Leadership candidates who say they will renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement need to tell us why they think the EU will want to

Several leadership hopefuls seem to think their mere presence in Brussels after becoming PM would get the EU to change its often stated position that there can be no change to the Withdrawal Treaty. It is difficult to understand why they think this. The EU has repeatedly said they will not reopen the Treaty. The EU did nothing to help Mrs May get it through the Commons when she was their best hope of doing so.

The new Commission may not be formed before the summer break. There is no indication that any candidate for Commission President wants to change the policy on the Withdrawal Treaty. It is very unlikely that a new Commission, if one is formed by September, will want to devote the first month of its life locked in major negotiations with a country leaving the Union. They have many important issues they need to handle for the member states staying in. They will want to reinforce those MEPs who believe in the project, not help those trying to leave.

Let us examine today, for example, the prospectus of Jeremy Hunt. I thought he did a generally good job as Health Secretary. I liked the way he believed in the offer of free health care in relation to need. He worked hard to ensure higher quality care with better outcomes was the driving force in management. His record as Foreign Secretary has been more mixed. I find it odd that he has changed his position on Brexit, moving from saying No deal is an acceptable fall back position to now saying a No Deal Brexit is political suicide. He does not seem to have understood what Brexit voters were voting for last week, nor understood that the Conservative party can only rebuild its position with electors if it recaptures many of those Brexit voters who used to vote Conservative. I do not see how he would do that if he wants to block a No Deal Brexit. Nor do I see how he thinks he could get a better deal if he has taken No Deal off the table. The promise of just leaving was always the best way to secure a decent set of agreements on departure. It was a tragedy that Mrs May would not do this. Any new PM has to be ready to leave on 31 October at the latest with no Withdrawal Agreement. Mr Hunt seems to be continuity May. I note that he only posted two items in his local constituency blog last year and  one this year, and just one local issue in 2018 and in 2019 so far  on his website.

Have I missed something about his candidature that makes him worthy of being PM?

Jeremy Hunt writes:

Just read your blog – as I have the highest respect for you may I just correct one point? I did not say no deal would be a catastrophe – although the Telegraph headline incorrectly summarised my view as such. I said calling an election to overcome a parliament that blocked a no deal exit on 31 Oct would be a catastrophe because we would be squeezed between the LibDems and the Brexit party.

My view on No Deal has not changed: if it was the only way to deliver Brexit I would support it, but with a heavy heart because there are some risks, notably to the Union. If there was a chance of a better deal (e.g. without the CU implications of the backstop) I would go for that – and I believe there is if we play our cards correctly.

Hope that helps


  1. Pominoz
    May 30, 2019

    Sir John,

    I think also that Jeremy Hunt is totally the wrong candidate if he is insistent about ruling out a WTO Brexit. Reading beyond the headline, I am not sure he has committed to doing so, but I suspect that he would.

    This campaign is provoking more dirty tricks, with the ‘Remainer Establishment’ now trying to prevent Boris from becoming the next PM.

    Of course, the timing of this private prosecution is entirely coincidental!!! It is disgusting that this attempt, on exceedingly flimsy grounds, to taint a potential leader and to prevent or hamper a sensible Brexit is allowed to get off the ground. The British public at large are not fooled – but what an awful image is being painted on the World stage by a country once renowned for its sense of fair play.

    All those responsible should also face possible prosecution. I am sure a basis exists.

    1. agricola
      May 30, 2019

      Denigration of a potential candidate for PM is a remain tactic, applied to anyone who might carry the day. It mirrors all that Trump has had to face from an affronted US establishment. It stinks to high heaven, while being dressed up as virtuous.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 30, 2019

        Indeed it does and with the judiciary, the legal profession, the Commons (currently) and the Lords nearly all being heavily pro remain we probably will get much, much more of it.

      2. Hope
        May 30, 2019

        Bruce Newsom con woman says it all today.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 30, 2019

          Mewsome is exactly right on the very many failures of Theresa May – but will we get a sensible leader this time? Listening to the Baroness Wheatcroft on Nick Ferrari today was very depressing indeed these remainers still do not get it.

          On Conservative Woman today:-

          We’ve never had a worse Tory PM
          By Bruce Newsome – May 30, 2019

      3. Steve
        May 30, 2019


        Yes that’s what the left does in america. Seems to be the thing these days…..if you loose fair and square then persistently cry about it like a spoilt child.

        In the UK we have to put up with those who are racist against the English, and we have to put up with work shy lazy little liberal pansies terrified of losing some EU mandated benefit.

        My view is we won’t get a clean break this time around, but next time we will and there’s going to be one hell of a reckoning.

    2. Fed up with the bull
      May 30, 2019

      Oh, Pominoz, you have hit the nail on the head. What on earth do the rest of the world think of this country with politicians acting in such a pathetic way. Where are the true leaders of the parties? There is nobody out there fit enough to run the party and the way Boris is being treated is akin to a playground tiff. This country has become a laughing stock aided and abetted by our parliament. It’s almost embarrassing to say you are English now and before Margaret Howard says I should never have been proud to be English, I was and still want to be!! Don’t even go there. I agree John, Jeremy Hunt is not fit for the office of PM.

      1. Tad Davison
        May 30, 2019

        ‘and before Margaret Howard says I should never have been proud to be English, I was and still want to be!!’

        I know, isn’t she wonderful! The ecological argument has become tainted and mixed up by people who see the great fantastic new enlightenment EU as the way forward.

    3. Dougal Hamer
      May 30, 2019

      What is a “WTO Brexit”? Can you define it, please?
      Specifically, how would the position of the UK, operating on the basis of a “WTO Brexit”, differ from the current position of the UK as a member of the EU?
      Let me help you a bit more. As a member of the EU, the UK trades with the EU-27 without tariffs and without any border checks, and the UK trades with the rest of the world on the basis of the EU’s free trade agreements and other agreements on matters such as customs co-operation and mutual recognition of conformity assessment. How would a “WTO Brexit” differ from this?

      1. Denis Cooper
        May 30, 2019

        And let me help you a little bit by pointing out that the UK ceased to have its own independent trade policy when it joined the EEC on January 1st 1973 but would regain the ability to make its own trade deals around the world when it left the EU, provided it did not remain in a customs union with the EU.

        1. Mitchel
          May 31, 2019

          Subject,of course,to us only trading with states that the US approves of.

          1. Denis Cooper
            May 31, 2019

            Oh, what rubbish.

      2. TheresaR
        May 30, 2019

        One 1. Subs costs savings
        2. Being independent to negotiate own trade agreements that UK negotiates directly. 3. Freedom from overbearing power and costs as being a member of the EU.
        There are many things. There may well be things the EU and UK will agree on too.

      3. NickC
        May 30, 2019

        Dougal Hamer, The EU’s free trade agreements (RTAs) with a few other countries in the world modify the EU’s own trade rules, not the WTO’s.

        It is a fact that 98% of global trade is conducted under the rules of the WTO, to which the trade rules of signatory nations must conform. However, for those like yourself blinded into thinking all deals must be like the monolithic, centralised and dirigiste EU, the WTO appears incomprehensibly liberal.

        Consequently the WTO Brexit means that the UK will trade with the rest of the world under a combination of the UK’s rules (eg: our own tariffs), our trading partners’ rules (just as the EU must accept), all conducted within the WTO framework of treaties (just as the EU must accept – assuming it stays in the WTO).

      4. John Hatfield
        May 30, 2019

        The EU costs us a fortune. Trading under WTO rules would be less expensive than EU membership.

      5. Pominoz
        May 30, 2019

        It what you remainers insist on calling a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which is deliberately entirely inaccurate.

        WTO Brexit means leaving under Article 24 of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which has been described in detail on this site by Sir John on many occasions.

        1. Dougal Hamer
          May 31, 2019

          Pominoz, Article 24 concerns trade agreements. So you are saying that a WTO Brexit must involve a trade agreement. Fine – you are saying no to no deal, and I think you are right to do so. But the problem is that the UK can only get a trade agreement if it signs up to the Withdrawal Agreement brokered by Mrs May. Without that, there is no trade agreement, there is not even a chance of talks about one, so Article 24 is irrelevant unless and until the UK signs up to the Withdrawal Agreemnt.

          1. Pominoz
            May 31, 2019


            Sorry, but I disagree entirely.

            If the EU do not want to enter into a trade agreement, that is up to them, but I believe they will want to do so. It is not necessary to sign up to the putrid WA, which benefits only the EU and penalises the UK, before leaving. Quite naturally the EU are saying they will not talk trade unless the one-sided WA is accepted – they want to retain full control over what should be a sovereign country. A trade deal can only be discussed once we have left. We can leave without the WA being approved. A WTO Brexit means leaving with what you call ‘no deal’ but with the reasonable expectation that a sensible deal, which benefits both the UK and the EU will subsequently be agreed.

          2. Edward2
            May 31, 2019

            Yet recently Japan and Canada brokered a trade deal with the EU without any sign of a pre agreement like the EU wants with the UK.
            If the UK will not agree to sign the Withdrawal Agreement then trade will carry on as it did for decades between Europe and Japan and Canada.
            Offered a free trade deal by the UK it is my opinion that the current position of the EU Commission will soften.
            Of course they want the WA signed.
            It is entirely in their favour.

          3. NickC
            May 31, 2019

            Dougal Hamer, No mere trade deal is worth losing our independence over. Indeed, we voted to leave the EU treaties without a trade deal pre-condition. So the WA is out – it’s dead anyway. The point about the WTO is that it is a ready made global trading system that everyone (98%) already uses.

            To call the WTO “no deal” is a propaganda cheat by Remain. Leaving, now, by using the WTO global trading system means no comprehensive trade deal with the EU, now. It does not preclude either minor agreements (eg over driving licences, double taxation, etc) that we already have with other countries. Nor does it mean no trade deal with the EU in the future.

      6. DICK R
        May 31, 2019

        The WTO doesn’t tell you which light bulbs to use nor does it steal your fish or decided your immigration policy.

      7. Alison
        May 31, 2019

        Dougal, How many EU free trade agreements are currently actually in operation with other countries?
        The answer to is one.
        South Korea. WHich allows South Korea to take part in procurement tenders in the EU.

    4. Anonymous
      May 30, 2019

      It’s viewed as sinister here, outside the Bubble. Along with the witch hunt now launched in the Army – a leaflet telling commanders to look out for ‘patriots’ and those with anti-leftist opinion.

      1. Anonymous
        May 30, 2019

        I’m afraid Boris is the only one who might save the Tories now. The prosecution will only raise his profile and make him more popular.

        1. ChasE
          May 30, 2019

          Boris might save the Tories but he won’t save the country

          1. rose
            May 30, 2019

            It could be the other way round.

        2. Steve
          May 30, 2019


          Yes I see your reasoning, but I think Boris is done for. Likely the politically biased judiciary will see to it.

          That said, I wonder if we should be pressing for all the remain scaremongering liars to also face prosecution. Starting with Blair for obvious reasons. Then Cable because he’s lying when he says no deal would be a catastrophe.

          Plenty of remain liars to choose from. If they want nasty, we can give ’em nasty.

          1. rose
            May 30, 2019

            Tommy, Cummings, Grimes, Banks, Farage, Tice, and now Boris – all harassed by the authorities for political reasons. This is beyond sinister. It is looking like dictatorship. First they came for…but I did nothing…

          2. rose
            May 31, 2019

            I forgot Benjamin, and there may be more.

          3. NickC
            May 31, 2019

            Rose, I fear you are right. This is not a military civil war, but it is a civil war nonetheless.

    5. matthu
      May 30, 2019

      I assume that you are referring to the Boris being taken to court over claims made on the side of a bus?

      Not really very different from an independent prospective MEP being taken to court a few weeks ago, seemingly for the sole purpose of disrupting his election campaign.

      Another similar tactic seems to be where social media have suddenly combined to de-platform prospective candidates with no solid evidence and no avenue of appeal.

      What these all have in common are dirty tricks by powerful groupings all designed to subvert democracy and freedom of speech.

      A pity therefore that whereas government and powerful social media are also implicated any public outcry seems to be limited to the case of Boris where the government is being attacked. Or is it that the media are only publicizing the outcry on this occasion?

    6. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Indeed the legal attacks are very worrying indeed especially as the legal industry is in general appallingly pro EU. The more levels of courts and vague ill defined and open to flexible interpretation laws & rules you have the more high paid work there is for largely parasitic lawyers.

      Hammond (PPE yet again) on LBC this morning. Going on about improving “productivity” yet again. The main reasons for low productivity come directly from this appalling May/Hammond government. The highest taxes for 70 years, very complex and idiotic taxes many over 100%, endless red tape, daft & damaging employment laws, the work place pension, making tax digital costs, restrictive and slow planning laws, minimum wage rules (making it illegal for some to work), expensive energy green crap laws, a total lack of pro Brexit vision, a dire health system with rationing and endless delays for operations for staff, university debts of £50K for mainly worthless degrees …… At least Hammond knows he would not win if he stood for leader. Indeed he is largely despises by party members and rightly so. Why is the man even in the Conservative Party – just like May he is a pro EU/LibDim at best with zero grasp on economics. He even retains the appallingly incompetent and very expensive (in very many ways) Carney (PPE again) at the BoE.

      1. Lifelogic
        May 30, 2019

        Matt Hancock has missed the point about Boris’s business jibe – says
        Matthew Lynn at the Spectator.

        Indeed he has – was it intentional smearing or just foolishness? Boris is very pro business. Just not crony capitalism, pro EU, vested interest businesses.

      2. Lifelogic
        May 30, 2019

        Listen to Heseltine and then Baroness Wheatcroft on Nick Ferrari first thing this morning to hear the voice of the people who want to bury the Conservative Party – then followed by the very sensible Annunziata Rees-Mogg.

        Baroness Wheatcroft sounds to have very similar contempt for voters (they a wrong) to that other lawyer in the Labour Party total contempt especially if they fly the English Flag and drive a white van, do manual work and want to live in a democracy rather than an anti-democratic EU. The dire Ms Emily Thornberry.

        1. Lifelogic
          May 30, 2019

          According to Baroness Wheatcroft the Tory losses in the EU due to remain supporter not voting for it! The Brexit voting people are all “disgruntled with life in general” and “are wrong”, travelling through pro Brexit areas from one end to England to the other (as can be done) would “not be a terribly pleasant route” she says……. these wrong voters “are very uncomfortable in their own skins”…..”we are a remain country” she said! If she actually held her nose and actually went to these leave areas she might actually learn something. Some understanding and respect for the voters perhaps.

          What a deluded, patronising fool she is.

    7. Peter
      May 30, 2019

      This Article concerns ability to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement. Any leadership candidate will first of all need to get elected. That could lead to either telling Conservative MPs what the candidates believe will get them elected, or a vagueness that allows room for manoeuvre later.

      I take a pessimistic view that it is simply too late. Conservative MPs are largely entrenched Remainers and will probably elected another Remainer. If not, they will try to thwart a WTO exit. The EU will stick to their guns and hope divisions in the UK will come to their aid.

      Eventually the Brexit Party will need to seize power. It will be a long battle.

    8. Bimble
      May 30, 2019

      If exaggeration counts as lying, then most of our politicians would be in the dock.
      Let’s start with Theresa May…… she is not guilty of exaggeration, but definitely of lying to the people about taking us out of the EU. She clearly had no intention of doing that in anything but name only. Testament to that is her refusal of a perfectly sound Zero Tarriffs deal offered early on by Donald Tusk, in favour of a “closer relationship”. That relationship was BRINO.

    9. Tad Davison
      May 30, 2019

      The case against Boris is wholly vexatious, but it shows what lengths these underhanded people will go to, to get Brexit overturned. That sets good decent fair-minded people against them from the word go!

      This from Brexit Central:

      ‘back in 2016 Table 9.9 of the Office for National Statistics’ Pink Book revealed total annual debits from the UK to the EU amounting to £19.1 billion, equating to slightly more than £350 million a week; or I could point you in the direction of the piece written for Brexit Central in 2017 by Professor David Paton titled “Boris is right – Brexit does mean taking back full control of £350 million per week”.

    10. Richard Mortimer
      May 30, 2019

      It’s unbelievable that all and sundry are running for leader, or, at least, saying so. This is a time of great national crisis. Plus, the Conservative party is in melt-down. Also, I am surprised to see Brexiteers running against Boris Johnson.

      The thing is: Mr Johnson has much experience, the charisma that is now needed, and, he has shown himself durable despite many bumps along the way. Also, he showed himself principled in resigning over the WA.

      Steve Baker is a fine man. He has the integrity and the principles to do a great job (but not now, I feel).

      The Brexiteers should all get behind Mr Johnson and let those (who are not really conservatives) vote against themselves.

  2. Ian wragg
    May 30, 2019

    When Hunt was given Foreign Secretary he immediately embraced the EU same as Hague before him.
    They are overwhelmed with the prospect of power and no doubt the promise of a lucrative career in Brussels after Westminster.

    1. Ian wragg
      May 30, 2019

      Hammond on BBC this morning trying to frighten the P.M. candidates that No deal would be a disaster. From a man who has done more to destroy Britain than anyone.
      Your party really haven’t learned anything from the rise of the Brexit Party.

      1. Andy
        May 30, 2019

        What do you want them to learn from an angry, ranting, irrational rabble?

        1. Beecee
          May 30, 2019

          And that is just you!

        2. TheMariner
          May 30, 2019

          No they are not…don’t speak rubbish if you want your opinion to be seriously considered

        3. Tad Davison
          May 30, 2019

          I watched the blue flag-waving angry aggressive (paid?) nutters outside parliament ranting away incoherently, and you have a point, I learned nothing at all.

          When a Sunday Times reporter tried to gain their views on Brexit, they wouldn’t even talk to him and walked away! (see YouTube)

        4. NickC
          May 30, 2019

          Andy, I don’t suppose they will learn anything from the angry ranting Remains – why do you even ask?

        5. Kevin Lohse
          May 30, 2019

          Angry,ranting, irrational? The lack of self-awareness is very marked.

        6. Woody
          May 30, 2019

          Now now, don’t talk about remoaners that way. They are just misguided.

        7. Longinus
          May 30, 2019

          I think you’re confusing the Brexit party with Labour.

        8. Anonymous
          May 30, 2019

          A rabble is Extinction Rebellion and they get respected and listened to.

          We used the ballot box.

      2. Doug Powell
        May 30, 2019

        ‘Your party really haven’t learned anything from the rise of the Brexit Party.’

        I disagree, these ‘pretenders’ have learned from the Brexit Party! They are running scared! So scared of leaving the EU that they are prepared to conspire to kick the last breath out of the CUP that May couldn’t quite manage!

        Your honest mistake, if I may say so, is to assume that the ‘pretenders’ have the interests of the CUP and the country at heart. Events are telling a different story! The ‘pretenders’ are EU through and through! If the party and the country has to be subjected to continued EU membership, then it is more than all right by them!

      3. Denis Cooper
        May 30, 2019

        Among his various rather repetitive statements on the matter he said:

        “… we need to get the spectre of a no deal exit off the table … ”

        Firstly, he inadvertently picked a good word with “spectre”:


        “A ghost.

        ‘a dread of spectres and witches affected every aspect of daily life’


        ghost, phantom, apparition, spirit, wraith, shadow, presence, illusion”

        Secondly, the UK government alone cannot get it “off the table” because if the EU insists on it being on the table then that is where it will stay.

        I will add that the German ifo institute trusted by the German government does not agree with him that default to the WTO treaties “would be a very very bad outcome” for the UK:


        “… the number for Ireland under their worst scenario being 8.16%, while that for GB is only 2.76%; however with appropriate mitigation the damage for GB could be limited to just 0.5%, while that for Ireland would still be 5.39% … For the UK, those numbers can be compared to a previous ifo estimate of 1.7% … ”

        It should always be borne in mind that the trend rate for the natural growth of the UK economy is close to 2.5% a year.

    2. Tad Davison
      May 30, 2019

      I watched Hunt on Peston last night, and he was less than convincing. The description ‘continuity May’ is very apt.

      If Hunt gets the top job, the Tories will have learned nothing from their electoral disasters and gone backwards. Under hunt, they will not recognise the new political reality and lose further support. They need to re-invent themselves and become properly Eurosceptic to stand any chance at all.

      Curiously, these Hunt type people think more of the same cringing bowing knee-bending poison that made the patient ill in the first place, will effect a cure. Their judgement is seriously lacking!

      A former MP friend who always insisted he was a Eurosceptic, has openly declared for Hunt. In more recent times, said former friend has shown his true colours and they are anything but Eurosceptic. He’s voted three times for May’s damnable Withdrawal Agreement and come down hard for remain.

      That has its own commentary! Hunt is of the same ilk and as such should not be considered a serious candidate.

  3. Mark B
    May 30, 2019

    Good morning

    Oh another Remainer clone.

    Spare me.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Exactly continuation Theresa. Clearly Hunt wants to kill the Conservative party. 5th place clearly not low enough for him he want to head down to sixth or worse.

      Hunt (Charterhouse & then PPE yet again) was good at endlessly apologising for the dire NHS’s endless incompetence, blunders, manslaughter and even murders, that kill thousands and fails millions each year. But he did little or nothing to change the system so it could actually work better or to encourage freedom and choice for their captive ‘customers’.

      Both of these candidate would be the end of the Conservatives. The only chance is some accomodation, pact or deal with the Brexit Party. If they stand at the next election the Tories are dead. Neither of these two could achieve a Brexit accomodation. Even Boris, Rabb and Mc Vey would struggle to.

      Another continuation Theresa candidate Rory Stewart says: “I will double UK foreign aid spent on climate change”. What a deluded plonker he is.

    2. Timaction
      May 30, 2019

      Quite. Treason in trousers. Another fake Tory! A total wet……blanket!

    3. NickC
      May 30, 2019

      Jeremy Hunt was decidedly unpopular among the medical profession. What was needed was not top-down, and superficial, “initiatives” and re-organisation, but hard work directly with the practitioners (doctors, nurses, ancillaries) to identify actual problems. Mr Hunt should have learnt the “pull” system devised by Japanese car makers; and also learnt to be less gullible to the blandishments of NHS management.

  4. formula57
    May 30, 2019

    “Have I missed something about his candidature that makes him worthy of being PM?” – very unlikely but his international perspective is doubtless enhanced by his marriage to a Japanese.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      I thought he said she was Chinese! So easy to get confused over these things. Cameron even said he supported West Ham when he was supposedly a Villa fan. Then again he also said he was a “low tax at heart Conservative”, a Cast Iron Promise, Eurosceptic who would stay on, serve the section 50 notice the next day and would deliver what the people voted for. He was (and did) the complete opposite.

    2. graham1946
      May 30, 2019

      Actually a Chinese, but he doesn’t seem too sure.

    3. Fred H
      May 30, 2019

      he even managed to get his wife’s nationality wrong…..oh dear!

      1. APL
        May 31, 2019

        Fred H: “he even managed to get his wife’s nationality wrong”

        One might have thought that since she’s married a Briton, she might have acquired British Nationality?

  5. stred
    May 30, 2019

    Hunt has changed to the suicide position because the larger number of Conservative MPs want to kill off WTO and carry on with a Brino, thinking that the electorate will have accepted it in two years time. They don’t get it.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Indeed they a blinkered fools. Have they not seen the result and thought it through a bit? Is that beyond them? The Conservative party have no chance of a majority if Brexit stand in a general election. The have to become a real Brexit party to have any hope.

    2. Banania
      May 30, 2019

      We should have called her Asian anyway, before we changed the meaning of that word.

  6. Dominic
    May 30, 2019

    Devoid of principle. Devoid of substance. Devoid of charisma. An empty vessel concerned only with his own career prospects

    Voters want to see a passion and a determination to defend their nation’s interests. I don’t see that desire in Hunt.

    We need a leader to look into the eyes of voters and when those voters look back they need to see an expression of sincerity.

    It’s the complete lack of anger in many of these candidates at how the UK’s been treated by the EU. If that anger’s missing from a candidate then I believe they simply don’t care enough

    It’s a shame Patel isn’t standing

    1. Nigl
      May 30, 2019

      Perfect assessment of the man in my view. Great line from JRM. No ‘big’ deal changing the narrative which is essential.

      Any person with any experience of negotiation knows that the party that can walk away has the advantage. Ruling out No Deal takes away that advantage and hands it to the EU, who of course can walk away, in effect doing nothing and maintaining the status quo which is what the Remain camp want.

      1. Know-Dice
        May 30, 2019

        Nigl, Agreed.

        We keep on hearing from Remainers and Pseudo-Leavers that the EU will not re-open the Draft Withdrawal Agreement.

        Of course the EU would say that… With May’s options of Accept the DWA or No Brexit they are sitting on their hands and don’t need to do anything.

        Any candidate for the position of leader of the Conservative Party & PM that can convincingly say that the DWA is off the table and “No Deal” is a real possibility, will get the EU on their back foot…

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 30, 2019

        The EU could cite EU law as a compelling reason why it could not take no deal off the table even if the UK government wanted to do so, and in this instance it would have a good case for its preferred interpretation.

        I will pick out this February 2016 EU Parliament briefing:


        rather than alternative available references because it says some interesting things on other matters, not just on the fact that for its part the EU cannot legally “take a no deal scenario off the table”, an option which has not been made available under Article 50 TEU.

        “3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2 … ”

        There is nothing there along the lines of “… unless it has proved impossible to conclude a withdrawal agreement …”, in fact the exact opposite.

    2. Peter Wood
      May 30, 2019

      When interviewed he appears as if giving evidence in a court of law, one wrong step and he fears he will give himself away. That is not the way to convince voters you are speaking honestly and with personal conviction. He is clearly untrustworthy.

    3. Billy Elliot
      May 30, 2019

      “It’s the complete lack of anger in many of these candidates at how the UK’s been treated by the EU” please enlighten me, what is wrong with the way EU has treated us?

      1. Dave Andrews
        May 30, 2019

        The EU have quite reasonably taken an adversarial position.
        The problem is those in parliament who have not realised this, sided with the EU, thus making themselves adversaries of the UK.

      2. Tad Davison
        May 30, 2019

        Billy Elliot,

        You clearly haven’t listened to Anne Widdecombe’s excellent address to the Brexit Party’s rallies where she denounces and ridicules Theresa May’s lack of negotiating power. The highly articulate former Conservative minister is funny, ironic, yet very accurate. I suggest you watch it and learn something.

      3. NickC
        May 30, 2019

        Billy Elliot, The EU has corrupted our civil service – the WA was devised by EU/UK civil servants working together with the anti-democratic aim of reversing our Leave vote. The EU has been unremittingly hostile to the UK and to the reality of our independence since before the Referendum.

        The EU has been vindictive – first towards Greece, then to Eire, Italy, etc, and now the UK. Almost the first demand was for the UK to cough up E100bn before even considering a trade deal. That is Danegeld, the action of an enemy.

        I have been warning that the EU was not our friend, and would be unreasonable, for the last 6 years.

    4. matthu
      May 30, 2019

      Patel wrote a very good article in The Telegraph today.

      The Conservative Party is in danger of tearing itself apart and taking the country with it … We are in government but not governing … our party risks becoming irrelevant.

      The stakes couldn’t be higher: we need a renaissance in our democracy and inspiring new leadership, not a reboot of the soulless managed decline of our country and party that we have endured over the past few years.

      All of the authors of this crisis must therefore leave the stage and make way for new faces, not only at the top of the party but throughout government.

      1. Fred H
        May 30, 2019

        PATEL for a major role, please.

      2. Mitchel
        May 30, 2019

        She talks a good talk-from the sidelines- but didn’t exactly shine when actually in government-went native in International Development and then had to resign over some dubious business in Israel.

      3. Tad Davison
        May 30, 2019

        Most impressive. Somebody we Brexiteers could support, but with deep regret, I thought that about May upon hearing her Lancaster House speech and voted for her in 2017 on the strength of it.

    5. William Potter
      May 30, 2019

      I agree that Patel would be a very good candidate.

      Hunt is not suitable, when he was Health minister he turned the NHS against him and the Conservative party. The NHS doctors went on strike for the first time in decades and at least 2 doctors committed suicide due to the stress of his changes.

      1. Tad Davison
        May 30, 2019

        And it is reported that working nurses were having to use food banks to get by.

        There is something seriously wrong with a Secretary of State for Health who presided over such a deplorable situation. It is bound to lose public support when highly valuable people in such a vital public service are treated this way.

    6. Peter
      May 30, 2019

      “We need a leader to look into the eyes of voters and when those voters look back they need to see an expression of sincerity.”

      Mr. Hunt always looks as if he is in on some private joke that the electorate are not aware of. He may be trying to smile, but unfortunately it comes across as trying to suppress a smirk.

      1. Steve
        May 30, 2019


        “He may be trying to smile, but unfortunately it comes across as trying to suppress a smirk.”

        More like; trying to suppress the ‘SKUNK’ within.

      2. Fred H
        May 30, 2019

        he looks as if he is trying to fool a lie detector test.

    7. a-tracy
      May 30, 2019

      I agree with William Potter about Hunt, he divides rather than unites. We don’t even hear about the MP in charge of the NHS now, he or she (I can’t even think who has this brief off the top of my head) seems to have calmed down the media attacks if not the problems.

      Dominic said “It’s the complete lack of anger in many of these candidates at how the UK’s been treated by the EU. If that anger’s missing from a candidate then I believe they simply don’t care enough”.

      This is quite true, when May was photographed repeatedly being embarrassed by things such as child locks left on doors and leaving her to try to open her own door, being isolated and bullied by her equals in Europe, twiddling with her bracelet, gulping and gurneying in discomfort. NEVER AGAIN, we need a leader not a subservient. May is now shown welcomed in Europe with hugs and kisses and ‘poor you’ fake sympathy, laughing in our faces, showing us how weak and wobbly our political class are. They’re all embarrasing us and show no fire.

  7. Mick
    May 30, 2019

    Let’s only hope who ever becomes the PM that they get us out on October 31st or sooner, unlike the Labour Party who all seem to live in lar lar land , after the Euro elections all we are getting from them is we should remain and reform, you cannot reform the Eu they might agree to the labour line until we remain members then back to be dictated to , when the general election does come the people up north will not be very forgiven on the remoaners mps , and as for trying to convict Boris for the red bus logo well we all know who’s behind that, you lost get over it or face the consequences

    1. Bob
      May 30, 2019

      As I predicted at the outset, the Tories would never implement Brexit and Mrs May would engineer a fudge.

      As I always maintained, the only realistic way to achieve Brexit is to vote for a party who’s raison d’être is UK independence. Don’t be fooled by Nigel’s stunt with the Tory Lite Brexit Party, which is just controlled opposition comprised of revolutionary communists, Christian conservatives and right wing populists who will struggle to produce a party manifesto between them. The honeymoon will be short lived.

  8. Tabulazero
    May 30, 2019

    A rare outbreak of common sense from John Redwood. The next thing you are going to tell us is that unraveling 40 years of integration with the EU is not going to be easy, painless or risk less.

    What happened ? Finally seen the light ?

    1. agricola
      May 30, 2019

      You do not unravel cancer, you cut it out or radiate it. Only then can you start anew.

      1. Ian wragg
        May 30, 2019


    2. Barbara Castle
      May 30, 2019

      If you live your life fully and want to “grow”, you accept you will face risk to push your self-inflicted boundaries.

      I cannot believe this is the same nation where the brave set sail across oceans to explore a world they thought was flat.

      1. Tabulazero
        May 30, 2019

        Are you talking about Portugal since the first man to circumnavigate the globe was Ferdinand Magellan ?

        1. Fuddy Duddy
          May 30, 2019

          Tab. ‘Are you talking about Portugal since the first man to circumnavigate the globe was Ferdinand Magellan ?’

          No he wasn’t – he died before he got round.

      2. Know-Dice
        May 30, 2019

        What are you saying BC !!!

        That there is life outside of the EU – who would have thought it…

    3. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Almost everyday JR’s blog is full of common sense and right on almost every issue. The trouble with common sense of course is it is alas not that common. So many people think with their gut feelings, their religions or emotions and rather than logic and using their brains.

      Anyone (Like May, Hammond and all the rest) who thought we would get a good deal from the EU without threatening to leave with no deal and meaning it for example.

      Anyone who idiotically thought that May’s WA was leaving the EU and a good deal for another example. Or thought gender pay reporting, renewable energy subsidies or HS2 was a good way to waste people’s time and money.

    4. libertarian
      May 30, 2019


      Please itemise some of the main things that you think need to be “unravelled”

      Hint, as you know nothing about business and trade I’ll save you wasting time here, NOTHING trade related needs to be “unravelled”

    5. NickC
      May 30, 2019

      Tabulazero, Is this the 40 (actually 47) years of “integration” which you Remains/europhiles assured us wasn’t happening? No, no, the EU doesn’t run us. You claim. No, no, the EU doen’t control us. You claim. No, no, we don’t have to pay for our Brussels government. You say. No, no, there is no loss of sovereignty. You claim. No, no, it’s impossible for the UK to be independent. You maintain. And so on.

  9. Dominic
    May 30, 2019


    Have you noticed the article in today’s Times making reference to Italy’s plan to activate a parallel currency in competition with the Euro?

    The fightback has begun in Italy

    1. Ian wragg
      May 30, 2019

      Looks like Salvini is about to call Brussels bluff.
      The ECB is acting in its usual disgraceful way, totally illogical.
      Bring it on.

  10. agricola
    May 30, 2019

    The WA is dead buried and gone with May. It was her toxic legacy, please forget it. After all it was only a draft proposal which due to the inflexability of the EU got comprehensively rejected. It never reached the status of an agreement.

    Jeremy Hunt, as reported, has written himself out of contention. Even were the conservative party in the HoC to endorse his canditature the party at large would reject it. They were on the ground to witness their own slaughter at the hands of the Brexit Party. A party that for the purposes of the EU election were unequivocal. They will have a lot more to say at the next GE and the level of indecision coming from Jeremy Hunt would give them more oxygen.

    1. Ian wragg
      May 30, 2019

      Not according to Hammond. It’s still the only game in town.
      The mans a shyster.

      1. JoolsB
        May 30, 2019

        Absolutely. He wouldn’t rule out bringing down his own Government if they choose to go for no deal.

        1. a-tracy
          May 30, 2019

          Haven’t the courts set a precedent now though deciding to go ahead with prosecuting Boris Johnson JoolsB? What a Pandora’s box they’ve opened with this decision.

          Hammond stood for parliament in 2017 on a Conservative Manifesto that said No deal was better than a bad deal. He knows parliament has rejected the only deal on offer from the EU four times, therefore hasn’t he lied to people that elected him and stood on a false promise?

          1. rose
            May 31, 2019

            I think you will find that as with “hate crime” this will be a one way street.

      2. Richard416
        May 30, 2019

        I would be cautious about believing “May has gone”. She hasn’t.

      3. Tad Davison
        May 30, 2019

        I agree. Hammond is a clear and present danger.

        It was mooted at one time that May wanted to get rid of him but couldn’t (although only the Lord knows why). The lame duck could do us all a favour and force him out right now. Unfortunately, lame ducks can only quack. May couldn’t even do that without making a mess of it.

  11. oldtimer
    May 30, 2019

    Thumbs down from me for the reasons you state. The EU has no reason to change its stance on the WA unless and until it absolutely has to. EU PMs say it is “a good deal” and indeed it is for the EU. It binds the UK hand, foot and finger until it decides to loosen those bonds. The EU will play for time in the hope that Remainders will eventually succeed in achieving revocation, and because it would be extremely difficult for the 27 to achieve unanimity on an alternative. Somewhere I read that the EU is already planning for an extension of the Brexit leave date beyond end October. I suspect some complicity is afoot between EU and Remain interests. A full blown constitutional crisis looms this autumn.

    1. Frankh
      May 30, 2019

      Exactly..they have negotiated this torturous WA for over two years..it is signed off by 28 countries- so who in their right mind thinks that Barnier or any of the other chiefs, or Heads of States, is going to want to reopen this..not going to happen

  12. Duyfken
    May 30, 2019

    He is supported by my local MP, which puts him firmly in the Remain camp.

    The question aspiring candidates must ask themselves is: am I trustworthy? Those who continue to vacillate, in the way JR has described Hunt, cannot be relied upon. To my mind they should not be MPs – they may think all their promises and politicking are clever and that integrity is an outdated standard; not so.

  13. Kevin
    May 30, 2019

    The failure of No. 10 to deliver a WTO exit (i.e. to “Leave”), and the failure
    of the Opposition to hold them to account for that, has one wondering what
    makes MPs think that they are indispensable. If they cannot handle change
    management, what does that say about their grasp of current systems? The
    yo-yo politics of the two-party state are over. WTO exit, or get out of the way.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      A WTO exit with some negotiated mutual interest side deals is now the only sensible way to go and the only way that will not kill the Conservative party stone dead. That and some sensible small government with tax cuts, cheap energy, freedom and choice and a bonfire of red tape. The complete opposite of the appalling May/Hammond tax, waste and regulate to death, pro EU handcuffs £39 billion lunacy.

    2. Dominic
      May 30, 2019

      It’s not a failure if you’re a Europhile. It’s a victory for the EU and the undermining of the British voter.

      Always remember that democracy is a damned inconvenience to many of those who populate the political and administrative class of any nation. The people’s intervention is always resented except by true democrats like SJR and good people like him

  14. Tory in Cumbria
    May 30, 2019

    Mr Hunt is taking a realistic approach to Brexit, and should be supported. He correctly understands the immense economic damage that would follow from no deal and that, in any event, if we did leave with no deal, the EU would simply refuse to talk about future trade until the UK knuckled under and signed up to the terms of the WA. I fully understand that taking a realistic approach is not what the slavering OAPs who will vote in our next PM want, but I give credit to Mr Hunt for refusing to perpetuate the dishonest claims about the EU eventually folding and letting the UK enjoy free trade without solving the Irish border, citizen rights and the money we owe.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      May 30, 2019

      You like being held to ransom then? Why would you allow a bloc, whether the EU or any other, to hold the country hostage like that?

    2. Jagman84
      May 30, 2019

      Excuse me but how will this “immense economic damage” be caused by a WTO exit? This is parroted by the Remainer cabal at every opportunity but never is an explanation forthcoming. Would you like to elaborate on this or is it something that you heard on TV and then failed to do your own research?

      1. PeterM
        May 30, 2019

        The immense economic benefits of Leave: would you like to elaborate on this or is it something that you heard on TV (or on this site?) and then failed to do your own “research”?

      2. Denis Cooper
        May 30, 2019

        Two Tory Chancellors have spread the lie, both should be in the dock.

      3. Fuddy Duddy
        May 30, 2019

        Jagman84 – Agree – the BBC et al accepts this, no one ever queries it.

      4. NickC
        May 30, 2019

        Jagman, I also would be very interested in the details and provenance of the supposed “immense economic damage” from a WTO deal exit. However I doubt that the slavering fake-Tory from Cumbria will produce anything sensible. Or even anything at all.

    3. libertarian
      May 30, 2019


      Yes we get that you’re a “wet” remainer, but you dont seem to understand that youre in the minority .

      Good quality analysis in business, politics and any form of human endeavour requires that you analyse the situation from every facet

      Theres a well know psychological phenomenon that you argue the other sides case from their point of view.

      Most free marketers can see why socialists believe what they do, most socialists dont understand why free markets work . Its becoming increasingly clear that most Brexiters dont understand why remainers want to stay but then nor do remainers . Most Remainers just believe not staying is racist and they won’t to appear woke .

      Hunt, Javid, Raab, Hancock, Gove etc will all get the Tory party annihilated

      Boris is popular in the country mainly because he’s a “character” but I wouldn’t trust him . So far of the 12 declared candidates none of them are fit to run a whelk stall.

      The Tory Party is finished, but then so is Labour . The Libdems have set out their stall, now it depends on who they elect as their new leader . The Liberal Party are back on the agenda after more than 100 years in the wilderness

      What we now need is a Freedom and Democracy Party to face off against the Liberals ( before anyone says it , that IS NOT UKIP) , depending on what they do next it might be the Brexit Party as they ( unlike UKIP) have some reasonably talented people standing.

      IF there were defections from Tory Brexiteers and Labour Leavers they might make a go of it

      I’m happy to have a general election our politics and democracy is totally broken

    4. Dennisa
      May 30, 2019

      As a slavering OAP, but not a party member, so will not be voting in the next PM, I wonder why you adopt such a dismissive tone to those who have considerable experience of life and politics over many years.

      No deal does not mean no trade. Even the BBC’s Katya Adler noted the other day that the EU did not want the UK to leave because it would be damaging to the EU.

      If the other side thinks they have you sewn up, as they have with May, then there is no negotiation taking place, simply supplication.

    5. Original Richard
      May 30, 2019

      So we should trash our democracy and submit to the EU bullies because they threaten not to talk about trade until we sign their WA ?

      BTW, I want to pursue WTO trade with the EU as the current “deal” means that we have a £100bn/year trading deficit with the EU and there is very little we can do to reduce it under the existing rules.

      This is in addition to being unable to control and hence predict our population size, meaning that we are unable to plan properly for housing, schooling, NHS provision, energy usage, the environment or infrastructure.

    6. Woody
      May 30, 2019

      There is no irish border issue except as a spin for pro eu philiacs … we currently operate borderless between N and S despite differing currencies and differing tax regimes .. its a remoan and eurocracy red herring … citizens rights have already been resolved, we are ahead of the eu in that regard already anyway .. we owe NO MONEY, but thats really all the eu is interested in. We should say to the eurocracy that we are prepared to trade under a FTA agreement and if they dont like that we just leave .. no deal no money .. simple.

  15. Oggy
    May 30, 2019

    SJR-‘Have I missed something about his candidature that makes him worthy of being PM?’


    A lot of MP’s including Hunt have tin ears and are in absolute denial at the maulings their parties received in the recent elections.
    1 week on and nothing has changed, still pushing the same old rhetoric that led to those maulings. In another week we could have a Brexit party MP elected.
    Have they learnt nothing ?- the lights are on but there’s nobody home – hello, is there anybody there ?

  16. Adam
    May 30, 2019

    Jeremy Hunt being chosen as Conservative PM would lead to many more Conservative voters leaving to support the Brexit Party. Conservatives seek & need a solid Brexit leader. Jeremy Hunt is a Remainer deploying chameleon-like motives to gain power. His own background sheds light on the sham of his masquerade into self-destruction.

    1. NickC
      May 30, 2019

      Adam, Jeremy Hunt, with many other Tory MPs, is squabbling over the spoils of defeat.

  17. APL
    May 30, 2019

    JR: “Leadership candidates who say they will renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement need to tell us why they think the EU will want to.”

    The negotiation period was defined in article 50 withdrawal declaration. It’s expired, over, finished. And all our Prime Minister did was undermine her own negotiating team with her own unsatisfactory negotiating stance.

    Her negotiations came up with the Withdrawal agreement. That is clearly unsatisfactory to Parliament or a large faction of the British public.

    The two year negotiating period is over, now we need to leave, give that the only deal was Theresa May’s and given that deal is unacceptable, then we leave no deal tomorrow.

  18. Anonymous
    May 30, 2019

    Candidates who wish to renegotiate the WA need to explain why they’re ignoring the reality of last week’s vote which hit the WA Tories harder than anyone else.

  19. Annette
    May 30, 2019

    I agree with Dominic, but would apply it to the majority of Conservative MPs. Every single one of the announced ‘candidates’ has voted at least once for the vassalage Treaty. They’ve shown that do not have the ‘balls’ to stand up for this country and democracy & would be no more than EU pimps. Those that now say that they voted for the vassalage Treaty ‘to change it later’ show a lack of knowledge in how Treaties work, they didn’t read it…or they’re lying. All makes them unfit for public office.
    Similarly, those claiming a ‘renegotiation’, other than the ‘take it or we leave WTO’ variety, appear to be being disingenuous. Have they actually read the terms that May agreed to for the (unlawful) extension …or are they lying? No-one is addressing the simple fact that the terms of the extension were for a specified purpose – to ratify our surrender to the EU. This is (hopefully) no longer valid. So why is 31st October written in ‘stone’? It isn’t. It is simply being dragged out to overturn our democratic decision.
    The Pollies & Parliament are still treating the electorate with contempt. From pretending to do selfie videos to the insanity of refusing to use a system that the EU uses itself, WTO, but no doubt are happy to use the EU’s WTO terms, shows that they are now being wilful in their deceit of the public.
    I’m not convinced that there are enough ‘real’ Conservatives left in the Party to save it & turn it around. It will forever be tainted with the now overt treason of those working in the EU’s interests & not our Country. It is so deeply infested that it might be better to put it out of its misery, like a rabid dog.
    Even if a stalwart leaver manages to take over the leader mantel, who will believe the damascene ‘conversion’ of many in the Party who are just unprincipled ‘Flexiteers’ , like Gove, taking any position in their quest for power. Truely, no-one believes them any more & recent days have proved that they have learnt nothing.

  20. Alan Jutson
    May 30, 2019

    I think he has become confused with his EU position, first remain was Ok, then Leave with no deal better than remaining, now no deal unacceptable.
    The last thing we need is for the leader to be confused, we need clarity of thought.

    If this last election has not taught any candidate that a clean break is what the Country wants, then they are not fit to hold the highest office.

  21. Dave Andrews
    May 30, 2019

    The next CP leader doesn’t want to bury the party further by advocating the WA and BrINO.
    Neither does he/she have to spout No Deal.
    The EU don’t like No Deal either, so let’s not go there. The new leader should take the initiative to suggest the EU continues frictionless trade whilst a comprehensive FTA is constructed, and give warm words about EU payments. I’m sure the UK could find some cash to help them out, seeing they will be short after we leave – for something in return of course.
    Meanwhile, prepare for the worst to make it clear we are serious.

  22. Anonymous
    May 30, 2019

    Talking about healthcare.

    Any health minister serious about the health and happiness of the nation needs to read the first three chapters of The Barbell Prescription – available on Kindle and written by a doctor.

    The total and utter madness of our medical and drugs industry promoting the sick ageing phenotype and achieving nothing but prolonged misery and a public attitude that “I don’t need to look after my own health – doctor will fix it.”

    Exercise (in particular resistance training) is the only real cure that both reverses and gets to the root of ills that hit us beyond 40. All else is just masking symptoms.

    We could save the NHS BILLIONS.

    1. Anonymous
      May 30, 2019

      We have reached a point where bad lifestyle choices have to be weighted against in the NHS rationing. Especially in this age of information about diet and exercise.

  23. majorfrustration
    May 30, 2019

    Most of the candidates for PM are in it purely to enhance their CV so that in the future they can say that they “ran” for the job.

  24. jerry
    May 30, 2019

    “[Mr Hunt] did a generally good job as Health Secretary”

    Many who use the front-line NHS, many who work on the front-line NHS, would disagree. He says he believes in the NHS but carried on outsourcing/privatising it on the quite, or did not row back on such contracts even when opportunity arose. He did a far better job at DfCMS.

    “Have I missed something about his candidature”

    Probably not, but I fear that you have come to the correct conclusions by accident rather than from studying the facts that the average Pleb on the Clapham Omnibus will.

    At the end of the day Mr Hunt is “continuation Cameron”, is that enough to make him an electable PM, even if acceptable to the party membership, probably not – the political sands were shifting even before Mrs May’s tenure.

  25. Richard1
    May 30, 2019

    He is one of the credible candidates certainly, based on his ability to project argument in an articulate way, and on his successful tenure as health secretary. I listened to the extract of his interview on Today. What I heard him say was the Parliamentary maths mean if we attempted to leave with no deal then there will be a general election (presumably as the govt would lose a confidence vote) which in current circs the anti-Semitic Marxists might well win. That’s somewhat different than how it’s been presented. But I agree his argument is convoluted.

    Perhaps it’s just too late, Mrs may has done such damage that it’s simply become impossible to deliver Brexit – The May deal is worse than remain and Parliament won’t permit no deal?

  26. J Bush
    May 30, 2019

    I see nothing in Hunt that makes PM material, but I see plenty that makes him totally unsuitable.

    And those who back him are as unworthy and treacherous as he is. Interested times await especially come the next election.

  27. […] influencing what the Tory MPs and grassroots will decide. The indefatigable Sir John Redwood in his Diary today […]

  28. John Sheridan
    May 30, 2019

    You have not missed anything about Jeremy Hunt that would indicate he would make a great leader of the Party. As with many of the candidates, he wants the position for the prestige that it gives, not because he is the best person to revive the Tory fortunes.

    The next leader needs to give up on the WA (that boat has sailed) and prepare the country, and the public, for a no-deal Brexit. Only from that position can we hope to encourage the EU to talk sensibly about a free trade deal.

  29. stred
    May 30, 2019

    Hunt’s idea to involve the Libdums and Scotnats in discussions with the EU seems more likely to make their offer to colonise us even worse. Perhaps a straight invasion with Verhoffy ad governor.

  30. Caterpillar
    May 30, 2019

    To cut to the chase I read up on all declared contenders. There are several who might be suitable conservative leaders at other times, but none are suitable leaders of the country at this time, and none will win the conservatives a GE. I therefore looked through others who had voted against the WA and there were 3 names that looked credible (Patel, Braverman and Afriyie) for the country, of these only Priti Patel seemed to have sufficient experience – why isn’t she running?

    (Clearly Cash, Jenkin, Baker, Jayawardena .., need to be used more visibly in the future).

    1. Steve
      May 30, 2019


      “of these only Priti Patel seemed to have sufficient experience – why isn’t she running?”

      I thought she was.

      1. Caterpillar
        May 30, 2019

        Has she confirmed yet?

  31. Bryan Harris
    May 30, 2019

    He hasn’t done anything for me to suggest he would be an acceptable PM.

    Better for the whole country if we can find someone who can inspire, think for themselves and have some passion – No more compromisers please…. We need someone who has been around the block several times – picking someone fresh ‘to grow into the job’ has been shown to be nonsense and doesn’t work.

    I quite like what James Cleverly has been saying…

    1. JoolsB
      May 30, 2019

      Yes surprisingly he came across really well on Peston last night. But the fact he supported May and her attrocious surrender treaty to the end must rule him out

  32. Newmania
    May 30, 2019

    Yes I rather agree . I don`t wildly object to Jeremy Hunt but my instinct says that if we are to turn the country upside down and cause untold damage the worst possible way forward is timidity .
    If we must leave , it must be with No Deal. Anything else gives you all the disadvantages of being outside a powerful trading group and none of being able to act quickly and unilaterally . There are few obvious gains to be made from Free Trade agreements for the next twenty years but a combination of a retooled economy International flexibility ( this means access for services ) relentless pro business policy ( by which I mean real business not sepia tinted manufacturing ) will eventually bring prosperity …
    With this : bold borrowing ( lets not shilly shally ) spending on education opportunity and above all breaking the societal and constitutional log jam that holds the country back Ditch the UK , no-one loves it any more, a new deal for a rich modern Liberal England and votes that mean something , I prefer a PR House of Lords /second chamber .
    This might sound like a volte face but actually what I am saying is that if we are stuck with this stupid place to start lets at least use the weapons we have ,make the country socially and economically Liberal rich and modern
    Ideally I `d like the bigoted old fools that did this to look at what they started with utter horror in a few year …..from their bungalows !

  33. Sakara Gold
    May 30, 2019

    Clearly Jeremy Hunt is manipulable. The spooks might have put him up to it.

    1. oldtimer
      May 30, 2019

      Ah the spooks! Coincidentally the current Director of GCHQ and a former Head of MI6 are among the guests listed to attend the Bilderburg meeting this weekend. Also listed is Lord Adonis!

  34. James Bertram
    May 30, 2019

    Like Stewart, Hunt is another weak man – you can see it in his face. [To his credit, you can also see kindness and good manners – so, as a human being, he is probably quite a decent fellow].
    He is not the man to negotiate for our country on anything.
    Contrast his and Len McCluskey’s handling of the interruptive Peston last night – McCluskey showed far more fight, and obtained far more respect – a much better negotiator.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Indeed perhaps a decent fellow and he was very good at saying sorry for the endless NHS blunders and worse. But he did nothing much to stop this appalling incompetence (and often far worse) at the appallingly structured and idiotically funded NHS. He is another person like May and Hammond who has a broken compass another misguided wet.

    2. Ed Mahony
      May 30, 2019


      ‘Like Stewart, Hunt is another weak man – you can see it in his face. [To his credit, you can also see kindness and good manners – so, as a human being, he is probably quite a decent fellow]’

      – Science has demonstrated that kindness (genuine kindness) is generally not weakness, in the world, but strength. It’s related to strength in 1. Leadership 2. Marketing / PR 3. Creativity and more. And it’s borne out by people such as the Quakers who are the most successful group of business people this country has ever produced (‘successful’ in terms of wealth creation / decent jobs / good employers and benefactors and so on).

      Sometimes kindness doesn’t work when you’re up against extremely depraved psychopathic / narcissistic people such as the Nazis in WW2 (to take an extreme example). Then you have to batten down the hatchets and go to war (but even against the Nazis, one still keeps a level of decency – one does not fall to their level).

      Of course, ‘normal’ life isn’t quite as black-and-white as this either (we’re all a mixture of the good and bad).

      It’s complete heresy and nonsense – as some believe – that you have to be ruthless in life to ‘succeed.’ Of course, you can ‘succeed’ – in a way – by being ruthless but at a terrible cost to one’s humanity / real happiness, and so it’s not really ‘success’ at all as it leads to internal misery.

      It’s not just religion that makes / proves this point, but also the arts, and people in business (the Quakers), and politics (compare say Chancellor Adenauer of West Germany to the Nazis).

      1. Ed Mahony
        May 30, 2019

        ‘Science has demonstrated that kindness (genuine kindness) is generally not weakness, in the world, but strength’

        – But it takes moral courage / guts to be kind – especially in a world that can be harsh. But that does NOT mean kindness does not work. Clearly, looking at the Quakers, Chancellor Adenauer, and others, it can work in extraordinary ways with extraordinary results.

        (I wish i had more guts to be more kind ..)

      2. Ed Mahony
        May 30, 2019

        Also, kindness is related to Patriotism, Public Responsibility, Public Duty, Respect to Monarchy and Parliament and Judiciary, and so on. Without it, and with too much individualism, a country is profoundly diminished or just collapses. Mrs Thatcher made a similar point that I quoted here recently.

        1. Ed Mahony
          May 30, 2019

          Sorry, I don’t mean to virtue signal. I just want to The Conservative Party to return to its original, traditional values, in particular the political philosophy of Burke. I think it would be best for The Conservative Party and the country!

  35. Julie Williams
    May 30, 2019

    There’s a massive and completely visible elephant in the room over Brexit: the elephant is the majority of MPs ( with a special friend in Bercow and an opposition desperate for power at any cost, it’s their new “principle”) who do not want to leave the EU and the room is Parliament.
    If a PM wants a “clean” Brexit, they are pretty much damned to failure, you need a bruiser and a “populist” (used in the dictionary definition!) like Boris who will appeal to the voters and members while playing dirty:probably a “timing out” at 31 October.
    The court case will just make Boris more popular even if it makes Tory snobs cringe, the main problem is that he’s for Boris first and capable of turnarounds.
    Hunt: electoral poison, too unpopular in the country following adverse media coverage over the NHS, never mind his no-hope stance on Brexit.
    Be very careful of the BBC coverage of the leadership battle….they’re not doing it out of friendship!

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Much truth in this.

    2. DaveK
      May 30, 2019

      Your last point is very true. Holding no torch for Mr Hunt I do think he may have been badly treated by the media. The interview he gave was shown several times during the 24 hour news cycle, however I did catch a much lengthier version, that from my memory the “political suicide” comment was made after commenting on failing to deliver Brexit at all, rather than as later and much shorter reports and headlines that cried “No Deal was political suicide”. My thoughts at the time that it was the BBC up to it’s tricks again. If I was a public figure I would demand full tapes and transcripts of any interviews. Look at how they treated Sir Roger Scruton.

    3. Iain Moore
      May 30, 2019

      No , I think a clean Brexit is possible , but they have to be smart and be prepared to be ruthless.

      The EU says no renegotiation, but we don’t want to renegotiate May’s rotten Withdrawal Agreement , so proposing a free trade agreement is not a renegotiation its a negotiation, its different . As we don’t have time to complete a free trade negotiation by 31st Oct we can get some of the bare bones of it done and establish a letter of intent with the EU to say we depart on WTO GATT 24 where the terms of the FTA will be finalised. So not leaving on a No Deal and circumventing the arch Remainers and Bercow’s red lines of no No Deal.

      As to the Remainer Parliament , the new PM and Government must not allow its self to become hostage to the Remainers, so not pursuing any amnedable legislation which the Remainers can hijack. As its only the Executive who can put law on the statue books , do not accept any Parliamentary votes, and if Bercow attempts to corrupt Parliamentary procedure , prorogue Parliament . The clock is the Brexiteers friend, all they have to do is run it down.

      The one possible threat is a vote of confidence with Tory Remainers collapsing the Government , they will have to be bought off, and challenged with the argument,…if you are worried about Brexit making us poorer, do you really want to install a Marxist who would bankrupt the country?

    4. Anonymous
      May 30, 2019

      Indeed, though I was rather hoping the Tories would fail at the next general election. This could be Boris’s making.

      I don’t trust him to deliver Brexit.

    5. Caterpillar
      May 30, 2019

      Julie Williams,

      Also be aware of the labour party bearing gifts e.g. Adonis talking up Roderick Stewart – Dragon, Eton, Oxford – clearly a man of the country. Johnson has much the same problem.

      There are few Conservatives who have never voted for the WA, have a competent background with potential integrity and are able to position themselves, policy and the country away from the London/Golden Triangle centric swamp. None of them are running.

      1. Julie Williams
        May 30, 2019

        Yup: things may even be worse than in 2016 when Remain May was reluctantly made PM as a peacemaker and look how well that worked out.
        Feel both Labour and Tories should do the decent thing and split into proper parties and am perfectly prepared to vote Brexit Party for as long as it takes for them to do so as the message of the Council and EU election trouncing wasn’t enough.
        Let’s not just blame politicians, though: let’s blame ourselves, the voters: we’ve been smug about our wonderful “democracy” and complacent, we’ve let them become used to “tribal” certainties which have led them to “buying” marginalised and ignoring loyalty.Politics sold like insurance , internet or breakdown cover: screw loyalty, chase new customers.
        Brexit is revitalizing an old and jaded political system whilst opening the eyes of the naive….like I was!

        1. Caterpillar
          May 30, 2019

          Yes, hopefully Brexit will revitalise and hopefully TBP will put together such a manifesto.

  36. Edwardm
    May 30, 2019

    I suggest if Tory MPs fail to elect committed Brexiteers who want WTO/FTA/GAT24 as the final leadership candidates, then they wish the obliteration of the Conservative party at the next GE at the hands of the Brexit party. I’m afraid it looks very much as if that could be their majority wish, and Mr Hunt could be one of the candidate options to fulfill that wish.

    1. NickC
      May 30, 2019

      EdwardM, Indeed, why won’t the Tory hopefuls pick up the Brexit opportunity and run with it?

  37. MPC
    May 30, 2019

    Nothing has changed, Remain Tory MPs incl candidates for leadership are playing it long through a 2 pronged approach 1) suggesting ‘No Deal’ would be catastrophic 2) knowing that only one more extension approved by the EU of our current vassal membership and we’ll be into 2020, 4 long years since the ‘snapshot’ referendum of 2016 which they will argue would no longer be valid.

    One example of 1) was Tobias Ellwood on ITV news this morning saying No Deal would result in a ‘GDP hit’ without being asked to explain himself in any way.

    Do any of the leadership candidates have the guts to take us out on October 31st?

  38. Julie Dyson
    May 30, 2019

    I suspect Mr Hunt will do very well with MPs and could end up in the final two, at which point he will be soundly defeated by the membership vote if the other candidate is a proper Leaver. If the other isn’t, well, it won’t really matter because the Conservatives will not survive the next GE and a significant chunk of our current MPs (on both sides of the House) will not be returning to Parliament.

    Whatever his qualifications, experience or achievements while in high office, Mr Hunt is not a suitable candidate for PM for one simple, overriding reason — anyone stupid enough to take No Deal off the table does not deserve either the respect or the support of this country. If we are not willing to walk away from a bad deal, we are begging to be taken for a ride.

  39. Freeborn John
    May 30, 2019

    I note with astonishment that Jeremy Hunt seems to have 29 backers in the Conservative parliamentary party for its leadership. With Hunt as leader the government would immediately be back in the position of May having blinked in the eyes of Brussels by telling them they will only leave with a deal from Brussels and Brussels only offering the deal that has failed 3 times so far and would do so again. He will kick the can down the road until 2022 when the electorate will annihilate your party for incompetence. And 28 Conservative MPs seem to find this the best leadership option available when both May and Cameron have demonstrated what happens if you negotiate with Brussels without being prepared to walk away. I really wonder at the calibre of mind that is allowed to become a Conservative MP. Any business with such a record of incompetence would have to review its recruitment process.

  40. Andy
    May 30, 2019

    The EU will not renegotiate. It might change the font on the agreement to Comic Sans – to reflect the fact that it has been negotiating with clowns – but that will be about it.

    The withdrawal agreement is Brexit. Not fantasy Brexit. Reality Brexit.

    100 years from now the great grandchildren of people who contribute to this blog will wonder what went wrong with all of you – to the extent that you were prepared to harm your country so badly.

    1. Anonymous
      May 30, 2019

      Well I’m glad you’re that optimistic.

      We’re being told that the polar ice caps will disappear and we will all drown next year.

    2. NickC
      May 31, 2019

      Andy, Not read Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement yet? So why do you pontificate when you know nothing? Let me give you an example: Article 6 states that the UK and the EU will make a “single customs territory”. Even you can see that is not leaving the customs union, and would therefore prevent the UK from having its own trade policy – a critical part of VoteLeave’s campaign. The WA is just a re-instatement of EU control over the UK via a different treaty.

  41. A.Sedgwick
    May 30, 2019

    Hammond and Hunt – political twins.

    1. Caterpillar
      May 30, 2019

      A. Sedgwick,

      PM May could have a small claim to a legacy if she sacked Hammond now, and put someone suitable in place whilst the conservatives drag out the leadership competition. October 31st approaches and the country needs a chancellor that realises UK must keep moving forward. Resources need to be released and applied. The apparent ‘bribe’ approach of Hammond is poor, one would hope PM May could make one last good call.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    May 30, 2019

    Jeremy Hunt is another good departmental minister who is not up to being Prime Minister.

    If any Remoaner wants to exit with a deal, there is one way that he/she might do it:

    – A unilateral revision of the draft Withdrawal Agreement to include the sentence “All measures and provisions in this Agreement are time limited to December 31st 2020” and any other revisions necessary to ensure consistency.

    – Give the European Commission a straightforward choice: the Agreement as amended or No Deal

    There is a chance that the House of Commons might vote for this. Personally, I hope that they don’t because I want a No Deal Brexit. We should though be clear that we will probably have to fight a General Election to get No Deal over the line.

  43. agricola
    May 30, 2019

    I will be interested in your advocacy of Esther McVey. She comes across as a leave, take few prisoners candidate whenever she gets the opportunity. If she fails to make it to the HoC final pair, I would want her in my Cabinet even if I might not always agree with her on everything. The flacid Cabinet we have suffered under May has contributed nothing to the well being of the UK, in fact just the opposite , so I am all for people with fire in their bellies.

  44. Ian
    May 30, 2019

    Good morning

    I believe you meant to say ‘Clean-Break’. No deal is still a deal, its just project fears way of emphasising that remaining under EU control is the aim.

    On the next PM, all the candidates seem to be lying, their default position its still the WA treaty or revoke article 50. i.e. remain or remain. Not one of them heard the recent election results, or has paid any attention to the referendum or understood the platform they laid out in their manifestoes to get elected.

    In all honesty, does any one believe that any of those that have stepped up so far are Conservatives or at any level fit to become the next CEO(PM) of this great country.

  45. Iain Moore
    May 30, 2019

    Hunt flip flopping all over the place on Brexit, he doesn’t have the steel or purpose to get Brexit through, I don’t believe he has the passion to take on the left , like their identity politics, and I don’t see much evidence of a policy direction post Brexit. I suppose if there was one word I would sum up Hunt with is harmless, which might be an attractive proposition for many of the supine Conservative MPs who want a quite life, which they will get if they vote for Hunt, for the quiet life they seek will be by unemployment.

  46. Simeon
    May 30, 2019

    Sir John,

    Is it possible for a Tory leadership candidate to categorically state that they will work closely with the Brexit party to deliver a proper Brexit? Simply to suggest the possibility of cooperating in some way with the Brexit party (eg. an electoral pact without the explicit offer of forming a coalition together) doesn’t look like it will get the job done; too many people will not trust this position, whoever is presenting it, and the Brexit vote would inevitably split.

    If the Conservative party’s only hope of surviving is delivering a proper Brexit, but the Parliamentary party refuse to do this, then the new leader has to call a general election (unless they have it forced on them). But how does the party organise for a general election in such a short space of time, AND make a credible offer to voters who look at the past three years and despair? Can you suggest a way through this, and a candidate capable of delivering? My sense is that only one of the consistent, coherent 28 or so could do this, but perhaps you could make a case for one or other of the candidates with a realistic hope of securing the backing of MPs?

  47. Crossword doer
    May 30, 2019

    I’ve just heard Mr Hammond on TV and he says that he is so opposed to NO Deal being left on the table and will vote with anti-Tory MPs or anyone who suggests NO Deal be left as an option.
    I don’t know if Mr Hammond has negotiated as a Trade Union Representative or as a member of a board of Directors of a nationalised or private industry. But if that is his belief there cannot be so many companies or boards across the board where he would be accepted as a negotiator, the very thought of it would send shareholders, union members into a fit of laughing that such a one should be involved.
    There are one or two instances where both sides of an equation know they should come to a agreement. That requires good will on both sides. The EU has not moved from its red lines one iota. Stuck to them like chocolate to a blanket. His views if honestly held are naive and un-businesslike at best

  48. Shieldsman
    May 30, 2019

    The Commission right from the word go struck the line, they as the administrators would follow – you will not easily escape. How dare you want to leave our Empire.
    They could not believe their success (Verhofstadt) in Theresa May caving-in and accepting the Withdrawal Agreement.
    Whenever the BBC take their cameras to Brussels on Mays visits, they catch the officials of the EU 27 muttering between themselves – why haven’t the Parliamentary rabble accepted the WA. They are nonplussed that Maria Miller and the High Court took the decision away from Theresa May and her Mandarin advisers.
    Actually they cannot understand that the Brits who fought to restore freedom to Europe twice voted to have their INDEPENDENCE back.
    The new unelected EU officials will not want to lose face, so expect no new agreement. Any tweaking of the Political Declaration is meaningless, the sting, the poison is in the WA.
    Expecting to renegotiate shows what idiots they are and not worthy of being Prime Minister.

  49. BOF
    May 30, 2019

    Hunt is just another dismally unsuited candidate to join almost all the other similar applicants.

    It begs the question, are the majority of them merely putting themselves forward in order that they can say on their CV that they were once candidates for the office of PM?

  50. James Bertram
    May 30, 2019

    Good article by Bruce Newsome, today on Conservative Woman website, ‘We’ve never had a worse Tory PM’.
    The relevance of this is that anyone who kept May in power, particularly her Cabinet, and anyone who supported May’s traitorous Surrender Treaty, are not suitable to be Prime Minister.
    This leaves just Steve Baker and Priti Patel as suitable candidates to be elected to office.
    I expect the Conservative Parliamentary Party has been too corrupted to put either of these two candidates forward to their membership’s vote.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 30, 2019

      Indeed a good article. It details all the many appalling failures of the dishonest, incompetent Theresa May. She was even worse than John Major (and his ERM fiasco cost me £millions and caused me and millions of others a huge amount of entirely pointless stress and aggravation). It cost people their homes, marriages, businesses and even many people’s lives.

      Yet Major learned nothing from it and did not even have the decency to apologise for his incompetence. Why on earth did Thatcher appoint such a foolish innumerate man as Chancellor?

      Now the many wet remoaners want to bury the party for a second time!

  51. Sharon Jagger
    May 30, 2019

    I would say that Jeremy Hunt is jumping on the band wagon of those who distorted the Euro Parliament figures and suggest remain won! He’s just running with what he believes to be the ‘popular’ vote in my opinion.

  52. Alan Joyce
    May 30, 2019

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    When you announced in your blog of the 28th May that you would assess each of the candidates in turn, I was so excited! We would get a chance to air our thoughts on the merits or otherwise of the next Prime Minister and perhaps, in a miniscule way, even influence the outcome.

    As I have read each of the ‘CV’s’ and we have only had a few so far, my excitement has somewhat diminished.

    I presume you must be announcing the candidates in reverse order and saving the best for last?

    1. formula57
      May 30, 2019

      @ Alan Joyce – The concern is that there is no “best” for a last post.

  53. Gareth Warren
    May 30, 2019

    I don’t know much about Mr Hunt, mainly because he has not gotten himself into the news often – he is not someone people want to hear.

    His reputation is competent and relatively honest, but then I hear his backing of the WA, an agreement that failed to get through parliament three times and that led to two election wipeouts. The EU have been clear that they will not change the WA, and no negotiating strategy of telling your opponent you must accept a deal has predictable consequences.

    So now I believe he must be very incompetent or duplicitous to have this approach, only two approaches are honest – WTO brexit or revoking article 50.

    I hear these threats where MPs say they will bring the government down if someone tries to force no-deal through. They then raise the prospect of a Corbyn government, I don’t believe that now because I have seen Farage’s success with a WTO brexit platform. He clearly is the threat, I find it odd so many MPs are in denial.

    No candidate is credible with a WA position or telling us they will renegotiate, I expect Corbyn would even rightly play with a government that tried to revoke. So mr Hunt is clearly unsuitable as PM.

  54. ukretired123
    May 30, 2019

    If you want things done you get a business achiever team from the real world, especially in times of crisis, someone not afraid to shake things up and cope with setbacks. Those with military background are key also.
    You need the racehorse type not the stubborn mules, where you point to the target Leave EU asap crack the starting gun and off we go!
    The Remainer Spanners in the works are the hurdles amongst many others but the once in a lifetime choice must be honoured come what may…
    On the subject of lying Remainers kicked off lying with the £10million taxpayer funded pamphlet forecasting doom and gloom Project Fear Mk1 to Mk100+ so the MPs responsible plus Treasury and Civil servants and Carney should also be in Court defending their lies.The
    Cameron Osborn May and Hammond plus all those hundreds of MPs who voted against their Manifesto to leave 80% would be in Court, highly unlikely me thinks…

  55. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    May 30, 2019

    Mr Hunt is my local MP.

    I have written to him on a number of occasions, and usually get a reply although it’s (probably not a personal one).

    I warned him of the disastrous “garden path” that Theresa May had lead the Country “up”, and my last letter before May was ‘neutralised’, was deservedly hard-hitting, for his role in Cabinet, supporting May and the WA. No reply to that one!

    I told him I first voted Tory in 1970.
    And that I was voting for a local Independent in the council elections and The Brexit Party in the EU Elections.

    People like Hunt still don’t get it.
    When the Tories have lost their core voters (4 in my household…believe me, they are in deep, deep, trouble).

    And they should not fool themselves into thinking this is “a one off protest vote”.
    I have donated £100 to the Brexit Party and will do what I can to help them succeed, going forward. I only ever gave the Tories £15 many years ago.

    Hunt is a ‘lightweight’ Remainer, who is part of the Tory problem, not a solution.

    Boris is the pick of a very poor bunch.

    I doubt the Tories have the common sense to choose him, and they will continue on their mission to ‘shred’ the last pieces of the Party.

  56. robert valence
    May 30, 2019

    Good Morning, Sir!
    “Have I missed something about his candidature that makes him worthy of being PM?”
    Unfortunately, the same goes with the majority of the declared candidates. Many of them don’t want BREXIT at all but will only intimate so in coded language.
    Frankly, I despair of them all; most of them are not even conservatives but closet Liberals, pink Socialists, your party having shifted markedly over the last 10 years, leftwards.
    There is of course a new conservative party, in all but name and I expect them to progressively take bigger bites of the Tory Party until it self-combusts along with its Socialist rival.

  57. David Maples
    May 30, 2019

    Possibly you have missed the malign influence of certain mandarins not a million miles from the Foreign Office!

  58. Sir Joe Soap
    May 30, 2019

    Speaking plainly, you are spending this week shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic, and choosing the most comfortable one. Apart from Boris J., who seems to be being stitched-up by a remainer court case, there is nobody suitable amongst the present runners. This is therefore a waste of time. TBP will trump any of these folk.

  59. bigneil
    May 30, 2019

    From the BBC news site ” Migration rules should be relaxed for vets, web designers, psychologists and architects from outside Europe, government advisers have said. ” – – And exactly how many of these would we “need”? – – 20 or 30 million? How many fake qualifications are already being printed in far-off lands? Then what else will we “need” – of foreign roots obviously? I assume these so-called advisers are pocketing plenty of cash – all of them ready to emigrate from the ex-UK hell hole they are wanting.once the Brits become less than 50% of the population – -won’t be long lads.

  60. Everhopeful
    May 30, 2019

    According to later publications Barnier has just said “ Non” to more negotiations!
    If true….Tee Hee!
    Also even a BBC audience (!!) is furious with Hammond for threatening to withhold money if No Deal is pursued.
    (Re Boris…How can we proceed in any direction if the judiciary is willing to get involved in politics?).

  61. glen cullen
    May 30, 2019

    The withdrawal agreement cannot be renegotiated (see Article 50(3)TEU EUCO XT 20006/19 section (11))

    Our extension with the EU is conditional that we can’t re-open the withdrawal agreement

    Any candidature that believes they can go back to EU to achieve a new/improved deal is deluded.

    Any attempt to re-open the extension would in fact be making the extension deal null and void i.e the extension would be removed and we would have left without a deal (catch 22)

    Candidates need to be honest about the situation

    There are only 2 options available for the continuance of the extension:

    1. Agree the current (Theresa May) withdrawal agreement before 31st October or
    2. Negotiate Art24 GATT deal and/or leave on the 31st October under WTO terms

    Leadership isn’t a fudge its about truth, clarity and vision

  62. Derek Henry
    May 30, 2019

    Excellent John !!!

    The new leader needs to say okay we are leaving on WTO if you want to deal here is my phone number.

    Because the EU export their way to growth their unity would crumble within a matter of weeks.

    If you watch the Tony Benn – Roy Jenkins Panorama debate in 1975 on you tube the facts is all there. Tony Benn saw the future in that debate and knew what would happen. Roy Jenkins couldn’t see past the end of his nose.

    1. outsider
      May 30, 2019

      The Benn-Jenkins debate was very illuminating and stands the test of time. Certainly, no interviewer would now allow such a thorough debate to take place and, sadly, I doubt that any two of your leadership candidates would be capable of sustaining it at this level of argument and courtesy. Sir John versus, say, Gordon Brown perhaps but none of these.

  63. Jewel in the Neck
    May 30, 2019

    I KNOW Mrs May liked that film starring Yul Brynner. She has never said or written so, nor has anyone else mentioned it. No I’m not psychic.
    I guess you are not too, but know she liked it.
    Good she is not PM soon. One gasps at see-throughs and wish they weren’t in her case. Her regard to normal people is unseemly

  64. BR
    May 30, 2019

    Continuity May – you hit the nail on the head, answering your own question.

    I didn’t know he’d posted so little on his own community blog, good spot. Not a true MP then, more a careerist.

    Next. 🙂

    1. PeterM
      May 30, 2019

      I don’t care particularly for Jeremy Hunt but I would think the work of a minister plus his constituency work might be keeping him busy enough for making him neglect the not-so-essential posting of sweet nothings on his website.

  65. MickN
    May 30, 2019

    I don’t envy you in having to find one of those standing for leadership of your party that you can support. Is “None of the above” a realistic option for you?

    1. 'None of the above'.
      May 30, 2019

      Enough said!

  66. BR
    May 30, 2019

    While on the subject of leaders and their pitch, can I just add a word about manifestos and ‘policy’…

    People today expect great detailed manifestos as a collection of items they mistakenly call ‘policies’. These are detailed legislation ideas/proposals, not policies. Example, say for NHS policy I were to write:

    ‘Seek the best outcomes for British citizens as patients and customers of the service while ensuring cost effective outcomes for the taxpayer’.

    That would be a policy. However, if instead I were to write:

    ‘Increase funding for the NHS by £Xbn, increasing immigration as necessary to find staff’.

    That would be a series of detailed legislative proposals.

    It is also inflexible – if circumstances change there is no room for manouevre, therefore it is also a potential political suicide note.

    So – can we please return to the days when we understood that policy is overarching and broad-brush, of necessity – we elect a government to deal with the unforeseen often on the basis of trust rather than from the straitjacket of pre-baked responses.

    And… we do not need constant ‘change’. Having 650 people with nothing better to do than change/create new law all day every day is a recipe for legislative paralysis of society.

    A manifesto is for policy, not detail – and certainly not to tie one’s hands in the future.

  67. John Probert
    May 30, 2019

    The EU will not renegotiate it is not in their interest
    they will keep their stance until we remain

    The only time the EU may renegotiate is after we leave with no deal

    They need our money

  68. rose
    May 30, 2019

    I share your view that Hunt was a good Health Secretary. He won’t do as PM because he is seeking consensus on something which must be prosecuted single mindedly and with whole hearted conviction..

  69. BR
    May 30, 2019

    Let’s not forget to ask the candidates where they stand on selection and de-selection of MPs.

    Those who stand on a manifesto to do one thing, then strain every sinew to do the opposite cannot be allowed to continue in post. Also, they cannot simply resign the whip or join another party and continue as an MP without being re-elected.

    This particular elephant stands out among the herd of elephants in the extremely large room of public grievances.

    Processes need to be changed, in parties and nationally. We also need to see the constitution more clearly defined so that the role of the Speaker cannot be abused in line with the incumbent’s personal political views.

    Please ask candidates where they stand on this – without it, to paraphrase the title of your book: how can we believe anything you (politicians) say?

  70. BW
    May 30, 2019

    Doesn’t matter who wins. The house is full of remainers. We need a general election now that we know rhe real views of MPs.

  71. a-tracy
    May 30, 2019

    Wisdom comes from time and experience, this is one reason most of us respect our elders. Youth has the benefit of daring and risk, they’ve longer to put things right that they get wrong, but age has considered opinions that I like to listen to even if I disagree and if I can’t make a good argument against their advice it really makes me investigate more. But all the talk in the world doesn’t cook the rice and we need to get on and cook that rice now before people start going hungry and get angry.

  72. Glenn Vaughan
    May 30, 2019

    Is Steve Baker going to declare his candidacy for the leadership? I will be interested in what he has to say as a contender if he declares.

  73. Atlas
    May 30, 2019

    Sir J.,

    No, I don’t think you’ve missed anything.

  74. Kenneth
    May 30, 2019

    I noticed on BBC’s Newsnight Tuesday 28th May (in the last 2 minutes) , the BBC referred to Conservative remainers as “Tory moderates”.

    Quite apart from the fact I disagree and believe those sticking up for the referendum result and the manifesto are the real moderates, the BBC has no right to make such political statements.

    What can be done to punish the BBC’s management for this clear breach?

  75. John Probert
    May 30, 2019

    Hunt is to soft and will not use our most powerful weapon
    which is leaving with no deal

  76. Pat
    May 30, 2019

    No you haven’t missed anything.
    The only chance of getting an improvement on the WA would involve convincing the commission that otherwise we leave with no deal. Convincing them after three years of waffle will be hard. Leadership candidates promising a better deal make it harder. An actual leader who believes his majick personality will change the com’s mind is deluded.
    The only options available are
    1 revoke article 50. This will result in there being no Tory party. Very likely it will also result in the treaties being revoked after a general election and the least orderly Brexi t possible.
    2 accept the WA. Results as above, but with a much increased probability of the treaty being revoked.
    3 No deal Brexit which will leave the Tory party in existence, with some prospect of government. Preparations may be incomplete for this, but some have been made and there is time for more, so it is the.most orderly Brexit possible.
    4 continue virtue signalling in the hope that the problem goes away.

  77. outsider
    May 30, 2019

    Dear Sir John, I have never met Mr Hunt. He gives the impression of being the ideal chap to invite over for a tennis party, were one to move in those circles and own a tennis court.
    It may be that steel, great acuity and powers of persuasion lie behind that disarming emollient facade. But, as Esther McVey says, even all those qualities could not unite either the Conservative or Labour parties over decisions between now and All Hallows Day.
    As Health Secretary, Mr Hunt presided over by far the UK’s biggest recruiter of overseas people for jobs. I know of nothing that Mr Hunt has said, inaugurated or done that shows any desire to stem the NHS’s permanent reliance of this continuing heavy influx. So it is NO.

  78. Shirley
    May 30, 2019

    Let’s cut to the chase. Unless an experienced negotiator is appointed, then it makes no difference in the end who is in government. It matters not whether it is WA, or a side deal for a WTO exit, both need experienced negotiatiors. Those currently in the jobs appear to have failed dismally (or deliberately!)

    A PM who fails to recognise this isn’t worth having. One of the great attractions of TBP (for me personally) was the enlisting of successful business people. Business people that do not rely on the EU for the success of their businesses. Not only can they negotiate well, they can give guidance to those businesses that haven’t prepared well for a WTO exit.

    Why do so many of the current lot of politicians keep ignoring the massive failures they have overseen? They wouldn’t last 2 minutes in business, and they aren’t doing the country any favours either.

  79. Simon
    May 30, 2019

    How is your quick, cheap and simple Brexit going now Sir John ? Your entire party has imploded already and lol, we are still very firmly in the EU.

  80. Ian
    May 30, 2019

    Mr. Hammond says we should have another referendum.

    Given he promised to honour the previous referendum, what sort of person does that make him.

  81. georgeP
    May 30, 2019

    As you say from September they will have other important matters to discuss, like Italian financial fecklessness and what are they going to do about it- so they will have little time or inclination to go over old ground with UK just because there is a new Tory leader in place- they have already said so- that ship has sailed- so better we clear it from our minds now and get on with whatever we intend to do for the future.

  82. Dominic
    May 30, 2019

    When will you do John if the courts request your attendance in court for something you said or referred to before, during and after the EU referendum?

    When is this disgusting, totalitarian State going to be crushed before it imprisons and suppressed our every waking moment?

    Will no one stand up in the Tory party and expose this appalling government?

    This PM’s tenure as PM has led this nation and its people to the brink of authoritarianism and this Parliament including many Eurosceptic MPs have allowed it to happen

    We are truly heading towards a disturbing future

    1. Dominic
      May 30, 2019

      Erratum :

      What will you do John….

  83. Denis Cooper
    May 30, 2019

    The editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser has printed my letter quoting Oxford Professor Kevin O’Rourke’s explanation of the EU’s requirement for both a customs union and single market rules if the Irish border is to remain as open as now:


    Unfortunately under the heading “Follow Swiss example to solve Irish border”, which is not in fact what I have been saying, but that just shows how politicians and the national media have managed to sow confusion.

    Apropos of the (largely fabricated) problem of the Irish border, this article has recently appeared in the Irish Times:


    “Border controls will return if no-deal Brexit happens, says Dutch minister”

    It is worth reading what he says, with no suggestion at all that the Irish Republic would have to put up toll booths on the border to collect customs duties from all who cross from the north – a very old-fashioned way to proceed, and the UK and the Republic should be able to come to some co-operative agreement on how they will each levy any such dues away from the border, and then make any necessary net transfers of money – but rather emphasising the EU’s need to keep non-compliant goods out of its Single Market – which should also be possible through co-operation without checks at the border.

    “We have to be sure that goods entering the EU at whatever border are controlled there on their conformity with EU rules”

    “But in Europe, we must be sure that products that are imported and traded here fulfil our common European criteria. If we trade with countries – and this might be the case in the future with UK – that have other safety standards, then it must be possible to make a distinction between these goods and others.”

    “If there might be technical solutions, who could be against it? It is above my knowledge. [But if future UK product regulations] are lighter than we like in EU, there should be border controls.”

    Well, it was a LEGAL change, the amendments of UK law to reflect the advent of the EU Single Market, which made it possible to dispense with routine checks at the Irish border in 1993, and so the first and most important step upon the UK leaving the EU would be a LEGAL change so that even if some goods legally circulating in the UK in the future did not meet EU standards it would be illegal under UK law to export them to the EU, or most especially to take them across the land border into the Irish Republic.

    1. NickC
      May 31, 2019

      Denis Cooper, As someone who has been involved with designing, making and exporting goods around the world, I can assure you that our customers insisted that we tailor our products to meet their requirements – which included conforming to local laws. That was routine. Conformity to local EU laws will not be a problem.

  84. ian
    May 30, 2019

    The majority of people are not interested in the con party silly little election, which is to be in their faces for next month on tv.
    The people just want a GE date before Oct 31 so they can get on with it, most people know already who they want to vote for and don’t care whether it remains con party MPs who call a no-confidence vote or the labour leader who calls for one or anyone else.

    The words are, just get on with it.

  85. Monza 71
    May 30, 2019

    I thought that Hunt would be a good choice in the Cameron mould, appealing to voters in the centre ground of politics at the next General Election, having fulfilled the obligation to Leave, as he had clearly stated, if necessary, on WTO terms. In complete contrast to his predecessor, he has clearly demonstrated how to be a credible Foreign Secretary.

    But Hunt has now backtracked to the full May position on Brexit and has therefore completely blown his chances.

    Of all of the candidates, I would at this stage only be prepared to back Dominic Raab or Esther McVey. Esther would either be a complete flop or she just might be able to grow into the role of PM just like Margaret Thatcher did. Now that would be a result !

    She should certainly appeal to Northern and blue collar voters from the Labour Heartlands but the key problem is : Any kind of renegotiated deal looks impossible to achieve because there will be nobody in Brussels empowered to even talk about possibly renegotiating anything until after 31st October.

    So can Esther or indeed anyone deliver Brexit on WTO terms by 31st October and thus avoid requesting an extension ?

  86. Mike Wilson
    May 30, 2019

    Anyone who has ever been Health Secretary is ruled out. Labour have done a good job of associating the Tory Party with wanting to ‘sell off the NHS’ and with ‘chronically underfunding the NHS’. Despite the increases in funding – Labour seem to have convinced ‘the public’ that the Tories are desperate to dismantle the NHS.

    Notwithstanding that, Hunt seems way too docile to be leader. To be a leader you need leadership qualities. People liked Maggie because she was the boss. In many ways we are all like sheep – we are just waiting for someone to take charge. Doesn’t matter what they do, as long as they are convincing enough.

    If someone said ‘stuff the EU, we’d be far better off out and able to do our own thing – I’m not going to even bother negotiating anymore – we’re leaving on October 31st and that is that’ – 70% of the country would bet behind them and they would save the Tory Party. As it is you have a load of closet Remainers vying for the post. No-one who has thrown their hat in the ring so far is a leader.

  87. Mark
    May 30, 2019

    The only way to get the EU to negotiate is to reject the WA and leave. It may take them a while to get over the shock, and due to lack of adequate preparation (thanks, Hammond), the UK may endure a more painful exit than otherwise might have been the case.

    If we do not get out now we risk being shackled to an EU which the majority of its people now think will disband anyway in the next 10-20 years, probably in acrimony. If we get out now we can help the members with a more constructive approach for the future which we will have been implementing anyway.

    It is now too late to attempt to reform the EU from the inside. The Treaty of Aachen makes that a Franco-German project, and therefore by excluding everyone else, doomed to failure.

  88. Monza 71
    May 30, 2019

    The BBC are up to their usual tricks : wheeling out Hammond to give his Remainer-orientated opinions on what the candidates should do.

    If any of the “Wet” candidates make it to the final two we can be sure they will be rejected by a huge majority.

    Let’s hope Raab and McVey make it to the final two. Whichever becomes PM, they should give the negotiating job to the other with Nigel Farage as special adviser, of course.

    1. Steve
      May 30, 2019

      Monza 71

      Doubtful Mr Raab or Ms McVey will make it to the final. The party will likely go for a wet remainer.

      Besides, electorally the Cons are already dead.

      1. ChrisS
        May 30, 2019

        Steve :
        If two Remainers or one Remainer and a lukewarm Leaver are put forward to the membership, there will be open revolt in the party.
        The membership is overwhelmingly in favour of leaving and most polls have indicated a solid majority wanting a WTO Brexit on 31st October.

        Given the catastrophic fall in support for both Labour and the Conservative Party, I very much doubt that Conservative MPs would dare go any further in obstructing us leaving than they have already done.

        As for your last point, the jury is out. If the next PM can deliver Brexit there is a chance of the party making a recovery. However, Nigel Farage is a very popular figure and if he get’s it right, he has a very good chance of holding on to a substantial percentage of the Conservative and Labour vote.

        Whether the Conservatives and Brexit Party can get enough seats and come together to keep out a Labour/SNP/LibDem coalition will then be the question.

        With the Brexit Party on the rise, there must be almost no chance of a majority Conservative Government.

  89. BillM
    May 30, 2019

    The Brussels cabal are either thick skinned or thick in the head. I have read they were being secretly advised by Mr Blair for them not to give anything away to us because our Government would cave in to their demands. It must be a strange case of a donkey leading donkeys as Mrs May’s resignation proves.
    However, it is clear that they remain as intransigent as ever in the vain hope that a new PM will be as weak as the last.
    I hope they are wrong but I do sense the ill-intentions of too many Tory remainers on the back-benches to ensure a Brexiteer is not selected as the new Party leader. Should that be the case surely they must also recognise they are committing Political Party genocide for the Conservatives? Or are they that arrogant?

  90. Martin Conboy
    May 30, 2019

    Well if I were a leadership candidate who was being totally honest, I would make reply that I think the EU will be reasonable in order not to frighten the horses.
    The EU won’t renegotiate because they don’t have to justify themselves to an electorate. They are refusing to negotiate with Italy, despite the fact that an Italian default will do them a lot more damage. They are persisting with their ideologically pure approach.
    But an incoming Conservative leader will need time to make his or her case to the electorate before the next GE. If they blithely announce that they will ask for an immediate withdrawal then the Gaukes and Hammonds and Grieves of the party will promptly defect and force an immediate GE. So best to pretend that the EU will renegotiate a bit, for a while.

  91. Ian
    May 30, 2019

    Well nothing has changed, there is the same amount of Establishment people in the House, and just the same carry on in the other place.
    I am sorry, I can only think the lot of them are no more than un trained actors, drunk on Lime Iight.
    The lesson // the frog horn that should have gone off in there heads , clearly reading the numbers after the EU vote did not connect with them.
    They are not only incapable of looking after this Nation, they can not even look after ?themselves ?

    Bring on the next General Election someone please, let’s have a clean sweep.

    All that is now in running this Country, are no better than the liar that chucked her Manifesto.
    Boris should not worry, just look at the lies that May the terrible peddeled.?

  92. Andy
    May 30, 2019

    I have a question for Brexit supporters about bureaucracy. After all one of your selling points in 2016 was that you would cut down on red tape.

    This week I had my car insurance renewal documents through. It’s pricey this year. With the usual gumpf was a new letter telling me I would need to contact the insurer if I wanted to drive in Europe. I would need a green card again – something I have not had to have for years. They said there may be a charge for it but did not say how much.

    I also need an international driving permit because under Mr Redwood’s favoured no deal my UK driving licence is no longer valid in the EU – which is has been for years. Actually I may need more than one international driving permit because different EU countries require different versions. I queued for half an hour in my post office the other day to buy the first one. It cost me £5 plus another £3 for the passport photos.

    Who does this money go to? And why, when you promised us less bureaucracy in 2016, has your Brexit already led to more of it before it even happens. I expect no answers.

    1. Anonymous
      May 30, 2019

      Bureaucracy IN the UK, silly.

    2. Edward2
      May 30, 2019

      £8 gosh Andy.
      Complying with REACH, CoSH, GDPR, VATMOSS which are all EU inspired laws cost my company tens of thousands pounds in compliance costs.

    3. Fred H
      May 31, 2019

      Andy….simple answer don’t drive in the EU countries.

    4. NickC
      May 31, 2019

      Andy, Do you really think that we should give up UK independence (remember Declaration 17) just to make it easier for your driving licence? When we already have separate agreements about driving licences with other countries, without being run by them? To put it in plain English so that even you can understand (though actually you don’t want to): there are plenty of ways to reduce red tape without having a centralised dirigiste control system like the EU acting as our top tier of government.

      1. Steve
        May 31, 2019


        “Andy, Do you really think that we should give up UK independence just to make it easier for your driving licence?

        Nick, yes he actually does think that. Same as all selfish remainers it’s all about them, the country can go to hell so long as they get what they want.

  93. Gary
    May 30, 2019

    Any candidate who claims he or she is going to renegotiate the WA is talking bull..the EU have repeatedly said that there is no chance that any of this can be reopened. We spent two years negotiating and then it was all signed off by 28 governments..they are not going to reopen this

  94. Nicky Roberts
    May 30, 2019

    Sir John, I don’t think you are missing anything with regard to Hunt, but perhaps you did miss Philip Hammond saying today that it would be his duty to bring the government down if No Deal was planned or attempted. Clearly he wants to revive the dreadful WA and push it one more time. It is people like our current Chancellor who recruits for The Brexit Party. Unless you tackle him and his coterie, whoever comes in will be neutered.

  95. David
    May 30, 2019

    Jeremy Hunt will be Mrs May number two. The instructions were clear to leave the EU we did not ask for a deal we requested to leave and that is all there was to it and it had better be done on Halloween or BREXIT Party is coming back in force and this should haunt all the new leadership candidates and Corbyn.

  96. C Walker
    May 30, 2019

    The EU speaks for all 27 when it comes to trade matters. The EU isa single voice at the WTO and indiviudual member states are not allowed to do their own trade deals:
    Therefore,.any trade deal.or WTO based in the absence of a formal free trade deal agreed between the UK-EU would apply to the 27 as a whole, However, it is worth bearing in mind that the majority of the 27 have neglible trade with the UK anyway:

  97. Just helping
    May 30, 2019

    I have never voluntarily taken even one bit of permanently brain altering drugs such as opium or cannabis. I’m lucky. The temptation was always there.
    I did however have a very broken marriage which, though I have nothing to compare it, certainly did my brain damage as it does to everyone’s brain male or female or other. Maybe it is worse that opium taking. I can’t know.
    Such vile poisonous OTT doses of bio chemicals are released and over-compensate to ease the attack on its very fabric, its matrix of interactions.
    One should only get married by a doctor, with specialist training and can prescribe it in regular does, a couple of days married per month then a break, a holiday well away from it and then a programme with therapists to get you off the nasty habit.
    Of course it should be on the NHS with foul looking nurses in attendance lacking a bedside manner.

  98. Just helping
    May 31, 2019

    I do not understand the idea of prorogue . Is it really possible for say Boris to close down Parliament and get us out of the EU?
    It sounds a good idea, if possible. Three years of endless loop-the-loop (repetition compulsion disorder) infertile talking amongst the 650 MPs.
    I guess it is preferable to a Cromwellian army marching into Parliament in the days prior to Stockholm syndrome .
    Well if Prorogue, counter-intuitively or paradoxically is the only way to restore democracy and order in our country then let it be done. It seems the only way thanks to Remainer MPs who just will not accept any form of basic democracy and have harmed the very concept of representative democracy in their craving for an all powerful one watching over them so they feel nicely tucked up in their cribs and safe from the world outside.
    Any moment now we’ll see Remainer MPs slowly huddling and bent in a pre-birth fetal position and kicking with their toes to get out of an imaginary womb.

    1. Andy
      May 31, 2019

      Sir John will tell you better than I can, but a new Prime Minister might decide to bring this Session of Parliament to a close by Prorogation. He could defer a new State Opening until after 31st October so it is a done deal. There is nothing that could actually be done.

      It is also worth noting that the evil May should never have allowed the Cooper/Letwin Bill to pass. As I understand matters it could have been killed off because it had spending implications and as such under Standing Orders required a money resolution. Be that as it may when the Bill was passed it was seeking to fetter the Royal Prerogative (the making of Treaties is entirely a matter for the Crown, not Parliament) and on those grounds alone she ought to have rejected it out of hand by refusing to allow it to have Royal Assent (something not done since 1708, but if the Speaker can rip up conventions so can others). There would have been a lot of huffing and puffing, but it is high time the Remainiacs in Parliament were checked.

  99. Just helping
    May 31, 2019

    Solzhenitsyn did a lot of work on this concept literally and literary. He was a great intellect of course and he recounts when he was plunged, as he called it, (in translation) to work camp work that the only way he could tolerate the longness of basic hard labour was to “Get in my stride” and then “Time flies” Yes, complete immersion into the Work, to merge into the work. To be one with the work blocking out presumably his normal intellectual thought processing. Then Time flies. So it does! I’ve done many hours flying through Time. I had an advantage from the start though. I never was of great intellect, so it came naturally.
    It should come naturally to Remainer MPs too.

  100. Peter D Gardner
    May 31, 2019

    It is amazing that any Foreign secretary, let alone Jeremy Hunt fails to understand that May’s WA is the EU’s one chance in a century to gain six hugely important strategic benefits for the EU:

    First, it keeps UK pre-qualified so it can quickly and easily accede to the new treaties intended to replace the Lisbon Treaties in 2025. There is no other way out of the backstop.

    Second, it keeps UK temporarily out of all EU institutions so that the new treaties can be developed without any influence by UK.

    Third, UK will continue to fund the EU through the so called transition phase.

    Fourth, it prevents UK completing trade deals with non-EU countries.

    Fifth, it goes further than the status quo in committing UK’s Armed Forces to EU political control and in committing UK to fund EU armed forces structures (PESCO) and operations through the European Defence Fund and to supporting the EU defence industry at the expense of UK’s and cutting out US suppliers.

    Sixth, it prevents UK from becoming a truly independent self-governing nation state, the elimination of which is essential for ever closer union to succeed. For example UK will not develop and implement control of its fishing grounds in its EEZ as it is entitled to do by the UNCLOS; it will not sign up to WTO rules on, for example, public procurement; it will not develop and empower its own regulatory agencies, eg. on medicine, fishing and so on. UK will remain a diminished state dependent on the EU for the normal organs and functions of state administration, and for higher policy making in areas such as trade, defence and security, the environment, human rights, workers rights, climate policy, competition and industrial policies, immigration, and many more.

    In truth there is very little in the WA worth retaining. Even the section on rights of citizens, although relatively equal gives the ECJ power over UK. But at least it could be amended, rather than rejected outright.

  101. mancunius
    May 31, 2019

    I completely agree with JR’s points. Many contenders do not see that the UK and EU political timetable between now and 31st October motivates the EU to maintain every jot and tittle of the WA. The EU sees a UK Parliament full of anti-Brexit remainers, and has not the slightest fear they will allow a no-deal Brexit.
    Only a new parliament full of pro-Brexit MPs (also trimming the powers of the House of Lords) would allow a pro-Brexit PM to enact the Withdrawal Act 2018 and simply leave, fully revoking the 1972 Act. Until a commited pro-brexit party emerges victorious from a GE clearly fought on this single issue, we shall not leave the EU.

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