Independence Day will forever be 23rd June. UK voters decided they wished to be self governing again on that day last year. March 29th will also be high in our affections. Today is the day we send in our formal withdrawal from the EU.

As Lord Pannick argued in Court and in the Lords, the Article 50 letter is irreversible. We will leave the EU within the next two years, with or without an Agreement.

There are those who now wish to change the legal advice from the Remain side. Some now claim the court case argument was just that, a useful argument at the time but not one Remain really believed. I will defend Lord Pannick in his absence. I am sure he is an honourable peer of the realm. This was no mere lawyer using the best argument for his client, but a member of the legislature stating what he as an expert believed the law to be. It was successful. The government would have won the case if  the court thought  the Article 50 letter was just an invitation to talks about withdrawal. I made all this clear in the Parliamentary debates we held to pass legislation to approve our exit. The court has now done us a favour. We are leaving the EU with a very strong majority of MPs supporting departure, as well as a majority of UK voters. The Act to leave the EU passed with a majority of 372 votes.

Article 50 put in the two year exit provision to prevent a reluctant EU delaying a country’s departure by refusing to negotiate an exit agreement sensibly. The UK’s despatch of the letter now places the obligations on the rest of the EU to see what they can salvage from their departing member. They should have a long list of things they do not want to lose which is realistic, and another list of things they don’t want to lose which are unrealistic.

The first list will encompass protecting their access our lucrative export market, ensuring the position of EU nationals in the UK, keeping access to the City for the money their companies and individuals need to raise, keeping their flying rights into the UK, keeping UK involvement in European defence, and preserving and developing many collaborations on research and joint investment. All of those the UK is willing to grant in return for a punishment free settlement.

The second list may encompass an exit fee, continuing contributions to their budget, and continuing freedom of movement between the UK and the EU. Asking for those will show they still have not understood why we are leaving, nor the weakness of their legal and political position.



  1. Mark B
    March 29, 2017

    Good morning.

    The 23rd June 2016 was not an independence day, it was a day when the British people reasserted their right to be a self governing nation once more and to hold those we elected to act for and on our behalf to account.

    Article 50 is both short and sweet and sets out the means by which a member country may in form others of its intention to leave the Stupid Club. Once issued other clauses will come into effect which are mentioned including, the relevant clause for re-membership.

    2 Years is the stated time span. But this can either be lengthened or shortened should both parties agree. Once the size of the task of leaving finally unfolds I expect the time span to be increased.

    But either way we will be leaving and I for one cannot wait for the day that both my passport and driving license no longer has EU Citizen and that bloody flag.

  2. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2017

    I hope, and more or less expect, that the UK government will absolutely insist that we must regain complete control of our national immigration policy, and it must be complete control with no ifs or buts, no caveats, no qualifications, no treaty with the EU granting continued preferential treatment for EU citizens, but a restoration of complete control over our national policy so that never again will our sovereign national Parliament be told that it would “illegal” for it to pass a new law changing the policy.

    That is what the overwhelming majority of UK voters want, and have wanted for a long time, and the government must not let them down.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 29, 2017

      Well said


    2. Anonymous
      March 30, 2017

      And not just the 52% of Leave voters wanting it but 52% of Remain voters too, according to a government report.

  3. Roy Grainger
    March 29, 2017

    “As Lord Pannick argued in Court and in the Lords, the Article 50 letter is irreversible.”

    But the implication was that the Remainer Supreme Court Judges accepted that argument from both sides for the purposes of the case but did not themselves rule on the matter one way or the other – as you imply that will be coming at the end of the two year period when they will rule A50 wasn’t irreversible after all.

    1. Bob
      March 30, 2017

      The EU has now confirmed that Article 50 is reversible if the UK has a change of heart. No surprises there. They make it up as they go along.

  4. Lifelogic
    March 29, 2017

    Why no announcement of a 23rd June bank holiday from the ex(?) remainer Theresa?
    Such a lovely time of year for having one, indeed almost the longest day of the year.

    Her heart is just not in it I suspect. Just as her heart does not seem to be into lowering taxes, cutting energy prices, cutting employment and other red tape, preventing government waste, cutting the size of government, having a sensible energy policy, dealing with the appalling NHS or any of the other sensible agendas that are desperately needed.

    She is unfortunately unlikely to change her misguided interventionist views at her age. She never seems to have worked in the private and competitive sector and even accepted the absurdly titled job of “Minister for Women and Equalities”.

    How on earth can you be for “equality” and for “Women” at the same time? It is clearly either one or the other or is such basic logic beyond her?

    1. Chris
      March 29, 2017

      Theresa May worked on the Equalities Act with Lynne Featherstone, I believe, so was very much signed up to it.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 29, 2017

        I know she even seems to think there is a gender pay gap other than one due to the work life choices women and men take. That and the very different a levels and jobs they CHOOSE to do.

        Female physicists and computer scientists being rather thin on the ground.

        1. Lifelogic
          March 29, 2017

          Not of course that there is anything wrong with the few that there are. But you cannot really force them if they choose to do performing arts, languages and similar.

    2. Graham
      March 29, 2017


      Agree to some degree but give her credit for issuing that letter. She won’t want to go down in history as the PM who missed an open goal.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 30, 2017

        She seems happy to go down as yet another misguided, big government, lefty socialist in the wrong party.

  5. eeyore
    March 29, 2017

    A great and memorable day for all the people of Britain. Today we turn again to the wider world and the open sea, where our true destiny has always lain.

    A great day too for the people of Europe, who will have an example of what they too could be if they but reject the distorted vision forced on them by the usurpers who have expropriated their continent.

    And a great day for our kind and wise host John Redwood who, with a handful of despised and derided colleagues, bore the heat and the dust for decades and sacrificed a career to which he was richly entitled. Today, I hope, he can say with Faithful in the Pilgrim’s Progress, “Yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at”.

    “And all the trumpets sounded on the other side.”

    Reply Thank you. I resigned from government to battle for our freedom

    1. Edward2
      March 29, 2017

      Well said eeyore.
      I especially agree with your comments and warm words for Mr Redwood
      Thank you sir for your patriotic efforts over the many years you have toiled.

      1. Colin Pritchard
        March 29, 2017

        Hear hear.

      2. David Price
        March 29, 2017

        hear him, hear him.

      3. Lifelogic
        March 29, 2017

        Indeed, alas far too few JR. types in the house. Not even that many in the Tory side. Less than 100 are sound I suspect. All but a handful voted for the absurd Clime Change act and most for Masstrict!

        1. Lifelogic
          March 29, 2017

          Sorry – All but a handful voted for the Climate Change Act and most for Masstricht. They even re-elected the dreadful election disaster John Major when he “resigned”.

      4. Tweeter_L
        March 29, 2017

        Hear hear. Thank​ you, Dr JR, and please continue your good work at least until it’s really all done & dusted!

    2. Dunedin
      March 29, 2017

      I would like to second eeyore’s very well expressed comments.

    3. Graham
      March 29, 2017


      Well done from me too.

    4. Chris S
      March 29, 2017

      On this historic day there should be a group portrait commissioned of all of John Major’s Bastards, to be placed on display in the House.

      If you are magnanimous in victory, you might like organise a bigger portrait to include others like Boris, Nigel Farage and the three Labour Brexiteers.

  6. Bert Young
    March 29, 2017

    Today is our first breath of freedom . I never would have thought that the delivery of a letter would give me such a feeling of fresh air .

    Yesterday my anger was roused by the goings on in Scotland . The timing of the debate there was an attempt to take away the basis of our democracy ; Sturgeon is driven by a foolish policy that ignores the basic well – being and economics of Scotland . I’m glad that Theresa gave her the cold shoulder .

    From now on it is calm heads and rationality that will win the day for us ; entering the fray of negotiations will not be helped by weakness on our side or aggressiveness from the other . Our objectives are straightforward enough and there is no reason for us to fail .

    1. ian wragg
      March 29, 2017

      Sturgeon is driven by communist style policies which if given free reign the SNP would follow.
      They are intent on turning Scotland into a USSR type administration hence their love in with the EU.
      A club of failed socialists and communists.
      Fortunately a good number of Scots will have no truck with her.

      1. JoolsB
        March 29, 2017

        All the SNP’s huffing and puffing and threatening to throw their toys out of the pram is working and will give them the best of all worlds in the end anyway – Devo max but without having to worry about where the money comes from to pay for their socialist utopia.May has repeatedly promised significant extra powers to the devolved nations post Brexit.

        Of course we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that in all the many hours of Brexit talks in the H of C so far. that neither she or any of the UK MPs squatting in English seats have asked “what about England?” once.

      2. Andy
        March 29, 2017

        Problem with Scotland is they are busy spending English Gold. If they had to pay the taxes for what was spent politics in Scotland would be radically different. Barnett needs to go.

  7. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2017

    “Article 50 put in the two year exit provision to prevent a reluctant EU delaying a country’s departure by refusing to negotiate an exit agreement sensibly.”

    That is what a Lords committee has pointed out:

    “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.”

    It has been argued that any one of the governments of the 27 other member states could veto an extension, and therefore it should be regarded as an immovable deadline: today at 12.30 the clock will be set ticking and after two years at most we would be out, with or without an agreement, plunging over a cliff edge together, them and us, it would be like a Doomsday Machine which nobody could turn off.

    Personally I think that would depend on which countries wanted an extension and which were opposed, and especially opposed so strongly that they were prepared to exercise their veto and risk plunging Europe – not just us – into some kind of economic apocalypse.

    For example I wouldn’t much like to be in the shoes of the Maltese Prime Minister if he vetoed an extension to the two year period allowed for negotiations when Germany wanted an extension in order to get an agreement protecting its exporting industries.

  8. Julien Tabulazero
    March 29, 2017

    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

    1. Peter Wood
      March 29, 2017

      Another wonderful English novelist… reason to be proud of our national creativity!

    2. acorn
      March 29, 2017

      See you at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe!” Marvin is paying!

      1. forthurst
        March 29, 2017

        It’s not a whale; it’s a wail.

    3. Anonymous
      March 29, 2017

      JT – Thanks for all the fishing poles (not) – it’s ‘carp’ diem too, as they say.

    4. James Matthews
      March 29, 2017

      So long, and we hope you enjoyed catching all our fish. They will still be available to purchase.

  9. APL
    March 29, 2017

    “Supreme Court”

    On it’s web page has a section ‘Corporate Governance’

    Is the Supreme court constituted as a corporation?

    Isn’t this a typical Blairte stratagem?

  10. Christopher Hudson
    March 29, 2017

    They said of Churchill that all his life was in preparation for his moment and boy didn’t he make it count. Whilst the spectacle may not be as dramatic future historians may go on to say that all Theresa May’s life was in preparation for hers. We’re lucky in this country that when they’re most needed the right leaders and generals come along.

  11. Richard
    March 29, 2017

    Shameful misrepresentation.
    The Supreme Court was not asked to, and did not, address the revocability of the Art 50 letter. The point therefore remains legally totally open

    Reply Not so. The case was won on the basis that the letter is irreversible.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 29, 2017

      Yes but that will not stop the courts/judges from reversing the decision. The legal profession is as pro EU as any. After all the more red tape, multiple, conflicting, slow, expensive and arbitrary courts the better for them.

      The idea that Judges rule on the law is absurd, just observe their decisions. They twist it to rule just as they would wish to in general.

    2. Richard
      March 29, 2017

      But the court did not DECIDE it is irreversible. It was not asked to.

      I fully appreciate your terror that the economic carnage to come will lead to abandonment of Brexit, but inaccurate claims about the law help you not a jot.

      1. Anonymous
        March 30, 2017

        Richard – If economic carnage hits London (particularly its property values) then our readmission to the EU will be the last thing on the world’s mind.

        ‘Domino effect’ – does not only apply to PIIGs


        ‘Cliff edge’ – ONLY applies to Britain leaving the EU but never any nation leaving the UK.

    3. treacle
      March 29, 2017

      The BBC is telling us not to worry–it can still be reversed.

    4. Oggy
      March 29, 2017

      Reply to reply
      Dr Redwood while I hope you are right as to A50’s irrevocability – this is not what is coming out of Brussells, as EU lawmakers are now going to say A50 IS reversible.
      Incidentally Lord Kerr also says it is reversible.

      ‘Britain will have the option to reverse Brexit, European Union lawmakers are set to announce.
      The resolution will provide the UK with an option to halt the Brexit proceedings as long as other members agree.’

      1. Mark
        March 30, 2017

        That is nothing new. It’s quite explicit in Article 50(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.

        However, it is not in Europarl’s gift, but in the Council’s.

  12. Ian Wragg
    March 29, 2017

    Perfidious Albion. Once again helping to save Europe from itself.
    We have contributed around half a billion todays pounds to this corrupt entity and they ask for a preposterous leaving payment.
    As one of only a handful of nett contributors they have a cheek.
    The British public will be unforgiving towards any government or politicians who agree to this Danegeld.

    1. Ian Wragg
      March 29, 2017

      Sorry. Trillion.

      1. BOF
        March 29, 2017

        And how far could that have gone to paying off our National Debt.

  13. Old Albion
    March 29, 2017

    On the 23rd June I felt joy that our voice had at last been heard. Joy tinged with doubt. I was not convinced that politicians from both here and the EU would allow our departure.

    Today I feel relief. Relief that our departure from the EU has begun.

    I will not feel contentment until the two years have passed and we are truly out.

    This is not the end, just the beginning of the end.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    March 29, 2017

    We sit down at the table and say “Why don’t we carry on as before without interference from EU Parliament, court of justice and the council. Trade can continue as is but we are withdrawing from the CAP and the fisheries policy, of course businesses trading within the EU will comply with EU standards as we expect EU companies trading here to comply with our standards. We don’t want your funding but neither will we pay you any money. Oh and freedom of movement no longer applies, from 28 June 2016, all EU citizens settled productively at that time are welcome to apply for residency, as we expect our citizens to be able in your countries. Thereafter a visa system will apply. Anything else?”

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      March 29, 2017

      Negotiating to continue an arrangement already in place with minor tweaks should be much less complicated than setting up a new arrangement.

      This is the first principle that should be agreed during any negotiation.

      1. ian wragg
        March 29, 2017

        It’s so simple so that’s why it won’t be done.
        Politicians don’t do simple.

  15. alan jutson
    March 29, 2017

    I will view the lunchtime TV news with great interest to see how it is reported.

    At last the starting gun will have been fired.

    Like you I hope it is a fixed 2 year timescale to the finishing line, as that will concentrate some minds.

    Let us hope our team remain strong until the end, because that is where we will need to be strong.

  16. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2017

    I read here:

    “The European parliament will veto any Brexit deal that prevents EU citizens who move to the UK during the next two years from having the same rights to live and work in Britain as those already in the country.

    The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, and MEPs are understood to be concerned by reports that the British government wants 29 March, when it officially notifies the EU of its intention to leave, to be the “cut-off date” for the free movement of people.”

    The point they are missing is that when we give the EU notice that we are leaving the EU we are also giving all EU citizens clear and reasonable notice that they can no longer proceed on the assumption that the UK will be in the EU permanently and so they will be able to permanently enjoy all the rights in the UK which have been granted through the EU treaties. Those who took advantage of those rights in good faith prior to June 23rd 2016 could have reasonably expected that they would be permanent rights, so it only fair play for future UK law to accommodate that as a decent and reasonable concession – with the caveat that this will apply to the well-behaved majority, but not to criminals or benefit scroungers – but the same cannot apply even to those who have come since the referendum, let alone those who may come in the next two years.

    It’s good that the EU is once again demonstrating that it is far more concerned about its political project than about economic success, but the UK government needs to make sure that the rest of the world understands that the EU position is totally unreasonable, and indeed that is one of the main reasons why we are leaving.

  17. Sean
    March 29, 2017

    Two more long years, after nearly ten months of feet dragging. I’m sure Mrs May could have this over with in a few months.

  18. Jerry
    March 29, 2017

    “Independence Day will forever be 23rd June.”

    Only if we actually leave the EU on the 23rd June, be it 2017, 2018, 2019 or when ever. We only leave the EU after A50, if we walk away without any agreement tonight “Independence Day” is 29th March 2017.

    “As Lord Pannick argued in Court and in the Lords, the Article 50 letter is irreversible. We will leave the EU within the next two years, with or without an Agreement.”

    That is not what A50 states, the best that can be said is that no one knows if the Article 50 letter is irreversible, as it depends on not only what the UK wants, or the EU but each of the EU27 member countries. Even two years is open for negotiation, as it is open for negotiation (agreement of all parties once again) whether exit talks can be extended if agreement is felt possible but has not been finalised.

    The point about the A50 letter, that the courts understood even if certain politicos don’t, it is only in the UK’s gift to invoke A49 and A50, it is not in the gift of the UK to revoke A50. This is why Brexiteers are scared stiff of an early election and why europhiles are ever hopeful. A new europhile government, freshly elected on such a manifesto, could indeed ask for our A50 request to be revoked and it be accepted by the EU and EU27, but perhaps on different terms, such as our current opt-outs.

    When we do leave I do hope that all those Vote Leave politicians will be pushing for that £350m per week pledge for NHS funding, meaning that the prescription cuts suggested yesterday would not need to be made for example, after all the message in the bus was ‘We send £50m per day to the EU, lets spend it on the NHS instead’.

  19. Stephen T
    March 29, 2017

    So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night

    We have to go and leave this petty little fight

    So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu

    Adieu, adieu, to EU and EU and EU.

  20. MPC
    March 29, 2017

    I think most people, whether they voted leave or remain, continue, like myself, to be impressed by the calm and measured way that you and your colleagues portray in the media the UK’s position. It’s difficult to understand why John Major in his recent speech thought Mrs May’s approach was inappropriate, by comparison with some of the statements we are hearing from Brussels which are far from conciliatory. It’s clear that Brussels is getting a slanted view from our broadcast media, which is intent on highlighting all difficulties rather emphasising that a relatively ‘poor’ deal will be entirely due to Brussels intransigence.

    1. Richard
      March 29, 2017

      A poor deal will be entirely the result of the misrepresentations made by the chief Brexiteers about what is on offer. The EU is simply applying its rules. It is the UK, not the EU, that is walking away from the most successful trading bloc the planet has ever seen.
      Yes, the UK will get a poor deal. Go ask Boris where the cake is

  21. rapscallion
    March 29, 2017

    Exit fee? What about the 40 billion that we put into the ECB? It is they that should be paying us!

  22. margaret
    March 29, 2017

    Nick Clegg was interviewed on the TV citing his expertise on trade and industry. Good we are going , however the EU is still exerting its power over us by being difficult over tariffs and trade in general. Whilst we try and make satisfactory deals to suit those whose jobs depend on good relations, we are compromising our own power of negotiation . Personally I would walk away as I will not be bullied by anybody , but some have to be to be fed and a roof kept over their heads and it is these we must think of ; the more vulnerable.

  23. bigneil
    March 29, 2017

    9 months since the vote. Another 2 years of talks. All at £50m+ a day. If the vote had been to stay, what would the daily payment have gone up to? Don’t suppose it would be a concern for our elite leaders – not their money, that is in S. America.

  24. Jack Snell
    March 29, 2017

    For anyone interested I would remind them of another time when a country asserted its independence- Ireland in the early 20th century- independence was exhilarating at first but it was soon followed by despondency, huge disappointment and massive emigration that continues from some parts of the country to this day. The economic hardship which followed lasted right through the 1930’s 1940’s and 1950’s.. and on top of this the island was partitioned with a border running right across — does any of this that ring any bells? So don’t shout too loud about independence…. yet

    1. DaveM
      March 29, 2017

      Not quite the same;

      1. Although it feels like it sometimes, the UK was not “occupied” by the EU – it merely signed up to a Common Market and was infiltrated by stealth via the slimy EU laws and lawyers (ably assisted by quislings in the UK).

      2. The UK is not dependent on the EU industrially and/or financially.

      3. Everyone living in England wasn’t trying to move to Ireland.

      4. The population size of the UK and its history means it has always cut its own path and wants to do so again.

      Not that I have anything against Ireland at all. In fact, I’d love to see an Irexit and an independent Ireland that forges even closer ties with the UK.

      I absolutely promise that I will feel neither disappointed nor despondent, and I the only reason I would have emigrated was if the UK had signed its own extinction order and voted to stay in the EU.

    2. ian wragg
      March 29, 2017

      Perhaps you are too young to remember that we were a sovereign nation before we joined the EU.
      We fought 2 wars to deny fascism and a prolonged war to repel communism.
      As a submariner during the cold war I was astounded when we signed up for this communist inspired institution.

    3. NickC
      March 29, 2017

      Jack, Perhaps you can explain how the vast majority of nations in the world (most with smaller economies than ours) can possibly survive outside the EU?

      We on this island of Great Britain, have been self governing for 1600 years, apart from the 1066 conquest by a continental power (Norman line < 100 yrs) and for 44 years the EU. Of course we can self-govern now. Why ever would you want to be ruled from Brussels?

    4. libertarian
      March 29, 2017

      Jack Snell

      Go read a history book.

      The Irish diaspora happened long before independence. You do know that the UK was a very very success independent country before the EU ?

    5. am
      March 29, 2017

      Ok but they never wanted to reverse the independence decision despite its economic hardships.

  25. Shieldsman
    March 29, 2017

    As a retired airline pilot I am confused by statements of the Remainers that with no agreement, Air Traffic (flights) between UK and EU member states will cease to function.
    I am aware that the Brussels Commission has been busy annexing air traffic rules into their bureaucracy.
    The first five freedoms of the air (landing rights), by International agreement came under the Chicago Convention and ICAO. Additional rights enjoyed by member States come under the auspices of the OECD. The UK like Switzerland will continue to be a member of the OECD. Switzerland although not an EU member State enjoys the additional rights.

    1. DaveM
      March 29, 2017

      Indeed. I flew to the US and back recently – how on earth did I manage that without the US being in the EU?!!

    2. ian wragg
      March 29, 2017

      Stop trying to spoil the party. The remainers think the EU rules the world and life only started 60 years ago.

    3. Mark
      March 29, 2017

      Presumably their airlines would have to divert around UK airspace when crossing the Atlantic. Would they be allowed to use Prestwick ATC, or will they need a new facility at say Shannon instead?

  26. Juliet
    March 29, 2017

    Definitely Independence and thanks to the business people & politicians like Redwood Duncan-Smith Raab and likes endlessly keeping the light at the dark tunnel shining since 23rd June.

    EU will be losing the fifth biggest economy in the world after 25 years of Maastricht Treaty.

    We did it, now for the uncoupling, get back assets owned and renegotiation for a new trade agreement.

  27. Chris
    March 29, 2017

    It is a wonderful day indeed, as was 23 June. Thank you to all the campaigners of all political persuasions who have fought so hard for this. Please, Mr Redwood, keep fighting, as I am sure you will. For reasons best known to themselves, there seems to be an utter determination to sabotage the Brexit process, with threats not only from Remainers but also from individuals supposedly originally within the ranks of Leavers.

  28. Hope
    March 29, 2017

    What a shame that on this day BBC and Sky are so skewed and bias towards remaining and still speaking to remainders without even the balance of speaking to leavers. Clegg passed around like a worn out record, but they forget we did not want him or care for his views that is why his party was decimated twice at the last two elections with him in charge! He lost the debate with Farage. Who would believe a word he says in any event? He has the option of living in Spain with family and friends and live his EU dream. He los the vote now leave us alone.

    1. getahead
      March 29, 2017

      The BBC has admitted to taking a £2 million of funding from the European Union in the run up to the referendum.
      I’m sure there many others who receive some form of income from the EU, which is effectively recycled taxpayers money.

  29. Man of Kent
    March 29, 2017

    My Chapel Down bubbly is chilling , I am in a state of rosy expectancy looking forward to PMQs and then the Brexit statement coinciding with the delivery of the letter in Brussels.

    At last , having voted the wrong way in 1975 , I can see a return to normality approaching .

    Thank goodness !

  30. Horatio McSherry
    March 29, 2017


    Many thanks for your tireless work over the decades, and congratulations for helping to get the country to this point. No mean feat, and a historic day indeed.

    But let us not think the work is done. Hardcore Remainers are still beavering away, trying to undermine anything good that occurs. Only this morning the dripping wet Hammond is spreading his pessimistic misery on the airwaves.

    Keep up the good work. We’re with you all the way!

  31. agricola
    March 29, 2017

    For the next two years we can expect to be fed a diet of disinformation from politicians, the media, and any vested interest that has an axe to grind. It is the preferable alternative to an open cat fight for two years.

    I personally have a view that it could be over in half the time, but while they have a bone to chew on it will be made to last.

    My thanks to Denis Cooper and Politico for clarifying Article 24 of the WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and trade. It could take much heat from the discussion of future UK/EU trade, for everyone’s benefit.

  32. Dioclese
    March 29, 2017

    We should have sent the letter last Friday. The reaction from the Remoaners could then have been part of Comic Relief.

    It would certainly have been funnier…

  33. Antisthenes
    March 29, 2017

    I am sure you are perfectly correct on the legal position of triggering article 50. However observing legal niceties has never never been a strong point of the EU commission when it comes to gaining what it wants. The remainers have also shown a propensity toward unscrupulous behaviour and if they are ever in a position to dictate the terms of Brexit they will in collusion with Brussels make article 50 mean whatever they both want it to mean.

    There is no doubt that the UK holds the strongest hand but the EU the biggest stick and the fact if they use it it does more damage to them than us may not deter them from using it. Especially if they perceive that the UK leaving will be be their death knell which is a profound possibility. Brexit with no deal is therefore definitely on the cards and in the short term it will be highly disruptive. However the longer term rewards are worth that eventuality. Time will tell if current Brussels rhetoric and demands are genuine or just bluster. I am sure for Brussels it is the former but will the rest of the EU in the end back them in what is in reality a highly damaging strategy that will have unacceptable repercussions for the remaining members .

  34. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2017

    Slightly off-topic, those who are fretting that it will take too long for parliaments across the EU to ratify a trade deal might care to look at this:


    Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part


    06/10/2010: Brussels

    Entry into force




    Provisional application as from 1 July 2011 with the exception of Articles 10.54 to 10.61 and Articles 4(3), 5(2), 6(1), 6(2), 6(4), 6(5), 8, 9, and 10 of the Protocol on Cultural Co-operation.”

    Under Article 25 of the Vienna Convention there is always that possibility of provisional application of all or parts of a treaty before it has been fully ratified and finally come into legal force, if the parties agree to do that.

    1. Mark
      March 29, 2017

      If the essence of a trade deal can be incorporated into an Article 50 agreement then the process is even simpler. Under Article 216, once the Council gives QMV approval the agreement becomes binding on all member states and EU institutions.

  35. Edward2
    March 29, 2017

    I notice that today is also Sir John Major’s birthday.
    I hope he has an enjoyable day.

    1. Mark
      March 29, 2017

      I am sure Norman Tebbit will be enjoying his birthday today.

  36. graham1946
    March 29, 2017

    Independence. Not quite. Not yet. Just the notification that we are leaving. The terms are still to be thrashed out through a long and tiresome ‘negotiation’ costing another 20 billion of our money in addition to the 8 billion lost since referendum day due to dithering. The EU says it will not even look at negotiating until autumn and no wonder, at 10 billion a year they have every reason to delay. Stop the payments right away and see how long they want us in for.

    So for now, two cheers for having got this far. We now await to see how much more our politicians will give away.

    Julien Tabulazero – enjoy the fish while you can – if our politicians are do a proper job, we’ll have it back soon and you’ll have to buy it from us instead of stealing it.

    1. margaret
      March 29, 2017

      It was our fish in the first place! There are ways around this though fish farming , then out to the wild with controlled UK rights. The Grimsby fishers are realistic about this.

  37. Denis Cooper
    March 29, 2017


    “The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has told a delegation of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in Europe that he hopes to have an agreement in principle to secure their future by the end of the year.

    However, Barnier said he believed it would be late 2018 before he could strike a deal with the UK on the details, such as the rights of relatives who wish to be reunited with their families living abroad.”

    No wonder the EU is such a sclerotic mess.

  38. fedupsoutherner
    March 29, 2017

    While it’s great that Article 50 is being delivered today I cannot help but think I will need anti depressants if I have to wait 2 years to get out. If we have to listen to Clegg going on about how bad it’s all going to be imagine the NHS will go bust with the demand for tranquilisers. Why doesn’t he just get the hell out of the Uk and live in Spain? It’s not as though his thoughts or politics matter after all. I am sure the EU will want to drag out the negotiations for as long as possible to get the maximum payments from us before we actually go. We need strong negotiators now and not wimps running the show. We should know what we want (OUT) and not be led down the garden path by the EU eventually staying half in, half out. Let’s tell them what we want and if they don’t want to play ball – leave!

  39. Tad Davison
    March 29, 2017

    Just as long as we don’t start to celebrate Independence Day too soon before it has actually happened, as in Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, then dropping a bomb for every twenty minutes of his presidency.

    I see that arch Euro-fanatic, Paddy Ashdown, just got roasted again by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics Show, and all the celebrated broadcaster had to do was to expose the lies and inaccuracies in the Remain position.

    I bet Heath is now looking up at us and cursing!

    Tad Davison


  40. Lifelogic
    March 29, 2017

    It is not as if the Hammond attempted tax grab made any economic sense anyway.

  41. Dennis Zoff
    March 29, 2017

    The Letter is in, the EU has been informed and the UK is out! ….let the fun begin!

  42. Mark
    March 29, 2017

    I have just read through Mrs May’s letter to Donald Tusk. In general, I think it hits the right notes, but I think it would have been useful if she had reminded the EU that their Treaties impose obligations on them – firstly to negotiate and conclude the withdrawal agreement, and secondly, in terms of the noble sentiments expressed (but not evident in their current negotiating posture, although that should not be said explicitly at this stage) under Article 8 and 3(5) TEU.

    I think she verges on having made a mistake to say “I am sure it can be agreed in the time period set out by the Treaty“. The Treaty sets out no time period for negotiations, which continue until they are concluded – including if need be after we have already left. She should at least have added “before we withdraw”.

  43. Anonymous
    March 29, 2017

    I shall resist any hubris.

    There are those of us who are prepared to pay a heavy price to leave the EU, despite Clegg, Campbell, Blair, Branson… stating that we did not know what we were voting for.

    Yes we did.

    We realised poverty was coming via the EU anyway.

  44. Simon
    March 29, 2017

    You are completely wasted in Parliament. You should forward your compelling legal advice on the revocability or otherwise of Article 50 to the ECJ immediately (copy to Dublin High Court) where they will no doubt immediately adopt your (rapidly changing I notice) view of Lord Pannick’s and the Govt’s own Counsel’s case on that issue in the Divisional and Supreme Court here.

    A very great number of your rather over ambitious assertions concerning the simplicity of Brexit are now about to be tested in the full glare of public accountability. We will in due course see how they turn out. But today’s Article 50 letter as an exemplar was absolutely hopeless. Theresa May is advised by the finest Civil Service brains in the country and that is it ? It was like a 2.2 under graduate submission in an essay contest. Absolutely laughable.

  45. Mark
    March 29, 2017

    A bad decision by the EU Council:

    For the European Union, the first step will now be the adoption of guidelines for the negotiations by the European Council. These guidelines will set out the overall positions and principles in light of which the Union, represented by the European Commission, will negotiate with the United Kingdom.

    They will regret handing over control to Juncker.

  46. Percy Parrot
    March 29, 2017

    Will the Voter stand the repeats of the reasons for voting Remain? They have had well over a year of it. Tens and twenties of repeats in Parliament today at the PMs statement on Article 50. Parliament has become a Parrots’ cage. No sense of a proper business meeting unless you are avian.

  47. James Matthews
    March 29, 2017

    It’s good that we have got this far, but it is only the start. Article 50 was written to discourage leavers and to provide opportunities for obstruction. We already face an internal guerrilla campaign from extreme Remainders and most of the people charged with negotiating on our behalf are not doing so out of conviction.

    With determination we will still get there, but it is not time to relax.

  48. David Lister
    March 29, 2017

    Dear John,

    As a matter of fact, the Parliament Library states (10th March, 2017) :

    “The Courts have not ruled on revocability

    The Supreme Court in Miller did not rule on whether notice given under Article 50 can be revoked. Instead it followed the Divisional Court in accepting that it was common ground between the parties that Article 50 notice was irrevocable – although it appeared to consider that the question was actually irrelevant to its decision. The court made no request for the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) to interpret Article 50. ”

    Although you claim to have argued you the point in Parliament, you were immediately corrected by your good colleague the former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who said that “the concession of the Government in the Supreme Court was merely for the purpose of those proceedings. I say to my right hon. Friend John Redwood that we can derive nothing from that as to whether article 50 is revocable or not. Indeed, there is powerful legal argument that it is capable of being revoked.”

    You should be ashamed that you feel the need to continue to distort the truth.

  49. The vote is over!
    March 29, 2017

    “We are deeply divided as a nation” is the wishful thinking of Remoaners. They believe it because they themselves are politically minded. Most other people mention, not talk about, politics little more than fifteen seconds per fortnight ( if they have to…making polite conversation with a workmate, friend or doorstep canvasser. )

  50. Mike Stallard
    March 29, 2017

    Arrogance is very dangerous indeed.
    The devil, of course, is in the detail. Brexit will affect Cheltenham Racing, F1, trichinella free meat exports, trim, BIPs…
    I do hope that Mr Davis has got all that taped. Mrs May’s letter certainly did not seem to mention any of it.
    And then there is the extradition and the GCHQ and the electricity to be fixed.
    Never mind, as Mrs May’s letter says, “My officials” (sic) will cope!

  51. zorro
    March 29, 2017

    An amazing thing really…. With all the forces lined against us a few years ago who would have thought that we would be here already — the beginning of the end – Cool, calm, methodical reasoning has triumphed over groundless emotionalism and the good seed was planted, took root, grew and flourished. Excellent work from John throughout this time at considerable cost to his career robbing us of his talents in government. I am sure that JR wouldn’t change or do anything differently in spite of what hand fate dealt…..


  52. One step
    March 29, 2017

    No talk of really of terminating economic and political ties with Europe. Europe is a very unstable part of the world and has not even remained peaceful since 1945. More wars are on the cards and civil wars. …..former Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Albania..and, that is looking on the more optimistic side. We should leave the EU AND Europe. Another Obama-like President in the future and Europe will be America’s frontline again against the big bad Ruskies.

  53. Dee Burke
    March 29, 2017

    Why are the PM & David Davis capitulating even before the talks begin. They are going against a manifesto promise NOT to pay benefits for EU children NOT living in the UK.
    Then D Davis says there won’t be any cap on immigration. Now the PM refuses to name the 29th as cutoff date for immigrants, next she is ‘modifying’ the ‘We will remove ourselves from the ECJ’ to ‘Direct intervention from the ECJ’ ie, other courts can act on behalf of the ECJ . Finaly as I thought all along by her wording she is saying ‘We will not keep paying YEARLY large sums’, she is not saying she will not pay the £50Billion the EU is demanding. It seems to me she wants to appease everyone exept the 17.4 Million people who gave her her job. It is a sellout of our trust.

    1. Helen
      March 30, 2017

      How about that!
      Everything that LEAVE promised is crumbling to dust!

  54. Anna
    March 29, 2017

    As a reluctant, and now repentant Remainer, I feel relieved and exhilarated that we are finally on our way! The still-campaigning Remainers are, I think, only a small but noisy minority. Many of my fellow-Remainers voted as I did, not out of admiration for the EU but fear that the process and consequences of disentangling ourselves from its stranglehold would be catastrophic. Many of those fears have abated and the future looks promising. A young banker friend of mine tells me that there might be some shift to Europe but banking will still be centred in London. This, coupled with the report today that manufacturing confidence is at a 20 year high, is good news. A little less banking and more manufacturing should help the economy to be more balanced.

    So thank you, Mr Redwood, for your steadfastness; and apologies from this once-pusillanimous former Remainer. ‘There is more joy in heaven over the sinner that repenteth…’

  55. Martin Conboy
    March 29, 2017

    This requirement from the EU that we are not permitted to even commence trade negotiations with any outside country before the Brexit process is complete, well this demand is going to hinder us. Ideally we would want to have our major trade agreements all thrashed out and contracts written up ready to be signed at one minute past midnight on 30th March 2018.
    So this requirement … does it fall into the list of unreasonable demands that we are morally justified in ignoring?

  56. jeffery
    March 30, 2017

    The issue of whether article 50 is reversible seems comparatively clearcut, although the ingenuity of legal textual analysis never ceases to amaze.

    “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.”

    Clearly, the period of negotiation could be indefinitely extended by unanimous agreement, effectively reversing its invocation. But that would require an exceptional (and sustained) collusion of interests, not just 28 countries but likely litigation to the European Court (ECJ) and so on. As far as I see it, what UK courts think about it has ceased to be relevant. Except that if article 50 were reversible, then the High Court and Supreme Court judgements must necessarily be void. No bad thing that, since they seem to have made a real mess of how far Crown Prerogative extends in foreign affairs.

  57. Simon
    March 30, 2017

    John in another thread you ask about Mr Carswell and UKIp. Whatever.

    What is clear is that Theresa May is wildly out of her depth on Brexit. She then compensates for that deficiencies – like many people – with over confident assertions. They are then in due course subject to embarrassing piecemeal climb downs. Since the interwebs people are far more easily reminded of the recent history and draw their own conclusions.

    There is definitely always going to be a role for good government. One embedded in the needs / wishes of the voters. And one which is capable of navigating thru the Brexit waters.

    Theresa May and her Government are not it.

  58. MUG
    March 30, 2017

    Thanks John for leading by example as how a politician should be. What a shame all the wrong types get to the top I was so hoping in my youth it wasn’t this way.

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