Let’s stop negotiating with ourselves

There are endless discussions in some of the media and in Parliament about what concessions the UK should offer. Why don’t they understand the negotiations may go on for 19 more months? The EU has not yet made a sensible offer or explained how it wishes to maintain full tariff free access to our market with no new barriers. Why do they keep on recycling the same old stale stories, and the same old failed lines from the Remain campaign?

Some people are in danger once again of mistaking media noise for change of policy. The government’s policy of Brexit was clearly laid out in the Article 50 letter, the supporting Act of Parliament, Lancaster House speech and White Paper. it is not changing. It is now embodied in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

If the media had any interest in news rather than olds they would go off and interview the other member states about their negotiating aims and their attitudes towards the EU approach so far. They would go and ask German car companies, French dairy farmers, Dutch market gardeners, Danish pig farmers and the rest what they want the EU to achieve on the trade front.

There is no need to offer the EU any money over and above our legal obligations. If you have to pay to trade the cheapest way is to adopt WTO tariffs, and then negotiate away the tariffs with countries outside the EU to get us even better access to their markets and to cut import prices. If you had to pay a fixed up front sum to trade related to the volume of your trade they would be paying us more than we pay them, which is extremely unlikely. We are offering them free access to our market.

The UK voters were very clear when they voted to take back control. Taking control of our money was the central feature of the Vote Leave campaign. There are plenty of good uses for that £12bn net saving. it would be a good idea if the media had a few interviews with interested parties on how we should spend that money, or whether we should give some back to taxpayers.

There is no sign of the government weakening its line on the money, as the Foreign Secretary has recently made clear in his vivid if unorthodox language.


  1. Helena
    July 16, 2017

    What a strange, even hysterical, post, Mr Redwood. Only this week all the newspapers have carried stories making clear that German carmakers regard preserving the EU’s single market as far more important than the shrill and unrealistic expectations of Brits like you. Here, for example, is the Daily Express (hardly a natural home of “remoaners”) –

    1. a-tracy
      July 16, 2017

      All our company cars used to be German made, however, a couple of years ago we switched to hybrid Mitsubishi and Lexus models the savings have been massive. If the EU really do wish to cut their noses off we should be talking to other Countries in the outside world to replace this market and get manufacturing ourselves in areas of great need of jobs like Wales and N Ireland. I wouldn’t call this an hysterical response I’d call it planning and it’s time the UK put their minds to this instead of squabbling.

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        July 16, 2017

        I agree.
        If the reported attempts by the French and German governments to knock our businesses for six, we too should be planning centrally to incetivise massively German goods by Japanese and US ones, but also to import-substitute by making things here.

      2. nigel seymour
        July 17, 2017

        Excellent reply to Helena (clearly dislikes the Brits). There are lot’s of other car makers that I’m now starting to look at that offer better value.

    2. Edward2
      July 16, 2017

      Thats not the conclusion I get from reading your attached article, Helena.
      The German trade body wants to retain the Single Market.
      Well of course they do. It is beneficial for Germany
      And the UK doesn’t want to spoil or ruin the EU’s Single Market.
      All we require is access to the Single Market just as numerous non EU nations already do.
      If the UK offers tariff free access to our markets it is reasonable to think that countries like Germany will respond positively especially as they have a big trading balance in their favour.

    3. Timaction
      July 16, 2017

      I didn’t think the article was in any way hysterical. It may be borne out of a frustration that the media in this Country keeps restating the same project fear and pretending we have to pay for market access in a trade scenario where the UK has an annual trade deficit of £80 billions with the EU. We can buy our cars, farm produce and any other goods or services from anywhere on the planet when we leave the EU. So if the EU wants to put its 6 million workers reliant on UK trade at risk, carry on with its nonsense. No deal IS better than any bad deal. WTO trade rules will make German products very expensive. With a £20 billion trade deficit with the UK, who stands to loose the most if tariffs are applied? Its time for the EU to realise the truth is out. Trade and friendship is all we want from the EU Countries. The rest of the 27 can continue to be Governed by a Germo/Franco dominated EU Commission.

      1. Hope
        July 16, 2017

        The NI figures in the U.K. Suggest three times more workers and immigrants in the U.K. Than disclosed by the govt estimated figures.

        Where are the Eurozone countries going to find work for them, provide public services, housing and save us working tax credits and benefits. Project fear is back and being tolerated by May and her govt. to this extent JR is wrong.

        Time for Nigel, Boris and Andrea to become vocal everywhere they can.

    4. forthurst
      July 16, 2017

      German carmakers have not spoken; there are voices in Germany which do not have an authentic German accent; these people from Merkel down are traitors to the German people who put their desire to destroy the nations of Europe above the interests of the people they purport to represent. Germany is less well served than the UK when it come to politicians and quasi-politicians representing the genuine interests of their constituents rather than an international cabal of nation-hating (people ed).

      The idea that German carmakers would seriously prefer to cut off their noses to spite their faces rather than continue with their highly lucrative tariff-free trade with the UK is preposterous nonsense.

    5. Archie Clifford
      July 16, 2017

      What a strange, shrill, even hysterical response to an article that was none of those things. Mr Redwood suggested our journalists interview the German car workers who will suffer if the EU imposes tariffs which we will be forced to reciprocate on. He didn’t say go and interview the presidents of German industrial federations (who were giving their views in the article you quote). They are naturally going to toe the line of their EU paymasters while negotiations are in play, but both they and their workers may change their tune if a punitive approach by the EU starts to hurt them as much as us. Your use of the term ‘Brits’ in such a pejorative little-Englander way suggests that you are part of the problem John Redwood is trying to address in articles like these – that of treacherous remoaners at home tying one arm behind our negotiators’ backs, so we end up with a worse deal. Why can’t you just accept the result of the referendum gracefully and move on? The disgraceful level of anti-democratic sentiment from those who lost the referendum is breathtaking to behold. And if it did win through and scupper Brexit, democracy in this country would be over. What then?

      1. Anonymous
        July 16, 2017

        It has been a great lie for Remain to tell us that old people caused Brexit.

        They are guilty of hate crime.

        52% of the votership can’t all be old. An average age in the forties.

        1. Hope
          July 16, 2017

          The U.K. Govt has always negotiated with the EU. Why is Scotland or Wales allowed to talk with the EU negotiator? Time for an English parliament. EVEL was not delivered by lying Cameron. His sham never even came close. Tories ought to know where their vote base is. Hammond, Soubry and Morgan take note. Why is Brexit MPs under represented as chairs on select committees. The public voted to leave the EU and should be reflected in select committees. This is the way in public services.

    6. Denis Cooper
      July 16, 2017

      “Shrill”? JR is “shrill”? What rubbish.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        July 17, 2017

        Dear Denis–And now, above, he is “hysterical” as well–Someone less shrill or hysterical than JR it would be hard to imagine

    7. Mr Glob
      July 16, 2017

      German car makers have their own German audience. They sing for them.
      The rest of the world, though I have not asked each individual, yet, =.
      734,700,000,000 .World population
      743,100,000 The EU population including UK. That is
      733,956,900,000 of people who do not give two hoots about EU trading tariffs, protectionisms, plus the majority of British people. Ar gang is bigger than yor gang, savvy?!!!
      Should the rest of the world including China, India, South America, North America, Australasia, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, all be gathered together via sataellite and all shout simultaneously “Who ARE you Mr Juncker??????”

    8. John Finn
      July 16, 2017

      German carmakers are issuing statements on behalf of their government and the EU.

      Unlike in the UK, European businesses and governments are trying to appear united. I doubt if they are united at all as will become clear if the pressure builds during the negotiations.

      It’s best to ignore anything in the media. All the newspapers are struggling and now rely on using sensational headlines as “clickbait” to boost advertising revenue.

    9. Epikouros
      July 16, 2017

      That is simply rhetoric no doubt useful to talk up a negotiating position. The reality as Mr Redwood describes it is somewhat in variance to it and if correct and it appears very much so to me will trump any amount of bluster or grandstanding.

    10. Terry
      July 16, 2017

      You link is to a quote by the Head of the German BDI like our CBI.
      And we all know what happened to the Brexiteer Head of the CBI don’t we?

      He was put out because he did not side with our then Remainer PM. But sided with the SMEs of the country instead and those he is supposed to represnt.
      But this arrogant German is just following his master’s orders.
      These ‘institutions’, like Governments, do not always represent to sentiments of the actual members, as we can see from this article below.

      The German Car Manufactureres account for over 30% of all cars sold here. 810,000 per year. And they are worried over the loss of their profits.

      In particular note the following…
      “Merkel may force us to walk away from UK profits for the sake of preventing further EU fragmentation,” said a senior executive at a German luxury carmaker.

      The executive, who asked not to be identified because of the subject’s sensitivity, said Brexit looks increasingly likely to be “a disaster” for trade and for German manufacturers”.

      The Rest of the World is 13 times bigger than the EU and has thousands of potential suppliers of everyting we need to buy. And more even customers for our own products!

      We do not have to rule the World to be Great but we do need to trade with all of it and not be severely restrained by the debilitating EU.

  2. Len Grinds
    July 16, 2017

    In fact, contrary to what you write, the EU has explained how it wishes to maintain full tariff free access to our market with no new barriers, and how we can maintain full tariff free access to their market with no new barriers. Simply be being a member of the EU! A state that leaves the club and stops paying its membership fee can’t keep enjoying all the benefits. It is really a shame that you keep pretending to your readers that we can have our cake and eat it.

    1. Edward2
      July 16, 2017

      It is a fact that many non EU nations currently trade successfully with the UK and European countries without being members of the EU nor being members of the Single Market nor agreeing to freedom of movement.

      I noticed that recent EU trade agreements with Japan and Canada did not force these nations to join the EU nor join the Single Market nor agree to freedom of movement.

      1. Corbeau
        July 16, 2017

        We need access to the EU services market. That is how the UK economy works nowadays. Only the EU covers services, the free trade deals do not.

        1. Edward2
          July 16, 2017

          A deal will happen.
          We have services which Europe has purchased for centuries.
          Such as banking insurances and many other areas of expertise.
          Trade between UK and Europe will continue.
          Politicians cannot stand in the way of hundreds of millions of sellers and buyers.

    2. Bob
      July 16, 2017


      It’s not tariff free if you have to pay a billion pounds a month to maintain a trade deficit.

      If the EU are worried about losing one of it’s biggest and most lucrative markets perhaps they should leak some rumours that they are prepared to make some minor reforms on unfettered access to the UK welfare system (a purely temporary measure of course).

      Without the UK to prop it up, the EU will have to reform.

    3. Timaction
      July 16, 2017

      As above Len. It’s about politics not trade. Always has been. Weren’t you around when we had this explained to you in the lead up to the Referendum. Plenty of evidence to show its always been about the creation of a federal state by incremental stealthy treaty change. You don’t have to be in the EU to TRADE WITH IT. Ask China, USA, Japan, South Korea etc. It’s settled we’re leaving with or without a trade deal. Japan has good car’s. Africa can trade for it’s agricultural products, cheaper than France. Let them have there German dominated superstate, we voted to get out!

    4. Richard1
      July 16, 2017

      The EU is in the process of agreeing a free trade deal with tarriff free access with Japan. There is no requirement for Japan to join the EU, pay the EU or accept either unlimited EU immigration or the suzerainty of EU institutions over Japan’s. in the UK what has widespread support is friendly relations, easy travel for business tourism and study and free trade. What doesn’t have support is political and fiscal integration, which is the EU’s direction of travel. So we need a sensible arrangement under which mutually beneficial trading and travel arrangements continue, but the UK and the EU exist independently, side by side.

    5. Denis Cooper
      July 16, 2017

      So tell us what those “benefits” are worth. Then tell us how much they cost.

    6. John Finn
      July 16, 2017

      So when did Canada and South Korea join the club?

    7. Epikouros
      July 16, 2017

      Happily if we leave we can have lots of cakes and gorge ourselves on them. JR is right the UK is in a much stronger position than the EU to dictate the terms of a Brexit deal. It will not be under all of the same conditions that we have now thankfully. Trade and cooperation will still exist in the usual way that we have them with countries outside of the EU now. In some cases more favourably as are market that the EU desperately cannot afford to lose and much of our institutions, standards and regulations are already compatible.

    8. Original Richard
      July 16, 2017

      “A state that leaves the club and stops paying its membership fee can’t keep enjoying all the benefits.”

      What “benefits” please do we get for our £10bn/year net payment (although I suspect the actual amount to be much higher if the EU is asking for a £100bn leaving fee)?

      Tariff free access to a market that sells £100bn/year more to us than we sell to them?

      Uncontrolled immigration putting pressure on our environment, housing, schools, healthcare, welfare provision, infrastructure and prisons ?

      Accepting our quota from the millions of illegal migrants invited into Europe unilaterally by Mrs. Merkel ?

      Accepting our laws are made by bureaucrats that we cannot elect or remove or decided by the majority decision of 27 other countries?

      Giving away our assets (fishing grounds) to the EU which are worth £billions ?

      Paying more for our food?

      I am looking forward to our country returning to a sovereign state and trading with the EU under WTO terms and without all the EU “benefits”.

    9. forthurst
      July 16, 2017

      How exactly is having a massive and growing trade deficit with the EU significantly as a result of CAP subsidised agriculture which discriminates against our farmers, the CFP theft of our fish and German industry using a rigged currency exchange rate, a benefit worth sacrificing the freedom we have fought for and will continue to fight for? WTO rules would be the best response to the EU and to their unfair trading practices.

    10. Ken Worthy
      July 16, 2017

      If that is true, then it is typical of the Eu – no compromise, just do everything our way and forget this nonsense about leaving. We are offering the EU access to our markets via a comprehensive free trade agreement. The EU already has free trade agreements with over 50 countries, all but three of which involve neither budgetary contribution nor free movement. If they refuse a similar free trade agreement with Britain, it will only be out of spite, to punish us for daring to leave their precious project, and to warn any other member states who might have similar drams of escape.

    11. Mike Ferro
      July 16, 2017

      Yes, but why is it that WE should have to pay for our trade with THEM, but they don’t have to pay for their trade with us. This is never addressed by remainers

    12. Know-dice
      July 17, 2017

      ” A state that leaves the club and stops paying its membership fee can’t keep enjoying all the benefits. “

      But it seems that 22 states can take out more than they put in…

      We [the UK] need credit for paying in more than we have taken out for the last 4 decades (all except one year)…

  3. alan jutson
    July 16, 2017

    I have to say I have got absolutely fed up with all of the so called informed experts talking the UK down with so called leaks of one kind or another.

    Problem is John when names and sources are mentioned, these stories are not countered or denied in any way by either the people involved, or government sources.

    Perhaps the Government may also be absolutely fed up with making comment, and so just lets the speculation continue, but it would be nice from time to time to have an official short comment (from perhaps the same person) just once a week, even if it said meetings have been held but no progress has been made yet, etc etc.
    Perhaps similar statements to the John Knott briefings during the Falklands conflict.

    Thus we could see work and effort was actually going on and progress trying to be made.

    Obviously no questions would be allowed.

    We are after all trying to defend ourselves by taking back control from a European control/invasion of our Country albeit from an original invitation .

    1. Denis Cooper
      July 16, 2017

      The Cameron government decided as matter of policy that we should vote to stay in the EU and so it would not remain neutral in the EU referendum debate, rather it freely used public resources to put its case and rebut its opponents’ case.

      Now after the referendum the May government has ostensibly accepted that we must leave the EU, but even though that is now official government policy they will not use public resources to put that case and rebut its opponents’ case.

      Hence the latter can spread whatever lies they like throughout the mass media with complete impunity, without any need to fear that a spokesman in No 10 or a media unit in David Davis’s department will smack them down with the facts and show them up for the liars they are.

      And so as Blair openly explained this morning opponents of Brexit hope to bring about a change of public opinion which will influence parliamentarians, MPs and Lords, to vote down the government’s Brexit legislation and precipitate a repeat referendum which will reverse the previous result.

      And even though it is obvious that there is a systematic anti-Brexit propaganda campaign, and equally obvious that the Brexit side are losing it, the government does nothing to maintain public support for its stated policy.

      JR writes that we should not mistake media noise for change of policy; well, so far, but the whole point of the media noise is to create pressure for a change of policy, and as the government fails to respond again and again it would be reasonable to conclude that they also want that change of policy and would be perfectly happy to see public opinion manipulated in that direction.

      Otherwise it is sheer complacency, the same sort of complacency that led Theresa May to risk an entirely unnecessary, foolish, general election in which she then lost her Commons majority.

      In any event, I think I’ve had enough of it.

      1. Hope
        July 16, 2017

        Well said. Spot on. I can tell you that I and many others feel the same.

        I still feel it is difficult to believe this position was an accident. May lost the remain vote, she delayed sending the article 50 letter for nine months, let proganda and a court case take place. Each time allowing remainers o change our minds. Sadly for her, the percentage grew to leave. When all this was lost she announced a general election she claimed many times over would not take place. We need a leaver PM and leave cabinet. Mark my words she will resign like the (man ed) before her.

      2. alan jutson
        July 17, 2017

        Agree Dennis.

        It is almost treasonable what is being allowed to to go on at the moment, but afraid Conservative Ministers and MP’s are not helping themselves or the Country with this constant silence on the defence of Brexit, and the constant carping between themselves.
        The last thing we need now is for a new Prime Minister or another General Election, but Mrs May has simply got to get to grips with what is going on before she gets drowned out.

  4. Tabulazero
    July 16, 2017

    Well… maybe all the runners and riders for the upcoming Conservative leadership contest could first stop negotiating with the tabloid press to gather its support.

    Maybe they could instead engage with the EU and start negotiating in earnest.

    So far the U.K. has only published 3 position papers spelling out its position . Had you posted this 2 days ago it would have been only one. That’s not a lot to account for more than 365 days since the Brexit vote.

    You not negotiating with yourself, you are simply fighting amongst yourself for the prize of the premiership to the bemusement of the rest of the EU.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 16, 2017

      It is amusing that Remainers not only know why all Leavers voted leave but also know what the entire EU thinks (“bemused” in this case), all picked up from a couple of weeks holiday in Tuscany presumably. I do
      business in the EU, the views of businesses and people there are very varied, many in Italy for example are very supportive of the UK position. Sorry for introducing some actual real views unmediated by the UK media into the debate.

    2. a-tracy
      July 16, 2017

      Just because the UK media is giving disproportionate air time to unelected EU spokespeople like Blair, Clegg and quitters like Farron and none elected people like Heseltine doesn’t mean we listen to them, we don’t have to listen to unelected leaders for much longer.

      My annoyance with the Conservative party is Leave won yet Leavers are being overlooked as spokespeople, Leadsom, Hoey, Hannan, Gove, Johnson should be allowed equal air time at prime time.

      How do you know the UK government isn’t engaged with the EU and negotiating in earnest are you a member of the negotiating team?

      1. Anonymous
        July 16, 2017

        They seem to have more concern for the feelings of the 48% than the 52%,

        I do not feel as though we Leavers have won at all.

        This country is ruined by the we’ll-smash-the-place-up Left and the we’re-not-leaving Remainers. Both groups spoilt and intemperate brats.

        If there is a second referendum I’m voting Leave again – if only for the fact I can live merely on fresh air and the sight of their sour little faces. With the right attitude it can be a joy to behold.

        Few people deserve this country anyway. If there is a correction it will have been a long time coming.

        1. Tabulazero
          July 17, 2017

          “They seem to have more concern for the feelings of the 48% than the 52%”

          Given the hard brexit stance taken by Theresa May’s government, that is hard to believe.

          If 48% of the voters wanted no Brexit at all, you can bet your shirt that they want the softest Brexit if possible.

          Now, are you telling me that all the 52% that voted for Leave wanted the hardest form of Brexit, one akin to what Mr Redwood is proposing, with an unilateral departure from the Single-Market and all the works ?

          That does not look very plausible.

          Some of the Leave voters must have voted for a soft Brexit, something that they were promised by some lead Leave politicians. It would require only 3% to shift the balance.

          It strikes me therefore that the current government is more concerned with the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative party and their friend in the press than anything else.

          1. a-tracy
            July 18, 2017

            There is no such thing as a ‘soft brexit’ ‘hard brexit’ during the referendum it was Leave or Remain.

  5. Lifelogic
    July 16, 2017

    Indeed. But there are so few sensible people with these view in parliament. We even have Nicky Morgan elected to the Treasury Select Committee.

    Plus we even have Blair telling us that EU might now do a deal on free movement. It is not about “free movement” Tony, it is about sovereignty, freedom, where power lies and having a real democracy based at Westminster elected by a sensible UK Demos.

    So Hammond has finally said something sensible. He is quite right, the state sector (when pensions are included) is about 40-50% overpaid relative to the 80% in the private sector who are far, far more productive. Furthermore so many produce very little of value, many do positive harm and just inconvenience, tie up in red tape or overtax the productive. Many just piss money down the drain and worse still they misdirect or “bribe/subsidise” the productive to do daft things like HS2, Hinkley C, premature electric cars (that do not really work yet for most people), gender pay gap reporting or so called “renewables”

  6. agricola
    July 16, 2017

    Get used to it, another eighteen months of speculation or less if the EU continues on it’s present course and TM says enough is enough.

    Incidentally what was wrong with yesterday’s comment that it should spend so much time in the unmoderated wilderness. You do it so often I begin to think you are running a personal vendetta.

    1. alan jutson
      July 16, 2017


      “..Moderated wilderness…”

      It happens to us all from time- time.

      Frustrating but its JR site and at least he is trying to keep us informed and making comment on a daily basis, so I just accept it.

    2. Mark B
      July 16, 2017


      Must be time constraints.

    3. Bert Young
      July 16, 2017

      Agricola , The same is true for me . The reasoning behind “moderation” has , so far , bewildered me . Responses OT seem to be the order of the day .

    4. graham1946
      July 16, 2017

      No Ag, I think he does it in all late in the day to make best use of his time – after all this is not his main job. Maybe it would be better if he allowed un-moderated posts to be made and inappropriate ones be deleted. Maybe he does – some seem to get endless repetitive stuff on day after day whilst others (myself included) may wait a couple of days by which time no-one is interested.

      1. rose
        July 16, 2017

        I like this blog being moderated: it is decent and rational, and the standard of argument higher than on other blogs. If it were unmoderated I think you would miss its present high standards. Besides, if it were unmoderated it would also attract all sorts of malicious attacks from would-be censors and litigants. I am grateful to Mr R for keeping them at bay. It must be very time-consuming.

        1. rose
          July 16, 2017

          I agree with you about some posts going out of date but that is the price of its success – it is a heavily visited blog.

          Reply To get posted quickly write less.

      2. agricola
        July 16, 2017

        Am inclined to agree. I realise he has laid out rules but that is a blind. The amount of repetition and developing thought over numerous submission makes me speculate as to our host publishing under a pseudonym. etc ed

        Reply I do not publish under a pseudonym on my own blog! How absurd. I delete posts which seek to vilify groups, religions and individuals, and posts which ramble on at too great a length.

    5. Narrow Shoulders
      July 17, 2017

      @agricola and others complaining about time in moderation.

      Why are you posting? Are you having dialogue with our host? If so the time taken to moderate is irrelevant our host will reply to posts going back several days.

      If you are posting to put your theories and information in the public domain then this may not be the ideal forum.

      As users of the forum we can review previous days’ entries to see if other posts have been released. I know that the more lengthy and informative posts appear later and seek them out going back several days.

      Mr Redwood you could mitigate the frustration of those who yearn to be heard by others by introducing a “show recent posts” feature which lists posts released from previous days. This will also serve to keep the debates raging. It may unfortunately create more reading for you.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        July 17, 2017

        Mr Redwood you could also discourage multiple off topic posting by not publishing them it would not detract from the blog’s experience

        The irony of this post is noted!

  7. Stred
    July 16, 2017

    For an essay in treachery, read the current Guardian.

  8. eeyore
    July 16, 2017

    Isn’t negotiating with ourselves what democracy is all about? But JR’s certainly right that news editors should get their hacks over the Channel to talk to business there. They’d get good stories, and might even learn something themselves.

    Meanwhile Mrs May’s own news management remains unspeakable. Her operation has completely lost control of the narrative and is reduced to pathetic responses to the attacks of others. Perception is everything. If her new spokesman doesn’t get a grip pronto the game really will be up.

  9. Duncan
    July 16, 2017

    There’s still a sense of confusion (with this confusion being deliberately stoked and encouraged by those pro-EU actors like the BBC, C4 etal) with those anti-EU voters looking for continual reassurances that the UK will leave the EU in its entirety, ie absolute sovereignty and absolute supremacy with the ECJ-EU banished from all influence and presence within the UK

    More importantly HOW will people KNOW that we have left the EU, when it does happen? What piece of physical evidence (a document) will there be that finally CONFIRMS, beyond all question, that we are, once again, a sovereign independent nation?

    1. Mark B
      July 16, 2017

      One obvious sign will be the absence of their flag and; “EU Citizen” from my passport and driving license.

      1. hefner
        July 17, 2017

        And yes, that will be the sign of all signs that sovereignty will have come back to the UK. Then MPs in Parliament will be full masters of our destiny. And days of milk and honey will be back for all true Brits to enjoy …

  10. jack Snell
    July 16, 2017

    We’ve got to be clear about all of this, it’s not for the EU side to be sensible and make tariff free gestures/ offers etc, all of this should come from the UK side, we are the ones making the running right now and i still havn’t the foggiest what the UK government wants on behalf of the people.

    The 27 EU countries aim on the other hand is a collective stance and their response has been well aired from time to time by the various EU leaders for instance Tusk- “no cakes-only salt and vinegar, Barnier- “some people across the channel think they can cherrypick etc-but that is not possible” and then Verhofstadt- “The elections for the EU parliament are coming up in May 2019 so the business of UK departure will have to be finalised by 29 March 2019- there can be no extension to this deadline- it would be unthinkable”

    Above signals are coming from the EU side and what could be more clear. So just like the EU the UK will have to look for new trading partners. In the EU the German BMW car manufacturers etc and french dairy sector will also have to look for new markets to compensate the loss in trade- because will be no tariff free trade between the EU from UK after march 2019. There is absolutely no way that the EU will allow it’s basic four freedoms to be compromised- because in the longer term they know that it would be a disastrous move for the future cohesion of the union itself. WTO tariffs will have to apply.

    As for the 12 Billion net savings- we should give it to the NHS like we promised.

    1. a-tracy
      July 16, 2017

      Don’t forget the French vehicle market too; Citroen, Peugeot a massive UK market. If all these manufacturers are forced to put punitive tariffs on their exports we will need a backup market, a new U.K. Manufacturer perhaps partnering with the Koreans or Chinese? Obviously the U.K. doesnt want to do this but as you point out it is not in our control so we need to take the control back.

      1. Mike the Strike
        July 17, 2017

        A-Tracy……..You need to understand that an exporting manufacturer does not impose tariffs. Tariffs are applied by the importing country.

        1. Know-dice
          July 18, 2017

          Of which the EU takes 80% back to Brussels

        2. a-tracy
          July 18, 2017

          Thanks Mike, I do understand your point. I wasn’t clear in my response to Jack who had said
          “In the EU the German BMW car manufacturers etc and french dairy sector will also have to look for new markets to compensate the loss in trade- because will be no tariff free trade between the EU from UK after march 2019.”

          With no tariff free trade between the EU and UK one presumes any UK applied tariffs could be used to offset tariffs imposed on our manufacturers when exporting to the EU.

    2. old salt
      July 16, 2017

      There was no “promise” jack!
      On the subject of £350m a week a Mirror article of 29 March updated 30 March:
      The Boris photo shows “Let’s give our NHS ….” while the caption below the image the Mirror morphed “Let’s” into a “pledge” & “would” – “Boris Johnson on the Vote Leave campaign trail on 14 May 2016 with the pledge saying £350m a week would be given to the NHS”
      The bus picture also shows “let’s fund our NHS …… ”
      So when and where did “let’s” mean “would” and “pledge”? – in Mirror and Remoaner speak.

      1. stred
        July 17, 2017

        VW/Audi have factories outside the Eu. They could supply from the US at zero tariff, assuming they had got their engine management ‘vorsprung der technik’ right by then.

        BMW could build them in the Mini works and Peugeot Citroen could build them in the Vauxhall works. All LHD and save changing the production lines in the RHD countries.

        Any attempt to close our factories, like Hawker Siddley wings should be met with a guard on the gates and temporary nationalisation. We would have to have a strong leadership and not a soggy wet lettuce as a leader, depending on EU agent civil servants.

    3. graham1946
      July 16, 2017

      ‘No way the EU will allow it’s basic four freedoms to be compromised’

      Tony Blair says different. I doubt he’d come out with this on his own. We’ve only just started negotiations – wait a year or so and we’ll see what else they come up with.

      Personally, I still think a fudge is in the offing and have said so since the referendum and that we will not actually leave, although it will be dressed up to look like victory, like the ‘great concessions’ Cameron came back with and he actually believed he could get us to accept that. Politicians think the people are basically stupid.

      1. longinus
        July 16, 2017

        Any fudge would result in Tory electoral armageddon

      2. stred
        July 17, 2017

        T.B. is part of the plot. This is how he knows the EU may compromise to keep us and our money in and coming. Clegg, the Lord who wrote A50 to keep the process difficult, the Kinnock EU recipients and Tory MPs who don’t give a bugger about their previous pledges or democracy. The lack of response and appointment of Remainers in place of Brexiteers probably means that may is controlled by them.
        (personal attack on TB removed ed)

        Reply TB is unlikely to be part of the plot. What matters is the attitude of the UK government, not past PMs.

    4. anon
      July 16, 2017

      Given Italy is about to issue unlimited EU visas to illegal migrants, i wonder how long the perception of the “4 misnomers” will lasts. There is no cohesion here just central dictat.

      Who is funding all the med boat taxis, waiting off the coast of North Africa, instead of returning them back to the nearest shore?

  11. percy openshaw
    July 16, 2017

    Agreed – but it won’t happen – not unless the governing party can unify definitively around the government’s programme – and that’s a pious hope. The alternative is to find some right leaning Labour MP willing to come on board to replace every doubter among the Tories – even less likely after Mrs May’s foolish election. You mention the Foreign Secretary’s “vivid if unorthodox language” – good for elections bad for running a vulnerable government – tell him to calm down, please. As to how this will pan out – well, Mr Redwood, you have fixed your eyes on the right destination, but how on earth we are actually going to get there given our actual circumstances – which include current human motivations – goodness knows. Do you?

    1. a-tracy
      July 16, 2017

      Boris is speaking for those people the press won’t give a voice to, it’s the only way to be heard. They aren’t weakened but they are dimmed and it’s getting annoying now, so thank goodness for Boris popping his head up.

      1. rose
        July 16, 2017

        Yes, and anyway, “go whistle” wasn’t his phrase but the backbencher’s. “Extortionate” was the word Boris used and it was entirely appropriate.

  12. Sir Joe Soap
    July 16, 2017

    Yes you’re very clear, but your colleagues in government aren’t. Has anybody in the Brexit negotiating team (save a single quip from the he Foreign Secretary) stood firm in this way?
    Perhaps I’m being naive and this mixed message/dissembling in the government is actually a ‘cunning plan” to confuse the EU negotiators into thinking they’re dafter than they actually are?

  13. Mark B
    July 16, 2017

    There are endless discussions in some of the media and in Parliament about what concessions the UK should offer.

    None !

    We voted to leave a political union and become, once more, an independent sovereign nation. If we concede things in order to appease the EU and other 27 member states then we are not a sovereign nation but a vassal nation albeit by proxy.

    1. Mark B
      July 16, 2017


      Good morning.

    2. Michael O'S
      July 16, 2017

      the irish have a song “A nation once again” – after a hundred years we have 26 counties back but are still short of six- we are getting there slowly. Michael O’Sullivan

  14. Bryan Harris
    July 16, 2017

    You have to wonder at the sanity of some remoaners – Can they not work out for themselves what a disaster the EU?
    Can they not see the benefits of getting out of this club?

    These people who are actively working against BREXIT are the real traitors – it’s not about opinions any more, it is about survival – they should be quite aware, but choose to ignore inconvenient truths, that the EU will suck us dry of cash and resources to fund their empire building?
    These traitors talk about democracy but that would certainly be denied us within the EU.

    The media are unfortunatelyvery much a part of the socialist establishment – we will not see any sense from them until the BBC is taken apart and rebuilt in a true British fashion.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    July 16, 2017

    The answer to the questions in your first paragraph is that the Remainers still cling to the hope that the referendum result will be overturned. They cannot and will not accept that they didn’t get the result they wanted. The broadcast media is their propaganda arm and they are aided and abetted by politicians who have nothing but contempt for the views of the people.

    1. Chris
      July 16, 2017

      It is, in many ways, very similar to the situation in the USA.

  16. Turboterrier.
    July 16, 2017

    @ Len Grinds

    It is really a shame that you keep pretending to your readers that we can have our cake and eat it.

    Get real Len, if the Germans can and do get both why can’t we?

  17. oldtimer
    July 16, 2017

    So long as those with access to a sympathetic media (such as the BBC, FT and Guardian) continue to fight the campaign to overturn the referendum result then chaos and confusion will seem to prevail. I can think of three views about this. It really is a shambles. Or it is part of a messy process by which an open society works out its detailed negotiating position. Or, as you state, that the UK position is already clearly set out in ministerial statements, HoC votes and published papers. Although you are clear that the third view is the fact of the matter it is evident that others, here in the UK and in the EU are not at all clear. Many see chaos and confusion or seek to create and spread it. It seems that the WW2 poster with the message Keep Calm and Carry On should be the guide for the UK negotiators.


  18. Tom William
    July 16, 2017

    Interesting article in this week’s Spectator by a German financier in Frankfurt who says it is obvious to all Germans that the EU is determined to punish the UK to dissuade any other country from thinking of leaving the EU. But, he says, the EU’s policy does not embody the mood of Europe. He points out that no free trade deal which the EU has negotiated makes the demands which the EU wants to make on the UK – no independent country would entertain them.

    He writes that “the EU negotiators are approaching the Brexit talks like a game of chicken”. He adds “to a great many of Britain’s friends looking in from abroad Brexit does not look like a mistake”.

  19. Bert Young
    July 16, 2017

    The front of the EU in the negotiations does not represent the heart and soul of member countries ; eventually the case has to be put to them to secure a sound majority decision . At that time the true attitude will be revealed .

    Theresa has to re-establish her leadership and keep a solid state in our position with the EU . Involving cross parties does not represent the will of the people .

  20. TomTomTom
    July 16, 2017

    Slightly off topic but:

    About 6 months ago the Chancellor gave an interview to a German paper, which when asked a leading question, said words to the effect that: “If you give us a bad deal, we will be forced to change our economic model, cutting taxes to remain competitive”.

    This lead to “outrage” from the UK media and Left about a “race-to-the-bottom”, “sacrificing workers rights”, and the futility of trying to become “Singapore”.

    Last week the French Government announces it is going to “Roll out the red carpet” for UK banks. Which involves tax cuts, simpler employment rights ( and a couple of foreign-language schools )

    Yet there is no response from the media or Left about the French starting the race to the bottom. Indeed it is simply presented as a yet another way the clever Europeans will take all our industry, money and leave us impoverished.

    1. Anonymous
      July 16, 2017

      Nor any criticism of Macron for glad-handing it with President Trump. Can you imagine the BBC outrage if May had been so friendly with Trump in Britain ?

  21. MikeP
    July 16, 2017

    I agree that the media have been almost delinquent (or more likely lazy, self-serving or downright treacherous) in not looking for views held by other EU member states, though occasionally one creeps out on Twitter, like the Markus Krall piece in The Spectator). There was prominent coverage of the EU announcement of a “trade deal” with Japan but with no corresponding analysis of how far that discussion had progressed. When it emerged that it was very early days, there was radio silence on it. The EU’s clear intent on mischief-making that they were global, fleet of foot and able to strike deals where we couldn’t was allowed to stand.

    So the trouble now is I couldn’t trust the UK media to look objectively at any story concerning our renegotiation. Because of their left-leaning upbringing in our education system, their left-leaning love affair with The Guardian, their total absence of balance regarding Brexit spokespeople and pro-Brexit programming, it is doubly hard for the Government to get on with the job in hand. But get on you MUST, and frankly some of your own time John would be well spent advising your colleagues, particularly those in Cabinet, to stop playing games. We have elected MPs, and pay them, to do a job not act in such an infantile and unprofessional way. A divided team, whether real or imagined, is a weak team and the media are loving it. Voters are not!

  22. bigneil
    July 16, 2017

    19 more months? That;s a lot of £50m a days and a lot more ( unannounced by the govt ) immigrants quietly let in for a life on the taxpayer., besides the ones that actually ARE announced. It seems the plan to flood us with 3rd Worlders who are going to cost us a fortune while they don’t work, but get cash and NHS is still on course.
    When is tax going up to 101% to pay for it all?

  23. Anonymous
    July 16, 2017

    We have the Left who threaten to make the country ungovernable and Remain who refuse to let us leave the EU.

    There is no *negotiation* about these things – we are being repeatedly tackled from behind by our own team members with a biased commentator reporting from the stands, the Blue Team stand around with their hands on their hips incredulous.

    Macron made the right moves with Trump last week. That should have been us ! We have lost the initiative on trade with the US and all because the Left threatened to smash the place up.

    So how is it acceptable in the British liberal media for Macron to glad hand with Trump but not for May ?

    Now knowing how destructive our Left and Remain can be I wish there’d never been a referendum – though I do think voting Leave was the right choice.

  24. Richard1
    July 16, 2017

    HS2 is now declared the most expensive railway in the world at over £400m per mile, and over £100bn in total (of course it won’t stop there). I don’t understand why Conservative MPs don’t require a ‘U-turn’ on this ludicrous, wasteful project. I dont have any vested interest, don’t live near it etc. But I have heard no case for it – how can the government’s correct decision to continue to bear down on the deficit be defended with this absurdity progressing in the background?

    1. Richard1
      July 16, 2017

      Could the DUP step in and do us all a favour on HS2?

  25. Ed Mahony
    July 16, 2017

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Why aren’t you leading the Conservative Party?! You have the gifts and the talents (and the unassuming nature).

    I’m not here to flatter you. Because (besides encouragement), I’m also here to criticise you! I think you’re too right-wing/ideological/Thatcherite on SOME/many issues.

    If you were more pragmatic and agile in your approach, you’d be Prime Minister or, if not PM, in a leading position of political power.

    It’s not just that parties – overall – tend to eventually gravitate to the centre ground (because that’s where most of the votes lie), it’s also that Thatcherism is flawed to a degree.

    Thatcherism was perfect in the 80’s in terms of rolling back socialism. Mrs Thatcher did a great job. But with socialism gone, Thatcherism becomes redundant. It’s too ideological. Too right-wing (at least for a European country such as ours). In fact, too much Thatcherism just breeds socialism (look at how socialism is still very much alive and kicking under Jeremy Corbyn)! The economic crisis of a few years ago (and of 1929 and other crashes) shows us what happens if there isn’t sufficient regulation. Regulation is imperfect as well. But lack of regulation is even more flawed. I mean it’s common sense. We all have strong appetites – for s*x, money and power. And those appetites have to – somehow – be regulated. Either by ourselves, or if not by ourselves, then, from one degree to another, by a third body e.g. the state.

    1. Ed Mahony
      July 16, 2017

      And rather than focusing on a political system, like Thatcherism, which we should be focusing on how to create products and services like the Germans offer, and which people buy all over the world – both outside the EU and inside the EU.

      We need to be looking at what the Germans do so well. Not forgetting, of course, we’re far more similar to them (and other Europeans) in character, culture and history than say the United States. And like other Europeans, in particular, the Dutch, the Scandinavians, and Germans, tax isn’t such an ugly word (compared to in America). I don’t want high taxation, but in bad times, taxation can be one way to help reduce our large national debt. Tax is basically psychological not economic/political – based on personal and national values, and in that, the Brits are far more like are Northern European neighbours than the Americans.

      Lastly, we should really be focusing on soft investment in the high tech industry (i hardly ever hear any leading Tories talk about that right now – it’s all about Brexit, whilst other countries, like us, are really focusing on this now). And building a strong economy around this (and not relying so much on a the financial services industry). A strong, stable economy for the long-term, instead of casino-style financial services, to a degree, and boom and bust.

    2. Anonymous
      July 16, 2017

      Dr Redwood is a liberal compared to Mrs Thatcher !

    3. Corbeau
      July 16, 2017

      Mr Redwood tried to become leader of the Conservative party once. Go check how he did

  26. English Pensioner
    July 16, 2017

    Looking at exchange rates today, I noticed that the rate for dollars is £1=$1.3099, which is the highest it’s been for a long while. No mention on the news channels as there is every time it falls by the odd cent or so.
    Indeed, I can imagine the news on BBC will be as follows
    “Due to the increased likelihood that Brexit will not happen, the Dollar has risen in value”.
    Oh for some honest impartial news!

  27. Simon
    July 16, 2017

    John I can’t help wondering why a man with your obvious abilities and unique analysis of the Brexit matter is so widely ignored by the PM and the back benchers generally, who have not seen fit to elevate or support you to the cabinet post your eminent qualifications suggest you rightly deserve?

    1. Back bencher
      July 16, 2017

      Well, let us see. He promised us the EU would quickly give us a great deal. Seen that? He promised us great deals with India, Australia, etc. Seen them? He promised us tariff free access. Seen that? 350 million for the NHS? Redwood has been proven wrong, day in, say out.

      Reply I made no such promises and always said we might end up with No deal which will be fine. I set out how to spend the new budget contributions you may remember.

      1. Gareth
        July 16, 2017

        John Redwood also admitted he’d avoided answering questions about the pound sterling post-Brexit, because he knew it would decline. What other questions has he avoided, I wonder?

        Reply I answered the questions which were properly put by saying the pound would continue to go b0th up and down post Brexit just as it had done throughout our time in the EU. That proved to be spot on!

    2. graham1946
      July 16, 2017

      Here’s a theory I have long held. Looking at this Cabinet and Cameron’s before, it seems that like many middle managers in industry, they don’t like to promote people they think are brighter than themselves. Thus we get dead losses and incompetents in major offices of state time and again. Can’t see any other reason.

  28. Chris
    July 16, 2017

    The fundamental problem, I believe, is the weak response from government to all the naysayers. There seems to be no swift, coordinated response from government, and apparently no interest in sending out bold, clear statements to rebut the naysayers. I would go so far as to say the government handling of all of this has been shambolic, allowing doubts and uncertainties to multiply, and giving the Remainers a clear run.

    Coupled with that is the obviously strong influence the Remainers seem to have over Theresa May, with the recent select committee selections also indicating that Remain has the upper hand, and strengthening it by the day.

    The Conservatives need a new leader, and quickly, I would suggest that Jacob Rees-Mogg may be just the very person that the Party could unite behind. He is certainly gaining traction in the blogosphere and social media scene. His Question Time appearance up against the staunch Remainers has won him many fans, and has generated much interest.

    Interesting article on Coffeehouse by James Delingpole also:

  29. Chris
    July 16, 2017

    Some wise words from Diane James, former UKIP leader, expressing her very real fears about a fudge Brexit, and highlighting the weakness of the current government strategy, which has allowed the Remainers to gain the upper hand:

    “…If we look at what is happening at the moment, the Remain campaign has taken the initiative since the referendum and there is a degree of disorganisation within out current Government.

    “I fully believe there is going to be fudge delivered further down the line that won’t be Brexit at all.

    “And all the time that the Remain campaign takes the initiative and people become gradually disenfranchised, fed up with seeing all the negotiations aired on a daily basis in the press and the media, it will all deliver effectively a non-Brexit.

    “The Leave campaign has to really galvanise its activity.”

    1. rose
      July 16, 2017

      On the other hand she said David Davis with his military training was quietly going about the negotiations exactly right and the EU with their use of the media exactly wrong.

    2. Peter
      July 16, 2017

      Remain campaign is reinvigorated and ongoing. They seem to be well coordinated as well with different people adding their voice to keep up the battle against Brexit and wear supporters down.

      Unless we cease talking and just walk away very shortly I see this ending very badly indeed.

  30. Bruce Knight
    July 16, 2017

    “They would go and ask German car companies, French dairy farmers, Dutch market gardeners, Danish pig farmers and the rest what they want the EU to achieve on the trade front”

    I live in Continental Europe and have talked widely to colleagues and acquaintances including those whose firms do business with the UK. IF I can summarise the general view

    – Brexit is not really a big topic but the political chaos in the UK is concerning/amusing (depending on viewpoint)
    – To the extent that our companies do business with the UK, we need a clear direction on how this will work in future
    – it is the responsibility of the UK to come forward with these proposals and solve the problems as they started it. The EU is just trying to manage the consequences, and the integrity of the Single Market is critical
    – in the absence of anything from the UK, we are making alternative arrangements (e.g. looking at restructuring supply chains, alternative sources for goods currently sourced from the Uk, etc)

    This is admittedly unscientific but I would advise the UK not to rely on Danish pig farmers for a resolution of Brexit issues.

    1. a-tracy
      July 17, 2017

      Bruce, we were told by our chaotic British media the EU said they wouldn’t allow trade talks with the UK before the bill to depart was agreed. The British public was told the UK government tried to be responsible and come forward with proposals but they were knocked back?

      Brits do not take threats and bullying well anymore, threatening ‘we are making alternative arrangements’ is all fine and well but when the UK is trying the do the same thing the press tell us the EU negotiators demand that we can’t, ‘no negotiations with the rest of the world to take place’.

      100% of EU duty tariffs on the imports to the UK from the rest of the world are collected, 80% of which go to the EU, when we are no longer a member we will be collecting 100% of these duties for the UK to decide how to go forward with. I don’t think anyone is anticipating relying on Danish pig farmers what an odd thing to suggest we can farm our own pigs if necessary. I’m sure it’s in everyone’s interests to keep negotiations fair and friendly and stop this scaremongering that’s going on about how Europe are laughing at Brits and want us to fail it’s just ridiculous now.

  31. Pat
    July 16, 2017

    I fear the Foreign Secretary’s language was nowhere near vivid enough.

  32. PaulW
    July 16, 2017

    We are in a right fix now judging by the comments above and sorry to have to say the rot set in decades ago. The french were right when deGaulle said that we weren’t suited to joining the Eec at the time.. he knew because he spent years here during the war years and knew the english temperment..ok at joining things so long as we were at the top..just like india and the empire.. but things have move along now and unfortunately we have a large number of older folk brexiteers still living and very dissatisfied with their lot and have learned to channel all of their disillusionment and anger at the EU.. of course this suited certain politicians and rag tabloid press news over the years and with the help of the tongue in cheek daily telegraph to pander to them. Each fed off the other for thirty years or so and now we find ourselves in this hole..blinded by the headlights unable to decide which way to go.

  33. Terry
    July 16, 2017

    I have always been concerned over the “Fees” we have to give Brussels in order to be able to BUY from EU members.
    This country spends £70 Billions per year more in the EU that they spend with us. Yet we have to cough up a net £12 Billions to pay for the priviledge.

    Nowt but Very Expensive Middle Men are the Brussels Commissars and with the UKs huge Buying Power, OUR country should do very well once free of our EU shackles.
    We shall be open to the Rest of the World where competetion will be greater and prices much lower than those of the Closed Shop of the EU, with NO fees to pay either!

  34. Davros (Mr )
    July 16, 2017

    The new Doctor Who is a woman, which shows we are moving forward.
    Daleks and Cybermen are male, which shows nasty dirty jobs are still left to the men.

    1. rose
      July 16, 2017

      Yes, the people complaining about the Grenfell judge being male and of European descent didn’t seem to mind about the firemen being both of those things.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      July 17, 2017

      Dear Mr Davros–Yes, there are few aspects of life these days where the traditional male role stands against the obvious necessity for gender identity–One is the disgrace of its always (Yes I realise there will already be freak exceptions) being the man who gives away the Bride–Weddings and Marriage (fast becoming a joke in other directions) clearly need complete revamping and by Law. Never did understand why the Good Lord and Mother Nature made two sexes, sorry genders.

      1. David Price
        July 17, 2017

        Perhaps because the creator has a sense of humour?

    3. stred
      July 17, 2017

      The Prime Minister is a woman, the Home Secretary is a woman, the Head of the CPS and her chief assistants are women, the Chief medical officer is a woman …

      Last week I went to a party for women who had married each other. They said they were thinking of joining the women’s equality society. I thought, bring it on.

  35. stred
    July 17, 2017

    Forgot, the head of the Met and several assistants are women…

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