My Question to the Leader of the House

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): People voted to take back control so that the Government would use the new powers to make their lives better, so will the Government urgently make time available for the VAT cuts, the new enterprise zones, the freeports, the policies to increase our fishing fleet, the policies to boost our domestic food production and the so many other good ideas that Ministers should be queuing up to put through our House now we are an independent country?

The Leader of the House (Mr Jacob Rees Mogg): My right hon. Friend is not only right but he reads my mind.

There are great opportunities: the new financial services regulation, which will encourage innovation and competition; the faster and more agile clinical and regulatory regime that is going through with the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill; a revolutionary approach to gene editing, on which the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is consulting; freeports, on which the Treasury is consulting; and looking at public procurement differently.

We are really taking back control and seeking the advantages, but I hope that my right hon. Friend will join in this enterprise and send a list of all his good ideas to every Minister so that we know there are more ideas bubbling away.


  1. zorro
    January 21, 2021

    Hahahaha….. As if you’ve not sent in such ideas and more countless times already! Have they been filed locally?


  2. Denis Cooper
    January 21, 2021

    Here is my first suggestion, one that I actually attempted to communicate to the relevant minister, George Eustice, two months ago, in an email headed:

    “For God’s sake, each of us could eat an extra lamb chop each week”

    and that is to set up a marketing campaign to persuade UK consumers to eat more home grown lamb.

    So when a company complains that thanks to Brexit it may no longer be able to export its usual half a million lambs to the EU each year:

    it would find it easier to sell the meat to UK consumers instead.

    Given that a lamb typically weighs 40 kg when sent for slaughter, of which maybe half is the carcass, and that a lamb chop typically weighs 100 g, those 500,000 lambs would produce the equivalent of about 100 million chops a year or 2 million chops a week to be eaten by members of a 66 million population.

    Surely that should not be too difficult, or are we to be told that people in the UK no more like to eat the lamb produced in the UK than they like to eat the fish caught in UK waters?

    1. Pat Gibson
      January 22, 2021

      So your message to British citizens is, you used to eat imported food, well the days of choosing are over, get this British meat down you, stop complaining. That’s the “freedom” of Brexit is it? That’s “Global Britain” is it? How about compulsory singing of the national anthem every morning?

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 23, 2021

        Calm down, old chap, nobody would force anybody to do anything. The UK government would not force UK sheep farmers to sell their lamb to UK consumers, it would just try to make it easier for them to do so as as alternative to struggling to export their lamb to a vindictive and obstructive EU. And nobody would force UK consumers to eat more UK lamb, they would just be encouraged to do so through the same kind of marketing campaign that is used for other products. The point made here is that the volumes of lamb involved would not be large, it is just that people like you prefer to vastly exaggerate Brexit problems rather than solve them.

        1. a-tracy
          January 24, 2021

          I agree with you Denis. It is about solving problems. Simplifying.

          If the UK government was a proper conservative government they would have facilitated an online digital export form From day 1 for around the whole world including the EU. If they got this right they could have opened up a whole new world of export opportunities to SMEs.

          Don’t you wonder why the World Trade Organisation don’t do this anyway? What is their purpose if not to make worldwide trade easier?

    2. a-tracy
      January 22, 2021

      My husband looked for British lamb last week all that was on offer was New Zealand lamb. I think this is because British lamb is out of season, but it will be Spring soon and the groundwork on British lamb needs to be done right now, isn’t it the farmers union who could be advertising, we the public have given such a big market share now to German supermarkets it makes me wonder just what the British supermarkets are playing at.

    3. Mike Durrans
      January 22, 2021

      I agree sir, but also think we should return to the “Buy British“ slogan.
      I personally have been boycotting eu goods and farm produce since we voted to leave the eu, but my situation is easier as I as a Devonian can buy at the farm gate.
      I do know who is benefiting from my trade.

    4. graham1946
      January 22, 2021

      Politicians, especially Tories don’t like things like marketing boards. We used to have a Milk Marketing Board which kept prices stable and enabled farmers to make a living and consumers to pay a fair price. That was abolished and milk lakes were born with farmers pouring it down the drains whilst we imported from the EU, making butter mountains which had to be shipped at a loss to third world. Lamb is just too expensive anyway as is beef. A lamb chop in my butchers costs around £2.50 with the bone in as well, a leg of lamb at 20 quid as against a chicken at under 5 quid which will feed a family at least 2 meals. I agree, put lamb on the British market instead of sending it abroad and maybe the price will get nearer where it used to be.

  3. MiC
    January 21, 2021

    I think that if John and Mr. Rees-Mogg were to take to the varieties stage with a “telepathy” act then the audience might be rather unimpressed.

    1. hefner
      January 22, 2021

      Or as a ballet duet, the only question being who is Rudolf Nureyev and who Margot Fonteyn?

  4. Ian Wragg
    January 21, 2021

    What’s happening in Northern Ireland John, UK meat products are banned, they can only source from within the e.
    Where is the sovereignty in that.
    We should be banning imports of Irish meat and dairy products. I for one will boycott them.
    Doing nothing is disgusting.

    1. Timaction
      January 21, 2021

      We should apply quid pro quo measures with ALL EU food, meat and exports. Enough is enough.

    2. anon
      January 21, 2021

      Reciprocate. EU meat products should be banned in the UK.

    3. Mike Durrans
      January 22, 2021

      +1 agreed Ian

    4. Denis Cooper
      January 22, 2021

      “Difficulties with NI protocol ‘predicted’ months ago, says Foster”

      “Ms Foster said: “The Prime Minister promised us that there would not be any difficulties but given the protocol and all the difficulties we have seen on the ground it was very clear that this was going to happen, it was all foreseen.””

    5. bill brown
      January 23, 2021

      Ian Wragg

      we made a deal to get free access we are now paying for it , leave it and live with the rality of a government taht screwed up the negotIATIONS

      1. a-tracy
        January 24, 2021

        The access isn’t free though Bill that was a con trick. The public are reading and quietly taking this all in. The silent majority will vote with their pound if the government won’t do anything about it.

  5. edwardm
    January 21, 2021

    Good Question, Good reply. Govt must not delay in its good intentions.
    Any more anti-competitive nonsense from our un-friends across the channel and Boris should rip up the agreement, being weaponised by the EU, and go to WTO. All importers/exporters can make their own decisions and adjust their trade patterns to the rest of the world accordingly.

    1. Len Peel
      January 21, 2021

      Eh? WTO would make it a whole lot worse – more restrictions, more paperwork and tariffs too

      1. a-tracy
        January 22, 2021

        We have all the paperwork and tariffs anyway Len.

      2. Edwardm
        January 22, 2021

        The EU are already making it worse, WTO or no. The EU has a severe attitude problem and is not honourable.
        We trade seamlessly with most countries in the world under WTO. Only the EU actively generates problems – we could do the same to them – but I suggest we don’t, and go the WTO route.
        Under WTO, the EU trade advantage would get hit relatively hard by tariffs, whilst we import tariff free from Japan and increasing numbers of other countries we have trade deals with.
        The less we have to do with the EU, the better -and so have less cause for friction.

  6. Pat Gibson
    January 21, 2021

    Northern Ireland is separated from GB, with blockages at the border inside of the UK. Our fishing fleet is tied up, because Brexit red tape shuts off their export markets. Truckers are travelling empty, thanks to Boris’s rotten deal. Investment in the UK falling off a cliff. But you and Mr Rees Mogg enjoy some light hearted banter, so that’s fine isn’t it

  7. David Brown
    January 21, 2021

    Land based education should be much higher up the Political agenda and its potentially a big good news story if the Gov is seen promoting this. It ticks many boxes in terms of the current agenda even dare I say “Climate Change” as food miles are a hot topic. Ive not heard a Politician talking about Agricultural and Horticultural education and I think its about time to start championing this so young people start to take an interest.
    Boosting domestic food production is a must, both Agriculture and especially Horticulture eg salad crops, technologies such as hydroponics for sheltered crop production.
    Try and offer intensive investment in Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges that have suffered in recent years for the next generation of food producers.

  8. Nig l
    January 21, 2021

    Mmm. Consulting? No time scales as ever. If I was a cynic it sounds like long grass. How long have they known we were leaving?

    Why didn’t they have a suite of worked up policies, ready to go from day 1?

    1. Dennis
      January 22, 2021

      NIg 1 – probably ‘cos they are fools, idiots, lazy, incompetent, add your own, unless JR can prove me wrong. There must be at least one person in the govt., a whistle blower who knows why this is so but is keeping quiet – why?, oh to have a quiet life no doubt.

  9. jon livesey
    January 21, 2021

    It looks as though the EU came clean to some extent this morning, as reported in the Times, and openly said that the EU needs to be consulted on any changes Boris makes to the intersection between Government and the economy in the UK. Any switch to a less regulated and more open model for the UK would essentially lead to the EU refusing to cooperate on easing “border friction” on trade, which I suppose is diplomat-speak for non-tariff barriers.

    So I think that we have the solution for the very odd string of small incidents that have been hyped up this week into some “Brexit disaster”. All those confiscated ham sandwiches and refused shipments of fish were actually the EU’s ways of warning us that even after signing a FTA, they can obstruct trade until London obeys their version of how the UK should be run.

    And it’s interesting, to say the least, that the Guardian and Independent were so prompt to push the EU version of events, not to mention so many “helpful” posters here and elsewhere.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 22, 2021

      Some people in the Labour Party are scheming to push Keir Starmer into saying we must rejoin ASAP.

  10. forthurst
    January 21, 2021

    Why do our farmers want gene editing? Have they been held back by the EU from a desire to produce frankenstein food or what? On the whole an extremely poor answer.

    1. London Nick
      January 22, 2021

      Gene editing – also known as CRISPR – is NOT GM, or the idiotically-named ‘frankenstein food’. Only an ignorant luddite would use such a term.

      CRISPR is the most important and potentially wonderful development in farming in recorded history. It is imperative that we wholeheartedly adopt this to produce more and better food, not just for ourselves but for the whole world. My only criticism is how slow the government has been – and is continuing to be. Will the government fund this adequately? I doubt it. We will probably waste this opportunity, just as we have done all the others that Brexit offered – such as fishing, state aid, reshoring, import substitution, etc.

      1. Fred H
        January 22, 2021

        sadly it is a bit late for gene editing in large areas of the USA.

  11. APL
    January 21, 2021

    JR: ” so will the Government urgently make time available for the VAT cuts, the new enterprise zones, the freeports, the policies to increase our fishing fleet, the policies to boost our domestic food production ”

    What astounding chutzpah! It’s as if 2019 hadn’t happened.
    The administration you support has passed ‘enabling acts’ to allow it to interfere in the minutiae of a citizens life, can he/she leave his/her home? Should he/she cover his/her face? If, on no evidence what so ever a computer program suggests you might have been in the vicinity of another citizen that happened to show up on the same program, the government claims to authority to order you to stay in your house for fourteen days.

    The administration you support claims the right to refuse a citizen to walk in the country if in the opinion of the officious official you do not meet the criteria, or you happen to have a flask of some beverage about your person – which implies the officious official claims the right to search a citizen without reasonable cause.

    You have arbitrarily shut down perfectly viable businesses and compelled them to take extraordinary measures at great cost to their bottom line. What business in the UK can make any sort of profit forecast in this current environment?

    And yet, here you are gibbering about ‘freeports’ and ‘enterprise zones’, when no sensible businessman would risk his own capital to start a business today, knowing as they now must, that the government claims the authority to order him to shut it down tomorrow.

    God knows what this last year has done to the pension funds, who may have had commercial property portfolios – depending on income from rents etc.

    1. Mike Durrans
      January 22, 2021

      This government need to learn we live with risk, and it is everyones responsibility to assess and take their individual action, in a free country its not a job of government

  12. agricola
    January 21, 2021

    15 All. You are going to be busy, but keep their toes to the fire. We want to see a seed change in ministerial thinking and real rapid action in launching a new Singaporean UK.

    1. Dennis
      January 22, 2021

      Is there a fire? – not noticed one.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    January 21, 2021

    As with the Minister for the Cabinet Office’s recent reply to you reasonable question, agreement but no timetable. It is not going to happen

    1. Fred H
      January 22, 2021

      That was the sound of a large empty can being kicked down the road.

  14. agricola
    January 21, 2021

    15 All. You are going to be busy, but keep their toes to the fire. We want to see a seed change in ministerial thinking and real rapid action in launching a new Singaporean UK…

    1. Iain gill
      January 21, 2021

      So sage now say that even if we all get vaccinated that the R rate won’t go down below one. So basically we have been lied to. So inevitably they will want ongoing lockdowns and most businesses shut. This is simply madness. Come on John don’t let them talk such obvious BS.

      1. Bryan Harris
        January 22, 2021

        Yes — It was clear from the start that lockdowns would become the new normal.

        They have no intention of lifting restrictions.

        The extrapolated test rates are a red herring – There are only 2 values worth looking at, if we are being honest:
        (a) Number of deaths from CV
        (b) Number of people in hospital bed with CV.

        Any other numbers are there to confuse the situation, and make us believe the hype.

  15. Roy Grainger
    January 21, 2021

    I see Boris says now lockdown may be lifted in summer. Will that be for one week or two before it is reimposed to protect our NHS next winter ? No point pursuing any of your ideas at all until you sort out that problem.

  16. formula57
    January 21, 2021

    Good question, truly shameful answer.

    To save the public purse, you could opt to ask your questions here and I and no doubt others would be able to compose emollient-sounding, brush-off responses that betray disinterest.

    Can we have a people’s Government please?

  17. Chris S
    January 21, 2021

    There are dozens of ideas to improve our economy post-Brexit that contributors to this blog have made over the last year or more, as well as the excellent ones our host has come up with himself.

    A blizzard of letters to ministers should follow, all of which I would like to see published here. The Daily Express, at least, will pick them up and publicise them more widely.

    The ideas that that the EU raise the most objections too are obviously the ones the government should pursue first !

  18. London Nick
    January 22, 2021

    You do realise, Sir John, that you are utterly wasting your time – don’t you? How many suggestions have you made already? And how many have actually been taken up? The government has no interest in your ideas – despite how good they are – and no intention of doing anything. As Einstein said, repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting different results is a sure sign of madness.

    As for JRM’s reply, I can’t understand why the government is ‘consulting’ over a couple of no-brainer decisions, such as freeports and gene editing. Why are they not just doing these things? There is NO consultation necessary! And, if there is, given that we have known for a year that we were leaving the EU this January, why wasn’t this done earlier? Truly we have the stupidest, most incompetent government of alll time.

  19. Bryan Harris
    January 22, 2021

    1. Create a decent tax system that doesn’t penalize hard work;
    2. Change VAT to Purchase tax – That will demonstrate we are out;
    3. Remove the quangos and put control back to Westminster;
    4. Enhance the British armed forces;
    5. Review all EU imposed social legislation and make it fit for purpose;
    6. Revert to Imperial measure an coinage;
    7. Re-educate all EU loving civil servants to be truly British.

  20. a-tracy
    January 22, 2021

    JRM a question for you. You have known this is happening since 2016, your party has been in power during this interim period, why haven’t these consultations already happened. Biden is ready to go from day 1 stop messing around and start taking action.

  21. a-tracy
    January 22, 2021

    NHS – factcheck Jul 2019 – “Total health spending in England was around £129 billion in 2018/19 and is expected to rise to nearly £134 billion by 2019/20, taking inflation into account. In 2018/19 around £115 billion was spent on the NHS England budget. ”

    So how did the Conservatives do on health spending last year and what was inflation calculation used to compare the true gain?

    “The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 0.7% in September 2020, up from 0.5% in August 2020. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month inflation rate was 0.5% in September 2020, up from 0.2% in August.” ONS or “Every year, the RPI figure for July is used to determine how much some train fares will increase by. In 2020 it was 1.6%” BBC.

    The NHS should use the French/German/Spanish average charge rate for each procedure they perform for none UK national insurance patients and rebill their Countries as they rebill us. Tell the NHS they can keep the total billed less the cost of billing to use as they see fit.

  22. a-tracy
    January 22, 2021

    I’m wondering if the Guardian’s article is correct if Netflix UK is going to have to register in the UK instead of “The hundreds of millions of pounds Netflix makes from the monthly fees of the 11 million British subscribers the service attracted by the end of 2019 are funnelled through separate accounts at its European headquarters in the Netherlands.”?

    Netflix paid the UK government just “£3.2m in UK corporation tax in 2019” this “despite making an estimated £940m from British subscribers”.

    We were told by the BBC “In 2015, the government announced the BBC would take over the cost of providing free licences for over-75s by 2020 as part of the fee settlement. But that would have cost £745m, a fifth of the BBC’s budget, by 2021/22.”

    So if the UK now gets unexpected tv tax from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney why can’t this just be offset to continue to give the over 75’s free tv licences as a Brexit bonus by onshoring taxes raised by UK subscribers.

  23. Denis Cooper
    January 22, 2021

    Next time you see Jacob Rees-Mogg you could remind him of something he said to Andrew Marr:

    “AM: Okay, let me try and find another impartial and useful commentator, the Prime Minister. Because she’s rapped you over the knuckles over this very issue. She thinks that this idea of we’re not going to put up a hard border, let somebody else do it if they dare – this kind of game of chicken – is irresponsible and
    said as much to you.

    JR-M: The Prime Minister said in her Mansion House speech that she wasn’t going to do this. I think that is a mistake. I think it is the obvious negotiating position for us to have. Bear in mind the Irish economy is heavily dependent on its trade with the United Kingdom. It is overwhelmingly in the interests of the Republic of Ireland to maintain an open border with the United Kingdom. And I think if you’re going into a negotiation you should use your strongest cards, and just to tear one of the up and set hares running on other issues is, I think, an error.”

    Then ask him to agree that it was also an error for Boris Johnson to start off down the same wrong road as Theresa May and then just fork off onto a different, but worse, track than the one she had chosen.

    Here is a letter I had published earlier in that month, May 2018:

    “Irish border a problem for the EU not the UK”

    1. London Nick
      January 22, 2021

      Quite right, Dennis. I have always believed that the right position on this issue was to say that, whilst there is nothing in the Belfast Agreement that forbids a border between NI and the South, we will not build one because we believe in free trade. So we will keep the border free, but if Eire or the EU want to build a border, then so be it, they are free to do so. We will not, however, under any circumstances, put a border down the Irish Sea between one part of our country and another.

      I understand why May did not take this line – she was weak, cowardly and pro-EU. The fact that Boris also failed to take this line proves how weak and cowardly he was too, and in addition, the fact that he specifically said he would not impose a border down the sea but then did so nevertheless proves that he is also deceitful and treacherous.

      But why did JR Mogg not object? Especially after he clearly understood what the correct position was? The answer can only be that he was bought off with his position in the government. A few pieces of silver and he became a complete turncoat. Contemptible, isn’t it? And tragically sad.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 23, 2021

        I suppose he could say in his defence that Theresa May had got us into a position where she could threaten us with no Brexit of any kind, and that had to be prevented at all costs. However proposals for alternative border arrangements had been put forward, and there was even a commission supposedly examining them, but all of that was simply disregarded. But I don’t think it can be disregarded in the future because it is unlikely that the Northern Ireland Assembly would vote to terminate the current arrangements under the protocol unless there was a clear alternative available, and preferably already in place as a proven system.

  24. Ian
    January 22, 2021

    London Nick, well said,
    The thing is that J R and a very few chums, are the on,y ones that are batting for the sovereign voters.
    The Establishment is still, and always will be for the EU and themselves, nothing has changed.
    We are Not Sovereign, not yet..
    The sovereign voters. Will only get what we voted for when The Established is thrown out for good

    Sir John and friends, are sadly the only one’s that are the genuine article, they speak what we voted for, every one else is in there way
    It is little more than
    Rinse Spin.And repeat, as it has been for 50 years

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