I agree with our EU Ambassador that we need to challenge muddled thinking

Muddled thinking seems to rule in those who condemn it. To me muddled thinking is the idea that we need to negotiate returning control over our money, borders and laws. There are some in the government machine and in business who seem to think the UK should be willing to negotiate over taking back control. They need to grasp that this is very muddled thinking. You are not taking back control if you need someone else’s permission, and if you compromise on that control.

We are told we need to hang on to the knowledge and skills of those who have handled our EU negotiations in the past. That too is muddled thinking. How does it help to adopt the techniques which gave us such a poor result to Mr Cameron’s bid to get the UK a deal we could live with to stay in the EU? It was quite obvious that the bare minimum to get a majority for stay would be to stop free movement and to gain full control over our benefit system. The wise advisers persuaded Mr Cameron not to even ask for the end of freedom of movement, and helped him water down the benefit changes until they were minimal. We should learn from this. The EU will pocket any compromise you offer, and then expect you to make a further sacrifice.

The way to negotiate this issue is straightforward. We need an Ambassador who understands that the UK should not negotiate at all over taking back control. We have the right to do that, and the public voted to do that. The issues we can discuss relate to our future relationship with the rest of the EU after we have left. We can discuss future trade and future collaborations. There is no need to have a lengthy negotiation about trade. There are two ready made models. Carry on as we are, or shift to WTO most favoured nation. We offer them this friendly choice, and they can decide which they want. They are likely, after much grumbling and posturing, to opt for the tariff free version as they have so much more at risk than we do.We have a profitable and successful trade with the rest of the world based on WTO tariffs and rules.

As the outgoing Ambassador rightly says, good advisers tell truth to power. That is why more of us need to explain to our Ministers that negotiating the Cameron way will end in a poor result. The Prime Minister should not set out any compromises over money, law making and borders, because it is our right and necessity to take back control. The new Ambassador needs to understand this. He or she would add value if they have good contacts and are liked by the other member states, and if they grasp that the art of negotiating is to narrow the areas that need negotiating at all.

During our long membership of the EU there have been too many in government and business who have advocated giving in. They are all too ready to offer compromises in what we wanted, without insisting on real change in the EU demands. Let’s not make that same mistake on leaving which successive governments often made when staying. As someone who does not want to be Ambassador to the court of Brussels, who had to handle all too many EU negotiations as Single Market Minister, I can assure you it was always wrong to offer a compromise we did not like.


  1. Brexit Facts4EU.org
    January 5, 2017

    Very well said, Dr Redwood.

    There are far too many within government departments who suffer from a permanently defeatist attitude and who wish to complicate things.

    It has been reported that the PM will make a major speech towards the end of the month outlining the UK’s position on Brexit. We can only hope that the ‘Compromisers’ who populate Whitehall will not be allowed anywhere near either Mrs May or her speechwriters in advance of this.

    Best wishes, the pro-Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team

    1. Lifelogic
      January 5, 2017

      Indeed well said.

      As to Mrs May’s major speech, she certainly needs a new speech writer or a brain transplant perhaps.

      She never says anything worth saying, beyond the vague or blindingly obvious in the her speeches. What she does say, that is actually specific, is nearly all wrong headed. Things like compulsory gender pay reporting, HS2, Hinkley C or forcing workers and customers onto company boards, central pay controls, the sugar tax….

      1. Lifelogic
        January 5, 2017

        She should perhaps copy Trump who is not even in office yet. Here is his 100 day energy policy. What has May said on energy after nearly six months in office?

        Here is Trumps 100-day action plan on energy as a contrast to dithering, say nothing at all T May:

        We’re going to rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
        We’re going to save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
        I’m going to ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
        We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas
        We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. These technologies create millions of jobs with a smaller footprint than ever before.
        We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
        Any regulation that is outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers, or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped. We will also eliminate duplication, provide regulatory certainty, and trust local officials and local residents.
        Any future regulation will go through a simple test: is this regulation good for the American worker? If it doesn’t pass this test, the rule will not be approved.

    2. Mitchel
      January 5, 2017

      I think with a lot of them it is not so much that “they suffer from a permanently defeatist attitude and wish to complicate things” as they actually believe in the European Project and wish to frustrate efforts to leave it behind”.Such people-and there are clearly hordes of them-need to be removed from playing any part in the process of leaving.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 5, 2017

        Hordes of them still in the Cabinet, Government and the Tory Party too.

        1. Mark B
          January 6, 2017

          Once again, Mr.Redwood MP sir you refuse to put up a post of mine. It did not have any links to any sites, or any defamatory comments. No names, not that long either and my only post. Yet you censored me. Why ?

    3. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      There are far too many within government departments who suffer from a permanently defeatist attitude and who wish to complicate things.

      Only when they lose or do not get their own way.

      That is as my old granny use to say ” nobody loves or remembers losers” and now the realisation is that they lost comes the real threat that over time they will not be player in the premiership. The score is on the door get use to it.

      They were led by the team captains and managers to believe they were invincible and it was just a case of turning up, nobody bothered to respect the opposition.
      This process will be repeated many times when the third round of the FA Cup kicks off this weekend.

      I am sure that in this great country of ours their are more than enough qualified people who can sign on to the new world order and believe in what we the country voted for. Put the same like minded leaders in charge of them with a vision to win and keep on doing so would make the UK unstoppable.

      To use Mr Trumps battle cry “it is time to drain the swamp”. As in all reorganisations and change in business and industry there is always the choice SIGN ON OR SHIP OUT. Just as the former EU Ambassador did.

    4. Ed Mahony
      January 5, 2017

      ‘There are far too many within government departments who suffer from a permanently defeatist attitude and who wish to complicate things’

      – there are two types of defeatists. The melancholic types that lacks courage and sees only problems. And the over-the-top optimist, caught up in a fever of fantasy and bravado. Shakespeare, the Bible and the history books have lots of examples of both types and how they cock things up for everyone in the long-term.

      In order to avoid both extremes, we need a healthy balance between idealism and pragmatism, courage and caution, planning and action.

      1. hefner
        January 5, 2017

        Ed, I am much more inclined to follow your more balanced approach than that of other contributors who seem ready to line people (“hordes of them need to be removed”) against a wall and shoot them.
        In other more benign times such people might have been prosecuted for incitation to violence. But obviously times have changed and not obviously for the better.

        1. Ed Mahony
          January 7, 2017

          Thanks for your nice comment!
          I’m genuinely really optimistic about our country’s future. I’m so glad to be a small part of the UK. It’s such a great country. But i just wish people weren’t so obsessed and fanatical on either side of the divide over Brexit. Yes, it’s important to think a lot about these things and even have strong views at times. But at end of day, 2 things are certain:
          1) Being obsessed and fanatical will only lead to bad decisions in the long-run, as well as cause lots of misery for those you oppose. And ultimately, being obsessed and fanatical isn’t good for one’s own peace of mind either!
          2) Secondly, we’re only on this Earth for a short period of time. What’s the point of ‘strutting and fretting on this stage’, to borrow from Shakespeare, when it’s all over so soon (my father died unexpectedly aged 67 – i’m glad he taught me to live every day as if it could be your last, to try and be balanced and happy and keep things in perspective). And if there is the possibility of life after death in Christ, then let’s explore that (and we can still enjoy ourselves here on Earth, we can still have strong opinions about politics, we can still be involved very much in life and human affairs – but it’s about putting things in perspective!).
          Lastly, whether there is or isn’t a God (I strongly believe there is – and a good and loving one), it’s sheer madness to get so caught up in one issue (and to lose one’s sense of humour over it .. on a more serious note though, i read about one man who killed himself over the stress of Brexit, this is a real tragedy).
          Best wishes

          1. Ed Mahony
            January 8, 2017

            Loads on, leaving site (said before, mean it more now).
            Thank you, Mr Redwood. Keeping you in my prayers for lots blessings and happiness. Apologies for annoying comments. You’re a gentleman. All the best.

        2. Mitchel
          January 7, 2017

          “against the wall and shoot them” is your contribution not mine;simple dismissal will do fine.

          1. hefner
            January 8, 2017

            Thanks. I had not expected any meaningful follow-up comment. I have not been disappointed.

      2. zorro
        January 5, 2017

        In my long experience, defeatists tend to be the first type. I have rarely, if ever seen an ‘over the top optimist’ defeatist! Your argument for the ideal avoiding both extremes is rather convoluted…. like Sir Ivan!


        1. Ed Mahony
          January 6, 2017

          Ultimately ‘Defeatist’ just means someone who gets defeated!
          – either by too little confidence or too much confidence.

          1. Leslie Singleton
            January 7, 2017

            Dear Mr Mahoney–Not so–It is mainly about expectation

  2. Newmania
    January 5, 2017

    During the referendum Leave assured us that trade would continue undisturbed . Now the offer is accessing the Free Trade are of which we were a part on the same terms as Belize assuming WTO rules were enforceable which they are not .
    Anyhoo, like most of us down here suffering Southern’s strike ,I stand on the platform listening to unlikely announcements subject to alteration every five minutes .I know perfectly well that no-one has any idea what to do and that my role is merely to cough up money for this insane battle . Whats more it is likely to take up the next few years at best and there is absolutely nothing good to come of it at any point .

    Brexit Aslef RMT cold miserable dark stupid pointless January . Bring on blue Monday

  3. Peter D Gardner
    January 5, 2017

    Here’s one I prepared earlier.

    UK does not need to negotiate the following and they are not relevant to arrangements for withdrawal:
    a) A trade deal with the EU – with one possible exception, passporting rights which could be held over for more detailed discussion rather than holding up the entire withdrawal package.

    b) UK immigration and borders will be under sovereign UK control. (UK as at present will continue until withdrawal to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to adopt any EU-wide rules on immigration, visa and asylum policies in respect of non-EU immigrants and visitors.) In parallel, UK will like all non-EU states negotiate visas and residency agreements bi-laterally as this is not an EU competence.

    c) Resumption of UK’s seat on the World Trade Organisation, although the timing and detailed arrangements may be negotiable within limits.

    d) UK’s sovereign rights over its adjacent waters (territorial seas, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone), in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will be fully restored on the date of the agreement, subject only to any agreements UK makes with individual states (although the contiguous states may ask the EU to negotiate on their behalf. Management of fish stocks clearly requires agreements with contiguous states but not necessarily with the EU. Permission to fish, drill etc is a matter for UK to decide on a bilateral basis).

    e) EU law and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the UK will cease totally and unconditionally on the date of the agreement.

    f) EU policies including Common Foreign and Security, energy, environment, justice and home affairs shall cease to apply to UK on invoking Article 50 except where directives or regulations have already come into force.

    g) UK’s participation in EU institutions is to be maintained except in areas from which UK has chosen specifically not to participate (eg., directives and regulations in the pipeline), until withdrawal comes into effect – the five principal institutions, Advisory Institutions etc. Article 50 clearly states that UK is entitled to full participation until the withdrawal agreement comes into effect.

    The Article 50 Agenda

    a) Wind-down UK participation rapidly and in phases:
    i. Selectively exempt UK from EU directives not yet enacted into UK law and regulations from the date Article 50 is invoked, particularly those having long term effects. For example, it would be sensible to exclude UK from the EU Ports Directive, EU Coastguard Directive, banking union, EU jurisprudence, EU armed forces, migration initiatives, and border protection (except as an adjacent state).
    ii. Progressively reduce to zero UK payments to the EU and EU funding of British industry, research, education etc.
    iii. Immediately exempt UK from EU Public Procurement rules for new projects in UK. It is absurd to require projects starting after Article 50 is invoked and continuing after withdrawal to comply with EU rules.
    iv. Immediately exempt UK from EU rules to advertise employment opportunities across the EU.
    v. Immediately remove UK from EU Energy policies and any other policies that may conflict with UK’s development of independent national policies.
    b) Agree to arbitrate in the event of the parties being unable to resolve any dispute, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on the Law of International Treaties.
    c) Purchase by the remaining EU member states of UK’s share of EU assets.
    d) Settle UK’s outstanding liabilities.
    e) Terminate or resolve any cases involving or impacting UK that are pending before the ECJ.
    f) Agree the status of the 3 million EU citizens resident in UK and the 1.2 million British citizens resident in the EU.
    g) Withdraw from or replace the Dublin Agreement and other such agreements subsumed in the EU.
    h) Agree a timetable and milestones to hand over EU representation on the WTO and World Customs union to UK.
    i) Agree a timetable and detailed arrangements for the withdrawal of EU member states from UK waters as defined by UNCLOS. Bi-lateral discussions will cover alternatives.
    j) Agree early recognition of UK’s fully EU compliant financial services regulatory regime, by extending and advancing the Markets in financial instruments Directive 2 (Mifid2) due to come into effect in 2018, or continuing pass-porting rights.
    k) Continue but reduce representation of UK to the EU – UKRep – after withdrawal.

    All other issues that need to be agreed with the EU should be placed in a series of separate talks on specific issues that may be concluded by MoUs or other means and in a faster or more slowly than the arrangements for withdrawal.

    Everything else is the UK’s internal business.

  4. Mick
    January 5, 2017

    Theresa May tells Brussels ‘give us FULL border control or we WILL QUIT the single market’
    THE Prime Minister will threaten to end Britain’s single market membership if the UK is not given full control of its borders in a landmark ‘Brexit vision’ speech later this month.

    We don’t have to have the eu permission to block people coming into our country, I voted to control immigration, so just do it or come 2020 a party will be voted in that will carry out the will of the people, show some backbone and show them who’s boss

    1. Iain Gill
      January 5, 2017

      Correct we need to control our borders and we need to stop the rush of people coming in before we change the rules.

    2. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017

      I thought Brexit meant there was no doubt that we were leaving the single market. Brexit means leaving the EU.

    3. Timaction
      January 5, 2017

      I think the clue in Mrs Mays intentions is how this is worded. If we’re leaving with a clean break on all lawmaking, money contributions, border control, fishing, agriculture etc it would be phrased much differently. I fear a sell out once more by the legacies.
      If we have a clean break they don’t have to give us anything other than a choice on free trade or WTO rules. Finish!

      1. zorro
        January 5, 2017

        Exactly all the ‘too difficult’ line merchants are fifth columnists, and are coasting…..


    4. Mockbeggar
      January 5, 2017

      I find myself in (surprised) agreement with Donald Tusk, that the options are ‘Hard’ Brexit or no Brexit. I’m assuming by ‘hard’ he means that the EU will insist on free movement etc. That being so, the negotiation becomes very simple – Free Trade or WTO rules. Let’s see them squirm on those options.

      1. JMelford
        January 5, 2017

        Under the UN Charter and UN Resolution 2625, any political and economic coercion is banned. (Distinct from official sanctions against gangster states).

        Therefore the EU has no business to try to stop us exercising a right to national self-determination under the Charter.

        It would also be against EU Policy, WTO commitments, September’s G20 agreement for the EU to deny us continued free trade on existing terms – protectionism dressed up as a deterrent to other states.

      2. forthurst
        January 5, 2017

        “I’m assuming by ‘hard’ he means that the EU will insist on free movement etc.”

        No, it means leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, ie taking back control. A ‘soft’ Brexit means no brexit.

        1. Mockbeggar
          January 6, 2017

          You’re quite right, Forthurst. I think I’m going soft in the head. I should have said more or less exactly what you wrote. Thank you for the correction.

    5. Denis Cooper
      January 5, 2017

      Correct, we should not be asking the EU to give us control of our immigration policy, we should just tell them that we are taking back complete control of our immigration policy and ask them what they want to do about trade.

      Do they wish to continue with the kind of arrangements for free trade that we have now, which we will accept even though on balance they work to their advantage rather than ours?

      But if they do not want to continue with something like the present arrangements precisely which unnecessary obstacles to the existing two-way trade do they want to reintroduce?

      Before they answer, they might care to recall that warning from the IMF last April that any disruption of the existing patterns of trade within Europe could precipitate a global economic meltdown:


      “Brexit threatens to cause ‘severe global damage’, warns IMF”

      Would they really want to have that on their consciences?

    6. forthurst
      January 5, 2017

      “We don’t have to have the eu permission to block people coming into our country”

      Well, we would if we started from the position of wanting to remain in the Single Market. Mrs May is clearly muddled; we need to leave the Single Market, then there can be no negotiation over free movement, payments to the Brussels regime or the absolute right of EU countries to move capital in and our businesses out. Mrs May’s reported position is an incredibly weak and does no lead to us to leaving the EU or taking back control. Also don’t imagine the EU would not try to drag in some of our ancestral fishing grounds as well. The Single Market is about a lot more than the four freedoms, viz Agenda 21.

      1. turboterrier
        January 5, 2017

        @ forthurst

        Well said, at the end of the day it all comes down to Agenda 21 nothing more

  5. Duyfken
    January 5, 2017

    Mrs May is reportedly to say that we can only remain in the single/internal market if there are no accompanying provisos on free immigration. This still sounds weak to me in that the UK’s stance should be to state our intention to revert to WTO terms, subject to any offers the EU or others may put forward in the way of free trade agreements.

    Let the EU parley with us if they so wish, but the UK should brook no interference in the implementation of a clean Brexit. Not a case of negotiation but of declaration.

    1. Iain Gill
      January 5, 2017

      Ms may underestimates the anger on the streets, she needs to represent the real people and not the political class.

    2. Brian Corbett
      January 5, 2017

      Agree 100%

      1. Eleanor Justice
        January 5, 2017

        Agree 200%
        Beg for nothing just stop the money and leave. He who pays the piper call’s the tune.If the EU is so cross why do they not just throw us out?
        We have them scared time to up the anti.

    3. Ed Mahony
      January 5, 2017

      Brexit (and Trump and popular politics) is a great opportunity to reform the EU (in particular over immigration).

      If the EU implodes, we’re going to be screwed too, whether in or out of the EU or the single market. But if the EU reforms, then there’s a good chance it will survive and so we avoid the catastrophic result of EU collapse on us when we’re already hobbling along with eye-watering high national debt.

      And a reformed EU might just be enough for most Brexiteers. Not forgetting, that we can’t carry on with the question of the EU hanging over us for generations when there are so many things in our country we could be focusing on right now, above all, improving the economy – including the way we do business, entrepreneurship, and so on – to become more competitive whether in our out of the EU, whether exporting to the EU or the rest of the world.

      1. Colin Hart
        January 7, 2017

        All depends what you mean by reform. For the EU it usually means tweaking things a bit and inventing ugly, meaningless words like subsidiarity.

    4. Karen
      January 5, 2017

      Why would we want to remain in the Single Market? It’s how this whole nonsense started, when we joined in 1973.

      Two years later, when we voted to remain in the EEC, we were told that that’s all it was – a platform for free trade between members. And then look what happened! What makes you think a similar starting place – the Single Market – won’t lead to the same thing?

      If you don’t want your grandchildren refighting the same old bloody battles, forty years down the line, then we need a good, clean Brexit.

    5. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017


      Me three.

    6. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      January 5, 2017

      @Duyfken: Not accepting a common referee (ECJ) like all 27 other EU members do, a sorry case of British “pride”, already implies that you’ll be totally outside the single market. No need to even talk about immigration.

      1. Duyfken
        January 6, 2017

        Referee? Who needs a referee? Even a strictly impartial and totally independent referee is surplus to requirements, but then you even suggest the ECJ! But I hope you’re right in that we’ll be totally out of the single market (see also JR’s article today, Friday 6th).

  6. Graham Wood
    January 5, 2017

    Please do not use the language of “ambassador”. – the EU does not have the status of being a state or country! Like wise “the court of Brussels”

    1. Lifelogic
      January 5, 2017

      It seemed to me he was main representing the EU interests to the UK and we were just unfortunately paying him. I assume Cameron appointed the man?

      Likewise we have the ambassador to France. Dominique Cummings seems rather unimpressed.


    2. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      @ Graham Wood

      Please do not use the language of “ambassador”. – the EU does not have the status of being a state or country!

      But they think they are.

      No different to when Mr Salmond re-branded the Scottish Parliament the Scottish Government in the vain hope that it would convince the electorate in the 2014 referendum.

      Noooo. It is still a devolved parliament and I do wish that ministers and the House of Westminster would remind them of the fact that is what they are. No more no less. With the state of the Scottish economy I do wonder in real terms how much the name change cost and is still costing us, they have the same mind set as the EU, thinking they are what they are not.

  7. formula57
    January 5, 2017

    Your words are most disturbing for they reveal that not only do ” We need an Ambassador who understands that the UK should not negotiate at all over taking back control” but a Government too.

    Soon after the referendum result became known, you called for a Brexit government. Can we have one now please?

  8. Iain Gill
    January 5, 2017

    We are of course not only rubbish at negotiating with the EU… We are also rubbish at negotiating with other countries, India springs to mind as an example where our leaders routinely get a poor deal.

  9. MickN
    January 5, 2017

    I also heard on the radio yesterday. I cant remember if it was Radio 2 or Radio 5 dead, a report on Mrs Leadsom’s pronouncements regarding farming after we leave the EU. The conclusion that the presenter came to was that as she stated farmers will no longer have to follow the “three crop rule” dictated to them from Brussels it therefore followed that Brexit will be catastrophic for wildlife. Do they actually believe the rubbish that they seem to spout on a daily basis?

  10. Ian Wragg
    January 5, 2017

    Excellent article John. Yesterday the TV and radio was wall to wall coverage about the outgoing EU ambassador and his extensive experience in negotiations.
    Not a single example was mentioned just remainiacs waffle about the complexities of retrenching what rightfully is ours.
    Watching the Quisling Clogg in overdrive railing about his preferred patsy who cost Cameron his job and reputation made me laugh.
    Let’s hope the new guy has a pair and bats for Britain not Brussels.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 5, 2017

      Indeed the BBC still doing its blatantly biased best for the EU too.

  11. Caterpillar
    January 5, 2017

    1. Out of customs union, no negotiation.
    2. Stop free movement (residency rights up to the date of Brexit referendum). There is probably room for some negotiation on this regards some types of employment, or processing time but would need to be simple and agreed rapidly. If not, it’s not happening.
    3. Free trade as is or WTO
    4. No $60bn exit bill
    5. Maintain visa free travel for X-month personal/business travel if insured and holder of European passport for at least Z-years.

    1. Andy
      January 5, 2017

      But migration when we leave the EU is a matter for bi-lateral agreements. Last time I looked the EU wasn’t a State. We can perfectly well make available x number of visas to Poland for example.

  12. stred
    January 5, 2017

    On radio 4 yesterday morning there was a programme about populism and the rise of Brexit, zenophobia and racism. At the end, Nick Clegg said that hid side were now ‘the insurgents’as the Brexiteers were the establishment and it was up to them to come up with policies. He seemed not to understand that a debate had taken place, a decision made and that he had lost. Perhaps the ex-ambassador has left as he was unable to be insurgent enough and his call for more civil servants capable of keeping negotiations going for 10 years was being ignored. The civil service is full of Clegg supporters.

    Meanwhile, the ex- Home Secretary is watching while national insurance cards are being issued at 3.3 times the rate of estimated net migration and one of her ministers has announced that a fraction of this number of houses will be built on the Green Belt, as there is no hope of finding enough land in our cities. However, we must not complain as these new towns will be’garden villages’. She must think we are as thick as she did when she told us that we already had control of our borders.

    1. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017

      “The civil service is full of Clegg supporters.”

      Which explains why he’s always on TV, because he sure as hell doesn’t have any public support.

      The original establishment is still firmly in place and he is in it.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 7, 2017

        His lawyer wife endlessly on the BBC too.

        An expert in the many insanities that comprise “European Union Law” it seems. So perhaps not that impartial.

  13. Mark B
    January 5, 2017

    Good morning.

    It seems, Denis Cooper was right about the poor advice that had been given to CMD and others. And so our Ambassordor to the EU has fallen on his sword and taken early retirement. Clearly just like his former masters he was not up to, or did not want to do the job that has to be done. We are well rid.

    They are likely, after much grumbling and posturing, to opt for the tariff free version as they have so much more at risk than we do.

    I disagree. Tariff’s only affect consumers, not suppliers. The suppliers will just pass on the extra costs and the tariff monies are pocketed by the governments. In this case that will be the UK and the EU. A win-win for them and lose-lose for we the people.

    Don’t believe me, Google the, Corn Laws to see what I mean.

    . . . negotiating the Cameron way will end in a poor result.

    On that I absolutely agree ! Lady Thatcher went to the then EEC to demand a rebate. She got it ! She got it because she was firm, had her arguments in place and would not give up. Tony Blair gave away a large portion of our rebate on the ‘understanding’ that France would reduce its share of the CAP. It never happened. Never again, and this should be made clear to everyone.

    1. ChrisS
      January 6, 2017

      You are so right !

      We only have to compare the results Our Great Leader achieved compared with the pitiful efforts of Blair, Brown and CMD. You can’t compromise with these people, I only wish the Remoaners could understand that.

      We have to be firm and resist all attempts at compromise because it will be nothing of the sort. Any attempt to keep us in the so-called single market and Customs Union will mean we will never properly escape.

      We have no need to fear the future – Britain is never better than when we stand in a majority of one.

  14. The Prangwizard
    January 5, 2017

    It’s not looking good if the trailing of Mrs May’s forthcoming speech is anything to go by. She is only seeking ‘concessions’ on freedom of movement, not control. And she’ll take us out of the single market if she doesn’t get any.

    Starting from a position of compromise? Very soft Brexit anyone?

    1. zorro
      January 5, 2017

      Exactly – read THIS T May – Take CONTROL and implement the most popular decision ever voted on in the UK!


      1. Lifelogic
        January 6, 2017

        We will surely not escape properly under dire lefty dithering remainers T May and tax increasing P Hammond. They do not have a working compass, they are both still using the broken Cameron/Osborne compass.

  15. Nigl
    January 5, 2017

    In any negotiation the side that can walk away has the most power. That is the UK

  16. Alan
    January 5, 2017

    Reading Mr Redwood’s article you might get the impression that the British economy is running well and will continue to run well after we have left the EU. But the truth is that we have a serious balance of payments problem. We do not export enough to pay for what we import. The only way we can deal with this at the moment is to devalue our currency so that it is expensive for us to buy imports and it is cheaper for exporters to employ people to make our exports. Ideally we want to increase our productivity, but in practice we cannot manage this. The many devaluations of our currency have left us poorer. Most of us are importers, not exporters.

    The consequence is that we badly need to export as much as possible. Yes, we can control our borders and our money, but if the consequence is less exports we will be worse off than we were before.

    The EU does not have this problem. It has a surplus in its balance of payments. It can walk away from negotiations with us and will still be in surplus. That puts us at a disadvantage. Our threat to walk away is less credible. That is the problem that needs to be addressed, and just pretending that we can walk away as easily as the EU can walk away is not helpful.

    The EU has weaknesses in its position – notably that it consists of 27 countries and many of these individually want to exports goods or people or services to us – and we need to exploit these weaknesses in the negotiation, but it is not helpful to pretend that we do not need to work at this. It is not a matter of just announcing what we want and waiting for the EU to agree. They are quite likely to walk away.

    Reply Stopping our EU payments makes an important contribution to righting our balance of payments

    1. JMelford
      January 5, 2017

      Under the UN Charter and Vienna Convention, the EU27 must negotiate with us in good faith. No coercion, threats or stonewalling. as a deterrent to other states.

      However it would also be against the Lisbon Treaty, EU policy, WTO commitments, and September’s G20 agreement for the EU to deny us continued free trade on existing terms.

    2. Know-dice
      January 5, 2017

      “we badly need to export as much as possible”

      Yes and bring back manufacturing to the UK, which seems to be happening to a certain extent.

    3. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017

      Alan – In a free world we should all be able to walk away easily. Alas we can’t.

      If we succeed outside the EU then the EU is finished. Many will want to leave (it is that good !)

      Hence we are to be punished. Hard Brexit if we like it or not.

      (Personally I don’t think article 50 will be activated. Something will crop up to thwart it. )

    4. Peter D Gardner
      January 5, 2017

      How about announcing we don’t want anything other than free trade a la Canadian deal leaving it up to the EU to come back if it wants something different?

      Short term economic considerations are not the most important issue: sovereignty is and if history teaches us anything it is that freedom and hence democracy have to be fought for, otherwise they are lost by default, and fighting for them has material costs. Which do you want?

    5. Lifelogic
      January 6, 2017

      A bonfire and red tape and cheap non greencrap energy would make an even bigger contribution.

  17. Richard1
    January 5, 2017

    The whole story seems to me to be massively overblown. The only point of substance is clearly a change is needed in EU Ambassador as Sir Ivan Rogers failed in the main job he had during his tenure, which was to get a good result from Mr Cameron’s renegotiation. a private sector adviser, eg to a company which had changed management following a negotiation failure, would not expect to be rehired by the successor management for the next negotiation.

  18. Peter Wood
    January 5, 2017

    Good Morning,

    I do hope the common sense approach to our negotiations (if such is the correct term) as contained in your third paragraph is the broad concept underlying the new relationship with whatever is left of the EU. If we indicate an ambivalent approach then we will indeed suffer the misery of a protracted divorce predicted by the departing ‘ambassador’.

  19. alan jutson
    January 5, 2017

    An excellent post this morning JR which sums up the position most experienced and sensible people would adopt.

    If we are not in control, then someone else is and we have not left, simple fact.

    I can only hope our so called team are aware, and have learnt the lesson from Cameron’s renegotiation fiasco, to which the last so called ambassador seemed to be the director and script writer.
    So pleased he has gone, hope his replacement is far more savvy, and approaches this in a far more hard nosed Commercial and professional manner.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    January 5, 2017

    Dear John–Agree unequivocally–Furthermore it will help everybody including the EU if they, the EU. understand at the outset that much is simply not open to discussion. What was the “10 years” all about? Presumably it was about how difficult it will be to agree a subsequent trade deal with the well-known-close-to-impossible-to-deal-with Commission. Given anything like such a delay there is no point getting excited at the outset–I reckon give up before we start on a EU trade deal and hope to make progress on that later when the EU understands that we are not living in fear of their “punishment” mode–such a change will happen quickly once we are out. Either that or we are dealing with a very odd institution–which we perhaps are unfortunately. Or the EU might collapse (Please).

    1. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      @ Leslie Singleton

      EU might collapse (Please).

      It is only a question of how long before the wheels come totally off.

  21. agricola
    January 5, 2017

    Absolutely spot on. What you enunciate is exactly what we voted for. Anything less is a betrayal that we will easily recognise, and be reflected in the next ballot box.

  22. Bert Young
    January 5, 2017

    Free trade with the world is the best approach ; if the EU does not see the wisdom in this then that is their mistake . The CAP has been an influence in the past and has prevented many imports from less well off countries ; perhaps the hardening attitude in France against the EU may hasten the end of this burden .

    We certainly do not need to approach the EU in the manner that Scots woman wants in our negotiations and I sincerely hope Theresa is not letting this shadow influence her ; a straightforward “we are out” would be best for our interests . If the EU subsequently decides to make things difficult it will only speed up dissent within its ranks – and we all know what that will lead to .

  23. zorro
    January 5, 2017

    Excellent precis and what we have been saying for a long time – assertion of sovereignty and not ‘long, complex, and very difficult’ negotiations as they constantly state on the media!


  24. margaret
    January 5, 2017

    I am glad you had the patience to write this in a clear way . I become exasperated with the plans to make a plan so that the plan to negotiate may get on the way to negotiation.
    I loathe muddled thinking , mixing time, events and people around, having been at the bad end of others mistakes and lies. We all realise that delay is the way people make money out of all this , we all surmise that some, somewhere amongst the grey suits and power have their hands tied and cannot easily break from the other 27 cleanly, but surely these draggers need to pluck up courage to say we are not going to put up with the mess any more.

  25. Denis Cooper
    January 5, 2017

    The top priority must be to regain complete control over our immigration policy. That does not necessarily mean a cessation of immigration from the EU, it just means that it will be our choice not that of the supranational EU. Then we will see how far the EU is prepared to go in carrying out its repeated threats to disrupt trade as a reprisal for our heretical rejection of its quasi-religious dogma of the inseparability of its four freedoms. If they do decide to adopt a punitive attitude and insist on unnecessarily reintroducing some of the previous barriers to two-way trade with the UK, in direct contradiction of their own EU treaties as well as UN rules on economic sanctions, then so be it; the benefits of the EU internal or single market to the UK economy are in any case greatly exaggerated by the pro-EU faction, and that is even before taking into account its costs.

  26. Prigger
    January 5, 2017

    “Getting the best possible DEAL” ( for the UK ) and “British people wish MORE control” is not what we voted for.

    We voted to Leave, full-stop.
    #There was nothing in the vote itself about getting a DEAL.
    #Nothing about MORE control of immigration

    We voted to Leave of the EU. Leave the Single Market. Leave the Customs Union. Leave everything behind associated with membership of the EU. Not with MORE control of immigration but ABSOLUTE control of immigration

    AFTER we leave all that behind then we can get a deal, if possible, (but if not Goodbye anyway), of what comes next with the EU minus the aforementioned relationships. That was the vote. Not a silly red white blue soft hard grey dogs dinner befitting a Remoaner’s Grand Feast of ablution left-overs.

    Mrs May is still over six months behind in signing Article 50. She can play Ambassadors later in her own time if she so wishes. She should get on with the job or resign.

  27. Denis Cooper
    January 5, 2017

    This has come my way, maybe somebody contributing here may wish to apply:


    “15 vacant PhD positions (Early Stage Researchers)”

    “Would you like to research a PhD on the legitimacy of the European Union after the financial crisis? Would you like to start your career in a European training network of leading research universities and professionals from the policy advice, consulting and civil society sectors?”

    1. Know-dice
      January 5, 2017

      And it’s not even 1st April 🙂

  28. Liz
    January 5, 2017

    Giving in is the first instinct of civil service negotiators. None of them want us to leave the EU – they love it – so we are handicapped from the start if we rely on their “advice”. David Cameron took it in his “negotiations” with disastrous results for him personally. As you say there is nothing much to negotiate on the facts of leaving only on future relationships. The EU will not give up free movement as it is something they are totally fanatical about and the remainers keep talking up negotiations because they hope by that means to thwart the referendum result whilst pretending to “respect the electorate”.

  29. Lifelogic
    January 5, 2017

    Theresa May to set out ‘Brexit vision’ and warn UK will quit single market if it is not given control over borders.

    We do not want to be in “the single market” we just want to trade. Hopefully her speech will finally say something substantive and in the right direction at long last.

    She cannot go on with this pathetic vacuous dithering any longer. Has the supreme court finished tossing their coins yet? Can we have the outcome now please, how long does it take to decide on the basis of “the law” as they like to refer to it? It seem that the judges each have different versions of “the law” anyway.

    What is this about Liam Fox being sidelined?


  30. A.Sedgwick
    January 5, 2017

    As many are Mr.Cameron was the architect of his own downfall and the referendum result. Whether that has any meaning is increasingly dubious. Had he stuck to his guns and mean’t that he would support leaving without ending freedom of movement, by about 31/05/16 the EU politburo would have capitulated.

    Unfortunately May and Hammond are displaying the same weaknesses or doubts about our future outside the EU. Why do we need an Ambassador at all, this is all part of the Gilbert and Sullivan nature of the EU with five presidents and their fiefdoms and other grand titles.

    You are correctly countering the concept of complexity in what is a simple situation, by which all these high level “civil servants” can justify their costly existence and importance.

    A next stage in this “ordinary people” do not understand and their opinion cannot be trusted is the Supreme Court Judgment.

  31. fedupsoutherner
    January 5, 2017

    I heard last night that Mrs May has appointed a new ambassador. Who is this man and is he as woolly as the rest of them? I certainly hope not. How did he vote in the referendum? Agree totally with your post today John. Just tell THEM what WE ARE GOING TO DO and get on with it. If they dont’ want to play ball then great – we’ll just do our own thing and I feel that more people on the TV are coming around to thinking that it may be tough to begin with but over time we will be better off. I can’t wait for the day when we find Remainiacs thanking us for voting the way we did.

    It is being reported that a further 10 million so called refugees are making their way across Africa towards Europe. If that doesn’t focus the mind then nothing will. TOTAL control of our borders is what we need. Nothing more and nothing less. Tell them this too.

    Besides, the way the EU is going it wont’ be around for much longer. Whoopee!!!

  32. Freeborn John
    January 5, 2017

    A lot of truth in this post of yours, but I would disputed that the choice we give the EU27 on trade is a choice between leaving things as they are or WTO rules. WTO rules will be the outcome if nothing else is agreed so that will be the new status quo unless something else is agreed. The current status quo is membership of the single market, with the supremacy of EU law, the jurisdiction of the ECJ, unlimited migration and large contributions to the EU budget. So we cannot ‘leave things as they are’. Rather the choice should be between (i) WTO rules and (ii) a comprehensive free trade agreement that is a bargain between free trade in agricultural and industrial goods to the benefit of France & Germany and free trade (with no non-tariff barriers) in services to the benefit of the UK. If that cannot be agreed then WTO rules should be acceptable to the UK as the EU common external tariff on food and industrial goods will benefit the Uk more than the EU27. In order not make a concession to the EU that they will pocket it needs to be made explicitly clear at the earliest date that leaving things as they are is not an option in the table. Indeed the UK should make it clear that it expects WTO rules to apply and force the EU27 into a negotiating mindset where they negotiate relative to the actual terms that will take effect unless a comprehensive trade agreement is agreed. If we do not do that than the EU27 will have every incentive to delay until the last minute such that UK business wails about a ‘cliff-edge’ as we come closer to the end of the 2-year Article 50 negotiating period. Better to set expectations immediately that WTO rules will apply post 2019 unless a compressive trade agreement is concluded. Anything else is negotiating for failure.

  33. MikeP
    January 5, 2017

    Well said. It really is that simple and I hope David Davies and Theresa May are listening to your views and that you are ensuring that your kind of unmuddled thinking is permeating the Department for Exiting. As the Weatherspoon Chairman said the other day, we must be prepared to walk away from any bad deal on offer and leave them at the negotiating table to ponder on their fate as much as ours – not least because we know from years of past experience that whatever we propose has to then be taken back to 27 countries for them to chew over. So let them chew, and stew, while we hold our ground, as our backstop of WTO tariffs is perfectly fine for us.

  34. Brigham
    January 5, 2017

    We have two leavers that are closely allied to the EU. Farage and Hannan. Appoint them both and if they need a name “B***s**T” Removers would, to me, seem quite appropriate.

  35. Kenneth
    January 5, 2017

    There was a campaign over the holidays by some unelected civil servants and union people, with the help of the BBC, to push the message about “how complicated it would be” and how the civil service will need more resources.

    I note that very few elected politicians joined this campaign as I suspect they realise how toxic it is to push against the decision of the People.

    The BBC is still pushing the line that it will be a complicated business and is therefore muddying the waters.

    The muddying and the muddled thinking is coming from the Remainers.

  36. Tad Davison
    January 5, 2017

    Absolutely! Well said! I agree entirely!

    Tad Davison


  37. Antisthenes
    January 5, 2017

    Those who voted to leave the EU did so on the understanding that they were doing so to stop free movement and to be able to restrict benefits to all immigrants. Many did so from a general unease at how the EU had so much say in our affairs. Not on specifics but from a feeling of helplessness in the face of an overbearing bureaucratic institution.

    If as you said Cameron had not taken the advice of our ambassador and actually achieved that in negotiations then he would have won the referendum. By not doing so he did the UK a favour as it has lead to us wishing to leave the EU altogether and so give the UK many more benefits than restricting free movement.

    According to the EU we cannot have access to the single market and not have free movement which is probably down to part bluff, part hubris and to hide it’s own deficiencies. Anything is possible if the will is there but so far the will is not there on the EU side. You have sated many times how that will can be changed and that is to tell the EU that the UK position is to join the market on it’s conditions and it is a take it or leave it position. The rest being up to them. If they decide to cut their nose off to spite their face and not do a rapid trade deal then the only loser will be the EU. The maths prove that can be the only outcome.

    If we are to take that approach then the choice of the next ambassador is crucial. A committed Brexiteer would signal that the negotiations are to be short and to the point “take it or leave it”. The ball will be firmly in their court and it will be amusing to watch them scramble about trying to return it. Foul no doubt will be heard constantly and many appeals to the umpires will be made. The UK must stand firm and face the bullies down and we will achieve the Brexit we need and not one forced on us.

  38. Wibewal
    January 5, 2017

    An Emergency Bill should be put through Parliament at the first sitting.

    That after voters go to the polls in the next General Election that MPs should not consider themselves as elected. They should remain at home. In no way should they attempt to enter Parliament or conduct themselves as MPs. A period equivalent to June 23rd to the time of the signing of Article 50 should be the introduction to becoming an MP.
    After the requisite time, well over six months, they may take their seats but will not be paid a salary until negotiations take place lasting two years ( which may be extended ).
    # All this of course is subject to the Courts as to whether some other body should debate whether MPs be allowed to take their seats.
    # The Lib Dems may wish for a second General Election ballot as very few voters knew what they were voting for when they voted for a Lib Dem candidate. It would not have been made clear..whether it was a hard vote for the LibDemer, a soft vote or whether they would have vote Lib Dem at all if they would know what a set of cry-babies and ne’r-do-wells they really are.

  39. acorn
    January 5, 2017

    Can I get something straight JR? Are you saying, if Mrs May puts in her Article 50 resignation letter on Friday 31st March. The UK unilaterally declare (UDI) to the world, that from that day, we are no longer members of any institution of the EU. All existing arrangements with EU member states, plus any existing arrangement via the EU with states classified as “third country” states, cease to exist?

    What response are you then expecting, the following Monday. A letter from the corporate EU, saying bye-bye, we have closed your account and your final bill is attached?

    Reply No, that is not what the Treaty says as you well know.

    1. acorn
      January 5, 2017

      Reference your reply JR. Sorry but I don’t understand your para 3: “We need an Ambassador who understands that the UK should not negotiate at all over taking back control. We have the right to do that, and the public voted to do that. The issues we can discuss relate to our future relationship with the rest of the EU after we have left.”

      How long will “… UK should not negotiate at all …” take; two years or two days? The EU can stretch out the “… our future relationship with the rest of the EU …”, right up to the 31st March 2019, and then, leave the UK up s**t creek without a paddle!

      Keep in mind that the EU is well aware that Germany is breaking the Current Account surplus (export) limit of 6% (currently 8.8%), and would grab an opportunity to pull it back in-line. That is, it wants to stop Germany exporting its unemployment to the Club Med members. Brexit will be doing the EU Commission a favour.

    2. zorro
      January 5, 2017

      You are being very silly here acorn.


      1. acorn
        January 6, 2017

        So, you have got no idea either.

  40. James Matthews
    January 5, 2017

    Absolutely agree with all of that. The problem will be to convince a government and executive composed largely of former (?) Remainers to act on it. For a small start anyone who has received Syed Kamal MEP’s questionnaire should make sure their responses fully reflect it. I guess only the views of constituents will be taken into account but you can find it here: http://www.syedkamall.co.uk/survey/

  41. Fear, there is
    January 5, 2017

    Something awesome is going on.

    We are always told THIS Election is going to change the planet boldly going us into a strange and eerie dimension except for the New Years’s Honours, Nobel Prizes, the existence of the House of Lords, which will remain popular old stinky jokes.

    BUT, It is plainer to see across the Pond. Donald Trump is having quite a problem getting to be President. Accusations of bad counting in constituencies, election fraud, nasty Russia hacking into people’s minds making them vote Trump, disputing Donald should be allowed to be President cos he’s rich and a businessman, because he is a man and does man things.Thinks women are not men.But women.
    Here, we find Mrs May cannot read and write, cannot even put a cross on Article 50. Hell, even King John could do that on the Magna Carta.

    So every legal, procedural and nasty political ploy is dragged out of the stinking magicians hat to thwart the Will of the People. Out of the hat springs an Ambassador no-one knew we had. No-one knows what he was for, what he did. But sure as the sun comes up in the east we need another Ambassador. It also is said he is miffed
    The whole of the western world elites seem frightened.
    Was that Referendum result far more of a moment in our history than we ourselves dared believe prior to 23rd June 2016?

  42. qubus
    January 5, 2017

    I totally agree about going to WTO rules, but how exactly is it put into practice on day one?
    Can we just switch overnight? Won’t there be a very long queue at, for example, Dover?

    1. bratwurst
      January 5, 2017

      @ Qubus

      A very long queue. Calais customs inspectors can apparently only handle approx. 5,000 containers daily so without a replacement customs co-operation agreement operation Stack will likely stretch beyond Birmingham very quickly.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 6, 2017

        No queues on the other side of the Channel, then?

    2. Iain Gill
      January 5, 2017

      The likes of BMW will get very upset if their UK built mini’s get delayed at export, or their 3 series saloons get delayed at import, they will quickly tell whoever is the German chancellor to sort it out… and the German chancellor will quickly tell the EU to sort it out… since Germany writes the big cheques the EU will cave quickly.

      All the feeble thinking the imagines otherwise are deluded.

  43. ian
    January 5, 2017

    Loving every minute of this and at the same time cutting pleb services to next to nothing to try and get rid of as many plebs as they can while enriching themselves, still that’s politics and voting for you.

  44. Bob
    January 5, 2017

    Why doesn’t the govt take the BBC to task over their constant pro EU anti Brexit bias?

    1. Anonymous
      January 5, 2017

      Because they’re in cahoots, Bob.

    2. graham1946
      January 5, 2017

      Perhaps it suits them?

      May and Hammond are both Remainers and I am very much afraid they are going to shaft us.

      We are not leaving (not in the sense that people here want to). Another fudge is coming up and we have no way of stopping it. No election beforehand, no referendum on the result of the ‘negotiation’. We can be sold out as easily and completely as we were before. The Tories have form. They took us in on a lie and have signed most of the treaties anyway.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 6, 2017

      Because it suits remainers May and Hammond.

  45. E.S. Tablishment
    January 5, 2017

    …telling it to Ministers straight unmuddling their democratically elected muddled minds voted in by an equally muddled electorate voting muddlingly in a tiresome and inconvenient democratic muddled vote..

    It is clear the elite in the UK and their Remoaner dependants need a dressing down centuries overdue.

    How many more persons work “for us” in the EU swamp?

  46. Lifelogic
    January 5, 2017

    I hope Sir Tim Barrow will be an improvement. He seem to have always worked as a state bureaucrat. WIKI does not say what he read at Oxford, hopefully not PPE, Law or Modern History.

    1. zorro
      January 5, 2017

      Apparently Univ of Warwick, and then Brasenose College Oxford where he read English

      1. Lifelogic
        January 6, 2017

        Well at least English shows some independence of mind. Albeit that he is unlikely to be particularly numerate, to understand science or engineering, real economics, or the maths of negotiations, deal making or game theory. Which are the skills really needed here.

  47. Antisthenes
    January 5, 2017

    I see Sir Tim Barrow is our new ambassador so what does that portend? I believe initially it is to keep the EU guessing. Does it mean “take it or leave it” is off the table. Maybe or maybe not as TM has as is her cautious way not made her mind up yet and probably never will. She will just trigger article 50 and hope for the best which is a recipe for a botched deal.

  48. John B
    January 5, 2017

    When did liberty become negotiable?

    1. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      @ John B


  49. Dave Andrews
    January 5, 2017

    In contrast to your picture of simplicity, we are told by commentators that leaving the EU is such an enormous challenge and will be so complicated. These commentators, including members of the media, go unchallenged in their assertion.
    What is the source of the claim as to the complications of leaving the EU? Is it the diverse objectives of the EU community, is it the scale of legislation that ensues?
    Can someone explain, or is it just the claims of those that regret the country’s decision to leave, who can’t envisage a UK outside the EU because they are in denial?
    I would really like to know.

  50. Denis Cooper
    January 5, 2017

    JR, would it not be a good idea to explain why we should not stay in the EEA, given that some have been duped into believing that is the way we should try to go?

    1. ian wragg
      January 5, 2017

      This is RN’s way and promoted by his dwindling band of followers.
      Mike Stallard blogs under several different names promoting this and appears not to realise we will still have free movement and ECJ oversight.
      Quoting Liechtenstein is neither useful or sensible.

    2. Mark
      January 6, 2017

      I do not think the EEA is a feasible route for a substantive agreement. Of course, we remain a Contracted Party to the EEA Agreement until 12 months after we give them Article 127 notice – if we do – and it would trigger a diplomatic conference to decide what to do. If we remain without serving notice of withdrawal, large swathes of the agreement would no longer apply to us, as they are limited to the EU and its members and the EFTA state signatories. That would include freedom of movement of workers, and services. Indeed, the whole agreement is limited in enforceable geography by Article 126. Oddly, perhaps one of the few areas that might continue to apply is free movement of goods with no tariff barriers (although the lawyers would doubtless argue whether Art 126 meant it didn’t apply although the obligation is on all Contracting Parties, of which the UK is one in its own right).

      The reality is that the EEA agreement would need to be renegotiated to cater for the UK not being a member of the EU were it to have much effect. That means securing the agreement of all the parties, including the EU itself, unanimously. If that were feasible, then an agreement with the EU Council under Article 50 would be even easier, because it only requires QMV approval, not unanimity – and the Commission have no vote (although Europarl does). The renegotiation would clearly fall outside Article 50, so the EU would be using the EEAS and the Commission – not the Council. Can you see that fly?

      On the other hand, I think we could probably reach agreement with Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein (the EFTA parties) for something to replace the defunct EEA agreement relatively easily.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 6, 2017

        I’m not sure how much it would really matter if the UK never formally gave in a separate notice under Article 127, because a diplomatic conference of all the EEA parties would be one inevitable consequence of the notice given under Article 50. Similarly if one of the EFTA states gave notice that it was leaving EFTA under Article 57 of the EFTA Convention, which would also be a year’s notice, that in itself would inevitably precipitate discussions among the other EEA parties about how the EEA Agreement needed to be modified, even if the withdrawing state had not formally given in a notice under Article 127. In that sense it may be futile for a Remoaner to seek a court judgment that Parliament must vote separately on whether the government can give notice under Article 127, once the Article 50 notice went in that would seem to make an Article 127 notice redundant.

  51. William Long
    January 5, 2017

    It has been becoming apparent for some time that a major problem we have is that a great many in the Civil Service, and particularly those in the Foreign Office see themselves as Servants of Brussels rather than of Her Majesties Government. I suspect their thinking is not so much muddled as following a completely different agenda to what is demanded of them. This must change and one can only hope that the new Ambassador to the EU has no doubts other who his boss is.

    1. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      @ William Long

      Drain the swamp springs to mind.

  52. Capt Mannering
    January 5, 2017

    We have no heroes now.
    Politicians of old always played various versions of the Appeal to Authority Fallacy, eg Field Marshall Well-to-do with an obligatory totally impractical moustache says pigs really fly, he saw them along with the Angels of Mons.

    It worked then. We do not believe such experts now after two world wars, Iraq and WMD and smiley-happy it wasn’t me Blair.

    Now when an expert or Ambassador or Sir Retail von Makes-a-Lottamoney stands up and offers advice on the EU, as far as the British public is concerned, it is a case of “Well , here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into”

    Just can’t they make sure we get out of the EU then they can leave us in peace and go back and live in their sunny tax haven in some camel dunged desert country and suck sheep’s eyes.

  53. Mick
    January 5, 2017



    We cannot take anymore chances Mrs May should invoke article 50 well before the end of march, and get the ball rolling there is far too much diverging now, the leavers have to be put first we won so get us out that’s what we voted for, no more Brexit means Brexit just get us OUT

    1. turboterrier
      January 5, 2017

      @ Mick

      She hasn’t the bottle to do it, she is famed for not throwing caution to the wind unless everything has been double checked and then some. She who hesitates is lost.

      She is not the lady of the hour in this scenario JFDI is not in her DNA.

  54. Paul H
    January 5, 2017

    Well said, but I think that you are possibly overestimating how likely the EU is, “after much grumbling and posturing”, to go for a tariff-free deal. There is the project to think about. Political imperatives will always trump the interests of the common man, and the EU elite are unlikely to be immediately or directly affected personally by any economic side-effects.

    In that case we should be prepared to walk away. However May seems to keep majoring on the immigration point. I do fear that she would herself be prepared to cave in with a deal offering a temporary brake on immigration but with continuing contributions and ECJ oversight – assuming something like that was put on the table.

    1. Mark
      January 6, 2017

      It is hard to argue that the EU enhances its long term survival by seeking to punish its members and its neighbours. If it is to be a success, it has to have a positive contribution to make. I think its leaders have lost sight of that as one crisis after another envelops them. Make no mistake, the loss of UK funding is a crisis for them.

  55. Chris
    January 5, 2017

    Well said, Mr Redwood. My view is that this fundamental flaw in the Government’s attitude about leaving the EU is key to why the Government seems to be floundering and dithering/delaying in the exit process. You state clearly what the Government has the mandate to do, and there should be no pontificating by politicians about negotiating whether they can do so.

  56. On your Marx
    January 5, 2017

    In essence, in spirit, though not brick-by-brick, the European Union is a wickedly communist project and narrative.
    It seeks not by robust Nazi embrace but by lower-middle class fanciful inter-communal smooching to entomb us in an inescapable future. Don’t we have enough problems now surrounded by moribund Remoaners and proper British Law gone AWOL? Just think how more difficult in years to come with even more layers of bureaucratic nonsense smothering our escape!

    1. Mitchel
      January 6, 2017

      Not communist in the true,theoretical sense-as I understand it the ultimate objective of communism is the abolition of the state.But the sort of ruthless people required to strip all other actors of their power (and wealth) in the name of the state are not the sort of people to then surrender that power.In practice there has never been a true communist state.Lenin considered the bureaucratisation of the state as essentially bourgeois-the dispossessed former capitalist lackeys finding themselves a new comfortable berth-and therefore anti-communist;one of the reasons he did not want Stalin to succeed him.

  57. darren welch
    January 5, 2017

    why has the government simply not dismissed out of hand the concept of the eu customs union..its surely the jewel in the crown to be able to do our own trade deals,,if we stay in it there seems little point in leaving the eu in the first place…surely it would also br a major betrayal of the vote

    1. Roy Grainger
      January 5, 2017

      Due to local interest I follow the comments of the rather slippery Greg Hands MP , now #2 to Fox, who has variously been a Leaver and then a strong Remainer and now a Leaver again as circumstances dictate for his best advantage. He has said (presumably based on discussions within government) that we might remain in the customs union for certain (unspecified) goods and not for others. That is a recipe for years of negotiation.

  58. John Finn
    January 5, 2017


    In a blog comment I made pretty much the same point that you make in your article, i.e. offer the EU the options. I received the following response

    Because it is not simple…. do you know how complex it is to negotiate WTO schedules? Do you know there are 650+ trade agreements in the world, because countries rather negotiate those than find consensus in the WTO? Do you know that a comprehensive free trade agreement runs upwards to 2000 pages, and that the WTO has more than 5000 different custom codes?

    My initial response is that this individual is “re-inventing the wheel”. However it did set me thinking about how much negotiation would actually need to take place before trading on WTO terms. Could we have a seamless transition?

  59. Dung
    January 5, 2017

    Many politicians have proclaimed that ‘they’ know what voters were thinking when they voted Leave.
    No politician seems to have come to terms with the actual result of the vote.
    The choice was clear or even stark: leave the EU or remain in the EU.
    The result was clear so why are we still in the EU?

    I believe that the reason why TM has take so long to declare her EU tactics is that she has been trying to find a form of words that the public will accept, she has known her stance for a considerable time but dare not tell us. TM appears to say that her only red line is immigration and the rest is negotiable, that is not acceptable and it is not what we voted for.

  60. Hole in One
    January 5, 2017

    “Theresa Maybe ” is “The Economist” front page headliner which is going viral on social media.Followed with a sub-heading “Britain’s Most Indecisive Premier” . Doesn’t really matter what else is written inside the cover does it!?

  61. John
    January 5, 2017

    I realy hope there are people from Westminster that read this and take heed. The first thing people that want us to stay in say is that it is very complicated and it will cost us wealth and sovereignty whichever way we go. We need to get out from a position of strength by telling the EU “this is what we are going to do” and let them have the dilemma over their response. MPs should remember that a bad deal with Germany after WW1 led directly to bitterness and eventually WW2. Do not make the same mistake again.

  62. ChrisS
    January 6, 2017

    We might as well state our red lines at the beginning and let the EU decide what they wish to do about trade in the light of those requirements.

    We can spend months, years even, “negotiating” but the “negotiations” will be nothing of the sort. Merkel, Hollande and Junker have painted themselves into a corner insisting on no Single Market Membership without FOM and the supremacy of the European Court. Mrs May, however, cannot accept any compromise on there points and it is hard to imagine any way in which the 27 can back track without a catastrophic loss of face.

    Not much of a problem for Hollande, of course, but Merkel wants to be re-elected and Juncker is in enough trouble without upsetting European National Leaders any further.

    We might as well cut the talk short, save ourselves £250m a week from June or July 2017 and leave the decision to them. We must be prepared to go with the WTO because, sadly, I don’t share our host’s optimism.

    Junker, Merkel and Hollande and at least another 20 of the 27 are quite likely to reject continuing with free trade despite the damage that would do to EU exports to the UK, especially those from French and German. Hollande will be gone and Merkel doesn’t seem to care about one of her Auto Industry’s largest export markets.

    Trouble is, her re-election doesn’t depend on it : Audi, Porsche and BMW are all located in Bavaria and there is no danger of her sister party, the CSU, losing control there. What ever she does, she is likely to lose control to the SPD in the Lande that are the home of VW.

    Whatever the outcome, as that famous Vulcan once said :

    We will live long and prosper.

  63. Iain Gill
    January 6, 2017

    I see Vince cable has been saying open doors immigration and free movement is bad… The bubble really needs to wake up when even he says this.

  64. Prigger
    January 6, 2017

    Mr Haldane Chief Economist and Executive Director, Monetary Analysis & Statistics,a member of our Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of England “It’s true, again, fair cop. We had foreseen a sharper slowdown in the economy than has happened, in common with almost every other mainstream macro-forecaster.”

    So many us go to work each day. We lose money via bonus schemes or not being offered overtime. Sometimes we are not promoted when due. Because:- we are perceived unjustly for making minor errors which everyone makes from time to time.. Often we do not make any big mistakes and yet we lose our jobs, and home, and family. “”It’s true again, fair cop..” Whattttttttt!!! a fair cop! Oh dear, we’ve made a typo have we, never mind!
    Some people at the top do not seem to suffer consequences. There are CEOs from mega Retail outlets who lose their jobs too, again, but some just breeze along and absolutely nothing they fail at has a downside for their happiness and well-being.

  65. I wonder
    January 6, 2017

    “May to visit Trump in the spring”

    JR. Please. Aside from the typical two leaders stood at lecterns making formal speeches and sometimes clumsily and embarrassingly it seems addressing each other by their Christian names and, the marginally less formal two leaders sat slightly askew in a formal lounge setting answering journalists’ questions for TV….DO THEY ACTUALLY, sit down away from the cameras and chinwag? Speak very informally? Like two very ordinary and normal people telling the tale? Without, assistants on either side who as a ordinary mortal I would think would alter the conversation by their presence?
    Obviously I cannot know the truth. But you must know. At that level is there any such thing as genuine informality and interaction?
    Rightly or wrongly, perhaps because Donald is good at giving a certain impression of himself, I feel for one I could just talk to him straight up as if I casually met him on the street at a bus stop and talked about anything to pass the time away. He appears to me at least as That approachable.

  66. ferdinand
    January 6, 2017

    Compromise is always offered as a solution that satisfies both parties. Usually it satisfies either of the parties but is published as a good result. In business it normally isn’t.

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