Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards in any negotiation

I want the full English Brexit. More accurately, without the word play, I want the full  UK  Brexit.

Too many people in government and the professions seem to think the UK is a weak petitioner which has to be very careful in case we are expelled from the single market. They talk of bartering free movement and payments in against some kind of maintained membership of the so called single market. This bedevilled the Referendum debate and still pops up in much of the mainstream media as if true.

The facts are very different. Getting our contributions back, deciding our own laws  and having our own migration policy were the three biggest points of the Leave campaign. These are all non negotiable. We should just get on and do them.

There then remains the issue of what access we have to their market, and what access they have to ours. We do not wish to be members of the single market, as that does mean accepting their future control over things we wish to control for ourselves.

We should offer no new tariffs or barriers on their exports to us. We should  accept we will comply with all their rules and regulations when selling things to them, as they are in those cases the customer. In turn they should offer us no new tariffs and barriers on our exports to them.

If they perversely want to place barriers and tariffs they are limited to an average tariff of around 3.5% by WTO rules. We should retaliate within the framework of WTO rules. Fortunately we can place a 10% tariff on cars and high tariffs on agricultural products, two areas where they are big suppliers to us. That should make it very unlikely they will in practice want to place barriers on our exports, to avoid such a response. Half of WTO trade is tariff free. Business and farmers on the continent will be lobbying strenuously against any such stupid action.

Some then say we cannot simply pull out owing to the law of Treaties! This is absurd. If they read Article 50 they would find it expressly says we can withdraw using our own constitutional procedures, which means in our case an Act of Parliament. They seem to be saying the EU is so ghastly that they will force us to remain in a Treaty we have voted down. I thought the EU was about democracy and human rights!


  1. Graham Wood
    July 17, 2016

    Once again excellent comment. In addition it would be perfectly legal, and I think now obligatory for the UK to formally invoke the Vienna Convention on Treaties, and in particular Article 62 relating to a “fundamental change of circumstances” since the treaties were originally signed. There are other clauses which would certainly be applicable also under the VCT
    We can inform the EU that this will be the case whilst courteously advising our departure under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, but without the UK ‘s commitment to a mandatory structure of negotiation under Art. 50.

    1. Hope
      July 17, 2016

      Excellent JR, however you forget the intention and shape of the new cabinet. Still loaded with remainers 3 to 1. The new PM wants to remain in, as do the majority of MPs she chose for the cabinet. A few token gestures that is all we leavers got. She wants ECHR! She wanted the EAW, when she did not have to implement it! She wants Sharia law then claims she wants a one nation country! She is not getting her spinning right or she is not clear in her thinking. I predict she will tie the UK to the EU as close as possible while claiming Brexit. It will be some form of associated membership like the EU planned.

      Look at her pathetic response to the Nice tragedy. No action, only the same platitudes we hear over and over again. Shoulder to shoulder, we will fight terrorism together, our sympathy to the families. I, along with many others, want action not empty hollow words. Banning Sharia law would be the first step to a one nation country along with banning burka and Niquab in public buildings or where large groups of people gather for security reasons when we see tragedies every day. Stop pandering, it shows extremists the weakness of the govt. Equality deception trotted out to suppress free speech and preventing the masses from taking action.

      She even has given the SNP some sort of Psuedo veto to hold the process back! I am tired of Sturgeon’s agitation and the media giving her air time. Your voice is still background music to her ears.

      1. scottspeig
        July 18, 2016

        Unless it contravenes UK law, Sharia is and SHOULD be perfectly legal. Just as informal arrangements made by non-religious people are binding, or other contractual matters! The idea of banning Sharia law is absurd!

        If there are parts of it that we wish to outlaw then so be it, but do not associate an entire legal system based on individual sections, otherwise you will end up with no legal system!

      2. anon
        July 19, 2016

        Well articulated Hope. Theresa May has appointed a token of MPs to champion our cause we need a few more John Redwoods to state our case and get on with the process -the longer it drags out the greater chancer of loosing it .

    2. James
      July 17, 2016

      Well said!

    July 17, 2016

    One has to watch and listen to foreign commentaries on Brexit. British TV analyses amount to a stick diagram of the GBP Sterling/US Dollar Exchange rate with sometime reference to the FTSE 100 if and only if it is in decline.

    Surprising how foreign experts; Fund managers and Hedge Fund bosses are often factually incorrect on EU/UK relations. Truth is, they do not actually understand the EU at all. Amazing since they care for clients’ money in the millions of dollars.

    Apart from yourself JR, no-one of the political class is daring to give detailed explanation of how exactly, how we negotiate ourselves out of the EU. European newspapers online and political figures just write and speak in soundbites and slogans. Just who will be the UK’s opposite numbers in negotiations? Does anyone in Europe know the rules?

    Another surprise: the number of British politicians who seem genuinely teary-eyed about Brexit. Whatever are they crying about? They do in fact have tears in their eyes; get upset when talking about it, loud, and can be seen to physically shake with disappointment even rage. Why? In or out of the EU it is hardly a desperate life-threatening scenario. It does not give the average Joe a respect for the wisdom of Parliamentarians to see these displays of inappropriate tantrum and panic attacks. Real ones. No word play. Do these Remainers actually believe their own propaganda?

    Listening to and seeing The Rt Hon Andy Burnham in the House speaking in the debate about whether Mrs May, then Home Secretary, would use migrants as a negotiating chip was frightening. One hopes he never gets to any position of authority at any time, in any way, in government other than Shadow. There is a naivity of a young man. And then there is a complete disconnection with reality. If I did not prefer taking my dog on long walks I should become an MP myself.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 17, 2016

      “There is a naivity of a young man. And then there is a complete disconnection with reality. ”

      Well he is a Labour politician after all, what do you expect but magic money tree econonomics, an ignorant lover of the EU, stupidity and the politics of envy?

    2. Roy Grainger
      July 17, 2016

      I think you are wrong on fund managers, I have spoken to several high-profile ones directly and their view on Brexit is that the impact on them medium-term is almost zero.

    3. Bob
      July 17, 2016


      ” They do in fact have tears in their eyes; get upset when talking about it, loud, and can be seen to physically shake with disappointment even rage.”

      They may require Deprogramming and Exit-Counseling such as that offered to escapees from religious cults like the Moonies.

    4. Mark B
      July 17, 2016

      “Whatever are they crying about?”

      Having to get up early in the morning and do the jobs we pay them to do, rather than offshoring too a bunch of foreigners.

    5. Newmnania
      July 17, 2016

      The reason is perhaps the end of the UK`s role in deciding matters of international importance and the breakdown in relations with historic allies with whom we have developed a peaceful and prosperous world since the second world war.
      True we retain the limited role of agreeing or otherwise with others on military matters but that is all
      One felt this diminution when the Telegraph , of all papers called for us to show solidarity with our allies in France . The French are of course furious with the behaviour of this country unless they are supporters of Ms Le Pen As we no longer wish to share decision making about European security or engage in the mutually supportive institutions of Europe what we say is completely irrelevant .
      In fact it is insulting .

      I know many people who have wept at the Nation`s decision to become a nasty bigoted inward looking poor country. A palpable misery pervades everything outside the world of the triumphal Brexiteer

      1. Anonymous
        July 18, 2016

        “As we no longer wish to share decision making about European security”

        We (the people) tried many times to influence decision making about European security but Mrs Merkel went ahead and opened the gates to however many jihadis fancied the trip.

        Leaving the EU is but the latest method of influence – taken after dogged and determined use of peaceful democratic process.

      2. Richard1
        July 18, 2016

        Why does a wish not become part of an emerging European superstate make the UK a “nasty bigoted and poor country”? Do any of eg Switzerland, Norway, Canada, the US, Australia fit this description in your view?

      3. Gattling Gunn
        July 18, 2016

        How sad you are. I have tears

  3. Elsey
    July 17, 2016

    So lets trigger Article 50 now. Leave. We don’t need complicated international agreements on trade, simply say we won’t put any tariffs on your stuff unless you put tariffs on ours. We certainly don’t need to agree to follow their local regulations on our exports, manufacturers have to do that in any market. Free trade exists automatically until governments get involved and sign a treaty, after that the one thing trade isn’t is free. On all other issues simply use the same systems as we use with non EU countries. The establishment is determined to make it all seem so difficult, partly to delay and partly to justify their own existence. Make the bureaucrats work for their money- or better still do without their assistance altogether.

    1. Tad Davison
      July 17, 2016


      I don’t want to wait for some poncey lawyer to come up with a wheeze to keep us in. Brexit means Brexit, out means out, and I suggest now means now. Let’s get this ball rolling.


  4. Paul H
    July 17, 2016

    Your last paragraph is spot on. A similar argument which amused me was that immigration would be worse because everyone would try to get in before the drawbridge went up, as it were. Yet these same people were claiming that the UK would become a very backwards, racist country with a third-world economy – i.e. not at all an attractive place to live.

    I would you appreciate your comment on reports that May has given Sturgeon an effective veto over Brexit. Is this to misconstrue what May actually said? Even some of your peers seem concerned that is what will happen.

    1. John Bracewell
      July 17, 2016

      You have hit the nail on the head, not only the reports in the Telegraph about May giving Sturgeon the assurance that the UK will not exit the EU until all 4 countries of the UK agree the exit terms which, as you say, gives Sturgeon an effective veto over Brexit but also even if David Davies agreed totally with our host’s points of view on how to extricate ourselves from the EU, he would still have to get it past May who appears to think we need the closest possible association with the EU as advised by Cameron in his last PMQs. This is why having a Remainer like May who has a different view entirely to the 17.4 million who voted for the 3 aspects of Brexit which JR stated, is a complete disaster. The self destruction by the 3 Leave leadership contenders was and will be seen to be why we will end up with exit terms that are unacceptable to the Leave voters, with some form of free movement and/or a payment to the EU to secure unnecessary concessions.

  5. Denis Cooper
    July 17, 2016

    “If they read Article 50 they would find it expressly says we can withdraw using our own constitutional procedures … ”

    No, it doesn’t say that, it says something significantly different from that:

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

    So it relates to the decision to withdraw, not to the subsequent action of withdrawal, and it clarifies that the decision to withdraw from the Union is one to be made by solely by the member state “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, a recurrent formula in the EU treaties, without the Union or any of its other member states having any say in that decision.

    The unfortunate defect here is not that the governments of the other member states can legally prevent our withdrawal by refusing their permission, as some suppose, but that the EU’s Court of Justice is not excluded from having jurisdiction over Article 50; that is why some diehards in the Remain camp are envisaging that if court action in the UK is unsuccessful they will turn to the EU court and ask it to declare that our decision to leave was not made in accordance with our national constitutional requirements.

    Reply Our UK legislation will take care of that and we will assert its supremacy on exit

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 17, 2016

      We are still in the EU and still bound by the EU treaties, including Article 50.

      It is not inconceivable that the court cases being brought by Remain diehards will end up in the EU’s Court of Justice, and it is not inconceivable that the judges in Luxembourg would say that there must be an Act of Parliament for the Article 50 notice to be valid under our national constitution.

      And guess what would most likely happen then?


      Even less would the present members of Parliament be prepared to pass an Act setting aside the ECJ judgement and saying that it was not necessary for them to pass an Act before the government could put in the Article 50 notice.

      So the upshot would be that we stayed in the EU.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        July 20, 2016

        So just repeal our Act of Accession to the Lisbon Treaty unilaterally and damn the consequences. That will require Her Majesty appointing 500 Eurosceptic peers so that so-and-sos like Lord Kinnock cannot block the repeal. If the Commons is obstructive, it will require a General Election.

        While we are about it, let’s repeal the idiotic fixed term parliaments Act.

    2. APL
      July 17, 2016

      JR: “Our UK legislation will take care of that and we will assert its supremacy on exit”

      Problem with that, is that we are still faced with two overwhelmingly Pro EU parties, no, make that four if you count the increasingly irrelevant Lib Dems, that at the parliamentary level will block the legislation you propose.

    3. Mark B
      July 17, 2016

      On ‘exit’ but not on ‘pre-exit’ which, Dennis was alluding too. Article 50, as you so often been told, is just the start. It is just a form of writ. The question is, has the ‘writ’ been served in the correct manner. Even in our own legal system, we simply cannot go around serving writs on people without going through due process.

      All the EU require is that we observe our commitments and observe sue process. A matter which I am sure HMG Lawyers will humbly advise and HMG shall be obliged to act on. Not the ramblings of backbench politicians who cannot grasp that the world has moved on.

    4. Graham Wood
      July 17, 2016

      Denis. Can you seriously envisage a scenario whereby the UK could be caught up with the ECJ on some arcane technical interpretation of what is or is not our
      ” constitutional requirements” in the light of the historic decision to leave?
      It is too bizarre to even contemplate.
      As JR states, the simple solution lis in asserting the supremacy of UK legislation, which I take to mean an absolute right to repeal the ECA 1972, and investing our own Supreme Court with powers necessary over all other courts.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 18, 2016

        Yet there are those who envisage precisely that scenario, as you could see if JR published my comment on who is calling for Parliament to block Brexit.

      2. Denis Cooper
        July 18, 2016

        You ask me a question which I am not allowed to answer, another one of those comments submitted but not published.

    5. acorn
      July 17, 2016

      Denis, it is now becoming clear that the Brexiteers haven’t got a f***ing clue what to do next. Mrs May’s Three Stooges / Brexiteers, are being set up to fall. Yesterday, over a liquid lunch, I was given an incite into the nightmare we will have for the next decade.

      To cut a long story short, we have UK Lawyer firms registering in Ireland, so they can keep access to the ECJ. The IPO / M&A Lawyers have lost half of their work load already, while the trade, regulatory and financial services lawyers have got phones ringing off the hook.

      They are offering bottles of Fizz, to the first Brexiteer MP, that says anything that gets anywhere close to complying with International Law. The Judges have written into UK case law, many ECJ decisions. Apparently, they will continue to apply future ECJ opinions, outside of the EU, until someone tells them to stop doing so.

      “Vote Leave said that it would move to pre-empt a UK exit, including proposing bills to limit the powers of the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”), to make VAT changes, to allow the UK to make its own trade deals and to limit EU immigration. These could cause clashes with Brussels and put the UK in breach of its obligations under international law.”

  6. Ron
    July 17, 2016

    We need to assert our 200-mile territorial waters as soon as possible – particularly so that we can establish a strong Scottish fishing fleet that will resist Sturgeon returning Scottish waters to being an EU Community Resource.

    Also, I believe the EU has wanted the sea bed to be an EU Community Resource for some time too, thus taking North Sea Oil.

    We also need to return to British Law that assumes that ANYTHING is legal except for where the State prohibits for the protection of others – as opposed to the totalitarian-friendly Roman/Napoleonic/Corpus Juris EU law that assumes that NOTHING is legal unless the State permits it with a directive or regulation.

    1. Michael Petrie
      July 17, 2016

      If Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland to break away from the risk of the UK and remain a EU member, she’d be committing Scotland to the same trade tariffs the EU may want to impose on the remaining part of the UK. That’s on 64% of Scotland’s external trade at around £50bn excluding oil and gas. Only about £12bn goes to the rest of the EU,, and £15bn elsewhere.

      Is it that she really thinks this would be best for Scotland, or simply best for her own personal agenda?

      Figures from: Google Scotland export destination, second result, then select Export Statistics Scotland link.

    2. Mark B
      July 17, 2016

      As to ‘our’ fishing grounds, whilst it would be nice, it cannot happen until we leave.

      As to English Common Law, that is still going on, just, although Napoleonic Code and Sharia seem to be rather vogue amongst those in Westminster.

    3. Dennis
      July 17, 2016

      Quote -“We need to assert our 200-mile territorial waters as soon as possible”

      Yes but that doesn’t mean we can fish in it everywhere without perhaps permission from others.. Some parts have been sold off to foreign concerns and the French, Spanish and Belgians have fishing rights in UK waters from way before the EU I have read.

    July 17, 2016

    One hears wonderfully eloquent debates on BBC Parliament from time to time. Your contributions JR are always just so. So too, a number of your colleagues.But some MPs are quite scary. No really. Factoring in their propensity to follow a Party line and either rebel against it by presenting an easily defeatable opinion or merely failing to speak for or against except in one-liner slogans or chants, they do not appear to have a clue about most stuff.
    Perhaps they are acting as Kipling advises: ” …And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:..” But they do not seem in truth to know much about the world. They look lost speaking for the EU and sometimes look lost even speaking against it. Foreign wars too are clearly foreign to their knowledge base.
    They are most frightening. One hopes there is some kind of unseen clique of people far away from grandstanding MPs and their long-winded Committees which actually rule the roost. Just look at Angela Eagle. Look at her in the EU debates. She certainly cannot be accused of having a robotic logical implant. The thought of her in charge of an armed Trident submarine scares one just as much if not more than Corbyn in charge of an unarmed one.
    No wonder the Russians, despite our best efforts continue to make armaments. They’d be fools, under the circumstances, not to.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 17, 2016

      The more I see of the unpleasant and nasty Angela Eagle (in tears or otherwise) the more Corbyn seems relatively attractive.

        July 17, 2016

        I think you have hit upon it. They are the making of him.

  8. Lifelogic
    July 17, 2016

    Indeed, but of course according to Cameron and the cast iron remainer liars and hyenas, a treaty is not apparently even a treaty once ratified!

    So what on earth is T May doing with the absurd socialist, living off the UK teat, Snp leader. The UK is the UK they are a small part. We just gets out the EU asap and if Scotland get another leave referendum in say 40 years time and vote to leave the UK they can consider joining the EU then. Otherwise they are in the UK as much as Yorkshire or the Isle of Wight is. They sho have no democratic advantage over Yorkshire either as they do now thanks to the absurd devolution structure Labour stuff up England with.

    1. alan jutson
      July 17, 2016


      Agreed, this is the one area in particular that I do not like, and am not confident about with Mrs May as Prime Minister.

      Fully aware Mrs May has said Brexit means Brexit, but I do worry her version and understanding is perhaps somewhat different to that which was campaigned for in the referendum by the leave side.

      I can only hope that she can be persuaded by David Davis, Liam Fox and others with similar thoughts, who she has put in charge of negotiations, that Brexit means completely out, not some halfway house.

      Our negotiation for a new trade deal and any co-operation should start from the position that contributions and free movement are a complete and absolute red line, as indeed they are for the rest of the World who trade with the EU.

      Our position is immensely strong, we do not need to give on any of the above and this should be made absolutely clear.

      Leaving is absolutely simple and this action should be taken first and foremost without any pre trade negotiation talks at all, as it simply complicates a simple process.

      Only after we have finalised our leave position with the EU should we then start to negotiate an acceptable trade deal and co-operation which benefits both sides.

    2. Lifelogic
      July 17, 2016

      They will of course be unable to keep the pound unless they want a new Scottish one.

    3. APL
      July 17, 2016

      Lifelogic: “a treaty is not apparently even a treaty once ratified! ”

      That could be the case if the treaty made provision for a new unified government ( al la the act of union 1707 ) which has specific clauses abolishing the old administrations describing the new unified state.

      However, the EU wasn’t a state, it was a NGO, until the Lisbon Treaty, remember it was called the Constitutional treaty, at one point.

      The goal of TLT was to finally make the EU a state, after Lisbon the EU had all the elements that are recognized as comprising a state.

      So Cameron’s smaller lie was that the Treaty was no longer a treaty because, once ratified it had abolished the NGO, the European Union, and created the European Union state.

      But his bigger lie by omission, was that the reason the treaty was no longer a treaty was because it abolished the treating partners and created a state.

    4. Jerry
      July 17, 2016

      @LL; “Otherwise they are in the UK as much as Yorkshire or the Isle of Wight is.”

      But not some areas of the UK, like the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, who all exist within the UK but beyond many UK (and EU) laws – as you know full well and to your personal advantage Mr Lifelogic.

      Could Scotland exist both within the UK and (in some way) the EU, nothing is impossible, otherwise the IoM and the CIs would have the same tax regime as mainland UK, not that I’m an advocate for the SNP!

    5. Mark B
      July 17, 2016

      The new PM was badly advised in my opinion. Should have invited the SNP too No.10 or sent the either new Foreign Secretary or whoever is in charge at the Scottish Office.

      More apt me thinks.

    6. Lifelogic
      July 17, 2016

      You thought the EU was about democracy and human rights! Why?

      It is largely driven by power, money and corruption. Distorting the laws for private advantage. Also hosing public money into certain private pockets.

      The human rights, pc drivel, fake equality and democracy is the ruse. They are anti democracy to their core.

      1. Jerry
        July 18, 2016

        @LL; “[the EU] is largely driven by power, money and corruption. Distorting the laws for private advantage. Also hosing public money into certain private pockets. “

        The above is not unique to the EU though, and as such is wasn’t so long ago (within living memory) that the UK suffered from at least visage interests if not out right corruption – one such, well documented etc ed

        1. Jerry
          July 20, 2016

          @JR reply; Oh right so we can not mention the name of a person who in the early 1970s was tried, convinced (upheld at appeal) and served a prison sentence, someone who is now long since dead anyway – next we won’t be able to name Dick Turpin! But then the problem was never about the said person was it, but those unnamed politicos he had connections to…

  9. Alan
    July 17, 2016

    I’m pleased to see that Mr Redwood accepts that the EU is about democracy and human rights.

    We need to remember it is not just the countries that sell us cars and agricultural products that need to agree to the tariffs, influential though those countries are; it’s also the countries whose main export to us is people coming here to work, and we need to give them reasons to accept low tariffs as well. Otherwise our volume of trade with the EU could fall markedly.

  10. Brexit
    July 17, 2016

    “We should just get on and do them.”

    Well said JR. In fact we wrote our Sunday Editorial early this morning on a similar theme. It’s desperately disappointing that neither the Government nor the Civil Service made any contingency plans for a Leave result, and heads must roll over this.

    In any event there’s now an imperative to move fast in order to reinforce the concept of the democratic will, regardless of all the many other reasons.

    Best wishes, the Team

  11. Frank
    July 17, 2016

    You thought the EU was about democracy? You crack me up sometimes, it’s the way you tell ’em. 🙂

  12. Nig l
    July 17, 2016

    All very sound but what us Jeremy Hayward whispering in Theresa Mays ear? We need her or David Davis to quickly set out a plan with SMART objectives unlike the usual BS we get to put an end to all this febrile speculation.

    We also need her to give a big speech setting out the strengths that you have outlined to send a message to the nay sayers in this country and the EC that we are not going to be mucked about.

    In any negotiation the person that can walk away holds all the cards.

  13. Denis Cooper
    July 17, 2016

    “… which means in our case an Act of Parliament.”

    No, it doesn’t. But if you insist on a relevant Act of Parliament you can choose between three that have already been passed, in 2008, 2011 and 2015, when parliamentarians had ample opportunity to assert a claim that they should control the service of an Article 50 notice but did not bother to do so.

  14. Ian
    July 17, 2016

    “If they read Article 50 they would find it expressly says we can withdraw using our own constitutional procedures”

    This is incorrect. Article 50 says “Any Member State may DECIDE to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.”

    So it is the decision to withdraw which can be achieved via an Act of Parliament, not the withdrawal process itself.

  15. Antisthenes
    July 17, 2016

    KISS (keep it simple stupid) was an acronym that I have found very useful. However it often amazes me how others find that principle is beyond them. They seem to only survive when life is very complicated and love to make life complicated for others.

    Indeed most are making a mounting out of molehill when it comes to Brexit. The MSM because they like to big up and sensationalise. Politicians because they like to pontificate and feel important. Bureaucrats because it justifies their existence and keeps them in jobs. Mixed among them of course are those who wish to wreak the process for their own nefarious reasons.

    And as you point out the UK holds most of the aces and by leaving the common market which is only a front for French protectionism, German exports, Eastern Europe exporting their unemployed and political and economic union the UK can in one leap be free. Those who see it as more complicated than that are being blinded because they are not capable of discerning the obvious .

  16. Glenn Vaughan
    July 17, 2016

    While the points you make in your excellent message are valid John, who is listening in the Government? Have you lobbied David Davis on those points? If not then why not? If you have then what was his response?

    If Mr Davis is already aware of your points then what is he doing about them? Who is on his Brexit team or did I miss that announcement? Why all the apparent secrecy about what is being done to remove the UK from the European Union?

  17. Caterpillar
    July 17, 2016

    Agree with just get on and leave, not deal to access or be part of single market. Nonetheless many of the young 48% were reported as being upset at losing (imagined) European opportunities, this is why I think negotiation is possible on migration of labour, with a criterion of employment at a multiple of a nation’s minimum wage. This to protect the lower quartile in the UK whilst those who imagine EU opportunities don’t feel deprived of them.

  18. Mark B
    July 17, 2016

    Good morning.

    First let me start by saying that I read your Pass the Port article. For some reason I felt no need to comment at the time but will do so later. Thank you for pointing me in that direction.

    To deal with your last point first. Yes indeed Article 50 says;

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

    But you must invoke it first. You can no more or less annul a marriage or any contract without first going through ‘proper procedure’. All Article 50 is, is a ‘starting gun’ for that process. That’s it !

    Articles 218 and 207, once Article 50 is invoked, become the drivers to our negotiations. It is those that set out the framework for all this.

    The problem is, you want a bespoke trade agreement. Funny enough, so do I. But I realise that I am dealing with the EU, and not the USA, Canada or Japan. I am not dealing with a single sovereign nation but many and to get an agreement like the one both you and I wish requires unanimous agreement. Read Section 4 of Article 207.

    “For the negotiation and conclusion of agreements in the fields of trade in services and the commercial aspects of intellectual property, as well as foreign direct investment, the Council shall act unanimously . . . .

    And this goes back to my Pass Porting question. Switzerland has a bilateral trade agreement with the EU which does not cover Financial Services. To that end, the Swiss use the City of London as their base as the UK has access to the EEA via EU membership and I assume others are of the same, such as the USA and Japan. There is no reason whatsoever that they would stay in the City of London and would therefore go to Frankfurt.

    What many of us are proposing is not a deal that is seen as final, but one of general progression. We have allowed the EU to do just about everything for us and we are not in a position as yet to do things for ourselves. Witness the fact that we are having to borrow other countries negotiators because we do not have any. We will have to re-open up Embassies in countries where the European External Action Service, their Foreign Office, took over. So when you finally sit down and think about, seriously and not emotionally, you come to realise just the enormity of the task we have a head of us. So I am in no rush, as yet, for Article 50. As I keep saying, we need a plan, we really do !

    As for freedom of movement, let me say this. We should ask ourselves; “Why do all these people want to leave their homes and come to a cold, windy, rain swept little island that most of the EU considers insignificant ?” I am sure you must agree, that that is a fair question. The answer is simple, it is because we are NOT a Eurozone member. Once out of the EU, the EU will be able to fix its own internal problems without the UK be reluctantly dragged along. The pull-factors will subsided and immigration into the UK from the EU will slow. And in anycase, it is immigration from non-EU countries which is running at far higher levels, and for much of the same reasons. Something that the UK government can do something about but does not.

    So EFTA / EEA at first then when we are ready, we start agitating for change. The Freedom of Movement was created sometime ago and I feel their is an argument for it to be looked at again. This was at a time when there were fewer member countries and their respective wealth was broadly similar, so push and pull factors were never that great. Since the accession of more countries, especially those far less wealthy and corrupt, immigration has become an issue. So I feel the Freedom of Movement needs changing. This is not going to happen and the EU have said so. So we might as well accept it – for now !

    We can mitigate the pull factors once outside the EU, whilst leaving the EU to deal with the push factors.


  19. APL
    July 17, 2016

    JR: “If they read Article 50 they would find it expressly says we can withdraw using our own constitutional procedures, which means in our case an Act of Parliament.”

    So we are going to invoke article 50 of The Lisbon treaty. Good.

    It’s not really about, how we leave, it’s about teasing apart the forty years of integration that your party and the Labor party have imposed on us, with the minimum of disruption to economics and commerce.

    This is why Richard North’s FLEXIT is a sensible option. And why he suggests that BREXIT is not an event, but a process that may last years.

    Leave the Political constraints of the EU, Great! Let’s do that as soon as possible.

    But as an interim measure we stay in the EEA, for the purposes of economic stability. Or if we can’t negotiate that, then apply to EFTA, which after all we were a founder member of forty three years ago.

    The point is, yes, sever the political apron strings, but it’s in our interests to preserve the economic ties, as they benefit both groups. Rump EU and UK.

    It is amusing that you and I have now turned almost 180 degrees from the positions we held about a year or so ago and as expressed on this blog.

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      July 20, 2016

      Blow FLEXIT. We want our liberty.

      “We must be free or die who speak the tongue that Shakespere wrote.”

  20. Denis Cooper
    July 17, 2016

    Why does this chap want Parliament to decide whether or not we shall leave the EU?

    “Update on “Should Parliament Decide” from Jolyon Maugham QC”

    And why do these chaps think the same, that Parliament should decide?

    “Nick Barber, Tom Hickman and Jeff King: Pulling the Article 50 ‘Trigger’: Parliament’s Indispensable Role”

    Is it because they are deeply concerned that in the process of leaving the EU we must observe all the constitutional niceties, as they see them?

    No, it’s because they want to keep us in the EU, by hook or by crook, and assume that they have a much better chance of doing that if they can involve Parliament.

    Why should they think that?

    Because with its present membership there are pro-EU majorities in both Houses.

    That much is obvious, what is puzzling is that there are people who want to leave the EU who agree with these Remain diehards in the wanting to involve Parliament and thereby letting those majorities decide to keep us in the EU on one pretext or another.

  21. Dioclese
    July 17, 2016

    ” I thought the EU was about democracy and human rights!”
    I find it hard to believe you really thought that, John, with all due respect.

    Good to see this morning that the Australians are making overtures about trading with us. We should remember we are the world’s 5th largest economy don’t you think?

  22. bigneil
    July 17, 2016

    “I thought the EU was about democracy and human rights!” – The EU has NEVER been about democracy – and the only ones that get “Human Rights” are the ones who come here and cannot behave like a human. The sooner T M starts throwing the unwanted, dangerous, freeloading, foreign, sponging parasites back to where they came from, the better. Tell the European judges we will NOT be ordered to keep the murdering, terrorist supporting, people and child molesting scum of the planet here on our taxes anymore. Put them all on coaches and bus them all through the Tunnel to EU HQ – -and leave them there. C’mon new PM – will you show them – and us – you (May) have a pair.

  23. Roy Grainger
    July 17, 2016

    I know I keep quoting Matthew Parris here and I can assure you it is not because I agree with him but he is a very useful way of knowing the views of the committed Remainiacs in the Tory party. I have already noted that immediately after the vote, even while Boris was still in the race, he was saying the best strategy for Remain was to engineer a coronation of May. This seemed very unlikely to say the least – but it happened. We are now in the phase where he wants the “headbanger” Brexiters given enough rope to hang themselves – yesterday he was saying Davies and co. will not get the deal they want from the EU at all and so May can say “See – I gave then a chance and they failed to get an acceptable deal”. His hope is this will negate criticism from the voters when the second referendum comes along. As I say, I don’t agree with him, but offer this as a “Know The Enemy” contribution.

  24. Jerry
    July 17, 2016

    “Fortunately we can place a 10% tariff on cars”

    But wouldn’t the EU simply place 10% on cars entering the EU from the UK, wouldn’t that make many if not most of the car assembly plants here in the UK (and owned or controlled by EU27 companies) uneconomic, many of which were located in the UK because of our tariff free access to the rest of the EU, if I was sitting in a boardroom in France or Germany I would be thinking about relocating UK production to new or spare capacity in the east of the EU were wages costs etc. are lower anyway…

    I’m not suggesting that we should not go for a quick Brexit or even a unilateral repeal of the 1972 Act of Accession, just that we need to be clear and honest about Brexit [1] and any fallout so that we can plan our post EU social and economic futures. We should also make it very clear to the EU that, bar the legal niceties, the UK has already left the EU and thus we will start negotiating future trade deals etc. regardless, even if we have to wait until actual Brexit +1 second to legally sign them.

    [1] something the Labour leadership contenders are not being, either that or they do not understand the process of A50

  25. Tony Hart
    July 17, 2016

    Please, please, join the Negotiating Team and get UK into WTO.

  26. APL
    July 17, 2016

    JR: “We do not wish to be members of the single market, as that does mean accepting their future control over things we wish to control for ourselves.”

    No and No.

    Norway influences the regulations of the Single market by its influential positions on UN bodies, which Norway holds in it’s own sovereign right.

    Those bodies, Codex Alimentarius, to take one example, devise international trade standards that are then delegated to the regional bodies. For the UK, until BREXIT that has been the EU. Now just as simply, we apply for governing body membership of CA and influence the regulations that are implemented by the EU, but significantly, we interpret and implement the regulations directly into UK law via our own Parliamentary system, bypassing the EU entirely.

    1. APL
      July 17, 2016

      By the way, from the Codex Alimentarius web page, membership is open to all members of FAO and WHO. I’d guess, we already are members except we’ve probably abrogated our membership to the EU.

      Part of our BREXIT negotiations will be to claim it back.

  27. Richard1
    July 17, 2016

    48% voted to remain in the EU as is. Of the 52% who voted to leave, many – probably the large majority – wish to see the UK continue to enjoy many of the benefits of EU membership: tariff free trade; other single market benefits such as financial passporting; visa free travel; continued residency rights for UK citizens in the EU and vice verse; science funding; student exchanges etc etc. Surely your approach – even if it isn’t a breach of the treaty obligation to invoke Article 50 as many claim – would throw all this up in the air?

    The government should carefully analyse the walk-away option in its negotiations with the EU in order to get a good result, but i can’t see this approach above commanding public support.

  28. gyges01
    July 17, 2016

    I suppose I’m just echoing your view and the views of your other commentators here but … I find that there is no political discussion of the nature of negotiation.

    For example, the acronym BATNA, best alternative to negotiated agreement, is vital for the electorate’s understanding of the situation, yet you (John) are the only commentator who has outlined the UK’s BATNA.

    You’ve also made suggestions as to the nature of the EU’s BATNA. But these situations and these formerly arcane acronyms should be on everyones lips: they’re not.

    Further, we should all be aware of positional negotiation and interest negotiation and the difference between the two. Instead we have vague supposed threats from former Remainers that the EU will behave like a self-harming teenage girl in the gleeful hope that the mutual pain of a trade war ‘will show us’.

    As well as pushing your political point of view can you try and push the analytical tools of negotiation procedure into the minds of the wider public?

  29. The PrangWizard
    July 17, 2016

    Too many people in government and the professions seem to think the UK is a weak petitioner which has to be very careful in case we are expelled from the single market.

    Which is precisely why it will not be easy and may not succeed. I remember how we were told how easy it would be to get justice for England. As they say – how did that go?

    There are too many of them, in too many places of power and too many in the media who will reinforce such defeatist attitudes. The Remainers are still working to subvert the will of the people. I am not confident that the new PM has the will or the wish to provide support to those who would take a robust view of the negotiations.

    Why for example should she rush off immediately to prostrate herself before the aggressive Scots? This suggests weakness, would it have been more appropriate to require Sturgeon to come to London, they are meant to be a minor player in the Union but they are the tail which continues to wag the dog. They are allowed to behave as if they are already an independent state; and it seems to have been forgotten that Sturgeon’s odious MPs sat insultingly stoney-faced when Cameron left the HoC chamber, refusing to acknowledge him.

    But Unionist Tories seems to get a thrill from being kicked around. Must be seen as demonstrating ‘inclusiveness’ I suppose, for others naturally, while the majority English have to wait and be placed second every time.

    What more concessions has she agreed to in an attempt to appease the SNP? Her emphasis on preserving the UK union at all costs does not bode well. Is she working on the orders of the Queen? It wouldn’t do to mess up her holidays if Scotland get independence, now would it?

    I smell a two rats.

  30. Vanessa
    July 17, 2016

    This sounds all well and dandy but if you read EUReferendum dot com you will see that this is riddled with very high hurdles for us. One such hurdle is that we can IMPORT from the EU but we cannot EXPORT to them; our produce is barred entry – not an ideal situation.

    We must be very careful in negotiating our exit (if it ever happens) and get EXIT and not “associate member”.

  31. Chris
    July 17, 2016

    I think what John Redwood highlights so clearly is that we are in a position of power, and have no need to bargain, give way, grovel or whatever. We have decided to leave, and we did not vote for a fudge. The problem seems to be that amongst the political class there is not the will for Brexit. If there were there would be none of this prevarication, hesitation and hand wringing. A solution would be found and quickly. Tony Abbott comes to mind – they had a real and growing problem from illegal boat migrants, with hundreds dying and unacceptable pressure being put on the Australian economy and way of life. Once that problem had been acknowledged and accepted by the political class in power, a solution was found very quickly.

    1. alan jutson
      July 17, 2016


      Agree absolutely with your comments

    2. Elaine Mair
      July 24, 2016

      Completely agree with you Chris. How do we achieve it?

  32. Tony Baverstock
    July 17, 2016


    Since your exit strategy would involve the lose of financial services passporting and the financial services industry pays about 11% of the UK tax revenue. Can you outline how you would cut say 7% from governmental expenditure so as to make your Brexit plan work.

    Reply I have written a whole blog on Passports and explained why I think it is no problem

    1. Tony Baverstock
      July 18, 2016


      I had not seen that blog. I have read it now and had quite a laugh. It seems your knowledge of financial services passporting is some what limited.
      1. Do you really thing Germany (a majority is actually needed) will agree we can retain it just so we do not impose tariffs on German cars. Might we not need to give up tariffs so the rEU do not impose tariffs on UK cars.
      2. MiFID 2 will not be implemented until 2017 and getting passporting will likely take 2 years more.
      3. Passporting is little to do with UCITS it’s about UK financial services companies selling products to the rEU. Not just banks, it’s fund managers, lawyers, rating agencies, etc, etc. It about all the products, FX, money market, custody, advisory, transmission, issuance, etc, etc.

      Reply Yes, and its also about the rest of the EU having a passport to London which they wish to keep. Don’t sell the Uk short.

  33. David Crabtree
    July 17, 2016

    I would love to agree with you over this but we are now in a position of what we should do not what we can do. The tariff system is not a major concern but conformity is, are we really suggesting o going to third country status with all the problems that will ensue? We had been signing treaties and amalgamating systems for forty years. If you watch the Treasury Committee Videos on this subject it is very informative.

  34. anotherday
    July 17, 2016

    We assume leaders and advisors know the rules etc but probably not.
    So if someone who does know what’s what lays it out in a short , clear written way and can pick out a few absurdities and spear them, then that person is doing a worthwhile service for the country.

  35. Adam
    July 17, 2016

    Can someone explain to me why trade is supposed to be free.

    Taxes are a constant battle with the left, they always want everyone to pay 90% taxes on everything.

    But it doesn’t apply when it comes to trade where they want no taxes at all (This WTO stuff)

    What is the problem with just having a balanced approach.

  36. JoolsB
    July 17, 2016

    Slightly off topic John but we hear on the news that Theresa May has told Nicola Sturgeon that Brexit will not happen without the full consent of Scotland. So that’t it then, once again England and the English can get stuffed.

    When May was re-configuring government departments, I was hoping against hope after the anti-English Cameron years, that she would at least create a Secretary of State for England when she was re-appointing the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales & NI, but no, as usual, there will be NO-ONE around the cabinet table to speak for England in these Brexit negotiations or anything else for that matter.

    I know most of your colleagues, despite owing their positions to the English, don’t care a jot about the constitutional deficit that exists or the constant discrimination against their constituents as most of them can’t even being themselves to say the E word let alone demand fairness for it, but surely yourself and the handful of other MPs in the Tory party who purport to care (although not to the extent that they or you want equality with the rest of the UK, ie. an English Parliament) can stress to Mrs. May that it’s about time England was heard.

    On that note, we also have a Labour party leader candidate, Owen Smith, who has a Welsh constituency. If Labour were ever to win a general election (God help us) he would be responsible for inflicting cuts on English councils and dictating policy for English schools and English hospitals which had no effect whatsoever on his own constituents for whom he would have no say at all on any of these things just like Gordon Brown before him. Surely it’s about time some of your apathetic colleagues had a word in Mrs. May’s ear and told her that England expects, no, demands, the same representation as Scotland and Wales, no more, no less.

  37. English Pensioner
    July 17, 2016

    The more that I read, the more concerned that I become about Brexit never happening. The latest statement from our PM says that she wants Scotland on board and agreeing to Brexit before sending the formal letter. It is quite clear that Scotland will not come on board, certainly not whilst Sturgeon is at the helm, so presumably no action. Add to that the report that the former Attorney General had advised the PM that the referendum is only advisory and she needn’t take any action, it seems to me that things are being deliberately delayed so that in due course it can be claimed that the referendum is out of date and that we should have another one.
    I won’t believe in Brexit until it actually happens.

  38. Anthony Makara
    July 17, 2016

    In life there is nothing worse than uncertainty. It gnaws away at self confidence and creates a sense of helplessness. So it is with Brexit. We must go full speed ahead in getting out before uncertainty becomes a self imposed dependence and we lose momentum, allowing the Remainers to weave a web of entanglement. A little here, a little there, bit by bit, until we effectively remain EU members by default. We have to stop this dallying now and I urge all MPs and campaigners to press for a speedy and surgically clean exit from the EU. The people of the UK have spoken and the UK as a whole (as stated on the ballot paper) voted to leave the European Union. Remainers like Nicola Sturgeon should be charged with treason for trying to circumvent the democratic will of the people. I’m sure that legally we have a case against Sturgeon already.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      The case against Sturgeon is that she is grossly exceeding the authority granted to her by the UK legislation which created her public post, and thereby misusing public resources. Her defence could be that the UK government and Parliament have been allowing her and her predecessor to do this, rather than telling them to stop and if necessary asking a court to order them to stop.

  39. oldtimer
    July 17, 2016

    Very clear and to the point.

    I observed this morning that Andrew Marr was encouraging Nicola Sturgeon to agree that she has an effective veto over Brexit because Theresa May had conceded, in their meeting, she wanted Scotland’s agreement to the negotiating terms – in short that Brexit means Scotchit. It looks as though she wanted to agree with him but could not quite bring herself unreservedly to do so. It is part of the continuing campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt by the Remainiacs of which the BBC is a key torch bearer.

  40. formula57
    July 17, 2016

    I am concerned that your sensible and most welcome remarks are addressed to readers here since that may be a troubling indication that addressing them to goverment is falling on deaf ears. I very much hope not.

    Your diary post immediately after the joyous Brexit victory included the very proper note to be sensitive to Remainers’ disappointment. Those people and many others surely need to be shown quickly some positive benefits of Brexit, especially in the face of the pronouncements of doom and gloom merchants at the BBC and elsewhere and the damaging dithering of the lame duck period of Cameron government. I would hope for some action very soon to reinforce the encouraging words of some new ministers like Hammond and Fox.

  41. Ian Wragg
    July 17, 2016

    Many remainiacs want the so called Norway option as this would be game over. We would not be members of the EU technically but still subservient to them.
    Many of your colleagues would like to fool the population using this device.
    It should be rubbished at every opportunity.
    The Norwegian politicians stitched their own people up who voted not to join

  42. Des
    July 17, 2016

    Not your core subject matter for this posting. But a word about health, research and the national health service.
    Many drug companies have the R&D supported if not based in India and other developing countries.
    The national health service itself has vast numbers of people from Africa, the Philippines, Southeast Asia etc. rather than from the EU.
    Most pharmaceutical development these days is globe as indeed is science. Many projects have teams in South America, Russia.
    As far as I am aware these countries have ever been or have any intention of being in the European Union. The English language is key here….
    EU regulations and slavish obedience to the precautionary principle have stunted research and development.
    Returning to the main theme, I completely agree with JR – remarkably I think it is we in this global outward looking country that has the advantage over fortress Europe

    1. hefner
      July 20, 2016

      Well, maybe, but a lot of research projects are based on pan-European cooperation, not just EU. But EU provides a non-negligible part of the money. Such research projects take months to be written by the different partners, as defining who does what, how, when, … can take an awful lot of energy.
      Then when a project is almost finished in terms of its scientific writing comes the overall question of money, who gets what, and as most of the time the EU grant asked for, if/when attributed will only cover 50 or 60 percent of what was initially envisaged, complementary money has to be found. The overall time before any money is actually provided can be as long as three to ten years (ten for space projects involving the European Space Agency).
      The overall result is that when writing a scientific proposal people tend to look not only at the quality of the collaborators but also at how “rich” these collaborators are. Are they from a nicely endowed lab, have they contracts with the private sector, could people potentially recruited to work on the project have a fallback option if money were to be restricted.b
      To make a long story short, the life of a scientific proposal from conception to its end can go over a decade.
      In this time of Brexit uncertainty over the UK R&D budget, it is not surprising that a/ British-based scientists might not be in as much demand as before, or b/ specially if they are non-UK citizens, could be tempted to move and switch to an equivalent institution on the continent.

  43. Denis Cooper
    July 17, 2016

    The government has a working majority of 16 in the Commons. Take away the Tory MPs who would rebel and abstain or vote against a Bill which would get us out of the EU, directly or indirectly, add on some Ulster MPs and a few Labour rebels, and if Labour chooses to officially oppose the Bill it is unlikely to get through.

    If the Bill does get through the Commons it goes to the Lords, where there are just 244 Conservative peers out of a total of 798. Unelected legislators-for-life who do not need to worry too much about public opinion even if it is expressed in a referendum, and as most of them are avidly pro-EU there is virtually no chance they would pass the Bill if they still had the choice of keeping us in the EU by rejecting it.

    So then May either asks the Queen to create large numbers of new Conservative peers, or she decides to invoke the Parliament Acts. That needs the Commons to pass the Bill again in the next session, and even if the majority hangs together for a second time there is a delay of about thirteen months, during which time our opponents will be working to find other ways to keep us in the EU.

    Alternatively, the government uses Royal Prerogative to put in the Article 50 notice without any further involvement of Parliament, and that is effectively irreversible and parliamentarians are presented with a fait accompli and have no choice but to make the best of it that they can.

  44. Norman PAGE
    July 17, 2016

    As a Civil Servant of 40+ years, I found EU law so utterly different in spirit than UK law. EU law is so minutely prescriptive, because it cannot rely on the hidden dimension of those deeply significant introductory words: “Be it enacted by the Queen’s [King’s] most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, …..”

    I do wonder if many among the implied ‘ignorant populace’ of the UK, in voting for Brexit, actually voted ‘out’ instinctively, because of this. Boris was the only Brexit campaigner I heard who actually touched on the historical dimension, which of course is also a spiritual dimension. This is why I’m really sad to see Scotland being led astray, on the basis of what might appear to be an old historical fault-line, instead of the glorious things that unite us.

    Whilst the people – especially the salt-of-the-earth English northerners – got it right, it’s sadly the case that many modern Civil Servants have an inbred deference to all things ‘Brussels’, to whom they are willing to roll-over at a moment’s notice. I have observed this often, and it is sickening!

    It would be so wonderful if we could re-trace our steps ‘into the old paths’ with all due expediency. But be warned: there are hidden forces working in the opposite direction. For those who understand the times, this is a matter for prayer, after the manner of 1 Timothy 2.

    1. ChrisS
      July 18, 2016

      I am sure many of us here cannot comprehend how such a very high percentage of MPs, Peers, business people, Civil Servants and the Great and The Good are so overwhelmingly in love with the EU, even though most of them acknowledge that there is much wrong with the way it currently operates.

      It defies logic that these, supposedly intelligent people feel this way. Might they be suffering from the same kind of guilt about the former British Empire as many Germans do about the Hitler era ? If so, that might be some kind of explanation why they are so determined to subsume the UK into the morass that is Europe.

      Then, of course we have Scotland. In the same way I find it incomprehensible that Sturgeon can be so determined to keep Scotland in the EU. To me that defies all logic on both democratic and economic grounds.

      It seems that she would rather accept, just six MEPs out of a total of 751 and one commissioner out of 28 rather than have a voice that the UK PM has to listen too backed up by a significant force of MPs at Westminster. By the time Scotland might be able to join the EU, they may not get a commissioner at all.

      On economic grounds, Scotland would be forced to join the failing Euro and reduce her deficit by two thirds or roughly £10bn just to meet the convergence criteria.
      Then there is the uncomfortable truth that Scotland would still be a net contributor to the EU budget to the tune of at least £1bn-£3bn pa !

      By my reckoning that would result in Austerity of approximately £12-13bn because English taxpayers would no longer be picking up the tab.

      But Scotland will have to leave the EU with the rest of the UK and only apply for admission after independence, and that with little prospect of success, given the likelihood of a veto from Spain, where Madrid always has to keep one eye on events in Catalonia.

      Independence for Scotland would, at the very least, mean a period of years outside both the UK and the EU in which the Country would have to survive alone economically.

      Sturgeon is obviously a cunning and intelligent woman who must understand all of the above only too well. I can only conclude that her rabid protestations and flight to Brussels were no more than outrageous posturing, bluff and bluster designed to do nothing more than create the conditions in which she can force a second independence referendum.

      Yet sitting here in England, there would appear to be no need for a third round of Project Fear – the consequences – raw facts – would seem to be so unpalatable to Scottish voters that a second referendum would be even more likely to be lost that the first.

      To me, all of this seems totally illogical – even irrational.

  45. Dave in Reading
    July 17, 2016

    Would it not be easier/simpler to repeal the European Communities Act 1972?

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      Do not allow yourself to be misled into thinking that would be either likely with Parliament as presently composed, or effective in releasing the UK from the EU treaty obligations it willingly accepted when it ratified those treaties.

  46. Sue Doughty
    July 17, 2016

    The UK is presently offering free trade deals with the rest of the world. Member states of the EU will be left out if they do not agree to free trade with us that the rest of the world has and they will blame the EU.

  47. anon
    July 17, 2016

    I wonder why have we not signed trade deals with other friendly non EU trading countries?

    Surely they can be signed now and implemented based on our exit vote.

    Parliament should assert itself to state openly in parliament that these should take place . And sign them asap.

    Make all MPs vote publically on each proposal to authorise such non EU treaties and make sure their voters are aware of the outcome.

    I for one cant imagine a deal with a commonwealth country would be as bad as an EU one. They want to succeed with us not through us.

    Get the strategy right and let the detail resolve itself.

    I heard Patrick Minford suggest unilateral open trade , how hard is that to oversee?
    Trade will happen if goverments dont get in the way. We just need protection against dumping and monopolies (public, private and chameleon like ones)

    Is our parliament effectively a treacherous cabal of vested interests who rely on legality and laws they pass in their interests to thwart the will of the people?

    Negotiation that takes longer than 4-6 weeks is just prevarication and intended delay. Delay is being chosen. Why?

    Talk about “POEU’s” (Prisoner of the EU) is very close to the mark.

    Every political , legal or otherwise device or DELAY is being used.

    They allowed the boat to be boarded by seemingly unfriendly EU foreign powers. Some would even rather scuttle the ship.

    HMG: Needs to act quickly, decisively now not weeks or months.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      Because under the EU treaties trade is an exclusive competence of the EU and so we have not been allowed to make our own trade deals. And as yet we are still bound by those EU treaties.

  48. John S
    July 17, 2016

    After hearing the vacillation of David Davies, I am not now sure he is up to the job. He needs a nudge or two to prevent backsliding. We should state our red lines, including the return of our fishing grounds (agreeing to compensate foreign boat owners) and say to the EU, “Over to you.”

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 18, 2016

      You need to understand how negotiation works – it would be more than stupid to give ANY public indication of our position or strategy now.

  49. bluedog
    July 17, 2016

    It goes without saying, Dr JR, that one of the most important members of an incoming PM’s entourage is the spouse of the leader.

    In this regard Mrs May seems to have been exceptionally well served by her husband Phillip, and we can assume from her rise to power that both of them possess first class minds. Together they have effortlessly out-manoeurvred both the Leave and Remain camps to take their own path in a manner unexpected. This adroitness suggests that Mrs May’s moves in all regards are particularly well-thought out and strategic in their nature. If this is the case it will make a welcome change from Cameron’s frenetic tactical excursions, few of which seemed to have a relevance beyond the next headline.

    Which brings us to M/s Sturgeon. Mrs May was shrewd to make M/s Sturgeon an early port of call, and in visiting Nicola on her own turf Mrs May automatically retained the advantage, although one hopes Sturgeon was merely flattered. It has long been understood by this writer that visiting clients/customers on their own ground means that if the meeting is a complete waste of time you can leave when you want to. But the Sturgeon/May meeting seemed to go extremely well judging from M/s Sturgeon’s gushing remarks afterwards. Indeed, so emboldened was M/s Sturgeon by Mrs May’s collegiate concern for the Union that we have just seen M/s Sturgeon play her hand, declaring herself to be holder of the right of veto over any recision of Article 50 by the UK.

    One suspects that this is precisely what Mrs May wanted and expected to hear.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 18, 2016

      Excellent post. Thanks for that. Why do you think that was Mrs May’s preferred outcome ?

  50. Tad Davison
    July 17, 2016

    Having listened to the arch remainiac, Dominic Grieve this morning on Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics Show, I think somebody needs to tap this sore loser on the shoulder and tell him where he and his kind are going wrong, lest there be a violent grassroots rebellion in this country the like of which we haven’t seen in many a long year.


  51. John Freeman
    July 17, 2016

    So you say but it is not really what we wanted as you well know

    1. John Freeman
      July 17, 2016

      How much per annum is Tax Credit and Benefits costing. I am told 115.2 billion is set aside and we blame the EU for immigration and the pathetic 57 billion we would pay over the next 6 years to them is small in comparison.The unelected EU is a mirror of our unelected House of Lords who rejected cuts which are absolutely critical so why all this rubbish about the EU when it is just an excuse for the stupidity of New Labour that caused nearly all our problems. Did Blair not invite 2 million and send out search parties for them. Yes he did. Did he stir up the Middle East Yes he did. The Queens comment when Farage made a speech who is he was classic. What a shame our future generations are to suffer an old age pensioner negotiating their future. What a massive cock up

  52. Roy Grainger
    July 17, 2016

    What on earth does Mrs May mean when she says she won’t leave the EU without a UK wide consensus ? That means never ? When will Scotland and London ever agree ?

    1. alan jutson
      July 17, 2016


      “What on earth does Mrs May mean……..”

      In effect it means that a Scottish vote is worth more than an English Vote if this is the case.

      But then we have a precident in the Barnet Formula where Scotland gets a larger spend per person in the form of funding than the rest of the UK.

      Time to settle this once and for all.

      A total UK vote count means it is the result for the whole of the UK, so very simple.

      If Scotland want independence then so be it they can apply to join after we have left the EU and after they have negotiated acceptable terms to leave the UK, but they should remember they have to repay their part of the UK debt, and will not be allowed to use the Pound Sterling, it will be the Euro for them.

      Also bring back the nuclear submarine base to England.

      Let Scotland sort themselves out, and leave if they want to, I am getting absolutely fed up with them carping on about everything, and wanting special this and special that.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        July 19, 2016

        Quite right. We should write to Ms Nicola Sturgeon thus:

        The UK does not want to join the European Economic Area. We want a full divorce from EU control and EU law. If that’s a problem for Scotland, tough! You’re losers.

        Let’s set out the conditions for a second Scottish independence referendum to take place and be recognised.

        First, the SNP has to demonstrate its popularity at the next two General Elections to the Westminster and Holyrood parliaments.

        Secondly, independence must mean independence, not the parasitic DevoMax of which you are so fond.

        You must find your own Head of State, either a president or monarch. Scotland has many choices for a King – Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, the descendents of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the descendents of Idi Amin.

        You must create your own currency. It won’t be the pound and it won’t be pegged to the pound. Probably your best bet is a Scottish Euro that will float within a +/- 10% band of the real Euro – but you will have to ask Angela Merkel nicely. Good luck.

        You will have to accept that the UK means business about immigration control, so the England/Scotland border will acquire some of the aspects of a frontier.

        If you force the UK to relocate its nukes at vast expense, don’t expect a defence pact.

        Upon independence, all royalties and profits from North Sea oil and gas located North of Berwick will transfer to Scotland. Barnett formula payments will cease.

        That summary of what independence means must be on the ballot paper, otherwise the UK won’t recognise the result.

  53. Jumeirah
    July 17, 2016

    Mr. Redwood: right first time “‘I want the full ENGLISH Brexit”‘. Whilst I take the point you make ignoring the wordplay that we have to deal with Brexit UK first and foremost HOWEVER there will come a time in the future when we need to focus our attention on ENGLAND and England first and we must never lose sight of that.

  54. James Matthews
    July 17, 2016

    Entirely agree, but it seems doubtful that the government negotiating team does. Foot dragging seems to be the order of the day, as well as the making of silly commitments in advance of negotiations.

    Not really surprising since the Prime Minister supported staying in (amongst other things on “security grounds”) and Boris Johnson’s support always looked as it might stem more from his commitment to his career than his belief in British independence .

    And what are we to make of this:

    We need a government that will renounce appeasement, but it really doesn’t look as though we have one.

  55. Thomas Sharpe
    July 17, 2016

    Why do you say we need to pass an Act before withdrawal under Article 50?
    Article 50 is a treaty provision and its exercise is a prerogative act which does not require parliamentary consent. The ECA72 gave effect to the Treaty of Rome and, as amended, the subsequent treaties. That Act did not modify the prerogative, not in express terms or by implication. The Rees-Mogg case upheld the proposition that express terms are required.

    Sooner or later we will repeal all or most of the ECA72 but to do this now might be a short cut but it would probably put the UK in breach of the TFEU. The CJEU would still have jurisdiction and might expose the UK to large damages claims so not ideal.

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      There have been Acts which limit the power of ministers to take action under the EU treaties just by prerogative and without prior authorisation, which in different cases must be just a resolution passed by both Houses, or the passage of an Act, or an Act and a referendum.

      That was the purpose of the so-called “referendum lock” law, the European Union Act 2011, which lays down for example:

      “10 Parliamentary control of certain decisions not requiring approval by Act

      (1) A Minister of the Crown may not vote in favour of or otherwise support a decision under any of the following unless Parliamentary approval has been given in accordance with this section –

      a) the provision of Article 56 of TFEU that permits the extension of the provisions of Chapter 3 of Title IV of Part 3 of that Treaty (free movement of services) to nationals of a third country …

      … (f) the provision of Article 308 of TFEU that permits the amendment of the Statute of the European Investment Bank …

      … 5) Parliamentary approval is given if —

      (a) in each House of Parliament a Minister of the Crown moves a motion that the House approves Her Majesty’s Government’s intention to support the adoption of a specified draft decision, and

      (b) each House agrees to the motion without amendment.”

      Parliamentarians could have insisted on taking control of the issuance of an Article 50 notice during the passage of that Act, but they didn’t, many treaty articles are included but not that. In fact they could have insisted on taking control in 2008 during the passage of the Act to approve the Lisbon Treaty, but they didn’t, and they could have insisted on taking control in 2015 during the passage of the Act to order the EU referendum, but they didn’t.

  56. Chris Feuillade
    July 17, 2016

    Mr Redwood,

    I am heartened to hear the simplicity and straightforwardness of the Exit process as you explain it. Do you think the Exit leadership that has just been put in place is also aware of this, and has the strength of nerve to follow this path?

  57. agricola
    July 17, 2016

    Before Parliament winds up for the summer holiday I think that the PM at PMQs should be encouraged to make an unequivocal statement on brexit. We have Lady Macbeth north of the border claiming she can block it, and various others demanding a H o C vote on the triggering of Article 50. They all need silencing so that UK Ltd knows what is going to happen and can plan accordingly. Meddling politicians are bad for business.

  58. John O'Leary
    July 17, 2016

    I’ll ask once more because I didn’t get a reply last time. Maybe I phrased it awkwardly so I’ll try to put it differently:

    You state that it would be legal for the UK to abrogate the EU treaties by repeal of the European Communities Act (1972). However I believe that the internationally accepted principle of Lex Specialis applies in this situation. We signed the Lisbon Treaty some 38 years after the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties therefore the Lisbon Treaty takes precedence of the former. Therefore the only legal way out of the EU is the one we signed up to, namely Article 50.

    Reply I have dealt with that issue

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      I view it in simpler, more homely, terms. In plain English rather than Latin when the UK agreed to the Lisbon Treaty it agreed that if any member state wished to leave the EU then it make use of the procedure laid down in Article 50. As far as the other parties to that contract are concerned it makes no difference that a large section of the UK population didn’t want it to be made and most thought they should be asked about it in a referendum, the UK government told the other governments that the UK agreed to it. So that is where we should start. That would not stop us giving up on the agreed procedure if the other governments used it to muck us about, but we should wait for them to act in bad faith rather than being the first to go back on our word and before we’d even tried it. We do have our reputation in the world to consider, if we want to make a deals with say the Australians they will need to feel we can be trusted to keep our word.

      1. John O'Leary
        July 19, 2016

        Good point Denis!

    2. Yossarion
      July 18, 2016

      Read the English Bill of Rights (still on Statute) treaty signed by a Scotsman, does not apply

    3. John O'Leary
      July 19, 2016

      Reply to reply:

      A link to the post in which you dealt with it would have been nice.

  59. Yosarion
    July 17, 2016

    I see there is another Open, The British Open following on from the Scottish Open being held in Scotland, Can anyone tell me where the English Open is being held this year, or any other year past or present for that matter?

    1. Caterpillar
      July 17, 2016

      Yosarion, you can read its history on Wikipedia.

      1. Yossarion
        July 18, 2016

        Can’t find an English open, is the R&A institutionally anti English.

    July 17, 2016

    Mrs Sturgeon has taken the two shillings and sixpence out of her post office savings stamp account and plans to bus it to Brussels again.

    Historically Scots grab hold of such leaders on return from the Continent where they sup with foreign powers and convey them by rowing boat to live on a bleak island off the Scottish coast. Then they sing songs and recite poetry about them behind their backs lamenting their failures. But secretly having a wee dram in celebration.

    Scotland locked into the EU would have no means of reasonable escape once it had signed away its birthright. Mrs Sturgeon should watch out on her return for a hundred Scots in a welcoming committee playing bagpipe and drum with a head-bowed hooded man a few yards away in a rowing boat. She should wear inflatable waterwings on her arms just in case.

  61. BOF
    July 17, 2016

    Reading comment in the newspapers I am surprised at how poorly they rate the UK. We now have foreign countries like USA, Australia & Canada (more will soon follow) lining up up to do trade deals with the UK. As this unfolds there will be no stronger incentive for the EU to match or even better those deals as they will not want to be at a disadvantage and lose vital trade to those countries. Even if the politicians attempt to make trouble, I am confident that the business community of Europe will put them in strong arm locks. There will be no need to give away those things which we voted for in the Referendum.

  62. Local Lad
    July 17, 2016

    Once more sound sense and real facts thank you, Mr Redwood. Since you have been inexplicably excluded from power, I do hope you can get this message across to our appointed negotiators.

  63. Nick
    July 17, 2016

    own constitutional procedures, which means in our case an Act of Parliament.

    Why does it need an act and not the PM just to implement?

  64. Jacqueline
    July 17, 2016

    As I understand it, the problem is not about trade of goods but something called “passporting” of banking services. When we leave the EU we will lose our “passport”. The Remainers use this issue to press for remaining in the single market with free movement. On the other hand, I heard Ruth Lea commenting that on January 1 a new system comes in replacing passporting and she says the issue will be irrelevant.

  65. Ian B
    July 17, 2016

    I am baffled as to why Scotland, apparently now formally personified in some Hobbesian sense by Nicola Sturgeon- has been given a special status and apparent veto regarding Brexit. If we are now treating the UK as a federal system, who speaks for England? Or for the regions of England, such as the Midlands or West Country?

    Is not the UK government the representative of a sovereign who reigns over both England and Scotland, hence the trips to the Palace to form and dissolve governments? Have not the citizens of the UK given a direct instruction to the government via the referendum; and indeed in both the EU referendum and Scottish referendum given instructions contrary to the majority views in both the UK parliament and the Scottish Assembly? Who does Nicola Sturgeon represent when the people of Scotland, if we treat them as a distinct political entity, decisively rejected her desire for secession from the UK?

    Does Prime Minister May think she is dealing with some kind of President Of Scotland? What on Earth is going on?

  66. ChrisS
    July 17, 2016

    It would appear that Mrs May has indeed given Sturgeon an effective veto over us leaving.

    This is entirely unacceptable and leaves David Davies in an impossible position.

    Mrs May has made her first strategic blunder and its a big one !!!!

    JR : can you please write to Mrs May and ask exactly what she has agreed to.

    1. Yosarion
      July 17, 2016

      Sounds the sort of deal that Blair did with Bush in the summer of 2002

    2. Roy Grainger
      July 18, 2016

      There is an excellent post further up this thread which suggests the outcome with Sturgeon is exactly what May wanted.

  67. Graham
    July 17, 2016

    Still feel that Brexit under May will stall and allow the Remainers a way back in – see how Scotland is being encouraged to unravel the progress.

    JR can you help!!!

  68. DaveM
    July 17, 2016

    If that’s the case then we should get on with it. Can’t the new PM just tell Sturgeon (the leader of the Scottish local councils) to get back in her box?

    May said Brexit means Brexit. That’s Brexit, not Engwalxit. Scotland voted to stay in the UK – Sturgeon should be reminded of that daily.

  69. Oggy
    July 17, 2016

    I’ve also just seen Ms Sturgeon on the Andrew Marr show confirming she now thinks she has a veto over triggering article 50 given to her by Theresa May, so what game is Theresa May playing at ? Allowing 1.5m Scots to hold 17.5m UK voters to ransom. The only thing I can assume is Theresa May can then blame Ms Sturgeon for the UK remaining in the EU, in the hope she will be off the hook. This scenario if correct absolutely stinks, – so much for ‘Brexit means Brexit’.
    The Brexit MP’s (John ?) really need to tackle TM about her arrangement with Ms Sturgeon and find out what the hell she’s upto before the Summer recess. 17.5m Leave voters are going to be very angry, if (their) the people’s Sovereignty is over ruled.

  70. Mick
    July 17, 2016
    If the snp think they can hold England to ransom they have another thing coming, myself I would give the Scottish there independence then watch them go under and close all borders with them so they couldn’t flee to England,
    Sturgeon Is a idiot if she thinks for one minute that Scotland would leave the UK, go for it lady and join labour at the next GE into total wipeout because you will not be missed

    1. James Matthews
      July 17, 2016

      Concur with your sentiments. However Scotland has been holding England to ransom since 1997. Unless mainstream English MPs rediscover some national loyalty and backbone they will continue to do so. I am more hopeful than optimistic.

  71. Peter Moore
    July 18, 2016

    Information please. We are no longer full members of the WTO, just sub-members, 1/28th of a member, through the EU. Would this not prevent us from leaving the EU on WTO terms of trade [tariffs] until we rejoin & could not other WTO member states vote to keep us out?

    Reply We are still members of WTO and will regain our vote and voice once we get out if the EU

    1. David
      July 18, 2016

      Tariffs are not really the issue, if we are not careful we could get into a position were the EU could export to us without hindrance but we are under third country rules. The EU has been moving from tariffs to regulatory barriers. I recommend the video flexit on You Tube it deals with some of the problems.

  72. rk
    July 18, 2016

    If tariffs are placed upon the UK exporting to Europe, why should we respond with tariffs on the EU?

    Won’t those tariffs simply raise the price of goods for UK citizens?

    Is the idea that it will help persuade them to drop tariffs on us?

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2016

      UK citizens as consumers lose out from higher prices, but UK citizens as taxpayers benefit from addition of the customs duties to government revenues.

    2. alan jutson
      July 18, 2016


      I think your last line sums it up.

      Why should we allow them to make our products more expensive to sell in the EU without any similar penalty here

      The logical situation would be for both sides to operate under similar standards with no tariffs.

    3. David
      July 18, 2016

      WTO rules prevent us as a third country raising tariffs but the EU has an exemption to a figure of 10% ( I have not checked the %). Also technical barriers are the main problem not tariffs. This will not be an easy process, worthwhile but not easy.

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 18, 2016

        I don’t believe that can be true, not from any close reading of the WTO texts but simply because it would make no sense. There are 135 WTO members who are already third countries as far as the EU concerned, are we to suppose they have been silly enough to agree that the EU can apply tariffs to their exports but they cannot reciprocate by applying tariffs to exports from the 28 EU countries? The Australians, for example, have they agreed to WTO rules which mean that they have to export to EU countries over the EU’s common external tariff wall, but those 28 countries can export to Australia without any tariffs being applied? If they did agree to that, which is difficult to believe, what will be their attitude if the UK decides that if the EU was going to apply tariffs then the UK will also apply tariffs, will they be saying “That’s against the rules!” or will they be saying “Quite right too, it’s a bloody stupid rule and we also want it changed”?

  73. margaret
    July 18, 2016

    The faffing about gives people jobs and money. Money makes the world go around. We seem t have extremes of behaviour at present . Those that are willing to kill in thousands for money and power and those who waffle , like to hear their own voice dabble in the positively purple to present mandarin passage .
    I am with your opinion as you have had much experience and were advisor to M Thatcher and things were certainly ‘done’ , but alas we cannot do anything about it .. you may be able to.

  74. Peter Drummond
    July 18, 2016

    ‘I thought the EU was about democracy and human rights!’ he typed with an ironic smirk…

  75. Lindsay McDougall
    July 19, 2016

    In the interest of getting out quickly, we should state that we will continue to give EU-27 tariff free access to UK markets, even if they impose tariff and non-tariff costs to a maximum total of £3 billion per annum on UK exports of goods and services to EU-27. In exchange for an annual saving of £14 billion per annum net cash contribution to Brussels, it’s a bargain.

    Two things are becoming clearer by the day:
    (1) The EC and some Member States want to damage our financial services sector and exclude it from certain trades.
    (2) There are many opportunities for bilateral trade deals between the UK and other countries (e.g. Australia) once we are out of the EU.

    We need to get out now.

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