My intervention during the Statement on Preparations for Leaving the European Union, 21 October 2019

John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): There is no such thing as a no-deal exit; if we leave without the withdrawal agreement, there would be all sorts of agreements and arrangements in place. So will the Government do more to tell the country about the 2017 facilitation of trade agreement between all World Trade Organisation members to ensure smooth borders, the government international procurement agreement to allow Governments to transact business, and the customs, haulage and aviation arrangements and agreements, which are all in place. People should stop scaremongering.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr Michael Gove): My right hon. Friend makes a very fair point. If we leave without the withdrawal agreement being ratified, we will leave without that deal. “No deal” is sometimes used to cover that specific outcome, and it is with respect to that widely accepted description that I use the term. He is right to say there are other agreements, and there will continue to be agreements, that we have concluded, both with individual EU member states and with the EU overall, which will govern our relationship. However, I am strongly of the view that a withdrawal agreement which has been ratified in this place will be the best possible way in which we can ensure both that we recognise the Brexit referendum vote and that we continue to have free trade and friendly co-operation.


  1. Ian
    October 22, 2019

    Dear Sir John,
    I am surprised that you say that you are strongly of the view that a Withdrawal Agreement which has been ratified in this place will be the best possible way etc etc.

    But so far the latest one from Boris, is so close to what the last one looked like , that is just abhorrent to those of us who voted Leave, it is anything but Leave.

    Better to simply Leave, or the Canada Deal, they are still trading with the EU and able to fish there waters without any interference ?

    1. zorro
      October 22, 2019

      It’s not JR speaking there, it’s Gove! We fundamentally disagree with the idea that a WA is necessary to leave. It actually hinders the process in the long term and is a disincentive for the EU to speedily agree on a tariff-free deal so that they can continue to run a huge trade surplus with Treasure Island. Our leaders need some balls!


      1. Lifelogic
        October 23, 2019

        The Boris W/A treaty would indeed be a huge hinderance in agreeing trade terms.

    2. cornishstu
      October 22, 2019

      Ian, it was Gove, not our host who said that. JR has always maintained that a clean exit on WTO rules is the best way to go. I agree however that the WA is just May’s WA with minor tweaks and still amounts to a sell out. It is the thin end of the wedge and the EU will use it to pry more concessions if or when we get around to actually negotiating a trade deal.

    3. Jagman84
      October 22, 2019

      I think that you’ll find that the support for the deal was in the reply by Mr Gove. A clean break exit is the best outcome for the UK. The nay-sayers wish to protect EU interests, rather than that of the UK. The sooner we leave the quicker we can get on to brokering a FTA and signing renewed ones with the Anglosphere. It’s more in the interests of the EU to come to a swift resolution. They have a €100bn trading surplus to protect and many member states are now technically in recession.

    4. Edwardm
      October 22, 2019

      I think you misread: It is M Gove who thinks we need a WA, not JR.
      JR makes the point that agreements for managing individual sectors are already in place – so why not just leave.

      I cannot understand the fixation of so many MPs on wanting the appalling WA or worse.

    5. Lifelogic
      October 23, 2019

      JR does not say that at all Mr Gove does in the reply. Gove the man who inflicted the appalling & duplicitous Libdim dope Theresa May and her side kick tax to death Hammond onto the nation. This by the appalling knifing Boris in his first attempt to be leader. Gove also, just like Corbyn, idiotically seemed to want to destroy private schools with a VAT tax on fees and other lunacies.

      Corbyn is clearly totally deluded. He talks about worker’s rights protecting jobs. Workers rights (in the main) destroy UK jobs by exporting them. They damage the UK’s ability to compete and damages the interests of good workers. The only real protection is lots of available good jobs if you dislike your current one.

      The Justice Secretary says there are no traitors in the House of Commons. But over 50% of them clearly are all. All those who voted for Benn’s surrender act for a start.

      Then we have Corbyn who says the house if full of brilliant people. It is alas full of very dim people. Indeed all but a handful voted for the Climate Change Act – very clear proof of there stupidity and lack of understanding of science, logic, numeracy, energy, economics and engineering.

      Perhaps at best about 50 are fairly bright. Hardly anyone on Labour’s front bench can even string a rational & coherent sentence together. Bitter fools driven by the sick & evil politics of envy.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 23, 2019

        “their” stupidity rather

    6. Everhopeful
      October 23, 2019

      I think that Gove said that..not JR?
      I am somewhat ( totally) confused though. I thought unhappily that leaving with or without Dreadful Deal on 31st was totally off the cards now.
      Is there still a chance? Or only if the EU refuse an extension?

  2. Steve P
    October 22, 2019

    No more delay is acceptable. Vienna Convention in which 21 of the EU27 are signatories state that no PM or sovereign can be forced into a treaty if coercion is used. If a further extension is used it will be because our PM was threatened with jail if he did not request it.

    I really do not understand why the UK government allows itself to be treated so badly – when international law defends it. I have no conclusion except they too are receiving benefits

  3. Caterpillar
    October 22, 2019

    The few substantive points I noted today were

    1) Confirmation that if/when a free trade agreement is reached during the transition period that NI leaves the protocol.
    2) That there would be some electronic/paperwork issues regarding some GB-NI and NI-GB trade but this would not be onerous and the Govt would seek to minimize. (That NI could be advantage compared with other areas of UK and EU).
    3) That the free trade negotiations would not include a permanent trading away of use of the EEZ, but rather fishing would be discussed annually. That the EEZ and fish stocks would not be abused during the transition period.
    4) That there would be no regression on workers’ rights and that this could be written into the WAB (presumably the opposition parties do not believe Parliament has the ability to protect workers).
    5) That there would be no regression on environmental protection and that this could be written into the WAB.
    6) If worker rights or environmental rules changed in the EU there could be a HoC amendable Bill to vote on to ignore/follow/lead the EU.

    ‘Worrying’ points were
    1) That the HoC could seek to bind the Govt to extend the transition period beyond the end of 2020 (to either weaken the Govt position or drag out uncertainty in perpetuity)
    2) That there should be a confirmatory Remain vs. WA referendum without the so called no deal option.
    3) That irrelevant and inaccurate economic impacts should be carried out.

    Is this roughly correct? I am sure I must have missed some. If the above is relatively close to the truth then the rejected timetable seemed reasonable.

    (Sorry for length of submission)

    1. Caterpillar
      October 22, 2019

      How could I forget …

      4) The right of the Scottish Parliament to block everything for the whole of the UK

  4. glen cullen
    October 22, 2019

    PM needs to send a letter to the 27 EU members informing them that the UK government doesn’t want an etension

    Also proroge parliament

    Start fighting for the 17.4m

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 23, 2019

      The other fifty million will fight back, I can promise you that.

      1. glen cullen
        October 23, 2019

        Amend 17.4m …should read ‘majority of the voting people of the UK’

      2. Fred H
        October 23, 2019

        The Welsh Bard……my grandchildren haven’t got a clue what you are talking about – part of the 50m – and they certainly don’t want to fight about anything.

      3. Edward2
        October 23, 2019

        Hilarious misuse of statistics.
        We have a set of standard rules regarding voting in the UK.
        Amazingly you know what the opinions of 50 million people are.
        Did you ask them all?
        Do tell us.

  5. Prigger
    October 22, 2019

    I saw you JR in the debate in The House. Teary eyed as they looked across to someone and you said “It seems there are not going to be enough numbers” or some such, in anticipation of the voting. We did not have enough and yes we understand why the DUP and ‘their electorates’ you said, looking down, have to care for them as they feel they are being left behind. They are of course in Boris’s deal. He probably had little choice. It appears European forces have outflanked us, twice over, and too many MPs love another UK . the uk

    So now what? Did George Orwell really write as said so “The only hope are the proles” ?
    He may be right. Will they rise? Rise above tribal political darkness in even lager number?
    An alliance with Farage could help.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 23, 2019

      A Conservative alliance with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is essential to be sure to avoid Corbyn/SNP or another Parliamentary mess full of various traitors. In the last EU election Farage got 30% 1st place and May’s fake Conservatives (Brexit in name only Libdims) get 9% and fifth place. Peter Borough was lost due to the Tories splitting the Brexit vote.

      None on the “Conservative” traitors should ever be allowed to return to the party. It would damage the party image hugely. Hammond (especially) returning would make them look like a tax and regulate to death, pro remain party – which is exactly what they were under dim & duplicitous May.

      May too should be replaced after her contemptible duplicity.

  6. Mick
    October 22, 2019

    People should stop scaremongering.
    The only people scaremongering is yourself along with all the other closet Eu loving mps, we the people can only hope now is that Boris gets a General Election so we the people will be able completely drain the swamp of all you Eu loving MPs and fill it with true patriots of the U.K. you only have yourselves to blame when your signing on for unemployment

  7. Wil Pretty
    October 22, 2019

    I would think that the only way to achieve an election would be to persuade the EU to make it a condition of an extension. That could well then break this impasse.

  8. Rus
    October 22, 2019

    Gove is simply justifying Remain propaganda narratives by saying its ”widely accepted”. he just means he is media led. Infact, it is remarkable how the supposed Leave media accept Remain propaganda narratives and the basis of repetition, as if that makes it so.

    Good question John.

  9. Gareth Warren
    October 22, 2019

    Now that the opposition have prevented us from leaving on the 31st we see how sincere the government is.

    While I do not expect the prime minister to break the law to uphold the 31st of October pledge I will hold it against the conservative party if we with hold any technique to exit the EU.

    First I believe only the government can allocate money, so after 31st of October our EU contributions go to zero, they either accept we have all the privileges of membership still or throw us out. At that point we then cease collecting tariffs if that is legal – else funding for schools and hospitals gets improved.

  10. Polly
    October 22, 2019

    ”friendly co-operation” with the EU !

    That’s a laugh when it’s perfectly obvious the EU has no desire for ”friendship” with Britain, but instead shows every desire for the precise opposite.

    The British approach is to politely and ineffectually dance around the fact that there is a massively well funded conspiracy to wreck Brexit, and it certainly won’t stop when/if the useless Boris fudge eventually gets through parliament.

    Not facing up to the conspiracy and dealing with it puts Brits at a massive long term disadvantage, and that’s being extremely optimistic !


  11. margaret
    October 22, 2019

    The deal if we stay in EU as it is means that they continue to have power over our jobs. Many talk about losing jobs and that is exactly the point .We are cornered whilst they have control and what is more when harder times come around the UK jobs will be the first to go.

  12. Polly
    October 22, 2019

    Brits love tasty new Borifudge….. buy yours today before inevitable disaster and disappointment……………………

    Britain Elects
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 37% (+6)
    LAB: 24% (-4)
    LDEM: 19% (+2)
    BREX: 11% (-2)


  13. Rule Britannia
    October 23, 2019

    Note how Gove slid away from the facts. He changed the WTO agreements you mentioned into agreements we have with the EU and its individual members.

    He also implied that the WA was somehow a vehicle for “free trade” which it’s not – if we had done as Article 59 says and negotiated the future relationship first (i.e. the trade agreement) then we would need nothing, or very little, by way of a withdrawal agreement – it’s only needed to plug any gaps.

    Not to mention the £39bn – we should have offered to go to arbitration on that (and still should do exactly that).

    Gove = the man most responsible for this mess. If he hadn’t knifed Boris in the back and allowed the incompetent May into power, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 23, 2019

      Indeed and Gove even wanted to destroy private schools by putting VAT on them. A policy that would cost far, far more than it would raise. A real Conservative would propose top up education vouchers and private schools available for all. Not a dire state monopoly in Education (just as we have with the third rate NHS.

    2. Fred H
      October 23, 2019

      agreed…..he should have been cast into the wilderness from that act onwards.

  14. Fandango
    October 23, 2019

    Dopey Trudeau has won the election in Canada again. The Conservatives did not do as well as expected. The oil industry there is alarmed and other industries. I don’t know if this affects the UK in geo-economics but Canada remarkably, given its mineral assets, should be rather better off than it appears. It will be progressively worse off with Trudeau’s Liberals. They’ve ’embraced’ as they term it, all the Green silly agenda which means their assets are increasingly not assets of course. Why do some nations cut their own throats? I know the UK has Sweeney Todd in the driving seat of The House now ,so perhaps one should not criticise Canada too much though our Sweeney Todd does not blacken his face periodically for a party trick but does dance the flamenko to a most foreign tune.
    I still think the movie “Cabaret” symbolic of what is happening right now in politics and what professors call inter-relationships. It’s like a tidal wave of psychological disturbance that hits the world making confusion in all things. One day they may find it has to do with cosmic waves or something sci-fi like that. Once upon a time, they called it periods of witchcraft and weird behaviour patterns. Did I mention our Sweeney Todd and his flamenko dancing as his prelude to Her Majesty’s visit to the Lords recently? Has Parliament and its occupants always behaved like this?

  15. Valeri
    October 23, 2019

    Could you give us one single example of the WTO facilitation of trade agreement ever being enforced against a country which applies border checks to imports? Just one example will do.

    1. Zorro
      October 23, 2019

      That’s not the point though is it…. Countries have signed up to it and A8 TEU commits the EU to favour neighbouring countries and it is clearly in their economic interestr to do so.


  16. Ian@Barkham
    October 23, 2019

    Good morning Sir John

    Your point is extremely valid. The However, is although it gives the People of the UK and fulfils the election promise of the majority in the HoC it doesn’t give Remain. That is Parliments problem, most sitting there are self interest egotistical idiots that have no respect for the People and the power they(the People) have invested in them.

  17. Lifelogic
    October 23, 2019

    So it seems we are not to be allowed to celebrate Brexit on 31sth October, but we can at least celebrate the end of the pathetic, contemptible and totally biased referee John Bercow.

    The next Commons Speaker will be different says Bernard Jenkins in the Telegraph – well perhaps. But given that Parliament have over 50% of MPs who are clearly dire traitors, it seems rather unlikely to be someone who is much better.

    1. Chris
      October 23, 2019

      I am not so sure that Bercow will go on that date….

  18. David Webb
    October 23, 2019

    Ah-hah! So you didn’t choose to publish my comment showing just how much of a Brino Johnson’s deal is. You have no intellectual consistency. You are in support of a Brino.

    Reply. No. As I made clear I just want to leave with no Withdrawal Agreement. That was not on offer yesterday.

  19. Dominic
    October 23, 2019

    Gove. An affront to all Brexit supporters

  20. Richard416
    October 23, 2019

    If I ever had all this trouble getting out of a mobile phone contract, or any other contract or subscription service for that matter, that company would never see the colour of my money ever again.

  21. Fred H
    October 23, 2019

    So who responds to an extension agreed by the EU? Can Boris refuse? What would happen if he said no? How would it be enforced?

  22. alastair harris
    October 23, 2019

    Your comments on what Boris has promised are correct. They run counter to the arguments being put forward on the BBC for example, where the narrative appears to be that we will take an extension and get an election. Boris is in a difficult place. There is much goodwill for his deal, but even superficial analysis confirms it is not that much different from the May version. My own view is that the country will not take kindly to it when it comes to an election. I agree with you that we should just leave on 31st and seek to negotiate an FTA.

  23. alastair harris
    October 23, 2019

    Sorry, forgot to add. My understanding of article 50 is that a deadline exit date does not preclude leaving earlier, and the first withdrawal act means we are free to leave without further recourse to Parliament.

  24. Diane
    October 23, 2019

    Friendly cooperation indeed. ‘Brexit, a waste of time and a waste of energy’… No Mr Juncker and others, it’s our future and we have the right to leave without ‘permission’ and leave in a way that is carefully considered and acceptable to our country at the same time respectful of the EU. Nobody wishes anyone any harm. However, the degree of control sought under these WAs is excessive to say the least and paranoid to a degree. Another headline today ‘EU will veto Brexit deal (treaty !) rather than risk another Windrush vows G.Verhofstadt’ I find that rather an insult to be honest. From the off, it was made clear repeatedly even by T.May that rights of EU citizens to remain would be supported. If people are working & settled or supporting themselves and abiding by the laws of the country in which they are living then surely that is not in question. One of the basics of any exit arrangement. And as far as finding a place in hell ( wished upon our then ‘Leave’ politicians ) I’m happy to find my own when the time comes. ‘No more Brexit delay’ was the prompt on the 16th October in the press, from 5 named individuals from a broad range of businesses small and large and I could not agree more with the final sentiment: Quote: “Britain is the centre of world finance & a leader in the industries of the future. We are an immense global power. It’s time we started to act like one” Unquote: Indeed !!

    1. a-tracy
      October 24, 2019

      I know a number of EU citizens who applied for settled status and got it within a day. They have been working and paying tax and ni and council tax here for years and had no problems whatsoever. The ones that have had difficulty have been operating outside of the PAYE system, not registered anywhere in the UK. How can you not be registered, it’s quite simple apparently and perhaps that is what is lead to lots of unregistered people having problems proving their citizen’s rights and pension rights. How do you get pension rights if your Windrush or not if you’ve not paid in your correct number of years National Insurance, oh that’s correct Pension credits who give people benefits that don’t follow the taxation rules.

Comments are closed.