The government and the Union of the UK

Rishi Sunak took a gamble in Scotland. He decided to use the powers of the Union Parliament to challenge a piece of SNP legislation wanted by the Scottish Parliament, because it intrudes on reserved matters to the Union Parliament. It also  happened to be unpopular with many Scottish voters, and with two of the three SNP challengers for the job of First Minister. His was the first successful challenge to a then dominant Nicola Sturgeon who  used the job of First Minister as a constant campaign platform against the Union. Subsequent events led to  her resignation, to a bad leadership contest and a series of as yet unanswered questions about SNP party funding which are doing them huge damage. It looks as if the Union will emerge stronger in Scotland for this chain of events. The PM tells us he is a Unionist and he can be pleased with what has happened and the stance  he took.

So it is even more surprising that faced with the opportunity to support Unionists in Northern Ireland he chose the opposite course and sided more with the EU and the Republic of Ireland when it came to resolving issues over the temporary Northern Ireland Protocol. This Protocol contained its own clauses looking forward to future amendment or termination and invited a better answer to be wrapped into the Future Trading Agreement between the UK and EU. The UK anyway had passed a Bill through the Commons to fix the matters unilaterally if the EU continued on its course of refusing to deal with the serious worries of the Unionists.

I am still trying to  get some answers to  very simple questions about the Windsor Agreement. I am told I cannot table a question again to ask which EU laws apply to Northern Ireland. Why is this a secret? We were told 1700 pages of law would b e disapplied. Which pages? Why has this  list not  been published?  We were told only 3% of EU law remains. So if they know the percentage they must know the laws. How was the percentage calculated? Can we see the lists and the way they assessed the volume of total law? The Union needs defending in all parts of the UK.


  1. turboterrier
    April 16, 2023

    The stance taken over NI just confirms to many that in virtually every sector of governmental departments the spectre of the EU is alive and flourishing.
    We had too long under the control of the EU where talk talk never produced the action required.
    Even when politicians with far more experience and understanding of the NI problems he didn’t ask, listen before and after his deal was made.
    We still send out the wrong signals over so many real problems we face. The strings of control are in the hands of other people and it shows.

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      April 16, 2023

      If there is to be any long term future for the country’s Union then it needs a proper, written constitution like every other country in western Europe.

      Trouble for the Tories is, when you look at these they guarantee their peoples rights, which show up our Human Rights Act as the paltry minimum that it is, and which can be wiped out by a simple majority vote in Parliament.

      They’d never let go of that immense power.

      1. a-tracy
        April 18, 2023

        What are you going on about NLH.
        “Codified constitutions are typically produced following a major historic turning point, such as the grant of independence, revolution, defeat in war, or complete collapse of the previous system of government. None of these things have happened to the UK, which is why it has never had cause to codify its constitution.”

        “Although the British constitution is not codified, the Supreme Court recognises constitutional principles, and constitutional statutes, which shape the use of political power. There are at least four main constitutional principles recognised by the courts.”

        We are frequently told that we are wrapped up in European constitutional laws and procedures that we’re unable to change even though we have our supposed Independence again. We have Acts of Parliament, court judgments and conventions. What more do you want? What particular restrictions do you want to write that don’t exist in one form or another?
        If the people didn’t like their simple majority vote by an elected government in the UK they’d get rid of them, as they got rid of Theresa May. France has a written constitution but it hasn’t stopped Macron “circumventing outright the typical democratic process, an insult to the entire nation.” Quote Washington post

    2. British Patriot
      April 16, 2023

      The stance taken over NI actually reflects the fact that we are governed by cowards who are afraid of actually wielding power. If you go into politics it is surely because you have a vision of how you think the country should be run. So why, when in office, wouldn’t you use every single available lever to put your vision into practice? Even Sir John gives the game away when he says “Sunak took a gamble in Scotland” – what “gamble”? Sunak had the power to reverse something he disapproved of so why on earth wouldn’t he do so? There was no “gamble” involved. All polling shows that only a minority support the extremist woke agenda, and besides, if as PM you believe that something is right then you should just do it and then use your bully pulpit to defend it and persuade others you are right.

      The same applies to NI, and also to stopping the migrant invasion. Just do the right thing for Britain – and stop listening to foreigners or caring about the views. Stuff the EU, and Ireland, and Biden, and the ECHR, and all the rest – just do what is best for BRITAIN. But Sunak is too weak and cowardly to take this line. He is a traitor who adjusts his policies to what foreigners want rather than what the BRITISH PEOPLE want. He has to go. I will never again vote Conservative while he remains leader.

  2. Peter Gardner
    April 16, 2023

    The 3% figure is largely irrelevant. What matters is that the 3% cause damage to GB-NI trade and that is the EU’s intention. It uses trade diversion – now to be contributed to by labelling laws – in order to take NI out of the UK. If you remember those fly-on-the -wall videos organised by Verhofstadt you will know that NI is to be the price of Brexit. Dreamed up by Martin Selmayr. that is still the EU’s objective. The Sunak Framework takes us back in its effects to Mrs May’s Backstop.
    The Sunak Framework embeds EU law in NI permanently and establishes that the EU’s legislative freedom is circumscribed permanently by the EU.
    It beggars belief that Sunak cannot see this. But it could be worse. It could be that he sees it, fully comprehends it and intends such an outcome. He has certainly done a lot to advance the EU’s progress towards its objectives of severing NI and of inhibiting UK’s freedoms. Retained EU law will now remain indefinitely. Any future attempt to ercise UK’s righhts under Article 16 will be immediately sanctioned by the EU as contradicting the Sunak Framework, reinforced with punitive measures.

    1. Peter Gardner
      April 16, 2023

      oops typo:
      the UK’s legislative freedom is circumscribed permanently by the EU.

      1. Ian wragg
        April 16, 2023

        All EU law applies to NI, the Brussels briefing paper said si.
        Fishys deal was an exercise in smoke and mirrors and the Unionist parties know this.
        You still cannot remove VAT from energy because to do so would highlight the fact that NI cannot go below the minimum threshold of 5% without EU approval.
        We know Rishy thinks we’re stupid but we’re not.

    2. Denis Cooper
      April 16, 2023

      I’ve sent a slightly tongue in cheek letter to our local newspaper, as follows:

      “James Aidan worries too much about the country going to the dogs since we voted to leave the EU.

      (“Has anything in UK not got worse since Brexit?”, April 13)

      Because his side is successfully fighting back, sabotaging Brexit and turning the public against it, and with a permanent foothold in Northern Ireland the EU is well placed to reconquer Great Britain.

      And in Rishi Sunak we now have a Prime Minister who has reverted to eurocentric Tory type, telling people there about the economic benefits of their “privileged” access to the EU Single Market.

      Out of interest I put in a Freedom of Information request, asking how much that “unique” trading advantage might be worth to the province, but the trade department replied that they did not know.

      I was not too surprised, as previously five government departments had been unable to tell me how much Boris Johnson’s famous “Canada style” free trade deal might be worth to the UK economy.

      Two thirds of the population think that the government is handling Brexit badly, and they are right, and so it is understandable that a majority now think that voting to leave the EU was a mistake.

      Mr Aidan only has to be patient and let the wreckers do their work, “Wrexit” being part of the additional bit that Theresa May was careful not to say after her facile “Brexit means Brexit” mantra.”

  3. Peter Wood
    April 16, 2023

    Good morning,

    Sir John, given your review, has the Government misled Parliament? If it has, it was indisputably deliberate.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 16, 2023


    2. Javelin
      April 16, 2023

      Agreed. To the man on the street this does sound like Parliament has been misled.

      In that case you should always be able to raise a question with the House.

  4. Donna
    April 16, 2023

    I believe ee lied about the consequences of the Windsor Agreement on Northern Ireland. That’s why you can’t be allowed to see the lists or how they assessed the total volume of law.

    I also believe he betrayed Northern Ireland under orders from the Globalists at the WEF and in order to appease Senile Joe.

    So, based on his record, we now know two things for certain: he’s not a Conservative and he’s not a Unionist.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 16, 2023

      We also know, from his disastrous period as Chancellor, that he is a tax to death, borrow, print, currency debase and piss down the drain socialist – worse still a deluded climate alarmist, net zero socialist too.

      1. Peter
        April 16, 2023


        I have not seen this familiar description, including the drain reference, in a long time. You seem to be posting less these days.

        1. turboterrier
          April 16, 2023

          Different name but virtually the same message, I think you will find.

    2. Alan Paul Joyce
      April 16, 2023

      Dear Mr. Redwood,


      And I doubt he’s a Brexiteer either!

  5. Mark B
    April 16, 2023

    Good morning.

    So it is even more surprising that faced with the opportunity to support Unionists in Northern Ireland he chose the opposite course . . .

    Not really and, to be honest Sir John, you are comparing apples to oranges here.

    Many Scots do NOT want to leave the Union, just screw the Sassenachts for as much as they can. They will not resort to violence.

    Those who wish to be part of the Irish Republic have and continue to resort to violence and very much wish to leave the Union once they get the opportunity. It is just a matter of time.

    From my perspective it is far better that this process is hurried along. To me the EU is doing us a favour by ridding us of an on going problem and money drain. Let the RoI with its low taxes and the EU with its German wealth pay for that money sink pit.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do feel for those who wish to remain part of the UK but, I unlike many Remainers understand and accept that there are those who clearly do not.

    A blessing in disguise,

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      April 16, 2023

      The majority in Northern Ireland have made it clear for decades that they DO NOT want to leave the Union, and only a tiny minority of republicans resort to physical terrorism – about the same number who resorted to political terrorism in Scotland.
      Why should one tiny group of terrorists be thwarted and the other appeased? Do you appreciate that Protestants were seriously discriminated against in Catholic Southern Ireland? Their churches converted to dancehalls, they could not get employment etc? You understand they were driven from their ancient homeland of Munster and only held 6 counties of Ulster? Where is the cry for diversity and ‘freedom of religion’?
      Damn the bigoted Bidens, Adams and Sunaks of this world – many of my friends in NI are Roman Catholic and do NOT want to leave the union.

      1. Peter
        April 16, 2023

        ‘You understand they were driven from their ancient homeland of Munster and only held 6 counties of Ulster? Where is the cry for diversity and ‘freedom of religion’?’


        There were The Pale and the Penal Laws to disenfranchise the Catholic majority of the population and bolster the Protestant Ascendancy.

        Only six counties from nine were selected from the province of Ulster to ensure a Protestant majority in Northern Ireland.

        Munster was no ancient Protestant homeland, though the were landlords (often absentee) controlling huge areas. That issue was eventually addressed thanks to Michael Davitt and the Land League

      2. Mark B
        April 16, 2023


        Fine. So let them have a referendum on it.

    2. James1
      April 16, 2023

      A Sassenact is a lowland Scot. It is not a Scot’s term of abuse to the English. It is a Scot’s term of abuse to Scots.

      1. Mark B
        April 16, 2023

        If our kind host allows.

        We’re both right.

  6. Lifelogic
    April 16, 2023

    How was the percentage calculated? Just invented for PR purposes surely? Rather like the “weapons of mass destruction capable of being deployed in 45 minutes”. This claim was made by the Blair government & yet Blair did not even ask or know what type of weapons these were supposed to be?

    Sure thing Blair, Campbell… after all why when told this would anyone bother to ask what these weapons were and if they did not know how did they get the 45 mins?

  7. Clough
    April 16, 2023

    The government’s refusal to answer your questions, Sir John, means they fear you’re getting too close to the truth. Once again. It must be frustrating to have the governing party treat one of its own MPs like this. Perhaps the only up side is that it prepares you for a period in opposition?

    1. James1
      April 16, 2023

      The so-called Conservative Party had best be prepared for a very long period of opposition.

  8. Bloke
    April 16, 2023

    The UK should maintain itself as a balanced healthy body.
    A sensible body does not swallow foreign articles that cause irrational behaviour and harm.
    Any that linger from consumption while previously under the influence should be excreted.

  9. Mick
    April 16, 2023

    Here’s a novel idea, let the Scots have Scotland and the Irish have Northern Ireland and the Welsh as well if they want to go, let’s have a Parliament for the English in England, put that to a vote and I’m pretty sure it would have a big backing

    1. graham1946
      April 16, 2023

      If push comes to shove, I doubt the RoI really wants N.I. because they could not afford to subsidise it as we do, but they have to keep up the pretence, just like sleepy Joe trying to convince his pro Irish supporters in the US that he is an Irishman, whereas his earliest paternal roots according to Wiki are in England. No doubt he has forgotten that, like so many other things. His mother had Irish roots, though she was born in the USA so his Irishness is a bit tenuous but good enough for the Americans, most of whom I doubt could point to Ireland on a world map.

    2. Fedupsouthener
      April 16, 2023

      I think that’s a great idea Mick. But as with all good ideas, we know the government won’t do it.

  10. john McDonald
    April 16, 2023

    It is not suprising Sir John as the US ( Biden) and the EU does not support NI being part of the UK. It is the UK’s version of the Crimea. And we are still governed by the US and EU, like it or not, so our PM will not make a stand. The issue in Scotland was not about who governs Scotland or Independance it was really about what is a woman. If in the past Ireland could have become like Austrlia, Canada or New Zealand we may not have had a problem today. Don’t forget there was a civil war in Ireland so all the troubles can’t be put down to shall we say Westminster at the time rather than the British in General.

  11. Patrick Lawless
    April 16, 2023

    My recollection is both Mr Sunak, in the Commons, and Mr Heaton-Harris, in a Select Committee hearing, committed to providing to Mr Cash how the claimed 4% figure was arrived at.
    Your post today confirms this has not been forthcoming. This begs the question as to the merit of a government minister’ pledge to a member of their own party. We expect them to lie to us hoi polloi, but thought they might draw the line at doing so with colleagues. Obviously not.

    1. Mark B
      April 16, 2023

      Which is why I want them to have it. They want the millstone, let them have it !

  12. groundsman
    April 16, 2023

    We’re back to the Windsor agreement again and am fed up listening about these Unionists – there are more people than DUP living in NI and the great majority have no problem at all with the agreement and are going to make it work. Sunak and the government understand this and so are prepared to facilitate it – but for those who don’t agree I havn’t heard one credible alternative proposal yet

    1. British Patriot
      April 16, 2023

      @Groundsman: People like you have been told a million times what the best solution would be but you refuse to listen. Extreme Remainers don’t want facts, they prefer to live in their little Britain-hating bubble. All that needs to be done is to have completely open borders, both between GB and NI and between NI and the Republic. There, problem solved. Completely free and unhindered trade, so that everyone benefits.

      Yes, the EU would complain, deceitfully claiming that this would impact their single market, while ignoring the fact that the amount of goods that go from NI to the EU beyond Ireland is so small as to be statistically insignificant. Ireland itself would not genuinely be bothered, as they have said publicly that they will not install border controls no matter what. And no other country around the world would give a monkey’s either. So our response to the EU should simply be ‘get stuffed’. The EU only makes a big deal over the NI issue in order to punish the UK for Brexit – and that’s also why the Britain-hating Remainers side with the EU rather than their own country.

      We need a government that is led by patriots and not the cowards and traitors currently in charge. We need a government that tells the EU that NI is part of the UK and therefore it is our SOLE responsibility and we will do what WE want there and if they don’t like it that’s just tough. We need a government that does what’s best for Britain, not what’s best for foreigners.

  13. Berkshire Alan
    April 16, 2023

    Not a good advert for open and honest Government is it !

    Thank you for taking an interest and trying to read the agreement John, which whilst relating to NI, it actually has some affect on the whole of the UK.
    Clearly the majority in Parliament it would seem either do not care, or are happy to take someone else’s word that all is well !.
    Perhaps there is a long term aim to allow NI to leave the Union, but do those in the South really want it ?

  14. Ashely
    April 16, 2023

    Told by whom you cannot ask? Who decides which questions can and cannot be asked and do they give justifications. They rarely answer the questions anyway just sidestep them. So is this due to the fact that 1,700 pages and the 3% were clearly a pack of invented lies?

    Another insanity of red tape! Building regulation now insist that any new heating system fitted uses over large radiators or under floor heating suitable for tepid heat pumps. This even if you are using a far more sensible, efficient and cheaper to run gas boiler. Thus putting up the cost of the system by something like £5,000 and probably making it far more intrusive and more expensive to maintain. Forcing people to piss money down the drain for no sensible reason or at the very least to pay years in advance. Yet another way to increase inflation through daft regulations on top of sunak/BoE money printing and net zero rip off intermittent energy.

  15. Richard1
    April 16, 2023

    I have 2 questions on this: 1) if the Windsor framework is so bad why does it have the support of 2/3 of the population of NI and the vast majority of MPs, including Brexiteers like Steve Baker, David Davis etc? & 2) I believe it is the case that the govt’s legal advice is the NI protocol bill would have been judged a breach of a treaty obligation and therefore subject to likely successful legal challenge?

    Sunak probably judged therefore that, while imperfect, the Windsor framework was as good as he could get given the constraints of the agreements signed by Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

    1. Peter van LEEUWEN
      April 16, 2023

      Agreed, in the sense that I think the war (against the EU) is finally over. More progress is to be achieved (also by a DUP) with a positive attitude. There surely will be items that could be changed to make things more seamless.
      Building on the wishes of the new generations and efforts to defuse sectarianism would have much better results than a pseudo-religious war just to be against the EU. Some soldiers appear not to have realised the “war” is over.

    2. a-tracy
      April 16, 2023

      John this is a good question, why do Steve Baker and David Davis tell you they fully support it?

      Reply Steve is a Minister and has to support it to remain a Minister. He did not negotiate it and believes the govt line on it. I do not know about DD.

    3. British Patriot
      April 16, 2023

      @Richard1: You clearly have no understanding of the law. Treaties are not laws. They cannot be enforced through the courts. We are perfectly entitled to rip up those treaties we feel no longer serve a useful purpose. That is precisely what we should now do with the Protocol. The problem is that the Winsdor Framework has actually made things worse, by creating a legal basis for some of the regulations when this was not there before. So yes, now we will need to pass some legislation to cancel those elements of the Framework, and that’s what a patriotic government would do. But Sunak is NOT a patriot. He is a traitor. And so, of course, nothing will be fixed while he remains PM.

      1. James4
        April 16, 2023

        BP That is exactly what the Spanish in Madrid are saying “Treaties are not laws” – so they are now looking at the treaty of Utrecht 1713 Article X about Gibraltar and thinking it will soon be time to tear it up – according to your logic – So we’ll done in starting the ball rolling. Stupid!

      2. Richard1
        April 16, 2023

        Silly language

  16. Mickey Taking
    April 16, 2023

    A union of shambles. Look at the mess SNP has created, nothing runs well, Westminster fares little better. The Wales and N.Ireland governments divided, a union in tatters.

  17. agricola
    April 16, 2023

    Well I do keep hinting that you are batting for the wrong team. When you are at odds with the committee, the scorer, the tea ladies and the groundsmen, isn’t it time you thought of joining another club.
    The enigma of Rishis decision making is not so complex. In Scotland he was dealing with one recalcitrant, already self wounded woman, to the relief of many Scots. In producing a resolution in NI over the iniquities of the Protocol and Windsor Framework he would have found himself in direct conflict with the EU. Some might say pragmatic, I say weak, vascillating, and traiterous to the integrity of a United Kingdom. It is no more complicated than that.
    As to the witholding of information in Parliament, the so called cradle of democracy, this too is dreadful, but symptomatic of the decay we are dealing with at all levels. Have you ever tried contacting a public service as a member of the general public by the normal published means of contact. You would find it equally difficult without direct contact with the head honcho sat two rows in front. Now however you are in conflict with the duplicitous government and their scribes. Try the DUP, they have possibly worked it out. Thank you for trying on our behalf.

    1. a-tracy
      April 16, 2023

      And where did that get the two Tory MPs who switched, nowhere, Carwell, Reckless where are they today? If John, a respected member, can’t convince conservative thinkers in his own party of tabling these simple questions then what chance is there outside. That is the road to oblivion.

      1. agricola
        April 16, 2023

        Outside you do not bother. You have already accepted that answers are not forthcoming. His own party in parliament only have about 100 Conservative thinkers, the rest are consocialists. There is a party, outside parliament at present, comprising Conservative thinkers. If you remember what the Brexit Party, of no great longevity, achieved in the last EU election we took part in, you might realise that even in our warped electoral system it is possible for a new party to win. Nothing is set in stone. I want to see SJR’s thinking to bare fruit. It does not in the stoney ground of the existing parliamentry conservative party.

  18. Jude
    April 16, 2023

    It’s simple, Rishi & Hunt are closet remainers. They want to be part of the EU gravy train & will keep UK tied to the apron strings. Via NI…..

    1. IanT
      April 16, 2023

      That ‘Gravy’ train is slowly drying up Jude. The UK media spends a lot of time telling us how bad things are here but rarely mentions what’s happening elsewhere in Europe. It’s certainly not all fun and games in the corridors of power in Brussels these days. Their German paymaster has real economc problems and the EUs budget is being cut in real terms. The former second largest donor (e.g UK) is slowly reducing it’s contributions as we disentangle ourselves from the morass that is Brussles. It’s clearly getting much harder to pass out the freebies these days to the eighteen EU members who are the net ‘Takers’ (rather than the nine who are net ‘Givers’).
      Oh – and did I mention the French?

  19. Nigl
    April 16, 2023

    Obviously the answers would embarrassingly show up their hubris on the agreement as a sham.

  20. Keith Jones
    April 16, 2023

    Is it possible the PM would be content to sacrifice NI for the greater good of a US and EU trade agreement?

    1. formula57
      April 16, 2023

      @ Keith Jones – probably not, since it is too well-known abroad that Northern Ireland is destined to leave the U.K. (whilst the Good Friday agreement holds anyway) so there is no need to make any concessions to provide for it, although there may be a willingness to do minor things to speed up the outcome.

      Also, can it please be remembered that trade deals are not automatically good, q.v. the Australia – U.S.A. deal (see ample google links). Moreover, the U.S. had been without a trade deal with us since 1783 and we have both done plenty of trade meanwhile.

    2. Denis Cooper
      April 16, 2023

      Only if he thought it might be worth something more than 0.07% to 0.36% of UK GDP:

  21. William Long
    April 16, 2023

    The answer is that Sunak and his cronies realise that they have been rumbled on this one, by yourself, the DNP and anyone else who has actually bothered to read the text of the Windsor Frame-up, so of course they are reluctant to add to your knowledge. The reason that it has widespread support is that few have bothered to investigate its terms, preferring the easier option of believing what they are told, because it is what they want to hear.
    Biden came out in his true republican ( not at all democratic) colours and it is clear that we can expect little help or sympathy from the USA while he is president.

  22. graham1946
    April 16, 2023

    ‘A bad leadership contest’

    I needed a good laugh and you have provided it with that little gem. Have you forgotten last summer already? Three months wasted, we need not have bothered with that charade at all as we had after all, imposed upon us a PM and a Chancellor, both of whom were rejected.

    Regarding being told you cannot ask questions is outrageous and shows they have no regard for democracy at all. A fully authorised MP asking on behalf of the people questions the leadership don’t want to answer and being told to shut up is far more of a problem than the intricate workings of the Windsor stitchup and shows that the leadership is not fit to govern and must be replaced at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately the rest of the supine canon fodder will do what the PM wants just to hang on to their salaries and privileges for as long as possible until they get chucked out, regardless of the good of the country. Never have we been so poorly governed and yet can do nothing about it.

  23. Ian B
    April 16, 2023

    The PM along with the rest of his Conservative Government, is anti the UK, anti the Union. They demonstrate that daily.

    Why else would he/they consider bowing down to Foreign Talking heads that have no mandate in the UK?

    It would appear the EU and the US have directed this Conservative Government to follow their demands before the obligations to the UK electorate.

  24. XY
    April 16, 2023

    1700 pages sounds like a lot – it was intended to *sound* like a lot. But one law can be very long, so we maybe looking at only 1 or 2 laws being disapplied.

    Perhaps there is a question that could be phrased around that… something like the average number (N) of pages per law that has been disapplied. Although they might see that one coming – the implications are obvious since anyone can do the arithemtic 1700 / N.

  25. Bert Young
    April 16, 2023

    What has happened to our democracy ?. The function of an MP is to represent and to question any issue of interest and importance to the community . The truth is the Windsor Agreement is a mistake and 10 Downing St. don’t want to admit it . The EU have no right whatsoever to interfere in the affairs of the UK ; maintaining a friendly relationship with the EU is one thing but the buck stops there . Biden’s visit has damaged our relationship with the USA and , as a result , weakened the position of the West in international affairs ; the sooner the stumbler is out of office the better .

    1. a-tracy
      April 16, 2023

      The UK is very friendly with many individual States in the USA some large and powerful, as big as any individual Country in the EU. We should be inviting those governors over to the UK to State events and fancy weekends giving them trade events to go to enjoy whilst entertaining them in our opera houses, theatres, football stadiums, cricket events, flower shows, the ballet, our cathedrals with choirs and orchestras. Buckingham Palace could become a posh State Event space and invite only hotel for big wigs that buy from us.

  26. hefner
    April 16, 2023

    Really, after almost 36 years in Parliament, you are not able to get answers to those questions? What have you been doing all those years?
    Have you not read the 29 pages of the Windsor Framework (, CP806) ?
    Are you unable to figure out how the Stormont Brake would work (see p.22, 23 & 24) ?
    Are your DUP friends as dumbfounded as you are by these texts?

    Or are you as usual just playing to your gallery of fans (fan as in fanatics)?

    Reply Yes of course I have read the Windsor documents. The whole point is they do not answer these important questions. Is there anything I could write that you would agree with or is silly negativity your preferred mode?

    1. hefner
      April 16, 2023

      Interesting that you point my silly negativity and never point the ridiculous statements put forward so often daily by some others of your contributors.

      1. graham1946
        April 17, 2023

        That little piece confirms all we know about you. You have distain for anyone you consider less clever than you and who does not fit your arguments. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even if you consider them to be wrong and to label them as ridiculous shows your intolerance and snobbery of ordinary people, who often have far more common sense than the clever dicks like you.

      2. Hans Christian Iversen
        April 17, 2023


        This is because your questions are often very relevant and to the point.
        Well done

    2. Bill Brown
      April 17, 2023

      Sir JR

      Totally unnecessary way to answer the question.

  27. formula57
    April 16, 2023

    How come “I am told I cannot table a question again to ask which EU laws apply to Northern Ireland”? This is a disgrace and calls into question the legitimacy of Parliament itself.

  28. IanT
    April 16, 2023

    I could live with Mr Sunak’s ‘steady’ hand on the tiller, if I had any confidence in the direction he is steering us.

    However, I have no faith (at all) in Mr Hunt’s fiscal ‘policies’ and I believe that this government has betrayed the Unionists in NI. Meanwhile the boats keep coming and our public services are in complete disarray. Unfortunately, I don’t see any viable alternative. Labour will be far worse, the Lib Dems live in Climate Never-Never Land and Reform will be a protest vote that splits the centre-right further.

    Anyway, I have to go now, as I’m busy planning a world cruise for this winter. I’ve worked out that it will be cheaper than heating our home and buying groceries. It also occurs to me that if we stay away long enough, we may be able to claim non-dom status and avoid paying UK taxes. Just think – a cruise ship is also the ultimate ’15 minute’ (floating) city….there’s not a car in sight!

    1. graham1946
      April 17, 2023

      When you come back, disembark in France and take a little boat across the channel and you will never have to pay for heating or groceries again.

      1. IanT
        April 17, 2023

        I may end up like the Flying Dutchman Graham – doomed to cruise the seas forever… 🙂

  29. a-tracy
    April 16, 2023

    Are you in such a minority now in your party that you can’t get the support of say 100 MPs to all ask to schedule the same simple question?

  30. Mark Thomas
    April 16, 2023

    Sir John,
    I would like to know where this Windsor Agreement originated. Whose idea was it and where was it drawn up. Using the title “Windsor” in such a manner coupled with Rishi Sunak’s overly enthusiastic promotion of it, along with the unelected Ursula von den Leyen suddenly showing up to have an audience with the King, leaves a bad taste.

    1. Raymond
      April 16, 2023

      Mark Thomas.. the King is also unelected as are one thousand Lords in the other place.

  31. Denis Cooper
    April 16, 2023

    I have also sent a rather irritable letter to the Belfast News Letter, as follows:

    “Once again Sir Jeffrey Donaldson rejects the Northern Ireland Protocol/Windsor Framework and calls for alternative arrangements, but without specifying what those alternative arrangements should be.

    Dublin and Brussels profess concern about the potential for unsuitable items to be included in the trickle of goods exported overland into their territory. As repeatedly argued, the obvious neighbourly solution is for the UK to introduce a system of export controls focussed on that small flow of exports, not to apply EU checks and controls on all the goods produced in Northern Ireland, as well as on all the goods brought into the province from outside.

    Last August I sent Sir Jeffrey an outline scheme for the operation of those UK export controls, which has been somewhat refined over the intervening months. He has never responded explaining why the DUP is not prepared to publicly press for such a scheme, which the UK could set up unilaterally. Perhaps the editor could invite him to do so? Or is the DUP more interested in a permanent grievance, rather than a permanent solution to the problem?”

  32. Jon Marcus
    April 16, 2023

    Excellent comments on Northern Ireland. Please keep pushing this issue.
    Madness that part of Britain is governed by a foreign power.

    1. James4
      April 16, 2023

      NI is not governed by a foreign power – right now it has no government but decisions on if are made by the Secretary of State for NI and by government in London – I really don’t see any other foreign power anywhere. If we have made agreements with other foreign bodies like the WTO the UN, NATO, UCHR etc etc including the EU then we have signed up to agreements with them but then are not foreign powers and we are still not governed by a foreign power.

  33. Denis Cooper
    April 16, 2023

    Like the rest of the UK Northern ireland is not part of the EU, so in simplest terms 0% of EU law should apply.

    However I have to put in that caveat, “in simplest terms”, because clearly UK law should allow companies who export to the EU to operate in accordance with EU law in relation to the production of those exports.

    In fact UK law should not only allow, but require, exporting companies to depart from the UK norms for that purpose, and not only for exports to the EU but also to all other destination markets outside the UK.

    There were two fundamental errors incorporated into Theresa May’s Mansion House speech of March 2 2018:

    Tthe first was to gratuitously accept responsibility for ensuring that Brussels and Dublin did not fortify their side of the Irish land border, so handing them a veto on all proposals, while the second was to accept:

    “… businesses who export to the EU tell us that it is strongly in their interest to have a single set of regulatory standards that mean they can sell into the UK and EU markets.”

    without stopping to think about all our other overseas markets and their regulatory standards.

    And that tacit assumption that the EU should have a privileged position still persists, this is from last week:

    “What we want to avoid is getting into a situation where you have the dual bureaucracy of needing to have goods approved separately for two different markets. Even worse would be having to make two separate products for two different markets, because the legislation has diverged so far.”

    There are about 200 different countries in the world, so there is a lot of scope for regulatory divergence between different export markets; we would not agree, for example, that because some UK companies export to Australia and have to conform to Australian regulations all other UK companies should have to do the same.

    In any case that would clearly be impossible, because there are bound to be some points of conflict between the regulations of so many different markets, and in some cases their regulations might not even be acceptable to us on a variety of grounds, ethical or practical or political.

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 18, 2023

      Please could you pass this.

  34. Geoffrey Berg
    April 16, 2023

    One may say, ‘Rishi Sunak took a gamble in Scotland’ (as he did in Northern Ireland but he has failed in his real objective there, the restoration of Stormont) but like just about all Sunak’s gambles it is going to backfire on the Conservatives. For a start the demise or part-demise of the SNP is going to result in Labour winning many more parliamentary seats in Scotland. Even worse, Starmer, dim as he is, has now seen how fatal her transgender politics have been for Sturgeon, something he couldn’t comprehend before Sturgeon’s fall and so he has backtracked on Labour’s own transgender policies to avoid a similar fate (as his greatest ambition is to become Prime Minister). Thereby he has removed the Conservative Party’s best policy chance of beating him at the next General Election. Sunak couldn’t see that it would have been far cleverer to demolish Starmer at the next general election over transgenderism rather than Sturgeon before the election.
    However the most pressing issue now is the implosion of NHS healthcare by ever more ruthless and callous striking from their own (supposedly angelic) staff. So the Government should now muster the courage to by law ban striking in emergency (fire and NHS etc.,) and ‘essential’ services to protect the public so as to avoid unnecessary suffering and deaths. If properly and strongly argued for the Opposition would be in a quandary over whether to risk opposing such a life-preserving policy but either way such a ban on more key workers striking is essential for public protection.

  35. glen cullen
    April 16, 2023

    Its doesn’t feel nor look like a union ….would it make any difference if the separation was formalised

  36. Derek
    April 16, 2023

    Sadly, this is yet another indication of the power of civil servants over our elected leaders. The ambiguity over The Union here, demonstrates that the PM is not in charge. He is probably allowed to voice an opinion but once overruled must toe the liberal lefty Europhile Mandarin’s line.
    I have no doubt it is their very own comrades in Brussels that really rule the EU but never those actually elected as MEPs, and their main reason for our own wishing to join them in power sharing. Their actions suggest they are no longer interested in democracy, instead having aspirations and plans to run respective countries just like dictators.
    This is just the beginning of their New World Order and will continue until and unless a ‘proper’ high calibre UK National LEADER is allowed to enter Downing Street. The rot must stop before our democracy becomes history.

  37. mancunius
    April 17, 2023

    A measured but complete indictment of the government’s mendacity in presenting their sell-out to the EU can be found on the Lawyers for Britain website. Martin Howe’s forensic analysis of the *real* terms of the Agreement should be required reading. He comments: ‘…whenever a British government does a deal with the European Union, there is a gap between government claims, generally of an amazing negotiating triumph, and the hard reality of the actual legal texts. But I have never known a case where the gap between claims and reality is as wide as with the Windsor deal.
    The gap is so wide that that I can only say that the authors of the Command Paper and of ministerial statements which repeat many of its claims are, to coin a phrase, “on a holiday from reality”. ‘

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