My speech during the debate on the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill

My speech from today’s debate is available to watch here:

The text of the speech is available here:

The Government are right to take back control and to recreate our sovereignty in the United Kingdom. We do not just want legal sovereignty; we also want practical sovereignty, so I ask the Government today to spell out how they will be cutting our taxes, changing our laws and using our powers to grant aid and support businesses and individuals, free of the EU controls, to promote the prosperity of the British people. That is what Brexit was all about. We stand on the threshold of independence day, so bring on the measures.

I have a couple of worries about this agreement. The first is fishing. One of the great prizes of Brexit is to recapture control of our fishing stocks and to rebuild our coastal communities and our fishing industry. Will the Government today promise to legislate immediately to prevent pulse fishing and over-large trawlers, which are doing enormous damage to our marine environment and to our fish stocks? We could at least do that as proof that we intend to rebuild our marine environment and our own domestic fishing industry. Will the Government set out the details of plans to train new fishermen and fisherwomen ready for the extra capacity we will need? Will they provide grant in aid schemes, so that those individuals can acquire second-hand trawlers or commission new trawlers from British yards so that we are again expanding the capacity of our industry?

I am also worried about the position in Northern Ireland. To what extent is our sovereignty damaged or impaired by the special relationships and special provisions of the withdrawal Act? I thought they were going to be changed in this latest agreement with the EU. Will the Government spell out more detail on the limitations on our power to be one United Kingdom in Northern Ireland, setting our own tax rates, making our own agreements on trade internationally and setting our own standards for products? We need to know, because we have already heard in this debate from Northern Ireland Members saying that is becoming a matter of division within Northern Ireland communities.

The issue also has read-across to Scotland. We know we have a battle to fight for the Union in Scotland. The SNP will clearly use the different arrangements in Northern Ireland as part of its battering ram against the Union, so I need some reassurance about the impact of the powers under this agreement and how we can start to settle those difficult issues.

The two things I most like about this agreement are the ability to withdraw unilaterally from it, should the EU be too aggressive in its handling of us and in its claims upon us, and the fact that the ECJ has no further power in the United Kingdom. That is absolutely vital, because otherwise it will assert extraterritoriality.

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  1. Hope
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Good concise speech to the heart of the matter within the time limit. UK does not have any practical sovereignty over Fisheries orcwaters.cit does not have sovereignty in any meaningful way over N.Ireland and Gibralta not allowed to be discussed!

    These issues are open ended and could go either way, i.e. Closer or further apart. It is easy to imagine remainers binding U.K. Even closer to EU orbit. The door is ajar when it should have been firmly shut. Big mistake. You should never trust remainers.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Well both areas of NI and fishing need working on. They both threaten the territorial integrity of the UK. Personally I would have bagged this deal today and be working to rid us of this dreadful reliance on the non-Ireland part of the EU with a 5 year plan to do so.

      We need to throw off the reliance on Continental EU countries via other trade with the Anglosphere & Switzerland, bring Southern Ireland on board by buying their stuff via NI, and get a TPP which Southern Ireland will then be anxious and incentivised to join.

      • Hope
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        May made it clear yesterday EU had agreed no tariffs or quotas in political declaration in 2018. With a huge trade advantage that was always going to be secured because it was to the EU advantage. Unfortunately she was right in saying her deal was better!

        So what did Johnson actually achieve in his subservient association agreement? Nothing as far as I can tell. The WA and NIP will lie alongside this horrendous association agreement providing all the leverage and true sovereignty for the EU. No sovereignty can be achieved without heavy penalty or leaving without a deal. Suggest termination notice is put in tomorrow, oust Johnson and work out how to sort his mess out during that year period.

        Johnson and Gove already capitulated on 17/12/2020 to change Internal Market Bill and Finance Bill by adding clauses to protect our internal market.

        Johnson and Gove have acted against and broken the Act of Union 1801 in so doing.

        Anyone who thinks Johnson has the strength of character to act in our interest? Has lost leave of their senses, that includes themERG. He just capitulated on level playing field, Fisheries and territorial waters, forever!

        This is now law. A national sell out. Normally the opposition highlight the failings or the MSM do the same. But they have not to date.

        I suspect the remainers will be planning how to,use the sell out to build greater ties to the EU.

      • Hope
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        ECHR is above any court or law here. If U.K. leaves EU can withdraw from the association agreement within 15 days. Does that sound like taking back control of laws or sovereignty to anyone?

        Fake Tory manifesto was going to replace ECHR. So, No, manifesto promise not kept.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      As I predicted every single one of the hundred-plus new intake Tory MPs voted for the deal.

      That said, the public are sick of the uncertainty and overwhelmingly wanted it to pass, even though few thought the deal much good.

      In that regard Parliament has been representative of public opinion at least.

      Yes, elections will be fought from now on over proposals to improve arrangements with the European Union, I think, irrespective of comments today.

      THAT is democracy, and no parliament may bind its successor.

  2. Nig l
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Three minutes for such a momentous occasion is not democracy and if they think it is such a good deal, why impose a three line whip.

    It is because it is not the utopia Boris is trying to spin and are frightened of real scrutiny?

    • Andy
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Apparently the Lib Dem’s had a total of 4 minutes between them. 3.5m people voted for them in 2019. Reduced to the same time as a single Tory backbencher.

      Competent contempt for the electorate.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 30, 2020 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        Seems very reasonable allocation of time for them considering their usefulness.

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        Have you forgotten the complete contempt for the electorate shown by MPs, of all parties, in the last parliament?
        P.S. But I take your point. The EU, predictably, has strung out negotiations to the very last minute. HMG shouldn’t fall for this trick again – whether it’s played by the EU or by someone else.

        • Lynn
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          HMG is the one playing the trick.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      They are lucky to be able to scrutinise it at all, there is no requirement on the government to put it to the Commons, note how none of the 60+ trade deals Liz Truss has executed have been debated or voted on.

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Of course there was a requirement for Parliament to pass this Act. Shows you that it is a completely different beast to what Liz Truss has been concluding – trade deals.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Not at all. The process has taken 4 and a half years. We are all heartily sick and tired of it. The idea of spending another six months dissecting this agreement – and to what end? It is not going to be changed – is enough to cause mass suicides.

    • rose
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      It was the EU’s long tried and tested policy to spin out the talks beyond the deadline, to wear down the British negotiators. Theirs is a sham parliament so can talk as long as it likes after the treaty is signed. Thank goodness the PM didn’t fall for that though I would rather he had gone in June.

  3. Lynn
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Yes that’s the nub of it. I’m afraid that even of the Govt makes the right noises, I no longer trust them.
    I see 17% of the British people approve of the agreement.
    I don’t think Parliament has a mandate to pass this agreement.

    • Hope
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Lynne, +100. On anything. I am sickening to death of the specious rot about Chinese virus.
      I read an article by a retired doctor who volunteered back in the spring repeatedly asking what he could do. Seven months after NHS thought he could be a call handler! about 40,000 retired health professionals not being used after being asked to volunteer.

      FFS, what is the point of Hancock and Stevens carrying on. They have resoundingly proved they are not up to the jobs. Sack them. SAGE full of left wing sociologists, behavioral witch doctors etc. I would not trust their advice for a cold!

      Ferguson back giving advice!! How many times does he have to fail costing our nation a fortune? He does not even believe in what he preaches. His article in the DT saying lockdown inspired by CCP and how surprised they were everyone compliant to lock downs.

      It really is not hard. Elderly and those with underlying health issues isolate. The rest carry on.

      When will your party do anything JR against these Nut jobs including Johnson?

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        And yet today we see the hospitals filling up at the very moment that the Nightingales are being dismantled. Ideally, your ‘retired doctor’ would be getting his mobilisation orders by email and reporting to his ‘war station’. He would have had a couple of weeks of COVID-specific refresher training during the lull before this storm. And he would have been amongst the first to receive his jabs. Perhaps we now need a proper NHS Reserve, of ‘Public Health Warriors’.

        • Lynn
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          But are the hospitals full of Covid cases? Or is the is normal high exacerbated by the untreated? We can no longer trust the death certificates. I thought it was a criminal offence to not identify a death accurately?

          Are we really in the ‘post rule-of-law’ age?

          Hope we simply cannot go on like this. We must all take our chances. If I die – tough. Those who are afraid are free to lead their lives as they see fit.

          Boris absolutely MUST go – perhaps to ‘have his cake and eat it’!

          • Sea_Warrior
            Posted December 31, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            I heard on the radio this morning that one hospital had ONE COVID case occupying a bed in April and now has FIVE HUNDRED. I’m pretty certain that we are in deep guano.
            As for Boris, yes he must go. The government has done well to establish a lead over the rest of the world in the Vaccination Stakes, and the conclusion of Brexit is a diplomatic success, of sorts, but elsewhere the government’s efforts have a back-of-a-fag-packet quality to them. And Boris can’t be trusted either to spend our money to good effect or to keep up the good fight in the Culture Wars. It’s time for him to leave office and write a book.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          If the vulnerable and elderly isolate properly and are supported to do so (which would be cheaper than closing the economy and providing support) then would the hospitals fill up? (If indeed they are).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Only twenty-six percent of the public voted Leave – so you appear to have double standards.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 30, 2020 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Gosh its going down with your every post Martin.
        In a few more posts you will have down to single figures.

      • Sea_Warrior
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        And a smaller number voted Remain. Gotta love democracy in action, don’t ya?
        P.S. On referendum day, I served as a ‘polling agent’, there to see fair-play at the polling stations. My abiding memory? One old chap – probably in his eighties – walking in tiny pigeon-steps from the door to the booth. It took him several minutes, and he looked in pain, but he was determined to have his say on the great issue of the day. I’ve no idea whether he voted Leave or Remain. Meanwhile, across the land, millions of Martins couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed.

        • dixie
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          I tried to take the fullest part in the referendum and was involved in leafleting and canvassing when I met many people determined to vote in what they saw was a serious affair, not the “silly” vote mic makes out. I also came across quite a few “Martins”.

          On the night I was a counting agent – things were pretty exciting.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Of the general populace, 99.9274% have not read it. They are not in a position to judge – as what they read in the media is biased nonsense for the most part. What politicians say is also biased nonsense, for the most part.

      That said, polls I saw reported today said that 5 out of 6 people wanted it to be passed. They had no idea what the agreement entails, but they are just so sick to death of the the whole thing that they just want it to be OOOOOVVVVVEEEERRRRR!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        That is fact.

        And what does that say about the state of UK “democracy”?

    • steve
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink


      Absolutely correct. They have no mandate because-

      1) Johnson, and May both said no deal is better than a bad deal. They were lying.
      2) Johnson said we wold have full control of our maritime territory – we do not have control, so he he was lying.
      3) Both Johnson and May went to Dublin to discuss our sovereignty with the Irish PM – they did not have permission to do so. NI is effectively annexed to RoI – no coincidence.
      4) Johnson said the British team would walk on Oct 15th – on that day Johnson said he was ‘leaving the door ajar’ and was talking to the EU again the very next day- so he was lying.
      5) Deadline after deadline for WTO default was extended including the latest deadline extended by he and EU chief Choreographer Von Der Layen – so he was lying yet again.

      And –

      6) We did not vote for any deal with the EU – we vote to leave it and all it’s institutions. Therefore there is no mandate, not even for BRINO dressed as BREXIT.

      It’s BRINO, and the con man Johnson has told too many lies at once and tried to sell us a lemon.

      They never were going to fully honour the referendum, even if it meant lying through their front teeth and bulldozing their crap through Westminster at the last minute after pissing about for nearly five years, then at the wire play the limited time trick – Johnson’s hallmark.

      This isn’t over.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Of course it isn’t over.

        I’ve been telling you that it wouldn’t be for months.

        This is only the start, of complete domination of current affairs in the UK by Europe.

        Sector by sector, UK enterprise will be lobbying government over what is wrong and for what they want, and this will be covered case by case in detail.

        People will then begin to see finally the pile of cack which is brexit.

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Steve I have said until I’m blue in the face, that it isn’t over until we win. You should look at our website ‘freenations’.

        We are speaking about a decision to ‘be’. Our alien 5th column want us ‘not to be’.

        Funny that Barnier wants ‘to serve the French’. He seems not to understand what ‘the project’ is.

        • steve
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink


          “Funny that Barnier wants ‘to serve the French’. He seems not to understand what ‘the project’ is.”


          I suspect he knows the writings on the wall for the EU, and has decided to go home.

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink


      My maths isn’t very good but is this 17% about the same as the people who voted for brexit in the referendum?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 30, 2020 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        See above.
        You are ahead of Martin he says it is 26%

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        My maths is very bad Margaret, but does that mean that even fewer voted to Remain? Considering that was the de facto position and had an advantage, doe that mean that, say 85% did not vote to Remain?

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Now get rid of Handcock and SAGE who are determined to bankrupt the country.
    We now have the entire country in either tier 3 or 4.
    It didn’t work before and it won’t work this time.
    What will be the position in 3 months when the virus is still with us and the vaccine isn’t as good as thought.
    Are we going to lock the country down 6 months every year to protect the ineffective NHS.

    • James bertram
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


    • piglet
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink


    • Enigma
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      +1 Ian Wragg

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink


    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 1:19 am | Permalink


  5. mancunius
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I share your concerns about fishing and NI, and you should continue to press the government to clothe our new marine and regulatory freedoms with domestic policies. There has been far too much talk from the PM of ‘getting Brexit done’. Brexit has not even got out of the starting blocks, and pretending to ignore the ambiguous dangers of the NI trading arrangements will simply not do. The pretence that the existing RoI/NI border cannot continue to be supervised for taxes and tariffs and needs a border down the Irish Sea separating the mainland from a part of the UK – merely to protect the fiscal policies of a foreign power – is a ludicrous concession, a festering sore that will inevitably lead to the revocation of the EU Treaty unless it is replaced by a more sensible tech solution.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      The NI protocol threatens the return of Unionist action, once they realise the ties which have been cut. They will be voting MPs to Westminster but still ruled by Brussels. Nor sure how they will take part in e.g, TPP free trade deals when the EU isn’t part of it. So does NI import tariff- free from Australia allowing goods to then creep into the EU, or do Australian exporters need to fiddle around with silly export forms to get product differentially into NI, thus making NI uncompetitive with the UK?

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink


        I see the sale of guns in the USA in the last 2 months has outstripped sales in the previous 5 years.

        As Boris has trashed the Good Friday Agreement, you have to expect not to either ‘have your cake or eat it’.

    • LT
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      An excellent summary Mancunius. I too am not convinced about this deal and I fear it will continue to cause ructions. The Northern Ireland arrangements are highly unsatisfactory. I read an article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph which included the following… Brussels threatened to cut off Britain’s electricity interconnectors at the height of winter if it did not come to heel. Once played, that card cannot be unplayed. The interconnectors are no longer politically safe.

      I have not seen it reported elsewhere, but if its true then this is deeply troubling. This is not how friendly powers behave. We need to urgently address our dependance on the EU for additional energy and look at alternatives to Dover/Calais. The EU has shown us what a bunch of tin pot, would be dictators they really are.

      • Multi-ID
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        LT the problem is that we set out under DD with a round of visits by ambassadors officials etc by the back channel to try to wreck the EU- divide and conquer- but the wiley EU crowd were well aware and they havn’t forgotten perfidious albion- so now we pay the price for our arrogance and you are right about Dover/ Calais they can go to work 9 -5 if it suits and a rush to containers via Felixstowe won’t help much either- maybe a revisit to the fisheries agreement in time might do it- but either way we are bunched

    • steve
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink


      “Brexit has not even got out of the starting blocks”

      …..because it was thwarted with BRINO.

      They knew they wouldn’t dare try to overturn the referendum, so they choreographed what we have now. Facilitated by lies, treason, & false promises.

      The question is; can we outfox the establishment and turn BRINO into BREXIT. ? It will require keeping a continuous vigilant eye on government and Parliament and aggressively DEMANDING they keep their word on every single thing they say.

      The days of us being bullshitted have to stop right now.

    • Mike Durrans
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      + 1 by 100%

  6. Peter
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    You are right to ask about ‘practical sovereignty’, as opposed to theoretical sovereignty laid out in an agreement. That said, I don’t think the government are in any great hurry to test practical sovereignty, via tax or any other measure.

    The pulse fishing issue, as mentioned on this site is worth raising.

    As regards bolstering the industry for the future, it’s just as much about intent as throwing money at training schemes. Fishing is once again a big opportunity for income and employment. The idea that the current generation are too soft to go into the industry is laughable. If there is a decent living to be made it will attract youngsters. In any case, the industry is nowhere near as hazardous as in the days of the Hull wives’ protests after lives lost at sea.

    Northern Ireland is still a huge issue which the EU will try to leverage. I agree with the Brexit facts 4EU site:-

    ‘Sovereignty is about leaving the EU as one United Kingdom’

    • Andy
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid Brexiteers are going to get a very hard lesson in sovereignty. Sovereignty means nothing if you can’t do anything with it. And whether you like to or not we are permanent stuck in the EU’s orbit. The EU is so big, so powerful and so close that we have no choice but to remain largely stuck to EU standards and EU rules – whilst having no say over those rules.

      In the same way that all small counties get dominated by the big country or group of countries near them. Nobody is bothered with Canadian standards because Canada is effectively forced to follow American rules for trade. Ditto New Zealand with Australia. Japan and China share the dominance in Asia – others have to follow.

      And we have already seen in Europe that countries like Switzerland, Norway, Turkey are stuck in the EU’s orbit. As we will be until we rejoin.

      The UK makes up around 0.9% of the world’s population. Croatia makes up around 0.9% of the EU’s population. We are now about as important in the world as Croatia is in the EU. Not very.

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        If you can’t do anything or indeed everything, you don’t have Sovereignty.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        All your post is wrong and shows how little you know about international trade.
        UK businesses do not have follow any EU standards and rules if they don’t trade with Europe any more.

        If you sell into Canada you have to meet their particular requirements.
        Their standards can be different to those required by America.
        Ditto the others you mention.

        There are similarities between neighbouring nations where some market requirements and standards are the same due to local agreements but even then the documentary requirements and taxation can be quite different.
        Even in Europe standards and requirements differ.
        Different electrical systems and different plumbing systems are two examples.
        I notice all you remain fanatics on here are now using the word “orbit” in every post.
        Invented by the Guardian I presume

        • steve
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Edward 2

          “I notice all you remain fanatics on here are now using the word “orbit” in every post.”


          Orbit is fine, until a fist gets in the way.

      • steve
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink


        “The EU is so big, so powerful and so close that we have no choice”


        Go forth and multiply thyself to the land of thy gods, we don’t want you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink


  7. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Well done John for abstaining this afternoon. At least you have shown your disapproval together with Owen, another great MP who I miss out on as my MP by a few miles.

    • steve
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink


      “Well done John for abstaining this afternoon.”


      Personally I’m disappointed that he did, looks like classical fence sitting to me.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        merely letting the sheep decide…Now he knows the sheep for what they are!

    • Peter
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Even if there was a majority vote, abstention makes a point.

      What the ERG looked at was just the narrow issue of sovereignty. There was insufficient time allocated to look at the deal as a whole.

      Going forward, there will need to be vigilance to see that what has been agreed is not undermined.

      Freedom to do what the U.K. wishes will also need to be actively pursued – not ignored for a quiet life. Boundaries need to be pushed and preparation made for any retaliation from the EU.

  8. Lynn
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for not supporting this dreadful deal.

    • James Bertram
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink


  9. Freeborn John
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on not voting for the bad deal.

  10. Newmania
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Not much call for a fisherwomen in Wokingham, or indeed for Brexit which the constituency voted against. You know what they do for the most part ? Go to an office ands provide a service which as a consequence of your antiquarian hobbies, has just got much harder.
    Do you not have one word to say about the fact Services have nothing in this deal ?

    Reply I see plenty of opportunities for services which need to be global with good UK regs that suit the world market.

    • steve
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


      “Do you not have one word to say about the fact Services have nothing in this deal ?”

      Stuff services.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        Tarmaccing drives is a service, Steve, as is plumbing.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          They wouldn’t be involved as these services are done in the UK.

          Services weren’t part of the single market so nothing has changed

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        And together they are four-fifths of the UK economy.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          No they are not.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      On the contrary. I have seen men – with, I have to say, East European accents, fishing in Heath Lake. We need some women to fish too, to even things up a bit and maybe encourage the lads not to make such a mess – leaving drinks cans all over the place.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        they think carp are a delicacy, and have been known to electrically stun carp and steal them from private fisheries. A cultural thing!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Not many fisherwomen anywhere really. Even fewer of them than there are top chess players, computer programmers, engineers, refuse collectors or Nobel prise physicists it seems. But then I am all for freedom of choice gender driven or otherwise.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        But if you point the truth, as James Damore did at Google, you just get fired it seems, and it is even upheld at tribunals.

        People do so dislike the truth!

    • margaret howard
      Posted December 30, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:


  11. Andy
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    You say the ECJ does not retain jurisdiction over the United Kingdom. This is not true. It retains jurisdiction over Northern Ireland. NI was sold out by the Tories at the beginning of the year. The ECJ has no jurisdiction over Great Britain but it retains jurisdiction over a part of the United Kingdom.

    Also as an MP for an inland commuter constituency in England you seem particularly worried about fish and Northern Ireland – and not very worried about your constituents. Your constituents work in the service sector – banks, law, architecture, creative services – all of which are completely sold out by Tory pensioner Brexit.

    Is it not completely contemptuous of you to so shockingly ignore the interests of the people who misguidedly send you to Parliament? You clearly have no regard to their livelihoods. Let’s hope they show the same contempt for your livelihood in 2024.

  12. glen cullen
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, thank you for supporting the people today – you’re now in a party of two but with the support of 17.4m voters

  13. Dennis Zoff
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Hello John,

    Congratulations and thank you for taking a stand. There are only a few real men in Westminster and without doubt you are one of them!

    Kind regards


  14. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    It won’t be long before the EU and individual States start threatening us with petty restrictions and bans.

    What will your government do to defend us and retaliate? NOTHING.

    • steve
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink


      “It won’t be long before the EU and individual States start threatening us with petty restrictions and bans.”


      It’ll be the french, always is.

  15. Tabulazero
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir,

    You have had the courage of your convictions and I respect that. However, it would be dishonest of me not to say that in some way you have also brought this upon yourself by pursuing a foolish course of action.

    Brexit will never change the fact that the UK is sitting next to a more powerful neighbour.

    Best regards

  16. Everhopeful
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Yes. A No Deal would have been much better!
    Still Boris had to do as he was told I guess.

  17. Nig l
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Indeed, well done for voting ‘properly’ regrettably the lobby fodder were voting for other reasons than the good of the country, namely the advancement of their political careers.

    • Fred H
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Whats properly about abstaining – thats NOT voting!!

      • Simeon
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Like you, I’m puzzled as to why so many are satisfied with an abstention. Also, I would like to think that Sir John’s electoral prospects would look brighter were he to stand as an independent, as you suggest below.

  18. Mark B
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    Many thanks, and bless you.

  19. glen cullen
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Post vote – the financial and stock markets across the board are down and the currency money markets little change…..not quite the resounding shout of success

  20. DOM
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    You took the right and proper course of action Mr Redwood.

    The fundamental issue of total sovereignty has still not been resolved rather it seems the issue has been parked and is now subject to the whim of an emotional government of the day. Principle has been abandoned. Political expediency embraced

    As an aside, I see Gove is performing his comedic theatrics and directing his efforts at the opposition rather than focusing on the contents of this pro-EU trade cum political arrangement entered into by this PM.

    We are exhausted by the orchestrated bullshit, lies and propaganda


  21. acorn
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Today’s debate just proves the futility of the House of Commons. It gets one day to debate a constitutional level Bill. The debate, as expected, has made no difference whatsoever to Downing Street’s required result.

    ERG Brexiteer’s neo-evangelising Parliamentary sovereignty and independence; words the average leave voter can’t spell, is a large piss taking joke on the 99%. A very expensive joke for the public purse. Alas, the thick-as-a-plank English voter, will keep doing what it has always has been doing; voting to get shafted by the 1% via its Westminster stooges.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      They were voted in with a huge majority with the headline get brexit done.
      The three remain parties did badly.

      • acorn
        Posted January 2, 2021 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Which bit of thick-as-a-plank did you not understand.

  22. Fred H
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Reported to be 5 hours of debate to allow 650 MPs to know enough from 1220 pages of typed legalise and veiled suggestion, when in reality it was mostly filibuster.
    Those who could honestly vote to approve do so as a final attempt to move on from over 4 years of dreary prevarication and untruths. They simply couldn’t bear to continue the Government and PM shafting us any longer.
    The future will bear testament to just how badly we were lead down the garden path, believing a spectacular rose garden awaited us.

  23. UK Politics T for C
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    How I wish there were more John Redwood’s in Westminster. A man of principle.

    Thankyou for being a true Brexiteer’s voice Sir John.

  24. Zorro
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Well done JR – a necessary expression to show the issues with this Treaty. The lack of clarity over fishing is a missed opportunity, and I fear that you are right about how the SNP will focus on the NI issue. This will run when it need not have done so.


  25. APL
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    What is the difference between this treaty and the treaty that Theresa May tried unsuccessfully to put through?

    • Garden
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

      This one splits NI from GB. Hers kept the UK united

      • Lynn
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        …and the whole thing under the heel of the EU.
        Where is the option we voted for – the whole U.K. out?

  26. Iago
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I think the only thing people can do now is not buy EU produce. Force the supermarkets to import food etc from elsewhere. The same goes for Chinese Communist Party products. Incidentally, I bet the government does not reduce the tariffs on New Zealand wine, either 4 euros or 4 pounds a bottle.

  27. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    A very adequate speech, but I felt you were holding something back?

    I still don’t trust the EU with regard to this treaty – it is more than a trade deal – they were too pleased with it.

    Strangely I don’t feel euphoric at this stage now that we have BREXIT – There are too many wasted years behind us, and with lockdowns a solid feature of life for 2021 I fear I will never see the benefits Brexit will surely bring.

  28. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Well put Sir John. You made your, necessary, points but did you recurve the reassurances you requested and did the government indicate when it might actually take back control?

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Good speech John. I think in the case of Northern Ireland there could also be some advantages to their position in relation to the EU and in time maybe the EU too will become unhappy with the current arrangement.

  30. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I have just got home after a stroll around West Bay this afternoon. Champagne corks were flying everywhere. Boats that had lain idle for decades were being brought out of hibernation and, as they proceeded gracefully on trailers towards the water, people danced in the street around them. Men, and women, dressed as fishermen (or women, or of indeterminate gender) were limbering up around the harbour. Stretching their old sinews to get ready for fishing for the first time in 43 years. It was a sight for sore eyes and moved me to tears. Of laughter.

  31. Lifelogic
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Well done you made exactly the right points & powerfully as usual.

    Alas they will likely be ignored.

  32. XY
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Waiting for the text, with curiosity. I’m surprised that you abstained.

    The only real concern is that the deal can be re-visited in 4 years, just after the next election. Cue Project Fear “vote Conservative or get a remainer govt who will take us back into the EU” – the problem is that there are also many Conservative remainers, so perhpas it’s a better rallying cry for the Reform Party / Brexit Party.

    NI can vote to end their arrangements if they wish (but they may get a best of both worlds outcome).

    Fish will be ours in 5.5 years. The tariffs thing is a non-issue since any tariffs must be proportionate to the damage. Well, fishing isn’t that valuable in £ terms to either the EU or the UK. The direction of travel in 5.5 years will be smaller EU fishing fleet, larger UK one, so any damage will be reducing over time. And they have to win the right to impose tariffs in independent arbitration.

    So the 4 years issue is the only one that bothers me. Therefore I wait with bated breath to hear your reasoning.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks John, we need people like you prepared to say this.

    I would have added a big question about the plans to increase immigration, and the laughable version of “skilled” they plan to use when dishing out work visas.

    First question in the next inevitable Covid debate should be why have we closed gyms and swimming pools, which keep fitness levels up which actively helps fight covid, when at the same time we have packed passenger flights arriving from all around the world many spreading people to all corners of the UK. Why are we still importing full planes from India of people on work visas, with skills already in massive oversupply, when especially during Covid there are lots and lots of the relevant skills out of work. It is sheer madness.

    • Iago
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Coldly deliberate also.

    • Dennis
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I’ve done one thing this past year of perfecting my skill of being a recluse – enjoying it immensely of the time I can now spend on my books, guitar, piano, good stuff on TV, Radio 3, World Service, interesting web sites etc., etc. I also do some shopping out and about. I really need a 60 hour day – must be some planets that give that.

  34. Tabulazero
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I do not agree with what you said on the ECJ. Since it is involved with the oversight of the WA and since Northern Ireland is a member of the UK (for now), it will de facto continue to influence policy making in the UK.

    The more the UK diverge, the harder the border in the Irish Sea will become and the closer Irish reunification will come.

  35. Man of Kent
    Posted December 30, 2020 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for voting against this bad deal .

    • Fred H
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      But Sir John didn’t.
      Abstaining means does not agree with it. Logic says (and bravery) that you vote against.
      He didn’t.

      I suggest Sir John is now recognising what his Party has been responsible for these last 3 Governments.
      If he would stand as an Independent I an sure Wokingham would elect him. As a Conservative perhaps they will look elsewhere.

  36. P. G. Shilston
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Could you please explain in what ways I, as an individual, am freer as a result of leaving the EU? What can I now do that I couldn’t do a few years ago? (I am a Cambridge graduate and a retired teacher. Perhaps I’m part of the “ruling elite” that Brexit is a revolt against?)

    Reply You now are a citizen of an independent country where you can vote in and out of office people who make our laws and manage our state budgets, with much more flexibility about how to do the right thing. One immediate gain in the university area is the expansion of opportunity for students from the UK to study abroad,. The new Turing scheme will increase numbers and allow students to go to non EU as well as EU institutions, unlike the Erasmus scheme which it replaces.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 31, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Materially, nothing, quite the contrary, is what John’s reply translates to, I think.

      You will lose the freedom as an employee to refuse to work an average of more than forty-eight hours a week or with less than an eleven hour break for sleep if he has his way, along with all those rights within thirty or so other countries that you had as a citizen of the European Union/EEA/EFTA for sure.

      You will no longer be able to vote by PR for MEPs who exert close scrutiny of all aspects of the business of the Commission etc. which only ever made rules in very limited, uncontroversial, and treaty-defined areas of our law anyway.

      Only a tiny proportion of votes in the UK have any effect owing to FPTP, and so I think that John’s reply is the single parsley leaf garnish on a very unappetising dish.

      • Fred H
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        In future EU citizens will no longer have the right to travel here and work, applications required like so many countries that wish to control who are there.
        We can determine various rules of taxation like application of VAT on purchases. We can eliminate restrictive rules on products and sell to other markets, turning our back on the EU.
        We can choose how to spend, or better invest, the £15bn we paid annually to be a contributor to the EU fudge budget, rather watch over 20 of the 28 taking funding, not providing a share.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Wrong again.
        It is still law until the UK alters those employment rules.
        And no political party has any plans to do that.
        It is just Project from you as usual.

  37. Stephen S
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I wonder what Sir John would have liked to have seen in this agreement that would have then moved him to vote in favour?

  38. hefner
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Sir John, thanks for pointing out the flaws in the Agreement, taking a stand and voting accordingly. Only two Conservative MPs with this fortitude, and the E’R’G shown as the limpets they are.

  39. formula57
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    That the Government was apparently unable to explain its position on the three matters you raise sufficient to secure your vote is a damning indictment of it. What was the people’s Blue Boris thinking?

    Reassurance is needed by seeing appropriate Government action in the very near future.

  40. Sea_Warrior
    Posted December 31, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Please, promise me we won’t have to endure seeing the government wasting its time trying to encourage women to go into fishing! The Dogger Bank is no place for identity politics.

  41. edwardm
    Posted January 2, 2021 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Boris should have stood his ground more on a number of key issues.
    It is good that JR and Owen Paterson stayed true and did not give the deal their approval.

  • 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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