Cabinet briefings

I agree with the Chancellor about one thing. It is best if private conversations around the Cabinet table remain private. Every member should be able to put their case, and all come out telling us what was agreed. If we learn about everything that is said it makes it more difficult for Cabinet to consider awkward issues or unpopular views.

There seem to be two main arguments underway which are now the stuff of media speculation. There is the argument about public sector pay and spending levels. There is another argument about the nature of Brexit.

The pay round is now well advanced. The government did set guidance of a 1% overall payrise for the public sector. Individual Pay Review bodies can propose more in the light of supply/demand circumstances, current levels of pay and standards of living, comparability with other groups and the rest. Government is likely to accept the recommendations of the Review Bodies. I have suggested government give more consideration to productivity based deals where employees receive something for something, more money for working smarter. Government has plenty of scope to help employees work smarter with more technology back up and better training.

The issue of Brexit is meant to have been settled. The government reached a common position for the Article 50 letter and the White Paper. Apparently there are arguments about a transitional deal. We are still 20 months away from leaving, plenty of time to do a proper deal about our future relationship. Surely you would only consider an implementation phase near the end if there really are problems that will take a bit longer to work out. It will be no easier negotiating a transitional agreement than an agreement, so lets get on with the real thing.

There need be no cliff edge without an agreement. We know how WTO operates and what it looks like. There is plenty of time to put in place the landing rights, customs checks and the rest for continued EU trade. We should be doing that just in case there is no deal.


  1. Mark B
    July 18, 2017

    Good morning.

    “BREXIT means BREXIT !”

    That’s what the lady said.

    BREXIT means returning to being an independent sovereign nation once more. The route by which we take, whether it be a jump from one position to the other or, a transitional arrangement should be up for ‘friendly’ debate. Let the arguments win out ! That is how our parliamentary and judiciary work, and it works well enough.

    If people in the Public Sector are unhappy with their terms, conditions and pay then they are at liberty to try their luck selling themselves in the Private Sector. If they are any good they will get the rewards they feel they deserve.

    Many UK nurses go to the USA, Canada and Australia because they have skills that are needed and those countries are willing to pay. We here in the UK have to steal less capable nurses from others to fill the gap !

    Doctors, Consultants and Surgeons are private. Can you guess why ? Because they have skills that are needed and not readily available. Plus, those skills on the open international market are transferable. Same with footballers and the like.

    The sooner the education system and NHS are opened up to competition the better.

    No ore sacred cows, we cannot afford it.

    1. forthurst
      July 18, 2017

      “Doctors, Consultants and Surgeons are private. Can you guess why ?”

      …because that is how Aneurin Bevan set up the NHS, ” I stuffed their mouths with gold”. However, to describe them as private is not exactly true because although they are self-employed they are appointed by and work to terms and conditions set by the DoH and local health boards.

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        July 18, 2017

        NB its only GPs who are classified as self employed and who exclusively provide their services to the NHS. Hospital doctors, consultants and surgeons are on the NHS pay roll but may decide to do private work on top.

    2. Mark B
      July 18, 2017

      Wow ! This came out of moderation far quicker than my post from yesterday, which is still being held up ! Why ?

      All I did was ask a simple question.

  2. Len Grinds
    July 18, 2017

    What a bizarre post. You say that just in case there is no deal we should put in place the landing rights, customs checks and the rest for continued EU trade. Err, what do you think putting in place the landing rights, customs checks and the rest are – they are a deal. We cannot do this stuff unilaterally. We need a deal desperately, and the clock is ticking.

    1. Kenneth
      July 18, 2017

      I don’t agree.

      We do not need a deal “desperately” and, like most other countries in the world, we will put in place border controls of our own choosing.

    2. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2017

      It’s called contingency planning, something your hero Cameron refused to do.

      1. Mark B
        July 18, 2017

        And the current PM seems very much in that vain (CMD) as well.

  3. Roy Grainger
    July 18, 2017

    The best idea would be for Cabinet ministers to assume that what they say WILL be leaked and so not make flippant remarks about female train drivers.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      July 18, 2017

      What to me is more revealing is according to PH 96% of train drivers are male. Why? because that’s the way unions like it. Equality Mr. C and Mr McC?

      1. rose
        July 18, 2017

        Remember how the old print unions kept it like that, even though they were in effect typists?

  4. formula57
    July 18, 2017

    “We are still 20 months away from leaving, plenty of time to do a proper deal about our future relationship” – yes, although some may think spending c.£17 billion in net contributions meanwhile whilst we take time to discover the Evil Empire does not want a proper negotiation is folly, especially as the Quislings will use that time to manoeuvre to defeat Brexit.

    1. Peter Wood
      July 18, 2017

      Yes I agree your stated concern is valid and no doubt shared by many. Let’s hope for clarity from Mr. Davis at the end of this week, I think Thursday afternoon when he will give a press briefing. Perhaps our host could then give his analysis of progress?
      It’s been said before, but it is not us who wish to change the terms of trade, we wish to continue trading as we are. It is the EU are threatening to frustrate trade. All we want back is our sovereignty, boarders, and to stop wasting money on a political project that we find unacceptable.

  5. The PrangWizard
    July 18, 2017

    It strikes me this is all as a result of Mrs May’s poor leadership. It must be extremely frustrating for Ministers who can’t get a decision out of her.

    And more widely there is no leadership for the nation, just drift and humiliation.

    1. zorro
      July 18, 2017

      Well they can hardly be surprised at that! Nine months to write a short letter….. £50m extra per day – good consultant rates 😏


    2. Lifelogic
      July 18, 2017

      Indeed. Just no positive vision from T May, which is why she lost the election with her tax borrow and waste punishment manifesto. She says the choice is between the dire socialist May and the even more dire and socialist Corbyn. I think that May must go mainly because she is still rowing in the wrong direction.

      I see that open government does not extend to publishing what a absurd economic disaster HS2 is. Why on earth has it not been scrapped yet?

    3. forthurst
      July 18, 2017

      Is the government too feeble to deliver what the nation ordered? With the three highest offices of state held by people operating above their pay grades, what confidence can there be? Why are there Challenger II tanks in Southern Syria? How does this advance Brexit, exactly? Perhaps if people with limited ability focused all their efforts on what is actually important to the British people etc ed

    4. Denis Cooper
      July 18, 2017

      I don’t think so. Theresa May can’t decide how the negotiations will turn out, and it is silly for people to complain about continuing uncertainty when the government has long ago made its general negotiating position clear enough, see the Lancaster House speech, and it is now up to the other countries to decide how much of the UK position they can easily accept and how much must be argued over.

      1. alan jutson
        July 18, 2017


        I agree with you, as long as we are still trying to follow the Lancaster House speech contents.

  6. eeyore
    July 18, 2017

    Deep political wisdom in JR’s last paragraph. Make preparations for a no-deal Brexit, make them ostentatious, give them all the publicity we can. Nothing will do more to convince the EU that Britain means what it says.

    Had Mr Cameron done the same before the referendum, instead of complacently assuming the result and letting the EU know it, what a different world we might be in now.

    1. Gary C
      July 18, 2017

      I agree, The EU have constantly shown they bully, intimidate, demand, waste and destroy, eventually if not already most of the so called members will be cuckold and powerless we need out asap.

      And Cameron . . . . . . . Im not going to spoil my day thinking about him!

    2. Lifelogic
      July 18, 2017

      Indeed and he should have given the section 50 notice the next day as he promised he would. Still, at least his absurd re-negotiation joke “deal” ensured that Brexit won. I am however not entirely conviced that we will get a proper Brexit. Now that May and made such a complete mess of things with her total lack of uplifting vision.

  7. Dame Rita Webb
    July 18, 2017

    JR how exactly would you do a productivity based deal for a soldier or a policemen? £50 extra for a successful conviction? A bounty for every confirmed kill of a member of ISIS? If you are doing a public sector job its more than likely you cannot do what effectively would become piece time work. With regard to “working smarter” you really need to sort out the poor quality of the public sector’s senior management. If they are up to the job, why do they need to spend millions on management consultants? This probably explains yesterday’s court case with regard to the Welsh hospital’s absurd car parking fines. What is a nurse supposed to do if she receives a “crash call” worry more about her patient’s well being or she has only got ten minutes left on the meter?

    Reply 4m state employees are not uniformed nor health professionals/teachers and I have them in mind.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      July 18, 2017

      JR you should be minded to make them redundant. The NHS has one single pension agency however every single trust has its own payroll cum HR function plus equality and diversity hangers on too. Why cannot this lot be rolled into one single national body. If there was one national HR database the NHS would no longer be ripped off by the nursing agencies. As things stand no one trust can tell if a neighbouring one has any spare staff that it can utilise

  8. Nig l
    July 18, 2017

    To date you have been adamant about HMGs position in the face of some cynicism from your contributors but you now seem to have flexed that. Hammond and the Treasury are against any sort of Brexit and see an interim deal as a way of keeping us in hoping that the politics will change and the next government will offer another referendum or Brexit fatigue will set in and the then situation becomes the status quo.

    You are correct, to suggest an alternative before we know what the original deal looks like, is negotiating nonsense. You cannot have a person in a team that is fundamentally opposed to what the team is trying to achieve. Hammond is giving fuel to both the Remainers and our Euro opponents and, as a Quisling, should go.

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 18, 2017

      You seem to put two sides up here: Remainers and Leavers.
      We have to leave – nobody doubts that. Nobody wants to be part of the EU as it congeals into a pale replica of the USSR – years out of date, its economy tanking and founded to prevent World War Two.
      But everyone wants to maintain trade uninterrupted and certain. Which is why we have to remain in the EEA. Allow me to quote from the EEA website:
      “The EEA Agreement does not cover the following EU policies: common agriculture and fisheries policies (although the EEA Agreement contains provisions on trade in agricultural and fish products); customs union; common trade policy; common foreign and security policy; justice and home affairs (the EEA EFTA States are however part of the Schengen area); direct and indirect taxation; or economic and monetary union.”
      By muddling up the Single Market (EU/EEA) and the Free Market (EFTA/EEA) the Cabinet are aiming at a serious break down in 20 months time.

  9. alan jutson
    July 18, 2017

    Agree JR

    Trying to work out a transitional deal at the moment just complicates the issue of us leaving and weakens our case.

    Mrs May needs to get tough on discussions held in Cabinet being leaked, failure to do so shows weakness of leadership.
    If people are afraid to speak their minds at a closed meeting, for fear of being outed, then a full range of options, discussions, proposals and possible options on any subject, will never really happen.

    1. zorro
      July 18, 2017

      She just does have the presence of authority. Look at the Home Office and the state of borders, policing and organised crime. Scary now….


      1. zorro
        July 18, 2017

        …does not….

    2. Beecee
      July 18, 2017

      Presumably Mr Hammond will continue to give interviews which support his Remain beliefs regardless of what Mrs May requires of her Ministers and so called collective responsibility.

      She is after all one of those ‘female’ types!

      Is this a Blair/Brown situation? If so she should fire him and live with the outcomes

    3. Roy Grainger
      July 18, 2017

      Anyway a transitional deal requires both sides to agree and the EU will of course say “No” at this point.

  10. James Neill
    July 18, 2017

    To say that brexit is meant to have been settled is a bit simplistic as the issue of brexit in the minds of cabinet ministers is not even agreed yet. Also if we can’t make progress on the present exit talks with the EU Barnier team then 20 months will matter little here or there.

    So let’s agree that we are heading for WTO rules because I can’t see a transitional agreement, not even on the horizon, because if there is no agreement on exit then that’s the way it’s looking to me- so we should be making plans for our future outside of the EU on that basis

    Hard to believe but I think the real sticking point is going to be the Irish border, not the UK/EU migrants and not the money?

  11. Duncan
    July 18, 2017

    It’s time for May and Hammond to leave the building. They are becoming a tiresome and tedious presence. Their leftist leanings are a disgrace to most conservatives. Their pro-EU stance an offence to those who voted Brexit.

    Hammond and May are quite obviously determined to play with and manipulate our expectations with this nonsense about a transitional deal. We all know this a political tactic to prevent the UK leaving the EU

    I predict May will not be PM in 12 months time. We need a British PM who understands that the UK wants to its independence and sovereignty returned to its rightful place. May is not that person and Hammond is, well what can I say about this man. I dare not express my true thoughts.

    It defies belief that I look at May and Hammond and say to myself ‘Are these two really conservative politicians’?

    It’s very simple. We need a conservative leader who is resolute in their belief that the UK must become a sovereign nation state once more.

    The economy will, in time, take care of itself. We are a resourceful people and we will succeed, as we always have done

  12. Newmania
    July 18, 2017

    ..and what about the thousand of business and jobs who will have no idea what they are going to do and may take years to replace the relationships suppliers and methods of working they have developed over years ?
    Thus far zero progress has been made and no-one has any idea what we are even trying to achieve
    In the desperate ideological battle has you no space to worry about jobs and families at all ?

  13. Bryan Harris
    July 18, 2017

    “Surely you would only consider an implementation phase near the end if there really are problems that will take a bit longer to work out.”

    Makes sense to me… but of course remoaners and those frightened of Britain becoming a real nation again will continue to use all the tricks they can to thwart the efforts of the few that are making real progress toards a sane future.

  14. Monza 71
    July 18, 2017

    There does seem to be an increase in Cabinet leaks since Michael Gove returned to the table.

    Could there be a connection ?

    1. Beecee
      July 18, 2017

      The scuttlebutt is that it is Remainers who are doing the leaking and then blaming the Leavers.

      Children – all of them!

      But what do I know from my sedentary, nay, prone position?

  15. Ian Wragg
    July 18, 2017

    Transitional deal is code for remaining in the EU.
    Leave us stranded in no mans land until such time as we can be railroaded back in.
    I see there’s to be an enquiry into students voting twice.
    Why not a comprehensive enquiry into postal voting generally.
    We all know it’s very much abused.

  16. bigneil
    July 18, 2017

    ” and all come out telling us what was agreed. ”

    What was agreed – -or the truth? – -not the same thing – – as the immigration figures show. Clearly the REAL numbers are being hidden.

  17. Richard1
    July 18, 2017

    On public sector pay the Government needs to seize the initiative and link increased money for public sector pay to productivity & performance and to institute local pay levels. It’s absurd there are national pay levels when supply & demand varies widely across the Country.

    On Brexit you are right that there is plenty of time to agree a deal and all the practicalities. But the EU will drag discussions out as they perceive that the longer it goes on the stronger their position. The Govt needs to do much more to explain the effects of no deal. I don’t object to a transitional deal if one is needed. A key aspect is to be free to do trade deals with non-EU countries. Once these get underway the power in negotiations will change and the UK will have the upper hand.

  18. Turboterrier.
    July 18, 2017

    The perception is that this cabinet will never pull together. How can it? the Prime minister should have packed it with all brexiteer’s. It is not as if there is enough experienced and capable members sitting on the back benches or consigned to junior positions. Then at least you would be presenting to the country a cabinet that is totally focused on the major task in hand.

    For the country it would be an added bonus that a lot of these people also happen to be against all the green crap and other nonsense that is being talked about. What came out of the election was that the party talked and nobody or very few listened. All this petty in fighting is undermining the government , party and country.

    Say what you do and do what you say. When introducing change into any organisation the prime consideration is, that the executive committee has to have total belief and trust in themselves and the process to deliver it. If people have a problem with that then sign on or ship out. The country has had enough. This catastrophic failure of not putting the right people in cabinet posts will come back to haunt the party and this country for decades to come

  19. Glenn Vaughan
    July 18, 2017

    The Prime Minister should sack Hammond.

    What could he do about it? Launch a leadership challenge during the Brexit negotiations? He would be ridiculed, scorned and ostracised. etc

    1. Lifelogic
      July 18, 2017

      Choosing Hammond as leader would surely condemn the country to a hard left Labour government. The let’s follow Venezuela, destroy incentives, make the money (and the rich) all leave and go bust agenda.

      Tax increasing (15% stamp duty, 12% IPT & lets mug the self employed) Hammond is about as popular as John Major was just after his idiotic ERM agenda collapsed around his ears and he failed even to apologise to all the people whose jobs, lives and marriages had been destroyed or who had had their houses repossessed due to 17% mortgage rates.

  20. Peter
    July 18, 2017

    Indeed. ‘Cliff edge’ is just a favourite phrase of those who want to create a climate of fear.

    My preferred option is for Britain to walk away after six months if EU attitudes are still deliberately unreasonable. The other work that you suggest could also be set in motion anyway.

    I am of the opinion that politics count more than economics for the other side. They do want to punish Britain pour encourager les autres. Holding the EC together is of greater priority than doing what is best for their economies.

  21. Iain Gill
    July 18, 2017

    The public sector is overpaid when sick pay and pensions are considered, but generally the front line troops, be they nurses or soldiers, are underpaid and a vast unnecessary mass of mandarins is vastly overpaid.

    IR35 is stopping their ability to hire temporary staff so they are in a real pickle.

  22. Peter
    July 18, 2017

    The EU are apparently threatening to stall the talks if we don’t agree Danegeld.

    After six months of this we should definitely walk away.

    It is time to show that we genuinely mean what we say.

  23. Timaction
    July 18, 2017

    Does the 1% apply to Mp’s and all other levels of politicians? We have more politicians than anyone, bar communist China.Time for a bonfire of these we think.

    The EU does not negotiate, it instructs. The media need to be managed by Government, particularly Mr Davis’s Department. At the moment our Government always appear on the back foot and weak. It’s time that changed. Barnier and Vornstant come across as bullies. This should be exploited!

  24. AtlanticSpan
    July 18, 2017

    Are you deliberately ignoring the fact that the Public Sector has lost tens of thousands from their numbers in the last decade ? I can tell you that many public servants are now having to do the work of several people. Members of my own family tell me that from the moment they start work until they finish,they are working absolutely flat out. People are stressed,then go off sick and then hav3 to account for why they are underperforming. Quite where you expect productivity improvements to come from under these circumstances, I’ve no idea.

    1. Monza 71
      July 18, 2017

      If they don’t like it, they can always take their chances in the private sector.

      They would rapidly find that their idea of what constitutes working “flat out” is far from reality, as are the length of the working week and holiday allowances in the real world.

      Hammond was right about one thing : The public sector is overpaid when you take pensions into account and that’s before you start comparing other terms and conditions.

      1. AtlanticSpan
        July 18, 2017

        Leave your prejudices behind. They HAVE worked in the private sector !

    2. alan jutson
      July 18, 2017


      John said work smarter not harder.

      A number of our family members who have worked in Commercial Private businesses have also worked in the NHS, they say the difference is staggering, with the NHS being so inefficient it beggars belief, trying to get people to make a decision (not clinical) is almost impossible.

      Our Local Authority operates in a similar manner, if they can find a complicated way of not taking any responsibility they will.

      Thus not much job satisfaction for many who work in these organisations, most cannot wait for their well paid retirement to get away from it all.

    3. ian wragg
      July 18, 2017

      The number of public sector workers has increased vastly from what it was when Bliar came to power.
      The only real cuts have been police and armed forces.
      I don’t know what your family does but my experience of trying to buy a council owned flat which they put up for sale was horrendous. After 4 months when we couldn’t get a final date on a cash sale I walked away. No one in charge and no one willing to commit to a decision.

  25. Tabulazero
    July 18, 2017

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Shouldn’t you subtract at the very least 6 months from the 20 month timeframe in order for any EU/UK agreement to be ratified by the 27 respective parliaments of the EU ? Due process and parliamentary rights have to be respected and provision should be made for the inevitable last minute horse trading that will surround ratification. 14 months strike me as more realistic.

    Also, regarding the alternative preparation that the UK should make in the context of a “no deal scenario”, 20 months does not look like much.

    The UK is going to be required to beef up massively its custom personnel and IT. It’s not only about building border check points which is a relatively easy task, it is about setting up the whole IT infrastructure that goes with it. You have 20 months (probably less as the current Brexit talks will rumble for a while), to basically write all the technical specs, tender the work, implement and test and train a brand new custom border force… Shall I remind you the abysmal track record of large government led IT projects…

    If I remember correctly the push to digitalise the NHS ended into a massive omni-shamble but with £12bn in expected savings I guess many consultancy and IT companies will have a field day and happily overcharge the government. Brexit will indeed be a good deal for someone somewhere.

    By the way, the UK has currently only 4 offshore patrol vessels dedicated to fishery policies. You might also think about building a few extra of those pretty soon. Not sure the P2000 are up to the task or that they can be relieved from their rescue duties.

    To summarise: you should take your decision about staying in or leaving pretty quickly as the clock is indeed ticking and probably more rapidly than you think.

    The City, as you know, takes no such chance and is already actively working on relocation. Citi has just announced today that it had selected Frankfurt.

  26. Shieldsman
    July 18, 2017

    Your last paragraph is the important one.
    Whether or not we get a trade agreement with the EU, we are leaving the EU, no transitional agreement changes that. Brussels will no longer be sending Directives to Whitehall for transposing into UK law. Government and our Civil Service become responsible once again for all negotiations and law on the UK’s behalf.

    There is much work to be done in re-assuming responsibility where no negotiations with the EU are required. Customs procedures for trading with the EU have to be in place, and in this area extra time may be needed. Our trade with the rest of the World is established and new FTA’s should be sought for the Japanese Car manufacturers in the UK.

    EasyJet will launch a new division in Austria and seek an air operator certificate, to enable it to continue flying intra-European routes, under the EU’s seventh freedom. UK Airlines AOC’s allow them to operate under the International Five Freedoms.

    Yesterday J R pointed out: All our current EU laws either were imposed direct with no reference at all to Parliament, or had to be voted through Parliament as Statutory Instruments in order to comply with decisions already made by Brussels. Thousands of EU laws became our laws with no opportunity for Parliament to debate and vote on them as draft Acts of Parliament.

  27. Mick
    July 18, 2017
    Will this investigation make any difference, it carn’t be that hard to sort out, I’m surprised Mr Redwood that you or your colleagues from all parties haven’t been shouting for this to be looked into, surly it is a criminal effence and should be looked into by the police , and if found true the mp who maybe gained from the double vote removed and the second placed person made a mp

  28. Old Albion
    July 18, 2017

    As I have pointed out to you previously JR. It is utter hypocrisy for a member of the Westminster self-serving club, to bang on about ‘increased productivity’ to justify a pay rise. When MP’s took an 11% increase for no increased productivity.
    Give the English NHS staff a decent pay rise, along with the fire service and police. When their annual income matches yours, justice will have been done.

    As for the EU. Remind them we’re leaving. If they do not wish to negotiate fine. Britain got along perfectly well before the EU and will get along perfectly fine without the EU.

  29. William Long
    July 18, 2017

    Mrs May should either read the riot act to the Cabinet and tell them to get on with the job or go, or she should go herself. The current mess is largely down to her and if she wants to stay in charge she should get a grip. An immediate change of leadership is undesirable for many reasons but it would certainly be better than what we have at the moment and the new leader would come with new authority.

  30. English Pensioner
    July 18, 2017

    These days, people no longer seem to work together as a team whether it is the Cabinet or a football team. All have their prima donnas who feel that they must draw attention to themselves to show how good thy are and why they should be in charge.
    The various commissioners in the EU are just the same, each must try to be more anti-Brexit and threaten more dire consequences than the one before. No-one can keep a secret any longer, it’s all self, self, self.

  31. oldtimer
    July 18, 2017

    Some seem to think that the recent briefings and counter briefings are block ops designed to discredit pro-Brexit ministers and to advance the Remain cause. If true they can expect to get significant support from the editor of the Evening Standard, Mr Osborne. He not only controls his editorial platform to push the Remain line but also knows his way around the Conservative parliamentary party. Above all he wants Conservative MPs to dump Mrs May. I expect the briefings and counter briefings to continue and the impression of chaos and confusion in government to continue to be promoted. If Mr Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, is to be believed the negative briefings are as likely to come from dedicated Remainers as from Brexiteers. Conservative MPs are playing with fire. At this rate they will soon find themselves out of office and the rest of us saddled with a Corbyn government.

  32. Bling
    July 18, 2017

    The media are grasping at straws aren’t they. Yesterday they spent all day discussing, dissecting, analysing, two men walking into a meeting ( Barnier and Davis ). The media were not privy to any part of the meeting, knew nothing whatsoever of the real meat.

  33. Epikouros
    July 18, 2017

    Theresa May having manged to turn an easy electoral win into a virtual defeat it is understandable that dissent in the Conservative ranks is being openly displayed. Normally they do not follow Labours lead as they are more sensible than that and keep it in house. However T May has lost credibility and trust and until she is replaced then the leaks will continue. The arguments about public sector pay and Brexit are following the normal pattern where nit picking, grandstanding and muck raking is far more in evidence than actually presenting them in an intelligent and constructive manner.

  34. MPC
    July 18, 2017

    Surely the government needs to become more proactive in wresting the portrayal of Brexit from the BBC and Sky News. Things like:

    – Propose say a 1 month deadline for the Commission to produce its legal basis for any exit payment; in the meantime keep emphasising that the Lisbon Treaty (presumably) makes no provision for this; also emphasise what we’ve paid in to date and how we’re willing to continue to contribute to specific EU programmes which are in joint EU/UK interests
    – Paint an optimistic portrait of an exit with limited EU agreement, including how normal WTO trading is (Owen Paterson made a good job of this yesterday on Today only for John Humphries to conclude the piece by asking a Eurocrat how far the EU would be willing to entertain a transitional arrangement!)
    – Remind the Commission via the UK media(!) about the impact on EU budgets of WTO tariffs which would compound their budget challenges post Brexit when our annual contributions cease
    – Start talking about plans to compensate UK exporters under a tariff regime imposed by the EU, and how tariff income would be beneficial to us
    – Accept the need to repeat Leave’s EU referendum Brexit benefits, given the media’s constant exaggerations about how terrible everything will be

  35. Bert Young
    July 18, 2017

    If the leaks are from Cabinet members then the leakers should be sacked . Theresa has to show her determination and leadership on this issue – there can be no half measures .

    Of course by now our negotiating Brexit position should be clear – certainly by those who’ve had a hand in designing it ; the content has to be secure until both sides of the table have declared their positions . As far as I am concerned a transitional period should not be considered . Being “out” is out – the sooner the better . All businesses will have time to consider options and to secure markets ; some will lose some will gain . From a pure trade balance condition , we are in the driving seat .

  36. Denis Cooper
    July 18, 2017

    “Surely you would only consider an implementation phase near the end if there really are problems that will take a bit longer to work out. It will be no easier negotiating a transitional agreement than an agreement, so lets get on with the real thing.”

    I don’t see it quite like that.

    As the negotiations proceed various different practical and legal problems may raised their heads in different areas, and surely it won’t be a case of agreeing everything and then right at the end saying “Ah, but we will have to allow some time for implementation, let’s now add all of that into our agreement through some transitional provisions”?

    Nor will it be a case of “All the transitional provisions in different areas must run for the exactly same length of time after the UK leaves”. In one problem area it may be estimated that it will need only a year to be sure of everything being properly adjusted, in another area it may need five years; probably if it was just a month for something then it might be simpler if the date for the whole treaty to come into force was put back by a month.

    There is no superior law restricting the nature and duration of any transitional provisions which are written into a treaty; they can be designed as the contracting parties agree and to run for whatever periods the parties see fit, and if necessary a period might later be extended to give more time for a particular transition than had been allowed.

  37. Marjorie Baylis
    July 18, 2017

    I think it essential that Ministers and their flunkies just shut the flip up. It is dispiriting as a senior volunteer to have spats on the front pages every day. We party workers who lead and are at the coal face regularly could do without this sapping our will and energy.

    Hammond needs to get on board with Brexit, other Ministers have to know that what is said in Cabinet is private and not going to get reported. It is the erosion of free speech, free thought and more particularly, likely to ensure that decisions regarding the country are made on the basis of group think… the ‘fools seldom differ’ variety of decision making… is this what we want?

  38. Ed Mahony
    July 18, 2017

    It looks like some Brexiters in cabinet care more about their careers than Brexit or their country.

    1. ian wragg
      July 18, 2017

      You mean like arch remainer Hammond?

      1. Ed Mahony
        July 18, 2017

        My default position is a reforming remainer (like lots of Brexiters – Brexiters who would remain in the EU if only the EU were reformed).

        Many times on this website, i’ve supported Brexit. Saying things like, let’s get on with it. Let’s support our Brexit leaders. But at same time, i’m a pragmatist. Things have gone against Brexit. In particular the general election. And now we have to think again. That’s call pragmatism. You simply can’t implement something big, controversial and complicated if you don’t have the leadership for it. Only chaos can result. That’s just logic. Common sense.

        Therefore, we have to put Brexit on hold. Pay back our national debt. Build up our economy. And then think again in 5 to 10 years about Brexit. Whether we continue with Brexit. Or go hard trying to get the EU reformed for our benefit (and benefit of the UK).

        How can anyway argue with that? If I’m wrong, happy to be put straight.

        1. Dennis Zoff
          July 19, 2017


          In my view, reverting back to a “5 years to 10 years holding pattern” is the wrong strategy. We would become a laughing stock and never again taken seriously. The UK is currently not taken seriously as we speak, which is mostly due to our previous bunch of inept and self-seeking politicians?

          Firstly, the EU is not willing to reform, quite the opposite. It wants more of the same and wishes to heat up the march towards a “Federal European State” end game, which is at odds with the majority of the UK citizens

          Secondly, the momentum is there. UK businesses are already working on post Brexit initiatives and more importantly, regardless of the mendacious MSM obfuscation, Brits are getting behind leaving the EU in increasing numbers!

          Thirdly, all the evidence suggests the EU is a badly managed organisation that is incapable of making important decisions, indulges in profligate spending (political bribing) and self-aggrandising! Clearly, a recipe for long term disaster. The EU has been the problem, when faced with serious issues, not the solution and is highly manipulated by vested interest, principally from Germany and France (the new core hegemony in Europe)

          Fourthly, one should hold one’s nerve at this critical time!

          1. Ed Mahony
            July 19, 2017


            ‘to heat up the march towards a “Federal European State” end game, which is at odds with the majority of the UK citizens’

            – including me. I don’t want closer union. I still think there’s still considerable voice in the EU for reform favouring us (and the EU).

            ‘one should hold one’s nerve at this critical time!’

            – Fair enough. But you still need people like me being a pain in the neck, keeping people on their toes so that nothing goes wrong, and that we’ve at least considered as many options as possible along the way.


          2. Ed Mahony
            July 19, 2017

            And if we do leave the single market and customs union etc, i want to see politicians do serious red-carpet treatment for the EU and the continent of Europe in general after we leave so that we’re as close to Europe as possible whilst being outside it.

            And that part of our budget should be ear-marked towards investing in poorer countries in the EU so as to build up the peace, security and prosperity of Europe in general – all of which affects us in terms of global politics. If more Brexiters said things like this, people like me would be a lot happier with Brexit.

            I understand Brexiters’ concerns about political union. But at same time, i want them to understand the concerns of people like me regarding our global political role in Europe – as that affects us in the long-term, in terms of trade and peace and security.

      2. rose
        July 18, 2017

        Yes, why would Brexiteers rock the boat?

        The Remainiacs on the other hand have every incentive to do so as they wish to bring down the May administration in order to bring down Brexit.

        Shipman said it wasn’t Brexiteers leaking.

  39. Dennis Zoff
    July 18, 2017

    Agree. However, all we receive is puerile tabloid speculation….all this hearsay is rather tedious!

    Unless I missed it…what is May’s actual position/plan/goal? Assuming you know?

    It would be nice to see a paper outlining our concrete central position, then each and every one of us can gain an insight into the proceedings and its progress? (wishful thinking of course).

    Political procrastination and shifting sands are one thing (and how we enjoy it!)…but possible political damaging intrigue is quite another?

    Execution and measurement:

    1. Central plan – strategy?
    2. Tactical negotiation to meet Central plan?
    3. Progression analysis?
    4. Good/Bad Deal?
    5. Exit plan – A practical and well-thought out plan for the worst case scenario? (as you mentioned)

    Or is this way too simple?

    This current amateurish Governmental negotiation fumbling (perception), does not inspire confidence!

  40. Caterpillar
    July 18, 2017

    Alternatives do need to be put in place (I don’t just mean the Chancellor and BoE Governor):-

    1. Don’t negotiate for 20 months, there has to be time for alternatives to be developed and in place. 8 months more negotiation tops.
    2. Alternative (ie considering the country) behaviour by all MPs needs to start- yes Brexit is meant to be settled, the children in both chambers need to behave.
    3. All MPs should study the thoughts of the IMF on tax and growth, and hear investors on effect of ZIRP. Without changing tax and monetary policy productivity in the private sector is not going to grow enough to fund the Baumol Cost Disease of the public sector.
    4. The alternatives to the NHS do need to be examined.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    July 18, 2017

    Far from benefitting from a transitional period, what would really help us would be an early release from the Customs Union. If we could negotiate trade deals with non-EU countries over the next few months and implement them a year early, on 29th March 2018, that would be to our benefit and it would be worth paying the EC a certain sum for the privilege.

  42. Chris S
    July 18, 2017

    Just for once I would like to see the British media ask some searching questions of the Eurofanatics like Vanhofstadt and Juncker.

    The first question would be :

    “As you know that the Commission has received advice from its own officials that there is no legal basis for any kind of Brexit bill, on what basis can you demand any money over and above our regular net contributions up until March 2019 ?”

    The second would be to ask :
    “why is Merkel insisting that the UK gets no share of the value of EU assets when this too seems at odds with your own legal advice ?”

  43. stred
    July 19, 2017

    Well, on the news tonight, they had an expert on who mentioned ‘the referendum’ as the start of the inflation date. wrong, but the right message for the fee.

  44. agricola
    July 19, 2017

    This is a time to put personal ambition and briefing off piste on the back burner. Such will not be forgiven in the parliamentary party or among conservative support in the country.

  45. Ian Stafford
    July 19, 2017


    I think the Ministerial Code says it all:

    2.3 The internal process through which a decision has been made, or the level of Committee by which it was taken should not be disclosed. Decisions reached by the Cabinet or Ministerial Committees are binding on all members of the Government. They are, however, normally announced and explained as the decision of the Minister concerned. On occasion, it may be desirable to emphasise the importance of a decision by stating specifically that it is the decision of Her Majesty’s Government. This, however, is the exception rather than the rule. Ministers also have an obligation to ensure decisions agreed in Cabinet and Cabinet Committees (and in write-rounds) are implemented.

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