In support of Mr Frost’s letter

Mr Frost’s letter to Mr Barnier told him some home truths. Is the EU stupid or wicked in thinking that the UK wants to stay as part of the single market, and therefore needs to make concessions to do so? The UK has made it crystal clear we are leaving both the single market and the customs union. We have also made it clear we would be willing to grant the EU a Free Trade Agreement, which will help them more than us, as an act of friendship which could also be of modest benefit to us as well.

As Mr Frost asks, why is the EU apparently unwilling to offer the UK something similar to the FTAs it signed with Canada and Japan?  They obviously thought those were in their interest.

I at last got a speaking slot yesterday in Parliament. I made clear there must be no UK concessions and no extension to the negotiations. Either they come round to an FTA or they do not. It’s up to them. The UK will be fine either way. We do not need to pay to trade- not  in money,  not in fish nor by sacrificing our freedoms.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Exactly – but will the Boris Government stand firm on this or not?

    • Justinus
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      No and it will be the end of the Tory party.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I agree with your position on this. Furthermore I believe that the UK now is potentially much better placed to respond to the economic consequences of the lock down. That potential rests on the quality of the government’s policy decisions and their effective execution. The impact of C-19 demands radical reform to boost economic recovery.

  3. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The EU still think they can bully us into submission, as they’ve done in the past with Cameron and May.
    We all appreciate the stand Boris is taking, and just want to get on with it… Whatever the EU can deny us for not remaining tied to their apron cannot be worse than lockdown – We will survive a ‘no deal’ nicely, thankyou.

    Barnier has made it clear many times, that he goes along with the notion of punishing the UK, while sucking every last penny out of us that they can – I would not say his approach was moral or honest. He seems to have a personal vendetta.

  4. Tabulazero
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The EU is neither stupid nor wicked to notice that the UK is neither Japan nor Canada.

    The UK is starting this negotiation de facto from the heart of the Single-Market by virtue of having been a member of the EU for forty years, a time it spent crafting the competition rules, state aid and environmental standards it now desperately and inexplicably want to get out of.

    Mr Frost’s letter contains nothing new. It is the same cherry picking approach to the negotiations which has been on display for the past 3 years. It’s tone convey the same old sens of entitlement and but hurt English nationalism we have grown accustomed to.

    I doubt the EU was actually the intended recipient and suspect that it was rather the Brexit faithfuls who like to post on your blog.

    Given the bungling of the COVID crisis by the current government which managed to outperform Italy when it comes to mismanagement of its care homes, one may understand why it may want to change the narrative by rallying the Brexiters to the flag, lest people start asking nasty questions.

    I can report that Mr Frost’s letter is barely mentioned in the continental press this morning. This should tell you the level of priority attached to Brexit by the Europeans these days.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      3 EU countries have higher death rates than the UK and the only country whose health system was overwhelmed by the Wuhan virus was a member state of the EU. Such comparisons are of course meaningless as there all sorts of reasons – obviously cities like London and New York would be hit harder than eg Athens or Auckland. But you leftists like to make such comparisons so there you are.

      Probably the right approach for both the EU and the UK is to stop wasting time repeating un-reconcilable positions and just agree we move to WTO terms on Jan 1. Even then of course, unless the EU actually wants a trade war, we can still continue tariff free trade and all sorts of other conveniences over travel, landing rights etc.

      Its probably all going to be fine – you will be disappointed!

    • Edward2
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      It would be good if you could tell us why the UK cannot trade with the EU like all the other nations of the world that are not members.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        Because the EU has no intention of letting the UK take advantage of it. The EU is not there to make your average Conservative voter happy. It is there to safeguard the interest of its constituent member states, who are pretty happy that it is Barnier and not them who has to waste precious time in these negotiations.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          That is nowhere even close to answering my question.

          The EU require a unique relationship with UK

          They have reasonable relationships with many nations.
          Why not the UK?

          • Tabulazero
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            Has the UK been a member of the EEC which subsequently became the EU since 1973 ?

    • John A
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Big news here in Southern Ireland…………..whose farmers stand to lose a lot.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Ireland is a member of the EU. Ensure the so-called ‘negotiators’ on your behalf understand what you will lose.

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Tabulazero, Cherry-picking is the essence of a good negotiator. Unfortunately the UK negotiators have failed to cherry pick anything like enough. We should insist that the EU conforms to our laws, changes its single market to reflect Thatcher’s anti-dirigiste requirements, and that we can take some of their fish for our trouble.

  5. James Matthews
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Fully endorse your final paragraph. I trust that is and will remain the position of HMG.

  6. Sharon Jagger
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    You ask is the EU stupid or wicked in thinking that we want to stay part of the single market. I’d say it’s probably a bit of both. There have been so many pro EU British people eg Tony Blair who have been liaising with Brussels and misinforming them that I think they truly believe we might cave at the last moment.

    Also, they are so terrified of us succeeding as an independent nation and will directly compete and beat them that the need to prevent us being totally independent is their worst nightmare.

    Their intransigence and inflexibility will be their downfall. But to takeover a continent by stealth, as they have tried doing, I suppose the script had to be adhered to!

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Sharon Jagger, Spot on.

  7. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    People such as you have crowed that the UK is leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market, indeed, John.

    However, when the European Union’s representatives explain the logical and inevitable consequences of that, you refuse to accept them, or try to deny to the people of this country what will happen, or say that the German car makers will somehow threaten to destroy the whole thing if that were true, and make other such fanciful claims.

    Just like those of this damned coronavirus, the facts will soon be impossible to hide though.

    • Corazon
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      So true. “We are leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union” cry the Brexiters gleefully! And then when they are calmly told that of course that choice will be fully respected, but that leads to tariffs, border checks, problems in Ireland, non-recognition of UK qualifications, no more passporting rights for our companies and visa requirements for our people, plus loss of every single one of the EU’s global free trade deals, they start spluttering “what? Why? We don’t want that, its not fair, we never knew”

      • NickC
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Corazon, We did know. There are numerous papers from eurosceptics over the last two decades which show this. A WTO registered RTA provides some advantages – for both sides – but is less than is often supposed in the MSM. Certainly your glee at the supposed disadvantages of WTO trade overlooks the fact that it is – in money terms – worse for the EU.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    The negotiations are certainly now more interesting with the political turmoil in Europe and relative stability in UK. Being prepared to walk away has indeed given us the leverage we previously ceded.

    I believe we will still give away more than we need to in fear but not as much as we might have. I am cautiously optimistic and interested to see what happens.

    Well done to date Mr Frost et al.

    • Leaver
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      I remain deeply concerned about immigration, which appears not to have fallen at all, with net migration standing at 270,000 during 2019.

      Brexit was a clear vote to stop immigration. Yet all that seems to have happened is that we are attracting more non-EU migrants than before.

      I don’t see how people flooding in from even further afield is giving us our country back. This is categorically not what I voted for.

      • Otto
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Mr Farage on a boat in the Channel saw a French patrol boat escorting a boatload of migrants to be taken off onto a British patrol boat. One on Farage’s boat was filming it with the consequence that the British Coast Guard threatened the boat owner with confiscating his boat if he didn’t stop the filiming.
        That is probably illegal but gives an insight on what is happening in the channel.
        I don’t read newspapers so any report on this in them? I have heard nothing on any BBC news.

      • anon
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        We dont know how many of Merkels millions were given EU papers and availed themselves of free movement.

        Is the facilitation of illegal people smuggling legal depending on who you are?

        Are government employees at risk of being visited at 10pm to explain or to be given a talking to?

        It appears we have the collusion of two parties the french navy and the border farce vessels.

  9. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Thank you, well said.

  10. Peter
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Mr.Frost seems to be holding firm. There is none of the weakness, backsliding or duplicity that characterised the May government.

    All that can be done now is to voice support for him.

    There are stories that deals are done in the very last minute. All we can do now is wait and see. Personally, I would prefer to leave on WTO terms – a very clean break.

    • beresford
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      I just hope we don’t concede part of their absurd demands as a so-called ‘compromise’. We do not need to pay them to have a trade surplus with us. Knowing how they negotiate, it is odd that we haven’t made our own set of absurd demands which could be traded off against theirs.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Dear beresford–One simply would not believe that they have the surplus with us not the other way round. There is no getting around that bottom line

    • anon
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      We should have had a clean break 4 years ago.

      We should just exit the transition unilaterally.

      Any deal with the EU in its present form is just not worth it. The establishment can’t wait to tie us in with agreements we don’t need.
      We don’t need an FTA with the EU. We are doing a massive favour offering it.

      Walk now and Walk quickly, dont look back. Move on to other UK problems like controlling our borders , laws and trade with those that are minded.

  11. Walt
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Well said.

  12. Andy
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The Tory government has repeatedly made it clear that it is leaving the single market and customs union – despite having no mandate from an overall majority of voters to do so.

    But Mr Frost’s letter also seems to make it clear that the Brexiteers have themselves not accepted the consequences of Brexit.

    Membership of the SM and CU comes with the benefits of free and frictionless trade but in return there are obligations on members.

    By trying to cherry pick various aspects of agreements the EU has done with others the UK is effectively trying to gain all the advantages of SM and CU membership with none of the costs.
    The EU is totally right to say no.

    The EU has been honest about the cost of Brexit since the start. And the Brexiteers have continued to be dishonest about it. Even now they are pretending to Brexit voters that Brexit will be cost free. It won’t.

    Mr Frost is an unelected and unaccountable bureaucrat. With his appalling letters – an attempt to negotiate by tantrum – he has demonstrated his unfitness to serve. A disgrace to our country.

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Andy, It was made abundantly and repeatedly clear during the Referendum campaign that Leave meant leaving the customs union (leaving the CCP); leaving the single market (trading an RTA); and regaining control of our UNCLoS rights (200nm fishing).

      In the EU, exporting to the rest of the EU is neither free nor frictionless. Especially not for services. And it is only c12.4% of UK GDP. Freeing up the other nearly 88% UK GDP is rather more important. As for cherry-picking, that is exactly what the EU is trying to do – make us into a colony so we pay and obey but get nothing in return.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Mr Frost’s letter has only one purpose: to spin the probable outcome that the EU is punishing the Uk (unfairly obviously) by denying benefits the UK wants and hence, that a no deal outcome (as per mr Redwoo’d final para) is not only fine but also unjust.

      Anyway, the letter is easy to read and unusually undiplomatic/emotional, the attached draft proposal is pretty offensive by what it claims and especially by what is left blank. Anyway, no one will care. The EU (as I have said many times here) is completely resigned to the UK having left and has other things on their minds. There is no way the UK approach will lead to a deal that benefits the UK, or allows the UK to function (rules of origin) as a conduits for third countries intent on unfair competition within the single market.

      Is the next phase going to be a campaign to teach the British public that the UK (in hindsight) should not have saved Europe from Hitler? Conveniently forgetting that that is what the US and especially the USSR did, with a cameo performance for the British. Out of self-interest. Exactly what states do and the EU will do in its dealings with the UK and vice versa. Sentiment has no place in diplomacy; it is the loser’s card and for the home audience only.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Let us hope that our team do not cave in at the last moment.

    • blearyeyed
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      The last moment will be 0001 hrs on the 1st January and from then on we’ll be in position to ask for talks anew- and good luck with that

  14. Richard1
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    M Barnier seems to have worked himself up into an indignant fury which is a good sign. It really is a pity a robust approach wasn’t taken 4 years ago in which case we would by now be 2 years or so into a trade deal and people would have forgotten what the word Brexit meant.

    It’s quite clear we need just to leave now whether we have an agreement or not, and focus on FTAs with countries which will agree normal terms like mutual recognition of standards and self certification, and don’t require colonial type legal and tax vetoing powers. If the EU won’t agree a sensible FTA now we can come back to it in a few years time perhaps.

    If after a few years it all turns out to be the disaster which the continuity remain minority loudly proclaim, which I rather doubt, we will just have to crawl back into the EU, tails between our legs, and accept the full panoply of EU rules, euro, bailouts and transfers, included.

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Uptick sir. If I could leave one.

  15. Fred H
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Well said – I just hope people listen. There are times when it is frustrating – why cannot we just deliver ultimatim? We are being strung along in the hope we will concede, like before. In the meantime what have the EU got to lose (well a damn lot actually) ? Each month they get another £1bn to shore up a nonsense budget.

  16. graham1946
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Why won’t the EU offer FTA’s like Canada and Japan? The answer surely is that they still entertain hopes that the UK will re-join or have a ‘close relationship’ – i.e. be under EU control. They have this view because of the years of the May government assuring them that things are being watered down in that direction and of course all the EU headbangers who even now, after we haft left, cannot accept democracy (for those who cannot grasp the concept, that is the result of the the referendum and elections which binned the EU supporting parties to irrelevance). You are doing your best to keep Mr.Johnson honest in this matter, but what of your government and party colleagues? Are you sure? We cannot rest until this matter is finalised by the end of the year, already 4 years too late, without concessions to the EU. They must learn to live by themselves as friends and traders, not governors of the UK.

    • brian
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      The UK will rejoin but in a different genration- in years to come people will look back and think luddites

      • graham1946
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        Will there be anything to re-join? People in future generations will probably say ‘out just in time’.

    • Peter van LEEUWEN
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      @graham1946: “close relationship” doesn’t mean being under EU’s control! It requires mutual respect. If you read Mr Barnier’s response letter on his twitter account that might become more clear.
      I could imagine that in future (say five years) a comprehensive associative agreement would be possible. For now, the UK wants to go it alone and so it will be.

  17. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    There is already the suggestion from the continent that the UK starts negotiating instead of writing letters (Mr Barnier’s reply).
    Personally I’m not surprised – the EU27 has been so perfectly clear from the start.
    Now a no-deal seems ever more likely and trust in the UK is starting to wear thin.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      In proper negotiations both sides need to be flexible.
      In your post you make it clear the EU have had their position fixed from the start.
      So the implication is that the UK must negotiate by simply accepting all the requirements of the EU.
      That is not negotiation.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2: I assume that you have read Mr Barnier’s reply by now. You can find it on twitter.
        Within the basic principles outlined once again (call them red lines if you want) I still see a lot of room for negotiations.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

          Only if the UK agrees to every “red line” Barnier wants.

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 22, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

            @Edward2: Indeed. In his letter you already see one example how these derive from the mandate givin bij de EU27 leaders.
            Don’t forget that the Uk too has its red lines.

        • NickC
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          PvL, The only guiding “principle” the EU has is power. Without that it collapses. That the EU is attempting to continue its power over the UK is no surprise. We always wanted free trade rather than to be ruled by an empire. There is thus no scope for negotiation.

      • Andy
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        The EU has no need to negotiate. You wanted to leave, leave.

        You are under the misunderstanding that it is talks between equals.

        It is not.

        27 countries v 1
        450 million people v 65 million
        Biggest global trading power v minnow

        Take they deal they offer you or leave it and stop moaning.

        (And, for the record, after a lot of huffing you will eventually take it).

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          I said on here in 2016 shortly after the referendum, to you, that the EU would never agree any deal with the UK.
          I predicted that no deal would ever be concluded.

          I still think that will be the final outcome.
          The prime purpose of the position of the EU is to discourage any other members from leaving.
          I can understand that.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            Edward 2

            there will eventually be a deal between the UK and EU

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink


          The huffing and puffing is now coming from Brussels…Frost has simply called them out.

          But, indeed you are right, Britain should now leave on WTO terms, then you and the rest of Europe will be very happy to go their own way; they don’t need Britain.

          ….and just to make their point, BMW, VW, Mercedes, Siemens, Bosch and all the others from around Europe will be happy to limit their goods to the UK.

          17.4+ million UK citizens and I support your simplistic conclusion.

        • NickC
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          Andy, It’s you who is always moaning. You moan about the Referendum; you moan about the Referendum result; you moan about “17.4m old/angry/Tory Brexit voters”; you moan that as soon as enough old Brexit voters have died you’ll reverse Brexit; you moan about leaving the single market; you moan about leaving the customs union; you moan about the £350m/wk slogan; you moan about the temerity of the UK standing up to your EU empire; you moan (incorrectly – it’s actually the USA) that the EU is the biggest market; you moan that the UK cannot govern itself; you moan that we won’t have enough workers; you moan that we will all be unemployed without the EU; you moan that the UK cannot be independent like New Zealand; moan; moan; moan; moan. You’ve never stopped moaning since you started on here. You have revealed that the heart of Remain is unremittingly negative about our own country whilst being blinded by a mere foreign political ideology. Your view that we cannot exist and prosper without the EU telling us what to do is risible. You lost – for God’s sake get over it, or you’ll do yourself a mental mischief.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink


            Sorry Nick, but one part of your comment is erroneous….you are assuming an individual’s mental health is stable in the first place?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Getting worried about who is going to fund all of the EU planned schemes Peter.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        @Alan Jutson: At this stage not really Alan. There seem to be new insights/convictions about what a nation or indeed the EU itself could take on as longterm debt. There are also new, untapped resources, like finally a tax on turnover in the EU countries by the likes of Facebook, Google and others.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Quite right Peter…..

          ….the EU is looking good, no issues at all. They won’t miss Britain and should tell Britain to shove off immediately.

          Then smiles all round!

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

            @Dennis Zoff: I appreciate your sarcasm 🙂
            But . . . the EU has usually evolved through crises and this may continue. Now we see the Northern part of the EU realising that some kind of debt mutualisation is necessary, which will lead to more financial transfer. That may lead to more oversight and governance at EU level, e.g. a euro budget and commisioner in charge of that. The EU will not become a superstate but remain a hybrid monster (not a monster in my view of course 🙂 ). Do expect many more problems and crises for the EU, but try to view them as growing pains.
            I wish that the UK may be similarly successful in its endeavours to be (become?) a global leader in various fields.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink


            A good point and thank you for a somewhat better understanding of the British psyche than most?

            In general terms nobody (imho) in the UK is anti European (certainly not me, too much personal European vested interest; including my Dutch family and friends).

            The majority of UK voters decided a EU contruct is not for them, but the European majority appear to wish for a continuance. I genuinely wish our European friends good luck. There are future challenges for all of us?

    • davies
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Clear about what? any country who dares to leave must stay under the EUSSR Legal Order?

      Mr Barnier’s idea of a negotiation is we dictate and you comply – that is not negotiating.

      Why would any country in their right mind sign up for that? All to maintain a huge trade deficit….

      • Tabulazero
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Any country that cleverly think it can pretty much enjoy the benefits of the Single-Market but none of its obligations by the grace of having been a member state for 40 years is in for a rude awakening.

        … especially if said country is run by a bunch of politicians who are inherently hostile to the very idea of an European Union.

      • bill brown
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink


        this just shows you have not understood the idea of the EU and most of them do not have trade deficit

    • James Matthews
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Still flogging the same dead horse Mr Van Leeuwen. We know what the EU says Its terms are. They are, as they always have been, entirely unacceptable, so there will be no deal. The best long term result for the UK.

    • anon
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      WTO is more preferable by the day, for the UK.

      We demand out and we will be a sovereign state and hopefully more democratic than in the past 100 years.

      The EU are only interested in power and money. They have colluded with a 5th column within the government to thwart the UK exiting the EU.

      We do not even trust our own lot. Let alone the EU.

      The British Public has been crystal clear.

      We just have not had leadership to move on it.

      Get on with restoring democracy to the rump EU.

  18. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    There is already the suggestion from the continent that the UK starts negotiating instead of writing letters (Mr Barnier’s reply).
    Personally I’m not surprised – the EU27 has been so perfectly clear from the start.
    Now a no-deal seems ever more likely and trust in the UK is starting to wear thin.

    • oldwulf
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Hi Peter

      Mr Barnier is, of course, perfectly entitled to his opinion as to how he should conduct his negotiation. He is also entitled to his opinion as to how the UK should conduct its negotiation but he should not be surprised if the UK has its own opinions.

      Some may agree with you that the EU has been clear from the start. For example, had Mr Juncker been inclined to offer something constructive to Mr Cameron then there was a possibility the UK electorate just might have voted “remain”, but he was not so inclined and the UK electorate voted leave. Arguably the EU has been consistent ever since, as has the UK electorate. I accept that the UK Parliament has not shown the same level of consistency as the UK electorate and I can only apologise for that.

      In all of the circumstances I believe that a so called “no deal” was always the more likely and trust in both sides was always “thin”.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        @oldwulf: Maybe you are right. Nevertheless I’ve seen Britain as an uncomfortable (half) member for decades. It is a pity of course that minds have hardened on both sides.

        • oldwulf
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink


          I think you maybe right so far as the UKs EU membership is concerned. However, I believe that the mind of the EU has been consistently hard from the outset … which it is perfectly entitled to be. However, the mind of UK Parliament hardened more recently when it belatedly decided it needed to listen to the majority of the UK electorate.

          Both sides are now both looking for something better than a so called “no deal”. I will be surprised if this is achievable, but we shall see. Either way, I believe that the UK Parliament would risk its new found popularity with its electorate if it breaks its promise of a conclusion by 31 December.

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      PvL said: “There is already the suggestion from the continent that the UK starts negotiating instead of writing letters”. Have you any idea how petulant that sounds? Who are you to define how we should negotiate? Or the EU?

      And as for the EU being “perfectly clear”, it has actually been all over the place. The EU failed to read the signals from Cameron, and thereby helped to produce the Leave vote. Since then, the EU has attempted to overturn our vote (with help from the Remains) as it did in Holland, France and Eire. Again a failure. Now the EU has backed itself into a corner with nowhere to go. And at the very time bits are flying off the EU and EZ due to dodgy sovereign debt.

  19. James Bertram
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    We do not need to pay to trade- not in money…

    Can we have our £39 billion back then?

  20. James1
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Mr Frost’s letter is a brilliant performance.

  21. formula57
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The Evil Empire has filched £39 billion (assisted by May the Quisling et al): why is that still being paid in the face of no deal on trade? (Why would it be paid now anyway?)

  22. Nigel
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Spot on, as usual, Sir John. Beware also the potential of being dragged into their military union:
    We should also be wary of being dragged into the €500bn facility that France and Germany are setting up. If they finalise it by the end of the year they could try to get us to guarantee a share (€65bn), while we are still subject to their regulations.

  23. glen cullen
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Well said Sir John

    But why wait another 6 months if talkings aren’t achieving anythinhg

    That published draft FTA is more about politics than trade issues

  24. BJC
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I considered Mr Frost’s letter as one of support for M. Barnier, as he appears to have been abandoned by those who provided him with an unachievable, ideological mandate, whilst omitting him any latitude. It’s unfortunate that “best endeavours” has had to include imparting an unpleasant, sharp message to wake the EU from its deep slumber. We can only hope that their reaction will be more than the ususal display of peevishness!

    May I ask, though, what exactly is the EU’s objective meant to be? M. Barnier’s mandate appears to concentrate on process, not an overall ambition for trade. I presume, because their natural inclination is to expend all their energies on preserving their failing project. It’s truly worrying how destructive their ideology has been on Europe and quite bewildering that they won’t modify their demands; do they want Europe to be in a position to trade competitively, or not?

    • Corazon
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      You find it bewildering that the EU won’t do what the UK wants? Don’t you think you should have thought through before you voted to Leave? Perhaps with reference to the many experts who explained at the time that Vote Leave were selling you a chocolate fireguard?

    • mancunius
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      The EU is by its very nature protectionist, inward-looking, and anti-competitive. Hence its obsession with a ‘level playing field’ – which means of course adopting their rules – and their future rules, as they are subsequently altered to outlaw competition and shore up regional monopoly. May was of course anxious to agree to all that – the EU still thinks it can force such idiocy on her successors in the name of ‘free trade’.

      One of Kaiser Wilhelm’s principal pre-war grudges was that Great Britain ignored his constant pleading for ‘less competition’.

  25. Polly
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Just as many people, including me, were waiting very keenly for the results of the UK hydroxychloroquine re-purposed drug trials which were announced over 2 months ago, we today learn that the trials have not yet even started, and that the results won’t be available until the end of 2020 !

    Many British doctors wanted to trial this drug way back in February but were prevented from doing so by the NHS which said the use of hydroxychloroquine might jeopardize patients.

    However it’s fine to prescribe it now for 10,000 NHS staff, and only yesterday ”Downing Street” said they didn’t recommend it’s use by President Trump !

    I wonder what is the reason for the changed approach, and why is it fine in the view of ”Downing Street” for thousands of NHS staff to take hydrozychloroquine but not the President of the United States ?


    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      This is a different trial surely, we have been signing patients up to the Recovery Clinical trial in large numbers for weeks now, this seems to be a new trail to see if it can be useful as a preventative measure.

      • anon
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        It was allways something to mitigate the virus, and therefore help the immune system react and clear the virus.

        The studies which decry its potential were where very much higher than normal doses were used in patients at the last moment some just before being put on ventilators.

        Once the studies are done then a review of how the decision makers could have been influenced by big pharma or just inertia needs to be addressed.

        We have professional doctors and an educated population. We dont need control freak civil servants.

  26. oldwulf
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    It seems the negotiations are more akin to a game of poker – both sides believe the other is bluffing. Maybe they should be adjourned and reconvened at 11:59 on 31st December.

    • Junior
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      This is not going to work either- it’s more like talks will resume then anytime after 1st January- we’ll be be put at severe disadvantage as we approach them like new boys on the block.

  27. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I am not sure that we owe the EU an ‘act if friendship’ after subsidising the EU to the tune of hundreds of billions of pounds over the past few decades. If the FTA doesn’t make economic sense for us, after a rational rather than emotional analysis, then we should leave the EU’s orbit without one. And keep our fish.

    • Junior
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      We are never going to be able to completely leave the EU orbit because that is where we are geographically located and this is the big difference between ourselves and Canada, Japan etc- these countries are so far away they are actually converging to EU rules for trade as they go along but do not have to provide a level playing field- whereas we are trying to diverge as much as we can and then to ignore their requirement of a level field with them is not going to work. We will end up with no FTA anywhere if we keep going like this

      • anon
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        You heard of container vessels and that watery stuff, sons of the sea etc.
        We would better of going for a WTO default exit and negotiating later. The terms offered to the EU are incredibly generous and they are too idealogical to see it.

        A little time for reflection may help the EU in its battle for its democratic soul.

  28. Cora Dunn
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    The UK sends 45% of its exports to the EU27. The EU27 sends 6% of its exports to the UK. So a Free TradeAgreement is over 7 times more valuable to the UK than the EU. That is why the EU holds all the cards. Please, learn some basic maths before you post things as embarassingly wrong as this.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Except for the little matter of the 94 billions more they sell to the UK than the UK sells to the EU. Trying to compare 27 countries output to a single one won’t wash. Even so, the 45 percent of exports totals only 11 percent of our GDP. Please, learn not to compare apples with oranges.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        That is spread between twenty-seven countries, Graham.

        Each of those still has twenty-six others within the European Union with which to trade too.

        The UK loses all twenty-seven.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous comment Martin.
          Still claiming all trade with the EU will stop.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          The 27 will lose what has been a great marketplace for their goods. We don’t do much business to lose anyway.

    • Justinus
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      I think you need to learn some basic maths. I’ll go s-l-o-w-l-y for you.

      6% of a large number is more than 45% of a small number which explains the trade deficit in favour the EU.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink



        …however, you may need to go very slowly in future for Cora Dunn and Martin-in-Cardiff; international trading maths and factual evidence continue to be a real challenge for both of them..

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Cora Dunn, UK exports to the EU amount to c41%, not the 45% of exports you cite. You have forgotten the Rotterdam (etc) effect. In value terms we exported £265.3bn to the EU whilst they exported £357.4bn to us (Pink Book 2019 for 2018). A difference of £92bn in the EU’s favour.

      Moreover most of our business is conducted with only a few of the EU27 – principally Germany, France, Italy and Spain (excluding Belgium and Holland due to the distorting effects of world imports/exports via Rotterdam, Antwerp, etc). So you see our imports from a few EU countries are very significant.

  29. Len Peel
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    You sound as pathetically needy as Mr Frost himself – “please please give us a deal like you gave Japan and canada please please”. The EU will do what suits it, it has control. Britain is on the sidelines, throwing a tantrum when it doesnt get its own way. That’s Brexit for you

    Reply Im not needy of an EU agreement. Im happy just to leave

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Len Peel, That is your mistake – the EU no longer has control over us. It’s something you and the EU seem to have forgotten.

  30. Adam
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Frost is acting as our Negotiator, not a Rule-taker subservient to the other trading party’s preferences.

    Products and services are worth only what their consumers demand, based on need. Each of our consumers makes his or her own choices. Decisions involve specification, price, availability and much else. Consumers within EU nations make their own. They have chosen to buy more of our output than we have of theirs. On balance, we have the advantage; plus the flexibility for worldwide choice.

    Above all, Freedom endows us with higher values than any convoluted club could cook up.

    • plentymore
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Mr Frost has his orders just as Mr Barnier has his- both are supertankers on collision course that are not so easy to turn and especially not in a storm- nothing good will come out of any of this

      • Fred H
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        a supertanker can be holed below the waterline, which could sink us.

  31. George Brooks.
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    This letter was long over due but now Banier, who is no fool, must now understand our position and aim very clearly. If he does not get back to the negotiating table PDQ we will know for sure that the EU is trying to punish us for leaving. They have lost the ‘high ground’ and their present stance will damage them far more than it will us

    I bet the BBC won’t mention it

    • brian
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      The first sign of things going horribly wrong will be about July when we hear of fruit and veg being ploughed back into the ground because the foreigners are not coming to help

      • NickC
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        Brian, Missing your EU servants already??

      • anon
        Posted May 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the UK server needs handling UK applications needs to be fit for purpose. One could suspect that they really do not want UK based applications.

  32. ChrisS
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    You were absolutely correct in your speech yesterday. There is certainly no intention of the 27 offering the UK a decent free trade deal without unacceptable strings attached that would compromise our sovereignty. As Mr Frost said, no sovereign country could accept what the EU is proposing.

    To save time, Boris should write to von der Leyen immediately saying that no deal is possible unless the EU accepts that after 31st December, the UK will be a sovereign, fully independent country. This means there has to be an independent disputes mechanism that does not involve the ECJ and our status as an independent coastal state has to be recognised over fishing rights which will therefore need to be decided in the form of annual discussions as happens between the EU and Norway.

    Boris should go on to say that, unless the 27 announce that they will accept these parameters before the next round of talks commence, there will be no point in holding them. We should then move to planning a WTO exit while leaving the door open to the 27 to come back at some point when they have accepted the situation.

    As Barnier insisted very early on that “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Boris should make it very clear that no further payment to the EU will be made after 31st December 2020 without a free trade deal and that unless we are granted full and indefinite access to all aspects of the Galileo project, we will be deducting the full cost of our investment in Galileo from the November and December payments.

    • anon
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      No this interminable saga needs to end. What is the point? in getting an agreement to your suggestion then wait until 31st December.

      We need to rescind the offer of an FTA and exit immediately to a default WTO.
      Negotiate deals with the ROW and possibly later review some areas where we could arguably benefit from a potential deal, viz other in the world on a UK priority basis.

      • ChrisS
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        Much as I would like to, we cannot leave straight away. The government and businesses need the next seven months to prepare for the changes necessary to trade with the EU on WTO terms from January.

        • anon
          Posted May 25, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

          70-80 % of UK Trade is internal.
          Our biggest export markets are outside the EU.
          The EU trade represents 7% of our GDP & falling.

          This increase in GDP associated with world trade could surpass the 7% fairly rapidly.

          Today 7% changes in GDP are relatively minor.

  33. NickC
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    JR, Thank you. A beautiful and concise summary of Leave, and a welcome relief after the Remain induced turmoil of the last 4 years.

  34. rose
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Quite right. Sorry I missed your slot.

  35. Mark B
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    The EU have given Mr. Barnier his instructions. This is what they want, and that is what they will get, less we stick to our guns and actually LEAVE.

    But time is running out for the EU an I hope that Mr.Frost is being better supported than, David Davis MP was during the first set of negotiations.

  36. Newmania
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    The UK will not be fine either way , not in the sense of jobs growth funded services and ongoing resilience. I wonder how many of the people who are now unemployed care so much about our constitutional arrangements with our neighbours they thin k it is worthy risking jobs for ?
    It was always clear that the Uk was going to ask for things it could not possibly have as the Brexit campaign was based on a succession of lies. This is will lead to a great deal of self inflicted suffering .

    Of course we know what the Brexit State will do ..” Its those nasty foreigners ..its the foreigners wot did it ”
    In the old days a morally bankrupt state would actually start wars somewhere, (like Abyssinia ). Now they just start a war of words (like the attacks on teachers or immigrants )

    I have never seen such squalid shameful stupid government in my life but there it is .
    By the way do you ever get out of your panamas nowadays John , or just pop down to pick up your cheque ?

    Reply I work long days, attending various on line conference calls or being in the virtual Parliament, fully dressed in a suit as you can see from my speeches.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Nasty, vindictive and wrong. Perfect for a Remoaner.

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Newmania, There were no “lies” on the Leave side, you must be thinking of Remain. I’ll never forget Remain claiming we would be like Albania after Leave; and that we got back “nearly” £10 for every £1 we gave the EU. Hilarious!

      • bill brown
        Posted May 24, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink


        preposterous statement even from you

  37. Helen Smith
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    It was a wonderful letter, so nice to know these negotiations are in the hands of someone who BELIEVES in Brexit and and BELEIVES in this country.

  38. ukretired123
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The EU relies on (Treasure island) Britain’s contributions and highly profitable trade so much they cannot get their heads around not having their cake and eating it.
    In 50 years they have never reduced their expenditure in line with the member countries reduced budgets and always ratcheted it northwards on “Le Grand Project”.
    Now things are plummeting they will blink first starved of sheep-like thinking.
    Britain and other countries National Debts have ballooned – something will have to break before they realise this.

  39. Edwardm
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The EU is in a world of its own with a big attitude problem, and continually proving that we were right to leave.

  40. margaret howard
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


    “As Mr Frost asks, why is the EU apparently unwilling to offer the UK something similar to the FTAs it signed with Canada and Japan?”

    Because neither Canada nor Japan were lucky enough to have had the enormous advantages nearly 5 decades of EU membership gave us.

    As Peter van L points out above M Barnier is not impressed and suggests the UK starts negotiating instead of writing letters.

    In my experience people only hide behind letter writing when they haven’t the courage to face others round the negotiating table. It impresses nobody.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      I don’t understand your logic.
      Why does the EU demand a unique trading arrangement with the UK?

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      margaret howard

      “they haven’t the courage to face others round the negotiating table”

      Quite right, this should be a face to face negotiation….perhaps you can outline the EU’s position, as you appear to have an intimate understanding of the obvious EU benefits?

      What are the “enormous advantages nearly 5 decades of EU membership gave us”

      Please enlighten us? I am sure 17.4+ million Brexiteers would be delighted to understand this enormous advantage?

  41. Elli Ron
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Well said JR, and well said Frost.

    Barnier is behaving as if he (the EU) were deaf, we said we don’t want to be in the single market, he comes back with ‘
    You can’t be in the single market without ECJ and “level playing field”, this playacting is just another time wasting exercise, but this time we have the clarity of real Brexit instead of the disastrous May “negotiations”
    You and others are right; the EU doesn’t change its spots and will try to frighten us by other means. We need to prepare the only counter argument – as many FTA’s with other major economies.

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I am of the view we would be much safer and better off without any agreement with the EU as I fear some part of it will give it a foot in the door which they will of course exploit agressively. If we are to do a deal it should not be entered into until 31st December 2020 is well past.

    We set out our global tariff plans, that’s our no agreement position .Thete is nothing in it to fear.

  43. Diane
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Frost. A clear, comprehensive, sensible, factual, explanatory and undemanding piece of correspondence. Of course it was met with immediate rebuke, only to be expected. We have, once again, made ‘Insufficient Progress’, that’s the problem, progress means totally different things to each party.

    • Tabulazero
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      progress means “not backtracking on what was already understood and agreed by Boris Johnson in the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated less than 6 months ago”.

  44. Graham Wheatley
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Well done Sir John. And well done David Frost.

    “Is the EU stupid or wicked in thinking that the UK wants to stay as part of the single market, and therefore needs to make concessions to do so?”.
    The latter I would contend.

    What everybody should realise is that everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) that the €U have done, are doing, and will do, in regard to Brexit is aimed squarely at preventing the first member state from leaving the union. Because if that happens, then the whole rotten house of cards comes tumbling down around their ears and other member states will want some of the same – especially if we are seen to prosper outside.

    They must prevent it at all costs, and Project Fear (V1.0, 2.0, 3.0, n.0…) is another tool in their arsenal. Endless delays = remain, and their tactic now is to delay and delay and delay in the hope that the British people will become fed-up with the Tory Government and eventually elect a Labour one. (Ideally they would like a Liberal Dimotw@t one and must have been gutted that Jo Swinson lost her seat. Oh dear how sad – never mind!).

    Boris, Frosty, the rest of Government and the people must remain steadfast against any efforts to dilute Brexit. There must be NO further delays or ‘transistions’ (…each of which is a cue for both remainers and the €U to chuck out anything and everything that has thus far been discussed, and reset the clock, wringing their hands in woe and proclaiming that it isn’t possible to ‘do’ a deal in the time remaining. Well chaps, what happened to everything you HAVE agreed amongst yourselves in the last 4 *flipping [*misprint] years?!).

    If Barnier [et al] continue whingeing then I would suggest we bring forward our final leaving date from 31st December to 21st October, declare that date a new public holiday and we can all raise a glass to both The Admiral AND to finally having left the €U and ALL of its institutions.

  45. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Right on. That’s telling them. I trust the PM sees it the same way.

  46. mancunius
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Mr Frost makes it crystal clear in his opening remarks that M Barnier has invited a written statement to help him in his discussions with the 27 European government leaders who dictate his brief, along with the EC. Mr Frost rightly reminds M Barnier that we have been seeking agreements with the EU based on its other third country treaties. The EU insisted that we would be regarded as a third country from an EU perspective, and this is the basis of the free trade we propose.
    The strong implication of the EU’s insistence on refusing a FTA and trying to keep us in the single market is that it does not *really* want to regard us as a ‘third country’, or indeed recognize our independence at all, but to tie us helplessly on a chain to the EU. The UK and its newly-elected parliament have bluntly rejected that piece of infernal impudence.
    By failing to change the record, the EU is in danger of having a dangerous and implacable enemy on its doorstep. It seems that – however unaccountably – this is its aim.

  47. Junior
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    What do you mean ‘you are leaving’? You have already left 31st January

    The EU is not interested in your version of a FTA- your idea is for a cherry picking deal or separate deals to suit yourselves- it’s just not going to fly

    Friendship doesn’t come into it- not when dealing with perfidious albion

    UK compares with Canada and Japan but that’s all- the difference is huge

    There won’t be any concessions or extensions to the talks it’s way too late for that and the EU has more pressing business to be getting on with

    You can have your freedoms but fish is a different thing it was never defined properly nor accepted that UK waters are uk- but only controlled by UK. Since the EEZ fisheries was set up and it was always accepted that these were EU or EEC waters so go figure- the original UK fisheries limits from before 1973 extend out to 12 miles only from a coastal baseline

    Either way the unfortunate british public are going to have to pay for this brexit stupidity

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


      More Remoaner piffle! Nobody important is listening!

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      …in which case, you – and your paymasters – are in for a shock, ‘junior’.

  48. agricola
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely correct, the EU either step up to reality and a mutually beneficial FTA or they face the consequences that will be suffered by their own producers. There is little they have that cannot be produced at home or elsewhere in the World. Those who think they will miss Brie or Camembert should try home produced Waterloo and a myriad of other options. I only feel sorry for all those European producers let down by a bunch posing EU officials in Brussels. Sad but thats what happens when you entrust your future to second rate politicos.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Permalink



    • Tabulazero
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      “ Sad but thats what happens when you entrust your future to second rate politicos.“

      Best summary of Brexit ever.

  49. David Brown
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    The argument about the UK leaving will never go away. The glimmer of light is Scotland who now have a legitimate and legal right for a second referendum on independence (this will happen within 2 years) and leaving the UK and returning to the family of Europe.
    I want to see an independent Scotland and Scotland demand the pound is scrapped as its a UK pound and no longer tenable as the UK will not exist without Scotland .
    I want to see the Union Flag consigned to history because without Scotland it cannot continue.
    Within my lifetime I want to see young people finally push a future English government to enter into the EU permanent Customs Union as the only way to go.
    I will continue to proudly wave the EU flag as my flag of choice.
    I understand the EU will produce a type of National Identity Card for British people to buy and act as part of the union of European people when either visiting or staying in the EU. I hope this is done quickly.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      The polls show no change from the polls at the time of the last failed independence referendum.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      David Brown

      Good luck with your “wants”…though it is inconsequential to the 17.4+ Millions who “want” something else!

    • ChrisS
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      David, the matter of the United Kingdom as a member of the EU has been decided and will not be revisited in our lifetime, if indeed, the EU continues to exist in its present form. We will make a success of Brexit and in the end the EU, if it does continue to exist, will eventually come round to agreeing a trade deal with us.

      English politicians are out of step with the public on the issue of Scotland.
      We hold no animosity towards the majority of Scots, but I am quite sure that a majority of the 58 million English citizens want to see an end to the constant whinging from North of the border and for Scotland to pay its own way.

      We do not want to continue to subsidise Scotland to the tune of £10-12bn a year when in return we get nothing but abuse and criticism.

      As far as the 5m Scots are concerned, they can have their second referendum and vote to leave if they wish. However, if they choose to stay within the UK, it must be on condition that if they want to continue with devolved powers, they must move to a position where they raise all the money spent in Scotland from taxes levied in Scotland.

      As far as the pound is concerned, you obviously have no understanding of history :

      The Pound Sterling is issued by the Bank of ENGLAND and pre-dates the act of union by hundreds of years. It is very clearly the historic currency of England, not of Scotland. Scots will rightly not be allowed to use it if they vote for independence.

    • NickC
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      David B, So that will be a hard border between England and Scotland at the behest of your EU empire, then?

    • Graham Wheatley
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      There are a lot of eminently sensible people in Scotland, which is why OUR union is still together despite the protestations of the Nippy Sweetie, that obnoxious loudmouth Ian Blackford and others.

      How’s Nicoliar’s budget working out now that her main peg – the oil price – has been pulled out of the hole?

      An independent Scotland would rapidly acquire ‘3rd world country status’ in regard to its economy, and you know it.

    • James Matthews
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Probably the least important of you inaccurate assertions, but if the rest of the UK, or indeed England by itself, decides to continue to use the Union flag after Scottish independence, should that unlikely event occur, Scotland will have absolutely no say in the matter.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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