Article 50 Letter

I would like the government to send an Article 50 letter now . I am reissuing my draft letter which I published here before, in expanded form, as the media now seem a bit more interested in the Article and some have now read it.


Dear Sirs

The UK as a result of  a referendum has decided to withdraw from the European Union. In accordance with Article 50 we hereby notify the Council of our intention to leave.

Article 50 of the Treaty states clearly that “any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” In the case of the UK this means passing an Act of Parliament. The UK government has always confirmed when asked about the loss of sovereignty involved in EU membership that the UK Parliament remains sovereign because it can repeal the 1972 European Communities Act. The government is introducing a Bill to effect this change, and to transfer all EU law into UK law to provide immediate continuity.

The UK wishes to continue with strong trading, investment, business and other links with our friends and former partners on the continent. The UK is not proposing any new barriers to our mutual trade, and will be happy to continue with all the business and trade arrangements and business rules currently in place. These will be confirmed in UK law as we make the necessary constitutional changes. If the rest of the current EU does wish to consider placing new tariffs and barriers on our mutual trade, then we will be willing to come to talks to discuss how these might work. They would of course need to be compatible with World Trade Organisation Rules, and with Article  8  of the Lisbon Treaty which states that “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness.”

The UK has voted to withdraw from the Treaty and is doing so in accordance with Article 50. It also does so under the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties by invoking a “fundamental change of circumstances” compared to those when the UK consented to the Treaty.

Yours faithfully



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  1. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you know more about this than me, but if this requires an act of parliament, Brexit will never happen. How are you going to get an act passed?

    Reply Parliament will vote for it

    • matthu
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Then it requires all the luvvies in the House of Lords to ratify it too …

      • Hope
        Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        The politicos knew and were complicit what they were deceiving the UK public into something completely different from the original treaty and Cameron until recently was still lying to the public about it!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      “Parliament will vote for it” you say. Well they might just, but will the Lords? Will Theresa May ever even begin to act, she seems to have other very silly priorities for more damaging red tape.

      She may have said the vacuous phrase “Brexit meant Brexit” but what does Mrs May’s Brexit look like? When will she actually do something (or even say something) of substance on the subject. She seems more concerned with nonsense like silly gender pay reporting rules, workers/customers on boards, “fairness”, “equality” and the rest of the lefty/BBC think drivel that she came out with in her “Cameron was wonderful” downing street speech.

      Interesting to read Peter Lilley in the Telegraph today. He says:

      Over 20 years ago a similar Cabinet meeting was held to plan negotiations on the Maastricht treaty. John Major asked each of us to rate the proposals affecting our departments as “desirable”, “undesirable but tolerable”, or “unacceptable”. Not one minister – even the most Europhile – identified any item as desirable.

      Needless to say Major carried on regardless.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        It’s rather amusing that Theresa May is my MP and I have often criticised her in the local press, and stood against her for UKIP in the 2001 general election, but now I find I am having to defend her …

        “Brexit means Brexit” is not a vacuous phrase; it is nothing like saying that “lunch means lunch”, it clearly means that we will leave the EU.

        And we will know that we have left the EU when the name of our country no longer appears anywhere in the treaties of the EU; not in the list of High Contracting Parties to the EU treaties, not in the list of territories to which the EU treaties apply, not in the list of subscribers to the EU’s central bank, or the EU’s investment bank, nor with respect to entitlement to seats in the EU’s Parliament, or on the EU’s Committee of the Regions, etc etc.

        Except perhaps in the same way that the name of Norway appears in the EU treaties, in five references such as:

        “TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the need to maintain a special relationship with the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway, both States being bound by the provisions of the Nordic passport union, together with the Nordic States which are members of the European Union”

        The name of Norway did appear as a party to the 1972 Accession Treaty as it was signed, but was removed after the Norwegians voted against joining the EEC along with us and Ireland and Denmark; and that is what we want to happen to the name of our country, we want it erased from the EU treaties, and that is what Theresa May is promising will happen.

        • DaveM
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          ““Brexit means Brexit” is not a vacuous phrase; it is nothing like saying that “lunch means lunch”, it clearly means that we will leave the EU.”

          I agree Dennis. I’m expecting A50 in the New Year.

    • Bernard from Bucks.
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Well I for one would be grateful if someone would tell us the truth.
      From this mornings press –
      “She also does not intend to give MPs in Parliament a decisive vote on when to kick-start formal exit talks by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
      Downing Street said Parliament would get “a say” in the process.”
      Which is it to be?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Both, hopefully.

        Unless the Supreme Court says otherwise, which I hope it will not, lazy and inattentive parliamentarians will not be permitted to overturn the verdict of the people in the referendum. They had numerous opportunities to raise the question of who should be empowered to send in a formal notice that the UK intended to leave the EU, and to insist that they must decide, either just MPs or both MPs and peers, but they couldn’t be bothered. Most of them couldn’t even be bothered to read the successive EU treaties, or turn up for debates on them, and yet now some of them start to take an interest because they want to ignore the people’s decision that we should leave.

        On the other hand once the people’s decision to leave has been notified to the EU and withdrawal negotiations have started then of course Parliament must be involved both in scrutinising the progress of the negotiations and in passing necessary legislation. That is, if they can be bothered.

      • bigneil
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        You expect truth from TM? – good luck with that one. This is modern democracy in action. Just like previous PMs – say anything to shut the people up – and just carry on with their own personal ideas. Once she has us firmly stuck in the EU, effectively destroyed as a country, she will emigrate etc ed She has NO intention of triggering article 50 – we are only here to be taxed – and ignored.

        Off topic John – what happened to the “turn all the boats from Libya back” plan? – I read 6000+ were picked up by the free European water-taxi service in one day alone. All desperate to come and contribute their culture, and nothing else, etc ed . Of course none of them will then send for their family of 20- ?? to come and also contribute their knowledge of claiming benefits and NHS. The future vision of staying in the EU, Schengen-border-less, looks to have a none too happy outlook.

        Reply Mrs May has every intention of taking us out.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 1, 2016 at 6:04 am | Permalink

          To reply: I hope you are right but we shall see. But why the delay, why sush little action, why no sensible statements from her beyond Brexit mean Brexit, why the absurdly left wing speech in front of Downing Street? Why the lies from her before the referendum – we have control of our borders through Schengen?

    • Bernard from Bucks.
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      “The Prime Minister is very clear there will be no second referendum,” said a Number 10 spokesman. “There is no need for a general election either.”

      He said Parliament “will have a say on the situation going forward” – killing any suggestion that pro-EU MPs may be able to veto Brexit in the Commons.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      If we dont see some action on Brexit the door will be open for UKIP to wipe out labour and much of the Conservative party

      • John O'Leary
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Pure fantasy. UKIP are far too busy ripping themselves apart.

        • roger parkin
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Any compromise on free movement (which has been intimated) will
          certainly see a big surge for UKIP and the return of Nigel Farage.
          Theresa May will be toast if this happens.

          • fedupsoutherner
            Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            If UKIP and its members have the sense to vote in Diane James then watch this space. She is a very competent woman and easy to listen to. She would make a great leader.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        I don’t expect either the Tory or Labour party will mind forming a minority government if both are equally diminished.

        Politics has long ceased to be about pleasing majorities. ‘Populism’ is a dirty word these days.

      • hefner
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Today, given the present state of affairs, a forecast for the next General Election, in 2020, taking into account the current polls and forthcoming boundary changes, gives:
        Conservative 345 seats, Labour 182, SNP 49, LibDem 2, UKIP 1.
        Obviously a lot of things might happen till May 2020.
        ( according to Electoral Calculus, and as reported in The New European, 12 August, present in the pile of newspapers of my barbershop)

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      With Corbyn as Labour leader and May whipping the Conservative vote there should be a clear majority. However would it have to pass in the Lords John ?

      Reply Yes, or we would use the Parliament Act, or appoint more peers….

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the clarification. Of course no Conservative government would ever dare to use the “appoint more peers” option.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      “Government lawyers have argued the so-called royal prerogative vests sufficient powers in a Prime Minister to act, but if the courts decide otherwise then exit could become a protracted process.

      Many in the Lords are threatening to delay any vote including some from Mrs May’s own party.

      Conservative peer Baroness Patience Wheatcroft says it is the job of the Lords to make the government think properly.

      She said: “What does ‘Brexit means Brexit’ actually mean? Lunch means lunch but that translates into so many different things.

      “We don’t know what Brexit means and I’m very, very nervous about pressing the button on Article 50 until people are very clear on what they are letting themselves in for.

      “I think the answer is time, the public and the government need time, the one power the Lords might have is the power of delay.”

      She acknowledges her position seems to fly in the face of the democratic result of the referendum to leave the EU but is unapologetic saying the issue is too important to not face full debate.

      She’s hoping time will allow people to contemplate the full consequences of pulling out and is hopeful public and parliamentary opinion will shift.”

      “Brexit supporters urged to back MPs’ vote on triggering Article 50”

      “I can argue with Theresa May saying ‘Brexit is Brexit’, which is as useful as her saying ‘Breakfast is breakfast'”

      • longinus
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Wheatcroft needs to be careful here. We had numerous debates prior to the referendum and any opposition or delay to the implementation of Brexit may lead to further calls for the replacement of the HoL for an elected body. I’d certainly vote for it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          I think she would also do well to remember that she owes her seat in the Lords to an exercise of Royal Prerogative, another part of the same residue of historical monarchical powers which she derides when it comes to the activation of Article 50. Of course other countries also have executive powers of that kind as a part of their constitutions, and perhaps she would be happier if we became a republic and so they were presidential powers. Parliament has gradually circumscribed the Royal Prerogative over the centuries and it could have done so in this case, by insisting on a provision that if we voted to leave the EU then the minister must get some kind of additional parliamentary approval before activating Article 50. But as parliamentarians could never be bothered to do that, being much more interested in yakking on about allowing children to vote in the referendum etc etc, they should not now expect judges to rectify their error to the detriment of the people.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink


        Hence my concern of yesterday and why I would much to have preferred the phrase, LEAVE means LEAVE.

        At least you are only then battling a time scale.

        • miami.mode
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          alan. Agreed. Colloquialisms cause confusion.

          There was no mention of Brexit on the referendum voting paper – only remain or leave.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        So Wheatcroft’s position seems to be “don’t trigger A50 till we know what deal has been negotiated” and the EU position seems to be “no negotiation until after A50” so between them they get their ideal outcome of postponing Brexit forever.

  2. Mark B
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It is nice to see our kind host in good humor today. But leaving aside the jolly-japes he wishes to play we need to decide matters, not just those relating to trade, that the UK needs to arrange post-BREXIT.

    As I have said here numerous times before here, the EU is not just a trading arrangement, it is a proto-supranational government. We will need to go through very finely all the treaties and legislation that we have both signed and passed through Statutory Instruments and see where this has to be repealed, amended or accepted whole. We need to establish ourselves once again at the very top-top tables of international trade and regulation. And we need to establish what parts of the EU we wish to support, such as EURASMUS.

    I do not believe that it is wise to just leave the EU and then deal with the consequences. It truly is a case of; “Make in haste and repent at leisure” , if we get it wrong. And the EU would truly love that as that would help them prevent contagion.

    • Dazed
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Oh ! We wish to support Erasmus ??
      BILLIONS poured into academics and students having jollies in neighbouring EU countries.
      Or you could say an investment into making the participants think the way you want them to.

      • lojolondon
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        No. We do not want to maintain Erasmus or any other ‘contagion’. We want our democracy back, NO responsibilities and no obligations to the EU, other than the bare minimum of UN requirements between nations. Take back everything. If we need to unwind a change in the future it will be really easy to do, because we pay for everything anyway!

        • Mark B
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          I gave it as a possible example. Not all that the EU does is bad and, we would do well to remember that, our own government and MP’s are far from perfect.

          How else do you care to explain why we are where we are ?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Contagion is surely inevitable, I certainly hope so. Nut we clearly will not get everything “right”, When have governments ever done that?

      Nevertheless, the sooner we start the better. Dithering as Theresa May is doing is even worse. She has done her pole walking, perhaps now she can do her jobs and show herself to be a proper Tory for a change, stop the lefty drivel and get on with it.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


        What mistakes we make will be ours and, we will have the sovereign right to correct them and not have to ask the EU Commission or try and get 27 other countries to agree with us.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 1, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          Exactly any new system will not be fixed in aspic it will change & evolve as we go along in the interests of the U.K.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      “We need to establish ourselves once again at the very top-top tables of international trade and regulation.”

      We need do no such thing. And being at ‘”the very top-top tables of international trade and regulation.” is putting it misleadingly.

      “And we need to establish what parts of the EU we wish to support, such as EURASMUS.”

      Countries outside the EU support and are involved in ERASMUS (I think you mean) former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Norway
      Liechtenstein, Turkey. There are many partner countries too.

      We will not be against the EU per se.

      • John O'Leary
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        “We need do no such thing”

        Why ever not? Are you a total isolationists?

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          No. I’m not an isolationist.

          You just said that we need to *recover* our ‘position’ at the ‘top-top table’.

          What did you mean by ‘recover’ ???

          As members of the EU we have not been there in an autonomous capacity. So your demand that Brexit achieves what (you allege) the EU has given us means you expect Brexit to achieve a higher level of success than the EU actually delivers in reality (we do not have our own voice on the top-top table)

          I’d settle for second top table with our own voice and right to self determination over that any day of the week.

          And what use job creation if – for each job created – umpteen Europeans can come and compete with local workers ?

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            And what use job creation in the UK if the intent of the EU is to procure the fruits of our efforts through redistributive taxation under fiscal union ?

            So London has to do the graft whilst putting up with the overcrowding an population pressures only to see the product of its work redistributed to people sunning themselves in failed southern EU states. States which have failed because of EU membership.

            The EU is – at root – socialist, replete with its socialist ruling elite. Socialism always fails and so too the EU.

            We are but children at the top-top table. To be seen and not heard.

            I’d sooner we dine somewhere less formal.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        We need to work with our near neighbours and identify what areas of common interests there are and participate. We do this already, either through the UN or NATO, so why not with the EU as other countries do.

        We want to be self governing and we also want to be friends. What is so wrong about that ?

    • forthurst
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      “I do not believe that it is wise to just leave the EU and then deal with the consequences.”

      That has to be weighed against the wisdom of negotiating with the Brussels regime from the inside, as a supplicant nation, at which CMD signally failed, when new leaders will arise in Europe next year who may wish to demonstrate their macho credentials.

      Whether JR can convince his colleagues to alter course and follow his proposed route, starting with David Davis (he presumably has the usual suspects on board already) is an internal party matter to which we have no access. There would be a degree of chaos if we took this route as national leaders and business leaders and the great and good and sometimes sober of Brussels squabbled amongst themselves in trying to find a common response, each trying to retain their own priviliged positions whilst being prepared to sell their colleagues down river. Of course, when the dust settles there will be discussions with us as a sovereign nation; why not? However, the only certainty for them is if they accept the status quo ante with regard to trade as we are prepared to do.

      I realise your mentor, Dr. North believes that anyone who does not accept his prescriptions in full belongs on the funny farm, but he is not a politician and sometimes a mechanistic approach to solving political problems is not the right way as it takes no account of the fact that politics is a humanity not a science.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Dr. North is not my mentor although he did open my eyes to the workings of the EU. Something many both here and afar can benefit from.

        What I understand which many do not, is that the EU is in fact our government and, it has been for nearly half a century. It has not been a full government, its powers accumulated over time through successive treaties, but it is in control.

        To that end we need to think not in terms of just trade but as a nation having to relearn all those things we once did for ourselves. Remember, post referendum many countries offered to send their trade negotiators as we had none ourselves. Why ? Because the EU did all our trade negotiations and we had no need. So, as you can now understand, if we do not have something as simple as trade negotiators, as all independent nations have, what else are we missing ?

        • forthurst
          Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          Mark: I responded to you here on this issue on August 8th this year. If the government has to focus on its own business for a change that would be no bad thing.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Dear Mark–What don’t you understand about the fact that we don’t want to be part in any way of a proto-supranational anything, certainly not one such as the EU which is a ghastly bureaucratic artificial construct run by people who are crazily unable to recognize reality and to show some flexibility about their so-called fundamental principles. Yes I despise the EU and people like Juncker. Anything that involves dealing with Brussels that we decide is worth doing should be done outside the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink


        I do understand, and if you read any of my posts over the many years I have been visiting hear and bending our kind hosts ear, you would know that I do.

        What you do not understand is the one simple fact. Whilst indeed there is mush to despise the EU for, what we have to ask ourselves, is how did we get in this mess in the first place ? And, reading Dennis Cooper’s posts I am sure you will well agree, that those self same types that led us into this sorry mess want us to remain.

        The EU is indeed a problem, but our real enemy is mush, mush closer to home.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Very sensibly Article 50 TEU aims for a seamless transition from the existing treaties to new treaties:

      “3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement … ”

      Only “failing that” would we and they face the highly undesirable outcome of the existing treaties terminating for the UK without any new arrangements agreed and ready and waiting to slot into place at exactly the same instant.

      As the present legal bases for trade, and many other things, are embodied in the EU treaties a failure to ensure a seamless transition would result in a period of legal chaos which would be highly damaging for them as well as us.

      Therefore the new agreements on trade and other vital matters cannot sensibly be left until after we had already ceased to be a party to the existing EU treaties. For some less important matters it might well be possible to have a clause in the new agreement saying that existing arrangements for such-and-such will continue until other arrangements have been made, and they could be sorted out over a period of years after we had left the EU, but it would not be sensible to defer agreements on the most important matters, and especially trade.

      As for the mass of our domestic laws which have derived from the EU – once upon a time EU advocates like Clegg claimed that was a very small mass, it was all being vastly exaggerated by the likes of Farage, but now we have voted to leave the EU it has suddenly expanded to become a huge intractable mass – as domestic laws they will be entirely under our domestic control and we can sort them out at our own pace and according to our own priorities once we have left. It really will not matter if for many years after we have left the EU we still have some minor laws and rules which originally came from the EU and have not yet been revised.

    • Also
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      From Wiki ….
      “Some academics have speculated that former Erasmus students will be a powerful force in creating a pan-European identity.”
      From me…
      In some countries, eg Germany many teachers have multiple “holidays” paid for by the EU ( or us ) under this Erasmus thingy. That’s their vote in the bag then.
      Look up how much they’ve invested in this scheme. Then ask yourself why.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        It was a throw away suggestion.

  3. Mick
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    If only Mr Redwood, the 17,410,742 (51.9%)voters are waiting with anticipation for the day Mrs May calls for article 50 to be implemented, until then we are put in limbo

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed what is the point of all this delay, her silly childish, lefty, distractions and the dithering. It she a leader or not?

    • Graham
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      My feelings exactly

      Just have the thought that May is waiting for a reason to push this into the long grass.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      In the meantime the rules, regulations, directives and freedom of movement goes on.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks to cast-iron Cameron not doing what he said he would do, put in the Article 50 TEU notice immediately after a vote to leave the EU, we are now in limbo until the judges on the Supreme Court decide whether or not May has the legal power to put it in without any further authorisation from Parliament. As the first hearing will be in late October it could be the New Year before a final verdict is delivered. Those who have brought the legal cases hope that the judges will rescue lazy and inattentive parliamentarians from the consequence of their own incompetence over a period which arguably is as long as thirteen years, since the substance of what is now Article 50 first appeared in the EU Constitution. They had multiple opportunities to assert a claim to control the service of an Article 50 notice but couldn’t be bothered to do so, only now that the people have voted to leave the EU have some of them begun to take an interest.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Brexiteers are extremely patient.

        We’ve waited decades for the moment – forced a referendum through tenacious and peaceful democratic process. Won the referendum against seemingly insurmountable pressure and threats…

        If Brexit doesn’t happen why should we respect and observe the laws we dislike or pay our taxes ?

        This isn’t being childish. Can you just imagine what it would be like if we reversed this scenario ? If Remain had won 52:48 but the civil service were hell bent on getting us out of the EU ?

        And in the meantime they were making changes to effect our exit from the EU ? (Substitute the reverse of what is happening since the referendum – more EU laws and immigration ongoing after we have said we want to leave.)

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Why is there no temporary halt to laws, directives and mass immigration ?

          This isn’t even looking like a country about to leave the EU so we can safely say we’re not leaving.

          Imagine if the tables were reversed. The Remainers would be delivering blood on our streets.

        • Mark B
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          It is not patience, it is powerlessness.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Like your style JR, we leave and assume they still wish to trade with us with no barriers or tariffs, or its WTO rules.

    The ball is in their court after Article 50 is enacted.

    Trade is trade, pure and simple, if I purchase goods from a business I do not have to take in the assistant/salesman as a lodger, or even as a visitor, who could then just turn up at my door and demand entry to my house.
    If I had to do that with a particular organisation I would simply purchase goods elsewhere.

    The only person who can do that at the Moment is an official from Customs and Excise or a Policeman with a warrant.

    Too many people are trying to make this far too complicated simply, to benefit their own argument and political ideals.

    We need to stand tall and stand strong, the rest of the World is waiting for us to integrate and trade with them again.

    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    ” I will trigger Article 50 immediately the day after a Leave vote. We will leave the EU and the Single Market” …Mr Cameron, in Parliament, shortly before the Referendum vote.

    Should be clear enough even for Lib Dem MP Tom Brake who was allowed rather more to say than yourself JR in a video link on Sky News yesterday.

    Oh well, the next General Election with the inevitable picked up votes from a failing UKIP going to the Tory candidate should oust him from his seat in Carshalton and Wallington. So, he may as well as have his long say now whilst there’s still time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      ” I will trigger Article 50 immediately the day after a Leave vote. We will leave the EU and the Single Market” …Mr Cameron, in Parliament, shortly before the Referendum vote.

      Well we all knew that they man was an inveterate liar prepared to say anything at all if he thought he could con people. A man to be judged only on his actions, the were nearly all the opposite of what he said.

      Also “I am a low tax Conservative at heart” he was neither, my priority in three letters is the NHS, I will not resign if I lose the referendum, interest rates and mortgages will have to go up if we lose, the world will collapse, the sun will not rise and there will have to be an emergency tax raising budget to punish all the voters for getting it right.

      Why on earth is Carney still there after his appalling behaviour during the referendum and his dreadful record in general?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Dear Christopher–Yes, it was despicable that Cameron so freely spouted such nonsense and as I have said here a number of times we need a way to deter people in power from talking such drivel. Luckily nobody believed Cameron any more so it probably didn’t matter much. Cameron should for a start be forbidden anything along the lines of a knighthood or elevation to the Lords. Recently I have been ashamed ever to have voted for the Tories and unless Mrs May shakes a leg soon I am going to continue to feel that way. I am entrenched in the camp that says it is all being made unnecessarily complicated.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–There is such a thing as over-analysing a problem

  6. alan jutson
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I see it looks like the EU trade deal with the US has now collapsed after 8 years of getting nowhere, because 27 countries cannot agree between themselves on minor points (they all want something different).
    Although funnily enough they were not asking the US to accept free movement for EU citizens.

    Thus the “line” gets smaller, and the “back of the line” gets ever closer to the table.

    A great example of why we need to complete trade talks with single countries on our own, its so much more simple.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Obviously they should have asked the US to accept the unqualified right of all EU citizens to relocate to the US, none of this “Green Card” nonsense. And they should have demanded an annual tribute, as well as control over US laws.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Off Topic

    Yesterdays reported actions of Southern Health in agreeing to move (an under criticism ed) CEO of that Health Authority sideways, to be retained and used as an advisor, on a salary higher than the Prime Minister, tells you all you need to know about the failings of the running of the NHS.

    A topic which was discussed on this site only a few days ago.

    • longinus
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      a geography graduate as well.

      • rose
        Posted September 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        The other geography graduate now has 17 people in her kitchen cabinet, all on SW1 salaries. That is 5 more than Disraeli had in the real cabinet at the height of the British Empire.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      The main thing the NHS needs is a recognition that empowering the patients to have real consumer buying power in the relationship with the healthcare providers is the only way to improve it. State backed insurance scheme where we pay in according to ability, and get out according to need. But get the state out of owning and top down control of healthcare providers. Even the best managers cannot optimise the NHS the way empowered customers free to take their business elsewhere would.

  8. tangerine
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Read many years ago ( 10 years ), that the general public and also people in authority would have great trouble coming to terms with “the agenda”. It would be too big for them to get their heads round. Now a lot more people get it thanks to the Internet.
    Keep up the good work.

  9. Beecee
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I still do not understand why such a letter of our firm intention cannot be sent now?

    This concept that we should somehow negotiate the terms of our exit before we do so is typical political nonsense and is designed to leave open the door to potential Remain. Which is of course the anti-Brexit game plan.

    Come on Theresa – send the letter, let us get the process rolling!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Theresa May does not want a judge telling her that she is in contempt of court, and in theory she must go the prison and stay there until she has purged her contempt, plus pay an unlimited fine.

      That is in theory, what could potentially happen, but more likely she would have to try to recover her letter before it was delivered or plead to have it returned.

      “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.

      A judgement on the High Court bid by tycoon Stuart Wheeler is due next week.

      But a judge in the case earlier expressed “surprise” ministers were going ahead with ratification and asked that they “stay their hand”.

      Mr Brown said the request “fits in with our timetable” and “of course” it would not be ratified before the ruling.”

    • John O'Leary
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      “I still do not understand why such a letter of our firm intention cannot be sent now?”

      Because once that letter is received the clock starts ticking on that 2 year timeframe and no-one in the government seems to have a clear idea of what our negotiating position should be.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        You don’t know that. We (the public) should NEVER know our negotiation position and it is vital that we don’t. Do you think the EU will disclose their true position in advance ? We have to trust May,

  10. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    With the vexatious legal challenges I don’t see Article 50 being implemented anytime.
    Unless the government wishes to ignore this and I would be inclined to.
    I still can’t see why legislation is required to implement Article 50 when it was thoroughly debated in Parliament

  11. Duyfken
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    ” The UK … will be happy to continue with all the business and trade arrangements and business rules currently in place.” That gives the impression of the UK complying with all existing regulations for ever more, when surely this would only be a staged expedient until such time we had time to review, alter, accept, replace or reject.

  12. Iain Moore
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I see on Newsnight last night they were making the case that even if we enact Article 50 it doesn’t guarantee that we have left the EU. They attempt to ignore the referendum result, which is not something new for the EU, but even if we play by their rules to leave the EU and enact Article 50 , our leaving is still up for question. The more we get into this process the more it resembles Hotel California, a place we can never leave, a horror nightmare where every turn you take just leads you back to where you started.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Our leaving would only be up for question by people in this country, not by those in the other countries. They will be copying what the EU has done in the past, but this time it will not be the EU doing it.

  13. Michael Cluer
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Really good to reissue and please repeat until they get it.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The continued delay in invoking article 50, fuels my concerns of an underhand deal or fudge being worked out.
    We voted ‘leave’ let us leave.

  15. turboterrier
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Well John they will not have any problems understanding that.

    The news coming out of Europe is getting more depressing daily, it is beyond comprehension why anybody in business and politics would want to stay attached to this trading bloc as it is slowly falling apart due to its massive bad debt levels and a complete lack of control over its horrendous immigration problems.

    Numerous countries are heading into their period of political elections, so it can be quite possible that what all these remoaners and doubters want to be part of will not exist in its present format and the UK could well be paying out millions to keep this sinking project afloat.

    Anyone who really believes in, is proud of this country and wants a great future for their families has no rational reason for wanting us to stay.

    So on that note Mother Teresa has to JFDI and get us out. NOW.


  16. Nig l
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Even more important now that the EC seems to be claiming primacy over national tax rates by saying that Ireland’s low tax policy amounts to illegal state aid. Unless Apple is unique Ireland should brace itself for a slew of large corporates relocating, and if we are smart and trigger Article 50 now, they can all join us albeit I have read a suggestion that the EC will try and bully us into not lowering the rate of corporate tax by linking it to entry into their markets.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I suggest you study the Apple ruling a little closer. The EU has made no ruling over the level of Irish tax rates and Ireland’s corporation tax will not change as a consequence of this ruling.

      It has ruled that the “double Irish” tax rule whereby an Irish company could transfer all of its profits to another Irish company located in an off-shore tax haven and thus avoid paying any tax on those profits in the process amounted to an illegal subsidy. It is also worth noting that the Irish government is in the process of abolishing these arrangements, something they have chosen to do unilaterally.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Be nice if they came to the UK after Brexit though. We would be in charge of our own tax affairs and would not be answerable to the EU like Ireland is.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          I suspect that is only likely if the outcome is a soft Brexit which keeps the UK inside the single market, something which will likely require retention of the four freedoms, an outcome unpalatable to many of those who voted leave.

          If there is a hard Brexit I suspect the outcome will be the reverse. We are already seeing Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin courting financial services companies by offering locations which guarantee passporting rights, Ford looking at closing their engine plants in Bridgend and Dagenham etc. and if it becomes apparent that tariffs will be in place (and I expect they will be if the outcome is a hard Brexit), will the likes of the Japanese car companies (whose factories export much of their output to the rest of the EU) see the UK as a viable location in the long term? They are here because we are in the single market. If that changes, so may their views on where to invest.

          Reply Wrong on all counts! There is no wish to impose tariffs on their trade with us.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted September 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            Just because people wish for something doesn’t mean it is what the outcome will be. The 4 freedoms are a set menu, not a la carte options. It is all 4 or none. Look at Switzerland (another country which buys more from the EU than it sells) and the response they got when asking to open discussions on re-negotiating freedom of movement of people while retaining the other 3 freedoms intact. If the UK government’s position is that retaining all 4 will not happen (which is the position I expect them to take), that only leaves the no freedoms option.

  17. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink


    Who are the “Dear Sirs” referred to in your draft letter?

    Reply I had in mind the 5 Presidents, to cover all facets of the EU

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Technically it should be sent to the European Council:

      “A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.”

      But I expect it would be OK to send it to Tusk with copies, “Dear Donald”.

      Indeed. I would send it to all 5 Presidents to cover all outlets.

    • Glenn Vaughan
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the clarification.

      It wasn’t clear to me to whom you were addressing the letter. I hope someone in the government will respond to your draft and preferably in a positive manner.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Dear Glenn–JR seems to have been sent to Coventry for having been right too often in what he has said about the wretched EU

  18. formula57
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    If the UK “will be happy to continue with all the business and trade arrangements and business rules currently in place” does that mean free movement of labour continues given it might be best classified as a business rule?

    Reply No, as I have made abundantly clear!

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    That letter cuts a clear path through the maze that so many tells us Brexit has to negotiate to exit out the other side. I am most definitely a layman in this but your letter appears eminently sensible and allows a fast track to exit.

    If I am understanding your intention correctly then what you are saying is that we leave the EU immediately transfer all EU laws, rules and regulations that the UK is already bound by into UK law. So effectively for now at least nothing changes. Presumably and this you do not make clear after which we will amend or suspend those laws, rules and regulations that are no longer relevant or are subject to new mutually agreed arrangements to and with the UK outside the EU. What is not to like.

    Of course Brussels will have apoplexy on receipt of such a letter as will Whitehall and anyone else who has a vested interest in wanting the Brexit negotiations to follow a torturous path. You will put jobs, reputations and the chance of rich pickings on the line with one stroke and scupper any nefarious plans the devious and unforgiving have to scupper or use the negotiation to further their agenda.

    I believe you will have a hard task convincing people to adopt this method of Brexit. If Theresa May, David Davies , Liam Fox and Boris find favour with it then beating down opposition to it from other quarters will be relatively easy. Presumably you are not alone in wanting to send this letter and hopefully the idea will find it’s way to the cabinet meeting being held on Brexit today.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Brussels is impatiently waiting for the letter. Every day Donald Tusk asks his staff if it has arrived yet and wishes that it would come. But if they got this letter they would be puzzled by it.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Loads of “discrimination” drivel today, much pushed by the dire BBC needless to say

    “Urgent action” is needed to give new and expectant mothers more protection at work after a “shocking” increase in discrimination, MPs have said. The Women and Equalities Committee is calling for a German style system, where it is harder to make women redundant during and after pregnancy. The number of expectant and new mothers forced to leave their jobs has almost doubled to 54,000 since 2005, it said

    I think what they mean is that (like my wife) people often choose to leave work after having a baby for their work life balance. There are more than enough laws to protect them already if they do not want to.

    Anyway how on earth can you have a Women and Equalities Committee? Either you are for “equality” or you or for women over men. The only real protection for workers is lots of available jobs not more idiotic & damaging laws that clearly result in far few jobs being available.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      John, we know we will save £10 Billion a year upon Brexit. Surely we can make that a saving of £16 Billion a year, by selling the dire, Biased BBC to Sky for just one dollar?

    • Know-dice
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      If any laws are put in place to cover this, then expect employers to look even harder before employing a young woman…

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Some of us still believe that women with young children shouldn’t be at work at all. Trouble is that would require a resurgence of what used to be called the family and an acceptance by women of what the Good Lord and Mother Nature made women for. There is no principled opposite view–all that those who think differently can adduce is birth control which has physically allowed us to get where we are. But to my mind there are no principles involved in condoms and birth control pills. The Women’s Institute was founded with the goal of married women with children not having to go out to work. Dear John–I hope you don’t agonise too much over whether to publish this.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic. From what I can ascertain, the problem for employers is that maternity leave is now a whole year for mothers with fathers also having the opportunity of paternity leave. This leaves the employers with the problem of replacing them. Thanks to European law and the likes of Nick Clegg all this has done is make women vulnerable. In my day maternity leave was a lot shorter. I’m afraid that all the time women are the only sex to be able to have babies this will always be a problem. Women have to think about what they want and the adage “You can have it all” is not always valid.

  21. Vanessa
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    If you read EUReferendum dot com this morning there is an interesting piece on how we could negotiate our exit more simply than first thought in the allotted 2 year window.
    Here is a quote from the piece :
    “If it plays its cards right, the UK can set up parallel negotiations, one set with the EEA – which can start any time soon – and one with the EU via the formal Article 50 process.

    With much of the detail agreed via EEA channels, the Article 50 talks need only concern themselves with the high politics, allowing an amended EEA Agreement (in the form of country-specific protocols and annexes) to be folded into the exit settlement. ”

    This seems to be an easier route than the convoluted negotiations needed with the EU once Article 50 has been invoked, where the European Union can string out all the difficulties over many years; we seem to be able to do the above concurrently and therefore much more quickly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always expected that there would be parallel negotiations with the other EU governments, but with the priority given to the most important matters. It seems to defy common sense to suppose that we would spend two years discussing pensions for MEPs and then only discuss trade after we had left and there was no longer any legal basis for trade, not even I think WTO rules to start off with.

  22. Dioclese
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    It is time that Parliament realises that it answers to the people not the other way around.
    We don’t require a vote in the House. We already had one. It’s called a referendum…

    Let’s get on with it now before the Supreme Court gets involved because of a legal action by some idiots living in France who don’t seem to understand that it won’t have any effect on their living over there. They have a legal right of residence in an EU country after 5 years and in any case the French won’t chuck them out because we’d do the same to French people living and working over here. Absolute nonsense from some very silly people…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      I expect either way it will go appeal in the Supreme Court. I can’t see the High Court ruling for one side and denying leave for the other side to appeal.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis–I think, certainly hope, you are completely wrong–in other words that, and at the lowest level, the Remainiacs simply get literally laughed out of Court. Parliament exists to serve the people. End of. For centuries Parliament was physically necessary but the modern digital and communications age makes Parliament more and more unnecessary.

  23. acorn
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    JR, are you sure on this “fundamental change of circumstances” play? And; if anyone wants an excuse for a second referendum, the last paragraph gives you one!

    “Some have argued that the UK might be able to ‘bypass’ Article 50 TEU using international law, by invoking the Brexit vote as a ‘fundamental change in circumstances’ according to Article 62(1)(a) VCLT. Such proposals should not be taken seriously. This article of the VCLT was deliberately worded negatively, stating that a fundamental change in circumstances cannot be invoked unless two restrictive conditions are fulfilled. These are: (a) the existence of those circumstances constituted an essential basis of the consent of the parties to be bound by the treaty; and (b) the effect of the change is radically to transform the extent of obligations still to be performed under the treaty. The International Court of Justice has moreover pointed out “the stability of treaty relations requires that the plea of fundamental change of circumstances be applied only in exceptional cases.”

    Reply MY view it is legal to leave under Art 50 in the way described. It is also the case that it is clearly an exceptional change of circumstances as well.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      “… if anyone wants an excuse for a second referendum, the last paragraph gives you one!”

      It’s the second paragraph which scares me: rather contrary to what I said the other day I could very easily see the recipients passing this letter from hand to hand in puzzlement, until eventually they decided that it was not a valid notice of our intention to leave the EU and refused to accept it and any subsequent notice which had not been expressly endorsed by an Act of Parliament.

      “Article 50 of the Treaty states clearly that “any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” In the case of the UK this means passing an Act of Parliament.”

      And that Act of Parliament required by our constitution is specifically an Act to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, which has not yet been passed … so how can the decision to leave, and the Article 50 notice, be valid?

      Shall we ask the EU’s Court of Justice what they think?

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    You missed off a few things…

    1 Get your shipping vessels out of our waters
    2 Stop imagining all the nationals of the ex Soviet block countries you have given EU passports to are going to be allowed into our country unrestricted
    3 Calais is your problem
    4 You can do any trade deal you like with India but it doesnt mean we are going to continue to let vast numbers of their nationals in to work and undercut local workers

  25. agricola
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Sounds fine , but then I am not in a position to talk but in generalities. Apart from being a declaration it is also a letter of intent. In the context of the latter you also need to reassure all those citizens of the EU residing in the UK legally that they are under no form of threat on Brexit and looking for the same assurance from the EU that UK citizens in the EU are similarly secure. Maybe you should add that fishing rights will remain for a period of five years so that EU fishermen have time to adjust their business plans when the UK reverts to international maritime borders. No doubt there will be lots of other addenda that would benefit from statements of intent. It should all add up to us wanting a normal cooperative, friendly relationship with whatever evolves into an adjusted EU.

  26. Richard1
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I guess this would mean ‘hard Brexit’? think we need more analysis of the likely economic impact eg by Patrick Minford and his group.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Too much analysis is an excuse for paralysis. This is a democracy, the people have spoken, justice delayed is justice denied. JUST DO IT.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink


        .”…JUST DO IT”


      • Richard1
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        The majority voted to leave but there was no vote on when or how. It may be that ‘hard Brexit’ is a perfectly good option. But Had this been the clear proposal of Leave in the referendum the vote would surely have gone the other way. It seems to make sense to evaluate the different options and proceed in a rational manner.

        Reply Tgere is such thing as Hard Brexit. Leave made clear leaving meant leaving the EU including the so called single market which comes with freedom of movement.

  27. ChrisS
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    An excellent route map for our exit.

    The comment from Mark B saying that we might be is wrong.

    If we repeal all EU treaties and laws in one simple act or parliament and at the same time re-adopt the legislation in its entirety into English law, nothing will change but our Parliament will then be Sovereign.

    We can then repeal or alter everything we see fit at our own convenience without acting in haste. Post important, our legislators will have all the time necessary to get things right.

    I would suggest using the select committee system to review the adopted legislation in each area. The Committees can be tasked with coming up with proposals for ammendments that make the working of every aspect of the law more suitable for the UK rather than a compromise that was acceptable for 28 countries.

    This morning we were again subjected to Soubry talking absolute rubbish on the Today programme while Nigel Lawson gave a sensible proposal on the mechanics of Brexit which the interviewer failed to understand or deliberately chose to ignore.

    It’s about time that her Constituency Chairman told Soubry to keep her mouth shut on the subject !

    • turboterrier
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      @ ChrisS

      It’s about time that her Constituency Chairman told Soubry to keep her mouth shut on the subject !

      Better still resign

  28. Graham Wood
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    And a very good draft letter it is too, particularly the last paragraph which invokes the Vienna Convention.
    But the UK can also legitimately and formally invoke the Lisbon Treaty Article 50 as JR suggests, by simply informing the EU Commission accordingly, but WITHOUT being committed to the rest of the arbitrary process of “negotiation” which the EU imposes on a departing state. Why should we when it involves a further unknown period of EU membership and entanglement which was summarily rejected by the electorate?

    On the VCT. Invoking this means that we can indeed take this route in that the historic vote itself precipitated many fundamental such changes of circumstances. For those unaware of these – here are a few:
    •A change of government and a complete re-appraisal of all government policies for the future in a new non-EU framework including de-coupling from EU treaties and new negotiations with the EU Commission and other member states.

    •Resignation of the UK Prime Minister who had publicly supported and campaigned for a ‘remain’ position, using a variety of government resources to do so. Advent of a new Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    •Rejection by the British electorate of EU hegemony over the UK after 43 years with implied rejection of all treaties entered into from Rome to Lisbon by the UK.

    • Recognition of the Brexit vote internationally and uncontested by the EU itself or any member state of the new political reality.

    • Brexit referendum effected peacefully and legally in “accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements.” (a point specifically referred to in Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty, and in accordance with the British government’s own Referendum Bill in parliament)

    •The significance of the Brexit vote conceded by the outgoing prime Minister, Mr Cameron as being “an instruction to the government” by the people.

    •Post Brexit trade deals immediately sought by a number of countries with the UK government, recognising the sovereign right of the UK to enter such bi-lateral agreements with these, and signalling a fundamental change in trading policy by the UK formerly undertaken corporately by the EU on behalf of member states. (Countries which have so far signalled they would like to open trade talks with the UK include the USA; China; India; Norway, Switzerland, Greenland; Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada, Mexico; Ghana, and Germany.)

    Taken together these factors do indeed represent a substantial change of circumstances for the UK government and people, reversing over four decades of EU membership and political domination by the EU from what was popularly understood, and presented by the government at the time of accession, to be primarily a trading and economic arrangement with the six nations of the then European Economic Community.
    The new British government should invoke the VCT without delay.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      What part of “In 2008 we agreed that if we wanted to leave the EU we would use the procedure laid down in Article 50 TEU” do you find difficult to understand? Which agreed procedure takes precedence over anything in the Vienna Convention. OK, so if the other governments mucked us about with Article 50 we could say that we are breaking off the negotiations and leaving anyway, and we might get some sympathy around the world when we explained why we were doing that, so the Article 50 notice could be “without prejudice to any rights under the Vienna Convention”, but surely we should start with Article 50 and see how it goes.

  29. Bert Young
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Whether or not an Act of Parliament is now needed to cement the Brexit vote outcome , I am not able to be sure about . The facts are that the vote of the public decided what they wanted and Parliament cannot decide otherwise – it would be mutiny if a vote was held and the House overturned it.

    As a Sovereign nation – governed by our own rules , we are the ones to decide ; having signed up to a treaty we are , however , honour bound to show that we do not cheat and can always be relied on to conform . Article 50 simply requires us to state that we are withdrawing ; it doesn’t mean that we have to agree to do anything else .

    Today Lord Lawson has pointed to the wisdom of not trying to negotiate to stay in the single market , he said ” There is nothing to be gained by trying to negotiate what is not negotiable ” , – I believe he is right . We need to show a determined stand right from the outset and not expose ourselves to all the jiggery-pokery that will be inevitable from Brussels ; we have had enough of that . The sooner we get on with our new independence of life the better .

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Well said Bert.

  30. ale bro
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    When we leave the EU, surely the body of EU law that has direct effect – i.e. law that hasn’t required primary legislation in the UK to have legal force – will be repealed automatically ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Much of that is in the form of rules and regulations which will still be valid until they are revised or repealed. However for the avoidance of any doubt it could be put into an Act that notwithstanding our withdrawal from the EU all existing laws derived from the EU will remain in force for the time being, until each has been individually examined and either confirmed or revised or repealed. Obviously they will not all have the same priority for attention, some could be left untouched for many years without that causing any significant harm in practice.

    • acorn
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      There are circa 134,000 bits of EU legality in one form or another about half are by the four EU standards bodies. 11,000 are Regulations that theoretically would disappear when we leave. Whether the UK Courts would set aside presidents those regulations have caused??? There are circa 2,000 Directives that have to be drafted in local laws but can’t be changed in there intent.

      As a Common Law state, the Judges will have a big say on presidencies, I assume.

      • acorn
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Precedent not president, sorry.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          Surely all primary and secondary legislation will stand after we have left the EU, until such time as each item is revised or repealed? None will have any clause saying it will cease to have effect if we leave the EU, even it is was only passed because we are in the EU.

          I suppose some rules and regulations might automatically lapse when we leave the EU, unless Parliament decided to prevent that.

          I’m not sure, but I think it could only be cases where the rule had been taken straight from the EU rather than being transmitted through some UK rule-making body and recouched as a UK rule.

          For example if there was some EU banking regulation which the Bank of England had passed on to banks in the UK in the form of one of its own regulations then I think it would still stand as one of the Bank’s regulations even after we had left the EU, until the Bank acted to revise or repeal it; but on the other hand if banks in the UK had themselves taken notice of a new EU regulation with direct effect, and responded by making changes to their practices, then presumably they would be free to change back if we were no longer in the EU, absent any instruction to the contrary.

          I’m reminded of what the then Europe Minister and now convicted fraudster Denis MacShane said in 2002:

          “The picture is complicated. Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means. In yet other situations, domestic legislation which is being amended for other purposes, may also incorporate changes to reflect EU directives. This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many legislative measures have been introduced in the UK as a result of EC measures.”

          Or indeed what will happen to them when we leave the EU, unless Parliament decrees that they will all stand for the time being.

          Reply All Regulations are directly acting and will need incorporation into our law if we want them

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            EU regulations do have direct effect which means that once they come into force they automatically become law across the whole of the EU without any need for national actions.

            Nonetheless in many cases some national action is taken, which may be legislative or may be just administrative.

  31. Dr James Thompson
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I agree that this is the way forward. Effectively, it says that everything we have agreed with the EU remains part of our laws until repealed individually. Also, it says that we do not intend to raise any tariff barriers.
    Pity there is no Twitter link to bring it immediately to a wider audience.

  32. margaret
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    This is dodgy to say the least . If we take on board all EU law before it is repealed the gap between repealing the’ ECA 1972 ‘ is in a precarious position and the matter could be that we became unintentionally fully integrated as this step would point us in that direction .

  33. acorn
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I have been having another read of

    I have to agree with Donald Rumsfeld at this stage. “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

    Donald left out the forth combination; Unknown Knowns. These were are all the milliard consequences the government knew; but, remained unknown to the voting population.

    Nobody expected the referendum vote to turn out like it did. There was no plan to deal with a leave vote. History may turn out to rank this referendum as the biggest confidence trick ever played on a population, in the name of democracy, that backfired so spectacularly.

    Reply I predicted the outcome on this site. Those of us who sought a referendum did so because we wanted a Leave result. We always said that was why we wanted a vote, to be able to change our relationship with the EU. We set out full plans, as you well know, and now wish to get on with implementing them.

    • Alexis
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      “the biggest confidence trick ever played on a population, in the name of democracy, that backfired so spectacularly”

      The biggest confidence trick &c was being tricked into the fake Common Market.

      And it backfired very, very spectacularly.

    • f
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      ‘We set out full plans, as you well know, and now wish to get on with implementing them. ‘

      Yes, John, I remember very well you laying them all out week by week on this blog. I am getting really fed up with the BBC going on about there being no plans for Brexit when that is clearly not the case.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 31, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, above post should be from Fedupsoutherner not ‘f’

  34. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Ah.. speaking to some Germans in Berchtesgaden the other day…they said they were Bavarian, not German. Interesting really because once negotiations start ( I mean.. if) then it is expected that Catalonia, Bavaria and the 3 splits of Belgium will wish to negotiate as separates. Perhaps others….job for life anyone?

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      And my closest French friend always says he isn’t French but Breton.

  35. Anna
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I think I recall Mrs May saying that she did not envisage invoking Article 50 before Christmas. While we do not want to remain in uncertainty for long, surely it is important to ensure that our demands are clear and that our negotiators are confident and competent. I believe some experienced former FO staff are being engaged for what might prove tough negotiations. The Leave campaign aimed to get us out of the EU; the exact terms were not, and could not, be laid down as the campaign was a movement rather than a political party, and could not therefore formulate policy. Better to be patient and give the government time to make sure we have all our ducks in a row with ministers unanimous in their approach, our position absolutely clear and our negotiators totally in command of their brief than to rush in ill-prepared.

  36. Pam
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Question. If any judge felt at liberty to undermine our constitution by entertaining this lawsuit and install limits on our government’s ability to conduct our affairs – will this be applied retrospectively rendering all previous treaties and royal prerogative actions null and void?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      A very good question!

  37. Sean
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I hope that once Brexit takes place and we leave the EU he’ll hole and moneypit, I hope that it can’t never be overturned in the future. It should be law never to join again.

  38. Dennis
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Why is there talk of giving EU nationals working/living in the UK British passports? Surely many if not all would not want to give up their own passports/nationality. Just give them ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I hope that when an Article 50 letter is sent it does not include any reference to an Act of Parliament to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 as a constitutional prerequisite before we can decide to leave the EU. There is at present no such Act, nor even a Bill for such an Act, and nor would Parliament pass such an Act if parliamentarians still had the option of voting to keep us in the EU as the majorities in both Houses would prefer. It would be disastrous to include that in the letter, probably we would never leave.

    Reply Parliament has to pass such a Bill to get us out! Do try to be realistic. All the EU powers come from the 1972 Act and we are in the business of restoring the sovereignty of the UK voters via their Parliament.

    • acorn
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      It’s “catch 22” Denis. Changing the ECA 1972, would be a violation of the EU Treaties, in the eyes of UK Courts and its Judges, while we were still in the EU. The ECJ Judges would see it in exactly the same way. Taking such action, at the same time as the UK was trying to negotiate an EU exit agreement ………. WTF!!!???

      If I were the EU, I would say, UK, just put your article 50 letter into the Council and F**K OFF. BTW, if you stop your own citizens from buying BMWs, with import tariffs, you may need a lot more policemen around Westminster; understand?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 31, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      “Parliament has to pass such a Bill to get us out!”

      I don’t think so. As I have repeatedly pointed out, the UK is dualist state:

      Colloquially we may say that Parliament took us into the EEC, that EU laws have no legal force in the UK beyond that granted by Parliament, etc, and that is good enough for general discourse, but in strict technical terms:

      1. We are in the EU by virtue of the instruments to ratify the treaties, but

      2. The government could not ratify the treaties until Parliament had passed Acts to ensure that our domestic law would conform with their requirements.

      So the Heath government could not ratify the 1972 Treaty of Accession:,%20Ireland,%20Norway,%20UK%20(1972).pdf

      until Parliament had passed the European Communities Act 1972:

      But on the other hand there was nothing in that Act compelling the government to ratify the Treaty of Accession; if for some reason the government had changed its mind and decided not to deposit our instruments of ratification, in accordance with its Article 2, then we would not have joined the EEC.

      We would then have been left with an otiose Act to automatically reconcile our domestic law with the requirements of the EEC even though we were not going to be in the EEC, an Act which Parliament could have speedily cleared away.

      And this may not be entirely theoretical, because presumably the Norwegian parliament passed similar legislation in 1972, but then after the referendum the government did not ratify the treaty, and so Norway did not join the EEC, and so any such enabling legislation would have been repealed.

      As I understand there is nothing in the European Communities Act 1972 or any other Act of Parliament which says that the UK government must keep the UK in the EU; they make it possible for the UK government to keep the UK in the EU but do not compel it to do so; therefore it must follow that the government does not actually need any Act to be repealed before it can take us out.

      When it passed the 2008 Act to approve the Lisbon Treaty including the new Article 50 TEU Parliament implicitly said that if the government did decide to remove us from the EU then it must use the procedure for an orderly withdrawal laid down in that article, rather than simply abrogating the various treaties by cancelling its previous instruments of ratification, but at no point has Parliament legislated to prevent the government taking us out.

      It could have done, in fact it could have done with the 2008 Act, but it didn’t.

      Reply Sometimes you are too literal and clever. We are restoring UK sovereignty. That requires removing the status of the EU in UK law which requires repeal. The government has always claimed we are still sovereign because we could repeal the Act.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 1, 2016 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        I’m not trying to be clever, I’m just trying to bring some clarity to the position in law. Which is, that we are in the EU and bound by EU law by virtue of the instruments of ratification of the successive EU treaties on the international plane, not by virtue of any Acts passed by Parliament on the national plane.

        Under our present constitution the latter were necessary before the government could deposit the instruments of ratification, but they did not themselves achieve ratification or even order the government to proceed with ratification, and repealing them would not itself undo ratification.

        There are many other treaties which do not impinge upon our domestic law is such a way that it was deemed necessary to ask Parliament to allow them to be ratified; for a long time the government would simply go ahead with ratification of such treaties without necessarily even informing Parliament, and it is still the case now that although Parliament must be informed the minister can decide to ignore any objections which may be raised.

        Reply But this is a Treaty with an express exit clause, and we are simply leaving using that clause and our own wish to assert our sovereignty as a people using our own Parliament to do so! The Treaty does not say you have to negotiate getting out! You may wish to negotiate about your future relationship, which is a different matter. The Treaty is clear that if there is no agreement about the future you are out anyway after 2 years.

    Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    Ryanair via Reuters, announced today it has had to slash its prices by 9% because of Brexit: and how bad it is.

    Also, it has fears of its future because of Brexit; yet , it says it is urging the UK government to build THREE new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The Chief Executive is Michael O’Leary who it is said is one of the wealthiest businessmen in Ireland

  41. Chris S
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Is Article 50 truly irreversible ?

    I ask this because, if it is, our scheming and undemocratic Remainers will not be able to reverse the decision in any circumstances. The only way back in would then be via a new application to join.

    Given our reputation as the leading member of the awkward squad, I can’t imagine we would be allowed back in with any of our existing opt-outs in place.

    In those circumstances, the chances of the public being duped into voting for the Euro, Every Closer Union and FOM would be almost zero.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Oh, once the Article 50 procedure has been completed you are out of the EU and the only way back in is through the normal Article 49 procedure used for admitting new member states. That is clear, more moot is what would happen if you started the Article 50 procedure and then said you wanted to stop it part way through. You would not have a legal right to stop the process unilaterally because no such right was written into the article, but even if there was such a provision there is still the question of how the other governments would react to you wasting their time on withdrawal negotiations and then saying you wanted to drop the idea.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    And Mrs May? What letter would she write?

    The delay is odd. Brexit negotiations have to be completed within a MAXIMUM of two years after Article 50 is invoked. The continental nations like the £14 billion net in cash that we contribute to the EC on 1st January each year. They will insist on the 2 year period with regard to those payments but every other big issue can be negotiated more rapidly.

    If we write the Article 50 letter before the end of this year, then we only have to contribute £14 billion on 1st January 2017 and 2018. Therefore, writing that letter early is a no brainer (except to a cabinet two thirds of whom voted Remain).

  43. Silver
    Posted August 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I have faith in our system. When G. Brown was in I was extremely worried. When Cameron got in, it was great, lots changed right from the start, but he was hampered by the ridiculous Liberals. I think he did his best. Theresa May is a serious person and I believe will do her best like Cameron tried to. She will need a lot of help from people who aren’t corrupt . The opposition ( I don’t mean Labour) is huge. So let’s back her and stop saying she’s dithering .
    This blog is tops because JR puts things simply. Too many ignore Orwells’ advice for good English and ramble on.

    Posted August 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Off Topic:

    Missing MPs

    Following the splendid victory of intelligence on June 23rd; namely, the Referendum resulted in Leave. …many MPs of the Remain camp did a bunk.

    These Remainer MPs said that a Leave result would mean immediate and dire consequences for the UK. Mr Osborne MP owned it would be necessary for an immediate Emergency Budget. The Remainers with down-turned lips agreed.

    So, …why did the Remainers instead of manning the guns and bilge pumps, exit Parliament and the UK to sun themselves in some foreign clime? Why didn’t they stay put? Why didn’t they propose that Parliament be kept open for daily Emergency Debates and voting?

    It’s almost as if the Remainers didn’t believe a word of what they had said.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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