My intervention during the debate on the European Union (Withdrawal) Acts, 19 Oct 2019

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): This debate should be about restoring the independence of our country in accordance with the votes of the referendum. Given that in the implementation period the EU will have massive powers over us, is there something that the Government can build into the draft legislation to give us reassurance that the EU will not abuse those very excessive powers?

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Mr Stephen Barclay): Yes, I am happy to give that reassurance to my right hon. Friend. That is something that we can commit to do as we move forward.


  1. J Bush
    October 21, 2019

    Pity he couldn’t elaborate how and in what way the government intend to stop the EU’s abuse of power, when it will be an international treaty.

    Why do politicians think it is necessary to have a treaty with strings attaching you to organisation you want to leave?

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 22, 2019

      I think that John’s premise is weak.

      Even as a full member of the European Union, its institutions do not have “massive” power over the UK.

      The remit of the Lisbon Treaty is limited and strictly defined. By far and away most areas of law are entirely sovereign.

      And the UK can leave at any time, as we see.

      However, as one of the Big Three, the UK did once have enormous influence over the European Union.

      1. Edward2
        October 22, 2019

        One vote in 28.
        9 paying in and the rest taking out.
        That is your definition of ” enormous influence”
        Cameron found out just what ” enormous influence” we had when he tried to get just a minor concession just before the referendum took place.

      2. Dennis
        October 22, 2019

        ‘The remit of the Lisbon Treaty is limited and strictly defined.’

        How so – details please.

  2. BillM
    October 21, 2019

    But can we really believe the Minister? Unless it is FIRMLY WRITTEN into the agreement, the EU will ignore any such approaches. The Government assurances that they will “Commit to it as we move forward” after accepting an agreement without its terms is completely meaningless.

  3. alan jutson
    October 21, 2019

    How about “nothing is agreed or finalised, until all is agreed” being WRITTEN into the withdrawal agreement

    If both sides accept this, then there is protection for both, if only one side will, then we know the true answer, we will be screwed.

    1. Fred H
      October 22, 2019

      Why not have a number of Leaver MPs tabling amendments which merely tinker with the words such as ‘replace transition with immediate’ …. that would use up some debate time if the Berk-ow allowed.

  4. Len Dann
    October 21, 2019

    You want the EU to promise not to abuse its power. Do you realise how silly that is? Do you think the UK would ever make such a promise?

    1. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      You want the EU to promise not to abuse its power. Do you realise how silly that is?

      That’s what they told us when they passed the Snoopers Charter. Don’t worry, they won’t abuse their powers. They did, immediately.

  5. Everhopeful
    October 21, 2019

    That needed saying.
    Let’s hope that should things go ahead the reassurances given will actually mean something.

  6. Mark B
    October 21, 2019

    Good afternoon.

    Firstly, his answer tells us nothing. Secondly, we should not be in this position in the first place. Lastly, we can say what we like and pass any legislation we like, the EU can just ignore it.

    The government and parliament have played, deliberately, a strong hand badly. We are poorly served.

  7. Lifelogic
    October 21, 2019

    How can something build into the draft legislation really ensure this? They will surely abuse these powers if they have these excessive powers. That is surely what EU history teaches us. The reply from Mr Barclay is virtually worthless. Do not give these powers to them they will be used to screw even more from the UK.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      What is this “something” you refer to and what real value could it have?

  8. Yossarion
    October 21, 2019

    So Bercow call an act in 1604 as His defense , hardly surprising He goes back to a time of an absolute Scottish Monarch who had Usurped the English Crown,for it appears today We have an absolute Speaker.

  9. John Brown
    October 21, 2019

    If the EU abuse their excessive powers we should refuse to implement their diktat and take the EU to the UN International Court at The Hague.

    1. Sharon Jagger
      October 22, 2019

      Aren’t the UN and the EU part of the same problem. A greedy, all powerful institution hell bent on world domination? The UN will side with the EU! I’m sure we’re just perceived as a pawn in their grand scheme of world domination.

      1. Mitchel
        October 22, 2019

        Mark Mazower’s book “Governing the World:the History of an Idea.”is a breathtaking synthesis of the attempts to create world government since the Concert of Europe at the end of the Napoleonic wars encompassing the Holy Alliance,Marxism,League of Nations,Soviet Union,UN,Spinelli and the EU and the current situation where the West at least is ruled by it’s financial institutions.

        All have failed – as will the current usurocracy-it already is failing,hence the tensions spreading rapidly around the world.

  10. Oldwulf
    October 21, 2019

    So Bercow has blocked the Brexit deal vote.

    It seems to me that Mr Johnson is in a win-win situation. Either Parliament gives him what he wants (and Boris receives his kudos) or, when the time comes, it will be Boris + the people versus the establishment.

  11. stred
    October 21, 2019

    So Barclay can sign us up to WA 4 with excessive powers and write them out? And what about all the excessive powers of MPs obstructing the matter that they were elected to deliver?

  12. Tom Rogers
    October 21, 2019

    Thank you for asking that pertinent question, which after all is your job as a backbench MP, but you must think we were all born yesterday if we’re going to accept assurances from any government of the major political parties. I, for one, never believed anything Boris Johnson said in the first place.

    We are now at another ‘1997 moment’. Or ‘1945’ or ‘1979’, or ‘1964’ perhaps. Whatever historical analogy suits you.

    Britain needs a revamp. This time we need Nigel Farage to step up to the plate and the changes needed will have to run deep, including a reversal of the ‘1997 revolution’.

    Sorry I can’t be positive. People like you have got innocently caught up in this, but a price must be paid for failure. You would demand the same of us and that’s the standard we ordinary folk have to live to. You must accept the same. ALL of you must go. Every single one. We need a completely new Parliament.

    Go, go, go.

  13. Hope
    October 21, 2019

    Surely JR you would not be that stupid to believe him! How many times has Cameron, Mayhab and Johnson said one thing and acted in stark contrast? How many times do you have to be lied to before you realise they cannot be trusted?

    All those who have sided with Corbyn like Letwin, Grieve, Hammond etc were in Cameron’s cabinet!

  14. Lindsay McDougall
    October 21, 2019

    How can the Government give effect to that assurance when EU Law, as expressed in treaties we have signed, notably the Lisbon Treaty, states the exact opposite? Agreeing to a ‘transition period’ was really stupid.

    1. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      How can the Government give effect to that assurance when EU Law,

      They can say anything, their word, utterly meaningless.

  15. Dennis
    October 21, 2019

    Not much came out of that, eh?

  16. Ian Wragg
    October 21, 2019

    What is Barclays assurances worth. The EU will do all in its power to disadvantage the UK and we can do absolutely nothing about it.
    What are we in fact implementing during this never ending transition period. At the end of December 2020 we will have paid out billions and only get an FTA is we stay in the Customs Union and Single Market and the CFP.
    Stop bull….ing about the WA.
    It’s a deadly trap.

  17. David Maples
    October 21, 2019

    Such as Mr. Barclay?: There’s no antidote, no magic elixir, no cure-all panacea. Parliament has been taken over by carpetbaggers and snake-oil salesmen! Never mind the Queen’s Speech, I wonder if they will even pass the budget come November?

  18. Richard
    October 21, 2019

    “A 2nd Barrister has now said that the Kinnock Amendment [in The Benn Act] attempts to introduce a different version of the WA to that which Boris recently concluded with the EU…no change means that these ‘provisions’, and changes to the Political Declaration, would mean the ‘deal’ therefore changes back to including a Customs Union – that’s what Theresa May had agreed.”

    “The date mentioned in the legislation refers to this speech from Theresa May:”

    1. Sharon Jagger
      October 22, 2019


      This is more of the same, a spiders web of deliberate confusion and dis-ingenuous speak. And like a spiders web, the more you try and wipe it off, the more you get caught up in it.

      But all the while we have the EU agents, here in Parliament, working against us at every turn….we need a miracle! This is a real battle, that must be won.

  19. Fred H
    October 21, 2019

    I doubt what is proposed will be enough to thwart the Remainers finding a way with the assistance of the disgraceful Berk-ow to prevent the desired effect. Nice try though.

  20. Dominic
    October 21, 2019

    ‘Implementation’ of what?

  21. David Brooke
    October 21, 2019

    Excellent question which seems to be answered unreservedly. With this reassurance (presumably written in the WA/PD), how can Labour and the remain parliament not honestly agree that this deal delivers the best Brexit outcome?

    Answers on a postcard!

    Thank you Mr Redwood for highlighting this point.

  22. Lorton
    October 21, 2019

    A UK Minister gives reassurance the EU will not abuse its powers – you might as well have Eddie jones give reassurance the All Blacks wont try to score any tries next Saturday. That exchange between you and Barclay is an An insult to our intellugence , Mr Redwood

    1. steve
      October 21, 2019


      “An insult to our intellugence”

      You don’t say, lmao.

  23. steve
    October 21, 2019

    “That is something that we can commit to do as we move forward.”

    Saying and doing are two different things. Given the high importance of your question, JR, I am not convinced by Stephen Barclay’s answer.

  24. steve
    October 21, 2019

    Glad to see that the conservatives are beginning to suss John Bercow for what he is.

    I think he’s been born in the wrong time, I think he’d have made a pretty good Luddite what with his use of spanners.

  25. Ian
    October 21, 2019

    Dear Sir John,
    First of all thank you so much for Not voting for this ghastly deal that Boris is trying to sell.
    Quite how he has the temerity to call it a good deal, it is Treachery just like the other PM
    How fantastic that the Remainers do not like it, they atleast are doing something right without knowing it

  26. MG
    October 21, 2019

    Does the reply sound convincing?

  27. Wokingham Mum
    October 21, 2019

    Speaker of the House of Commons- Dismiss him .Vote for dismissal. Clearly has his own agenda

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      Can’t ! It is a job for life.

  28. Fedupsoutherner
    October 21, 2019

    Seriously, I have given up with all the promises. There is nobody we can trust. I am convinced we will not truly leave. We have been and will be continued to be treated like complete idiots. Your government and the other charles on parties are a disgrace. I had so much faith in Boris but it shows you just how wrong you can be.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      I had so much faith in Boris . . .

      Anyone who has to invent a new persona (Boris) for themselves is a person you should never trust. That is why I have, and always shall, refer to him as Alexander. I saw through the disguise and I did not like what I saw.

  29. Roy Grainger
    October 21, 2019

    Translation “We want your vote tomorrow (after that we don’t care)”. You’re in a tiny minority now John, they don’t care what you want.

  30. Fedupsoutherner
    October 21, 2019

    What a complete waste of a good opportunity and a waste of all our time the last 3.5 years have been. I am sure I am not the only one who is disappointed in your party John and totally fed up with what is now a non democratic country all thanks to gutless, two faced idiot remains. Print that!!

  31. BOF
    October 21, 2019

    Reassurance?! This fine word doth butter no parsnips.

  32. Lynn Atkinson
    October 21, 2019

    I’m afraid I believe that the Tory Government, like the previous one, will say anything at all – see Boris at the DUP Conference. Regardless of the issue, for a PM to say one thing publicly then Welsh is unforgivable.

    1. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      I’m afraid I believe that the Tory Government, like the previous one, will say anything at all –

      They are utterly insane.

  33. Jeremy
    October 21, 2019

    Thank you for raising this point.

    “that the Government can build into the draft legislation to give us reassurance that the EU will not abuse those very excessive powers”

    What’s the point of building this into UK draft legislation? The WA treaty will take priority and with the ECJ as arbiter, the EU will be free to do their worst.

    The only option is to get something written into the WA itself but the EU won’t accept that especially at this stage.

    Please vote against this legislation if parliament ever gets to vote on the bill.

  34. Alison
    October 21, 2019

    Thank you for asking this key question. After all you have done, and realising that this business is still playing out, I hope it doesn’t sound churlish to echo several of the comments here .. does the reply sound convincing ..

  35. Zorro
    October 22, 2019

    You must feel so reassured after such a cast iron/copper bottomed guarantee. Doubtless, enough to make you fully back Boris’s ‘no better outcome’ deal….. That’s it in his eyes? What a charlatan! He wants to get it through so he can concentrate on his future and blow everything else!


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