What does Brexit look like? A lot better than staying in.

The Better Stay in Europe campaign only wants to paint gloomy and false pictures of the complexities of Brexit. They have nothing positive to say about belonging to the EU. Out of the EU we will be free to make our own laws and spend our own tax revenues as we see fit.

The Leave campaign does not want the UK to seek a Norway style deal, as we see no need to pay any money into the EU once we have left. Canada, Australia, Mexico trade well with the EU without having to pay for the privilege.

Once the voters have chosen to leave, there are two options. The UK could invoke Article 50 under the Treaties and enter a negotiation lasting up to two years – or more – to decide which agreements we wish to keep and what we wish to change. That would be playing the EU’s game and may take longer than is desirable.

The UK could simply amend the 1972 European Communities Act to make clear that as from the Exit vote all EU laws and rules in the UK depended on the authority of Parliament and no longer derive from the Treaties or the European Court. All present laws and rules would continue for the time being.
Armed with that change the UK would then be able to negotiate which agreements and rules need to remain to facilitate our trade and economic relations with the EU, and which can be amended or repealed if the UK wishes. I would expect the rest of the EU to want to keep the trade agreements, mutual market access, pipeline, transport and other agreements. The EU for its part would have to accept that in other areas the UK is free to legislate as it wishes – over borders, benefits, environment, energy and much else.

The UK could simply rely on World Trade Organisation membership to stop tariffs and other barriers being imposed. In practice both sides will wish to do better than this. Germany has already made clear they don’t want extra tariffs like a 10% tariff on cars, so the resulting deal will be similar to the current position, WTO plus.

The UK would reassure former partner countries that we wish to sort out the matters where we are still involved – mainly trade – on an amicable basis to a sensible timetable, but reserve the right to get on and sort out matters like borders, welfare and criminal justice where the act of leaving restores sovereignty.


  1. The Active Citizen
    February 1, 2016

    What a refreshing change to the complicated and unconfident proposals by some commentators for exit options. I’m pleased you are opening up a new debate on this, with a thought-provoking paper.

    The position after last night’s 2-hour dinner meeting between the PM and President Tusk is not yet clear as I write, with the DT announcing a ‘breakthrough’ for the PM but other papers and the BBC reporting Tusk’s tweet that no deal was reached.

    We all know that the PM will ultimately get his ‘victory’ , or at least that is how he will describe it. It’s vitally important that the Leave side has an immediate rebuttal in place, ready for that. The general public may form an instant judgement that all’s well and the PM has won, and then not bother to listen when this is rebutted in the days after. The rebuttal needs to be made immediately and it’s possible to prepare for the various outcomes which the PM might achieve.

    One such issue is that of the ’emergency brake’ on benefit payments. Far from being a ‘victory’ this would represent no change. The UK could have applied for an emergency brake years ago, when it was introduced. In fact it was even said by the PM to MPs in Oct 2014, when he was mooting it in relation to EU immigration, as opposed to the much less significant issue of benefit payments to EU workers.

    Another key issue is that of the Eurozone and the potential marginalisation of, and discrimation against, non-Eurozone countries like the UK. This is a complicated area and with your City experience JR I’m sure you’d agree that is potentially worth far, far more to the UK than a silly tinkering with migrant benefits. My gut feel tells me that the PM and Chancellor won’t get the protections they’re seeking. I say this based on comments from senior politicians from major EU countries whom I’ve read in recent weeks and months. A set of responses for each possible outcome needs to be prepared now.

    JR, with the Leave campaigns currently in disarray, it may fall to you and some of your colleagues to prepare the rebuttals of the PM’s ‘victory’ when it comes. It worries me that you and your colleagues are working without the enormous support of researchers and writers of briefing papers enjoyed by the Remain side.

    Maybe you have adequate resources already, I don’t know. If not, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of your correspondents on here wouldn’t be happy to volunteer to be your ‘fact-checkers/researchers’, if you emailed a few of them.

    You could use the research material yourself and also circulate it to colleagues where appropriate. Might save a lot of your time which would be better employed on media appearances and in Parliament. Just a thought…

    One thing I do know is that an important part of winning over floating voters will start with the PM’s negotiations being seen by the public to have been an abject failure.

    Reply I put out my research work here, and will incorporate anything sensible and well researched that people submit that helps the case. I am not currently turning down media appearances.

    1. getahead
      February 1, 2016

      I don’t know why you say that the Leave campaign is in disarray. The messages I receive from the Leave organisations are well co-ordinated and effective.
      The Leave campaign’s biggest problem is that it has no access to the controlled media.
      Not many people read John Redwood’s Diaries, Breitbart or any other unbiased outlets. If people think the that the Leave campaign is in disarray it is because the BBC says it is, not because it actually is.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 1, 2016

        Indeed the BBC is just appallingly biased and wrong headed. Just now on radio 4 news they even said Cameron was demanding changes to “sovereignty”. Needless to say they failed to explain what they meant or give any details. Just more lies, propaganda and scare stories.

        He is, as far as anyone can see demanding nothing whatsoever of any substance. It is all a compete joke he is treating the voters with total contempt as usual.

        It the UK is daft enough to vote for IN after this joke of a renegotiation they deserve to suffer the final death embrace of the EU. Personally I think they will probably vote out.

        This as the public are rather more sensible than Tory MPs.
        Tory MPs, after all, even preferred to go over the cliff behind the totally discredited dope John Major (even after his ERM farce and his failure to even apologise) to the working compass of JR.

      2. The Active Citizen
        February 2, 2016

        Getahead, you answered your own comment. You refer to the messages you are receiving from the Leave campaigns as evidence of their competence. Few people out of the total electorate are signed up, as you are, and don’t receive these.

        At the time of writing, the latest ‘news’ on leave.eu’s website is dated 28 January. Since then our host has been all over the media with very effective messages reaching many people. If he can do this on his own, think what the two large Leave campaigns could have achieved.

        We all agree most of the media is biased but it hasn’t stopped JR getting coverage in the last few days.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      It’s worth noting that the Czech Republic is now working up to join the euro, and:


      “One of the government´s priorities this year will be to intensify the public debate on euro adoption.”

      No doubt part of that “public debate” will be about whether it should be put to a referendum, given that a large majority of Czechs are opposed; and no doubt the government’s position will be that the Czechs have already had their referendum back in 2003 when they overwhelmingly voted to join the EU, part of that being the commitment to join the euro at the earliest opportunity.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        February 3, 2016

        Why should they? Many bad decisions can be reversed and this is one of them. Did the Czechs really sign up to a German dominated Federal European SuperState? Was that ever put to their electorate in advance?

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 3, 2016

          In October 2011 the Tories’ ODS allies in the Czech government said they wanted their country to be relieved of the legal obligation to join the euro, which decision would then require a fresh referendum:


          “The ruling euro-sceptic ODS party in the Czech Republic wants to push for a referendum on the country’s future eurozone accession, claiming that the rules have changed since 2003 when Czechs said yes to the EU and the euro.

          The recent agreement on another bail-out for Greece and on boosting the eurozone’s bailout fund is fuelling Czech calls for a referendum, said Czech MEP Jan Zahradil, leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists.

          “We should allow non-eurozone members – such as my country the Czech Republic – to decide again whether they wish to enter. We signed up to a monetary union, not a transfer union or a bond union in our accession treaty. This is the major reason why the Czech Prime minister wishes to call the referendum on this matter,” Zahradil said in a statement.

          The Czech Republic, along with all other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, is obliged to adopt the euro once budget deficit and other economic conditions are met.”

          Cue silence from Cameron, no public support for his allies, and nor is there anything explicit about this in the Tusk proposals.

    3. oldtimer
      February 1, 2016

      You make very good points. It is clear, from Paul Goodman`s analysis on Conservative Home this am, that on the EU negotiations Mr Cameron is all talk and no trousers. It is also clear that the media hype will be cranked up at every opportunity – as todays Daily Telegraph headline reveals.

  2. Antisthenes
    February 1, 2016

    There is a wide spectrum of opinion about what our relationship should be with the EU. At one end total political and economic union and complete separation at the other end. In between various degrees of reform and/or associate membership(the British option) is the acceptable solution. So voting to leave unless it is clearly for the UK to be completely independent is not a vote to leave at all but a vote to remain deferred. Unless we leave totally and unequivocally then we remain tied to the EU’s apron strings and can be hauled back in at any time of the EU and/or our own government’s choosing(there are plenty of potential UK prime ministers who will be happy to allow or do that).

    A declaration of unilateral independence which simply amends the 1972 European Communities Act would be fraught with difficulties. Firstly would it not be illegal as it would contravene our treaty obligations. Secondly would it not create a vacuum where all dealings between the UK and the EU would come to a standstill until new treaties could be mutually agreed. Thirdly would it not incense the EU to a point that would make them very difficult to negotiate with. Lastly David Cameron’s government would not allow it as article 50 would give him a second chance. The negotiations would throw up all kinds of opportunities for him have new treaties that for all intents and purposes is full membership deferred which is his current plan.

    Despite my above reservations about using article 50 I do believe there is no alternative. As it is the only way to ensure a smooth transition from being a member to not being one. However if we do use it then those in charge of implementing it have to be committed to leaving and have clear unambiguous instructions on what the new relationship should be like. The latter clearly should be complete independence like countries such as Canada.

    Until you mooted the idea of complete independence it had not crossed my mind that that was the obvious minimum requirement of leaving the EU. I doubt not may others had thought about it either so selling it is going to be much more than difficult. So without that clear cut objective then a vote to leave is not a vote to leave at all.

  3. Mark B
    February 1, 2016

    Good morning.

    We have signed Treaties that bind us. The TFEU states that we must leave in accordance with our constitution. That means a straight vote by Parliament to enact Article 50.

    Article 50 stipulates that after 2 years, if no agreement is reached, we simply leave the EU or, if both parties agree, extend the period of time. Whilst in the EU we would still effectivly be under their governance. I therefore see no reason why we should not choose to do both at the same time. Enach Article 50 and, amend the ECA 1975. It is to me, not a choice of one or other, but BOTH !!!! One to comply with our commitments and the other, as I have said, to protect the UK whilst negotiations are taking place.

    I believe this approach to be more realistic and would settle many nerves and differences within the Leave EU community.

    Please do not get me wrong, I want OUT !! I want to leave the EU as soon as we can, but we need to do it sensibly.

    Reply If we vote leave we renounce the treaties. Why hang around?

    1. Alan
      February 1, 2016

      If we vote to leave and instantly renounce the treaties, which I understand to be Mr Redwood’s position, that would presumably mean immense damage to our export trade until new trade agreements could be negotiated. We would need visas to visit EU countries. UK citizens working in EU countries would have to leave or obtain permission to stay. Until new agreements were made there would be little cooperation on all the topics that the treaties cover.

      I suspect the 2 year period will be far too short to come to a comprehensive agreement.

      1. Qubus
        February 1, 2016

        Why visas? We didn’t need them before we we in the EU.

        1. Alan
          February 2, 2016

          Because citizens of countries without special arrangements with the EU need visas.

      2. Monty
        February 1, 2016

        Everything you have listed is bi-directional. Trade agreements for a start. If the EU dig their heels in and block our exports, we would block theirs. Same for the situation of expats. If they decide to play hardball with us, retaliation could and should be immediate and comprehensive.

        1. Alan
          February 2, 2016

          All these arrangements have to be negotiated. That will take time.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      Correct, it needs to be both in parallel, action on the domestic plane and action on the international plane.

      And the action on the domestic plane could be the introduction into the Commons of a Bill to amend or entirely repeal the European Communities Act 1972, knowing that this would take time to get through Parliament, and it could in any case have a provision delaying its coming into effect once it had been enacted, while the first action on the international plane could be to put in a formal notice that we intend to leave the EU, which could be taken as the notice required to trigger the Article 50 TEU exit procedure:


      “Article 50

      1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

      2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union … ”

      While simple abrogation of the EU treaties even without new arrangements having been agreed could be a further action on the international plane held in reserve in case they mess us about and the negotiations drag on too long.

    3. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      “Reply If we vote leave we renounce the treaties. Why hang around?”

      Because we want an orderly withdrawal, with new arrangements coming into force at the same instant that the present arrangements terminate, we don’t want a period of legal chaos after we have renounced the present EU treaties but with nothing ready to replace them.

      And to win the referendum vote I think it’s probably essential that we can tell the electorate that we know how the UK could leave the EU by a smooth process, just an orderly and civilised adjustment of our relations with the other countries, and for some aspects with transitional arrangements, not let them get gripped by the unnecessary fear that it would be abrupt and chaotic.

      1. JJE
        February 1, 2016

        I think you are correct. The dilemma is that that route leaves open the possibility that the real negotiation only starts after we vote Leave and we are then asked in a couple of years to vote again, but proceeding as you suggest is more likely to lead to an initial Leave vote.

      2. Mark B
        February 1, 2016

        Thank you, Denis.


      3. Lindsay McDougall
        February 3, 2016

        Yes indeed, and what we tell them is that we want the same deal as Canada, which is totally outside the EU. A Canada and Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) was negotiated in 2014.

        Under it, industrial tariffs, which are negligible already, will be totally eliminated within 7 years. In the transitional period, some automtive products will still incur a tariff.

        Tariffs on fisheries products will, with a few exceptions, be removed.

        Even in the realm of agricuture, many tariff reductions have been negotiated.

        The only reasons for the EU not to give the UK a deal similar to Canada’s are pique and spite. If the EU slaps tariffs on UK exports, we can simply stop imports of motor cars and railway locomotives from Germany, and imports of Champagne and wine from France. They would soon come to heel.

        Really, Denis, you worry too much. We hold all the aces; all we have to do is play them.

        And the really big gain is that we can negotiate our own trade deals with other countries without the deadweight of needing agreement from 27 other Member States. Iceland, population 400,000, has negotiated one with China; it’s a fact.

  4. stred
    February 1, 2016

    There are reports that Sweden, Finland and Denmark intend to deport asylum seekers who have had claims rejected,presumably because they are economic migrants or should have migrated somewhere else.

    Can any lawyer explain. please, why these countries can deport large numbers, while the UK seemes to be unable to deport anyone,-except perhaps a US citizen who has lived in the Westcountry since the 60s, has many grandchildren, but made a mistake on his application form after going back to look after his ill mother for a while.

    1. Alan
      February 1, 2016

      I doubt that any country can deport refugees to Syria.

    2. Roy Grainger
      February 1, 2016

      The key word there is “intend” – they won’t be able to for those who invoke the “right to family life” defence. Just as with Mr Cameron’s laughable plan to deport Muslim women who don’t learn English – we all know that the number deported under this plan will be zero.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 1, 2016

        Was that a “no if no buts” promise or just “a cast iron” one?

    3. alan jutson
      February 1, 2016


      It is reported Germany is to do the same.

      Me thinks we have too many so called do gooders in our system, who are also making money out of the system for us to do the same.

      That, and a complete lack of will by those in power.

      1. Qubus
        February 1, 2016

        I see in this morning’s Daily Telegraph that Germany claims that 50,000 asylum seekers have left the country since 2015, either because they left of their own accord, or were deported. Does anyone know the corresponding number for the UK?
        It is also claimed that Frau Merkel has issued a warning to asylum seekers that they are only there temporarily. What does the UK say on the matter?

    4. oldtimer
      February 1, 2016

      It is easier said than done. There was a revealing article about the problems of deportation published by Spiegel Online last month. Article here:
      under the heading “Stretched to the Limit: Has the German State Lost Control?”

      Although the article includes a chart showing an estimated 18,360 deportations from Germany in 2015, after five years in the 7,000 to 10,000 range, it also included this comment:
      “One German government document states that around 5,500 Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians were “subject to deportation” as of the end of July, but officials only managed to deport 53 nationals from those countries during the first half of 2015.”

      The article, which is quite long, also points to examples of the fraud now possible because the large influx of refugees and migrants has overwhelmed the systems in place.

  5. Mike Stallard
    February 1, 2016

    OK so I know that you and Dr Richard North don’t get on.
    But he is right on this one.
    If we just negotiate, then we are in for the long haul. The problem is the timing. It suits the EU negotiators to keep negotiating because that is what they are paid to do. The Swiss made this mistake and it took 16 years. Even then, the final result was slewed in favour of the EU.
    TTIP has not exactly been rushed through.
    If we join EFTA and the EEA, we are not adopting the Norway Option permanently. It is a stop gap while we play the Article 50 card to place a time limit of 2 years on the negotiations. That way, trading simply goes on just the same as ever while we withdraw in a way that everyone understands.
    Even the Spinelli Fundamental Law admits Article 50 unchanged into the new constitution as Article 138.
    Again it all depends, doesn’t it, on who is handling the negotiations from our own side…

    If we have Foreign Office people who really want to stay in at all costs, that could be difficult.

    Reply I get on fine with Dr North who has made very good contributions to the case against the EU. I just happen to disagree with him over exit. I have no wish to end up in some EU lite arrangement.

    1. Fartel
      February 1, 2016

      EFTA is outside the EU. Sure we have to accept the single market laws but that’s it. And we can then have time to extricate ourselves completely. The big decision will have been taken.

      The danger is that the FUD caused by your desire to repeal unilaterally long standing agreements will lead us to lose the referendum and so never get out of the EU ever.

    2. Mark B
      February 1, 2016

      Reply to reply

      Neither do I. But we need to get out with the minimum of disruption. Unfortunately, due to having a Supranational Government govern us for the best part of half a century means we are not in any good shape to jump straight back in. So the time taken will be well used getting into the swing of being a sovereign nation again. Some thing I dearly wish to be part once again.

    3. TobyG
      February 1, 2016

      Hi John. If you have read the crowdsourced Flexcit Paper, or even the condensed version, you would know that it doesn’t advocate ‘ending up in’ a EU lite version. It states that it is necessary as a transition phase and essential for the markets, stability, Time frames and most importantly, the ability to sell this Brexit plan to swing voters whilst countering the fear and blatant lies by Remain.

      Voters who would be easily swayed by Remain targeting the weak foundations of your vision and those of Hannan et al advocating a Hard Brexit.

      There is much deeper detail that you have either missed or shrugged off as merely inconvenient.
      For example, WTO option, which only addresses the marginal matter of tariffs, which betrays an entirely two dimensional understanding of trade and regulatory affairs. Also to abandon Article 50 would be to essentially break with our treaty obligation to launch a formal cessation process. We would be unilaterally ending our EU membership and this in reality would be economic suicide.


      reply Its a different view. I did read the paper. I want us to be free. seize the day. be bold.

  6. John Bracewell
    February 1, 2016

    I see a flaw in the ‘amending the 1972 European Communities Act’ route, since it needs to go through UK parliament where there is an inbuilt majority against EU exit. It would be instructive to see if MPs would really do their job of ‘listening to the people’ and take the Brexit vote as their cue to amend an act in favour of the EU, or whether they would vote with their own consciences (the euphemism for disregarding the people’s wishes).

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      That is one flaw, especially with respect to the Lords where there are 820 members of whom only 250 take the Tory whip; even if they were all prepared to obey that whip and vote for a Bill to amend the Act they would straightaway be outnumbered by 213 Labour plus 111 LibDem peers, almost all of whom would be prepared to vote against that Bill:


      So then it would be a delay of about 13 months until the Commons could invoke the Parliament Acts, or alternatively Cameron would have to arrange to flood the Lords with new peers who would be loyal Tories.

      And the Lords would actually have a good excuse to vote against repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 because of another flaw – that by itself repeal of that Act would not take us out of the EU, our membership of which is not the consequence of domestic legislation but the consequence of our ratification of the EU treaties on the international plane, so basically it would just tell the other EU governments that we intended to stay in the EU we no longer intended to meet all our obligations under those treaties.

      Reply Who’s side are you on? The Lords would not vote down the express wishes of the UK voters in a referendum!

      1. Roy Grainger
        February 1, 2016

        The Lords might not vote it down but they would disrupt, impede and prolong the process of leaving in any way they could in the hope that with the return of a Lab/Lib government in future they could run the referendum again based on “material new proposals from the EU which go a long way to addressing UK’s concerns”.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 1, 2016

          Indeed that is most likely, anyway most of the Tory MPs are for in anyway. It seems fewer than about 80 will come out for out.

      2. Denis Cooper
        February 1, 2016

        You know whose side I’m on.

        You forget that we have 820 unelected legislators-for-life, the great majority of whom are in favour of EU membership, and who only need to bother about the wishes of the electorate if defiance of those wishes could endanger their own positions by finally driving the Commons to force through the long overdue radical reform of their chamber.

        And in this case they would actually have a pretty good argument for their defiance of the Commons. In fact MPs who rebelled against the Bill would also have the same pretty good argument to justify their defiance of their party whip, the argument that Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve put to David Cameron in March 2008 regarding the New Clause 9 proposed by Bill Cash, that it would “create a constitutional contradiction”.

        Division No 120 here:


  7. Richard1
    February 1, 2016

    What do you say to the argument set out by Mark Pritchard MP – a eurosceptic – that on balance the UK will be safer staying in the EU? Leaving aside arguments about economics and parliamentary sovereignty Mr Pritchard argues the 2 big threats are Islamic terrorism and the aggressive posturing of the vicious kleptocratic Putin regime in Russia. I certainly agree with that. He says that leaving the EU would be a sign to Putin et al of disintegration and would weaken NATO. It is also argued that the EU will be stronger with the UK in playing a leading role, and like it or not we will be affected very much by the security and prosperity of the EU.

    This seems to be a variant of the argument – quite correct – that the central aim of British foreign policy for the last 400 years has been to make sure we are not isolated and ganged up against in Europe.

    Reply I say that is nonsense. History shows our safety and stability has been mainly damaged through being drawn into continental rows and conflicts. The modern equivalent is to be drawn into arguments and legal structures that damage the UK and allow the continent to gang up against us within a legal structure that harms the UK. Our defence still will rest on ourselves and on our membership of NATO after leaving the EU. The EU does not command a single division or a single frigate that would come to the UK’s aid were we to be attacked. Our best defence against terrorism is to control our own borders.

    1. Alan
      February 1, 2016

      Mr Redwood’s reply seems to be arguing that we can stand aside from all European ‘rows and conflicts’. It’s probably not sensible to imagine that we could abolish rows, but we certainly want to avoid conflicts. Those conflicts were brought about by independent states thinking they could solve their problems that way. The idea of running the continent by independent nations has been tried and has failed. We need something better.

      The EU provides a structure which allows the nations to resolve their differences through discussion. It’s far better to take part in that, in my opinion, than to go back to separate nations quarrelling – and maybe fighting.

      I don’t think we should go back to the failed experiment of totally independent nations. It didn’t work.

      Reply The EU intervenes clumsily in Ukraine and allows illegal Russian actions to destabilise a large country on its borders – how does that kind of behaviour make us safer?

      1. Alan
        February 1, 2016

        I don’t think the EU should be blamed for the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. I think Russia should be blamed for that.

      2. Graham Wood
        February 1, 2016

        Alan. ” Those conflicts were brought about by independent states thinking they could solve their problems that way. The idea of running the continent by independent nations has been tried and has failed. We need something better.”
        This and the rest of your comment in naïve. What has the British referendum on our EU membership to do with “running the continent” please? We have no designs on interfering with other European countries, but only to engage in trade to our mutual benefit.

        Secondly. You overlook the important fact that democracies do not go to war with each other – only non democratic or totalitarian states generally do that.
        Thirdly, it must be clear from the EU wide immigration problems alone now emerging that 28 states cannot be bound into a homogenous whole as the EU seeks, or weak governments agree to, without serious tensions arising.
        In addition such differences can be, and now are, major in all sorts of policy areas due to national aspirations and cultural traditions. Europe is now more divided due to the disastrous “one size fits all” policies of the EU than at any time since WW2.
        Finally, the UK electorate never voted for what you rightly call the “failed experiment” – only successive and foolish UK governments taken in by a neo Communist ideology -that of the EUSSR.

      3. Denis Cooper
        February 1, 2016

        The failed experiment is the attempt to abolish the nation states.

    2. Anonymous
      February 1, 2016

      Richard 1 – Islamic terrorism is the threat that it is because of our weak EU borders.

      When we opened our borders to Europe we did not expect that Europe would then open it’s borders to the world.

      The expansionist EU encroached into Ukraine and brought us close to conflict with Russia. The EU blunders dangerously.

    3. Yosarion
      February 1, 2016

      When in BAOR you could not use a NATO travel warrant home through France because at the time they were not part of NATO (again) we managed perfectly well then.
      I think all these series like the Americans, Deutschland 83 and all the re runs of the Bond films etc are starting to take effect. Putin only became disgruntled when the EUSSR rocked up to his back yard inflaming the Ukraine but more importantly breaking an agreement after the Berlin Wall came down.

    4. Richard
      February 1, 2016

      I understood that for most of the last 400 years we tried to make sure Europe was divided – i.e. not dominated by the French or Germans.

  8. Cheshire Girl
    February 1, 2016

    I see that it is reported this morning, that David Cameron has won a ‘breakthough’ on the Emergency Brake that says that Migrants won’t be able to claim in-work benefits for four years. Does this mean that they will not be able to access housing, healthcare, and education? In my opinion we need the ability to say whether or not Migrants are allowed into this country, without having to consult Brussels at all.
    I’ll still be voting ‘Out’ .

    1. Lifelogic
      February 1, 2016


      Cameron has not even asked for anything substantive the whole process is a complete joke. Real renegotiation will only start if and when we get an out vote.

  9. Pete
    February 1, 2016

    So we leave but all the present EU laws still apply? Why?

    1. Cliff. Wokingham.
      February 1, 2016

      An interesting question!

      I wonder whether “The Great Repeal Bill,” which I know our host was working on until it was kicked into the long grass, would be resurrected.
      There are many laws and regulations of EU origin which do genuine damage to our nation and economy, and I wonder how many of these a truly “free” Westminster government would get rid off?

      I still doubt we would be allowed to leave the EU whatever the result of any referendum, but I live in hope. I suspect this referendum would be our last chance to free ourselves of the EUSSR and to make our nation great again, but with our state broadcaster wedded to the EU, our children being brainwashed by our educational system and so many of our politicians so keen to give away the very power they sought election for, I cannot see us getting our country back. The EU, in my opinion, is a cancer which is destroying our nation and I fear it is now terminal.

      Sorry if I sound very negative but, that is how I feel based on my own experiences and what I see and hear.

    2. Alan King
      February 1, 2016

      That’s just the day one situation. It means that companies and individuals can be certain that there would be no undue disruption as in effect nothing changes on a practical level.
      The other issue is the EU laws are enacted with a corresponding domestic law, so these are effectively British laws, albeit driven by our EU membership.

      Also, undoing 40+ years of integration at a stroke is neither feasible or practical.

    3. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016



      “There are now more than 40,000 legal acts in the EU. There are also 15,000 Court verdicts and 62,000 international standards, all of which must be respected nd obeyed by citizens and companies in the EU.”

      In many cases the EU mandated law has supplanted a purely domestic law that we had before we joined the EEC, which we may or may not wish to restore with or without adjustments, while in other cases additional laws have been introduced over the past four decades and the same applies.

      This is not something which could be done in days, years would be more like it.

      I should say that Richard North cites a lower number for the EU legal acts in force, a mere 20,868 as of December 2013, but the problem is the same.

  10. Bob
    February 1, 2016

    I see Mr Cameron is considering opting out of the state school system.
    Would this be the long awaited admission that the abolition of grammars was a mistake?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 1, 2016

      Indeed, while having the cheek to effectively accusing top universities admission staff of racism. They can hardly force people do go if they simply do not apply, or just do not have the required qualifications & abilities to finish the course.

      The problem, if problem if there is, develops long before university – at the family level, primary school and school level. The lack of many decent Grammar schools is perhaps the main obstacle and often the lack of motivation or parental assistance. Many grammar schools closed under Mrs Thatcher as education secretary and as PM alas.

      1. JJE
        February 1, 2016

        Exactly. Our family experience of the Oxford admission process was that it was exemplary. It’s a small University and cannot possibly take all the talented applicants. It’s just a shame they didn’t do a better job of educating the PM.

  11. agricola
    February 1, 2016

    All that you say is true. the various, at present, elements of Brexit need to formulate a coherent plan to be implemented on the other side of a clear exit vote. Cameron is quite clear that he has no plan and I strongly suspect that he and those who back him would attempt to water down the clarity of the vote to leave. His position as PM should be untenable. He has been very clear about the career prospects of those who campaign for Brexit who should be equally clear concerning his career prospects.

    The big subject, almost the elephant in the room, is that of immigration. You need to realise that it is far from racist to have a clear policy, which is necessary as we go into the referendum campaign. UKIP have a very clear ,and to my mind, fair and practical approach to the problem. It needs to be articulated by the whole Brexit campaign.

    It will be opposed by the likes of the CBI which wants cheap labour for it’s own ends and to dampen wage demands of the indigenous workforce. You might then find that you have an unexpected ally in parts of the trade union movement. The TUC seem torn between the benefits of the working time directive and other EU legislation, and the block on wages that goes with biblical immigration. This requires some delicate discussion.

    Leading on from the above it is also of paramount importance that everyone involved in Brexit understands that it is a campaign about the identity and future of our nation. It is not a party political matter. Party politics are a turn off and an absolute no no in terms of Brexit.

    1. alan jutson
      February 1, 2016

      A Wonderful caption by http://www.leave.eu appearing on social media today.

      Shows a map of the World with all Countries in the EU highlighted in red, with whom EU has trade deals

      The rest of the World is coloured Blue where the EU has no trade deals/Agreements.

      A very powerful graphic, which should be given much greater and wider circulation.

      It shows how small the EU market place is, compared to the rest of the World.

  12. mick
    February 1, 2016

    I see Cameron is still trying to pull the wool over our eyes with this so-called watered down ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits to EU migrants because at the end of the day it will still be down to the other eu countrys to say if we can apply it and that isn`t going to happen.Even if he got it nothing as been said about sovereignty,the guy is anti-british along with other eu loving lost souls, if they love the eu that much they should all pack there bags and go live on main land europe and leave these islands to the people who are true patriotes

    1. getahead
      February 1, 2016

      I hear Saint Germain, Paris is nice this time of year.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 1, 2016

      Indeed they should leave this damp and windy island as someone on any questions described it. If they feel as they do.

  13. Douglas Carter
    February 1, 2016

    Ultimately we’re here on an eventual threshold of the Referendum due mainly to historic failures of Westminster Politicians and politics. They have too much leeway to provide the definitions of the margins of ‘democracy’, ‘representation’ and how a vote is to be interpreted. Legal instruments were stripped from Parliament largely through subterfuge dressed up artificially as an accountable democratic process.

    Specifically on the wider tool of the Referendum, many Parliamentarians no longer can credibly claim (of the UK) that ‘We do not ‘do’ Referendums’. Demonstrably that has changed in recent years – albeit their promise has been more utilised to kick inconvenient troubles into the long grass rather than actually consult the electorate.

    Several Parties are now insisting that the Taxpayer be given the generous opportunity to fund their unpopular stances and rejected policies on a permanent basis. Perhaps as a quid pro quo that they must sign up to certain principles over the use of Referendums. Whilst Parliament cannot be compelled to sign up to the policies and decisions followed by previous administrations, and that MPs are ‘representatives’ and not ‘delegates’, the use of the Referendum in its truest form renders at least one of those two theories redundant.

    If parties are to be taxpayer funded in some form, and where those Parties exist in Westminster during the period of a Referendum (itself an expensive process also generously funded by the same Taxpayer), that Party, as a whole, and at individual MP level must pre-disclose how they will treat the Referendum result. They cannot – of course – be compelled to recognise it, but the electorate at national and constituency level have a right to be informed in advance how Parliament will eventually reflect the result. I say that because I believe quite firmly that a large rump of MPs currently in the House of Commons are extremely unlikely to approve a ‘Leave’ vote returned by the electorate as it stands – and that makes a mockery of the Referendum process at the outset. Yes – they would be extremely unwise to take that course of action, but there seems to be no shortage of MPs who possess sufficient reserves of obstinacy, stupidity and personal vanity who would be willing to take that course.

    It would be reasonable in the use of future Referendums that the electorate would be pre-armed with this relevant information, so as to properly inform them their Referendum was being conducted in the correct theoretical manner.

  14. alan jutson
    February 1, 2016

    John, the more you write, the better I like what you are saying.

    Only one problem.

    You are not in charge of the Government, Exit Policy, or any possible negotiations.

    Whilst it all sounds good and logical to you and many of us out here, is that the case elsewhere, amongst other out groups and MP’s.

    Are all of those who want out singing from the same song sheet, or have you yet to convince them.

    Reply I am seeking to agree a common line with Out MPs.

    Please do not get me wrong, I want out with all of my heart, because I want my Country back, and I certainly do not want to pour cold water on anything you suggest, but are all the other Outer MP’s of similar mind.

  15. Bert Young
    February 1, 2016

    The less complicated the better . If there is any further negotiation involved after a “Leave” outcome in the referendum it will only allow the Brussels bureaucrats to fumble and twist and forever drag things out . The only and best solution is a complete break ; we should have no qualms about future trade deals with anyone ; our record stands for itself .

  16. Denis Cooper
    February 1, 2016

    I’m sorry to introduce what may seem to be an unnecessary complication, JR, but I have to point out the government will be unable to take any irrevocable steps in its reaction to a vote to Leave until it is certain that the referendum result could not be over-turned through legal challenges.

    Section 19 of Schedule 3 to the referendum Act allows a period of six weeks for any legal challenges to be lodged:


    “Restriction on challenge to referendum result

    19 (1) No court may entertain any proceedings for questioning the number of ballot papers counted or votes cast in the referendum as certified by the Chief Counting Officer or a Regional Counting Officer or counting officer unless …

    (a) the proceedings are brought by a claim for judicial review, and

    (b) the claim form is filed before the end of the permitted period.

    (2) In sub-paragraph (1) “the permitted period” means the period of 6 weeks beginning with … ”

    There is no provision in Article 50 TEU for a member state which puts in a formal notice that it intends to withdraw from the EU to change its mind and rescind the notice. It is conceivable that the governments of the other member states might agree to an ad hoc solution, effectively just tearing up the notice. It is also conceivable that the EU’s Court of Justice might declare the notice to be invalid because it had been delivered without the UK having gone through the correct constitutional procedures, if the referendum result was overturned by the UK courts. On the other hand, it is also conceivable that the other member states would insist that having started the Article 50 procedure the UK must see it through and leave, and then reapply for membership under Article 49, or that they would insist on concessions before they agreed to terminate the procedure.

    Reply Political will backed by a supreme law making body – in our case Parliament – can triumph over these cavils. We will not need to wait for an all clear on the validity of the referendum unless there is some public scandal/challenges of a kind we have not in the past experienced. Nor do we have to slavishly follow the wishes of the ECJ as the whole point of voting to leave is we substitute our supreme authority for theirs. The sooner we do so the easier it becomes.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      It’s our supreme law-making body, Parliament, of course including yourself as an MP, which has said there must be a reasonable opportunity for anybody who doubts the validity of the announced result to take their objections to court. That is a six week period for lodging their objections, and if the result is narrowly in favour of Leave then it’s likely that the losers will look around for reasons to challenge it. In any case the government could not rush on the day after the poll and do anything which would be irreversible until it was sure that the vote to Leave could not be overturned. That would not prevent the government starting the Bill you would like, because that could be stopped at any stage and even if it went through to become an Act it could easily be repealed, but putting in a notice that the UK intends to leave the EU would be much more problematic. As I say I don’t like to mention this, but it is the legal reality.

  17. Know-Dice
    February 1, 2016

    I’m shocked to see well know entrepreneur Hermann Hauser, one of the original people who set-up Acorn Computers (BBC Micro) quoted as saying:

    He explained: “My hope is that the UK will stay in, because otherwise there will be dramatic effects on the science community – a lot of our funding comes from Brussels.”

    When ever this comes up it must be disputed – “It’s money that’s from the UK in the first place”!!!

    1. Fartel
      February 1, 2016

      Cambridge has become very good at sucking from the EU teat. They forget that that money comes from the UK in the first place.

  18. AndyC
    February 1, 2016

    Good points. The Article 50 route would be a terrible experience. Regaining sovereignty begins and ends with Westminster repealing or substantially amending the 72 Act. Everything else is waffle. The amendment you outline seems very sensible.

    The point needs hammering home that international trade is not reliant on EU membership and would not simply stop. A distressing amount of people seem to believe this, including quite a few businessmen it seems. There was one on the Sunday Politics yesterday. From his comments, he was either a fool or a paid liar. I shan’t be buying his products any more!

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      But we will still have to talk to the Germans, French, Italians etc etc because we have a contract with them all which we wish to terminate. And I don’t think that sending them a “Bye, we’ve decided to leave” text message would really be enough.

      1. AndyC
        February 2, 2016

        I respectfully disagree. We’re discussing the potential actions of a sovereign government with a firm democratic mandate, not some quibble in the small claims court. And in any case, why consent to spending years discussing the terms of your release with your jailers, when then key to the cell door is in your pocket the whole time?

        Sure, negotiate terms, there’s no need to be beastly to the Germans, quite the reverse. But much better to do that from a position of sovereign strength, than as a supplicant. Would give our expensive Foreign Office something useful to do with its time!

  19. Ian wragg
    February 1, 2016

    Today’s headlines …..Cameron secures deal on migrants benefits paving way for June referendum. He is determined to concentrate the debate on this stupid benefits ploy, ignoring the fact that it will be overturned by the ECJ more or less immediately even if all 27 agree.
    The PM really does think we are a bunch of idiots.
    According to the Telegraph only about 70 Tory MP’S will back Brexit putting their career prospects first. This will destroy the Tory party at the next election.

    1. alan jutson
      February 1, 2016


      It worries me that Cameron may even have the power to go for a referendum in a minimum times scale, between so called negotiations ending, and a referendum being held.

      John is there a minimum time that must be allowed, and will that time be sufficient for voters who will be on holiday to register for a postal vote ?

    2. Paul H
      February 1, 2016

      If there was that threat I can see Cameron making another “big, open and comprehensive offer” to the many labour MPs disillusioned by Corbyn to join a conservative party (probably renamed as the “Democratic Alliance” or something) re-aligned as a “central, uniting, progressive force in politics”. The “extremists” on both sides would then be thrown overboard, irrespective of grassroots opinion which they will probably think can safely be ignored.
      I have no idea whether or not that would fly, but we have already seen how Cameron is willing to espouse any belief, jump on any band-wagon, adopt any pose to preserve power. In this he will be joined by any number of MPs who are already displaying their sickening venality by apparently putting “party unity” (= their own political skins) ahead of what they think is the right thing for the country.
      That might sound far-fetched, but I think that we whichever the EU vote goes (and it’s probably a “remain”, unfortunately), we are in for a rough ride and all bets will be off.

  20. oldtimer
    February 1, 2016

    This sounds a sensible approach to me. Whether sense will prevail in the event of a Brexit vote is another matter, either in Parliament or the rest of the EU. There would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth – which is why we are subjected to so much disinformation now by the BSE campaign.

    All this presupposes two critical assumptions. The first is that the Leave campaigns are able to reach a practical accommodation to work together or at least to focus on the job at hand of persuading voters of the virtues of Brexit, rather than on the sins and omissions of each other. The second, if the majority indeed vote Leave, is who will be in charge of the disengagement and the terms that are agreed. Prima facie it is Mr Cameron. But it is not clear to me, unless he turns turtle and campaigns to Leave, that he would be the best man for the job. I would not expect you to comment publicly on this, but no doubt someone somewhere is giving the matter some thought.

  21. Atlas
    February 1, 2016

    Indeed John, I cannot recollect hearing any detailed explanation as to why we are better off in the EU. All I’ve heard is bluster and generalities.

    1. Alan
      February 1, 2016

      Neither do we have a detailed explanation of why, or how much, we would be better off outside the EU. If we had definite knowledge of this it would make the decision much easier. It’s one of the failures of the Treasury that it does not seem to be able to answer this question.

      We can’t even be sure that we will save the financial contribution that we make to the EU, since some who want to leave advocate continuing with the type of relationship that would involve us in continuing to make contributions. We don’t know what ‘leave’ means.

      But you can discuss generalities – such as you are more likely to have a useful trade agreement if you are inside an organisation than if you are outside.

  22. Graham Wood
    February 1, 2016

    Once again, very well said JR. This debate is far too important for the future destiny of our country to be left to the whimsical uncertainties of the present Tusk/Cameron theatre with its contrived melodrama, or perhaps farce would better describe this “negotiation.”
    It is time for the debate to be returned to the floor of the House of Commons where it properly belongs, and ideally with a full and open, and if necessary a week long, debate relating to our membership. That is what democracy and ministerial accountability is all about and never was this principle more important than now.

    Ministers of all departments at present under EU jurisdiction in any degree must be called upon to justify why this should continue and answer to the House accordingly.
    These include the hugely important areas of policy NOT being raised or discussed by the Cameron/Tusk exchanges – such as agriculture, fisheries, employment regulation, social affairs, immigration, justice/home affairs and imposed EU taxation in its many forms – all as minimal.
    Supremely important in this process the PM himself should be called to justify why our laws should be subservient to that of the EU and why UK parliamentary sovereignty should not be returned to the UK parliament and legally re-asserted as a matter of basic democratic principle.

    I am quite sure too that notwithstanding a measure of ignorance about some of the finer details of our damaging relationship with the EU, the British public would readily understand that a final decision to remain or leave should up to a British parliament and the people, not the jurisdiction of 27 other member states where Britain’s national interest is not their concern.
    A principled PM would set in motion this process of open parliamentary debate on such a vital issue without further delay.

  23. Lifelogic
    February 1, 2016

    Exactly. Why is everyone so keen to run the UK down.

    Lord Hennessy , on Any Questions, even described our Sceptred Isle as damp and windy island. I rather like the UK climate, it may at times be damp & windy but at least if we get out it may it will be democratic, controlled by the voters, economically far better off & free of many damaging EU regulations – and the heating, when needed, will only cost half as much.

  24. fedupsoutherner
    February 1, 2016

    Great post again John and agree this would be so simple but let’s face it, where some politicians are concerned they make things anything but simple!

    For those not wishing to leave I can imagine them wanting to drag everything out for as long as possible and then perhaps hope they can hold another vote for us to stay in after all. Cynical or what?

    If we vote to leave then we MUST be allowed to govern and run our country as we see fit and not how Merkel and co want it run and to do that we need someone stronger and more committed than Cameron.

  25. agricola
    February 1, 2016

    In taking the route of amending the 1972 European Communities Act or invoking Article 50 for that matter , is it possible that we could run into a problem.

    At the moment there is a majority of MPs in the HoC and Lords in the HoL who oppose Brexit. If the opposite was true we could be out tomorrow so avoiding the expense of the referendum. Would either route involve a vote in the Commons followed by Lords approval. MPs have never in the past been reluctant to ignore the wishes of the people so what is there to prevent them doing so after an electorate vote for Brexit.

  26. Beecee
    February 1, 2016

    If common sense were to be the deciding factor then Brexit would be a cert.

    Unfortunately with a PM who is openly reneging on his manifesto promises and statements made three or so years ago, openly willing to lie to the electorate without any show of shame, clearly using the power of Government to spread concern, worry and fear, and Cabinet colleagues etc who see personal advancement as more important than the Country, then the work of these dark arts will triumph! Cue Baron Mandelson.

    The renegotiation was obviously a charade from day one as contributions to your diary have highlighted. If one is serious in intending to win then do not show your hand at the poker table before the bidding begins. Unless of course the status quo is the intended win in the first place.

    We are poorly served by the present administration!

  27. bigneil
    February 1, 2016

    Through the letterbox a few days ago came “Europe and You”, by the Britain Stronger in Europe group. A clear UKIP bashing exercise. It would have been better if written by a 10 yr old. One piece shows “Byron”, no last name, saying his company is better off in. His company is not named either.
    Also a photo of “Natalie” , no last name either, , who “works for a charity” – not named either. . . and a very strange bit at the bottom corner where it says IN BOLD – “The truth is no-one knows how bad it would be if Britain left Europe” – -rather odd – -This vote is about leaving the EU – -we are part of Europe either way the vote goes.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 1, 2016

      Pathetic is it not? But will this drivel work?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 1, 2016

        Steady the Buffs!

  28. Ken Moore
    February 1, 2016

    The EU is an old Soviet model presented in a western guise. The Soviets had the Gulag..the Eu has political correctness.

  29. RB
    February 1, 2016

    As Cameron wants to stay in the EU no matter what? How do we know that all these BBC reports of EU officials storming out, saying “no deal”, is not just a pantomime to try and make Cameron look tough?

    It is surely time for John Redwood to take over the leadership so we can atleast have some meaningful negotiations that we can actually believe in?

  30. Denis Cooper
    February 1, 2016

    I don’t see the preferred course of action to be a straight choice between amending or repealing the European Communities Act 1972, or putting in the notice required as the first step in the Article 50 TEU procedure:


    because these are actions on two different planes and can be pursued simultaneously.

    The action over the 1972 Act is on the national, or domestic, plane, while the activation of the Article 50 procedure is on the international, one could say diplomatic, plane. The two interact insofar as the UK is a dualist state, and if whatever domestic legislation may be necessary is not in place – either because it has not yet been passed, or because it has been passed but it has then been repealed – then the government cannot express its consent to be bound by, or continue to be bound by, the international treaty.

    I would recommend a quick look at the Foreign Office internal “Guidance on Practice and Procedures for Treaties and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)”:


    and in particular page 6 on “Ratification of Treaties” where it is explained that:

    “It is important to note that from the date a treaty enters into force for the UK, it places international obligations on the UK vis-a-vis the other party or parties. It is essential therefore that the UK is in a position to fulfil its obligations as from that date, and does not become legally bound until it has the necessary domestic powers to give effect to the provisions of the treaty; otherwise it will be in breach of its international obligations. Pleading insufficiency of domestic law is not, in international law, an acceptable excuse for failure to implement the provisions of a treaty.

    Accordingly, if domestic legislation is required to enable the UK to give effect to its obligations under a treaty, the legislation should be in place before the treaty comes
    into force, so that the two can come into operation at the same time. It is FCO
    practice, therefore, to insist that any necessary UK legislation, i.e. an Act or Order-in-Council, must be in place before a treaty is ratified or acceded to.”

    That has always applied to the successive EEC/EC/EU treaties as much as any other treaties; for example it may be recalled that in June 2008 Brown could not send in the UK’s final ratification of the Lisbon Treaty until the necessary Act had been passed, and in that particular case also until a legal challenge had been disposed of:


    “Britain will not ratify the EU Treaty until the High Court has ruled on a bid to force a British referendum, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said.”

    The same will apply in reverse if Parliament starts to remove the national legislation put in place to ensure that the UK will meet its obligations under the EU treaties; that in itself will not take us out of the EU, even when the process is complete, but there will certainly be international repercussions, with the governments of the other EU countries, the UK’s counter-parties to the EU treaties, and also some of the EU institutions, demanding to know what the UK intends. And of course the answer to their inquiries will come in the form of a formal notice that our intention is to leave the EU.

    To summarise: if there is a vote to Leave then it will not be an either/or situation, either the government puts in the notice under Article 50 TEU or it introduces a Bill to amend the European Communities Act 1972, because not only could it do both at the same time but the second would almost certainly provoke the governments of the other EU member states to press for the UK government to do the first as well. And as it will take time to pass the new Act, quite possibly with the Commons having the invoke the Parliament Acts to overcome opposition in the Lords, the clock will be ticking away on the national plane as negotiations for the new arrangements proceed on the international plane.

    1. forthurst
      February 2, 2016

      I’m not convinced by this, Denis; if we follow the Article 50 route, we would be negotiating from within the EU whereas if we repeal the 1972 Act, we would no longer be bound by EU treaty law and we would have left the EU once having informed Mr Tusk or whoever of the new situation. We would then be in a position to negotiate trade terms with the EU from the outside as equal partners; if there was any intention that both actions were to be effected concurrently, then surely that would have been included in Article 50?

      The FCO surely needs to do so work on the process of revocation of a Treaty unless it believes that all treaty obligations, once enacted should last for evermore.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 2, 2016

        I don’t want to confuse people, whether they are people who are actively striving to get us out of the EU or members of the general public who need to be persuaded that we should leave the EU.

        For campaigning purposes it is sufficient to say that we are only in the EU because of an Act passed by our Parliament, the European Communities Act 1972, as later amended in the light of subsequent treaties, and that all we need to do to get out is to repeal that Act.

        That is simple, and it is true enough in the political sense that we are only in the EU because the MPs we elected have put us into it, and equally they can now get us out of it; however at a more technical, legal, level we are not in the EU because of the Acts passed by Parliament but because those Acts have permitted the government to deposit its “instruments of ratification” of the successive treaties with the government of Italy, which has always acted as the “depositary state” for the EEC/EC/EU treaties.

        That is explained in a box in the BBC article I have linked above:


        Parliament approves bill to ratify treaty

        The Queen gives Royal assent

        The”instruments of ratification” are drawn up by the Foreign Office
        These documents – three pages of goatskin parchment – are sent to the Queen

        The Queen signs the front page and a warrant authorising them

        The documents return to the Foreign Office and are signed by the foreign secretary

        They are sent to the Crown Office in the House of Lords who affix the great seal

        The documents return to the Foreign Office, are tied in a blue ribbon and bound in blue leather

        They are sent to the British Embassy in Rome and then to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

        Only then is ratification complete”

        Conversely, even when the Queen had given Royal Assent to the Bill to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 as amended the Italian government would still hold the UK’s instruments of ratification of the successive treaties and legally we would still be in the EU until such time as those ratifications were formally revoked, an action on the international plane rather than the domestic plane.

        My point is both actions are required, the repeal of the Act on the domestic plane and the abrogation of the treaties on the international plane, it is not a case of either doing one or doing the other, and the only question is one of the timing. Personally I think that in the first instance Article 50 TEU offers a procedure for making an orderly rather than a disorderly withdrawal and we should be prepared to try that. As I have said elsewhere, if the other member states tried to mess us about during that process then we could fall back on a unilateral rather than a negotiated withdrawal.

  31. Duyfken
    February 1, 2016

    In my local paper, the Shropshire Star, the MP for Wrekin, Mark Pritchard is reported to say:

    Mr Pritchard warned: “A decision to isolate Britain from Europe will have significant national security implications.

    “Firstly, a British exit would end Britain’s political and diplomatic counter-balance to France and Germany’s strategic clumsiness.

    “Britain’s geo-political wisdom, lauded by the likes of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and many other EU countries, would be silenced.”

    He said exiting the EU could also lead to the weakening of NATO and would see the European Union lose Britain’s diplomatic advice and counsel.

    Mr Pritchard said: “Diplomacy is an integral part of national security. This loss of foreign policy ‘effect and leverage’ would lead to Europe’s responses to international conflicts and humanitarian crises being devoid of Britain’s input. Britain’s collective knowledge and percipience would have been lost.”

    Mr Pritchard added: “However, by Britain remaining in Europe the likelihood of major crises arising on the continent of Europe are greatly reduced. In an unsafe world, Britain is safer in the EU and Europe is safer with Britain.”

    This has led him to the conclusion: ““In recent months, I have come to the view that, on balance, Britain should remain in the European Union.”

    As one of the rebellious Tory MPs who called for the EU referendum, he seems to have executed an extraordinary volte face. I wish someone would bring him back to his senses!

    1. RB
      February 1, 2016

      In my local paper, the Shropshire Star, the MP for Wrekin, Mark Pritchard is reported to say:

      Many MPs are saying treacherous things. They should reflect on how they will be remembered in history as there words are being recorded.

    2. alan jutson
      February 1, 2016


      The simple explanation.

      He was a “plant” and never was a Eurosceptic.

      Our leaving the EU has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with NATO.

    3. Mike Wilson
      February 1, 2016

      Every word you have quoted from that MP reads, to me, as meaningless twaddle.

      Mr Pritchard said: “Diplomacy is an integral part of national security. This loss of foreign policy ‘effect and leverage’ would lead to Europe’s responses to international conflicts and humanitarian crises being devoid of Britain’s input. Britain’s collective knowledge and percipience would have been lost.”

      Yes, because the EU’s response to the ‘migrant crisis’ has been so great with ‘Britain’s input’

      He said exiting the EU could also lead to the weakening of NATO and would see the European Union lose Britain’s diplomatic advice and counsel.

      Why? We would be leaving the EU – not leaving NATO.

      Twaddle – the lot of it.

    4. stred
      February 1, 2016

      Just looked up Mr Prichard’s voting record. The only time he voted against anything important was for Badgers, as he is animal rights. He is a full time Eural supporting whippet.

      As for the EU missing our wisdom in foreign affairs in their attempts to take over the Ukraine, push Nato to the Russian border, expand to the Urals and welcome migrants from over the Med to help the economy, they must admire our interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. (had the HoC not stopped Eural from bombing the side that we are not currently targeting)

      There are plenty more whippets to backup the corporations and one world brigade.

    5. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      Well, a mixed record here:


      but I see that he was one of the 256 Tory MPs who voted against the sovereignty of their own Parliament here, January 11th 2011:


    6. Pud
      February 1, 2016

      Can Mr Pritchard or anyone else explain how exactly NATO will be weakened if the UK leaves the EU?
      It seems unlikely to me – 22 out of the 28 EU member countries (78%) are also in NATO, the EU members that are not NATO members are Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Malta and Cyprus, the latter two being situated in the Mediterranean.

    7. Tom William
      February 1, 2016

      He is the MP for a nearby constituency, fortunately not mine. According to his website he is on the following committees. The latest list of members of the NSSC does not list him. But, in view of the committees he is on/has been on, his remarks about security and NATO are astonishing. Shades of HMS Pinafore “I polished up the handle so carefully, they made me the ruler of the Queen’s navy”

      Member – National Security Strategy Committee
      UK Representative (Governing party) to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
      Vice Chairman (Government) – Inter-Parliamentary Union
      Executive Committee Member – British American Parliamentary Group
      Vice Chairman – Parliamentary Space Committee (Defence & Security)
      Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) – UK Executive Committee
      Appointed by the Prime Minister as a UK delegate to the Council of Europe (COE) 2015-current
      Appointed by the Prime Minister to the Joint Human Rights Committee, Houses of Parliament, 2015-current

  32. RB
    February 1, 2016

    I see Cameron is still trying to pull the wool over our eyes with this so-called watered down ‘emergency brake’ on in-work benefits

    Cameron is a leftist and not even English so he is finding it hard to understand the objections of the Right, he thinks we are all just bigots who hate foreigners so as long as he can appear tougher on benefits he will appease the Right, but to me and my friends it is about so much more than that. It is about history, prophecy, the very concept of the nation state as a God given firebreak to foreign alliances. November the 5th, papal plots, elitist Jesuits, socialists, marxists and the self governing democracies. When will he understand that?

  33. agricola
    February 1, 2016

    As far as todays diary piece is concerned this question is entirely off piste, but could impact heavily on the whole green weather emissions controversy, and the taxes we pay to support it.

    Coronal Mass Ejections are known to affect the earths magnetic field which is a moving phenomena anyway. More seriously CMEs have the potential to do anything from interfere with communications, electrical supply, computers etc, to completely block them out in extremis. My question is what effect can they have on the World’s weather system. I am not a scientist but find it difficult to believe that there can be no interaction given how powerful CMEs can be. As the Sun is the source of all life on our planet, without it there would be none, and weather is to do with heating and cooling, are CMEs playing a part as yet unquantified. Can anyone out there throw light on the possible relationship between Space Weather and Earth Weather.

    1. stred
      February 1, 2016

      Try Corbeau’s brother’s blog -Piers. He uses emissions from the Sun to sell his forecasts. Mass ejections are temporary.

      As I speak Simon Birket of CleanairLondon is on RT talking through his backside about diesel vehicles killing 9000 pa in London. We are apparently exceeding China in pollution concentrations. The roadside levels of NOx have already been over the limit for long periods this year. The road was named- Upper Thames Street, where Boris/TFL have installed the Cyclesuperhighway to cause a long and permanent traffic jam and where engines pollute more, as forecast here. Kings College research on pollution was mentioned. When interviewed last, the researcher said that more pollution comes from woodburning stoves than vehicles in London.

      September’s Nature has an article on air pollution and numbers of deaths. Asia is by far the most polluted. Many deaths are caused by industrial pollution as bad as we had 65 years ago. Even worse people cook and heat using stoves inside house, sometimes without flues.

      The numbers are guesstimates, worked out by attributing proportions of deaths to density of pollution. Some are from particulates and some from gases. Smoking cigarettes causes both. There have been no studies in London to definitely link NOx to lung and circulation deaths. Particulates levels have been reducing, as have NOx and in by far the greater part of London, the levels are below the EU safe limit. How can the figure of 9k deaths be banded about, when many people are smokers and there is no study of taxi or van drivers who use polluted roads more than others? These are figures plucked out of the green PR phrasebook.

    2. Tom William
      February 1, 2016

      Have a look at http://WWW.weatheraction.com, the meteorological site run by Piers Corbyn (brother of Jeremy) who is a highly respected meteorologist, with a proven track record, who says anthropological global warming is a load of unscientific rubbish.

      He does support his brother’s politics, but then he would.

  34. Kenneth
    February 1, 2016

    My preference is for us to amend the 1972 European Communities Act but I fear this option will be fiercely resisted by the Foreign Office.

    As far the mechanics of leaving, for the immediate time being, all (it seems to me) we need to do is copy and paste those laws coming directly from Brussels into our statute book and have Parliament vote the changes in (even those laws we do not like). We can use the replace function on the word processor to replace eu inspection, policing, monitoring and executive bodies for our own.

    That should be about half a day’s work. Parliament can then repeal each law at its leisure.

    As for tariffs etc, this would be a matter for eu states as I would expect the UK government would express a wish that no tariffs we levied on either side pending negotiation.

    If, however, the eu states levy early tariffs – which we would obviously reciprocate – then I doubt that the French farmers, wine producers, German car manufacturers etc etc would allow this to continue for very long.

    1. Kenneth
      February 1, 2016

      …oh and of course we will not have to pay anything. That would be ludicrous

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 1, 2016

      Well, setting aside the institutional europhilia of the Foreign Office (I hesitate to use the more damning description which springs to mind unbidden), there is the valid consideration that they will have to give our diplomats a brief for when they are urgently summoned to foreign offices around the EU, in fact around the world, and asked to explain what the UK government is up to.

      Does the UK intend to leave the EU, or not? If it intends to leave, why has it not communicated that intention at least to the other EU governments, and preferably to the President of the European Council, as envisaged by the EU treaties?

  35. Leslie Singleton
    February 1, 2016

    Dunno what Brexit LOOKS like but it SOUNDS like Heaven.

  36. Colin Hart
    February 1, 2016

    Absolutely right about our membership of WTO and mutual self-interest meaning there would be no change to trade rules and tariffs. What would change is that we would be free to take anti-dumping measures speedily and effectively under WTO rules without any reference to Brussels. At present we can do absolutely nothing. See Chinese steel.

    Problem is very few people have either heard of the WTO or know how the system works. Mention it down at the Dog and Duck and most people will think you are talking about all those wonderful people meeting in Davos.

  37. RB
    February 1, 2016

    “Britain’s geo-political wisdom, lauded by the likes of the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and many other EU countries, would be silenced.”

    Is someone keeping notes of all the Conservative MPs talking our country down?

    February 1, 2016

    JR, I understand what you write of the options on Brexit:-
    “…The UK could invoke Article 50 under the Treaties…” ( 3rd paragraph )
    “…The UK could simply amend the 1972 European Communities Act…” ( 4th paragraph )
    “…The UK could simply rely on World Trade Organisation membership to stop tariffs and other barriers being imposed…” ( 5th paragraph )

    Mr Cameron’s position does not seem tenable with a Leave vote.

    On Brexit too, the UK Parliament would be left with many dud MPs.

    Surely a General Election or a New Leader and Cabinet would be required to lead the way in changing laws and international deals? Whilst many Labour MPs, to be scrupulously fair, have very intelligent heads on their shoulders, they are for the most part “follow-my-leader” and just look at their leaders. Both Mr Benn and Mr Corbyn are as happy as a pig in muck with taking orders from the foreign EU Praesidium triumvirate of Tusk, Juncker and Frau Merkel . Not much cop in formulating what in essence is a new and dynamic United Kingdom. Politicians with vision are required. Not politicians still stuck at the weighbridge of the the coal pit yard slyly grabbing the odd cobble of coal falling off lorries and taking such swag home for t’ parlour fire.

  39. Bryan Harris
    February 1, 2016

    “The UK could simply amend the 1972 European Communities Act ”

    That always sounds too easy…. and we know our EU bretheran wouldn’t allow us to get away so easily – after all we are involved in lots of EU organisations, and they would want a pound of flesh to extract us from each.

    Getting the referendum out vote is one thing – extracting ourselves from the EU clutches fully will be a huge task…. and why we have to insist on our negotiators not being EU sympathisers. We have to have a tough team that talks tough.

  40. AndyC
    February 1, 2016

    To everyone on here talking about amending the 1972 Act as ‘an option’…

    It isn’t just an option. It is the sole way to regain sovereignty. Unless that act is amended or repealed, EU law will remain supreme over British law. Full stop. Our host makes the sensible point that the status quo ante should be maintained initially post repeal/amendment, to prevent a legal avalanche.

    And while I’m at it, to everyone arguing we need to negotiate new trade agreements with the entire world before daring to leave the EU, please do read up about the World Trade Organisation, and what Britain’s membership of that means.

  41. Qubus
    February 1, 2016

    I am afraid that the whole of CMD’s negotiations are a charade. Whatever the outcome, it will be trumpeted as a significant victory for the UK. The sad fact is that 90% of the population just don’t bother to follow the arguments; they have better things to do. Unfortunately, the readers of, and contributors to, this blogger are not representative of the UK as a whole. I am betting on a decisive victory for the “stay-in” campaign. Even most of the Tory MPs haven’t got the guts to say that they are for Brexit, despite what they think and may do in the privacy of the polling-booth; they are too anxious about there future careers.
    Let’s face it folks, the battle is lost, even before it has begun.

  42. Stuart Saint
    February 1, 2016

    It is very important to make the obvious and positive case for leaving but with every repetition of this it is also as important to restate the fact that IN is NOT the safe, no-change option; the EU and its beloved Euro must change in order to survive, each member ceding further economic and political power to the centre and accepting further reduced sovereignty and democratic control as a result.

    Keep up the good work John.

  43. Jeremy Smith
    February 1, 2016

    John’s paper makes the benefits of Great Britain’s exit from the EU abundantly clear. I am delighted that he batting for our side.

    What staggers me is the pro EU community do not have any quantitive substantiation or clarity as to the benefits of remaining in the EU. They merely spread FUD, (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) on a speculative, vague premise.

    I wish I could understand one benefit in our remaining within the EU. Here are ten valid reasons to leave the EU:-

    1. Since we joined the EEC in 1973, we have been in surplus with every continent in the world except Europe. Over those 27 years, we have run a trade deficit with the other member states that averages out at £30 million per day.
    2. In 2010 our gross contribution to the EU budget will be £14 billion. To put this figure in context, all the reductions announced by George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference would, collectively, save £7 billion a year across the whole of government spending.
    3. On the European Commission’s own figures, the annual costs of EU regulation outweigh the advantages of the single market by €600 to €180 billion.
    4. The Common Agricultural Policy costs every family £1200 a year in higher food bills.
    5. Outside the Common Fisheries Policy, Britain could reassert control over its waters out to 200 miles or the median line, which would take in around 65 per cent of North Sea stocks.
    6. Successive British governments have refused to say what proportion of domestic laws come from Brussels, but a thorough analysis by the German Federal Justice Ministry showed that 84 per cent of the legislation in that country came from the EU.
    7. Outside the EU, Britain would be free to negotiate much more liberal trade agreements with third countries than is possible under the Common External Tariff.
    8. The countries with the highest GDP per capita in Europe are Norway and Switzerland. Both export more, proportionately, to the EU, than Britain does.
    9. Outside the EU, Britain could be a deregulated, competitive, offshore haven.
    10. Oh, and we’d be a democracy again.

    February 1, 2016

    Brexit could lead, in fact inevitably lead, to the UK being flooded with European tourists taking advantage of duty-free shopping.

    It is not fair our shops will be fast depleted of stocks of alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, and goods which we will import from the Free World for our own consumption. Goods which are either forbidden in EU countries or which are marked up in price as a tariff or fine in line with the EU idea of dumping. Electrical goods and all kinds and DIY equipment in particular.There could be hotel and bed and breakfast price inflation especially in east and south coast resorts preventing British people from having a decent holiday in the UK.
    French and German tourists will eat us out of house and home. Tourists from Finland, Denmark and Sweden too will be grabbing every plane, boat and longship to get to the UK. One needs a bank loan even now to buy so much as a pint of lager in those countries. The thought of blonde blue-eyed drunken Swedish women falling about in our pubs and clubs fills one with horror.

  45. Qubus
    February 1, 2016

    Sorry, their NOT there……………!

  46. miami.mode
    February 1, 2016

    I find the trade arguments about Norway and Switzerland a bit distracting and misleading. These two countries are not much bigger than Scotland and at the risk of alienating all Scots, I don’t think by any stretch of imagination that Scotland on its own could be considered a dominant nation in the world – except perhaps for whisky but certainly not football.

    Are the Europhiles seriously trying to say that France will refuse to sell us champagne or that our Police will not be allowed to purchase BMW motorcycles etc etc – the list is endless and should be stressed a lot more especially as our trade imbalance with the EU is increasing in their favour.

  47. Dennis
    February 1, 2016

    “They have nothing positive to say about belonging to the EU.”

    Yes they have JR, you are not listening. “Makes us safer, be better off, EU Arrest Warrant etc., etc.” No evidence nor analysis of course just ‘positive’ empty words but they say them.

  48. Dennis
    February 1, 2016

    As the EU negotiations to stay or leave is something of very important national interest why have the points to be discussed and negotiated not of cross party concern?

    Why have the other parties no input or collaboration in these negotiations? They seem to know nothing of what is going on. I don’t understand. Please explain.

    Reply Labour and the SNP back anything the EU does automatically and when some of us oppose EU measures call it a Tory split

  49. They Work for Us?
    February 1, 2016

    It is astonishing that part of the case made for staying in is that Brexit would destabilise “Europe” i.e the European Project. Never mind about us, the Project must trump all.

  50. Maureen Turner
    February 1, 2016

    What does Brexit look like? It looks and sounds good to me but extricating ourselves is obviously going to be a lengthy disentangling process. Your blog JR is at its best, as is happening today, when those commenting are challenging your thinking – bit like a scientific paper.

    Many here have concerns re the Foreign Office who they consider will stymie efforts in
    finding a speedy way to draw up arrangements on trade etc., should we vote to Leave. This is a referendum of the people not a GE so who would be applying this pressure, the PM?

    The PM’s evening meeting with Mr. Tusk yesterday produced nothing concrete other than “The next 24 hours are crucial”. What a damnable way for Europe’s oldest democracy to be expected to possibly surrender its sovereignty on some trite and worthless concession just to meet a timetable of 24 hours. Yes, we will be allowed a Referendum but the propaganda machine to return a Remain vote is already in overdrive.

    You will no doubt have noticed that regardless of topic the word “security” is the new buzzword of Remain, ie., food security perhaps, energy security perhaps, polo mint security perhaps! However it never comes with any qualification of “security”. You can fill in anything you like as long as you shake with fear.

    If you are out there and listening PM there is one security we would gladly have and its security from those who have arrived on our shores often illegally and sometimes wish us harm. We are aware it is difficult for you to discuss open borders with Mr. Juncker who sees it as a No No but we would happily trade all the other securities on offer for that one alone. I hope you give some deep thought to our physical and emotional security as few of us like to live fearful insecure lives in our own country. Can I also respectfully remind you our security is a UK PM’s responsibility – its called Defence of the Realm.

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    February 1, 2016

    I like the Canada / Australia / Mexico option for arrangements after leaving. What are the current external tariffs imposed on these countries by the EU?

    We should make clear to the EU that, in the event of punitive tariffs being imposed on an exiting UK, the UK can and will retaliate. Not a single German motor car or railway carriage, and not a single French bottle of champagne or wine would enter the UK. We don’t need to humilate them by saying this publicly; private diplomacy would be fine.

    Your proposed constitutional amendment is inadequate. We need in addition to repeal our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon Treaties. This is to make it clear to even the most stupid, bigoted pro-EU judges what is going on.

    This would empower us to strike down EC directives issued from 1st January 1993 onwards. Initially, we would leave in place all of the harmonisation measures regarding products, but strike down all of the directives relating to social and empoyment law.

    This said, let us remember that economics is not the main topic. For the UK, this is an existential matter: “To be or not to be, That is the question.” This referendum is probably the last chance we shall have to escape the clutches of a German dominated European SuperState.

  52. Fairweather
    February 1, 2016

    Dear John
    Can you tell me/us why Mr Cameron is so wedded to the EU? He is an intelligent man .Bogdanor said he was the best student he had ever taught. Does he believe in his own rhetoric “3 million jobs” etc etc…….? (allegation removed ed)
    Has he read the 5 presidents report or does he think it doesn’t apply to UK? does he really think UK can get out of “ever closer union “? The status quo does not exist once Brussels believe we want to stay a member…….. Euro ,tax harmonisation, European army etc.etc.
    What do you think makes him tick?
    The EU is becoming more like a Communist regime. Is this what he really wants?

  53. Tad Davison
    February 1, 2016

    Sometimes, others put it far better than I ever could. RT’s Keiser Report Episode 869, is worth seeing. That programme says things the BBC, Channel 4 News, and Sky News never will. Fittingly, they’re not very complimentary about Germany and the way they manipulate the EU for their own ends.

    And not for the first time, economics professor, Steve Keen, gave a good account of the world economy on RT’s Sputnik.

    Maybe it’s time we asked why domestic UK broadcasters are so poor, especially when we viewers and listeners have no choice but to pay for sub-standard, shoddy journalism.

    Tad Davison


  54. fedupsoutherner
    February 1, 2016

    I have just received the following in an email from UKIP. I think it just about sums up what we all think of Cameron’s pretend negotiations.

    “Bogus renegotiation enters second act.
    It’s hell, but I’m doing it for the country”, says PM

    The fictitious negotiations over the non-reform of the EU and the inability to regain control over our borders has entered a second day, after EU Council President Donald Tusk left a convivial dinner at Downing Street barking that ‘No deal’ had been done, though he added that the pudding was really rather nice and he’d thrashed the PM at Hungry Hippos.

    A clearly tired and emotional David Cameron was more optimistic, however. Speaking in sweat-stained shirtsleeves and with his hair artistically tousled, he said: “It’s a gruelling, exhausting process trying to make a negotiation for three things we already have and one we don’t need, looking gruelling and exhausting.

    “But Mr Tusk is playing a blinder, looking grumpy and intransigent but clearly sticking to the script, ready to cave in and hand me a famous victory in time for a quick referendum on June 23rd, and a relaxing summer in Cornwall.”

    Just about sums it all up!!

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