Voting for the Brexit Bill

Today I will be voting to ensure the Brexit Bill at last passes the Commons again unamended , so the government can send the Article 50 letter. I do so because I campaigned to give UK voters a referendum, and made clear before and during the referendum campaign that the people’s decision would be implemented by the government.

I am pleased the Bill has passed with a large majority in the Commons, and trust the two Lords amendments will be removed by the Commons who rejected these views before.

As I stressed in my speech on the Bill, the letter itself marks the end of the UK’s membership. The one thing I agree with Lord Pannick about, the lawyer who led the Gina Miller case in the Supreme Court, is that the notification of leaving is irreversible. Under the Treaty you can only leave legally by notification. Once you have notified you have up to two years remaining in the EU to seek an agreement about the future relationship, but are out  without such an agreement at the two year stage, or sooner with an agreement. That provision was put into Article 50 deliberately to ensure the EU cannot delay unduly the exit of a country in order to get more money out of them in the form of their regular contributions as members. The rest of the EU should not be able to delay exit unduly when a country has decided it wants to leave. The EU, after all, is meant to be an association of democratic freedom loving states, so their freedom must include the freedom to cease to belong.

I  am surprised to see the rest of the EU is still using the misleading analogy that this is a divorce. It is not. It is a country leaving an international treaty arrangement which no longer suits it, because that Treaty based organisation has changed so markedly compared to one the UK agreed to join in 1972.  There are no provisions in the Treaty to make additional payments to leave or to carry on making payments after leaving.

The main question to be settled about our future relationship is whether we trade under WTO Most favoured nation status in future with the EU as we do successfully at the moment with the rest of the world, or whether we carry on tariff free. The UK would be happy to carry on tariff free despite being in large deficit on this basis, so it is a simple choice for the rest of the EU. It is high time UK media started putting this basic question to the other member states and Commission, instead of trying to find holes in the UK stance.

At the same time they could ask the rest of the EU why they have not yet reassured all UK citizens living on the continent they can continue to do so after Brexit, as we wish to do for all  continental EU citizens currently settled in the UK. The UK government is not a threat to either tariff free trade or civilised treatment of EU citizens living in a different country to their home one. I find it odd that the EU might be a threat to these straightforward common decencies. Why is the people who most like the EU that have a such a low opinion of its likely conduct?

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  1. Newmania
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    It was made quite clear by the leave side throughout their campaign that trade would continue uninterrupted and 90% of leave voters expected to be better off after Brexit. Lies.
    This extremist coup d’etat is not an expression of the will of the people , not unless half of us at least are not people and those who wanted to stay in the single market ( the majority ) can be said to have voted to leave it .
    We are now in the position of trying to beg for mercy form a trading black ten times our size with the alternative being the worst arrangement of any rich nation in the world by far .
    Look at the people doing the negotiating , would anyone seriously leave one of themm in charge of thjeir goldfish for a week ?

    Reply Vote Leave made clear there might be a no deal outcome, and we explained why we can trade successfully under WTO rules.

    • Newmania
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Do you really feel this is an appropriate time to tell people with no experience or background in this subject whosoever they should have read the small print ?

      Good luck with that .

    • Jerry
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; Vote Leave might well have made such comments but did any of the other 27 campaigning groups (all of whom were campaigning with n the law before and during the referendum) make it clear that there might be “no deal outcome” to A50 negotiations and that the UK might have to fall back upon WTO rules”?

      I seem to recall at least one quite prominent group were suggesting that we should convert our membership to that of a EFTA or EEA associate membership and thus keep access to the single market, what is more some who post comments on this site were quite supportive of the idea -that is until it was pointed out that EFTA and EEA membership was worse that full membership in some ways, having to still jump when eurocrats say so but without the ability to even ask how high!

    • graham1946
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Who says we we won’t be better off after Brexit and that trade will not continue? You?

      Can you give me next week’s winning lottery numbers please?

    • rose
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      We didn’t vote for independence to be richer: we couldn’t know whether we would be richer, poorer, or much the same. Nor could we know all that about the EU’s future. No-one does, not even you. We voted for independence.

      As to the known costs of staying in the internal market, these are colossal. Besides the tribute we have to pay each year, and the burden of inappropriate uniform regulation across the continent, there is the cost of adding a million people each year to the population. We are now 13th in GDP per capita by some calculations, 35th by others. £7 billion is going out in remittances, and ecologically and economically the cost of free movement of people is very great. Extra child benefit, housing benefit, tax credits, schools, hospitals, doctors, sewage, water, energy, roads, housing – all these have to be paid for in order to enjoy the “cheap” mainly unskilled labour coming in. Another cost has been that we no longer train and educate people here in sufficient numbers. This has to be remedied.

      You talk of begging for mercy from a trading block ten times our size: that is exactly what we watched our PM David Cameron doing when he crawled round 27 countries begging permission for our chancellor to be allowed to alter the tax on tampons.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


      Lets just wait and see shall we.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      The UK isn’t begging anyone for anything. No deal with the EU will mean we trade with them on the same terms as the likes of China and the USA. How is that the “the worst arrangement of any rich nation” ?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      It is very tedious when Remainers claim to know why Leavers voted as they did and make up arbitrary numbers like 90% in support of their claim. It would me like me saying 90% of Remainers only voted that way because they believed there would be an immediate post-vote year-long recession with 500,000 job losses, like Mr Osborne said.

    • DaveM
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see anyone begging for mercy. All I see is a country wishing their government would get on with the job in hand and some people in Brussels worrying how they’re going to finance the southern reaches of their empire without U.K. cash.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Those who voted out did so out of some combination of wanting no subordination to EU institutions, no sending of contributions to the EU and an end to uncontrolled immigration, all things expressly impossible under membership of the single market. The customs union was more of a debate, but Leave made clear a vision to negotiate independent trade deals, which rules out the customs union also. What was unclear about any of that?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Well we will be better off if we get out and vote for a proper smaller government, lower taxes, cheaper energy and bonfire of red tape government.

      Our prosperity will at least, once again, be in our hands. May and Hammond are alas clearly not real Conservatives at all, but perhaps there minds can be changed by the rather few sound Tory MPs.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      If Brexit fails we can quite easily blame your people, Newmania. You are dragging us down despite all your predictions being wrong. I would expect a greater majority for Brexit if we re-ran the referendum today.

      Our Brexit PM has massive approval ratings at the moment.

    • Oggy
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      The arguments you try to feist on us are the lies. Where were you during the referendum campaign ? The remain side as well as those on the leave side made it quite clear voting to leave the EU also meant leaving the single market.

      What a great day Newmania Article 50 becomes law !

    • libertarian
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink


      You dont seem to know what the EU internal market in goods actually is. Why do you think most people care one way or the other about the so called single market unless you believe that they like you have no idea what it is?

    • libertarian
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      As predicted by me a few weeks back

      Unemployment has fallen to 4.7% in the three months to January. Britain now has the lowest rate of unemployment since 1975. 32 million employed ( source ONS )

      Remind me Newmania what you and the lying remainers told us about unemployment and Brexit

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Why indeed is it the people who most like the EU who have a such a low opinion of its likely conduct?

    The only half sensible argument for not leaving, that the remainers came up with, was that if the UK left they would all gang up on the UK to discourage the others. But who wants to stay in a club full of members like that. Anyway it is our duty to lead the way and make a huge success of it. They gang up ar more effectively when we are subject to EU law anyway.

    Something we will certainly have, if we can get some real Conservative small state vision rather than this big government, central control, high tax, expensive energy, red tape increasing socialism light we have from daft as a brush T May and P Hammond.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Matt Ridley put it well in the times today, Deal or now deal Britsin has nothing to fear.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        FDR had a phrase for it too LL – nothing to fear but fear itself.

        The mathematician and astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, discovered how the solar system really worked, but he was denounced as a heretic by those with closed minds who could not, or would not, see it for themselves. As we all now know, Copernicus was right all along, and it was the others with vested interests to guard who were completely wrong.

        That applies in the case of Brexit. The people who don’t want us to leave are either incapable of seeing the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead for the UK outside the EU, or harbour some strange delusion bordering on superstition that the Earth will no longer keep turning if we do leave.

        Breaking that erroneous consensus was never going to be easy, as it is so deeply entrenched, but break it we must, and break it we will. All we on the leave side need to do is keep telling the truth, and history will think well of us for it.

        Tad Davison


    • Anonymous
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      It is not a coup d’etat. It was voted through by MPs.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        In response to Newmania.

  3. Mark B
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The EU is not a country but the representative of all 28 member countries. It is Supranational and, was designed in such a way as to rob the people of their influence over their elected representative and thereby, power.

    The EU is under threat. It is under threat from its own currency and its own member countries through rising nationalism and what the EU terms, Populism – Democracy by another name. The EU sees these threats as real and could lead to its unraveling and disintegration. Not that many here would be bothered but, those who very livelihoods, and well paid livelihoods they are too, who end. In short, they are fighting for their, and not the other 27’s, very existence. This makes them both a little unpredictable and, may I say, unhelpful.

    I fear our kind host, and others, are looking at the EU in the same way they would look at any nation state. On this I believe them to be wrong. The EU is not a fully functioning nation state, at least not yet, as so does not care about trade or other things as it is immune to the electorate. It is national governments that will carry the can for the EU, the EU will continue regardless.

    So the EU can negotiate a bad deal for the 27 and the UK, so long as any potential ‘contagen’ is contained.

    There are many issues that the UK need to agree upon. One such issue, not discussed here, is the border between Ireland (EU) and Ulster (UK). Can current arrangements be maintained ? If not, what will HMG do ? What if the EU play hardball on this ? We could have masses of illegal immigrants flowing over the border into the UK.

    What about our fishing grounds ? Transport and travel ? The energy couples ? And more ! To talk in such narrow terms as just trade is dangerous.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed is was designed to kill real democracy

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      The Irish government is not entirely powerless; it can tell the other EU governments that it will be unable to get a withdrawal agreement approved by the Irish Parliament, and would not even attempt to do so, if it meant a return to a hard border.

      • Mark
        Posted March 15, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        A withdrawal agreement only requires QMV support in Council to be binding on all EU members and EU institutions. The Irish can be overridden. On the other hand, our border arrangements with France with juxtaposed controls etc. are a purely bilateral agreement: time for inventive lawyers to construe an Irish border agreement in a suitable bilateral fashion.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 15, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          That will depend on what is covered in the agreement “setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”. It has been pointed out that while Article 50 does not require the agreement to be ratified by all member states nor is that step expressly excluded. In any case even if the first agreement emerging from the negotiations was designed so that it did not need to be approved by the national and regional parliaments that would not be possible for a further agreement to ensure a smooth continuation of trade and other relations.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Your point regarding the status of the EU and the willingness of its officers to deal in good faith is well made. Comments we’ve had so far suggest that there is only a small probability we will have any meaningful discussion on future trade relations UNLESS the real nation states politicians step in to take control. To this end I suggest our host propose to the various trade bodies, SMMT and the like, who represent the larger industries with EU markets, meet with their EU counterparts to work out what they want, then put pressure on their respective governments.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Well if it is a divorce then it is on the grounds that it was a polygamous marriage in which our partner went of and found 20 odd new brides.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      But with our approval as we thought we would benefit.

  5. eeyore
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    “I am surprised to see the rest of the EU is still using the misleading analogy that this is a divorce. It is not.”

    Impressions are important in politics, especially perhaps when they are false. If a divorce-type split is what European populations are being told they are entitled to, they will be pretty peeved when they don’t get one. They have been promised a E60bn windfall as the guilty party slinks from the family home. How will they feel when, as we learned yesterday, they are in fact asked to hand over E9bn of assets themselves?

    EU leaders will be in full face-saving mode. They will treat us to a master-class in preposterous indignation. Under those circumstances, how likely is it there can be a deal at all?

  6. formula57
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    As for actually leaving, let us keep in mind the UK will be negotiating with a group where none are empowered to say “yes” and all are empowered to say “no”, including the likes of Wallonia. Accordingly, expectations of achieving anything in the two years post notice might be sensibly set very low. Still, it is nice to talk, so I am told, formula57even at a cost of c.£850 million a month.

    You remarked before about leaving the EU that we are out when we say we are out. Were that view to prevail amongst the government, we might all be much better off and we would certainly avoid two years worth of nonesense.

    • Mark
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      The nice thing about Article 50 is that “Wallonia” has no say at all. The agreement requires simply a majority in the European Parliament and a qualified majority approval in the Council and no further ratification at all, after which it is immediately binding on all EU Members and institutions in accordance with Article 216.

  7. Jack snell
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    There will be not much chance for carrying on tariff free because there will be no meeting of minds about the basics like the agreement for UK citizens to remain overseas in the various EU countries etc – i believe this is because agreement between the 27 remaining countries on this subject will prove be too complicated and so impossible to conclude in the short time frame allowed – just look at the turmoil that is happening in poland and other east european countries at the moment? – and then there is the thorny question of the bill the EU is going to present to us which will very likely be totally unacceptable? so logically then the UK will leave the EU in very quick fashion.. probably before the end of this year..and that will be the end of our forty year association .. it will be a complete and total break and we will then be free to start new trade deals with other countries worldwide.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The problem is of course the EU is notorious for breaking its own rules any time it suits them, on economic matters for example, so it will be easy for them to decide A50 is not irrevocable and that the two year period can be extended indefinitely.

    • Mark
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      The two year period of continued membership can indeed be extended indefinitely, but only if a) all 28 EU members including the UK agree, and b) that agreement is in place before the two years are up – as specified by Article 50(3). That will be quite difficult, since the UK has already rejected membership on marginally better terms than we have now (the Cameron renegotiation that was put to the referendum), and getting the EU to agree unanimously on anything better would be quite hard. There is also the question as to what would constitute agreement on the UK’s part: perhaps a further referendum and an act of Parliament, all of which would take time, so the real deadline for the EU to offer a deal to stay is perhaps no more than 18 months.

  9. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Great post John. I never thought we would get to this. I just hope the media pick up on a few things you have said here and I hope it doesn’t take us two long years to actually leave.

    The rot will come out of the woodwork soon and we shall see exactly who in the different parties will stand by the UK instead of giving their allegiance to the EU.

  10. Richard1
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile Christoper Booker (often sound on other issues) continues to argue that we face disaster due to being outside some customs clearance computer system, which we would be in if we stayed in the EEA. I don’t really follow it but it would be good to see a proper response to this point – which he has been making for months – from somebody.

    Reply Other countries grade just fine with the EU without being in the EEA. There is no problem

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I read Booker yesterday and I am now fully convinced that because Norths Flexcit has (correctly) been ignored he has become a closet remainer.
      I think they both secretly are wishing for a failure so they can say told you so.
      Every week he has another article trashing the government and pushing the EEA/EFTA argument.
      That would leave us worse off than at the moment.
      The same can be said for Richard Dawkins.

    • Beecee
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Christopher Booker’s problem seems to be that we are not doing it the way he wants.

    • APL
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Other countries grade just fine with the EU without being in the EEA. There is no problem”

      That is true. But the issue is, that these ‘other countries’ haven’t been in the European Union for 43 years. Thus their trading arrangements haven’t been perverted by the internal EU system, and that dropping out of the EU will disrupt trade between the UK and EU because we will no longer be covered by the EU system neither have we ( the UK ) maintained independent trade agreements with the EU, since we were part of the ‘internal market’.

  11. agricola
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I too wish that all the commentators had the clarity that you express.. The only negotiation should be about how we handle all those areas of cooperation that currently exist, and could be better continuing to exist. I think a transitory arrangement for fisheries needs to be discussed in detail. We cannot penalise relatively small businesses of any nation that have invested in what they were led to believe was a common fisheries policy. If we go back to international norm for maritime boundaries, let us say fully enforceable five years from Brexit then we have a great export possibility. Relatively we Brits do not eat fish. The Belgians , Dutch, French, and Spanish most certainly do.

    At home , if we incorporate all EU law we have acquired by adopting it to UK law, then nothing changes, unless in the distant future parliament wishes it to change. As you suggest, it is not as complex as vested interests would have us believe.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      “We cannot penalise relatively small businesses of any nation that have invested in what they were led to believe was a common fisheries policy.”

      Many will have invested in secondhand Bitish trawlers that as a result of the quotas awarded by the EU to our fishermen in our ancestral fishing grounds, rendered them economically unviable. It is time to stop getting sentimental about the rights of foreigners when they are the very last to get sentimental about ours, and instead focus on the suffering of English people inflicted on us by our politicians, some of whom actively hate us, and demand that they put us first, all and every time.

      As to the consumption of fish by British people in comparison with foreigners, looking at the Atlantic seaboard only, that is most doubtful since we used to eat not only what our fishermen caught in our waters but also in the waters around Iceland. The consumption of fish, presently, is heavily constrained by the cost, quality and freshness of what is available to us under the EU thieving our fish policy. Remember Kinston-upon-Hull was the largest fishing port in the world until its decline in the 70s; I wonder what caused that?

  12. alan jutson
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I also hope it goes through without any amendment, as only then will we have a real leave means leave position, then at last we will see the true EU response.

  13. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that the bill is passed without ammendments. Wee Kranky is posturing again. Please set a date for the indy ref 2and let the English get too vote.
    I like the idea that the EU owes us £9 billion. I suggest we call it quits and pay the 2018 subscription and tear up the membership card.
    Good luck.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    For those who wish to refresh their memories of what Article 50 TEU says:

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

    2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

    4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

    A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

    5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    (words deleted ed0

    “UK ‘could crash out of EU without a deal within six months’”

    “Speaking on the BBC, Ms Soubry, one of the leading pro-EU Tory backbenchers who could lead a rebellion today said: “I think the big fear, certainly the fear I have, is that we’ll be crashing out in six months.”

    Indicating that she would vote against the Brexit trigger or abstain if the amendments are not carried, Ms Soubry added: “I think what is happening is that the government is putting in place scaffolding at the bottom of the cliff to break our fall when we come to fall off that cliff.

    “And I think many in government are actually preparing, not for a two-year process, but six to nine months off the cliff, out we go. That’s my real fear.”

    Read Article 50, Ms Soubry; we could only leave the EU in six months if we had actually negotiated and concluded a withdrawal agreement, not by simply “crashing out”, otherwise it’s a minimum period of two years after the notification goes in.

    And why on earth should the UK government want to do that? It’s far more likely that it will be proposing an extension of the two year period to ensure that everything will be in place for a smooth and orderly withdrawal, which may or may not be agreed.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      “It’s far more likely that it will be proposing an extension of the two year period to ensure that everything will be in place for a smooth and orderly withdrawal, which may or may not be agreed.”

      I do hope not because we cannot be sure who will be in government then.

  16. Alan
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It is not correct to say that the Article 50 notification is irrevocable. The truth is we do not know whether it can be revoked or not. This is an example of those who wish to leave the EU making up facts because they want to believe them, and of them plunging ahead with a policy when they do not know the possible consequences. There are legal arguments for both the notification being revocable and for it being irrevocable, and we don’t know which the European Court of Justice might finally decide, nor whether it will even be asked to rule on the matter. If we say we want to revoke the notification it is quite possible the other nations will just agree.

    I think it “odd” that the Brexiters believe that the EU is a threat to straightforward human decencies. It is another example of the Brexiters not understanding what they are doing: they have encouraged xenophobia and isolationism and now profess to be surprised that people are questioning what rights foreigners should have and what trade links should continue to exist. People such as myself who like the EU wanted free trade and freedom of movement to continue. It is the Brexiters who are bringing these to an end, not us. They should take responsibility for their decision, not blame others.

    Reply Both sides in the Supreme Court case argued the letter is irrevocable. Were they misleading us?
    You are flipping the position round to the opposite of the truth. Brexiteers made clear throughout the referendum campaign we want free trade and to allow all EU citizens resident in each other’s countries to stay.This has not so far happened thanks to the rest of the EU, as it is UK government policy to bring this about!

    • Simon
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      You are being very slippery and in fact very unpleasant in dealing with this John using the same sneering supercillious tone you used last time. The barristers adopted a common position for the hearing. No one was misled.

      The government has been saying for ages that their policy is that it won’t be withdrawn. Not that it can’t be.

      As you are clearly and intelligent and very well informed man I suggest it is you who has been consistently misleading on this and a number of other matters for which there is clearly no evidential basis.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      “If we say we want to revoke the notification it is quite possible the other nations will just agree.”

      Yes, it is possible, and quite irrespective of the legalities – which are never allowed to get in the way of what the EU wants to do, as we know from past experience – but it is very unlikely that their political agreement would be cost-free for the UK.

      What price do you think they would demand?

    • Simon Platt
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Parts 2 and 33 of Article 50, kindly posted by Denis Cooper, above, are very clear “… shall … shall … shall … shall … shall …”, not a “will” nor a “may” nor a “should” to be seen. To the extent that international politics is mostly, as it seems to me, about Power, and that the EU is, it seems to me, a law unto itself, it is conceivable that “shall” might not mean “shall”. But I can’t see how the English language text admits of any other interpretation than “irrevocable”.

    • Alan
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      The case for the Article 50 notification being revocable was not argued before the Supreme Court: it suited both sides to assume it was irrevocable. In the High Court the Lord Chief Justice did point out that there was no certainty about its status. In a sense, yes, they were misleading us, but in actuality they just did not deal with this question.

      I am not flipping the position round: the Brexiters are. We have free trade and free movement at the moment. It is the Brexiters who are changing that. We will continue to have free trade and free movement until the Brexiters take us out of the EU, unless they pass a law to change this situation (which they will probably do). If I could stop this I would. The Brexiters have to accept responsibility for what they are doing.

    • hefner
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Well, there is quite a bit of hypocrisy here. UK is one country, the rest of the EU is made of 27 countries. I don’t think it is so difficult to imagine that, if the UK government had wanted it, the decision to allow all EU citizens resident in the UK to stay could have been taken much faster than what the other 27 could have done. To go on pretending that all responsibility is with the EU27 is quite a distorted view.
      Why not accept that both the UK and the EU27 are playing games with people?
      There is a fraud in pretending that the UK is always playing fair. On this question, both sides are playing nasty. No need, except to please the “crowd”, to say that the UK has the moral high ground. …. But what can one expect of politicians?

  17. Jerry
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    If triggering A50 is the act of leaving then I assume that the will UK will legally be able to stop paying our EU membership fees from the day we send the letter, and if so that all our MEPs return home to either find a new job, sign-on -or at least stop being paid, stop attending the EU parliament, and stop placing the letters “MEP” after their names etc?…

    • Mark
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      We leave wither two years after we give notice, or on some other date nominated in any Article 50 withdrawal agreement that is completed sooner (which might be sooner or later than two years). We remain obligated to pay until we leave, and not thereafter.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t, as is clear from the text of Article 50 and as I suspect you well know.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Our treaty obligations continue until two years are up or we negotiate an agreement within that time.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 14, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; That was my point Eddie, and why I laced my comment with so much irony!

        • Edward2
          Posted March 15, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Why deliberately post something you know not to be correct?
          Seems odd to me.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 16, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Oh dear… I did not. I’m also very sorry that you do not seem to understand irony, even after the event, having been told. 🙁

  18. Bert Young
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The EU are manic because our leaving will have a major impact on its unity and integrity . The financing problem of its affairs without our contribution also makes it highly unlikely it will be able to continue ; Poland – the largest recipient of EU funds , is already making disgruntled noises – add in the woes of Greece and there you have it .

    Germany will not put itself in the position of the EU banker and outside bodies like the IMF will find it impossible to produce a credible argument for continuing support . All the signs are that the EU is on its last legs .

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Amen to that.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Bert Young; “All the signs are that the EU is on its last legs”

      Or that the formal creation of the ‘United States of Europe’ is even closer!

    • Alan
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      You are maybe forgetting that some EU governments will collect customs duties on our exports to them. These will be roughly the same as the contribution we currently make to the EU.

      The EU countries as a whole have a budget surplus and would have no difficulty in providing the equivalent of the UK contribution if they wished to.

      I accept that we have caused a lot of damage to the EU’s unity: I regard this as one of the many disadvantages of us leaving.

      • Simon
        Posted March 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Tariffs paid by companies exporting into the EU go to the EU. Not to the Member State.

  19. Bob
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    ” The UK would be happy to carry on tariff free despite being in large deficit on this basis”

    don’t you think we ought to seek some additional concessions, such as a large cash incentive to balance out this deficit.

    Rumours abound that the UK is considering giving up it’s traditional fishing grounds to the EU. Is there any truth in this Mr Redwood?

    Reply Seems unlikely. Why would we do that?

    • forthurst
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      In answer to a question put by the Independent Liberal MP for Clacton, Mr Eustace said:

      “As the hon. Gentleman will know, I have consistently made it clear that leaving the EU means that we will take back control of our exclusive economic zone—the area out to 200 nautical miles or the median line—and that will allow us to look afresh at mutual access agreements and shares of the total allowable catch in shared waters.”

      This answer implies that currently we have made agreements with the EU over how much of our fish can be stolen; this is an outright lie. We have not. Any politician considering handing over our ancestral fishing grounds on any basis whatsover to alien domains after we leave the EU will need to avoid the proximity of lamp posts.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      It has long been considered by many that giving up our fishing grounds was one of the worst things any government has do to its own people in modern times. It would therefore be an even greater affront to the people of the UK if its own government repeated the same mistake. A mistake that will cost the ruling party much I fear.

      I think it is important that HMG make control of our fishing grounds a red line. How can we call ourselves a nation when we effectively surrender control of our own sovereign territory.

  20. Simon
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    John I am not sure why you say the Art 50 letter ends our EU membership. It starts the clock to the two years but it is does not of itself end anything.

    Secondly it is far from clear that Art 50 is not reversible. All the serious EU and other legal opinion goes the other way. I do not understand why you do not want to even admit to any ambiguity on what is a very important matter and one furthermore which is already before the court in Dublin from where it will no doubt be referred to the ECJ because being a treaty matter it is not one on which the Dublin Court holds any competence or jurisdiction.

    Insofar as Lord Pannick suggested Art 50 was irreversible he did so with the agreement of Counsel for the purpose of that hearing. It was not then a statement of law – and certainly not one that Lord Pannick is entitled to make.

    Once it is firmly established that Art 50 is in fact revocable the case that Parliament should have a second look at it prior to the two year point becomes compelling. The Foreign Affairs Committee at last has begun to lay out some of the difficulties in WTO as did the now leaked Treasury report. Sentient people no longer pay any attention to the waffle of Boris Johnson, or the absurd bluster of David Davis.

    The endless repetition of the word “negotiations” carefully pronounced by the Prime Minister is simply heading for a repeat of the Cameron fiasco. The EU will not trade with us at all except on their own terms and there is no good reason why they should.

    Reply If Lord Pannick’s stated legal view on the irreversibility was wrong the court would have corrected him. Why do you presume to know better than Lord Pannick, the Attorney General and the Supreme Court? The government side thought long and hard over whether to challenge the doctrine of irreversibility, as if they had done so they would have more likely won the court case. They rightly decided it was not possible to construe the law in the way that would have suited them.

    • Simon
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      No they didn’t. All the govt thought about was avoiding an early referral to the ECJ so for the purpose of the hearing decided to agree that it was not revocable.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      But there’s a big difference between an Article 50 notice being revoked or cancelled with the agreement of all the parties, and an Article 50 notice being revoked just by a unilateral decision of the member state which has served it.

      It is true that there is nothing in the text to expressly prohibit the former, but nor is there anything to permit the latter.

      And in reality even if there was a provision for unilateral revocation it is hard to see all the other governments saying:

      “OK, we’ve spent the past two years negotiating terms for your withdrawal, but now you’ve changed your mind and want to stay in after all, so that’s fine let’s just forget all about it and carry on as if you’d never said you intended to leave”.

      Maybe they could all be persuaded to allow a political agreement to drop the whole mistaken UK withdrawal thing, maybe they could even give that a colour of legality by invoking the “We’ll do as we damn well please” Article 352 TFEU:

      but what would be the price for their agreement?

    • Jerry
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; Apples and pears! Irreversibility and the end of (our) contractual responsibilities are two different issues. Lord Pannick is correct that we could not unilaterally withdraw our A50 letter, just as someone who submits a letter containing their notice of resignation to their employer does not normally have it in their gift to withdraw the said letter and thus remain employed! Non of that has any bearing on the actual date of leaving, or the length of notice required as set out in the contract/treaty.

      I suspect that had the government challenged the doctrine of irreversibility and won they would have driven a coach and horses through domestic UK contractual law!

    • Gareth Jones
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      “Why do you presume to know better than……the Supreme Court?”

      Perhaps it’s a habit picked up from the Daily Mail.

  21. More than 1????
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The reference to “day 1” below could induce vomiting in many British people and with subsequent attempts to gnaw off their fingers.

    European Union (Notification of Withdrawal)Bill-Consideration of Lords amendments (day 1)

    • Jerry
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      @More than 1????; Whilst even more, including many who voted for Brexit, are not just gnawing off their fingers but their toes too when they read or hear those sorts of comments from some Brexiteers who seem to have as much disdain for due democratic process as they claim eurocrats have.

      If the said Bill becomes the ball in a game of parliamentary ping-pong this week then so be, that is the price for living in a democracy…

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    “Once you have notified you have up to two years remaining in the EU to seek an agreement about the future relationship… ”

    That’s “… unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period”, according to the text of the article.

    “… but are out without such an agreement at the two year stage, or sooner with an agreement.That provision was put into Article 50 deliberately to ensure the EU cannot delay unduly the exit of a country … ”

    That was indeed its purpose, to provide a guideline for the period for negotiations rather than set a deadline, and not to create the “ticking clock” scenario so beloved by Remoaners and much of the media, in which the other countries can put ever-mounting pressure on the withdrawing country to agree to a rubbish deal, but simply to guarantee that a member state cannot be kept in the EU against its will for longer than two years.

    Several people have claimed at least part authorship of that article: Leaver Gisela Stuart said that it originated in an expulsion clause she drafted for the EU Constitution:

    while Remainer Lord Kerr claimed that he wrote it for the Lisbon Treaty and that it was deliberately designed to put the withdrawing country at a disadvantage and so make its escape difficult and costly. He has even claimed that the notice can be unilaterally revoked, even though there is no such provision in the article. However a recent Lords committee report goes back to the records of the preparatory work:

    “21. The second option is stark: if no agreement is reached within two years, the effect is exactly the same as if a withdrawal agreement had been agreed and entered into force: the EU “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” (Article 50(3) TEU). The second option allows, therefore, for the most disorderly of withdrawals. The travaux préparatoires explain that the two-year cut-off was inserted to ensure that the right of a Member State to withdraw from the EU was unilateral, rather than dependent on the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Indeed, the drafters of Article 50 foresaw the two-year period being extended:

    “The Praesidium considers that, since many hold that the right of withdrawal exists even in the absence of an explicit provision to that effect, withdrawal of a Member State from the Union cannot be made conditional upon the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Hence the provision that withdrawal will take effect in any event two years after notification. However, in order to encourage a withdrawal agreement between the Union and the State which is withdrawing, Article I-57 [now I-60] provides for the possibility of extending this period by common accord between the European Council and the Member State concerned.”

    • Mark
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I think that temporary continuation of membership should be construed on its own merits. There is nothing that explicitly ties it in to negotiations in Article 50. It is possible as you suggest that both sides might agree to it as part of an extended period of negotiations, but it not necessary to extend it for negotiations to continue, as they must until the EU has concluded the withdrawal agreement by approving it. It is also possible that the UK might agree a temporary extension of membership until the end of the current MFF period in order to smooth negotiations and avoid the necessity for the EU to decide on amendments to it, allowing a clean break for the next MFF period. In either case, unanimous approval of all 28 EU members is required if the extension is under 50(3). An extension to the end of the MFF period might be agreed as a date specified in a completed withdrawal agreement made before two years expire, only requiring the same QMV approval as the agreement itself.

  23. oldtimer
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I agree with all of your comments. In line with members of the public who are interviewed on this topic Parliament and the government must “just get on with it”.

  24. James Neill
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The talks on our exit will be hard and they will be short because there will be little or no compromise from either EU or UK with both sides becoming firmly entrenched thereafter the UK will have no option but to crash out probably later this year- it will be done in dramatic fashion- and after that we will be left with a terrible mess to clean up but by then we will be finally free to make whatever new trade deals worldwide that we wish- and will have taken back control – it’s not the best ending but I don’t see any other way.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Well, we could take bets on it, or maybe JR could run a sweepstake … I think it is very unlikely that we will leave before the end of the two years, and much more likely that there will be an extension.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Nothing in the past history of the EU suggests they handle a crisis swiftly and decisively, rather they fudge and waffle and break their own rules and kick the problem a few years down the road, hence your predicted outcome sounds very plausible.

  25. Know-dice
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I’m amazed that the likes of Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan can’t see the damage that they will cause to the Government’s negotiating position if they continue with asking for a “meaningful” Parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal.

    It seems like they want the UK to get a bad deal…

    On unilaterally giving EU citizens that live in the UK rights without getting a reciprocal agreement from the EU on UK citizens in Europe. My initial instinct was to take the moral high ground, but as the EU will not even talk about this, then we shouldn’t sacrifice our ex-pat citizens future for political dogma…

    • rose
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      “It seems like they want the UK to get a bad deal…” Of course they do because they hope Parliament and then the public will reject it and clamour to stay in.

      On the Ex Pats, I was a unilateralist too, all through the referendum campaign and in the aftermath, but have changed my mind since hearing from certain quarters on the Continent what mentality we are up against. I don’t think many British people had any idea how nasty it was.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Same with me, I thought (and I still think) that Theresa May made a terrible mistake by accepting bad advice from Sir Ivan Rogers. She should have seized the moral high ground and shown the world that we are a fair-minded and generous nation by providing a unilateral guarantee that no well-behaved EU citizen already settled here on June 23rd 2016 would be adversely affected in any way, and moreover publicly issuing an instruction to the civil service that if there was any kind of doubt their cases must be dealt with sympathetically and not with the heartless bureaucratic rigour which has since been shown in some well-publicised instances. But that was then, before she had tried to get reciprocal agreements and been rebuffed, allegedly at the behest of Merkel, and now if she acted unilaterally that would be taken as a sign that it was only necessary to reject whatever she proposed and she would roll over.

      • Andy
        Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been saying for a bit how dismayed I have been by the attitude and tone of much comment coming from the Continent and it suggests to me a degree of hostility that will make an agreement impossible. Mrs May will end up having to walk away.

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    When you listen to the Remoaners in Parliament and the media they always put their view of the strength of the position of the EU first e.g. they tell us their will be a high price to pay for access to the EU single market whilst never for one moment considering the price of EU access to the UK market. Perhaps they have spent so many years of EU subservience that they are unable to alter their mind set. I don’t accept their statements that they are not trying to thwart the will of the British people as expressed in the referendum -that is exactly their aim and ambition. I hope today that Mrs May will have the authority to trigger Article 50 without condition.

    • ian wragg
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      The problem is most receive some EU funding which means they must push the EU narrative. Especially the BBC.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      We already pay a high price – for them to sell us more than we do them.

      I think it is access and competition from other non-EU countries and loss of market share that worries them.

      We have been a captive market for far too long.

    • stred
      Posted March 14, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Apparently, all that Mrs May has to do, now the bill is passed, is ask Liz to sign it off and send the letter. But it was reported that this will be by the end of the month. Why not tomorrow? Mrs May’s sense of priorities reminds me of my wife’s when leaving the house, getting into the car and putting on her seat belt. I have found that the best thing to do is to take advantage of the inexplicable time taken and have a nap.

      Meanwhile, Mrs Reding was on R4 this morning saying that Brexit was rather a yawn and not a priority, as they are busy building their superstate, and it negotiating an agreement in 2 years would be unlikely. Perhaps, if we stopped paying them to build their state it would become less of a bore for her.

      As regards the reversibility of A50, it is always possible to find a lawyer with a different opinion. If Remainers were to scare enough people into changing their minds, then perhaps the author of A50 would accept a lucrative commission to put it into reverse. What really counts is the money. If the EU could keep milking the UK , while giving little in return, they would just ignore the rules or write another one. Which is why getting out quickly is vital.

  27. DaveK
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Totally agree, but something needs to counteract the continuing “cliff edge” meme and the BBC allowing statements that food will be so much dearer that the poor will starve. Does anyone have a link to an actual study of our current exports/imports and a comparison with the WTO tariffs that would apply? I would have expected the government to publish these to point towards during negotiations. I would also stress that we could help developing nations by buying some of their produce (trade not aid) so in fact food prices on some items could actually come down. Anyone for a maple syrup covered lobster 😉

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Morrison’s Chairman has already said they’re sourcing 200 more British suppliers, by far the busiest car park at the Supermarkets yesterday was the Aldi and these German supermarkets are always claiming in adverts how much of their produce is local. There is a whole world to import from if Europe want to cut themselves off from our market or overprice their goods, we would be all much better off if we leave on friendly terms from Spanish holiday providers to French Vans and Wines to German Cars.

      Nicola Sturgeons announcement today about no need for a hard border is ridiculous and it is time the English get to have a say if the Scots vote for another referendum, the Irish have a sea border with us, there is a port check on any persons coming over to the UK from Ireland, free movement within Ireland is one thing, there won’t be free movement to the UK there will be checks in place.

      However, if the Scots don’t have any nuclear defence and England is then exposed this will change everything won’t it? Student movements, free residential transfers if they choose to join up with the EU will be restricted to whatever quotas we set for the whole of the EU. Whilst we were all in the EU together that was one thing but the UKs decision to leave was a game changer with regard to Scottish independence, we would have to bring UK industry and jobs back down to Northern England and re-site our defence forces.

      When we provide a deal with the EU for settlement of EU nationals in the UK we will want similar numbers provided for of British expats in the EU surely.

    • acorn
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      There is one that JR has quoted from, but it does not refer to “tariff quotas”.

      And the EU agriculture fact sheet at
      The latter shows the €3.7 billion CAP payment to the UK. Page 11 shows the UK trade deficit in agricultural products, mostly with the EU. The EU will want to stick us with as many of its FTA “preferential tariff quotas” as it can.

      Fish catch quotas. I can’t see changing much, they will still have to be managed with the EU. Fish, like Birds, don’t have passports and disregard all national boundaries. They rarely get caught in the same waters where they were spawned. The UK exports 80% of its wild caught seafood, two thirds going into European Ports.

  28. graham1946
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The EU didn’t need to delay in order to get more money, our dithering government did that for them, so we have wasted another 8 billion of much needed funds which no doubt will go to EU infrastructure whilst ours continues to go to pot and our sick untreated.

    Still, better late than never. Anna Soubry said yesterday that the negotiations could collapse and we could be out in 6 to 9 months. Let’s hope she is right for once. We’ve wasted enough already, though why the new treaty or whatever comes out should take more than a day to complete I don’t fathom. We just need free trade and that’s it – either a yes or no. We can then stop paying and tidy up the minutiae so beloved of politicians and civil servants later.

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    The thinking on Brexit of many MPs, Lords, pundits and journalists appears to be bereft of logic and common sense compounded with malice and aggrievement. As Theresa May has said “no deal is better than a bad deal”. The many objections to that are predicated on remainer’s wishes not the electorate’s. In fact whilst the EU insist on making continued membership of the single market conditional on accepting the four freedoms in their totality and wish to place other obligations on the UK it is difficult to see how any deal can be achieved. If the UK stands firm on it’s deceleration to leave without a deal if necessary there is no doubt the EU will compromise as it is in it’s best interests to do so.

    As you also point out a no deal does not overly disadvantage the UK but does harm the EU. Something the remainers should ponder because that indicates EU membership was never in the UK’s best interest anyway and that the EU was using that membership for it’s benefit not ours. There are many areas of cooperation that the UK will wish to continue and as they are hardly contentious except as a bargaining chip will eventually be subject to deals. Brussels will not what their crass stupidity exposed by not doing so.

    • Richard
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      The Treasury report publicised over the weekend made clear that the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal would be cataclysmic for the UK economy. You really need to listen to experts rather than the right wing echo chamber on here.

  30. Aqib
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    You are doing well job! Thanks for updating us..See some off the new

  31. English Pensioner
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Thank goodness one MP is talking sense.
    I’ve just watched Anna Soubry on the television claiming that Britain didn’t vote for a ‘Hard Brexit’ and Parliament must vote on any agreement and, presumably, stay in the EU if they don’t like it. We weren’t given any choice as to the type of Brexit, it was in or out. These variants on Brexit have only been invented by the Remoaners since the referendum in a devious attempt. to stay in the EU. My wife and I clearly voted OUT, no conditions, and as we were part of the majority we expect Parliament to carry out our wishes. Any thing else would show their contempt for democracy, something which is leading to the rise of the so-called Populist movements across Europe.

  32. nigel seymour
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    J, good luck today, let’s just get it done. I’ll be interested on your Scottish ref post after Sturgeon’s speech today.

  33. ian
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    One can only think that you are in middle of ERM2, give them a ball to play with and they will play, same people as last time, mr heseltine, elite bankers and hedge funds the establishment and so on, as i have said before, come out right away and take the ball out of play, there no need tell them that you are going to WTO rules, you just tell them that have left the eu and just carry on as normal and wait to hear from them, then if you hear nothing about it all so well and good, if they write to you saying that they want money and tariff on goods, you just write to them saying that you have no money but are happy if they want to put tariff on goods just send us a list so we can send you are list, that’s how its done son , all in private letters, any thing less than doing it this way and going fined yourself in very deep water.

  34. norman
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Brexit is a significant facet of seismic global events, among which it could soon be eclipsed. Mutual pragmatism may then eventually win the day. Meanwhile, keep calm, and carry on!

  35. Simon Platt
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for saying “this is not a divorce”. That is wrong on so many levels. The first time I heard that analogy used was from the lips of the Archbishop of York. (I don’t say he was the first to coin this cliché, but that he was the first I heard use it.) I though it particularly inapt from a clergyman.

  36. DaveM
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, 2 questions:

    1. In relation to your first paragraph, how much money has been wasted by delaying the inevitable, i.e. something that should have been done on 24 June 2016?

    2. What do you think the Leave lobby would have done had the referendum gone the other way? I don’t imagine there would have been endless court cases and debates, I think there would have been a concerted effort to ensure the UK retained a modicum of sovereignty and self-rule and made the best of EU membership. So why has no one held to account people like Heseltine, Soubry, Major, Blair, et al, who claim to have the best interests of the U.K. at heart and yet by doing what they’ve done have caused division, delay, expense, etc., and fueled the screeching of people like our good friend Newmania?

    Most people have a sense of duty to whichever organisation they belong and represent, yet people like those who I mentioned above are actually trying to damage their own organisation through spite and vindictiveness – they should be publicly held to account.

  37. MikeP
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Well here I am eagerly awaiting David Davies to begin the process of re-debating the Brexit Bill and what do I find? Instead of him at 15.30 as predicted by the BBC, presumably from a Parliamentary timetable, we had an overrun of Defence questions. Then we had a 10-minute rule bill presentation that took at least 20 minutes to present and be replied to, followed by a ” time-consuming division”. Then the tellers reported back and the lady MP bringing the Bill had to wend her merry way down to the despatch box to present it. Finally Mr Speaker called for the Notification of Withdrawal Bill to receive its second reading but you had to vote on this, ???, so another time-consuming division was called. In the meantime a lot of gossiping and merriment in the Chamber and we’re good to go an hour later than expected.
    When we have some of the most modern, successful, fast-moving, high tech industries and professional services firms in the UK, why such a pedestrian, ill-equipped process should be our way of making laws is beyond me. It’s high time you were voting on the spot, electronically, with fingerprint checks and all the other trappings of the 21st Century, none of this walking in and out of the Division Lobby. Little wonder the young SNP member is disenchanted with such an antiquated and unproductive House.

  38. margaret
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Well it certainly sounds like my divorce where I was wiped out and left to pay debts , but still this is also a bad analogy.
    Why do you think that they will not reassure UK citizens living abroad of their rights to stay? I would be interested to read various speculations and theories.

  39. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    One question:
    “that Treaty based organisation has changed so markedly compared to one the UK agreed to join in 1972. ”
    Indeed we did vote to stay in the common market – then the EEC now the EEA.
    So why is Mrs May threatening – without debate – to take us out of the EEA when we can perfectly well stay in, negotiate immigration, be free of the ECJ, be allowed again to make our own trading arrangements with the rest of the world and, most important of all, be able to enjoy freedom from Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs)?
    I very much look forward to hearing the answer to this important question. So far the silence has been deafening.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      PS We have to join EFTA, of course – after Article 50 has been handed in.

  40. Freeborn John
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I cannot understand why Theresa May is going to delay the Article 50 notification for a further 3 weeks. Every week of membership costs us £200m net so even a 3 week delay is £600m. The government only spends £3bn a year on Highways so this delay is certainly a significant waste at a time when the is big public deficit and the Opposition is concerned about “austerity”. There has been more than enough costly delay already.

  41. margaret
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Re the second amendment adding the new clause, Are there some votes which are not meaningful? I hope not

  42. Chris S
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I write this after the convincing majorities in the Commons in favour of rejecting the Lords amendments of the Article 50 bill. Hopefully the Lords will bow out gracefully rather than face the very real possibility of abolition.

    However I am dismayed to hear that Mrs May is now expected to delay the serving of the A50 notice for another two weeks.

    Why the delay ? It surely just invites another bunch of Remoaners to go to court in an attempt to thwart the process ?

    Mrs May : JUST GET ON WITH IT !!!!!!!!!

  43. Mark
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Today is my birthday, and I’ve just received a very nice present from Parliament via the passing unamended of the Brexit bill. Thanks to those MPs and Lords who have made it happen – not least our host.

  44. fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    On the one hand we have great news that Brexit can go ahead but at the same time, bad news that Sturgeon wants another referendum. I don’t know why the BBC is saying it is such a shock when all Sturgeon and co have gone on about since the last referendum is another one!!! Talk about sick of it all. God knows how the Scots think they are going to afford going it alone. I just hope Mrs May gets the UK out of the EU before the Scottish referendum. Let’s get a move on please.

  45. Mick
    Posted March 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Abit cheesed off of all the major tv channels giving top air time to sturgeon about a referendum on leaving the uk, they are nobody’s there’s more people in my area of Yorkshire/ Humber who voted to leave the eu, who do these scot nats thing they are trying to hold my country to ransom, have your vote and go but don’t come back with a begging bowl later on.
    Great result from the HOC & HOL

  46. Up Scots Independenc
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Are SNP MPs to Westminster out of job if the Scots vote for Independence? Every cloud has a silver lining!

    • hefner
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Same silver lining for the EU parliament when Farage, and the other British MEPs leave the boat in 2019.

  47. John Slade
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to you and your fellow Euro-sceptics. We’ve got there in the end. If only Mr Major had not forced through the Maastricht Treaty we could have been 25 years ahead of the game.

  48. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    So now we wait for the Her Majesty to give Royal Assent to a Bill which was only necessary because Supreme Court judges appointed by Royal Prerogative agreed with some unelected parliamentarians appointed by Royal Prerogative that Her Majesty’s Government headed by a Prime Minister chosen by Her Majesty should not make use of Royal Prerogative to serve a notice under an international treaty to which Her Majesty had become a High Contracting Party by an exercise of Royal Prerogative …

    • hefner
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed, what about a republic with FPTP thrown to the “dustbins of history”?

  49. margaret
    Posted March 14, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    As usual Dennis repeats his informative stuff for all in case it is forgotten. I am grateful for this Dennis as you seem to be the only one I learn from . Some however repeat and repeat their personal opinions without any basic substance and this is let to be published whilst contentious very poignant issues are omitted. This is so sad and proves again that selective truths will only be published .

  • 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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