My speech during the debate on the Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill, 10 December 2020

The origins of this legislation lie in the negotiations under the previous Prime Minister that introduced the whole idea of a Northern Ireland protocol. I regretted those negotiations very much. I opposed them at the time and did not vote for the deals that my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs Theresa May) came forward with, because I thought they were designed by the EU as a lever to try to delay, dilute or damage Brexit.

When the current Government asked me to support their version of the withdrawal agreement, I still had considerable reservations about the Northern Ireland protocol. I put those to Ministers, who reassured me and said, “This is only an outline operation in the withdrawal agreement as currently drafted. None of the detail has been done. We will negotiate very strongly. We will get rid of the offensive features that you don’t like.” They said that they shared some of my concerns and that they would come back with something much better. I am always trusting of colleagues, so I said that that was very good to know but that I did not have the same confidence in the EU.

I thought it was unlikely that the EU would want to facilitate that in the way that I and the Government would like. so with some friends, I backed my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) in saying that the way through this was to put clause 38 into the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. Under that clause, were the EU to act in bad faith and not come up with a workable solution for Northern Ireland and the other problems, we would have asserted UK sovereignty in our version of the treaty, and so in good law we could use clause 38 to legislate in Britain for what we intend to do, overriding the agreement.

It was quite clear from the drafting of that Bill that we wanted that override, and I would not have dreamt of voting for the thing without the override. The Government were saying that they did not think we would need to use it, but we could use if we had to, which is why I was pleased to support them earlier this week in a very modest override. It is entirely legal; it is the assertion of British sovereignty. We need to keep that in reserve, because without seeing all the detail from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, I am not satisfied yet that we have a working operation for the Northern Ireland border and the matters that we are discussing today—more precisely, who controls the taxation.

What I do not like about these proposals is that it is extremely difficult for individuals and businesses to have to respond to two legal jurisdictions on tax in the same place, yet we seem to have both an EU VAT system and a UK VAT system. I hope that the UK VAT system will deviate rather more from the EU one and be friendlier, lower and apply to different things, but the more that that happens, the more difficult it will be if we are trying to enforce two different VAT systems in one part of the United Kingdom.

I am also concerned about the enforcement mechanisms. We are led to believe that it will be handled by HMRC, but we are also told that the ultimate authority on the EU part of VAT and excise will be the European Court, and therefore there are likely to be inspectors and invigilators—electronic or in person—interfering in the process within what should be sovereign United Kingdom territory. I hope the Government will think again and push back again.

We need more of the detail that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has so far withheld from the House. It may be that he does not yet know it all or that his agreement is high level, in principle, but there are details that we need to know—indeed, details that it would be better to know before we legislate today. For example, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster says that delay periods for adjustment will be necessary for supermarkets and some meat products and so forth. Does that not require some kind of recognition in this legislation? Does it not mean that these jurisdictions do not kick in during the period of grace that we are told will be available?

We need to have more detail from the Government on what exactly happens at the border. I have always explained to the House and others who are not very interested that VAT and excise take place electronically across the borders at the moment, so we are talking largely about an electronic border. We need to know how this electronic border will be programmed to deal with the competing jurisdictions and competing incidences of taxation, and how the product codes and shipment codes will correctly identify the products by category that will be suborned by the EU jurisdiction as well as, properly, by the UK jurisdiction, which ideally would be handling the whole thing.

We do not have nearly enough time to discuss the fundamentally big issues of principle that the Bill brings before us and we have had precious little time to go into the detail. It is all very sad that this rush job is being done like this, but I hope before the Government finish the debate today they will have done a better job of explaining to someone like me why we need to have this dual jurisdiction; how the EU control is going to be limited; how it is going to operate; how, in the early days, the “transitional arrangements”, which we are told about, are going to apply; and why they are not reflected in the current text of this rather unfortunate piece of legislation.

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113 Comments

  1. Grey Friar
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    It is enormously brave of you to admit how totally you misunderstood the process! There is nothing – not even one word – in either the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement or in clause 38 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – which concerns finding a workable solution for Northern Ireland. That is because Boris’ deal – the oven ready deal – is already a workable solution for Northern Ireland. That is the whole point of it! You might not much like the workable solution. But you voted for it, and it is now a binding international agreement. It’s a bit late for you to change your mind about it, but brave of you to admit your mistake

    • SM
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      I would find it genuinely helpful, Grey Friar, if you would let us know what is your expertise in this kind of legislation, and why/how it is better than that of our host.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      As I said, now that the UK has left the European Union, that entity will dominate public life in the UK as never before. Far from being the end of such preoccupations, leaving is the beginning of them in perpetuity.

      The polarisation caused by the Leave campaigns is at the root, with their puritanical and ridiculous absolutist positions, at the expense of jobs, standards of living, day-to-day ease and so on.

      It is the main topic of John’s posts, and I expect that will remain so, along with the news media’s and government.

      But who knows, with all this talk, you might actually learn some facts about it?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        *you being Leave fanatics, not Grey Friar.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          Presumably you reject the concept of remain fanatics.

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 12:55 am | Permalink

        Martin, The UK has not left the EU, which still controls us as much as it did in 2016. Unless you can prove that EU fishermen no longer fish in UK waters; and that the CJEU is not the highest court in the UK. But you can’t.

        We had a binary Referendum in which we were offered Remain, under the conditions negotiated by Cameron, or Leave. Honouring our Leave vote is honest and straightforward. Attempting to prevent our democratic decision to Leave is fanatical.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Vallance admits The 10pm Curfew Did NOTHING | Carl Vernon youtube

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        The Battle Of Arnhem achieved little too.

        Do you think that no one should have bothered fighting at all?

        • NickC
          Posted December 11, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Martin, The first lockdown achieved nothing as well – just look a the death toll graph. The second, much less adhered to by the public, probably won’t achieve anything either. So no we should not have bothered with the lockdowns.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s totally unworkable.

      UK (or is it GB?) gets a FTA with the US. I carry a widget from the EU (no trade deal with the US) to NI and then over the sea to GB without paperwork. Then export said widget to the US, tariff free. So de facto the EU has a free trade deal with the US.

      We need a government to throw this whole WA disaster out and start again with proper international borders not fake ones. Let the Irish EU border be the hard border. Give Ireland a break.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      legislation.gov.uk
      38Parliamentary sovereignty
      (1)It is recognised that the Parliament of the United Kingdom is sovereign.
      (2)In particular, its sovereignty subsists notwithstanding—
      (a)directly applicable or directly effective EU law continuing to be recognised and available in domestic law by virtue of section 1A or 1B of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (savings of existing law for the implementation period),
      (b)section 7A of that Act (other directly applicable or directly effective aspects of the withdrawal agreement),
      (c)section 7B of that Act (deemed direct applicability or direct effect in relation to the EEA EFTA separation agreement and the Swiss citizens’ rights agreement), and
      (d)section 7C of that Act (interpretation of law relating to the withdrawal agreement (other than the implementation period), the EEA EFTA separation agreement and the Swiss citizens’ rights agreement).
      (3)Accordingly, nothing in this Act derogates from the sovereignty of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

      Did the EU agree to this Withdrawal Act with this clause in place or not?

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        A-tracy, I don’t know about “agree” but the EU didn’t complain despite knowing the UK has a dualist constitution.

    • Deg
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      LOL “Binding” International Agreement? Like those “binding” international agreements over Hong Kong? And “binding” international agreements with Iran to stop their production of military-grade uranium? These ‘binding’ IAs have become ineffective in the 21st century because there is no form of redress against any offences. Unless we want to start another war.
      In any case, WA PArt 5/38 AND the Vienna Convention gives us, as a Nation with a Sovereign Parliament, the right to overrule such an agreement by an Act of Parliament.

    • NickC
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Grey Friar, the UK has a dualist constitution which the EU knows about, even if you do not. Therefore the WA was only accepted by the UK via the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. That and no other. You might not much like that, but it is too late for you to try re-writing it. And if you or the EU did not like Clause 38 you should have highlighted that before the Act was passed. The solution of course is to abrogate the WA.

      • Grey Friar
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 4:55 am | Permalink

        You are witty Nick, but you also dont understand how Treaties work. The WA was accepted by the UK when it agreed it with the EU, end of story. Clause 38 is the business of the UK’s sovereign Parliament, but it is nothing to do with the EU (which is also sovereign) and clause 38 is not in the UK-EU WA

        Reply The point was we only accepted tge WA with a sovereign override if talks did not deliver a satisfactory total Agreement. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed was the EU mantra as well.

        • Fred H
          Posted December 11, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          so abandon the WA.

        • Grey Friar
          Posted December 11, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Mr Redwood, if you can show me where in the WA there is a sovereign override, then I shall back down. Of course there isn’t one. I know there is a sovereign override in the UK Act of Parliament but a UK Act of Parliament binds only the UK (the clue is in the name!) and not the EU

          Reply The UK acceptance of the Agreement was conditional!

        • NickC
          Posted December 11, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          So you still don’t understand the dualist UK constitution – our acceptance comes with the over ride, end of story.

  2. majorfrustration
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    knee jerk shambles

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      All of these complexities and problems – every single one – are caused by the fixated positions of the likes of John and his followers.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        Not the democratic decision of the referendum election?

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s really odd, isn’t it Martin? Odd that we’re fixated on democracy working, and our vote being accepted, and promises to implement Leave honoured. It must be really difficult for lying cheating Remain to understand.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        do as Martin suggests – just get down on your knees and say ‘Yes Sir’ to the Commission.
        All of these complexities and problems will go away!

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    To days Mail reveals that SAGE use Wikipedia for advising the cabinet!

    Is this following the science?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Perhaps that is why their vaccine priority list fails in an act of gross negligence that will cost lives to the vastly increased gender risk of men. Then again wiki is often rather better than their group think “experts”!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Wikipedia is excellent for some things, but poor for others.

      Where there is engagement from the scientific world with its pages they are generally excellent.

      On the other hand, Daniel Hannan’s page has had much of the interesting stuff about his youth in Latin America and his parents’ cotton farm in Colombia removed.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        And your point is…..?

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:05 am | Permalink

        I wonder if Wikipedia joined in the gloating about elderly Leave voters dying off, which the Guardian, the Independent, and the Remains on here, did, Martin?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Well here’s a bit of history and geography for you.

        Read up on the Monroe Doctrine.

        It is thanks to that US policy – of undermining liberation movements in Latin American right wing tyrannies – that places like Colombia were so profitable for enterprises like foreign-owned cotton farms.

        That suggest to me the interests which some people might actually be serving, rather than those of this country and its people.

    • Suzette Burtenshaw
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Depends on what branch of science they mean. If it’s Social Science, then maybe they are.

    • Philip P.
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Bob, this has been known at least since the eye-opening BBC 2 programme of 2 weeks or so ago, but it’s very good to see the point getting more publicity. The SAGE cttee has failed, it is unfit for purpose and should be re-formed with more virologists and other proper scientists, and not so many computer modellers who are not scientists but apparently form the largest single SAGE sub-group. The right people in the UK to advise the government on virus epidemics are the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I read somewhere that UK ‘s “pandemic response” has been because the govt. signed up to a global agreement like the migration pact thing.
      Doing as it was told.

  4. Nigl
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Obviously, like Chequers, they have stuff they want to hide and then spin. A typical trade mark of the not to be trusted Michael Gove and his weasel words.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Nigl

      Ah yes Michael Grove, why is it somehow I do not seem to trust him, no matter how convincing he seems to sound.

  5. ukretired123
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The EU cannot be trusted to keep it simple. Good luck with ensuring Britain controls its borders Sir John.

  6. Lenton Gray
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I have read the debate. Jesse Norman for the government says clearly that the ECJ is the ultimate arbiter. Mr Redwood, WHAT IS GOING ON??

  7. MikeP
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    This latest development just underpins my long-held view that the EU continues to run rings round UK politicians. The reports of the Berlaymont meeting last night, agreeing to “make a definite decision…..on the future of talks” is just EU-speak for keeping everything bumbling along till 23:59 on 31st December, hoping for UK to give in, then agreeing a half-baked deal now with more talks through 2021 It’s frankly pathetic, embarrassing and unworthy of this once great nation. If, as reported, the two sides are still “far apart” what is the point of all this expense and political theatre – it’s not even remotely good theatre!?

  8. oldwulf
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “…..delay periods for adjustment will be necessary for supermarkets and some meat products….”

    Hopefully, the meat products will include this pigs ear of proposed legislation.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Exactly right. What a damn mess was left by Cast Rubber Cameron, Theresa (9% support) May and the treachery of all the traitors who supported the Hillary Benn surrender act.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      Plus the huge damage done by the Lords the other week (to the UK’s negotiating hand) in rejecting the Internal Market Bill.

  10. ChrisS
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Preserving their own interests to the last, the Eu’s temporary regulations from 1st January revealed today offer a 6 month limted framework for air and road travel but a 12 month framework for reciprocal access to fishing waters which, of course, really means to allow EU boats to plunder UK waters for another year.

    I hope that Boris puts proper controls on fishing from day one, especially on French boats.

  11. Peter
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    A ‘rush job’ with lashings of spin might be under consideration as a way to deliver BRINO.

  12. Nigl
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    So allegedly the EU having had years agree fishing wants a years extension because they can’t agree.

    Noooooooooooo!

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath today right as usual in the Telegraph.

    From Heath onwards to today all the PMs and governments have been to blame. Can Boris finally buck the trend? The indications do not look very good at all. He has already caved in on Northern Ireland, has even fallen for the “green revolution” job destroying lunacy and even HS2. So he clearly lacks a working compass just like nearly all the other PMs.

    A Heath – Our time in the EU was a calamity for Britain and a disaster for Europe
    As de Gaulle recognised, it would have been better for everyone if we had never joined the European Union.

    Far, far better. But then it would have been better for many of the other 27 too.

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:11 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Yes, our governments have been dismal failures at protecting UK independence. All unforced errors. And already Boris has partly capitulated to continue the theme.

    • Andy
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      The disaster was caused by politicians like Heath who drew the wrong conclusions from History. What the UK should have done is to have stuck with EFTA, which in its original form was a great balance to the Franco-German Imperial European Union. Indeed, the EU has only developed in the way that it has because there is no opposition to it. It will either break up or start a War.

  14. agricola
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    The way you describe matters it translates as a dogs breakfast. In a sovereign state of which Northern Ireland is a component part I would not expect there to be any duty on goods travelling between any of the component parts of the UK. Additionally a common VAT regime would apply to component parts of the UK. When component parts of the UK export to or import from Southern Ireland then I would expect the UK importer to pay duty on goods imported and the Southern Irish importer to pay the EU duty on goods they import. VAT levels would be a matter for the importers in both cases at levels the EU or UK decide to apply. All transactions to be done electronically in much the same way as they currently are but possibly with extra information in the exchange, dependant on whatever was required.. The EU have absolutely no right to dictate to a sovereign state, the UK, the level of duty we apply to imported goods or the internal VAT regime of the UK.

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      Agricola said: “The EU have absolutely no right to dictate to a sovereign state, the UK”. But they had nothing to lose by trying it on. And the fools in our establishment sucked it up. Again.

    • Grey Friar
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      I feel your pain. But if you think the EU have absolutely no right to dictate to a sovereign state, the UK, the level of duty we apply to imported goods or the internal VAT regime of the UK, then you should have voted against the Conservative Party last year because Boris’ oven ready deal agreed to giving the EU exactly that right. And John Redwood , and the rest of the ERG, voted in favour of giving the EU that right, in the House of Commons too

      Reply No I voted for the U.K. sovereign override

  15. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, sometimes there is a feeling that talking to a wall is pointless. These Brexit talks along with the WA have shown to be a remain charade of wearing people down with the aim of getting them to give up and go back to the status quo.

    Freedom as with Democracy has to be won and continually defended.

  16. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I would beware of voting for anything that was not absolutely clear in its meaning.

    Too many People Prime Ministers included have trust the EU only to find later that they have been screwed.

    I wonder, does Mr Blaire, Mr Brown, Mr Cameron and Mrs May still think they are our real friends ?

    Does Boris ?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      So what does “Leave The European Union” mean then, in terms of the UK’s relationship with it once it has left?

      Hilarious, just hilarious.

  17. ian@Barkham
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Time to defend the Belfast Agreement. The UK will not build walls, barriers or hinder the peoples of the Island of Ireland

    If the EU doesn’t trust its citizens in the EU State of the Irish Republic let them be the ones to renege. After all the are good at it.

  18. Simeon
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Why do you think that your government is asking you to debate things you don’t know about? Why do you think the government is employing a rush job? Do you have any reason to believe that the government – the only party in a position to do so – will activate, or take advantage of, Clause 38? If you do, can you share your reasons with us, assuming they are not privileged information? Are you able to shed any light on these matters, or do you share the fate of the proverbial mushroom?

  19. Mark B
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon

    Sir John

    They are treating you, parliament and the nation with contempt. They have grown drunk mad on power. It is hightime that parliament and the nation exert some control over this wayward executive and PM.

  20. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The Tory Party will pay for selling out Brexit and leaving the EU, the acquisition and ECJ lording it over No and all businesses in the U.K. mainland which ‘export’ to NI.
    Unless the withdrawal agreement is repealed in full, I will never vote Tory again.

    • Hope
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      James says below:
      Mr Gove has confirmed that the Withdrawal Agreement partitions the UK and grants a foreign power legal rights in the UK’s sovereign territory. I am aghast. A foreign power will have the right to be on British soil, supervising UK government officials. What on earth does our government think they are doing. If they do not resolve the situation forthwith the government will fall, and will thoroughly deserve to fall. It is not the Brexit that was voted for.
      I think you owe us an apology Lynne.

  21. forthurst
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    “I am always trusting of colleagues…” – ever the optimist! Do other non-EU countries with EU borders have to put with this nonsense?

    Should we manage to extricate ourselves from the EU as anything approaching a sovereign nation, we need to focus on the removal of other malign forces intent on interfering in our country’s inalienable right to freedom and prosperity.

    If a fund manager wishes to discuss a company’s strategy with its board, it is currently entitled to do so as though as a manager of funds it can speak with one voice on behalf of its investors without any specific prior authorisation from them. If a fund manager starts to order boards to change their modus operandi in order to save the planet or to restructure the board to include those whose only apparent qualification is that they are not white ‘supremacist’ males (XY chromosomes), then it must be time for parliament to step in to provide regulators with the authorisation to put these uppity people who never know when to stop back in their boxes.

  22. Fred H
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    back to the main story.
    A European Commission statement published on Thursday morning said there was currently “significant uncertainty” about whether a deal would be in place by 1 January.
    “Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities, including not having a deal in place,” Ms von der Leyen said.
    Some sectors would be disproportionately affected, the commission said, adding that it was proposing four contingency measures “to mitigate some of the significant disruptions” if a deal were not in place:
    (the proposals) –
    To ensure the provision of “certain air services” between the UK and EU for six months, provided the UK does the same
    To allow aviation safety certificates to be used in EU aircraft without disruption to avoid grounding ( what about UK aircraft?)
    To ensure basic connectivity (?) for road freight and passenger transport for six months, provided the UK does the same
    To allow the possibility of reciprocal fishing access for UK and EU vessels in each other’s waters for one year, or until an agreement is reached (what EU waters? the dead Med?)

    Another EU deal !!

    • Fred H
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      if not today, tomorrow perhaps?

  23. DavidJ
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The EU was never going to accept the clean exit that we voted for. I consider Teresa May to have put their wishes before our needs and hoped that Boris would do as he should.

    The best thing he can do now is to cease the so-called negotiations, bin the WA, and walk away.

  24. Paul Calvert
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Is there anyone in the Cabinet with a real understanding of Brexit and its implications on trade?
    I see them on TV, gurning and squirming their way through interviews, giving us all the impression they haven’t been briefed or were too intellectually challenged to understand what they had been told.
    Can’t any of them see how the EU is playing them?
    Whilst I admire your acumen, John, should Boris and the Conservative Party sell this country out again by extending the negotiations further or signing am unsuitable deal I will never vote Conservative again. It really is that simple for me, and I suspect many other voters.
    The Party is drinking from the last chance saloon.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Too bloody right Paul.

  25. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, do you never get tired of banging your head against the wall? Surely you want some relief. So, slow down, relax, breathe deeply and simply accept we are only leaving the EU in name only.

    I read this morning that Ursula von der Leyen has published a ‘no deal YET’ document basically saying things carry on as they are for another 6 months. I am sure you and I and others of our generation will be dead before this is ever resolved.

    That is clearly the plan. Wait it out until the Brexiters are dead.

  26. Jack Falstaff
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The buffoon from the BBC tasked with disseminating EU propaganda about Brexit yesterday claimed that a No Deal Brexit would bring rioting.

    At this stage I suggest that civil unrest is more likely to rear its ugly head if we fail to walk away and drag this childish nonsense out any further. People are utterly fed up.

    The Conservatives got us into this mess on many levels, only a fraction of these being discussed in today’s piece. Is Mr Johnson trying to outdo Mrs May for exasperatingly mediocre leadership as this applies to EU relations?

    You (plural) got us into this fiasco, now get us out by demonstrating that things that are extended too much must surely lose their flexibility entirely or break.

  27. Ignoramus
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    The latest polling by Sir John Curtice (who has repeatedly shown high support for Brexit, so dismissing him as a Remainer really doesn’t cut the mustard I’m afraid) shows support for Remain at an all time high of 48% versus 39% for Leave.

    Interestingly this is not because people have changed their minds, but rather because younger voters are replacing older voters and don’t-knowers are breaking 2 to 1 for remain.

    Moreover, only 20% of voters support going for WTO rules.

    In the words of Sir Humphrey, I support echo Grey Friar, and am impressed by your brave decision Sir John. I genuinely hope it works out because as a conservative-voter, I fear the consequences if not.

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Ignoramus, No deal is a direct consequence of the EU refusing us a Canada style (ie: normal) trade deal.

    • Longinus
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      The definitive vote was in 2016, if you ignore it then what is the point of democracy?
      Polling is there to influence opinion not dictate it.

  28. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    ” designed by the EU as a lever to try to delay, dilute or damage Brexit.”

    The comical language used by the brexit puritans is rather revealing, I think.

    They talk of it as if it were some delicate piece of porcelain, or listed building at risk of subsidence.

    It’s done, it’s happened. It’s over. The UK is not a member of the European Union any longer.

    These negotiations are about the post exit arrangements, and Parliament can approve whatever it wants. Furthermore any future one, or even this one, can seek to change, to amend, to extend, or to cancel any of them in part or in whole.

    Such proposals will be central to electoral campaigns from now on and in perpetuity.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Are there Remain puritans?

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      You say Parliament can approve whatever it wants, well that’s not what the Conservatives were elected With an 80 seat majority to do or change Independence promises to suit the Eu, whatever you and they think Martin. People are patiently waiting and watching. Even with all the remain fanatics rantings and ravings they have not been provoked even though you try your best here on a daily basis.

      If Boris betrays his promise then the Tories will never get in again, and it doesn’t mean Labour will get in either, the people will start to demand change.

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      Martin, We have not left. The EU remains in control of the UK in much the same way as it did in 2016. You could always try actually providing evidence for your absurd claim, instead of vain blathering. If the EU refuses an ordinary trade deal (which it is doing) then we must Leave on WTO terms. Nothing else satisfies our Leave mandate. And your refusing to accept a democratic mandate will come back to haunt you. And the Tory party. And me.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      John, if “Parliament can approve whatever it wants” because “The UK is not a member of the European Union any longer.”

      Then what is stopping your majority government starting to make changes now? Why haven’t you dropped tariffs on food from the RofW already? Or announce what they will be from 1st January 2021. You don’t need the EU to decide that and orders could be placed ready.

      Reply The UK has announced tariff changes from 1 Jan 2021

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Good. Have any of you MPs asked Tesco which food they’re going to be short of from January to ensure the tariffs on these are set at an attractive rate to the RoW exporters.

  29. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    You need to vote against this.

    You don’t even mention the consequences for other trade agreements with trading with a nation where part of it has been carved off. Would I buy a turkey with one leg carved off? No.

    MPs voting for anything without knowing the detail you describe shouldn’t be in place or being paid for by the taxpayer. They need uprooting and throwing out, along with this split-off of NI at and after the next election. This, please, very soon after January 1st so we can get a proper Reform Parliament in place and trade with the world.

  30. Nigl
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    So the EU are saying they only want a fair deal. Fair, of course a word beloved of politicians but unmeasurable therefore meaningless.

    The truth is that ‘fair’ means getting their way. Shows they are struggling to come up with something tangible that acknowledges our independence which they hate.

  31. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    What exactly does Singapore, Japan and the USA say when Truss says to them “Well there’s our market except the bits that somebody else comes along and chews off?”

    Maybe we should give Scotland to Singapore, or Wales to Japan? There was a Sony plant there once, after all.

  32. BJC
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I presume this debacle has come about due to the imbalance of powers now nestling with the unelected HOL. Clause 38 supplied the safety net that enabled both Houses to pass the WA into law, despite many valid concerns. It beggars belief that disloyal Remainers in the HOL who accepted the need for the clause in the first place, should now refuse to invoke it when it’s deemed necessary. The question it now raises is, did the HOL fail in its duty to this country when passing the WA into law, or did it fail in its duty to this country when refusing to use the powers it bestowed?

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Boris has an 80 seat majority he could reform the HoL if the conservative party wanted to they like it just the way it is.

  33. Lifelogic
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Some good news from Cambridge. A win for freedom of speech. And a loss for Britain’s worst university vice chancellor. As Douglas Murray puts it. After they vote to reject the appalling proposed attack on free speech.

  34. None of the Above
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    It seems that the Government may be imitating a Juggler with too many balls in the air which is frustrating but understandable with less time available.
    I hope that all will become clearer in due course.

  35. James1
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Mr Gove has confirmed that the Withdrawal Agreement partitions the UK and grants a foreign power legal rights in the UK’s sovereign territory. I am aghast. A foreign power will have the right to be on British soil, supervising UK government officials. What on earth does our government think they are doing. If they do not resolve the situation forthwith the government will fall, and will thoroughly deserve to fall. It is not the Brexit that was voted for.

  36. Wrinkle
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Quite post from JR and at 16.26 only 3 replies and no comment from JR on Grey Friar’s bit.

    JR hoodwinked?

  37. Howard
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Today it’s about your speech- I remember a time four years ago when you told us we held all the cards- i think you have said enough. Tks

  38. acorn
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    The EU has pressed the start button on its 2018 no-deal contingency action plan (CAP) at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2368 This depends on the UK agreeing to reciprocate the offers from the EU.

    The UK post Brexit deals are now up to a “total trade” value of £157 billion; now including Iceland and Norway as EEA countries. They had previously been left out pending a deal with the EU/EEA. That tells us that Ms Truss and the DIT, are planning on the basis of no-deal with the EU.

    £157 billion is about 11% of the UK’s current annual total trade value of £1,412 billion, as a member of the EU Club. Way to go yet Ms Truss.

    Surely the only way forward now has to be a no-deal. The UK is a square peg in a round hole when it comes to the EU and always has been. The big worry for Europe is, will the off-shore island of Britain, become a missile silo for the Russians or the Americans?

    • Edward2
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I love how you remainers deride any amount of money in the economy as a minor thing.
      The value is going up every day.
      Here acorn tells us £157 billion is small change.
      Hilarious.

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      Acorn, You make the mistake, like previous generations of Europeans, of blindly following a non-democratic dirigiste ideology. Such ideologies have usually claimed to be invincible and inevitable, and often, superficially, looked it. They have always failed. Why are the people of the north western fringes of the eurasian landmass so curiously prone to this error?

  39. Deg
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, Number 10 is not noted for providing any “detail” for anything. We’ll get nowt more.
    I will say this though. If this “deal”, if indeed such a deal exists, does not meet the requirements of millions of Leave voters ‘to take back FULL control of our affairs’ from the EU Commission, your Party will be devastated in 2024, in the same way as they were in 1997, when europhile Major effectively “broke the Bank of England”. Because he ignored the sense of patriotism out there in the back streets of Britain – where the non-woke true-Brits live.
    I suspect you already know this but the old Etonians probably did not believe we actually still exist. But do conveniently come to realise it during every Electioneering time. Abe Lincoln summed up the situation very well….. “You can fool some of the people” etc.
    We’ll not be beguiled by false promises again.

  40. Murphy
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I knew another man speaking for England back about thirty years ago we were in a court room in Marseille to plead a routine case that should have got us out of there in fifteen minutes when my english business friend stood up in the court and said that as English was the commercial language of the world he insisted that the court proceedings be carried in english language- well Wow! There was silence and the three judges then went into a huddle collected their papers stood up and after a few words with the clerk departed. “What’s that what’s that” said the englishman to the french agent- ah said the agent it’s now 3.15pm on Friday so the court has adjourned ‘ you mean to say that I have to stay here until Monday to complete this business- ah no said the agent- until Tuesday because Monday is a public holiday

  41. Everhopeful
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I have asked this before and I am not being “funny”.
    BUT how can all of this matter when the economy has been upended? If they were happy to do that for a 99% recovery virus then how important are borders and deals?
    Even Lord Lawson says he has never been so worried about the UK.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 10, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. The response to the virus by government, and the response of the majority of people to government, dwarfs Brexit as an issue. The UK government are not doing the bidding of the EU. It’s bigger than that. My hope is that the Brexit betrayal will be the wedge issue that drives apart (and, ideally, destroys) the Conservative Party, and that a credible alternative will emerge to genuinely oppose Labour and their statism. Once a government of this country forms an independent and sane policy towards a very largely, if not almost entirely benign virus, perhaps then we can revisit the idea of genuine independence. It is pointless being independent if we are to be governed by fools.

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:51 am | Permalink

        Up to a point, Lord Copper. We can only remove the governing fools if we are independent.

  42. steve
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Boris has effectively sacrificed Northern Ireland, RoI courageously hiding behind Brussels coat tails will push for it’s annexation. So when the ‘troubles’ start again we know who to blame.

  43. Norman
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I am no expert in this matter, but I liked the spirit of what you said – plainly spoken, and seeking to hold those in charge of events to account. Always good to hear, too, of fellow parliamentary veteran, Sir Bill Cash.

  44. Lee Taylor
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    We should have hung the EU out to dry on Northern Ireland and told them in no uncertain terms we have no intention of putting up border controls in Northern Ireland. If they want to prevent uncustomed goods entering free circulation into the EU via the Irish land border that’s their problem to solve, not ours. Instead we have allowed ourselves to have been backed into a corner and now have the ludicrous “solution” you allude to. It is unworkable and will be thrown out one way or another.

    • Len Peel
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      “We”? Blame the right people Lee. It’s the Conservative MPs who all voted for Boris’s deal who hung Northern Ireland out to dry

      • NickC
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        No, Len, put the blame where it really lies – with the majority Remain MPs who did their level best for over 3 years to overturn our vote to Leave. Even Lord Mandelson agrees.

  45. Tabulazero
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    What happened to “they need us more than we need them” ?

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      What happened was exactly as I predicted as far back as 2013 – that the EU would be hostile and vindictive. In a letter published by the Telegraph in 2013, this is part of what I wrote: “On the other hand the Article 50 route is a trap: it enables the EU to spin a web of new rules and conditions that could mean leaving was almost impossible.”

  46. Polly
    Posted December 10, 2020 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness me…..

    Now the French say they might close the Channel Tunnel in the event of No Deal!

    How long can the UK hold out without EU food?

    Will Mr Johnson now drop his completely incorrect ”Alice in Wonderland” ”friends and partners” label for the continental Europeans?

    After this brush with cold hard European reality, will Mr Johnson drop his insane ”Alice in Wonderland” green policies?

    Polly

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Well that will be popular with all the companies in Europe who are struggling financially because of Covid and want to do business. It won’t look good to the rest of the world either. With ‘friends’ like these who needs enemies? What a nice bunch of people. Still they didn’t need to go down in my estimation. They were already there.

  47. margaret howard
    Posted December 11, 2020 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Comment on BBC ‘Strong possibility no trade deal’ story tonight:

    “Easiest trade deal in history” – Fox

    “There is no plan for no deal, because we’re going to get a great deal.” – Johnson

    “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.” – Gove

    Well these have aged like fine wine….”
    ===

    • NickC
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Margaret, If you cannot argue your point without fake quotes, then you haven’t got a point.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      These quotes were in the Guardian margaret in Mar 2018 where is your Fox quote from?

      “There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside” David Davis
      10 October 2016

      “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want” Michael Gove 9 April 2016

      “Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards”
      John Redwood July 17 2016

      “The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history” Liam Fox 20 July 2017

      Rep[ly Yes I stand by my quote. It could have been easy. Instead we had a Parliament and establishment in 2016 that threw away our cards.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you, John.

    • Longinus
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Fox said it should be the easiest deal ever as we are in perfect regulatory alignment with the EU. Don’t know how many times you need telling.

    • Lee Taylor
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      A deal can only come about if both sides are prepared to be sensible. The EU clearly isn’t and still thinks we are subject to their will. A trade deal would be easy and is in both sides interest, but the EU dont want us to succeed in case other countries get the “wrong” message. Oh and btw, we do hold all the cards as will become rapidly apparent to the fanatics in Brussels if we manage to get out on WTO terms. The EU is a busted flush.

  48. Edwardm
    Posted December 11, 2020 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Good speech – pertinent points.
    Boris Johnson should never have permitted the EU any control or say in NI – a big mistake that the EU will exploit. Article 38 needs to be invoked to remove all non-reciprocal arrangements, including payments and the ECJ, from the WA, else revoke the WA entirely.

  49. mancunius
    Posted December 11, 2020 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    It is not ‘rather unfortunate’, it is a shameful, disgraceful, at best incompetent and at worst fraudulent. The PM had been perfectly apprised of all its disadvantages, yet formally agreed to them. Did he think the tooth fairy was going to intervene?
    It is perfectly obvious that the EU has tried to exploit a false understanding of the Belfast Agreement – which says precisely nothing about what commercial or taxation activity may or may not exist at the NI/RoI border – in order to interfere and occupy and bully the government of this country. Cross-border tariffs can be sensibly monitored by electronic means, and with the kind of co-operation between North and South that *is* in the BA/GFA.
    The point of all this ‘monitoring’ is partly because Brussels does not trust the RoI to hand over levied tax monies to the Berlaymont, but it is also a deliberate interference in the affairs of the United Kingdom: a manipulative means to an invasive and territory-accruing end.
    The government should repudiate the WA and NI protocol, with a crisp and firm explanation of its action, otherwise it is laying the ground for war – and not in any metaphorical sense.

  50. Ian
    Posted December 11, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    This
    Pathetic Government//Parliament, a nest of treacherous individuals the majority are Remainers , as for T HOL well start there and put the lot n jail

    If we have not walked away by tonight, you will know that we have been sold down the river yet again
    Bring on Farage , anyone still with this Party must be mad , gutless and putting Party before the people as always

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 11, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Walking away means no UK planes flying in European Union airspace, nor vehicles on their roads, nor most others things.

      Do you understand?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 11, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Complete Project Fear nonsense

  51. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 11, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    It is asking to far too much to have to agree to legislation without knowing the full details.

    It does appear something is being hidden.

    I missed the debate – did the government provide the answers you sought?

  • 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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