have already given them free trade! We have nothing left to negotiate with

          1. Edward2
            May 26, 2019

            Because they will be encouraged by low levels of tariffs to trade with us.
            Tariffs apply to both nations.
            Would you prefer 30% or zero?

      2. NickC
        May 26, 2019

        Emma Chantry, No, that’s not true. The WA is dead. All Art24 of GATT requires is a simple agreement between the EU and the UK to negotiate an RTA. The whole complicated WA treaty is not needed.

  51. Doug Powell
    May 25, 2019

    I posted a few days ago that the Conservative Party is very fortunate to have this last chance to resurrect itself from its deathbed once SHE has departed, but to do so a 24 carat Brexiteer must be elected leader!

    But what do we have? Practically all Cabinet Remainers have put themselves forward as leadership contenders!

    What DON’T they understand? Our recent history is barely bloody cold and they can’t or won’t remember it! The Brexit electorate will NEVER stomach, or more to the point, never TRUST another remainer to deliver a clean Brexit! If these deluded people have an ounce of party and country loyalty, they would put their misguided egos back in the wishful thoughts compartments of their minds and support a STRONG Brexiteer for the forthcoming leadership contest! Otherwise RIP CUP!

  52. John S
    May 25, 2019

    Listening to the radio this morning candidate Rory Stewart does not get it. He sounds worse than May.

  53. Simon Coleman
    May 25, 2019

    “I was amazed at her resilience in defence of a proposal which the country had already rejected by a large margin” Sorry – when did the country reject it? I must have been asleep at the time.

    1. Edward2
      May 25, 2019

      Pretty obvious Simon.
      The Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by most MPs three times.
      The MPs represent us.

  54. BR
    May 25, 2019

    Yes, Parliament has plenty of powers to prevent the HoC taking control. The Speaker is the fly in the ointment, but presumably even his powers cannot be abused to prevent prorogue, in extremis.

    It would be interesting to see your take on the detail of these powers and how they could be used to prevent any more embarrassing attempts by Parliament to get in the way.

    Presumably, other than prorogue, royal consent (as opposed to assent) where anything that affects the monarch or Prince of Wales can be refused before it gets going by refusing royal consent (to proceed).

    Since the government controls the civil service, they could simply refuse to comply with legislation that is outside of their own policy. They tried cunning ploys to avoid money orders by simply enacting UK legislation, leaving it for government to square how to pay the costs associated with EU law (since any extension also requires monies for SM contributions) but that is sophistry – the government could presumably simply refuse to move a money order and we drop out by virtue of non-payment.

    Also – is there a case for revising the constitution? Or at least setting down in writing the powers of the Speaker etc. It seems strange that he can simply act against all the advice of his clerks and others without consequence.

    In the past MPs acted on the basis of honour . It was enforced by society since anyone who did not do so would be ostracised. Now we have people who can hardly use dinner cutlery who don;t understand or care, so MPs can flout these norms. This says to me that it is time to have these powers defined in clearer language and with clear consequences that take place automatically rather than at the whim of the perpetrator and others with vested interests.

    I would be very interested in your view on these matters. Perhaps a series of posts or even… another book?

  55. Tony Sharp
    May 25, 2019

    Sir John,
    May, Hammond, the RemaINiac fanatics that make up 80% of your PCP with the manouverings of the CCHQ are already trying to fix the Leadership to go to somebody like Stewart – an FO apparachik who became an MP – or worse. They are trying to fix it so that there is ONLY a choice between RemaINers, branding themselves as ‘compromise -soft Brexiteers’, given to the national membership. CCHQ are already bringing in spurious arrangements of ‘non-Party public’ at Leadership Hustings and that a “mere 150,000, Party members should not choose a PM” when May was chosen by a mere 250 MPs and not a word was said about that. This is their attempt to stay in the Limbo of ‘No LeavEU-NO ‘No Deal’.
    Only splitting the memembership from the Payrollers into a new true Conservatives is going to put you in any position at all – The Payrollers will make common cause with the Starmer’s Lib-Dems and CHUKka Party to ensure this.

  56. Vernon Wright
    May 25, 2019

    You allude, Sir John, to ‘the later stages of [the Prime Minister’s] tenure’ as were it all over. Would it were; unfortunately, owing to the Conservative Party’s convoluted — pseudo-Labour — means of choosing a new leader, it is likely to last at least another seven weeks.

    The engines of Brexit are stopped and, as it drifts steadily on to a lee shore, there’s nothing more she can do to hinder it. That means she has seven weeks on her hands with naught to do except implement even more of her wretched socialist agenda … which was what started all the trouble (as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before in these pages): lost the party its majority in the lower House and distracted it from the job in hand, viz. leaving the Fourth Reich.

    My fear is that the new leader will come from the Lib.-Dem. wing of the party and we’ll be back where we started.

    I can quite foresee the parliamentary party’s contriving to deny Mr. Johnson a place in the final ballot and offering just two Lib.-Dem. candidates. What will the membership do? Some might ‘write him in’ (an American practice); many, I suspect will just delete the names of those offered and return their ballot papers — accompanied by their torn-up membership cards — and cancel their direct-debit mandates!


  57. Helen Smith
    May 25, 2019

    Lots of comments and no time to read them all, however I suspect one theme that crops up time and again is that Sir John needs to be in the cabinet, preferably as Chancellor. What a waste his being on the back benches is.

    Loyal, fiercely intelligent and a real Conservative.

    1. Doug Powell
      May 26, 2019

      A pound to a penny that SJ is not in the new Cabinet – that is, if the new Leader, like the last, comes from the Mediocre layer of the Party. What a Leader with limited ability dreads is that his or her limitations will be exposed! To this end that person will want to control everything to avoid being told they are talking nonsense! Ring any bells?

      I cannot speak for SJ, but my guess is that he would not bite his tongue and hide in the long grass of ‘collective responsibility’ if he heard the leader talking the type of nonsense we heard in the recent farewell address!

      Let us hope for a brave Brexiteer leader, who recognises ability and is not afraid to delegate!

  58. ian
    May 25, 2019

    I can’t see why you need a trade deal with the EU when you’re shutting down due to your climate change policy, in another 6 to 9 years trade with the EU will be down 50% due to following EU policies, nobody wants to set up in the UK they all looking to shut down.

    A trade deal with the EU would be worthless, as time goes on.

  59. Jim Whitehouse
    May 25, 2019

    I am an engineer, not a businessman and I don’t know that much about negotiation. The one thing I do know is that, to negotiate successfully, you must be willing to walk away and your opponent must believe that you will.
    That said, I am still amazed to see supposedly business minded conservative MPs desperate to throw away our best bargaining chip by declaring their total rejection of “no deal”. Will they please shut up and stop aiding the opposition.

    1. Emma Chantry
      May 26, 2019

      Jim, in the case of Brexit the equivalent to walking away from a business negotiation is to revoke Art 50 and remain in the EU. That leaves the status quo in place. Leaving the EU without a deal does not leave us with the status quo, instead it means we lose all the trading privileges we previously had. It is the same as walking away from a business negotiation having handed over your cash and credit cards

      1. NickC
        May 26, 2019

        Emma Chantry, No, the EU is not a “status quo” position – haven’t you heard of “ever closer union”? No, we do not “lose all the trading privileges we had” – we gain the privilege of self-determination for our entire trade policy. And, no, we already decided we should leave the EU treaties (that pesky Referendum you Remains keep forgetting) so that is the new status for us. And finally it was the (dead) WA where Theresa May arranged for the EU to raid our cash.

  60. Fred H
    May 25, 2019

    I have only just discovered Sir Graham Brady quit as Chairman of 1922, which ought to be neutral. Reported as considering whether to run ( for PM, not away from the country), if he did he could be the first to be voted out of the process.

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