No deal is better than a bad deal

The Prime Minister was right to say that. Those who think leaving is a complex negotiation should grasp that we would  not have a negotiation  unless we are   willing to walk away. We would have dictation by the other side.

Fortunately the PM understands the strength of the UK position, and understands that No deal would work better for us than for them. It would be a lot better than a punishment deal of the kind some in the Commission have flirted with.  In reality it need not be a negotiation at all. It is a series of choices for the rest of the EU, where a friendly and positive UK offers them various advantages which they may or may not want to take up.

If they take up none of our offers when we leave we will  be like most of the other 160 countries around the world that are not part of the EU. We will trade with the rest of the EU on WTO most favoured nation terms, just as we trade with China, India and the USA today. We will no longer have special sharing arrangements on defence and Intelligence, other than through our common partnership in NATO. We will impose WTO tariffs against their agricultural exports to us, with the options of growing more at home and inviting in more produce tariff free from elsewhere in the world where it suits our industry and consumers.  We will reclaim our fishing grounds. We will spend our own money on our own priorities.

The UK is making a positive and generous set of offers. We are proposing that the rest of the EU keeps tariff free access to our lucrative market, with  no new barriers of other kinds. They just need to agree the same for us, and they can carry on exporting so much more to us than we sell to them.

We are proposing that the UK continues to share its Intelligence with them, and to make a contribution to European defence and security initiatives and commitments.

We are proposing that the UK develops a number of friendly collaborations and partnerships in science, education, joint investments and the rest.

These need not be negotiations. They are choices for the EU to make. If they are sensible they will wish to maximise the contribution the UK makes and the access they have to our market. I remain an optimist, thinking well of our partners and expecting them to take the offers that are so manifestly in their own interest. If  by any chance they do not, the UK will  be just fine. Accepting the very limited tariffs on our exports allowed under WTO rules would  be much cheaper than the mountainous bills some have in mind for us to pay. The tariffs we imposed on their exports to us would be much larger and could be given back to UK consumers and businesses as compensation.

If we get a decent free trade Agreement between the UK and the EU I do not expect them to ditch it at the last moment because they wish to advance Spain’s claim to Gibraltar. Gibraltar’s sovereignty rests with the Gibraltarians, who have made clear their wish by overwhelming vote to remain attached to the UK.


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  1. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    There is Remoaner clamour for the government to revisit the question of the costs of “No deal”, against the reluctance of the Treasury to venture afresh into such projections when their pre-referendum projections have been largely discredited.

    There is no Remoaner clamour for the government to estimate the costs of a “Bad deal” so that a comparison could even be made, but when I look at the nature of the (interim) deal being mooted here:

    it does seem pretty bad for us:

    “Diplomatic momentum is growing in Brussels for an interim trade deal with the U.K. that sets no tariffs on manufactured goods and food but restricts British services such as aviation and finance.”

    This is represented as the EU wishing to “leverage their superior economic muscle in trade talks”, but it could alternatively be seen as another example of ingrained greed on their part, if not a desire to positively punish the UK.

    They are greedy for our money, they are greedy for our fish, they are greedy for jobs in our country, they are greedy for our armed forces to defend them and our security forces to protect them from terrorism, they are greedy for sales in our domestic market and they are greedy for the power to rule our country – so what do we get back from all this?

    • turboterrier
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Three fifths of naff all

      • Hope
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Sadly we have the previous sham claimed by Cameron to be a success. He and idiot Osborne falsely claimed to have reformed the EU! Therefore it should not come as a surprise that a lot of us are sceptical for what May accepts as a good deal together with her majority remaining cabinet. May also has form for trying to deceive us that she had control over our borders when year on year records reflect record numbers, based on estimates, which was about three times lower than NI numbers issued. Therefore immigration being at least three times higher than her figures or her false claim to deceive us to vote to remain in the EU. Based on her poor record and false claim it is not unreasonable to suspect she might try to pull the wool over our eyes. Ditto for the likes of Hammond, Rudd, Fallon etc.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Nicely put Dennis….greed is certainly one of their key motivators…let’s hope sanity prevails!

      • Hope
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        May claims today that it will take 5 years to implement changes to immigration! What planet is she on? Moreover what deception is she hoping to achieve on the public by making such a nonsensical claim. It does not take govt or business this long to adjust. I suppose this also means we continue paying huge sums of money to her beloved EU! Then we have Hammond making equally daft claims. JR, your party lacks credibility with the public and will be further mired with this sort of alleged deal or deal process.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. May as Home Secretary presided for years over out of control immigration even the non EU levels. Also she colluded in the to the tens of thousands lie. She even lied to the public about having border controls while in the EU (as we were not in Schengen).

          One would have to be rather stupid to trust her very much, especially with her current bonkers socialist agenda.

      • getahead
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention their pride being hurt.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t matter who is clamouring for it, not fully understanding the No Deal option, the equivalent of ‘Do nothing’ in standard business case evaluation, is a bad error, for reasons I’ve explained many times so i won’t repeat it here.

      • NickC
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Businesses frequently “do nothing” when the only alternative is a bad deal. Those that do something solely to be seen to be doing something get bad deals and go bankrupt.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Well, it is necessary to say clearly what is meant by “No deal”, or it will be impossible to make any comparison with a given “Bad deal”. If “No deal” is taken to mean absolutely no continuing agreements after Brexit, not even on nitty-gritty practical matters such customs co-operation, then that would be so damaging that it would be hard to find a “Bad deal” which was worse.

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Well said Denis. One of the best posts here for a long time.

      The answer to your final question is like to be not much more than Cameron got from his so-called renegotiations.

      there is never enough emphasis put on fairness in these fraught negotiations.

      The constant doom and gloom from our Remoaners is deeply damaging to our case – making it look like the EU holds all the cards. Nothing could be further from the truth yet traitors like Clegg are the very people that Junker and Co take notice of.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we are in a very strong position yet we are apparently making ourselves into supplicants. Seems nonsensical to me and quite simply very poor “foreign” policy. I am dismayed by the apparent weakness and lack of wisdom and courage in our politicians. We deserve much better, and certainly if we are to emerge from stranglehold of the EU and the left liberal agenda we need politicians of great courage, conviction and stature.

    • acorn
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget our seat on the UN Security Council Denis.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they are greedy for that as well.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    As you say:

    Those who think leaving is a complex negotiation should grasp that we would not have a negotiation unless we are willing to walk away. We would have dictation by the other side.

    But the dreamer remainiacs do not understand such obvious and simple logic.

    You say that “the PM understands the strength of the UK position” let us hope so. She and Hammond however clearly do not understand even basic economics alas. The huge damage that daft government red tape, over taxation, over complex taxation, daft employment laws, central wage controls and other constant government interference causes.

    This week May’s absurd Gender Pay Gap reporting rules come in. Thus a new and entirely pointless industry is created hugely lowering UK productivity, wasting directors and managers time and creating thousands of pointless and entirely parasitic jobs. Thus lowering wages for all.

    Well done Theresa for you single handed, moronic, vandalism.

    There is no gender pay gap that is not entirely explained by the different jobs men and woman tend to choose (on average), their different motivations, qualifications and the sensible work life balance choices they make. Women without children already earn more on average than men. Why on earth would any business turn their backs on women employees if they were so much better value overall in the market?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      She might usefully look at the gender breakdown of the subject the genders choose to study at A level and University. There is a massive female bias towards Languages, Humanities, Performing Arts and the likes and a massive male bias in Science particularly in Physics, Further Maths and Computer Studies. Nearly as much as 5:1 bias in some subjects.

      Does Theresa want to force more men to do the former and force more women to do the latter against their will – or are they to be allowed to make these choices for themselves? They similarly make choices in the careers they choose, is this perhaps beyond the grasp of an Oxford Geography graduate, it seems so?

      Or does she understand this, but think that all the massive economic damage she is doing is worth it as it will win her more votes with her pathetic virtue signalling? Is she dim or evil? I can see no other explanation.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        The damage the “Climate Change Act” is doing to the economy is surely at least a million times worse than the huge damage May’s gender pay reporting law will do. Yet we hear almost nothing from this wet lefty government on this issue. May has put an (ex?) Social Democrat, lefty, economics graduate & (ex?) remainer in charge of energy – why?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘But the dreamer remainiacs do not understand such obvious and simple logic’

      – Does that include remainers such as Richard Branson, Charles Dunstone (founder Carphone Warehouse), John McFarlane (Chairman, Barclays), and many, many other leaders in business ?!

      And, NO, NOT implying that any Leavers are ‘dreamers’ either or lack the obvious or ‘simple logic.’ However, I do charge you of hyperbole.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        One can see why some larger businesses (and especially airlines) want the EU as it kills competition for them and they want to keep in with the EU powers that be. This to get slots and rights to fly. It may be in their business interests but it is not in the people’s.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, but a sizeable chunk of small to medium-sized businesses also voted to remain. Whatever you think of large companies in the context of the referendum and the EU, and whether you like it or not, their interests also affects the interests of ordinary people!
          Again, I’m not challenging you over the economic reasons for or against leaving the EU but of (wildly) exaggerating your argument.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink


        What about the 1,000s of business leaders that voted leave?

        You may want to think about what your list has in common then ask why our big manufacturing businesses favoured leave such as Sir James Dyson & Patrick Bamford Emma Pullen, MD of the British Hovercraft Company as well as
        John Hoerner, former chief executive officer, Tesco Clothing UK and Central Europe
        Luke Johnson, chairman of Patisserie Valerie
        Jon Moulton, founder of Better Capital LLP
        Rupert Hambro, director of Theo Fennell Plc
        Pasha Khandaker, president of the Bangladesh Caterers Association
        Damon de Laszlo, chairman of Harwin Plc
        John Sclater, former president of Equitable Life

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


          ‘What about the 1,000s of business leaders that voted leave?’

          What about them? (I never called Brexiteers ‘dreamers’ who do not understand such obvious and simple logic’ but rather challenged Lifelogic that he was exaggerating his argument.

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    “I remain an optimist, thinking well of our partners”

    I assume you also think well of Mrs May and Mr Hammond ? Not sure myself.

    Just as an aside, it is pathetic to see the likes of Clegg saying UK has to pay a massive bill to leave agreeing with whatever the EU says, he is desperate for the deal to fail and is keen to damage the UK to have that happen. One wonders what his constituents make of it.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Mrs May has definitely agreed that she will not stay in the single market.
      Why not join EFTA? I await an answer.

      The guidelines for the negotiations laid down by the EU on Friday say that trade will be discussed after the disentanglement has been completed and not before. What with Cyprus, Gibraltar and Irish border issues, and what with the problems over immigration and the ECJ, a two year negotiation (as Mrs May has admitted) will be not long enough. This is very complicated for the 27 different states to agree on. Then, overlooking all this, is the problem about the exit payment: they will insist; we will refuse.
      We will, on 30th March 2019, have “third country status” as M. Juncker has admitted. This means that customs will come back into force and things will have to be inspected at their places of entry. People will be carefully (time is of the essence with long queues for holidays) checked at points of entry too. We will not be in the same place as the other countries you mention because they already have a complex system of trade deals with the EU: we will have nothing at all. The WTO rules (as the head of the WTO admitted) will not suffice.

      I realise that I am seen as a troll. But I note, with pleasure, that your number of commentators is falling fast…

      Reply I have plenty of readers. The reason we can do better is we already have a comprehensive free trade arrangement with the EU, so we could just register that as an FTA at the WTO if the rest of the EU agrees.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        No, Mike, you don’t await an answer. You always come and give the latest gospel warnings of hellfire and eternal damnation, and then you go away without waiting for any response.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Mike, just because people don’t comment it doesn’t mean they don’t read what JR has to say.. This site is the first thing I look at in the morning as I find it illuminating and it lets me know what is going on. I admit, I don’t always comment and sometimes that is because I don’t know enough about the subject to do so. So I note with pleasure, that I think your assumptions are wrong.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        I do not see you as a Troll.

        We are in uncharted waters and, those like our kind host have to put a positive spin on all this otherwise, we will not make it out of the EU. Even if its in a mess.

        Chin up !


      • acorn
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Plus 136 other WTO members also consent to the new UK and the revised EU27 shedules. The arguments will be about the quotas and the other non tariff barriers.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          I wouldn’t necessarily worry too much about that, given that the EU has still got the WTO schedules it had in 2004 before enlargement and nobody has made any great fuss about that.

          “Now comes the surprise. We don’t know what most of the EU’s current commitments in the WTO are. The UK would be negotiating a share of key quantities that are unknown.

          The only confirmed commitments on tariffs, quotas, and farm subsidies are from before 2004 when the EU had 15 member states. The EU has expanded three times since then, but in 12 years it has been unable to agree with the WTO membership on revised commitments.”

          But thirteen years on nobody has been sufficiently bothered to bring trade to a halt.

      • Know-dice
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        “But I note, with pleasure, that your number of commentators is falling fast…”

        Not that I have noticed, in fact over the last few months besides the regulars there has been a definite increase in the number of new names on here.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        I am sure you are not regarded as a troll and anyway Mr Redwood would not accept your posts if you were, I suspect. It is obviously very good to read a variety of opinions. I look at the euref. blog for a different viewpoint, and have noticed your comments there and on Archbishop Cranmer’s blog.

        I think your criticism of Mr Redwood’s viewpoint should be seen in the light of the fact that he is an experienced politician, with expertise in economics and finance, I understand, and he has held a range of Shadow posts, and some in Cabinet. I would suggest he has a pretty fair idea of the politics of the whole Brexit issue, and not simply expertise in matters of the economy.

        People have acknowledged that North has very considerable expertise, but as I have said in another post, he is not a politician, and hence not really a “people’s man”. His task is not to understand other people’s problems and how to solve/address them, but rather he focuses on what he personally sees as a workable solution from an economics point of view. He has come up with Flexcit which amounts to a partial withdrawal from the EU (the final step of actually leaving the EU would not be taken for years, if I understand Flexcit correctly). That immediately introduces a huge risk: the inherent danger of reversal of the Referendum verdict. Also his Flexcit does not address the problem of uncontrolled mass immigration effectively, even although he assures us there would be some controls on immigration available.

        That is not good enough for committed Leave voters. I suggest that Leave politicians have recognised this and that is why they have not adopted Flexcit.

        • Simon
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 12:41 am | Permalink

          It is a travesty of you to come on here, to then cite Richard North’s work, to misquote it and to leave out entirely his proposals on immigration and then to say he does not address them. The whole debate is polluted by folk making generalised statements, purporting to have read certain documents, and rejecting every idea that is not their own. It is in any case quite apparent that Mother Theresa has no intention of cutting or even controlling immigration for years yet if at all. She is a Remainer in Leavers clothing. Her “plan” has no substance at all.

          • Chris
            Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Please delete the unedited last sentence “You ………….in my previous commentr” when I made a comment starting Reply to Simon.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted April 7, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

            It is certainly a travesty for somebody to come on here, not just uncritically but hysterically cite Richard North’s work, condemn those who disagree as ignorant idiots, and then scoot off before anybody has a chance to criticise what he has said, but while still claiming that he awaits an answer.

            Years ago, what now seems like a lifetime ago, I was willing to accept Daniel Hannan’s idea that we would be better off if we were like Norway. Regain control of farming and fishing, only obey about a fifth of all EU laws, pay in much less – it seemed to be only half a loaf, but better than none at all.

            However there came the day when it emerged from one of his own replies to comments on his blog that he was pretty much unconcerned about uncontrolled mass immigration from the rest of the EU, which was a bit of a problem with his model for those of us who did, and do, see it as a major problem.

            Saying that if we left the EU but stayed in the EEA we would regain “some limited control” over immigration is not good enough, especially as common sense suggests that with the governments of other EEA countries being obsessed with their quasi-religious dogma of the eternal indivisibility of the “four freedoms” they would not knowingly allow us to continue in the EEA even on the basis of having “some limited control” which we do not have while we are also in the EU.

            Then letting slip a concern that if we did join EFTA to stay in the EEA then despite the stated aims of the grand Flexcit plan that could unfortunately turn out to be not just the first, but also the last, step just about finishes off that idea.

      • getahead
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        The UK would still need to contribute around 2 billion euros a year to the EU budget if part of the EEA/EFTA and nationals of the EEA EFTA states have the same right as EU citizens to take up an economic activity anywhere in the EU/EEA.

        In other words EU lite. No thanks Mike.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      I am sure Clegg and his ilk will continue grovelling to the EU and undermining their own country. Hopefully this will be noted and they will feel the consequences in 2020.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, I think the Lib Dems will have a surge in the local elections, and then in 2020 also. The Remainers from the existing LDs, from the “Labour” Party, from the left of centre Tories (of whom there are a significant number), and some from the Greens will, I believe, unite to form a new Party and fight for power in order to overturn the whole Brexit process. I believe that the current Conservative Brexiteers underestimate the threat, and worse still I fear that Theresa May does not mind the threat as it gives her ammunition to accept a fudge deal. I hope that I am wrong.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Well we saw what voters thought of the “wrong on every issue” Libdims at the last election. A shame they did not vote the student fee ratter Clegg out too.

  4. Freeborn John
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Why is Theresa May surrendering on freedom of movement, ongoing budget contributions and the jurisdiction of the ECJ already even before negotiations have begun? How can it be an “implementation period” when the old rules are still being implemented with no idea what the long-term arrangements would be. This is more delay pure and simple. These unilateral concessions will ensure that the UK de-facto remains in the EU for at least 5 more years until well after the next general election. Temporary arrangements have a habit of become permanent and the risk of this would become a certainty if Labour or the LibDems make advances in the next general election. By making unilateral concessions on the day the a European Palrliament votes on its demands we show weakeness that will encourage them to make maximalist demands.

    • acorn
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Won’t matter, Farage has just pissed off the whole EU Parliament in one stupid rant.

      • A Goddard
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Nigel wants ( as do many others) “No Deal”, so the more he pisses off the EU the more likely that is to happen, he hopes, however, he’s only talking to politicians. The economics will ( I feel) trump politics in the end. The EU Commission are in a corner, and fighting ( with massive bluffs ) for their own credibility, jobs & pensions. They will be exposed by economic drivers ( and economic common sense) and will be left with only their pensions.

        • acorn
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

          Economics never trumps politics. If it did, there wouldn’t be any politicians left!

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        You obviously did not hear the speeches before and after Farage. It is a game they play, and well recognised over there. The problem is that most of us in the UK have never watched much of the EP proceedings so do not have a clue how they are conducted. Mind you, there are some pretty questionable goings on in our own H of C sometimes.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink


        Farage is simply telling the truth, I suggest to google Steven Wolf MEP speech today in the EU Parliament if you want to hear some abrasive but true facts, he is also telling the truth in clear language..

        If we had not stood up to Germany in 1939 none of them in the EU would now be free to speak their minds..


        • Chris
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          Well said, A J.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Oops should be Steven Wolf MEP

        • acorn
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          I remember his Farage homily, before he left UKIP.

          “As the sun fell on scapa fell
          I heard the news and final death knell
          Of England’s beaten heart
          Destroyed from within
          By its own kith and kin
          Who sort to break it apart.”

      • getahead
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        He was brilliant.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        No more than plain speaking in my view.

  5. Nig l
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    According to the Daily Mail this morning this view has been branded as ridiculous by Phillip Hammond accusing people like you, and including Boris, of promoting it because you want a clean break, interesting near by was another article saying the PM wanted migration to continue for another five years to allow business to adjust. More ‘evidence’ that at least the Treasury is continuing to use its influence to ensure we leave in name only. I continue not to trust them but are fortified by your, IDS, JRM more trenchant views.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Here is the Bloomberg interview to which the Daily Mail refers:

      “Brexit supporters who demand a radical break with the EU have unnerved those who worry about the economic fallout of negotiations ending without a deal.

      Hammond has called that outcome — described as feasible by both Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson — as “ridiculous.””

      Well, I agree with him that it would be a ridiculous outcome for all concerned, and certainly not one that we would choose, but nevertheless it could still be better than an even more ridiculous bad deal which the other side may try to impose.

  6. Mark B
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I still maintain that the UK Government, if not immediately but over time, will sign the UK up to all the EU rubbish we had before. Including, and especially, the ECJ.

    I do not believe leave means leave.

    If the government want to change my view on this they can do so by one simple thing. Make UK fishing grounds non-negotiable. When we leave, we take them back and administrate it for ourselves.

    • jason Wells
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Mark B…The UK fishing grounds before 1973 extended out to only 12 miles from our coast- the rest of the fishing grounds extending further out to 200 miles are now EU waters so I don’t know if we will gain anything much in looking for our old fishing grounds back- time has moved on and the situation has changed

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        There’s a government response to a petition here:

        which starts:

        “On leaving the EU, the UK will control fisheries access in its Exclusive Economic Zone and manage those waters in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.”

      • Robert Christopher
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        EU waters, 12 miles from our coast?

        You are having me on! It will be split according to international rules, not EU rules.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Your government is suggesting a transitional period on open door immigration to help business adapt.

    Business has already had nine months to find waitresses and shelf stackers from within the existing UK population. Business still has two years to continue this adaptation. We have, apparently, eight thousand households who are getting 50p per week housing benefit due to the benefit cap, surely these people can serve coffee and pass goods through barcode scanners? How about using it as an opportunity to narrow the employment gap for the disabled (40% employed v 80% in the general population)? Or youth training?

    Of course genuine skills will be needed and a visa scheme should not take two years to figure out.

    Please give us back our country to rule as we decide.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders

      “Business has already had nine months to find waitresses and shelf stackers from within the existing UK population”

      Businesses have had far far longer than that , sadly the British “waitresses & shelf stackers” dont want the work, preferring benefits . Oh and its not about pay scales either . Thats why UK companies are forced to employ overseas workers.

      There are currently 759,000 unfilled jobs in the UK.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Slightly different area, but there were reported apparently 85,000 nursing applicants by UK citizens who could not get a place simply because they had all gone.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink


          There is a shortage of nearly 50,000 nurses in the NHS

          Due in part to the new mandatory Nursing degree courses. The reason we import trained nurses is having made nursing a degree level job the idiot government then failed to provide enough funded places . They never learn and are going down the same stupid route with Police Officers

          • alan jutson
            Posted April 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink


            Agree with your comments, would also suggest just because you do not have a degree would not make you incapable of being a nurse or a policeman.

            I wonder if a third world country degree is really equivalent to a UK one ?

            I would have thought not speaking clear English should be a barrier to a job here.
            It is in Australia and New Zealand, no official certificate of competence from a UK university marked paper, means no job.
            Friends Daughter just had to go through such a test.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        @lib. Yes I understand about those who would rather stay on benefits which is why I mentioned the families getting 50p per week housing benefit the disabled and our youth.

        Many disabled want to work and are passed over in favour of readily available immigrants. Business cab make small adjustments and give the disabled a chance. They will not let anyone down. Further benefits caps will encourage the youth and others into work but business must be prepared to train and performance manage.

    • Simon Platt
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Quite so.

      We have plumbers and plasterers who can’t get work on building sites, of which there are many near where I live, staff in service jobs who struggle to communicate (outlets at Euston station being a case in point, most of which seemed last week to be manned largely by people from outside the EU), etc. On the other hand, foreigners (again, I mean from outside the EU) already seem not to have much difficulty getting academic and academic-related jobs at universities or enrolling there as students.

  8. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    If we do offer most other nations around the world tariff free access to our markets, how much duty will the government lose per annum? How will this be replaced? (Hopefully by not spending the money).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      At present 80% of the custom duties go the Brussels.

      (Not 75% as I incorrectly remembered the other day.)

      “Three types of own resources:

      Traditional own resources: consist mainly of customs duties on imports from outside the EU and sugar levies. EU Member States keep 20 % of the amounts as collection costs.”

      So at best the UK government gets only a little benefit from the EU customs duties, depending on the collection costs, and there is correspondingly little to lose.

      If instead the EU system was that the UK kept 100% of the EU customs duties it collected then the EU would no doubt be demanding that we pay more in the “Own resources based on GNI” category to make up the shortfall, and that would increase our net budget contribution.

      • Narrow shoulders
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Thank you Dennis

        Just to be clear in my own mind, these duties that we pay to the EU (the 80%), they do not form part of our membership fee do they?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure but I believe they will be added into the official number for our gross contribution. However as I say if they were taken away the EU would want to make up the shortfall through the third component.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Dear Shoulders–I haven’t even yet grasped why (so John keeps telling us) we have apparently made “generous offers” on tariffs to the EU so very early in the negotiations

      • David Price
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we should increment the offered tariffs each week/month until they agree …

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      The answer to my own question for anyone interested

      Page 6 “Customs Duties 3.1 billion” forecast for 16-17 so removing import tariffs on all goods is not going to hit the exchequer hard

  9. alan jutson
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I share your view John, lets hope our negotiation team and our Prime minister are of the same mind.

    I see David Cameron is now suggesting he was a eurosceptic all along ?

    Such was his pride and belief in our Country, he caved in one step after leaving the starting line, and before he even got to the very first hurdle.

    The EU smelt his weakness, and so capitalised on it.

    We do not want to be embarrassed like that again.

    • graham1946
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      He did us favour really. If he had conducted a proper negotiation and won a few baubles, we probably would not be leaving. EU intransigence and arrogance has cost them our membership and the billions we pay in.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I described that man’s tenure as, First Lord of the Treasury as a waste. I have not changed my mind.

  10. Jack
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    If govt thinks no deal will be bad for economy, just do what Chinese govt did in 2008/09 and force banks to lend a LOT more (or expand fiscal deficit). Kept their GDP growing at 10% while everyone else fell into deep recession.


  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Oh, and some of them are greedy for Gibraltar as well … apropos of which, couldn’t we offer to help the Catalans with the costs of their independence referendum?

    “Spain’s Constitutional Court has provisionally blocked plans by the Catalan regional government to finance an independence referendum this year, following a legal challenge by the Spanish government.”

    It wouldn’t be a huge sum.

    The UK authorities wouldn’t have to do the same to stop Sturgeon using public funds for a second independence referendum without Section 30 approval, the Scotland Act 1998 has provisions for striking down such unlawful acts by Scottish ministers.

  12. Ian Wragg
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    We also have DD hinting we have to pay a tribute to continue trading and TM hinting free movement will continue to 2022.
    Business will have had almost 3 years to make alternative arrangements.
    UKIP will destroy the Tory party if immigration isn’t under control by 2020.

  13. John Page
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    ” The tariffs we imposed on their exports to us would be much larger…”

    Could you expand on this?

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I do not think he can. For two reasons, I understand that under WTO rules this will be illegal. Secondly the whole of our trading relationship with the EU will not be discussed until after we leave the Union on 29th Mark 2019. So tit for tat will not be possible until after the election in this country. And it won’t work anyway.

      • Stuart Ellis
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Mike Stallard

        You have so little understanding.

        John Page

        The reason is that we import massively more from the EU than we export to it. Therefore although the duty percentages would be as per WTO rules the absolute value of the duty collected would be much greater for the UK than for the EU.

      • Jagman84
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I do not wish to be rude but I think that you epitomise the saying, “Just a little knowledge is dangerous”. I find your ramblings quite amusing but not useful for matters pertaining to the EU. Do some proper research and you will understand what I mean.

      • Narrow shoulders
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I think that the total value is being referred to here Mike not the percentages.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Mike – If you think our future trade arrangements will not be discussed till after we leave just because the EU says today they won’t be then you are somewhat naive.

      • David Price
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        If we moved to a WTO basis and used the current EU schedule as the default position then there would be a 10% tariff on cars, for example, from the EU compared to the nil tariff at the moment. We would no doubt modify the schedule and reduce a number of the tariffs. Any FTAs we agreed could also reduce the tariffs for those countries seeking to trade cooperatively.

        But the option would be there to maintain the high tariff on cars which do not have sufficient British content, we would then be merely be reflecting the EU’s own rationale and policy.

    • Howard
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Correction. I meant £6 bn of tariffs on UK exports to the EU. Apologies

    • Simon Platt
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      “The tariffs we imposed on their exports to us would be much larger…” because WTO tariffs are mostly very low; the exceptions include agricultural products and motor cars, in which sector we import much more from the residual EU than we export to them.

  14. Richard Jenkins
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Totally agree, but to make walking away a realistic option, work needs to begin now on recruiting customs staff, developing import/export IT, and building necessary frontier infrastructure.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      In a recent letter, HMRC said that their computer programmes were being upgraded and that everything would be all right when it happens. So that is all right then!

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink


        HMRC have had computer and customer service problems for years, it could not get much worse, in or out of the EU it should be improved.

  15. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    The fundamental flaw in your piece is we have a Remainer as PM, who you did not initially support. Today there is a report that our borders may be open until 2022. I believe a Leaver in charge would have written the A50 letter the first day in office. EU citizens should have been granted permanent residency on the same day and no unqualified guarantees for new EU immigrants also on the same day. People who retire to foreign countries are essentially emigrating and they should appreciate and accept the risks involved.

    Our tone with the EU has been too deferential and will unfortunately continue to be so. Your regular point that it is for the EU to make the running is well made. We should play the walk away card repeatedly.

  16. Michael
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    This message needs selling in the country. There is a widespread view that no deal would be a catastrophe and that needs dealing with.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      And it totally correct too!

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Rubbish. I’m sure your RN using a pseudonym.
        EEA/EFTA is EU lite and not acceptable.

        • APL
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Ian Wragg: “I’m sure your RN using a pseudonym.
          EEA/EFTA is EU lite and not acceptable.”

          Richard North isn’t nearly as polite as Mike Stallard.

          Everyone is just too paranoid. North’s proposal* was to use the EEA/EFTA option as a painless transition out of EU**. The first step is removal of the political control our Parliamentarians have imposed on us.

          What we probably don’t need is an economic slump and shortages in the shops because all our goods are quued up on the Continent waiting for customs clearance.

          I can’t think of a better way to change 52% support for exit into 15% over-night.

          * He seems to be the only one to have considered just how to leave the European Union in any depth before the referendum.

          The Tories were all planning on the status quo!

          **Once our economy is secure, and we are no longer obliged to kowtow to the EU, we are able to negotiate the trade deals as an independent country.

          Currently, it seems we are forbidden to do so because we are still in the EU.

    • Tweeter_L
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.
      It seems to me very reminiscent if the Referendum “campaign” when nothing of any substance seemed to appear in the mainstream media to inform voters about what the EU actually does and how it spends our money. This was what was needed when people said they didn’t have “the facts”.
      Now the MSM aren’t examining the “no deal” option at all- just blindly reinforcing the catastrophe scenario. Come to think of it, perhaps even calling it “no deal” plays into that, whereas portraying it as the EU rejecting our reasonable offer (as per Dr JR’s comments today) might “play” better.

  17. Horatio McSherry
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning John,

    While things are indeed moving after a long delay, I have to admit I haven’t heard anything from the government resembling a commitment to return control of fishing waters back to the UK; quite the contrary actually.

    Also, the mischief making over any planned transitional periods regarding unchecked immigration will be causing suspicious minds to keep an eye out for the start to any back-tracking. Transitional arrangements should only apply to those who can prove they have a job to go to in this country. For those who cannot, there should be no transitional arrangements.

    Kind Regards

  18. Julien Tabulazero
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    Why spend so much time on your blog spelling how the EU should or should not react to the UK’s offer ?

    As far as I am concerned as a taxpayer, the shorter the negotiations the better. The EU has plenty of issues to tackle and the last thing I want is for Brexit negotiations to hog all the bandwidth for the next two years.

    You are leaving. So long, goodbye and good luck but please do not expect to have your cake and eat it. Even your Chancellor and fellow Tory does not believe this to be a viable option.

    Best regards

    Reply. You sound a bit rattled by my comments! The issue is whether the EU still wishes to sell us their cake without tariffs and other barriers or not.

    • eeyore
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Bearing in mind that the UK keeps on paying until a deal is struck, it’s not in the EU’s interest to hurry up. I rather expect them to string things out as long as they can.

      • old salt
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I completely agree eeyore the EU will try every trick in the book to sustain our contributions which I understand to be around 38% of total sub’s after Germany and double that of France. They are hooked on our treasure island teat. This must make the contributor countries rather desperate, and my concern is what do desperate people do?
        Already 9 months have passed and it’s beginning to sound like half in half out rather than a CLEAN Brexit we thought we voted for. Better off out and NOW.

      • Andy
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        Membership ends on 29th March 2019 without we agree otherwise. Personally I would make the EU an offer but time limited to end 31st December this year, then leave.

    • NickC
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Julien, It is most odd that you suppose trade only goes one way. Perhaps we do want the EU to have its cake and eat it either.

    • Paul w
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      no we’re not selling any cakes..not any more especially after farages outburst yoday in the eu parliamrnt…all that is left now is salt and vinegar..bye bye england and good luck with your new trade deals

      • getahead
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t he just brilliant?

      • libertarian
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Paul w

        The fact that you think a few drunk old middle aged men in the EU parliament have any effect on wether people buy and consume cake is laughable. Maybe theyll stop buying mobile phones and cancer scanners and coldplay ablums because Farage the idiot was rude to then

        Blimey you are naive

  19. Len Grinds
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    It is simply untrue to claim that we trade with China, India and the USA today on the basis of WTO most favoured nation terms. There are heaps of agreements – on air transport, on food safety, on customs co-operation, etc etc – between the EU and the USA, and many other countries. The day we leave the EU, we lose every single one of those advantages, because we are no longer an EU state. We can try and re-make the agreements in our own right, but international negotiation always takes time and in addition we will not get deals as good as the EU, because we are so much smaller.
    In the meantime our trade has fallen off the cliff edge.
    Once again, Mr Redwood, your readers deserve better than the wildly simplistic s0lutions you propose

    Reply When we leave all those arrangements with third countries novate to us and to the rest of the EU, unless the third country concerned objects,which they are unlikely to do. Stop scaremongering.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      That is simply false. They novate if the third country agrees. No third country will give the UK the same deal it gives to the (ten times larger) EU.

      • libertarian
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Len Grinds

        You know this based on what evidence?

        You are deluded if you think that the USA would cease trading with us on that basis. They are the biggest investors in the UK markets.

    • Simon
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Well John maybe they do.

      But that still leaves us with no trade deal at all with the EU. Nor any framework on things like fair competition, environment, fiscal dumping etc. We will be in the legal void.
      If you keep leaving my comments in mod I am going to give up contributing like many of your readers have done already.

  20. Jerry
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    If what you say is correct John then “No deal” is surely the better option than any deal. What is more we could get Brexit signed, sealed and delivered by Christmas 2017. My only concern is fishing, because whilst we might respect territorial waters and indeed other nations might too, the fish do not!

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Jerry. Parliament won’t let us leave before the end of 2 years as the majority are remainiacs. The only option is to let the 2 years expire without an agreement.
      The majority of MPs would like to derail Brexit.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg; The way you keep talking down Brexit, with your can’t do attitudes, many might be mistaken in thinking you’re the “remainiac”!

        My impression is that whilst the talk might have been about obstructing Brexit before A50, now most MPs will be happy to just get on and leave, because the greater the time between leaving and the next GE the greater their chances of proving or disproving the merits of Brexit before the 2020 GE (the only exception being the 56 or so SNP).

        • Ian Wragg
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          Don’t understand your reply Jerry. Not can’t do. More won’t do.
          I’m 100% behind a clean Brexit not a fudged one foot in and one foot out.

          • Jerry
            Posted April 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            @ian Wragg; So you really don’t understand why those opposed to Brexit would not now want as much time as possible between leaving the EU and the next election to give (as they see it) the maximum chance for Brexit woes to become established and thus being able to say to British voters “There, told you so, but vote for us and we’ll try and negotiate re-entry to the EU” at the next general election?

            The point you might be missing is, since the triggering of A50, beyond a europhiles living miracle, the UK is leaving the EU one way or another on or before 29th March 2019. Parliament doesn’t actually have much say…

    • libertarian
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      You are right Jerry.

      If it was me thats exactly what I’d do. I’d exit right now, cease our payments, Then and only then start trade negotiations once we’ve left

      • zorro
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        I have said that the only thing which will make the EU come to their senses is to say that we are leaving by a certain date (sooner the better) and the payments will stop. It is only the existential realisation of the disappearance of the £11bn nett contribution which will make them move…….


        • Jerry
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          @zorro; Indeed and hence why some in the EU now expect the UK to “pay the restaurant bill” (as they put it in the EP the other day) before walking out, failing to understand that the EU is more like a fast food restaurant were dinners pay as they eat, having actually paid for their food upfront, upon ordering, not even upon delivery…

      • rose
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        So would I.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        Problem is if we tried to walk away MPs would vote against it.

      • anon
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        Agree. Exit immediately & repudiate all treaties.Stop payments.

        That’s the pragmatic way, why bother arguing for 2 years and get stitched again.

        The EU is the “bad deal”, best exit today,asap, no deal stop contributions and take fullon countermeasures at any non WTO compliant behavior.

        We need to focus on Non – EU trade partners!! d or willing trade

        Follow the wishes as expressed in the referendum. Get us out , do it quick and move on.

        Leave the rest to lawyers incented to defend our legal & financial position.

        The EU is dysfunctional and without UK contributions will likely have to re-structure.

        Why does the UK indulge in QE and debt issuance to fund EU contributions etc when we have very high debt to GDP ratios.

        They have the Euro , they should use it to fund the spending they require.

        I feel sorry for EU “freedom lovers” trapped in that nightmare, but we don’t want to stay. I think we are doing them a favor by exiting immediately. Force majeure- “act of the people” whatever just get us out.

  21. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I wholly support your ideas, Mr Redwood, but fear that these are not embraced by Theresa May and others. The signs are there to see, both in what she and her team have done, hinted at, and not done.

    The liberal left and what I consider to be their malign influence (promoting globalisation dependent on cheap mass immigration; multiculturalism; destruction of the nation state, and other identities e.g. family, gender; advancing the interests of big corporate enterprises, and giving powers to an unaccountable political elite) could be finished with in this country if only the Conservatives went back to grassroots Conservatism and came to some arrangement with UKIP. However, it is the huge animosity that many Cons MPs towards UKIP, fostered by the Vote Leave campaign, that is the stumbling block.

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      “The liberal left…..could be finished with”

      Yes,I entirely agree with you-their project requires anti-democratic supranational government to succeed and that is why they are fighting so hard to make sure there is a Brexit in name only and we continue to march in lockstep.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, M. My grave concern is that many Tory MPs are truly unaware of the agenda of the liberal left and their model of globalisation, which Obama and Clinton adhered to and seemed determined to promote, along with corporate business, and key figures such as Soros. The contempt for Trump by many of our Eurosceptic MPs in my view just goes to prove how naïve they are. Things are dismissed as conspiracy theories, but there is no doubting exactly what the left has planned in terms of a new world order. Hence the rabid opposition to Trump, Farage, and any other so called populist agitators who are seen as a real threat to their “dream”.

        • David Price
          Posted April 7, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          The reaction of a number of non-Hungarian EU MEPs to Hungary’s banning of the Soros funded university (CEU) in their country was illuminating.

    • turboterrier
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      @ Chris

      I wholly support your ideas, Mr Redwood, but fear that these are not embraced by Theresa May and others. The signs are there to see, both in what she and her team have done, hinted at, and not done.

      You are not alone on this one

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    ‘We will impose WTO tariffs against their agricultural exports to us, with the options of growing more at home……’

    You should see how much prime agricultural land is being permanently lost to housing developments in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere because of the massive need to put all these immigrants somewhere. This is likely to increase exponentially as people breed and the population grows even more. I do not hold with the view expressed by some, particularly on the left, that we should have an open door policy to everyone. Perhaps that might help determine whom to vote for in future elections.

    Tad Davison


    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Tad, agree. We were visiting a friend in Cambridge recently and were amazed at the building going on. What makes me laugh is that the Greens want to encourage immigration and don’t seem to mind that great swathes of the countryside, including ancient woodlands are being felled to accommodate all these extra people. I thought they were supposed to be looking after the environment???

    • Jerry
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      @Tad Davision; “because of the massive need to put all these immigrants somewhere.”

      What absolute nonsense. The current housing shortage and thus building programmes has been decades in the making, not the last ten or even twenty years, more like forty. But then perhaps you think that all the late baby boomer generation, their children and their children’s children did not and still do not need to be housed. You also forget that a fair few of the migrant agriculture workers that you complain about are provided with accommodation by the employers.

      Heck if going to work on a farm was the short cut to having a house provided for you, as the europhobes try and have us believe, every man and woman born in the UK in the last 30 years would be queuing up to work in either agriculture or horticulture – but they are not, hence why employers have to look to migrant labour…

      The reason why farm land is being lost due to housing developments in places like Cambridgeshire is because the improved train and roads have made such areas prime commuter-land – what you are seeing is Third or Fourth generation equivalent to “Metro-land”, when housing swallowed up vast areas of farm land in Hertfordshire, Middlesex and especially Buckinghamshire. Later, in the 1930s similar developments took place south of London when outer suburban train services were electrified giving much quicker and more frequent services into central London.

      • APL
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: “The current housing shortage and thus building programmes has been decades in the making,”

        Since you seem to be discounting immigration as a factor in housing demand:-

        Do you not agree that if there is a high demand for a thing, the price of that thing goes up until the supply and demand comes into equilibrium?

        Can you not concede that introducing; for example, ten million new people into a country will probably increase the demand for housing?

        And drive the price of houses up?

        And do you concede that giving preferential treatment to immigrants must, in a constrained housing market, disadvantage those who have lived in the country all their lives?

        Finally, since I anticipate you will take a contrary position, because that’s what you do. What level of immigration should we accept – and how many houses should we be building to accommodate the immigrants that are arriving in the country?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        You seem to follow a pattern. You make suppositions – you put up an aunt Sally in political parlance – then try to knock it down to sound as if you know your stuff. If, as you say, I am talking nonsense, just answer these two basic questions, where are 300,000 plus people per annum going to live, and how do I tell my two daughters they might never get onto the housing ladder because the are being constantly priced out of the market?

        Oh, and as for the fantastic roads in this area, you have clearly never travelled on the A14. I journey to the West Midlands quite regularly, yet I have to find alternative routes via back roads to avoid this disaster because it is frequently brought to a standstill for hours on end by accidents – just ask any BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter. I wonder why the traffic is so heavy, could it possibly have anything to do with the unexpected and unanticipated amount of people who now use it?

        Hardly a baby-boomer or even post baby-boomer problem, it coincided with the opening of the floodgates by those arch Europhiles Blair and Brown, who gave us unfettered immigration!

        Nothing quite like looking through rose-tinted specs and being in total denial is there Jerry!

        • Jerry
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          @Tad Davison; “Nothing quite like looking through rose-tinted specs and being in total denial is there

          You (and @APL) tell me….

          What do you two not understand, the UK has had a housing shortage for the past 30 to 40 years, we are still playing catch up for homes that should have been built in the late 1970s, house for the children of the baby boomer generation, never mind later generations.

          Of course shortages cause inflation, but then those already on the housing ladder -especially those who make all the fuss and act like prize NIMBYs when new local housing is proposed- quite like that sort of inflation, even more those planning to use their property as a pension pot, cashing-in and downsizing.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted April 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

            Again, very selective. I could show you places where not too many years ago, three bedroomed local authority houses were being rented out to single persons because the alternative was for them to remain empty and prone to vandalism. The demand increased exponentially with the opening of the floodgates through the free movement of people from the EU – fact!

            What is your limit then Jerry, at what point would you say, we can’t take any more people, we’re full up – you must surely have one?

          • Jerry
            Posted April 8, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            @Tad Davison; It is you Tad who is being very selective. Why have house prices increase in the 1980s, well before you claim EU migrants flooded into the UK (and well after the high numbers migrants and refugees arrived post WW2 until c. 1972), it wasn’t because there was a surplus of supply was it since 1980. Why did the cost of renting increase, it wasn’t because for every council house sold under the right-to-buy legislation another (at least) was newly built was it.

            Our aim is to ensure that every family has a decent home to live in. Our Party’s pledge [in the 1951 manifesto] to build 300,000 houses a year was derided by our opponents as impossible to fulfil. In fact nearly 350,000 were built last year, and at least as many are likely to be built this year.

            That’s a citation from the 1955 Conservative general election manifesto….

            No one is suggesting that migrants do not need or take available housing, what people are complaining about is when people (wilfully?) mix up cause and effect.

      • anon
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Jerry -really bad argument. Math is unrefuteable try better or concede gracefully!

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink


      You should visit Wokingham

      850 Houses a year planned until 2036 not counting the last 10,000 recently built.

      Infrastructure cannot cope now let alone after another 20 years with few new roads planned.

      Stupidity plain and simple, stupidity.

      • Chris
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        ….and the neighbouring “village” being swallowed up by thousands of houses being built on several sites round the village. It is suggested that the Council leader lives in the south of the Borough and the main developments seem to be more concentrated in the northern sectors. The developments are on a massive scale, with schools, football pitches and surgeries factored in. However, the infrastructure will not cope, as it does not cope at the moment, and the new facilities being built will only just meet current demand let alone the new housing that they are linked to. There are huge problems also with regard to traffic, for example, and even sewage disposal has already been complained about with regard to far too low capacity for the housing developments being built.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson; “Infrastructure cannot cope now let alone after another 20 years with few new roads planned.”

        But that’s the elephant in the room that few choose to acknowledge these days, the problem is not the housing development but the failures of planning by the developer, LA and State for the required infrastructure.

        No one would build a (small) new town of 10,000 dwellings, never mind a further 17,000 in the next 20 odd years, without providing new shops, schools, doctors or suitable transport links (plus their related services) together with all the employment those service4s require but currently our piecemeal approach to planning a housing policy is doing just that.

    • Chris
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the scale of the development round Cambridge is quite frightening. Fedupsoutherner: the Greens are quite illogical, in my view.

  23. Pat
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Were we dealing with the 27 countries that will bear the consequences. I would agree.
    However the EU has its own interests to look out for, primarily its own survival, and they may prioritise things differently.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Agree. EU wants to protect it’s ‘club’ and prevent 27 members from considering the thought of leaving, which is understandable. I don’t think either the German or French elections will have much bearing on Brexit as we are well on the path to getting our country back. It will ,however, be a sad day if either Scots, NI or the Welsh decide on referendums in order to extract themselves from the Union.

  24. Martin
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    If Gibraltar is sovereign then by the definition you have advocated in this forum should it therefore have nothing to do with the UK?

    Reply It should have its current relationship with the UK as that is what the people of Gibraltar want!

    • Martin
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      UKIP’s leader is today reported as asking the EU parliament to give Gibraltar a voice at Westminster !

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        He’s not so daft that he thinks that is in the gift of the EU Parliament.

      • rose
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        Spain’s Gibraltar, Ceuta, sends an MP to the Spanish parliament.

        BTW, after June 23rd, Spain offered Gibraltar membership of the EU in return for half sovereignty. Gibraltar, despite having voted to remain, turned this down flat. They would rather be outside with us.

  25. Tad Davison
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    According to Open Europe this morning, the Chancellor said:

    ‘Those people who are hoping for no deal, I say we have to disprove their thinking by showing there is clear goodwill on the Europe side to reach a deal.” He also said that the UK should “be under no illusion that Germany’s principle objective will be to protect the EU and to protect Germany’s own national interest. We don’t expect the kindness of strangers.”

    Perplexed or what? And is Mr Hammond the best person to hold the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer?

    Tad Davison


    • Chris
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      In answer to your last question, TD, No, Hammond is not. It is beyond his brief and apparent “ideology”. I would far prefer a very sound and competent pair of hands, such as JR.

    • turboterrier
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      @ Tad D

      is Mr Hammond the best person to hold the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer?

      There are far more suitable kids on the block.

      We all write to one on a regular basis.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        @turboterrier; Always assuming that he actually wants a Cabinet position. I get the impression that our host actually has far more influence out of Cabinet than in! It’s not necessarily what you do but who you have the ear of that matters…

    • graham1946
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Chancellor is not held on the basis of merit, but by being mates with the P.M. Been that way for years.

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink


        Afraid you are correct.

    • zorro
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Good to see that the Chancellor will be batting for Germany’s interests!….. No mention of UK’s national interests God forbid ?


  26. TL
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink


    The LibDems really are anti-British.

    “Liam Fox flies into Philippines to grovel to sinister president for Brexit trade deal” (

    A quick check on the Europa website and boom! ( “The EU is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with the Philippines”, it goes on to tell us that the second round of talks took place in in February this year).

    I tried searching the LibDem website for tthe word ‘Philipines’ looking for an outrage piece about the EU “grovelling to the sinister President…”, but I only found holiday ads!

    • Chris
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      The Lib Dems are going to soar, admittedly from a very small base. There is definitely a threat to the Conservatives (and in the not too distant future) from the establishment of a leftist Party made up of Lib Dems, left leaning Conservatives, and New Labour types. I think May et al are unprepared for this. If they had any sense, they would bury their differences with UKIP, and return to a true grassroots Conservative Party. Sadly, Theresa May, and a significant number of Cons MPs really espouse views more akin to the Liberal Party.

    • Stephen T
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this. I wish there was a way of posting this somewhere were many more people could see it.

      LibDims really do seem to have Stockholm syndrome…

  27. ChrisS
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Regrettably I do not share your optimism. Almost every official, MEP, minister and leader in the 27 believes that their organisation is better than anything else and that the Project has to come first. This distorts every negotiation or deal they attempt to make.

    Frankly, they will only accept a deal on their terms so negotiations they are not.
    Because the UK happens to be 20 miles from the European mainland they think they can impose restrictions on us post-Brexit that don’t apply to other countries around the world.

    Take Euro clearing, for an example. Only this week German sources have indicated that they will do everything possible to change rules and take this business away from The City of London which is the overwhelmingly dominant player in Euro transactions. Some say that this could cost us 100,000 jobs.

    But this trade is also carried on in New York and in Asia. Are they going to tell President Trump that New York cannot continue Euro clearing ? I can imagine the swift response that will come from the White House !

    We are being singled out here. The problem is twofold : firstly the EU is a political project and it’s always politics that comes before economic interests and secondly, their mindset is stuck in the past – they continue to see us as a subjugant, not as a fully independent country.

    In every area of negotiations they will not accept that we should have exactly the same rights and responsibilities as, for example, the USA, Canada, China or Australia. Would they dare to try to tell any of those four that they cannot be entirely free to set their own taxes if they sign a trade deal with the EU ? Of course not.

    In my view we will not be offered any kind of good deal without severe strings attached.
    Nothing less than full independence is acceptable.

  28. English Pensioner
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    But Mr Hammond seems to think that leaving the EU without a trade deal would be a disaster. If the cabinet can’t agree, how will the rest of the party behave in a Commons vote? Perhaps it’s time for a General Election so that the PM can strengthen her hand.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Well, that is not quite what he said, see above.

  29. JimS
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I think the ideal ‘deal’ for some people is to abide by all EU rules, have no say in what those rules are and to pay in nearly as much as we do now!

    Indeed for them that would be better than we have now because what they like about the EU is that legislation that would never pass in the UK can be imposed by Brussels and, unlike UK legislation, can never be repealed, we are stuck with it even if the ‘plebs’ vote for the ‘wrong’ party.

  30. Antisthenes
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The EU’s choice on negotiating priorities must surely unless substantially modified make leaving without a deal the only possible outcome. Have they not adamantly declared that negotiations on a deal cannot even be started until after Brexit. Am I missing something as everyone else appears to be making no mention of this rather fundamental fact. For me the EU is being quite open and clearly saying we must leave without a deal.

    Leaving without a deal as you say will not cause the UK much harm in terms of trading with the EU. However it will throw up practical problems in the short term and leave many things that we collaborate on and cooperate and which we wish to continue with the EU in limbo. Phillip Hammond and Theresa May do not fill me with confidence as their resolve appears to be in the face of the EU’s bullying weakening already.

  31. Robin Wilcox
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    It seems that trade deals have become the be all and end all ? If they were then being in the EU is not a good idea because they are utterly dysfunctional when it comes to negotiating trade deals.
    We’ve been trading with the likes of the USA and China for years with no trade deal and i cannot remember anyone ever claiming that represented a major barrier to trade.
    If we can agree a deal with the EU then fine but we should not have to agree to their 4 freedoms or the ECJ to get this. No other trading bloc in the world requires political interference in return for free trade.

  32. Tweeter_L
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    oops typo sorry — should read “reminiscent of”

  33. The Great Ear
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I’m listening LIVE to the discussions in the EU Parliament “EU Negotiations With The UK”. Mr Barnier,European Chief negotiator speaking in French with a professional simultaneous interpretation in English.

    Remarkably, like the feeling one sometimes gets from a piece of music being entirely different to another yet you know it is the work of the same composer…something in the harmonies, tones and phrases. His speech in parts was identical , in this regard, with the words a couple of days ago of Mr Hilary Benn MP. I guess their great intelligences cause resonance or something.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink


      “….Hilary Benn…”

      As many of us have mentioned many times on this site.

      Those who preach for the EU against the UK are giving ammunition to the EU, and are acting like traitors to the UK cause and the people who pay their salaries.

      Better to say nothing until negotiations are complete, than help the other side.

      Shame on them !

  34. Howard
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of sensible comments above, from my perspective.
    I am concerned that the government’s principal Brexit players do not appear to be on the same wavelength. We have Hammond saying it would be ridiculous to leave the EU without a deal. I believe this undermines our negotiating position because it questions the credibility of committing to a clean Brexit (out of the single market, out of the customs union, control of our borders/immigration and not subservient to EU legislation) while seeking a close, mutually beneficial, relationship with the EU. We have the Prime Minister saying that no deal is better than a bad deal. With which I agree. And we have David Davis appearing to have promised a deal that would be an exact equivalent of the status quo. Which I find completely unbelievable.
    I would like to see this top team taking a united stand.
    Hammond’s recent budget was unconvincing because it was not obviously pro-Brexit. Such a budget would have increased training opportunities and places for British workers to do British jobs. It would have incentivised British workers to take those jobs, potentially including adjustments to benefits entitlements. The suggestion by “Narrow shoulders” that Brexit could increase employment opportunities for those with disabilities merits close consideration. A pro-Brexit budget would also have included resilience measures such as increasing the parking area/screening capacity for EU imports of major British ports, in line with the comment by Richard Jenkins. Nearer the time, it might also link any tariff income from EU imports specifically to measures to support British business, such as a reduction in corporation tax.
    Business has proved to be lazy when it comes to training and there is no reason to believe it will commit to training and employing British workers if it can employ foreigners as a quick fix. I see no reason why there should be a continuation of free movement after Brexit. We should issue work permits and if these are required in what appears to be excessive numbers, the government should challenge the situation and promote the British supply-side.

  35. Bert Young
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    As I see things the EU – one way or another , want to “punish” us ; statements by EU officials have said that ” It is necessary to show to all EU countries that leaving is a very expensive option”. Hollande and others have been quoted making this sort of remark . In the EU response letter they threw in reference to Gibraltar – nothing more but a temperature raising issue . Tusk has also said ” Negotiations will , at times , be confrontational “.

    So far we have maintained a dignity and calm headed stance and I hope this sort of diplomatic manner continues . Once we reach the closing stages and we can properly assess what the options really mean we can and , if the terms are’n’t suitable to us , walk away . Frankly this situation would not really hurt us . In any event we must not agree to any leaving financial settlement ; there is no obligation to cough up anything . It is the EU who will suffer and regret any such action .

    Economically the situation in Greece , Italy , Spain and Portugal make survival of the EU questionable . Within the 2 year timetable another “crash” will occur ; it will be well beyond the capability of the ECB to stop this .

    • Andy
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      The callous indifference of the EU towards Greece and the Greek people is what sealed the deal for me. And I blame Merkel for most of it.

  36. Jack snell
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Here i detect a sign of panic, and not for the first time.. and that is very understandable but talking with such loud bravado about how bad the EU is is not going to help either.. i think its time now that we called in Liam fox to give an account of the possibilities for new trade deals with countries overseas.. he should have a good idea by now as to the prospects.. the public need to know the truth because Its time now to face up to some hard realities about our situation instead of forever going on about how bad our present deal with the EU is. The EU administrators read these blogs and diaries as well and we can be pretty sure that if we keep sounding off in the same way we are certainly heading into a hostile brussels negotiation which will not be good for anyone.

  37. Oggy
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Last week we heard suggestions Mrs May was retreating on the UK not being subject to the ECJ post Brexit. Today I now read Mrs May is retreating on Immigration controls post Brexit.
    The idea that the EU (as they propose) would still exert control over our fiscal policies post Brexit so the EU is not disadvantaged is ludicrous.
    It must be made clear to them Gibraltar’s sovereignty is not on the table.
    Putting it simply the EU’s negotiating stance is completely unacceptable and any surrender to them would be catastrophic for the Tories.
    I and others are becoming increasingly sceptical that ‘Leave means Leave’ and that the looming Brexit negotiations will keep us in the EU in all but name – this is not what we voted for on June 23rd.
    Just what other retreats has Mrs May got in the pipeline ?

  38. agricola
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    You put the case succinctly. Ideally common sense will prevail and there will be no losers in the EU or UK. However so many in the EU have lost face and are therefore compensating by making the most ridiculous claims both financial and political that one doubts their capacity for understanding on which side their bread is buttered. What the UK people have done is akin to Gallileo telling the Catholic Church in Rome that the World goes round the Sun. They considered it a heresy. For many in the EU it’s very being is an absolute that cannot be questioned. Those that do, such as the UK are heretics. They cannot cope with the fact that while the concept may have been well founded, the implementation has been a disaster. We should put our case for a new relationship and hope that common sense prevails. If not ,no deal is better than a bad deal.

    • Chris
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Completely agree, Agricola.
      Now to make sure Captcha agrees with me!

  39. P2017
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    This strategy will not work. It is akin to holding a gun to our head and saying that unless the EU gives us what we want, we will pull the trigger.

    As for your belief that we can just leave without any deal and be fine, I implore you to understand the world is not as simple as you want to believe it is. We do not trade with the US or China on solely WTO terms. It would be a very bad idea to do so.

    • Simon
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      John is the High Priest of the Ultras and is completely impervious to the tedious details.

      • P2017
        Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        True, if John says it is simple, i guess it must be simple and the EU treaty database is lying. It will all be so easy trading with no agreements just like the US and China don’t.

        But of course, his above reply says that we will inherit these agreements automatically with no problems because others countries are ‘unlikely’ to complain. Which is interesting, because he’s just admitted by saying that that they don’t trade solely under WTO terms in the first place. The internal contradictions of John Redwood continue!

        Reply Most do not have an FTA with the EU! Do try and pay attention.

        • P2017
          Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          ‘most do not have an FTA with the EU!’

          I’m sure you are aware that FTAs are not the only type of trade agreement.

          So when you say that the EU doesn’t have FTAs with the US or China, you neglect to mention that vital point that they do have other bilateral trade-related agreements with the EU. Which means that these countries are, to a certain extent, not trading under solely WTO rules with the EU. Which you have admitted when you say that we will aim to inherit these agreements in a reply further up.

          ‘Do try and pay attention’

          I do pay attention. Which is why I can see the contradictions in your argument. You are the one who needs to give your readers some respect by explaining those contradictions and talking about more than just tariffs in a world which is about far more than just tariffs.

  40. Briton
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Today in Strasbourg it is dismaying to listen to some MEPs from the UK from the Labour and Lib Dems, despite there having been a Referendum decisive result and for Article 50 voted for in both Houses, to reiterate the Remain arguments and side with our opposite side in negotiations.
    Of course they are free to exercise in their free speech an utter betrayal of the British People, the British Parliament and British Democracy, Free Speech is of decisive importance and for this reason I am of the humble opinion that when they return to their homeland here in Albion they should not be hanged.

    • rose
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      For me the saddest thing today was hearing the sanctimonious Dutchwoman’s speech at Strasbourg: peddling the usual hateful propaganda against us, and boasting of indocrinating her son on it. I thought of the great sacrifice of our parents and grandparents, and their grievous suffering; also of their having gone without food in order to feed the Dutch.

      What would they say if they could see these European nations now? Brain-washed prisoners of the no borders and single currency extremists, willing captives of what Gorbachev described as a Soviet Union of Europe, and trying to destroy us for wanting to be independent again.

      • Chris
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        You are right, and it is quite tragic, and I find it beyond belief.

        Perhaps it is also because I am of a certain age?
        (but I am not a ….. robot, JR).

  41. forthurst
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    A good deal is the status quo ante plus free trade or the status quo ante plus WTO. A bad deal
    is a trade deal with strings which include their keeping our stuff and we being lumbered with their stuff. e.g. we lose our fishing grounds but we keep their working time directives etc.

  42. John Finn
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Those who think leaving is a complex negotiation should grasp that we would not have a negotiation unless we are willing to walk away.

    Absolutely. However, pressure from opposition parties will make this difficult. Would, it be better, therefore, to have included some cross party representation in the negotiating team (a bit like a select committee). I’m wondering if this might also have helped in reducing the level of “negotiation” which has already been done on behalf of the EU.

    We are all hoping the the government has a powerful, comprehensive negotiating strategy. We also understand why they are unwilling to reveal too much detail at this stage. Cross party representation might have allowed opposition party leaders to be briefed in private on some of the issues of concern.

    Brexit should transcend party politics.

  43. Freeborn John
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    One further and very serious consequence of Theresa May’s unilateral concessions on a transitional arrangement with the EU is that they could very easily permantly cost us an FTa with the USA. It is possible but imho unlikely that Donald Trump will be re-elected. If we are to make use of the window of opportunity to conclude an FTA with him, then it has to be done between March 2019 and the next US presidential election campaign. This is a very tight window given the lengthy campaigns they have in the US and the need for Senate approval. If Theresa May agrees to a transitional period extending to 2022 during which the UK remains in the single market subject to EU law and ECJ jurisdiction then I do not see how we can negotiate and conclude an fta with the USA that would require us to grant them market access. May is not just negotiating badly with the EU27 at the moment but also preventing any meaningful negotiations with the USA during the window of opportunity if the Trump presidency. We could easily find ourselves at the ‘back of the line’ again in 2022 for a US deal.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      ‘It is possible but imho unlikely that Donald Trump will be re-elected’

      – Fox News just released a report that some Harvard University students think Donald Trump is more dangerous to America than ISIS. Whatever Harvard University students think, the more important thing is what Fox News thinks to release such an anti Trump report as this. In other words, I fail to see how he can get re-elected.

      • Chris
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        He will get reelected because he is bringing jobs back and focusing on what matters to people . Only yesterday another wonderful news story:
        another 236,000 jobs created in the private sector in March, way above expectations. This is one of many good news stories across the board. You are probably well aware of why the mainstream media do not report it. See Breitbart.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted April 7, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          ‘He will get reelected because he is bringing jobs back and focusing on what matters to people’

          – it’s extremely early days to comment on his effect on jobs and economy. What i can say is that if he moves away from hard-right populism, to more sensible, centre-right Republicanism (the sort of Republicanism represented by George Bush Sr) then he does have a good chance of getting re-elected.

  44. Peter Wood
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    May I suggest Mr Redwood has it about right for now ( as long as there’s no punishment fee!). All we’ve heard from are the political noise-makers who do no actual trade. Business people trade, politicians frustrate it. When we hear common sense from the business community then I believe we’ll start to see progress. (He who pays the Piper….)

  45. Dennis Zoff
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the clarity John

    As with the Brexit decision to leave the EU, against the many immature and ignorant protestations, it is far simpler than all of those self-serving clowns would suggest. Their previous doom laden scenarios that our decision to withdraw from the EU would bring immediate suffering did not come to pass and almost certainly will not in the future!

    No doubt fear of the unknown was fueling honest people’s concerns, but just as Brexit did not suddenly produce armageddon neither shall finalising negotiations with the EU. Concerns are starting to diminish, including for the Remainers.

    Much of the posturing and grandstanding by EU/Nation State politicians is for the benefit of their own citizens. Some of their statements have been ludicrous in the extreme and frankly, in some cases, quite dishonest.

    As we approach the final stages of the negotiations I am positive all will take the most pragmatic and logical way forward, though I am sure there will still be plenty of puerile vociferous fodder to keep the voracious appetite of the Press fed for the foreseeable future!

    • Chris
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Last para: that is what they thrive on.

  46. fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    We have to get on with this because if it goes on too long the public could get fed up with the Tories and vote in Labour who will keep us in and that would be a disaster. We know what we voted for and this is what we want asap.

  47. Newmania
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Fortunately the PM understands the strength of the UK position, and understands that No deal would work better for us than for them.

    Just complete rubbish .It is impossible to trade without many may bilateral agreements governing compliance and so as to accept paper .This plan would have every export and port bunged up for a year. I do hope Mr Redwood and his minions have not dragged us all into this on the basis of such a simple mistake.#
    As far as our position is concerned it was always weak and will not hurt the EU anything like as much as it hurts us , do the math as they say
    There was no support for a Brexit that made us one penny poorer and if it strays from that prospectus there is no mandate at all for continuing with the process.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


      You really are clueless, you have no idea at all. 80% of business is in services so bunging up ports is a total nonsense .

      Odd then that its quite possible to sell things to people in other countries with no bilateral trade deals, how do you explain that?

      As to each countries product regulations, as we’ve been in the EU 40 years ALL of our goods already comply. Blimey Newbie you really are lacking access to reality

      • Newmania
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

        As a consequence of losing passporting services will also be badly affected but it is not just trade that crosses borders it is also ordinary supply chnains
        This by the asay is a special problme on the N Ireland border where Davies reckons he hac solve it with electronic wizardy…

        Well what could possibly go wrong eh …
        It is possible to conduct business with countriues with whom you have no tresaties buit volume transport of goods would be extremely difficult . China has over a hundred trade agreements with the EU as does the US .
        If we do not find a way to mimic thoese in one go we are stuffed

        WTO is not workable for us IT IS NOT and if people don`t get agrip on the realtiy this catastrophe is going to be even worse than it need be ,and thats very bad

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      “do the math as they say” I have yet to read your erudite “maths” on the tangible benefits of remaining joined at the hip with sclerosis Brussels! However, you do bring an alternative narrative to this comment blog, which presumably is an attempt to keep us all honest?

      As you have a strong opinion on remaining within the EU perhaps you would share your reasons why we should remain? John has given you ample opportunities to deride his positive stance on leaving the EU, please share your positives for remaining? Thank you

  48. Richard Butler
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    From todays EU conference – warning – the following is painful news for Remoaners;

    EU chief Jean Claude Juncker warns ‘everybody will lose’ if Brussels and UK don’t secure a Brexit deal

    Chief negotiator Michel Barnier added EU wants success with, and ‘not against’, the United Kingdom

    The President of the European Commission said a failure to reach an agreement would be the “worst possible outcome” for people on both sides of the Channel.

  49. lojolondon
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, reading this – I am wondering – why are we offering a free trade deal? Why not offer a flat rate of 10% for goods both ways. The Balance of payments means that our Treasury would benefit proportionately more than the EU would – and that in turn would promote “buying local”, surely a good thing for both sides of the channel?
    I have nop doubt that calling their bluff in this manner would be far more effective than trying to ask for 0%, the EU will be pleased to ‘punish’ us, but the nation states will be fighting to force the EU to reduce the rate. Simples.

  50. Peter D Gardner
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Just had this thought, what might be called outside the box or left of field.

    Suppose UK does not enter into any kind of deal with the EU defence, security and intelligence sharing. It might be a very good thing. It would force the EU to contribute to and commit to NATO, possibly. Bit then NATO doesn’t really do security and intelligence sharing. So do a deal on security involving politics, special branch and a bit of intelligence to with civil mattes and so nothing on defence, armed forces and all that. Before Lisbon, even before Maastricht, UK had very good intelligence and policing arrangements with a number of continental states.
    So that leaves military stuff , including intelligence. That is where NATO comes in. So best deal for UK is outside both the single market and the Customs union.

  51. formula57
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Given the prospect of “…a punishment deal of the kind some in the Commission have flirted with” it would be a comfort if the UK Government said it was prepared to recognize the Evil Empire as a hostile power.

    As for the UK providing a “contribution to European defence and security initiatives and commitments” why does the Government suppose the people would be willing to come to the aid of EU countries that show us hostility? (I would write to Defence Secretary Fallon and ask him but as we know he is correspondence-challenged.)

  52. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    This appeared on Brexit Central newsletter this morning. I personally do not think Philip Hammond and fellow europhiles are helping our Brexit process. I believe that those he is apparently accusing are actually those Conservative MPs who want the PM to honour the result of the referendum which was to implement a clean Brexit.
    Philip Hammond accuses Tory Eurosceptics of plotting to undermine Theresa May over Brexit
    The Chancellor said that some Tory MPs “do not want to see” a partnership with the European Union after Brexit, adding that he believes “with a high degree of confidence” that it will lead to tensions. It came as Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said that Britain will “more than survive” if it leaves the EU without a deal after Brexit… The Foreign Secretary said that he believes the UK can secure a “win-win” deal and that he does not want to be “unduly pessimistic”. Mr Hammond last week repeatedly refused to endorse suggestions that the UK would be “perfectly OK” without a deal. – Daily Telegraph

  53. John O'Leary
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “We will trade with the rest of the EU on WTO most favoured nation terms, just as we trade with China, India and the USA today”

    I am sure you know that this is incorrect. We currently trade with China, India and the USA on terms agreed between these countries and the EU. A search of the Europa site treaties database yields many bilateral agreements and MoUs for all three of these countries.

  54. Prigger
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    My Secondary Modern school did not teach us any Shakespeare ( nor any kind of poetry ). One of my former teachers told me years later they thought Shakespeare was above our heads and would be wasted on us. I asked him what Shakespeare was doing hanging above our heads. He laughed. I did not laugh.
    So I wonder if the guy who reprimanded Farage in Strasbourg today when he accused the EU of “being like the mafia ) had also Shakespeare hanging over him . Does no-one nowadays understand , broadly speaking,figurative language? I feel that if I had been taught Shakespeare in my Secondary Modern School, I would now be Britain’s leading authority on literati hanging onto light fittings.
    #”mafia” can be a hyperbolic term used nowadays merely meaning a clique. This is how Farage used it. Sigh!!!!

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Shakespeare, the blight of modern English. Go and spend 3 hours at the London Globe and you find that will be sufficient for the rest of your life, as many foreigners will testify!

      • Prigger
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Dennis Zoff
        I have never been to the London Globe.
        I started reading one of his sonnets as an introduction for myself. Left page his work, right page THE explanation.
        The English of Shakespeare felt, for I found it strangely intimate, part of me. I sensed automatically meanings of his old English via my childhood memories of my northern dialect. But then when I looked to the explanation on the right, my word, I felt big, for the explanation was wrong and showed evidence that my dialectal street talk was just so. I felt more British. But this for the first time perhaps to my very marrow.
        I worship Shakespeare

        • Prigger
          Posted April 6, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Dennis Zoff
          Here’s an example of how the explanation of a Shakespeare quote doesn’t quite marry up to what Shakespeare meant or in this case possibly what John Fletcher meant “And marrow of my understanding laid upon ye ” [official explanation: ” i.e. the very best of my intellect “)
          The Two Noble Kinsmen III v.6
          See my use of “marrow in my third and second to last sentence of my answer to your Comment ” I felt more British. But this for the first time perhaps to my very marrow.”
          As I have commented before in JR’s blogs, Liberals who ask “What do “British values” actually mean if anything?” would know automatically if they themselves were truly British

  55. The PrangWizard
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Given the almost irresistible desire in government to reach compromises in difficult situations I fear for Gibraltar. It would not surprise me if it does a deal to which will weaken our sovereignty over it.

    I’m also experiencing one of those deja vu moments. I’m thinking back to the debates about ‘English Votes….’ when we read that we didn’t need a true English parliament; it could all be quite simple, just amend standing orders and everyone could be happy, goodwill on all sides etc., etc.. Many said the SNP would walk all over it, and they did. And the reason they did was that they smelled weakness in all the talk of reasonable-ness.

    We need leaders with guts and determination, not hints of appeasement and compromise.

    • Jerry
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      @TPW; I suspect that if any European area UK protectorate are in danger it is the Channel Isles, they hold no logical or logistic merit to the mainland, not that I expect the UK to go handing them back to France any time soon! On the other hand the reason Gibraltar has always been important to the UK is the naval base, without that Spain would have their Rock back years ago.

  56. a-tracy
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    This is Mrs May and David Davis’s last opportunity to be written up in history as the people key to delivering the people of the UK the best deal we should obtain in order to prosper in the future as a sovereign independent nation, how disastrous would it be for either of them to screw this up. Out of interest, I wonder how much tourism and British money is spent in the EU each year that they so want to damage this with punitive restrictions on aviation? These talks today opening up today do sound as negative as you were predicting John. Are you one of Mandelson’s Conservative Ultra Wild Men? Are Andrea, Kate and Gisela the Wild Women oh hold on two of them are Labour Ultra Wild Women. This name calling is patronising and childish. Most of the harder line Leave voters I know are Labour so let them point out they’re further away from their own voters than ever.

  57. Jerry
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Moderation times on this site have become stupid, if your workload is such that you can not cope then either stop offering a comment service or perhaps offer a weekly diary. Unless of course your work load is not the problem, just that you prefer not to publish comments that are off-message….

    Reply Short ones get posted quickly. Long ones will take time – nothing to do with whether they are pro or anti

    • zorro
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Jerry, JR doesn’t need your advice on what he does/allows on his own blog! I really don’t believe the impudence of some people who comment on this site or question motives of the author…… I am amazed at his forbearance at times!


    • Jerry
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; So you accept that the work load is to high then!..

      If you do not want to reduce the frequency of your diary then perhaps you should think about cracking down on the off-topic comments, delaying those comments in preference to those who are obviously wishing and trying to debate the issue of your days diary even disagreeing or probing?

      Reply I sometimes have to delay long comments, or comments with references to other sites. If you want quick posting keep it short. I will just delete ultra long posts.

      • Jerry
        Posted April 6, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        @JR reply; How about just deleting all the totally off topic comments?!…

  58. Dee
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    We do not just have to put put up with the ridiculous demand of the EU negotiating team, now every Tom, Harry & Dicks of MEP are coming in with their demands before they will agree with the Brexit deal. PM should get some balls and tell them to get stuffed. Walk away and leave them to it. March 2019 say ‘are you continuing trading with us AS Normal? if the answer is no then we go WTO. pay them nothing, withdraw cooperation and go it alone. If I get pain because of it, it will be worth it just to get shut of them. WTO rules would be a nice little earner for the UK. First let the taxpayer pay the tarrifs. For easy figures say 10%, we export £49Billion to EU so we have to pay £4.9Billion in tarrifs to EU. We slap the same 10% tariffs on EU imports of £90Billion so we get £9Billion tarrif duty from them. The taxpayer has made a nice little £3.9Billion profit. NICE. Stuff the EU.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 5:31 am | Permalink

      It’s so simple!
      And yet Mrs May and Mr Davis are obviously not going anywhere near this ‘solution’. Instead of Mr Redwood’s plan to demand simple tariff-free access and, failing that, WTO only, they are discussing transitional arrangements, continued payments in to the EU budget, open migration, etc.
      Why is that? Why do you think everything you’ve been told on this blog is turning out to be pie in the sky?

  59. Bob Irving
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Is the biggest threat to getting a reasonable deal with the EU our own parliament? If the ‘no deal’ option was played because the UK is offered such a bad deal by the EU, would not our own parliament force us back into the negotiations?

    • graham1946
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Yes, our parliament is undermining our negotiating position because of Remoaners cannot accept the referendum result and should be ashamed that they want to do the country down to favour the EU.

      How can you force a re-negotiation just because Parliament does not like the offer? Would the EU be likely to re-assess?

      No, if the offer they make is refused by Parliament, the only option is ‘no deal’, not a ‘let’s get back in on worse terms’ deal favoured by the Remoaners just to cling on to nanny.

      Why are we faced with this silly Captcha picture game? Do you really not want to hear our views now, JR?

  60. Historian
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group in Strasbourg/ Brussels Mr Guy Verhofstadt ( Flem ) spits through his teeth at the UK leaving the EU. He says today that a YOUNG Briton will one day lead the British back into the EU. A miracle: It does give you an insight into King Herod’s seemingly bizarre motivation in regard to the First Born.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Over the last year or so it has seemed to me that even if there were no other reason for leaving the EU the uber-smug Verhofstadt would single handedly have validated the decision.

  61. acorn
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    “The tariffs we imposed on their exports to us would be much larger and could be given back to UK consumers and businesses as compensation.”

    Which bit of my yesterday post did you not understand?

    “Applying import tariffs and using the money to subsidise consumers, will invite an investigation under the WTO “Subsidies and Countervailing Measures” rules. (SCM)”

    Reply They do not stop you offering tax breaks!

  62. Eeyore
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwoood, on the button as ever.

    What you propose is attractively close to a notion I have flirted with for some time, namely that instead of engaging in negotiations we should immediately withdraw completely (security cooperation included), then ask what bits of cooperation they would like to re-install. I’s a a variant on the idea of zero-based budgeting, I suppose. Until yesterday that was a piece of idle whimsy, but when I see what the MEPs are up to as well as the Commission, I begin to wonder…

  63. James neill
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    After listening to nigel farages performance in the eu parliament today i am dismayed- i can only think that he is out to deliberately wreck any chance of success at the upcoming talks.. i’d say the figure of 60 billion euro sounds about right now?

    • Chris
      Posted April 5, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      As I have commented earlier, you seem to be unaware of the antics of the EP and the various speeches preceded and followed Farage. This is perfectly normal for them. Also for those so offended, perhaps you should look closer to home at some of the antics in our own H of C?

      That took 6 tries to post! What didn’t you like, captcha?

  64. Freeborn John
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    One final point is that there is no mention of services in the EU negotiations mandate. They appear only to be considering a free trade agreeemnt that covers agriculture and goods, in both of which the EU runs large trade surplus with the UK.

    It is not clear to me why the Uk should accept an FTA that only covers trade in which the EU has comparative advantages and excludes that in which we excel. That is hardly a prize worth paying a massive exit fee just to begin negotiations. Indeed it should be the EU that pays us for such one-sided market access to compensate for the customs duties we would be forgoing should that trade in goods and foodstuffs be subject to UK duties equivalent to EU common external tariffs.

    • Simon
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      This is a very good point. Continuing a zero tariff regime with the EU makes no sense. (a) They enjoy as you say a huge surplus in our market – a fact which has not escaped the notice of the US Pres in particular with respect to Germany and (b) Goods from outside the EU are heavily tariffed in ways which do not advantage the consumer at all eg New Zealand / Californian wine. Increasing our world trade is said to be our purpose (see Liam Fox’s new dept). The first thing those countries will be interested in are tariffs. It makes no sense to try to restructure our economy to our advantage and simply give away gratis as John Redwood suggests the very thing which is in issue – tariffs. This is where we should hold the EU’s feet to the fire. The days of us funding a lavish life style for German workers and French farmers should in a proper case now be coming to an end. Particularly while Germany is seriously underfunding its defence commitment as it has done for years,
      and while they persist in their disastrous migration policies. These people are no longer either good allies or neighbours. In the meantime half their youngsters are picking up highly valued English Language skills at our Unis for full degrees or via Erasmus. Enough is enough.

  65. Original Richard
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I agree, except that I am not as optimistic as you that the EU will act in its own best interests other than in ways to discourage others from thinking of leaving.

    The fact that the UK voted to leave has come as a very unpleasant shock to them, made worse because it was not what they were expecting. The loss of the £15bn/year (gross less rebate) membership fee, the loss of the control of our fishing grounds and the loss of a nation who operates non-contributory health and welfare benefit systems open to the citizens of all EU countries, which has led to high immigration into the UK, will mean that they are very upset

    As a result they have made it clear that there will be a price for leaving, starting with the fact that they say there will be no negotiations on trade until we have paid their leaving fee.

    So I do not expect the EU to agree any deal on trade before we actually leave and in fact they can be expected to try to delay leaving in order for us to keep paying our membership fee and for them to continue to take advantage of us. At the same time thinking that we will change our minds on leaving, as do and helped by the BBC and the Federasts the BBC promotes at every opportunity.

    In fact, trading using WTO rules, which given our £100bn/year trading deficit with the EU, could quite likely work in our favour, is unlikely to be the worst that the EU will try to do to us.

    Regaining our freedom was never going to be easy.

  66. James Matthews
    Posted April 5, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    On the Today programme this morning (at about 07.55) David McAllister, a (Scottish) German MEP and Chairman of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the divorce bill would cover all outstanding legal liabilities as determined by the EU accountants and verified by the court of auditors as well as:
    “Outstanding Commitments”
    “Off balance sheet items”
    “Contingent liabilities”
    “Other financial costs arising directly from Britain leaving the EU”
    What these last four might consist of is not so much anybody’s guess as the EU’s most ambitious inventions.
    The only sensible response is whatever constitutes Foreign Office speak for go forth and multiply. Nigel Farage’s mafia comparison does not seem inappropriate.

    The apparent timidity of HMG’s approach to the negotiations is not reassuring. It is to be hoped that they will not be conducted from a kneeling position.

    • Richard
      Posted April 6, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Looks bad, doesn’t it? Mr Redwood’s promises that we would have the whip hand have gone up in smoke, don’t you think?

      • James Matthews
        Posted April 7, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Not really. The EU are inventing debts that have neither a legal nor a moral basis. Mr Redwood is entirely right about the strength of our hand. What is in doubt is the determination of a government composed mostly of Remainders to play that hand, but I trust they will eventually find some backbone . As usual, they will do the right thing once they have exhausted all the other possibilities.

        • Richard
          Posted April 8, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

          Ah I see! So the fault lies everywhere but with the Leave campaigners whose promises are being exposed as hopelessly optimistic!

          • James Matthews
            Posted April 8, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            Yes it does and no they were not.

          • rose
            Posted April 8, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            What promises? I don’t remember any being made, only suggestions.

  • 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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