A business friendly Brexit

I have good news for you all. Despite all the noise and disagreement, most people and political parties want the same things from Brexit. No-one wants it to damage business or lose us jobs. Most in the debate think more free trade rather than less free trade is a good idea. The Labour Manifesto spent time setting out the kind of free trade deals they would like a UK outside the single market and customs union to be able to negotiate.

Business has some legitimate questions of government that need answering. Where we currently receive grants and subsidies from the EU budget, business needs to know what the UK government will do back in control of the contribution money which currently funds those payments. This is particularly important to farming businesses where government payments and subsidies are an important part of farm incomes. IT is also important to those parts of the UK that qualify for extra grants for economic development. I look forward to more detail from the Treasury.

Business would like to know how and when the UK can expand its free trade agreements with non EU countries. The Department for International Trade is working away with options for early trade deals with a number of countries. The sooner we can make progress with these the better, bearing in mind we cannot sign the deals until we leave.

Business also of course wants to know what will be the basis of future trade with the rest of the EU. The UK is offering a continuation of current free trade with no new barriers. It is also saying it will translate into UK law all the present rules and regulations to allow continuity. The UK Parliament will in future be able to improve or repeal individual measures, but would not of course seek to block business being EU compliant for all their exports to the continent, which they are currently. Parliament will take into account the EU business needs when legislating in future, but may wish to allow different arrangements  for non EU and domestic business.

The sooner we discuss the future relationship with the EU the sooner we will be able to clarify these matters. Whilst there will be more tough talk and posturing from some EU officials, many in the other member states will want easy access to the UK market and will see that has to be reciprocal.

Some say there is not time to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU. That would be true if we had lots of barriers to remove and discuss. Instead we already have free trade with the EU, so it is simple to confirm it if there is the will on both sides to do so. If the EU really does want to impose barreirs on their trade with us they will need to set out what these are, and we can then consider what barriers we would need to place in return. All of course would have to be complaint with WTO rules, which limits the ability of the EU to do damage. The main sector which could end up with high tariffs is agriculture, where they sell us twice as much as we sell them. We also have the option on that scenario of sourcing much more food cheaper from outside the EU, where we could lower tariffs where it suited us, or produce more at home where we can.


I note that after a media barrage about staying in the Customs Union the government has  not changed the policy set out in the White Paper and approved overwhelmingly by the Commons to send the lettter. I also note the Chancellor still supports government policy despite press briefings to the contrary. We will leave the single market and the Customs Union when we leave the EU, as the rest of the EU also intends and as the Conservative and Labour Manifestos made clear.


  1. Mark B
    June 16, 2017

    Good morning

    Reading the morning papers online I read that Emily Thornberry made a fool of herself over BREXIT. Apparently she confirmed Labour’s position regarding leaving the Single Market.

    As I said yesterday, leaving the EU is about governance not trade.

    I read yesterday a wonderful comment. Before we leave, the EU have the advantage. After we leave, the UK has all the advantages.

    1. Ed Mahony
      June 16, 2017

      ‘As I said yesterday, leaving the EU is about governance not trade’

      – For many of the older, middle class Brexiteers it was about governance (and immigration). But for many of the younger, middle class Brexiteers it was about immigration (with trade being more important than governance). And for most of the working class Brexiteers it was about immigration (and trade being more important than governance).

      In other words, for about 25 – 35% of Brexiteers, it was governance over trade. For the rest of the Brexiteers, it was trade over governance. And that’s just the Brexiteers.

      Yo’ve got to have the will of the country for any deal where governance is more important than trade. It’s not there. It’s not there in the ordinary voter. Nor is it there is Parliament especially after such a disastrous election. And not forgetting, of course, the long-term success of any deal depends also on bringing down immigration and bringing down our national debt – fast – before it really starts crippling our economy.

      Sorry, but that’s the reality. And if we’re not careful, Jeremy Corbyn could get into power, and then Brexiteers, following the line of governance over trade, would really have egg on their faces, as they would be blamed for unintentionally allowing Corbyn into power. Brexit would then be scuppered, and we would face mounting debt crippling this country for years to come. But even if Corbyn doesn’t get into power, we’ve still got to get on with focusing on paying off our national debt as well as all the other important national issues being taken up by Brexit instead.

      1. Mark B
        June 21, 2017


        People think like that because they have been led to believe the EU is a trading block and not a Federal State in the making.

    2. Chris
      June 16, 2017

      That is why it is vital that the people leading us out of the EU are trusted by the electorate when reassurances are given about how it will be better. Sadly the track record on breaking trust has not been good.

      1. Hope
        June 16, 2017

        JR, the EU construct is not an inter governmental body where nations come together for the common good given the mandate to do so by its respective peoples. It is a supranational body without a mandate or public consent. A foreign dictatorship. This is why it will fail. Unelected elites telling nations of people what individuals can or cannot do without them having a say in the matter. Slaves to the elites. A pseudo USSR now wanting an army and security might to contain its own people rather than defend or any other such nonsense. We see by new bloggers there are scare mongering remainer on the site trying to sow the seed of doubt and fear. As many bloggers confirm leaving the EU is much more than about a trade deal.

    3. Mike Chaffin
      June 17, 2017

      Before we leave the EU continues to receive 75% of all tariff revenue from our trade with the rest of the world, some 60% of the total trade. After we leave this will go straight to the exchequer.

      I have no idea why the debate has merely revolved around our contributions to the EU, and entirely missed the other two forms of funding which the EU sees as its own resources. Namely customs Union external tariffs and a proportion of the vat raised in the UK.

      If wto rules will see approximately £12 billion in revenue from the trade deficit with the EU then logically trade currently outside the customs Union must account for £15 billion or more of tariff revenue.

      This appears to have been almost entirely forgotten.

  2. Lifelogic
    June 16, 2017

    We must indeed leave both the customs union and the single market, we cannot be restricted on making our own trade agreements, laws or immigration policy or be subject to EU courts. There are huge advantages in a real Brexit and virtually non in a fake in mame only one.

    But we have T May, who is happily promoting remainers and firing people like David Jones (without even informing David Davis it seems). His replacement sounds seems to be fairly dreadful.

    Does the Chancellor really support government policy? Does even T May support it or know what it now is?

    1. Lifelogic
      June 16, 2017

      When Hammond says he wants to prioritise jobs and the economy (in the Brexit talks) this is clearly his code for “Brexit in name only”. Prioritised over the restoration of UK democracy, control of our borders, an ability to do trade deals and to be fully free of the EU courts – I assume he means.

      For the economy and jobs we will be far better off completely out. We would also benefit from cancelling HS2, Hinkley, greencrap energy, stamp duty at 15%, the workers on company boards, the gender pay drivel, workplace pensions, the apprenticeship tax, the endless red tape, the attacks on the gig economy and to be rid of Hammond and his high tax, borrow and piss down the drain agenda.

      Replace him with someone with a low tax, smaller state uplifting vision please.

      1. NickC
        June 16, 2017

        Lifelogic, We really did vote to Leave the EU, no matter what Hammond (or Clarke, Heseltine, Farron, Thornberry, etc) say. And given the attitude of some Germans (Der Spiegel), not a moment too soon:


        These people are our enemies, not our friends.

    2. hans chr iversen
      June 16, 2017

      if, we leave with no deal we are leaving the richest and biggest trading block in the World and that will be very difficult to replace medium term for a country that is financially on the rocks, let us become real here

      1. Mark B
        June 16, 2017

        Yes, losing all that Greek money. What fools we must be?


        1. DaveM
          June 16, 2017

          Don’t forget the Italian money, Portuguese money, Spanish, Irish, Eastern European.

      2. Turboterrier.
        June 16, 2017

        The wheeling and dealing is too much one way THEIR WAY and you can be in the biggest bloq in the world but if they have so many poor members propped up by the richest members your trading figures amount to three fifths of naff all.

        First rule of business: it is only an order when the cheque clears.

        That is getting real.

      3. Leslie Singleton
        June 16, 2017

        Dear hans–Apart from all else (a tremendous amount of all else, for instance no longer being told what to do by foreigners), you ignore our having, as things stand, to pay a fortune for the benefits you think exist plus we lose the potentially much larger (and likely to be increasingly much larger) benefits via unfettered trading with the rest of the world, much of which is our kith and kin. No contest.

      4. alan jutson
        June 16, 2017


        Why do you and many others think that our trade with the EU will go down to Zero even if we walk away.

        Do you think they will that be happy with Zero trade with us ?

        How come 160 other Countries in the World trade with the EU when they are not members.

        Please advise, because I simply do not understand this type of argument.

      5. NickC
        June 16, 2017

        Hans, Our exports to the EU amount to only circa 10% of UK GDP (ex Rotterdam, Antwerp). Important, yes, but nowhere near as important as the other c90%. We already export c50% more to the rest of the world (15% UK GDP) than we do to the EU, despite the EU being on our doorstep.

        Is our independence worth throwing away for c10% of GDP? No, I don’t believe so. And we won’t lose it all anyway – even if we lost half, it would be a bargain.

      6. Lifelogic
        June 16, 2017

        You do not need to be ruled by the EU to trade with them!

      7. libertarian
        June 17, 2017


        I’m afraid you are quite some way behind the curve here. The EU isn’t either the biggest or the richest ( China’s middle class is bigger than the whole of EU for a start)

        Why do you think that Europeans will stop buying pharma drugs, medical devices, Coldplay albums, Aston Martin Cars, oil, etc etc etc from us?

        The UK is the biggest export market in goods for the EU

        Trade happens between buyers and sellers not countries or governments. Goats can impose tariffs on imports for sure,but of course in the long run that can hurt them which is why most bigger more advanced economies are signed up to WTO

  3. Caterpillar
    June 16, 2017


    But we need to make progress and complete customs discussion early so that businesses can adapt. We seem to be falling into the EUs schedule of nothing agreed until everything agreed.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      June 16, 2017

      Dear Caterpillar–There is nothing wrong with “nothing agreed….” in fact it is a good idea Provided it is read as meaning nothing FINALLY agreed till everything agreed–in other words tentatively agreeing and moving on is as good as it gets, and if there is disagreement at the end which needs then to be sorted out that’s no loss because wouldn’t have been agreed anyway.

      1. Caterpillar
        June 17, 2017


        I disagree, complex supply chains must know how they are going to operate with sufficient time to adjust, moving a JIT supply chain from waving through customs to sitting around for days needs planning. If some businesses don’t have this uncertainty resolved early enough, they will resolve it themselves by moving.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          June 17, 2017

          Dear Caterpillar–Maybe they shouldn’t have had complex supply chains with foreigners in the first place

    2. getahead
      June 16, 2017

      We must not play the Brussels functionaries’ game. We must be prepared to pull out of the EU completely and offer a fresh trade deal from outside the EU.

    3. Caterpillar
      June 16, 2017

      From the BBC report it seems all chances of progress are already lost. Is it really true that the UL an David Davis have really agreed to finalise Brexit Bill and citizen rights first, before discussing trade? Why do this? Please don’t do this. State the rights we are prepared to, or even are going to, give EU nationals, state the legal amount required to pay then move on. Don’t get dragged into EU lengthy waffle and EU treatment of outside countries – the negotiation and deal will both be bad.

  4. Lifelogic
    June 16, 2017

    Theresa May seems to going through the usual public enquiry/long grass agenda – The “it is too early speculate on the causes or jump to conclusions” agenda. Just as we had with Hillsborough, Kings Cross and many other similar disasters. This will doubtless go on for years and make lots & lots of lawyers and bureaucrats wealthy at tax payers expense.

    The causes however are fairly clear already, and could be confirmed in a few hours or days.

    What is really needed is a small team of sensible & genuinely independent engineers, physicists & scientist (like a plane crash investigation team) to investigate quickly and act immediately to prevent any recurrence.

    They will almost certainly confirm that the main problem was the whole idea of wrapping a tall building in flammable insulation & cladding, acting as a giant chimney furnace. I think this is actually fairly clear already, just viewing the filmed footage. This could all be acertained within a few days not years.

    Already there is misinformation, excuses, arse covering and muddying of the water going on – just like Hillsborough. I suspect this cladding should be removed from very many such buildings, very rapidly indeed and worldwide.

    What is surely clear already is that the problem was certainly not a lack of money, as the very unpleasant, opportunist (politics of envy and magic money trees) Corbyn claims. It was almost certainly incompetence in the building regulation standards areas from government “experts” for allowing such building to be clad in this dangerous way.

    There are very many such building that probably need to have their recent cladding removed and very quickly indeed. Three large ones in Swiss Cottage for a start.

    It is surely desperate incompetence from government and their experts. May needs to grap this and act and act now before another fire erupts. She need to stop dithering and grab the issue for safely reasons and indeed political ones.

  5. Peter Wood
    June 16, 2017

    Good Morning,
    I do hope the commonsense and clarity of your analysis is correct; but I fear it is not. What we do know of the EU is that they see our departure from their ‘union’ to be an existential risk to the project. The EU negotiating side will therefore not work to obtain an amicable departure and new trade deal, for the simple reason that the EU bureaucrats do not report to an electorate. Only if and when the Empress and her new step-son give instructions to do so, will we see sensible departure terms and new trade arrangements.

    1. Les Buchanan
      June 16, 2017

      British bureaucrats also don’t report to an electorate. When will people understand that the bogey-man EU Commission is just a civil service carrying out the orders of the Council of Ministers comprised, inter alia, of the Brits?

      1. Hope
        June 16, 2017

        Oh please stop it you are scaring us so much. Grow a pair accept defeat and the will of the people. If you want to live in North Korea or Russia buy a one way ticket. Leave those of us who want democracy to love in a free UK.

      2. NickC
        June 16, 2017

        Les, But British MPs do, as we’ve just witnessed. And our elected government controls the British civil service. The EU Commission is not just a civil service, it is the EU government – it originates and writes new EU laws – combining the functions of the civil service, SpAds, select committees and the Executive.

        When will europhiles like you understand we don’t want to be ruled by another state (the EU) or even other states (the 27)? Like many nations before us, and indeed independent nations which left the British Empire, we want to be independent too. And we want our own demos to have our own democracy.

    2. hans chr iversen
      June 16, 2017

      this is decided by 27 countries and nobody has a veto so your illustration is rather naive

      1. Turboterrier.
        June 16, 2017

        In your dreams . When push goes to shove all 27 will start to focus on “how will this effect us” quickly followed by “what is best for us”

        That my friend is the real world. It is called survival and they do degree courses funded by the University of Life. Sign up today.

      2. Peter Wood
        June 17, 2017

        The 27 other nations….. REALLY.. who was it Junker called right after he had dinner with Mrs May? There is only one leader of the EU and she lives in Berlin.

  6. agricola
    June 16, 2017

    No business scenario is fixed in stone. After a period of three years of as it is with handouts, let it be known that it will then be subject to continuous review. Business should not be like Scotland, annually waiting cap in hand for the Barnet Formula trough.

    Future trade with the EU is in the EUs hands. Are they business oriented or are they Sado- Masochists wishing to inflict even more pain on the people of Europe for the sake of their political religion.

    Question, is the transition of law to UK jurisdiction before or after we leave. Better sooner as it then removes all doubts in the minds of those affected. Does the date of leaving have to drag out to 2019. For all concerned I submit that the sooner it is done the better.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 16, 2017

      The transition, or transitions, must be seamless insofar as each new law must take effect at the same instant that the corresponding old law loses effect.

      It may well be that some of the EU laws in a certain area will continue to have effect in the UK even after we have left the EU; as the DUP very neatly expressed it in their general election manifesto, page 24 here:


      “23. Effective, time bound transitional arrangements where necessary”

      I think the key words here are “time bound”; so if we leave the EU on March 31st 2019 as currently planned then we will know at that point that any transitional arrangements in a certain policy area will run until a specified date, and then they will cease unless there is positive action and agreement to extend them.

      It will not be like the suggested alternative case of arranging to stay in the EEA with the rather vague idea of moving on to a final arrangement at some unspecified later point, which could easily turn out to be never.

      1. Denis Cooper
        June 16, 2017

        I can just read the start of a Times article by Crispin Blunt MP here:


        “A short spell in the EEA would give Britain time and space to adjust to Brexit”

        “… Time-limited membership of the single market as a transitional arrangement provides the route to the final destination of a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) outside the customs union and single market … ”

        So why should the EU and the 30 other EEA members oblige us by agreeing to some temporary, overtly “time-limited”, extension of our present rights and obligations under the EEA Agreement, whether that was via a renewed membership of EFTA or by some new bespoke agreement? And especially as it has been made pretty clear that we might try to abuse safeguard provisions to routinely control immigration from the other EEA countries?

        It doesn’t make sense.

        Are we to suppose that if the UK government were to ask the Norwegian government:

        “Would you mind if we joined you in EFTA, but maybe only for five years, and also stayed in the EEA, but maybe only for two years, after which we will want to leave the EEA, and maybe later on leave EFTA as well, and move on to our final destination of a UK-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) outside the customs union and single market?”

        then the Norwegians would respond:

        “Fine, of course we would have no objection at all to that kind of disruption to our present arrangements if it would help you out”?

        rather than:

        “Why don’t you try to go straight to the final destination you really want, with some transitional provisions to smooth your path?”

    2. Turboterrier.
      June 16, 2017


      For all concerned I submit that the sooner it is done the better.

      Very well said, I agree JFDI and make it happen

  7. Lifelogic
    June 16, 2017

    We have building regulators, obsessed by insulation standards and the greencrap religion in general yet they are allowing/encouraging the wrapping of building in essentially flamable insulation panels which act as a chimney furnace. Officials even ordering the escaping resident to go back to their flats, where they would have died it seemed.

    T May needs to act today. Not just anounce a long grass public enquiry but some real action today for a change. Driven by the real science of fire propogation and independent scientists – rather than the politics & religion of greencrap. Put Peter Lilley in charge of organising it now and stop the dithering. This was entirely preventable and entirely forseable (unlike some terrorist attacks) prevent any more now.

  8. Lifelogic
    June 16, 2017

    Javid just now, “we have to be led by the experts”. Will these be the same “experts” that allowed and even encouraged this type of external cladding to be done?

    1. Leslie Singleton
      June 16, 2017

      Dear Lifelogic–I’m still trying to get my head round the wooden battens supporting this God-forsaken cladding. How long were they supposed to last, even absent fire? Would have thought the cladding should have been permanently secured especially at that height, at which re-placing it regularly is not an option–not that I understand the need for cladding at all–below the cladding there was a thick concrete wall–self clad you might say, bit like the Tower of London or somesuch. A pox on the very idea of retro insulation, which I’ll wager doesn’t do much good and, looking at anything modern askance as I do, I take it as a given that the new windows had flammable plastic frames. And what happened to external fire escapes? Surely it cannot be that they aren’t used in cases like this because of the height, that wouldn’t be funny–but if not we are left with the visual effect which is even less funny. If it all has to look (and function) well, why cannot an external stairway be used cased in metal along lines of a ship’s hull (or stone like the Tower)? I ruefully remember the battle I had when converting my loft in an old house. It was two-storey and I was informed that an exterior (secondary) means of escape was necessary (eventually provided by, in an emergency, sliding down a lean to roof). Seems incredible that when needed most, the requirement is apparently not required. And no doubt the original fire proof walls and doors etc inside were drilled through and so breached for new wires and services in the Blair refit, despite which they managed not to fit sprinklers or alarms. And how often were there fire drills or at least testing of the alarms–No let me guess?

      1. Leslie Singleton
        June 18, 2017

        Dear John–Getting a bit late now but I take it you didn’t like the above (which BTW you used to say didn’t make any difference)

    2. fedupsoutherner
      June 16, 2017

      LL. Very true and apt comments. Climate Change is supposed to be the enemy but what we are doing to defend ourselves against this supposed enemy is more dangerous. When are we going to realise we cannot fight nature and we should in a safe way live with it? The following from a letter in the Scottish Herald.

      DURING the election it was surprising that the subsidy costs of renewable
      energy did not feature in the debate, although one area now under
      discussion is protection for wild places from the spread of industrial wind
      turbines. However, the question that has not been answered by our MSPs is
      why does Scotland require more wind turbines when there is already12,000 MW
      of installed generation plant for a population that only requires 5,000MW
      to meet maximum winter demand ?

      Clearly these developers are earning money from constraint payments to turn off. This isn’t the whole picture. There are many more wind farms in the system waiting for approval. The whole thing is about community benefit saving the Scottish Government millions.

  9. Dave Andrews
    June 16, 2017

    All very reasonable, except the people we will be negotiating with aren’t the sensible citizens of Europe, but the Beast in Brussels, who are nervous of the breakup of their Superstate project.
    I think we need to find ways to bypass Brussels and reach out to our friends in Europe, so they bring pressure to bear on Brussels to secure a mutually beneficial deal. Difficult ask, considering how isolated and unaccountable the EU officials are.

    1. agricola
      June 16, 2017

      It should be sufficient to ensure that the remaining 27 in the EU are kept well informed. They can then decide how it affects them and what they should do about it.

      1. hefner
        June 17, 2017

        I cannot obviously report for the 27, but in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, the information made available to the public via “broadsheet”-type of press and in economic newspapers (say for France Les Echos, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Valeurs Actuelles, Alternatives Economiques) seems rather consistent with what has been published in both the draft (around Oct’16) and the more recent EU(27) submission to the discussions to start this coming Monday.
        So I would think that in these EU countries, the EU27 side of this information is already available for anybody interested. There have been, (particularly in France but also in Germany with the various past, current, future elections) a number of “academic-like” meetings with involvements of politicians sampled from across the political spectrum.
        I am sorry to repeat myself, but I have not found in the UK the same level of information in the broadsheet and broadsheet-like press (Telegraph, The Times, Guardian). “Academic-style” debates here in the UK are much more marked to one side in the argument, certainly linked to the recent GE. Due to what looks from abroad like pretty empty formulas (Brexit means Brexit, No Brexit is better than a bad Brexit) I do not think I have got any real information about what the British position is going to be. It might have been a reasonable tactical approach from Mrs May if I could be convinced there is a real properly constructed strategy behind.

        And I am sorry to tell, but apart from very few exceptions, it is not the contributors to this blog who are going to bring some light into what is rather a tunnel to which I cannot see any end (yet?).

        1. libertarian
          June 18, 2017


          We’ll leave it to you then as you are an expert on international trade, remind us again what it is your business trades in internationally

          On what basis you think academics have anything to offer or indeed any practical knowledge at all about business and trade I have no idea. Most of the academics I know spend most of their time talking total wibble about left wing claptrap , I wouldn’t let the most eminent professors from Oxbridge run a whelk stall

    2. Lifelogic
      June 16, 2017

      Indeed that is the way to go. The bureaucrats are not interest in what is mutually beneficial to the EU members. They are interested mainly in their grand project of moving to the anti-democratic EUSSR. That and their jobs, “expenses”, pensions and the EU special tax arrangements for them.

    3. Denis Cooper
      June 16, 2017

      “… find ways to bypass Brussels and reach out to our friends in Europe … ”

      Theresa May tried to do that over the future position of the people who are already settled in other EU countries but she was rebuffed. For example she had a nice chat with her Swedish counterpart but it ended up with this:


      “Asked if she could give assurances to British people in Sweden, Linde said that was an EU-wide issue and not something her country could offer unilaterally. “I don’t offer anything. This is part of the EU negotiation that is conducted by the EU commission,” she said. “What I hope is we have a negotiation result where the Swedes who live in Britain can continue to do so and the Brits who stay in Sweden continue to do so.””

      Which was basically an admission that the Swedish government can no longer decide who will be allowed to live in Sweden and on what terms.

    4. Les Buchanan
      June 16, 2017

      OMG – the Beast in Brussels no less. What happened to considered and sensible debate?

      1. getahead
        June 16, 2017

        That is a question you need to ask of the Beast himself.

    5. hans chr iversen
      June 16, 2017


      the EU market is 8 times bigger than the UK market a significant amount of the countries are richer do you really think they care what we say?

      1. getahead
        June 16, 2017

        We are one of Germany’s biggest importers so I’m sure they care.

      2. Anonymous
        June 16, 2017

        HCI – We run a £70bn a year trade deficit mainly with 3 EU countries. If we suffer a sharp downturn so do they.

        You think London can go bust without causing dramatic global ramification ?

        Don’t be silly.

      3. Know-dice
        June 17, 2017

        There is probably more employment in Germany, France, Italy & Spain etc. that relies on good trading relations with the UK based on volume of trade (rather than spurious percentages that get banded about) than those in the UK relying on EU trade – That will be what ensures a good and mutually beneficial trade deal.

      4. libertarian
        June 17, 2017


        As you clearly dont understand business and trade I’d give up these posts now my friend

        Here’s a tip

        Think about the average German or Italian or other European and think about the goods and services they buy. Think about the music, the mobile phones, the whisky, the films and TV they watch, think about the medicines and drugs and a host of other things that all come from the UK. Now ask yourself why they would want to stop buying those products

    6. Jon p
      June 16, 2017

      The EU is not going to allow individual eu countries to make deals with UK on the side so we can forget about that. Then if we do ‘crash out’ which i believe will before the end of the year because of irreconsilable differences we will be on our own to make deals with other countries worldwide and start to import food and other goods at lower prices- we should be making plans now//

      As one who has travelled extensively in europe for fifty years working in the import export business i can tell you that by our actions now we are turning the clock back by forty years- the first thing we’ll notice from next year is the increase of customs checks on our own personal possessions like wrist watches, gold of any kind as we pass through the airports seaports.. all will have to be accounted for and receipts to be shown etc.. we are heading for a nightmare scenario because if anyone thinks the French and others are going to let us off the hook on this one they are sadly mistaken.. We will start to see the seriousness of this whole business very soon when the eu closes ranks and prepares to take the ‘hit’ rather than give in to uk demands- they have being listening to the english whinge for decades now and so there will be no going back on this…as an experienced business person i can tell you that there is nothing more sure

  10. Nig l
    June 16, 2017

    Thank you. Now if you could just get a good press officer.

  11. Ian Wragg
    June 16, 2017

    We will leave the single market and customs union when we leave the EU. Shouldn’t that be if.
    There is a good article in the Telegraph about 20 of the 27 EU governments being coalitions and non with the percentage of votes May has and over 80% of voters voted for parties committed to leaving the SM and CU.
    What’s the problem. For heavens sake get on with it.
    Start with……. we are paying NO exit fee and we extend free trade to EU countries……… over too you.

    1. Les Buchanan
      June 16, 2017

      We are not going to be asked for an exit fee – only to settle up our bar bill before we exit the club. How well can we negotiate new trade deals if we renege on our old committments?

      1. Hope
        June 16, 2017

        No reneging, not being fleeced is more accurate. Get up to speed. Legal liability does not exist. All the jibber jabber about punishmentshould come home to roost to them. The rest of the world I should not in the EU, wake up.

      2. getahead
        June 16, 2017

        € 100 billion? I don’t think so.

      3. Know-dice
        June 17, 2017

        What about so credit for the “pot” we have been filling up since 1975 which others have been dipping their hands in to?

        I see that there is a suggestion that the UK should contribute to a new EU building in Brussels that has even been built yet, in fact the “old” building is still in use…

  12. alan jutson
    June 16, 2017

    I hope your optimism proves to be correct.

    I hope Mrs May will eventually shut up those who are constantly whinging and who are trying their best to undermine the whole concept of leaving..

    I hope Labour stick to the one newer recent policy of simple trade, with no tariffs, or freedom of movement.

    I hope David Davis remains positive, strong, and true to his original views and beliefs.

    1. Hope
      June 16, 2017

      Davis needs to direct his efforts towards Labour not Johnson. He is starting to appear weak and feeble in my mind making comments that will lower our expectation of a clean Brexit. Forget it. Grow a pair and deliver on what the public voted for both in the referendum and election.

    2. DaveM
      June 16, 2017

      David Davis is the one person who has kept my (normally) unfailing optimism alive through the past year.

    3. Atlas
      June 16, 2017


      I just hope Mrs May can overcome her reticence to meet with real people & voters (c.f this Tower Block absolute tragedy) otherwise Corbyn will get in.

    4. fedupsoutherner
      June 16, 2017

      Do you know what Hope??? I cannot believe we are even discussing this at this stage. A YEAR???!!! What has been achieved and how much closer are we to getting out? How much longer do we have to go around in circles? I think people are getting sick of ever decreasing circles.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    June 16, 2017

    I thought your chap Tobias did quite well last night articulating what we has to offer and asking for a definition of soft Brexit.

    The fight back may just have begun. Unfortunately you now have the poor people’s housing front just opened to distract your government further.

    If fire regulations allow flammable cladding you will have more problems on your hands than Barnier being a bit of an idiot.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      June 16, 2017

      O/T but in reply to my last line

      I see the “no one listens to me” & “something must be done” brigades are saying that no one acted their complaints about tower block safety over a number of years and that poor people are never taken notice of. This is the new wheeze for those who expect the client state to look after everyone.

      Notting Dale Ward in Kensington were Grenfell Estate is situated is represented by three Labour councillors. The least voted for of those councillors got 1309 votes in the 2014 elections. If the residents of the three tower blocks that I can see on the news (why do we need the news anchors to be on the ground and not in the studio for these events?) had all voted for an independent from one of the tower blocks I am pretty sure one would have got in and been able to make some noise about conditions.

      (word deleted ed) People can complain or act. Acting is more likely to make a difference.

    2. Ed Mahony
      June 16, 2017

      ‘If fire regulations allow flammable cladding you will have more problems on your hands than Barnier being a bit of an idiot’

      – It’s awful. For an extra £5,000, the building could have been clad using safer material. And for an extra £200,000, the building could have been fitted with sprinklers, with evidence showing that sprinklers are almost full-proof in saving life.

      These alone would 99% have prevented the disaster (not forgetting, of course, how there were many other basic fire hazards in the building as well).

      It’s truly shameful – near the heart of our capital city. In 2017. This is going to go on for years, and cost billions as dodgy buildings are torn down and new ones built, and old buildings are refitted with the highest safety standards in the advanced world. If only an extra £205,000 had been spent the right way on Grenfell (and then one has to ask what on earth was the rest of the £10 million spent on in its recent refurbishment)?

  14. Richard1
    June 16, 2017

    There have been a few helpful developments in the last couple of days. One is that the global innovation index for 2017 ranks the U.K. 5th, so let’s not jeopardise it with dumb tax and regulatory polices such as those proposed by Labour. Another is the EU Commission’s threat to remove euro clearing to EU countries has disappeared as it has become clear enforcement would be impossible and such a move would exacerbate costs and risks. And a third is Mr Verholstadt has helpfully clarified that were the UK to reverse Brexit and try to get back into the EU we would lose the rebate, so the net cost would go from £10bn to £14bn pa and the UK would lose all opt outs on borders etc (such as Schengen, the terrorists’ free pass) and, most significantly we’d need to join the euro. It might be worth getting that message out there.

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 16, 2017

      It seems the government cannot be bothered getting any message out there. There is a constant barrage of misinformation and criticism in the media but it seems their policy is to take it lying down, or turn the other cheek, anything other than fight back. In fact I suspect the mass media may be getting more material through leaks from fifth column civil servants than through any official channels.

      1. Turboterrier.
        June 16, 2017

        @ Denis Cooper

        In fact I suspect the mass media may be getting more material through leaks from fifth column civil servants than through any official channels.

        You can lay money on it. Half if not more ain’t worth a rub

      2. fedupsoutherner
        June 16, 2017

        Denis and Richard1. Never a truer word spoken. God, it is so obvious. I am sick of hearing the lies and misleading comments spoken on the main news channels and knowing that 75% of the population believe all this rubbish.

      3. Chris
        June 16, 2017

        Yes, this has been so noticeable, and one has to question what on earth the government is up to. Does it want to be brought down? May looks so weak and ineffective, and frankly on a different planet from the electorate. Heaven help the country when Corbyn gets in, because I believe that will happen. The left have built an apparently formidable machine and taken the Tories completely by surprise. The fact that they the Tories appear totally emasculated is beyond belief, and of huge concern. This has been an ambush by the left, and the Conservatives appear to have been routed. They do not seem to have the guts to speak up and stand up for the country, instead being characterised by a few lonely voices.

        How do Conservatives MPs feel about all those people that supported them or lent them their votes? Do they feel any guilt? They should do, in my mind. We have been utterly betrayed, I fear, both by the Remainers who have been determined to wreck Brexit, but also by the Leavers, who have frankly looked impotent and completely outclassed by a “superior” fighting machine i.e. one that is utterly focused on getting into power. Of course I do not condone the appalling tactics of the left, but I also despise those weak and ineffective tory MPs who have not stood up for democracy but instead have apparently betrayed those who voted for Brexit.

    2. Doug Lockwood
      June 16, 2017

      Agree all points 100%! Especially good to highlight where bridges have been burned so as not to waste energy in fruitless argument. The brave Brexit decision means we now have a country worth fighting for so let’s keep moving forward together, no looking back.

    3. hefner
      June 17, 2017

      R1, Thanks a lot for pointing out the report on the Global Innovation Index.

  15. Deborah
    June 16, 2017

    Thanks for confirming our extrication from the EU as intended, John.
    I heard my MP explain the same M.O. on a TV south west political forum programme lst night, but not in so much detail and as I understand that person voted to remain in the EU.
    So hopefully things are looking up and the other noise is just ‘fake news’.
    Keep up the excellent work.

  16. Prigger
    June 16, 2017

    “The Labour Manifesto spent time setting out the kind of free trade deals they would like…”
    That was May 2017…

    The Labour Annual Conference 2017 is from Sunday 24th-27th September 2017. There will be innumerable manoeuvres in all areas of the Labour Party to solidfy Corbyn Socialism prior to it and afterwards.
    Corbynista Socialism is not for free trade. Whatever the beaming sudden Corbyn converts in the PLP say and think now will be even more meaningless than before the May Election.
    Corbyn and company know when they are on a winner. Actually good riddance to the Labour Careerist politicians. They will face deselection or more likely pressure to stay in line. “In line” does not mean supporting free trade. Socialism is based on severe protectionism. The EU are aware of the up and coming Corbyn government. They will time things to our disadvantage with bureaucratic precision. Mrs May will lose us and the UK much more than she has already.

  17. Bert Young
    June 16, 2017

    It is always good to read posts that reassure and clarify our business position . John has consistently been straightforward in his understanding of our case and , as an individual who gets his numbers right , I support his views .

    I don’t want us to be a part of any deal that resembles future payments to Brussels . Our trade with Europe speaks for itself – our imports from there are a significant advantage to them and we do not need to oversubscribe . Of course our business manufacturing enterprises have to diversify to other markets – jobs and turnovers depend on this success . The world economy is expanding and there is no reason why we should not benefit from this opportunity . Design and innovation has always been the bedrock of our industrial activity ; the world markets are our oysters .

    The sooner negotiations clear the path for us the better ; uncertainty will only breed more claims from remainers who wish to forget what democracy is all about .

  18. Blink
    June 16, 2017

    It is in the interest of the EU to stall negotiations. They will.Their interest is to make life very difficult. Time is on the EU’s side.
    The Tory Party plodding on is ridiculous. Everyone, the EU and their dog, are waiting for the next Election.
    Mrs May is like a combination of Ex-PM Brown and Nevill Chamberlain.

    Does the Tory Party have a Churchill waiting in the wings? Recent Tory voting practice suggests they would not recognise him if he stubbed out his cigar on their foreheads
    There is no reason to be optimistic.

    1. Turboterrier.
      June 16, 2017

      @ Blink

      Does the Tory Party have a Churchill waiting in the wings? Recent Tory voting practice suggests they would not recognise him if he stubbed out his cigar on their foreheads

      Your last quote is supersonic Brilliant

    2. getahead
      June 16, 2017

      The reason to be pessimistic is Theresa May herself who gives the impression of having been dragged screaming to the Brexit table and, it seems, would happily renege on the referendum vote.
      Also she must be under enormous pressure from the elites, who unlike ordinary folk, benefit from EU membership.
      Remember Theresa, it was deceit that got us into the EU in the first place. Time to be honest and get us out.

    3. roy twing
      June 17, 2017

      A party that can’t deliver a majority against Corbyn is going to struggle to deliver anything worthwhile in the negotiations.

      No deal after the election no longer a viable option.

      No Brexit not an option.

      Poor deal is what’s coming followed by Corbyn and that’s a self inflicted inevitability.

      Prepare for a decade in opposition

  19. Richard1
    June 16, 2017

    There is quite a serious and disgraceful attempt by Labour, particularly Corbyn, to pin immediate blame for the Kensington fire tragedy on some combination of the Conservatives and the rich, as the building was located in a Conservative-controlled London borough. The BBC are assisting this, as is the righteous leftwing activist Jon Snow on C4.

    Of course there must be a full enquiry to establish what has gone so badly wrong. It might be possible to pin blame on specific individuals, in which case they will have to face the consequences. In the meantime it should be pointed out that nearly £10m has just been spent on this building – so it certainly isn’t a case of not enough money. But if it turns out, as seems likely, that the external cladding was what turned it into an inferno then we need to look at the regulations which permitted and encouraged such cladding, and who was responsible for them. Perhaps it will be found that anti-CO2 regs have trumped safety. If so, any politicians who have been trumpeting such regulations (ie, inter alia, most most of the Labour Party) would do best to keep a low profile.

    1. oldtimer
      June 16, 2017

      I suspect you may be on to something about the cladding and serving the green agenda. No doubt some one will investigate all those changes to building regulations, promoted by John Prescott when he was in office, following the Kyoto Agreement.

      I note that there is a new, private apartment bloc being built where I live. It has a poured concrete structure, insulation panels attached to the exterior of this structure followed by a single course of brickwork to cover it all up. The insulation panels looked like styrofoam to me, but I could be wrong about that. No doubt this is all compliant with the prevailing building regulations. I see other buildings going up elsewhere using this approach. I would not want to live in such a building.

    2. Anonymous
      June 16, 2017

      The blame for the Kensington fire lies firmly with Remain voting London – which wanted its cheap workforce housed in cheap accommodation and then wanted the eyesores hidden from view with equally cheap cladding.

      London is Remain when it suits – and posh when it doesn’t.

      One thing’s for sure. Remainers lie and lie again.

  20. acorn
    June 16, 2017

    Can you imagine voter reaction to empty shelves in Tesco, and/or elevated prices for their favourite imported fruit and veg, imposed by a tit-for-tat, tariff imposing government?

    Imports are a benefit to the importing nation, we get to enjoy things we don’t make ourselves. The exporting nation gets to export its unemployment. In return, the exporter gets a bag full of the importing nation’s currency. As long as the exporters are prepared to save currency and assets denominated in the importers currency, it works fine … but.

    Going tariff free, Singapore style, is great if you import practically everything, and have no domestic production to protect from cheap imports. The UK is not in that position. As the ES said yesterday.

    “It must also be dawning on the Government’s business managers that outside the customs union any trade deal will need to be passed through the House of Commons — good luck assembling a majority for allowing imports of Chinese steel and American hormone-injected beef, let alone foreign companies bidding for public-sector contracts.”

    Also, “In this House of Commons, they [Brexiteers] don’t have the numbers. Mr Hammond does, and he should use them to protect our economy.”

    1. Denis Cooper
      June 16, 2017

      That would be the London Evening Osborne that you’re quoting. I’m wondering how much more rope he will need before he hangs himself …

      The government must make sure that the shelves in Tesco are not emptied. They have been warned that this could happen given a certain combination of circumstances and they have two years to develop contingency plans to prevent it happening.

    2. forthurst
      June 16, 2017

      We should only be considering free trade with countries where our cost base is equivalent (welfare state) and/or our industrial production is complementary; as you point out, doing business with a corporatocracy is also problematic.

  21. bratwurst
    June 16, 2017

    Certainly when we leave the EU we will leave the EU customs union – you have to be an EU member state to belong to it. A basic fact most politicians don’t seem to be able to get to grips with. We will need our own customs agreement with the EU (and others).
    No doubt ‘business’ will be full of joy at the prospect of producing the same goods to different sets of standards, one for export to the EU & one for home consumption. Presumably the home ones will be inferior and cheaper to produce or what is the point in reducing regulation?
    It is wishful thinking to believe that there will be significant change in the regulatory environment. The EU is a regulatory superpower and in an increasingly global regulatory environment has considerably more influence on regulation than we will ever have.

    1. acorn
      June 16, 2017

      True bratwurst, the EU has the power to reject UK products on the basis that they have far too high a CO2 content. That is, if the UK is seen to persist, like Trumps USA, with a deliberate policy of a fossil fuelled production system.

      It is quite possible, all the time Trump is US President, that there will be a global split between the western fossil fuelled economies and the eastern renewable economies.

    2. Peter Parsons
      June 16, 2017

      “we will leave the EU customs union – you have to be an EU member state to belong to it”

      Not true. Turkey is a member of the Customs Union and is not in the EU.

      1. bratwurst
        June 17, 2017

        Peter Parsons:

        Turkey is not in the EU Customs Union. It has its own separate customs agreement with the EU. My statement stands and in fact was recently confirmed by JP Morgan!

    3. libertarian
      June 17, 2017


      I guess you guys dont actually run trading businesses then?

      Those of us that do are fully used to complying with various rules and regulations around the world. Currently of course all UK goods are EU compliant so in the short and medium term there is no problem. Longer term any FTA will also agree on standards .

      Just so you know its the WTO that is responsible for global trade not the EU oh and The United Kingdom has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 January 1948.


      Holland,Greece, Italy , Poland, Ireland & Luxembourg are all far higher users of fossil fuels than the UK. Germany & UK are on the same level. France is the lowest by dint of its large nuclear programme

  22. Shieldsman
    June 16, 2017

    The EU despite what Juckner and Barnier might say, they were not and are not ready to negotiate a mutually advantageous exit agreement. They never thought it would happen and Article 50 was an afterthought with no guidance as to the terms of the negotiations.

    The first reaction of the Brussels Commission has been of shock to the loss of the second greatest financial contributor, creating a black hole in its already stretched finances. It has taken a dog in the manger attitude that we have to pay to leave before discussing trade which is vital to both parties.

    There is also a lack of a awareness in the Commission bureaucracy of the onus on them to return the negotiating rights they have acquired on our behalf.
    This particularly applies to Civil Aviation which operates through bi-lateral agreements. The Commission may act as a negotiator and administrator, but the Airspace and the right to fly into it and through it rests with the member State.
    I am sure the UK will be quite happy to honour past bi-lateral Air Traffic management agreements made on its behalf on a full reciprocal basis.

    The border between Eire an EU member and the non member UK (Northern Ireland) presents a knotty problem which only the EU Commission can solve. The UK wishes to continue the long standing arrangements made since 1922.

  23. Blink
    June 16, 2017

    In the Aberfan disaster in 1966 Mrs May was ten years old. Sadiq Khan would not be born for another four years.
    So, they both cannot know just what living in the United Kingdom was like in 1966. If Sadiq Khan were old enough then and Mayor of Aberfan the same day of the disaster he would have been able to walk the street of Aberfan without a massive police escort protecting him . If Mrs May , if she had been old enough as Prime Minister then would have been be able to walk the streets of Aberfan by herslf without fear of being hit, the same day of the disaster.
    Check out the media footage of the time to see how politicians walked without fear.

    The next Prime Minister, a Tory, must older than Mrs May…able to remember how the United Kingdom was…and should be…and that any alteration is the murder of our Country.
    JR was 15 years old in 1966. He should be PM. He is JUST ABOUT old enough!

  24. Denis Cooper
    June 16, 2017

    Could somebody please tell the government that “Great Repeal Bill” is a stupid, misleading name for a law which is not intended to repeal anything, the exact opposite? As I recall this description actually originated with certain people who foolishly dreamed of simply repealing all EU laws in one go once we had decided to leave the EU, in itself a stupid idea. Now thanks to the half-witted misapplication of that name we have the Labour party pretending that the purpose of the bill will be to repeal all worker protections.

  25. Antisthenes
    June 16, 2017

    The recent election result may prove your optimistic assertions on how Brexit will progress and the likely outcome not to be what happens at all. Even though it is assuredly the most beneficial one for the UK and her citizens. Before the election there were many malignant and misguided groups intent on either wreaking Brexit or on a completely different outcome. The election has improved their chances of succeeding.

    Not only is the success of Brexit under threat but the UK’s political, cultural, democratic and economic landscape is in peril as well. The hard Marxist and progressive left are only a hairs breath from gaining control of the country. Their battle to win the hearts and minds of the electorate is on a winning streak. Simple messages to simple people works. The UK currently now has a weak and fragile government and given it’s current leadership little hope of carrying on for long and will be compelled to call another election with the high probability that Corbyn and Labour will win.

  26. Denis Cooper
    June 16, 2017

    Off-topic, how can anything in the Belfast Agreement, or any other agreement to which the UK government may be a contracting party, be held to restrict the way that MPs may vote?

    The UK Parliament is sovereign, the supreme legal authority for the UK; so if MPs of a minor party choose to vote in support of the UK government who can direct them otherwise?

  27. margaret
    June 16, 2017

    Business leads the way, it always has and always will.
    I notice that unlike many non cabinet MP’s your input/ knowledge of the inner circle is more detailed than many other MP’S . Why are you not a cabinet minister?

    1. Turboterrier.
      June 16, 2017

      @ Margret

      Why are you not a cabinet minister?

      Because he and his like minded colleagues scares the crap out of the “leadership”

  28. James Matthews
    June 16, 2017

    “Can you imagine voter reaction to empty shelves in Tesco, and/or elevated prices for their favourite imported fruit and veg, imposed by a tit-for-tat, tariff imposing government?”

    No, because there doesn’t seem to be any reason for that to happen. Very few things coming from the EU can not be sourced elsewhere (and mostly at less expense). Might be a bit tough on the specialist cheese eating and wine drinking classes of course, but the overwhelming majority of us will probably learn to live with that fairly easily.

  29. The Prangwizard
    June 16, 2017

    Mr Redwood’s needle has stuck!

    Friendly Brexit? Der Spiegel says Brexit is dead. Tories leaders are weak and a laughing stock.

    We need people with steel for backbones – where are they?

  30. darren welch
    June 16, 2017

    this is very good news john,,,however i must draw your attention to whats going on with the biased left wing media..there currently seems to be a theresa may demonisation exercise in play to destablise the new minority government,,,bbc and sky seem to be the main culprits,,last nights question time questioning deliberately tabled to bring into the conversation the dup arrangement,,demonisation of a party that has had mps in parliament for decades,,emily thornberry even going as far as to signal it was a danger to the good friday agreement,,,,off course we all know that any breakdown of agreement with the dup would seriously weaken the prime ministers hand which would then hasten the arrival of corbyn in government,,media now seems to be trying to politicalise the tragic events of the london fire with a constant narrative of a inhuman pm who wouldnt talk to victims,,even though with such high tensions being involved so soon after a tragic event with which for example sidiq khan ended up hiding in a church,,,, the pm now i believe is visiting victims in hospital but even that is not enough,,the spin doctors of the media have already turned this around as[she is only doing it after being criticised] yes john the destroy theresa may and brexit is already in motion

  31. Michael
    June 16, 2017

    No deal is better than a bad deal . A deal at any price makes as much economic sense as voting for Comrade Corbyn.

  32. Les Buchanan
    June 16, 2017

    Perhaps your contacts could tell us with whom these wonderful new free trade deals are being negotiated? Or are they as I suspect in the realms of fantasy.

    1. Turboterrier.
      June 16, 2017

      Wind your neck in Les.

      Friends in OZ, Canada and New Zealand and if their media is to be believed are all wanting us out, to do real business with them. That’s only three in the big wide world. The 27 in the EU makes that number 30 how many other countries are there left to deal with in the rest of the world?

  33. David
    June 16, 2017

    I think the Lib Dems and Kenneth Clarke would love Brexit to destroy our economy, they want the EU to punish us.

    1. Richard1
      June 16, 2017

      I think that is surely unfair, particularly on Ken Clarke who has in his time been an excellent Conservative minister. I am sure he has the best interests of the Country at heart even if he has always been a strong supporter of the EU.

  34. Freeborn John
    June 16, 2017

    It is very important the EU-sceptic politicians start making the case for a WTO-trading relationship with the EU27. Currently the Remoaner camp are not being challenged when they fear-monger about this outcome describing it as “crashing out” of the EU and being an “economic catastrophe”. Under WTO rules the UK would pay EU tariffs on its exports to the EU27 averaging 3% whereas the UK contribution to the EU budget is the equivalent of a 7% tariff. Out trade with non-EU countries is roughly equal to that with EU countries and the total amount of customs duties raised on our imports from non-EU countries is £4.2bn. We should expect that is the type of figure Uk exporters to the EU27 would be paying under WTO rules yet that is far less than the £18.1bn gross / £10bn net we pay to the EU budget today. Also with a WTO arrangement we would not pay the EU exit fee (which the Ft reports today will be €99.6bn), not face unlimited EU migration nor the supremacy of EU law and ECJ jurisdiction. Therefore WTO trading is a better deal than EU membership. The EU has promised will not offer any deal better than EU membership. Therefore we can be quite certain that the UK will be choosing between WTO trading and a deal that will be worse. It is urgently required that the case for a WTO arrangement be made to counter Remoaner fear-mongering.

  35. Gary Lloyd-Coxhead
    June 16, 2017

    Your assessment and analysis of the UK’s position leading into the negotiations are, as usual, accurate, factual and clear. It’s a shame that more Politicians, particularly on the front benches of the opposition, do not speak with such clarity. I am getting frustrated by the repetition of the words ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ brexit, when we all know that neither is true, there is just staying or leaving. Mr. Umanna is particularly guilty of this deception, aided and abetted by the BBC, and does not appear to know the details of his own party’s manifesto! I look forward to your continued narrative on this issue which I have to say fills me with hope and optimism for a satisfactory outcome for both sides of the negotiations.

  36. Len Grinds
    June 16, 2017

    The EU will not impose barriers on trade with the UK after Brexit. But the UK will no longer be a member of the EU. So it will be a third country, and it will have to try and negotiate deals on customs co-operation, confomrity assessment, surveillance, dispute resolution, etc. That is not the EU’s doing. It is the UK that chose to throw away all its advantages as a member of the EU.

    1. Hope
      June 16, 2017

      No advantages. It is the EU doing. It ought to recognize the democracy in each country. If it were inter governmental organisation you might have a point. It is not it is a Supra national body imposing its will on evrythinfpg without a mandate or public consent. It had a chance to change. It chose not to. Let us hope others will follow. EU will also want things from. The U.K. Including trade and business. Then there is clause 8 of the Lisbon Treaty. Stop scare mongering Len. You had your chance and lost. Accept it.

    2. libertarian
      June 17, 2017


      OH NO ! What you mean like we have to do with the other 170 countries in the world…. blimey who knew

      Just so you know its called the WTO and the UK has been a member since 1995

  37. Ed Mahony
    June 16, 2017

    Conservatives need to wake up to the reality of what Michael Portillo said eloquently recently about the danger of Jeremy Corbyn.
    And if Corbyn gets into power, it’s all over for Brexit anyway (plus, think of the size of our national debt after a few years – its terrible to think).
    And there simply isn’t the leadership now to implement Hard Brexit.
    It’s time for pragmatism and reality now. If not, our country is going to pay for it dearly in the years to come.

  38. Paul Cohen
    June 16, 2017

    It was the sudden desertion as PM by David Cameron that started the present turmoil, he who now should have no credibilty or influence on present EU matters. Mrs May was made PM as she was “last man standing” and initially most thought she was making a good fist of it. However she has since been wrong footed a few times and suffered a lack of confidence by her colleagues – hopefully she will recover from this and at the same time see off the menace that is Corbyn.

    1. Turboterrier.
      June 16, 2017

      @ Paul Cohen

      should have no credibilty or influence on present EU matters.

      Whenever did he have any of those skills?

  39. Terry
    June 16, 2017

    Given the enormous Trade deficit we have with the EU, especially the staggering £25B with Germany, I do hope the EU Business fraternity manages to totally reject any Brussels aspirations of “Punishing” our Nation because we dared leave their ‘cosy’ club.

  40. Peter D Gardner
    June 16, 2017

    I suppose it s bad grace to add to the catalogue of the shortcomings of Mrs May’s premiership, but one thing I have been searching for since the day she became PM is what she intends to do that does not require any agreement with the EU. In September 2016 I wrote that the Government should undertake:
    “Independent actions that need no discussion with the EU to replace EU involvement in UK affairs, eg., replacing CAP farming subsidies and EU funding of industry and research projects. Most of these will be intended to reduce uncertainty and to provide continuity to business, organisations and individuals affected by UK’s withdrawal.”
    Some of this has been mentioned but not very much and uncertainty remains for both business and individuals. I continued:
    “1. Review current and forthcoming EU directives and regulations not yet implemented in UK law. Some may be included in the agenda of the withdrawal negotiation in order to secure an exemption for UK; some directives may simply be delayed until they lapse after UK withdraws, some of the worst regulations may be marked for exemption from a blanket writing into UK law of all other EU regulations extant at the time the Withdrawal Agreement comes into effect.
    2. Develop UK policy for management of UK waters iaw UNCLOS.
    3. Develop domestic policies including for immigration, agriculture, fisheries, energy, research, transport, industry, the environment, human rights, asylum and justice.
    4. Strengthen border protection and develop an equitable immigration system.
    5. Identify and evaluate opportunities for furthering British influence and trade, with other countries and with organisations including EFTA, the World Trade Organisation, the World Customs Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and other international bodies.
    6. Develop economic policies to enhance and facilitate the development of UK as an independent free trading nation.”
    I do not know what she has been doing, but as far as I can tell these actions do not feature prominently. if at all, with the exception of Dr Fox’s efforts on trade.

  41. Ed Mahony
    June 16, 2017

    I think the Tories need to consider how weak they are at the moment, and that they could lose at another general election, sometime soon. This would be a disaster for the UK.

    We need to count our losses over Brexit, and either go for Soft Brexit, or else better, try and reform the EU over immigration and other things.

    We need a strong, popular Conservative leader such as Ruth Davidson. Once we get Labour out of the way, then we can start getting serious again about paying off our big national debt, getting investors back on board again about investing in the UK as a hub into Europe, and focusing on all the other important things that affect our country.

    Time is ticking. Debt is mounting. DUP are causing concerns over Northern Ireland. Trump is proving unreliable over trade talks. Japan and China aren’t exactly enamoured with Brexit. We’re not a Singapore – we’re too big, we’re not in the Pacific Rim, and we’re so different culturally. Most Brexiteers supported Brexit because of immigration not governance. And many Brexiteers are concerned about the economy and about whether immigration really is going to come down or not.

    This is the reality. Unless people face up to this, Brexit could damage this country’s economic prospects for years to come, whether Corbyn gets into power or not.

    Reply Ruth Davidson cannot be leader as she is not an MP. The PM/Leader is first and fore most the Parliamentary leader who needs to win votes at Westminster. The Conservatives have enough votes and seats to govern.

  42. darren welch
    June 16, 2017

    do you have the numbers to get the legislation through the commons? with only 14 majority with the dup its gonna be tough,,carmichael.. soubry dominic grieve… ken clark..nicky morgan at least will vote against the government

    Why do people who oppose the democratic decision of the referendum usually lie? Neil Carmichael lost his seat so he will not be voting against anything. The other MPs you mention voted for the Article 50 letter. Several pro Brexit Labour MPs will vote for the legislation even if from time to time the Labour leadership oppose a Bill they recommend in their Manifesto!

  43. Freeborn John
    June 16, 2017

    The BBC are reporting David Davis has already cave dwellers in on what he was previously calling “the row of the summer”, I.e. Whether the Uk would agree to the enormous Brexit bill before trade discussions begin.


    Why is the Uk is continually caving in on every EU demand and never getting anything in return? The EU is essentially dictating terms and the Uk accepting them. There is no way the Uk can agree to the outrageous EU exit bill. That is 10s of billions of taxpayer pounds being flushed down the toilet for a promise to talk about a one-sided trade deal that excludes services so only addresses areas where the EU has a surplus. This is beyond naive from the Uk government.

    1. Lifelogic
      June 16, 2017

      Indeed it would be absurd, but so many remainers are.

    2. Anonymous
      June 16, 2017

      The PM is a Remainer and doesn’t really want Brexit. That’s why she called an unnecessary election and blew it quite deliberately. (After Miller was given a full run at it but failed.)

      Reply What nonsense. Mrs May wanted to win and would have had an easier life if she had gained a decent majority

  44. John O'Leary
    June 16, 2017

    “If the EU really does want to impose barreirs on their trade with us they will need to set out what these are, and we can then consider what barriers we would need to place in return.”

    The EU will not be imposing barrier on their trade with us. Those barriers already exist and apply to all third countries without trade agreements to the contrary. By leaving the EU it is the UK that is changing the status quo NOT the EU.

    Why are you still going on about tariffs when you must know full well that they are neither here nor there? It is the non-tariff barriers such proof/trust in conformity to standards, having access to customs clearance systems, customs cooperation etc., which seriously threaten our trade with the EU.

    Some say there is not time to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU.

    For the reasons given above they are spot on too. That is why we need a transition arrangement and the only one that there is time to negotiate is our continued membership of the EEA by joining EFTA.

  45. adam
    June 16, 2017

    there is no such thing as losing jobs. There will always be jobs if there is money. So we want avoid losing money.

  46. Mike Stallard
    June 16, 2017

    Lancaster House speech by Mrs May: Twelve points:
    Certainty wherever possible.
    Control of our own laws.
    Strengthening the United Kingdom.
    Maintaining the common travel area with Ireland.
    Control of immigration.
    Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU.
    Enhancing rights for workers.
    Free trade with European markets.
    New trade agreements with other countries.
    A leading role in science and innovation.
    Cooperation on crime, terrorism and foreign affairs.
    And a phased approach, delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit.

    We have got to leave the EU. We have got to leve the Single Market (EU/EEA).
    Every single one of the above points – except for the expat problem – can be met by joining EFTA/EEA. Every single one of the rest – all eleven of them.

  47. darren welch
    June 16, 2017

    john hammond is of the opinion that most people want a soft brexit?? and the media seem to be of the impression he is drawing up plans for associate membership of the customs union? that surely limits our ability to do our own trade deals ,,hammond will state this fact on andrew marr sunday morning,,,sounds like a sellout of the vote of 23rd june 2016 to me…liam fox job will be pointless

    1. jack snell
      June 17, 2017

      waken up Darren Welch.. there are no new trade deals out there,, Liam fox knows it, Theresa may knows it, Michael gove knows it as does David Davis.. probably the only one who doesn’t know is Iain Duncan smith and some other delusional ones.

      Our future trading pattern will be with the very countries of the trading bloc that we are full bent on leaving just to take up the same but as in an inferior trading position with the same countries.. only in Britain could it happen

      Reply There are plenty of trade deals on offer

      1. sjb
        June 17, 2017

        JR’s Reply: There are plenty of trade deals on offer

        Please would you be kind enough to provide links so that we can examine the details and determine the quality of the deals?

        Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, Switzerland etc

  48. Prigger
    June 16, 2017

    An eye opener for those thinking “the community” are against Theresa May

  49. Alan Smith
    June 16, 2017

    The aim of leaving the EU is to regain parliamentary sovereignty. There is no point in leaving other than to achieve it. No economic argument is any justification by itself as it can only be subjective.
    The fact is that any perceived benefit either way is just that- perceived. It would be for Parliament, not just Government, to show that there is merit in its renewed sovereignty. Parliament nor Government has any need to justify anything to ‘business’.

  50. Prigger
    June 16, 2017

    JR I know my Comments are OTT in number and perhaps in substance. I deliberately do so.But there really are insufficient numbers of staff now in Local Authorities, Hsg Associations or whatever you might call them to inspect Tower Blocks.
    Even the ones supposedly qualified , years ago before they were made redundant, got on to courses paid for by Housing Departments ( Councils) because of nepotism and cronyism and the success of their studies were virtually rubber stamped by universities grateful for the economic input by Councils. This was the system.

    I give you my word, I outsmarted the highest of the high by just one scan-reading of ONE small book on housing maintenance sat on the shelves of my local library. They actually knew nothing! I was surprised for they did not strike me as unintelligent.No-one cares!I promise. Dangerous times!

  51. Peter Davies
    June 17, 2017

    The Labour and conservative manifestos might have said a Labour or conservative government would seek to leave the single market, but there is no such government and both parties are split on the issue. As it stands, there is no majority in the House of Commons to leave the single market.

    Further, there was no vote on leaving the single market, or on reducing immigration, or on any other Brexit specifics. People voted for leaving the EU, and it is perfectly possible to be outside the EU and inside the single market, as Norway demonstrates.

  52. Chris
    June 17, 2017

    This has been reported in the Press today. See below. Can you tell me why Hammond is being allowed to apparently actively undermine Brexit, with the apparent support of our PM?
    “…Britain’s Chancellor Phillip Hammond is drafting detailed plans for a “soft Brexit” whereby Britain will retain associate membership of the single market, foregoing the opportunity to forge her own bilateral trade deals. Under his bespoke plans, Mr Hammond hopes Britain would be able to strike independent deals on trade involving services, Whitehall insiders have told The Telegraph.

    But he believes that Britain should sacrifice its ability to negotiate deals on the trade of goods, insisting that remaining within the European single market on an associate membership basis would protect British jobs.

    “The UK would negotiation associate membership of the customs union but keep the freedom to negotiate on services – which is the much more important part of the UK economy,” said a source….”

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