The UK negotiating strategy

The UK government is about to publish a series of position papers on the EU negotiations. It is doing so in part in response to the EU’s tactic of publishing lots of papers about principles and problems, whilst refusing to tackle the issues that matter or to set out the EU wishes.

It is most important as the UK does this that it avoids three mistakes. The first mistake is to give any hint of us negotiating with ourselves. We don’t want options or details over how the UK position may evolve. We certainly don’t want a public exploration of what we might surrender or shift under pressure,as that invites the EU to hang tough and to pocket any offer we make.

The second mistake would be to claim it is all complex or difficult in a way which gives succour to those in the EU who think if they delay and obfuscate enough the UK might weaken or change its mind.

The third mistake would be to ask for too much expecting things that are not obtainable. It is not, for example, in the UK’s power to decide what rights going forward will apply to UK citizens living in the EU after we have left. That will be a matter for them to decide, under international law.

The negotiation can be very straightforward. The UK takes back control of its money, laws and borders,as it is entitled to do. The EU decides whether it wants the comprehensive free trade arrangement we offer, or whether they want to face WTO tariffs.

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  1. Tabulazero
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    How do you plan to solve the Irish border issue knowing that regulatory environments are likely to diverge ?

    • Richard1
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      The same way they do between Sweden and Norway or between Switzerland and France. This is a non issue being whipped up by the EU who know it’s a sensitive issue in Ireland and the UK.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        I saw an interesting fact the other day. Apparently half or so of goods exported by Switzerland to the EU (& remember Switzerland has c. 5x the UK’s exports to the EU on a per capita basis) come in under WTO rules even though there are trade deals. This is because where tariffs are low (below 5%) it’s not worth the red tape of registering rules of origin etc so the low tariffs are just paid and there is no impediment to trade. This fact should be studied as part of the government’s assessment of whether or not there is a ‘cliff edge’.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          Interesting, can you please provide a link to that?

          • Richard1
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            Financial Times,
            Brexit and customs union — what’s at stake for Britain

            Gemma Tetlow, Economics Correspondent

            Without a transition deal, border hold-ups, paperwork and rules of origin pose obstacles

            Read the full article at:

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink


            As the idea of staying in the EU customs union after we have left the EU has now been firmly knocked on the head people will have to start thinking about possible solutions rather than just complaining about potential problems.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Norway is part of the EEA and Switzerland has a trade agreement with the EU. Turkey is part of the Customs Union. The UK wants none of those so and a trade agreement is, and will not, be discussed by the EU until ‘after’ BREXIT. This despite what our host likes to tell us.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Why should that be the case?

          There is no sense at all in the EU’s position and we should make sure the rest of the world knows that.

          After all, last spring the IMF was warning that any interruption of existing trade between the UK and the continuing EU could damage the whole world, not just the UK and the EU.

          “Brexit threatens to cause ‘severe global damage’, warns IMF”

          I don’t understand people who think that whatever the EU says must be right and whatever the UK says must be wrong.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      How do the other EU borders manage like Turkey with Bulgaria/Greece or Romania with Moldova or Russia with Finland or Switzerland with its neighbours don’t border arrangements still exist with the EU countries?

    • agricola
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      You bring the hard border back to the ports and airports of England Wales and Scotland.

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        No you don’t. That is what the IRA want and what this fuss is all about.

        Mr Varadkar can’t stand up to the IRA, even though he can’t afford to take in Ulster, because of coalition politics in southern Ireland, and the EU want to dismember the UK in revenge.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
    • NickC
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, There is no reason why the UK should be prevented from leaving the EU by the issue of the common border with Eire. Indeed, the common border problem could be “solved” by Eire leaving the EU.

      Trade between the EU (including Eire) and the UK would have to conform to the local regulations, as happens already when the UK trades with the USA, and would be controlled as now.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Which means a hard border between Eire and Northern Ireland, no ?

        At least for lories, not necessarily for individuals (though the UK might want one to prevent immigration)

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          No, rather than trying to score anti-Brexit points by just repeating whatever you read in the europhile media you could try reading the better information that people have bothered to offer you, such as:

          • Mark B
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Open Europe is a covert Europhile rag !

            It shows just enough Eurosceprtic ankle to lure the unwitting.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Interesting article, Denis but it clearly indicates that private cars would not be subject to inspections.

            Wouldn’t this leave a massive backdoor to the U.K. when it comes to freedom of movement ?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Tabulazero, so what’s that got to do with “regulatory environments are likely to diverge”, the point in your original comment?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Mark B, Open Europe has been steering a careful, and in many ways useful, course between unthinking support for Brexit and unthinking opposition to Brexit. I do note that the young lady who wrote that article briefly worked for the other side, but then at one time Andrea Leadsom was active on the other side …

    • John
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink


      Lets imagine that Northern Ireland held a Referendum on the unification of the Republic and leaving the UK single market, then the result was a re united Ireland.

      Would you ask how would you solve the Irish UK boarder issue knowing that regulatory environments are likely to diverge ?

      Along with that Tabulazero, do you believe in the right to self determination? And do you think a bit of admin work should stand in the way of the right to self determination?

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        The devil is in the details as always.

        I think the U.K. is pursuing two goals that are difficult to reconcile: no hard border in Ireland and Northern Ireland not being treated differently from the rest of the U.K.

        I am interested to know what are the solutions available.

        • rose
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          The only sensible solution is for the South to leave the EU. It makes no sense for them to stay in the Protection Racket when we are no longer there to stick up for them. They are being bossed about on their tax rates and an FTT is threatening. Macron is also threatening tax harmonisation and a single finance minister. Coming under his single European army makes no sense either when you are stuck out in the Atlantic the ohter side of a non EU country and cut off from the Continent. They would be better with us and the Americans in NATO. Most of their trade is with us and the US. They are net contributors now and that will get worse.

          They followed us in; they followed us in not joining the Schengen area; and now they should follow us out. It makes sense – except of course to their political class who love the EU life of expenses and pretending they are a great world power.

        • Bob
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink


          What exactly do you think is the problem with Ireland?

          Are you expecting citizens of either country to use it as a way to migrate? Or for car manufacturers to smuggle their products?

          Please elaborate.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            Yes. Let’s say for argument sake that the U.K. Signs an FTA with the US that allows chlorinated chickens. How do you make sure that those are not re-exported to the EU (where they are banned) via Ireland ?

            Likewise, if there is no border check between Ireland and Northern Ireland and since there is freedom of movement between Ireland and the rest of the EU doesn’t this totally defeat the point ?

            I am trying to figure out how can you reconcile the following a) thé UK taking control of its border. b) No hard border in Ireland c) No special status for Northern Ireland.

            When it comes to goods, there might be some work around but I really struggle to see how you reconcile the 3 when it comes to people. I am interested in knowing what are the different solutions on the table.

  2. formula57
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    The Evil Empire in “refusing to tackle the issues that matter or to set out the EU wishes” surely shows its hand plainly enough?

    Whatever the government publishes of course will be seized upon by Barnier et al and by remoaners and associated quislings at home to aid the Evil Empire’s cause. When will someone in the May (for I see she still clings to office) government broadcast a positive, clear message of the type often relayed by you here about the UK’s prospects?

    • hefner
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      I would think the EU’s hand has been clear since July 2016. They essentially want the statu quo ante and do not see why they should change a thing when it clearly is the UK that is leaving. What is the UK waiting for? JR’s position is rather ridiculous expecting the EU to “set out their wishes”. My feeling is that he can keep on waiting.

      Is it so intellectually difficult to understand that the EU does/might not have wishes regarding the UK? Their market will be reduced by 60 millions after March 2019 but I would think that, as the UK, they hope to compensate the loss of the UK by new markets outside Europe.
      This whole way of thinking is another example of the ethnocentrism displayed by the UK for centuries.

      You might call the EU the Evil Empire if you please. For me it is more some kind of sleeping giant who might just move a bit if the unpleasant UK mosquitoes keep on buzzing too loud.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink


        Blimey you actually really do not understand at all do you. Look mate you need to get away from your silly politics and think realistically .

        What 20 old white blokes want is NOT the same as what the people of the EU want

        You might like to think of the kind of things Europeans actually buy from us and what we buy from them. You know real products and services , actual things

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        If it is as insouciant as you make out, why all the threats? In the Parliament, in the Commission, even in the Council and from individual countries. Not a sleeping giant at all but a petty bully. And so much of it being directly paid for by us.

        If it were as you suggest, it would just let us go. No ransom demanded; no threats of retribution; no delays to talks about trade; no demands to subject people in our country to the ECJ. Just a friendly, practical approach similar to the Australians. and my goodness, the Australians have reason to be miffed by our deserting them for the EEC in the first place.

  3. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Well its about time our Government team published something sensible.

    I agree that it should not be too difficult.

    We are leaving after spring 2019 come what may, because that is what Article 50 outlines, given there is no legal basis for us continuing to pay money after that date, then we simply should not offer any. Thus no negotiation needs to take place at all.

    If the Eu wish to trade with us, and us with them, then WTO terms are already in place, so there is no cliff edge of uncertainty.

    If both sides want free trade then simply carry on as before, no payment required as we are not a club member any more.

    If both sides want something in between free trade and WTO then that is subject to negotiation and agreement.

    If both sides want to co-operate on various other projects, then clearly a cost needs to be shared by both sides.

    If the Eu are being difficult or obstructive about anything, then we should be informed.

    Civil laws and entitlements for any visiting, resident, or working individual from another country rests with the laws of that host country, as it does throughout the World.
    Thus the same arrangement should apply in or out of the EU.

  4. Tasman
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    But we haven’t offered a comprehensive free trade arrangement. We haven’t offered anything. That’s the problem. The EU is waiting patiently until the UK finally gets round to deciding whether it is going to aim for your no-deal scenario or Philip Hammond’s preference for the Norway option, or something else again.

    • Longinus
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      The EU won’t discuss a FTA until the ‘divorce’ settlement has been agreed so hardly our fault. Let’s see how patient they are when time is running out.

    • Bob
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      “Philip Hammond’s preference for the Norway option”

      Philip Hammond is a Remoaner, trying his very best to ensure that Brussels retains control of the UK and all of the economic benefits that the EU gains from Britain.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        His preference for the Norway option is now cancelled …

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      How do you know what has been offered or discussed are you on David Davis team?

    • sm
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      How do you know what has been offered? Are you a member of the negotiating team?

      Reply Its set out in the White Paper!

    • RDM
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      How do you know what we have offered them?

      Why should we offer anything?

      If they want to be friends, even partner’s, with us, they will have to talk to us!

      If they want to trade with us, then will have to Negotiate with us!

      It takes two to tango!

    • NickC
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Tasman, Here’s me thinking that the UK is waiting patiently until the EU finally gets round to deciding whether it is going to aim for a no-deal scenario (WTO rules), a free trade deal like the one we’ve got but without EU control of the UK, or an EEA agreement offer. I suppose it depends whether we listen to Barnier, Juncker, Merkel, Tusk, Verhofstadt, Macron, Weber, Henkel, or a myriad of other European politicians’ opinions.

      • getahead
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention EU acceptance that we are not going to pay their ransom demand to leave.
        I may be wrong but I believe EEA membership would restrict sovereign freedoms and that most certainly would be unacceptable to the UK electorate.

      • Londoner
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

        It is not the EU’s job to offer anything. The EU is not leaving, the UK is.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          The EU is treaty bound to negotiate a settlement. Are you saying that the EU is indifferent to its treaty obligations?

          • Helen
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            That is untrue. Art 50 imposes no such obligation

          • CitizenOfNowhere
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

            Helen, point 2 of Art.50 “The Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that” (leaving) “State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”.

            So, yes, there is a settlement as part of the Union’s treaty obligations, but defined in so vague terms that practically any content can be thought about. Furthermore the only mention of a time frame is the two years after calling Art.50. Anything after that, whether there is a transition or not, for how long it could be, and with what content is undefined.

            So I would think those of us on this blog who claim that they are waiting for the EU to play ball are likely to wait long.
            To me the problem is that of a somewhat Ubermensch’s thinking that the UK is entitled to have all their wishes agreed by the EU27.
            Seeing the quality of some of the comments here, I very much have my doubts whether Uber can be used to characterise them. Unter maybe.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            I suggest you read the article.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink


          So on that basis the EU won’t negotiate trade deals with China or the USA because they aren’t looking to join the EU?

        • RDM
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          Good, so they would be happy if we traded under WLO rules, which, by the way, they would have to accept!

    • John
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Tasman, we have offered tariff free trade to the most lucrative single market in Europe!

      That offer is a tariff free trade deal to a market mostly of people with an average wage under £10,000 euro, to a single market that has an average wage 3 times that atleast!

      Balance of trade deficit, look that up Tasman.

      • Helen
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Where is this offer? Show me.
        You do realise Redwood’s fantasy world is not the UK official position? And please go learn about the rules of the wto

        Reply Try reading the Lancaster House speech and White Paper!

        • Helen
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          As rejected on June 8

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

            In your distorted vision.

  5. Duncan
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Why publish these so called ‘position papers’ at all? Such a move makes little sense. Why not simply inform the EU negotiating team of the UK Government’s demands and let them to respond in kind

    Of course it makes perfect sense if the real intention of the UK Govt is to manipulate the expectations of the British people by publishing such ‘papers’. This is what I believe is about to happen

    As we saw prior to the EU Referendum vote the main thrust of the Remain campaign was the use of fear and manipulation of voters expectations to force behaviour. This is didn’t work. It appears the UK Govt, or should I say May and Hammond, is making the same mistake

    If this party tries to overturn the will of the British people you will never be forgiven

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Quite right, Duncan. I’m fearful that the Govt. is being bullied into publishing something they don’t need to by M. Barnier’s constant blustering. Anything we say, even if as bland and uninformative as the EU 27’s ‘position papers’ will weaken our negotiating hand and increase the resolve of the ‘Remainers’.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      The party is NOT trying to overturn the will of the British people. The party does not give a *** about the will of the British people. The party cares about itself and it’s big business friends, who for some reason think that having millions of 3rd worlders in the country will give them a cheap labour force. – -just look at the countries they leave to come to here – -are ANY of those countries successful? Why doesn’t big business go and build factories etc in the migrants homeland. See how quick that idea would fail.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Yep !

        They cannot build factories because their is not sufficient infrastructure. Infrastructure is paid for by government these days. So no incentive to move. Plus, those governments are generally corrupt. So it is easier, for the employers at least, to have the people come here. Here government can put them in tower blocks like Grenfell and give them money to keep them until needed.


      • McBryde
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Immigrants will help to cover the pension demands of an ever growing government, where the nation’s population growth is otherwise falling. I consider this the main practical incentive for governments here and the EU to be so accommodating.

        The Roman Empire started to hand out sovereignty more and more freely towards the end. When the money ran out, the sentiments of the settled clans within the city showed their true allegiances, and caused the demise.

        • Mark B
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:42 am | Permalink

          1. This assumes that they are earning enough and are likely to stay in the UK and keep paying into the system. Current evidence suggests otherwise.

          2. And what happens when the current lot of immigrants gets old ? Who is going to look after them ?

          As our kind host confirmed to me on this very site when asked about all the NI money we pay. It all gets spent as soon as we make it. None of it is properly invested. So having more people does not work. We need to change the way we do things.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          They won’t get old, each comes with an ample personal supply of the elixir of youth, plus a piece of additional land and all necessary building supplies for the homes they will need.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      That is exactly what is going to happen. What are you going to do about it?

  6. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    There is no hiding from the fact that your country is and remains utterly divided. No wonder with such an adversary culture in which brexiteers and remainers refuse to listen to one another. The EU has set out its principles months ago by now and has other business to attend to than guessing how the British turmoil will develop in some kind of negotiation position. There is no hurry.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Oops, I meant “advesarial”

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

        or better: “adversarial” 🙂

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          PvL – What about “eggversarial” ?

        • Prigger
          Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

          The word you are searching for is: Democratic

          • Hope
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            Unusually poor description by you considering there are only 28 mosquitoes in the beast you describe and not all of them are happy. When one flies others might follow and then what exactly is the EU?

            Intellectually it would be better for the EU to be an inter government body where each nation is valued as they are not a supranational body to help a few greedy power hungry elites. Of course these elites could ask the 28 who feed them what they would like from the collective rather than endless demands and threats.

          • McBryde
            Posted August 12, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            In the collective memory of our consciousness – therefore, within our character – is this push/pull between our own self governance and that of Europe [… it was the Vatican, now it’s Brussels].

            But we always ended up independent, yet happily tolerant of the ‘pro-Vaticans’ in our country.

            At the current time it’s evident that the group with power is attempting to steer the collective consciousness, which is pro-Brexit, into changing its attitude.

            I don’t think that works. People have started to wake up from having been mislead and coralled.

            I think the populace is more aware than expected. For instance, people subconsciously read the subtle body language of the propagandists on TV with a mounting feeling of mistrust.

            Coupled with practical rational argument the consensus has a good chance of winning over force-fed ideology, fear and distortion.

        • Seb
          Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

          If the study from Oxford University and LSE are anything to by, the UK is remarkably united in its desires for Brexit. It suggests that we are united in wanting an actual Brexit. Not “soft” brexit, not a silly transition period where nothing changes for 3 years and we still face the “cliff-edge” anyway.

          Funnily enough we never hear anything about opinion polls from our European partners, it’s almost like the Commission doesn’t actually care and is just negotiating for its own sake 😉

          Just because the likes of Clegg, Cable, Farron, Umuna, McGrory, Miller et al (oh and special agent Phil) claim that we’re divided doesn’t make it so.

    • Longinus
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      The EU’s main priority is to ensure it gets as much money from the UK as possible. They are wasting our time with their ridiculous demands that should never be met. The UK is only divided by the malevolent influence of the EU over the last 40 years.

      • McBryde
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        Also use us as an example to the rest of the states who might want to get out.

      • Original Richard
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        The EU has fleeced us over the decades.

        We have paid hundreds of £billions in budget and other payments whilst the majority of countries pay absolutely nothing.

        We gave away our fishing grounds to the EU.

        The trading arrangements were such that we currently have a trading deficit of nearly £100billion/year with the EU.

        The next step was to take over our military.

        The EU is certainly upset with losing a contributor to their funds but more importantly worried about not being able to have us tied down and shackled in the future.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Please don’t mistake the hubristic puff of a few self centred hasbeens as the mood of the British people. The people that voted leave are even more determined and want it happen without delay and these are being joined by people that once voted to stay but can now see that the reasons given by the Remain campaign were completely bogus and see daily the mess the EU is in, threatening, suing etc someof its members is not a club we want to be part of and now we see the largesse of Junkers and cronies spending our money on having a good time.

      Peter I continue to follow the debate closely and apart from the Single Market which is protectionist and we can be part of anyway under WTO rules I can see no reason to pay annually 10 billion sterling with a ratchet to be distributed and ruled by an ‘undemocratic’ bureaucracy in Brussels when our needs can be better met from Westminster.

      • zorro
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        The annoying thing is that the actual figure is closer to £20bn, we just get bits given back to us in grants/rebates etc at the behest of the EU decision making machine on how and where that should be spent!


    • Monza 71
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Peter, you are falling for the constant propaganda being spewed out by the media, especially the BBC and the Guardian as well as Remainer politicians who can’t smell the coffee and are proving themselves not to be democrats at all.

      Recent polls have found that 70% of voters now want the government to get on and complete Brexit. That is not a very divided country, is it ?

      Across politics in general, Britain is therefore far less divided than a lot of other European countries, take Belgium for example !

      Then of course, there is the constant criticism of Mrs May and her small majority bolstered by the Ulster Unionists. I would point out that Mrs May achieved support from a greater proportion of the electorate than held by most leaders in the 27 with the exception of Macron in France.

      German politics are deeply divided : Merkel can only dream about retaining power in Germany in the Autumn without another Grand Coalition with the SPD. There was never any danger of Mrs May having to form a coalition with Corbyn, heaven forbid !

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        The Conservatives did better than En Marche too. Macron did not do better.

        • rose
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          I am referring to votes: about 7.3m for the Macron landslide and nearly 13.7m for the Conservatives in the hung parliament result.

    • Little Englander
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      PVL: nonsense as usual. Concentrate on eggs – get yourselves organised over there – hopeless people.

    • Bob
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink


      Brussels appears to be taking an adversarial approach to the negotiations.
      There is no hurry, in 2019 Britain will leave the EU and the negotiations can then begin in earnest.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      The country isn’t divided, let alone utterly on the matter of the EU. What you hear in the media are the voices of those at the extremes. Most people here aren’t that bothered, just as they weren’t when it came to European Parliament elections – very low turnouts.
      The EU is irrelevant to most people’s daily lives.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink


      The Eu has set out its position on what exactly.

      Article 50 says we leave in Spring of 2019 after 2 years, so absolutely nothing to discuss about leaving, those terms are clear, we finish paying all subscriptions to the Eu on the day we leave.

      Only discussions required are, should we trade on WTO terms or should it be some other form of agreement.

      Its the EU that are making it all seem complicated, over EU citizens rights etc etc.

      Co operation projects can be agreed or not, as they have in the past.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Every democracy is divided, with a spread of political opinion. Even the Netherlands apparently, where we read many people are concerned about mass immigration and multiculturalism and Dutch MPs are rightly concerned about the euro zone’s emerging transfer union as well as the EU’s dirigisme.

    • agricola
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      The mistake is to assume that the “Turmoil” is anything more that a small number of vociferous remoaners. As we see the EU develop or fragment as time progresses it acts as a period of education for those who had doubts about leaving in June 2016. My judgement is that the Leave argument is hardening and the majority for it growing. The sentiment is the sooner the better we rid ourselves of this misbegotten experiment in quasi totalitarian socialism.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The people aren’t actually divided. They aren’t talking about Brexit – they just expect it to happen now the vote has passed.

      Leavers want it and Remainers accept it.

      The ‘utterly divided’ UK is the fifth column of saboteurs, who 80% on the public payroll and who are a very small but loud minority amplified by the BBC.

      We hear “Brexit is turning out to be catastrophic” but actually, here on the streets, nothing much has changed. Restaurants are packed, people are still overweight.

      We did not vote to leave Europe. We voted to leave the EU. We chose the difference between collaboration with the EU and subordination to it.

      And if you put it like that that you’ll find that the British people are very much united.

      The enemy has never been the EU. The enemy (a very small but powerful minority) is – and always has been – within.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        “…of whom 80% are on the public payroll and who are, in fact, a very small but loud minority amplified by the BBC.”

        Reads better

        • Bob
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Why are we paying for the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation?
          Let the EU fund it, and abolish the TV Licence Fee and free up the Police and Court services from prosecuting people for watching unlicenced TV.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Peter, I feel we do nothing but listen to the remain side, our Government spent months in court listening to high profile leavers points of view and amending things after a fair and balanced judgement. Our BBC gives the remainers a massive platform, you only have to look on-line to see the daily headlines from a remain point of view. You don’t see leave supporters marching in the streets and campaigns to disrupt the remain supporters so there is no adversarial combat in the UK? Farage, Boris, Gove, Andrea, Kate and Gisela have pretty much backed off and they were the spokespeople for leave they are allowing the government to proceed without an adversarial approach other than to rebuke the worst of the defamatory protests against the leave side.

      We are hearing almost daily how the EU turmoil is affecting Brits from anti-tourism in Spain to speeding fine increases, toll increases, not being able to land flights in Europe. Soon the Brits will have to charter cruise ships just to go to sunshine, park up and go to the Countries for a walk that want us to visit :), only joking.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Your comments are nonsense. The EU hierarchy are scared witless by our display of democracy on 23/06/16, unfortunately they have decided on a hostile approach. Our aims are simple, no tariffs and no exit fee, back to 1972: control our seas, borders and laws, and to be good friends and neighbours.

      The fact that we still have politicians with strong EU opinions is unavoidable and a testament to the strength of our democracy, hopefully our institutions will be stronger than those elsewhere in Europe that have succumbed to the second vote syndrome.

    • alte fritz
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      You are right about division. It is the establishment versus the rest of us!

    • Mark Watson
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Well I live and work here and it is not utterly divided. Don’t take the media as your barometer of opinion.The overwhelming majority are getting on with their lives and don’t follow every twist and turn.Your country can’t even form a government, how long since the election?

    • NickC
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Peter, Democratic decisions are adversarial by definition, and therefore show that a country is divided. You appear disturbed by that idea. To have real unity you have to return to the ideals of the “democratic” votes in the Comecon bloc. Ohhh . . . . .

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily. There could be a realisation that a “winner takes all” approach might not be necessarily suited to such a divisive issue as Brexit.

        Would it be dishonorable to seek some form of compromise between the Leave and the Remain camp ?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          The great majority of UK voters, including most of those who voted to stay in the EU, accept the referendum result and want the government to get on with it and they want the government to do a proper job, not botch up some “compromise” which only a small minority want in an despicable attempt to cling to their beloved EU as closely as possible for as long as possible. The reality is that the 48% of last June no longer exists, you’d be lucky to get a fifth of those people now unpatriotically supporting the diehard Remoaner efforts to sabotage Brexit.

        • Timaction
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          You are either in or out of the control of the EU and all its four freedoms. You can’t be half in like you can’t be half pregnant!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      What is the EU position on a post-Brexit trade deal then ? Oh … there isn’t one …

    • Andy
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      The UK has set out its position. Mrs May did exactly that in the Lancaster House speech. Problem is you lot on the Continent weren’t listening. There is no reason why the EU cannot strike a Free Trade Agreement with the UK. There is no reason why the EU cannot honour citizens rights, as outlined by the UK in its paper without insisting that the ECJ has jurisdiction, which no Sovereign State that is not a member of the EU could accept. I assume you will be willing for EU States like the Netherlands to accept the jurisdiction of the ‘Judicial Committee of the UK Privy Council’. If not, why not ?
      Reality is the EU doesn’t want to negotiate and is doing everything it possibly can to wreck the talks. I am no fan of Yanis Varoufakis but the talks are unfolding exactly as he predicted. Enough of this nonsense.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how your country would fare if the politicians decided to allow the Dutch people to have an in/out referendum. I think the Netherlands, too, would be very divided.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Every time an EU politician or functionary opens his or her mouth, opinion in the UK firms up in favour of cutting our losses and leaving. We would be doing you and the cut flower trade a favour as well, as the video of African invaders storming a Spanish beach showed. You have bigger problems than we have.

    • matthu
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Peter van L: Your opinion seems to be based more on media reporting and your own wishful thinking than a rigorous survey.

      A major new study (20,000 people) from the LSE and Oxford University being widely reported today shows even remain voters now generally reject the ‘soft’ Brexit policies advocated by the likes of yourself and Hammond/ Clegg/ Hesseltine/ Mandelson. Furthermore, 67% of people surveyed prefer the so-called “no deal” outcome to a ‘soft’ Brexit, while 68% of people surveyed would choose a ‘hard’ Brexit over a ‘soft’ Brexit,

      Not nearly as divided as you might like to present us then?

      And I think you may find the EU members not nearly as unified behind the EU commission as you might like to believe, either.

      • Danni
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Just to point out – the study referred to is of 3000, not 20,000. It isn’t official as not yet peer reviewed.

    • John
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      A survey poll of 20,000 by Oxford Uni and LSE finds 70% of them want a clean full Brexit. The UK is not divided, just the politicians and commentators.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Peter vL

      STOP eating your eggs they’re poisoning your mind

    • Mark B
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      This coming from a man whose countrymen voted in their droves for, Geert Wilders.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Holland is not a democracy.

      Their Senate approved of the EU giving 40 million Ukrainians visa-free access to the EU despite two thirds of voters in a referendum rejecting the agreement.

  7. eeyore
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Who could cavil at this outline of a prudent negotiating strategy, no matter what side of the debate one takes? All I’d add is that you never get a better deal than when prepared to walk away, and the best way to convince the EU we’ll do just that is to make ostentatious preparations for a breakdown.

    Anyway, it’s always wise to have a Plan B. Where would we be now if Mr Cameron had had a Plan B and had made sure the EU knew it?

  8. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    There are two parts to the process. The first is the terms of our leaving the EU. The EU seems much concerned about an exit bill, but if the treaties don’t provide for compensation payment, then it won’t get paid. I’m sure any suggestion of an exit bill would be voted down by Parliament in favour of the NHS or whatever. No negotiations on this part, just follow the treaties.
    The second part is the agreement after we have left, which is the area of negotiation. On this point, the issue of the Irish border should operate in favour of a free trade agreement. If an easy Irish border can be agreed, then why not apply the same principles for all our relationships?
    The people of Europe aren’t caught up with the pride of their EU masters, and I hope they will rise up and direct the Commission to deliver a favourable agreement on mutual terms.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      The text of Article 50 TEU does not lend support to the EU’s contention that there should be two separate sequential stages to the negotiations.

      “In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union … The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2 … ”

      On a normal reading of that text, from the very start of talks the Union is required to negotiate with the withdrawing state “taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”; it is not expected to do what it insists on doing, that is set aside any consideration of the future relationship until it has managed to extort as much money as possible as a kind of exit fee.

      It’s about time our diplomats made sure that governments around the world are aware that the EU is in the wrong over this.

      • Helen
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        The EU has the whip hand. Get used to it

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          That is what you hope and would have us believe.

  9. Mark B
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    These negotiations are about future arrangements post BREXIT and have nothing to do with trade. We are NOT negotiating a trade deal with the EU and, since we have ruled out the EEA, it looks like we shall be falling back on WTA Rules and tariffs.

    I voted for the UK to be a sovereign independent nation once more. It really is as simple as that. What that means to the EU is that it has to now make arrangements for our Third Country Status. Plans for its citizens and ours, and the border arrangements with the RoI. How goods and persons are checked and processed through the ‘new’ UK / EU border, what parts of the EU we wish to opt-in, and so on. These are technical details and need to be finalised to ensure a smooth transition. All this nonsense about exit bills is just smoke and mirrors by people who clearly are on the outside looking in, or by those in the media keen to sell copy. There will be some payments to make on past promises, but also there will be some payments to the UK for past investments and rebates.

    Leaving the EU will not be easy or trouble free. Even if done well, there is still going to be some disruption, and that simply cannot be avoided. We have allowed others to act for us on the world stage and, we will, believe it or not, have to re-open embassies that we closed, train Civil Servants to work overseas and re-establish our own trade links. This will take time.

    The EU can afford to wait. The Commission is unelected and can ignore the people. That is what it was set up to do. The UK cannot so easily do this.

    The EU has all it needs in place. Post BREXIT it will be business as usual. For the UK we will, for the most part, be starting all over again, once again.

    The UK will, initially, suffer from BREXIT. But in the medium to long term I genuinely believe that we have done the right thing. Not just for ourselves but for the EU, Europe and the rest of the world.

    • Longinus
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      The EU will not be ‘business as usual’ after Brexit as they’ve lost a major source of funding. They will have to contract activity to core projects. Also other repercussions e.g. 75% of staff at the European Medicines Agency do not want to re-locate from London.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        The money can be dealt with.

        The staff at various EU institutions can be bought off or fired.

        Most other activity will continue as normal.

        What will the EU miss is that is never talked about. The EU will miss the UK place in the world. It’s seat on the UN Security Council and it’s influence. It will also have a potential competitor, something that it tries to avoid.

  10. Edward2
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    We would save ourselves a lot of time and money by realising the EU does not want any deal with the UK.

  11. Original Richard
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    For the most important issue of all to the EU, the UK’s exit bill, the EU has yet to publish an itemised invoice with a total.

    So for the EU to claim they have set out their position is plain nonsense.

    With regard to the Irish border question, is it not necessary to know first the trading arrangement that the EU will accept ?

  12. Original Richard
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    “The negotiation can be very straightforward. The UK takes back control of its money, laws and borders,as it is entitled to do.”

    The UK also takes back control of its assets (fishing grounds) to the internationally set limit of 200 miles where applicable.

  13. Richard1
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I would say the most important paper by far we could see from the UK govt would be a clear analysis of the effect of no Deal and specifically a very detailed explanation of how we will deal with the ‘cliff edge’ (which isn’t there). Only when there is a robust and credible walk away strategy will the EU be sensible and co-operative. At the moment Continuity Remain are doing an excellent job of strengthening the EU’s hand by creating an atmosphere in the UK of fear of no Deal – so the EU will just sit and wait for our govt to cave in, believing that political pressure will force them to do so. The govt have not addressed this yet and need to do so urgently.

  14. Tabulazero
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    “We certainly don’t want a public exploration of what we might surrender or shift under pressure”

    That will be difficult to achieve. You do realise that 48% of the British population voted to Remain ?

    While it is the minority, it is by no mean a small minority and the latter is set to lose something which it has grown to consider as an important part of its identity. To add insult to injury, the government has decided to deliver the hardest form of Brexit, the one you advocate, of all the options available. The Conservatives are indeed putting party before country and that is questionable.

    The Remainers will not pipe down and after a year you should have realised that by now. You have neither answers nor solutions to offer them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      “You do realise that 48% of the British population voted to Remain?”

      That was last year, you need to catch up with how public opinion has developed since then. Basically that 48% no longer exists, it’s probably more like maybe 10% of the voter are unpatriotic diehard Remoaners.

      LD Liberal Democrat 7.4%
      SNP Scottish National Party 3.0%
      GRN Green Party 1.6%

      would add up to 12%.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        You seem to have made sense of Labour’s European position, Denis. You should bring your findings to them.

        I think it could help them.

        Same with the Tories. You have seen James Chapman’s comments. Two cabinets ministers…

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          James Chapman, who apparently lacked the basic integrity to tell David Davis straight off that he did not agree with Brexit and so he felt unable to act as a Brexit adviser, now wants to start up a new anti-Brexit party possibly called the “Democrats” when an existing overly anti-Brexit party with “Democrat” in its name collected just 7.4% of the votes in the last election. Are you sure you want to be associated with him?

  15. Tim T Trunket Jnr
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The publication will certainly give Remoaners the chance to misquote, and go through all the preamble to the Referendum yet again. Be cheaper to buy each of them a bag of fruit gums apiece keeping them busy whilst adults do work in negotiations.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    JR, please can you say whether the position of the Prime Minister and the government she leads has departed from that stated in her Lancaster House speech of January 17th:

    “The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU: PM speech”

    And restated in her March 29th letter to the EU triggering Article 50:

    “Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50”

    And please could you say whether this official government position has been changed by the outcome of the subsequent general election, and if so in what ways.

    I seek this information for the benefit of those like Tasman above who takes the side of the ever-so-patient-and-well-organised EU against his own country, assuming that the UK is in fact his own country to which he owes a duty of allegiance.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      No answer!

  17. JoolsB
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Why did pro-remain May waste a whole year instead of getting on with Brexit straight away? I do not trust our politicians to get a complete Brexit, i.e. out of the single market, out of the customs union and an end to free movement. It isn’t only the EU who wish to delay and obfuscate in the hope that we might change our mind. That is the mindset of many of our politicians and unelected Lords and Ladies as well.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Because they really believed that ‘we’, the ‘people’ wanted to stay in the EU just like they do. They are not interested in what we want just getting on the career bandwagon and advancing their own little lives.

      BREXIT is really frightening them, because they will not have the EU to either do their job for them or to blame. Suddenly we will see the chaff in amongst the wheat at Westminster and Whitehall .

  18. agricola
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    We should red line what we do not accept in any form. Jurisdiction of our legal and financial system by other than Parliament is not even up for discussion. The ECJ has no power in the UK unless they do something we like and then UK law can follow via Parliament. Current legalisation of electronic privacy might be common ground in the future. No involvement in an EU military, our collective defence is NATO. Sovereign control of our own seas to 200 miles or the median. No financial contributions after March 2019 with the exception of part funding areas in which we have decided to continue cooperation.

    We offer in return free trade with the UK if reciprocated. Unhindered residence in the UK to those citizens of the EU here legally. with benefits equal to those of UK citizens after a short period, say five years. Agreement to cooperate in most of the areas we cooperate in at present.

  19. Peter
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Reports now of a three way Cabinet split on how to approach Brexit.

    I believe we are being softened up for no Brexit.

    Brexiteers need to be making the headlines, not reacting to them.

    Britain needs to walk away now. No delays. No equivocation.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Article 50 cannot be rolled back. We are leaving. It is all a question of how ?

  20. JoolsB
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    What I would like to know John is what happens to the powers once repatriated back to the UK. Davis, May and Green have all said more powers once repatriated back from the EU will be given to Holyrood, Cardiff, Stormont and London. In other words, the Scots Parliament, the Welsh Parliament, the Irish Assembly and the UK Parliament. Of course not one word of any powers being repatriated to England.

    Surely once even more powers are given to the devolved nations of this dis-UK, your party do not honestly believe they can get away with continuing to deliberately ignore the English Question and the West Lothian Question. If so, the Tory party really do have a death wish.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      It’s a sop to buy them off.

  21. Oldwulf
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I’m a simple sort of bloke. The UK voted to take back control of its laws and its borders. The EU has said it will not have a free trade agreement with the UK. The UK will become one of many countries which are not part of the EU, some of which share a border with the EU and some of which do not.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I’d say the fourth mistake would be to employ negotiators and advisers whose primary loyalty is to the EU rather than to the UK. I wonder many of those civil servants who expressed an interest in joining David Davis’s new department did so with the intention of disrupting and if possible prevented our withdrawal from the EU. You might have thought that somebody who was that way inclined would have the basic integrity to say that was how they felt and ask to be excused any part in our withdrawal, but apparently not.

    “This morning’s Times (£) brings word of the latest twist in the Tory wars over Europe: James Chapman, until recently a special adviser to David Davis, has called for a new party to block Brexit.”

  23. Epikouros
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    One thing is certain whatever is published it will be ripped to pieces by Brexit detractors. If there is nothing to criticise then they will just make up fake and spurious claims as to it’s content and meaning. The progressives left, remainers, EU and the like as we observe on a daily basis can be very malicious and aggressive if they do not get things all their own way. Coupled with Goebbels quality propaganda that they are capable of that so easily sways the not so few of us that are gullible and credulous putting the Government and Brexit negotiators already under pressure even more so. The tactics employed by these groups have considerable similarities to those that are used by terrorists. Fear, intimidation and to gull the populace into a belief in the justness of the cause and the benign benefits of it’s aims. The former often meets with success the latter often proves to be a sham and only a cover to enable one group to emerge to be in a position to dominate the rest.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    I fear that the first two “mistakes” will happen and quite deliberately. As for the third there is no chance of that happening – the only people who ask for too much expecting things that are not obtainable are the EU. A democratic decision was taken and yet those who didn’t get their own way are determined to overturn the result. If your party allows that to happen it will be finished.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    The worse position of all is the debating and discussions that go on and are reported in the media ; it only leads to the impression outsiders have that this country is undecided about which way to go . Firm leadership is required to stamp out different views . The electorate decided to Brexit ; we live in a democracy – end of debate .

    In the negotiations that have to take place the 2 sides have to come to a settlement ; points of view will be made and a compromise will be reached . If one side makes ridiculous demands it will likely result in a ” so be it ” result ; we have already said that we will abide by our obligations but we will not be punished . We have nothing to lose .

    Eastern EU countries are already creating a hiatus over issues such as migrants and the right to decide for themselves ; elsewhere in the EU differences in economic conditions threaten any sort of cohesion . The cracks are there and the EU has to step very carefully .

  26. RDM
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    They’d be adding fuel to the fire!

    Those who are calling for these ” Position Papers” just what to pull them apart, not too rebuild them, but to destroy the whole process!

    Could be useful if they are not undermined by internal political nonsense!

    They must state, clearly, we are out of the ECJ, Single Market, and out of the Customs Union.

    Before 2019, so we are affectively trading free by 2019!

  27. alte fritz
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    On the second mistake, I doubt whether the EU want the UK back in, unless as a cash cow. We have been too much the pebble in the shoe. What they really want is to damage the UK pour encourager les autres.

    What I just cannot understand is that the Remoaners are willing to submit their own country to the humiliation of begging to remain.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Although I understand that there is no health risk at all – the contamination of the Dutch eggs was slight, they have long ago passed through the system, and in any case most of the eggs sold as eggs in supermarkets here are good old British eggs – I have asked my wife to throw out whatever eggs we may have in our fridge.

    This is not for health reasons but just to reassure me that she is treating this as a serious problem and taking prompt even if totally unnecessary action about it.

    Likewise I have asked her to go through all our cupboards and throw out any processed foods which might conceivably contain poisonous Dutch eggs, or ingredients made from poisonous Dutch eggs, just to be on the stupid but safe side.

  29. Iain Gill
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I would hard line it as most of the British people want.

    It’s only the political, journalistic, and senior civil service on our side that are a problem.

  30. ian
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The third way, you sure tony still running the show.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    I’m shaking my head over this drivel on another blog today:

    “The ultimate irony of the current situation is that, with the talk of transition and the prospect of us being unable to make a clean break from the EU for a number of years, the one sure way of securing a permanent “divorce” is to go for the Efta/EEA option. Efta membership is legally and practically incompatible with membership of the EU.”

    Eh, yes, that was why we left EFTA – the old EFTA – when we joined the EEC.

    “What so few people realise is that Efta/EEA never was an easy option, and there were going to be many loose ends to tidy up as well. Simply, this option was the only way we could secure a stable deal within the two-year timescale afforded by Article 50.”

    It’s not so much a question of whether it would be an “easy” option but whether it would be an option which actually took us to where we wanted to go. The old EFTA based on the Stockholm Convention might have done that, but not the new reformed EFTA based on the Vaduz Convention:

    “The updated EFTA Convention, the Vaduz Convention, was signed on 21 June 2001 and entered into force on 1 June 2002, in parallel with the EU-Swiss Bilateral Agreements. It included several significant changes, of which the most important was the integration of the principles and rules established between the EU and the EEA EFTA States in the EEA Agreement, and between the EU and Switzerland in the EU-Swiss Bilateral Agreements. Important new provisions included the free movement of persons, trade in services, movement of capital and protection of intellectual property.”

    “The Vaduz Convention introduced the free movement of persons by opening the labour markets of the EFTA States … “

  32. LiamB
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    What free trade arrangement have we offered?- I know nothing about this.

    We voted to leave and want nothing more to do with the EU or am I missing something?

  33. PaulW
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Mistake 1/ but thats all we have being doing up until now..negotiating with ourselves? – navel gazing

    Mistake 2/ Too late.. the UK has already changed its mind..we are going for a norway style deal..we have no choice as all efforts to discover new trading partners globally have come to nought.

    Mistake 3/ UK citizens going forward living on the continent will continue to enjoy EU citizenship if they want.. the EU is not going to strip citizenship from anyone who currently enjoys it.

    Taking back control is just more sloganeering and is not going to get us anywhere because in the end we will end up with something like a norway style deal..taking back control..only with time will we come to realize its all a big british fudge

  34. SteveC
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Negotiating to leave a trading bloc of 500 million people right on our doorstep in the hope of getting other trade deals with countries worldwide has to be the stupidist position that this country has ever found itself in..absolutely crazy. So go on talking about taking back control blah blah..all pie in the sky as far as the ordinary man is concerned..taking back control..indeed

  35. Tom William
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Hands up those who expect the BBC to observe these guidelines?

  36. English Pensioner
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Surely our position is quite straight forward and doesn’t need position papers.
    On trade, we are happy to continue the present trading arrangements with the EU, provided that they don’t require free movement of people or restrictions on us having trading agreements with non-EU countries. Otherwise WTO rules will apply.
    On EU citizens resident here, we are prepared to let them stay providing that they are working or have income to support themselves, provided the EU allows our citizens living within the EU to do the same.
    On the courts, we revert to supremacy of the UK courts and are not bound by rulings from EU courts. If the EU wants their courts to have jurisdiction over their citizens in the UK, we would expect our supreme court to have similar jurisdiction over UK citizens within the EU.
    On fishing, we reclaim all our fishing rights as accepted under international law.

    That’s it. Position paper in less than a single side of A4
    Why do politicians and Civil servants make mountains out of molehills?

  37. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another brazen lie being spread by the Independent and also the Times:

    “Brexit repeal bill will remove UK citizens’ right to sue Government over policies”

    That’s because it removes the right to make claims based upon an ECJ ruling, the 1991 Francovich judgment. But, guess what:

    “A Government spokesman said: “The right to Francovich damages is linked to EU membership. The government therefore considers that this will no longer be relevant after we leave. After exit, under UK law it will still be possible for individuals to receive damages or compensation for any losses caused by breach of the law.”

    These Remoaners really are without any moral scruple at all, they are despicable.

    • rose
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      And Dominic Grieve went on the BBC to confirm the lie. Luckily a Lawyers for Britain man clearly explained it afterwards. British subjects would no longer be suing HMG over international law. He said, politely, that DG was confused. Most unlike the BBC to give him the chance.

  38. Freeborn John
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    David Davis is also making a 4th mistake in asking for the EU to preserve all existing rights of UK citizens living in the EU, such as the right to move to another member state other than the one they live in right now. If he pursues that line then the EU will say he can have it in return for EU27 citizens keeping all their existing rights (such as bringing in non-EU spouses) and those rights being policed by the ECJ as now. There is no reason why either UK or EU27 citizen should expect brexit to have no impact on the status quo. We voted for change and David Davis should stop arguing for the status quo for Uk citizens living in Europe.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I think this is right. We are only offering resident EU foreigners a secure position in our territory, we can not and do not offer anything about their position in other jurisdictions. So it follows that in the first instance UK citizens established in Spain can only expect to be offered a continuing secure position in Spain, and it will then be up to the other EU countries to decide individually or collectively what freedom they will be allowed with respect to their territories.

      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I agree, but it is galling to think of all those men from other continents who are being allowed to go wherever they like, without passports, and be paid for, housed, and educated etc. while British subjects will be second class citizens, yet paying for themselves.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Yes, those who have just illegally landed on a Spanish beach may well end up be given more freedom of movement than UK citizens legally resident in Spain. However that is beyond our control.

  39. Peter
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    The latest survey shows seven out of ten people now support a genuine Brexit.

    Time for Britain to act. Walk away from negotiations.

    If EU subsequently come to their senses then changes can be made at a later date. Meanwhile Britain is free at a sooner date and payments cease earlier.

  40. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


    Interesting perspective but there is no particular hurry and our businesses are not ready by March 2019 as you present it and I just wish it was as simple as just yes or no to a deal or WTO. But is you think it is then good luck

    • margaret
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      It pays many agencies to make it complicated. We have seen much of this in the NHS where high paid management have marched in and made a mess of things whilst they bark up the wrong tree and expect good remuneration for their efforts. I am sure that businesses themselves could come to a deal far more effectively without waiting for agreements to be made for them.

    • John
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Hans, here is a simple math conundrum for you assuming no deal.

      5% of your earnings are exports to the EU.

      (lets leave out that the cost of paying for 0 tariffs costs the UK tax payer twice what the business exporters would pay in a tariff)

      6% of your earnings are exports to the rest of the World subject to WTO tariffs.

      If you swapped tariffs, so Zero for the World exports of 6% and slapped WTO tariffs for the EU 5%, what would the Exports be for the following year??

      Ans = + 0.1%

      Okay, it may take 18 months to finalise all those trade agreements, but obviously worth it as its 4.6 times the size of the EU and that includes the rich UK in the EU. Leave out the UK and good luck Hans selling German cars to Eastern Europe.

      See we can’t strike trade deals with the rest of the World, where most of our trade is, whilst in the EU!

      Do you get the Math Hans?

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 16, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        I would not mind having the franchise for BMW in Poland, thank you

    • libertarian
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink


      Sorry why isn’t your business ready? What is your business? All 9 of my businesses are ready now

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 15, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        supplying suspension systems for train cars in all of Europe using a European supply chain and we are not ready in 2019, because it take longer to build up a new supply chain and five years or more to replace our European customers, but now the government seems to have seen the light so we are less worried. Thank you so much for asking

  41. Lifelogic
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Indeed but is this government up to having a sensible negotiation strategy? They clearly do not have a clue as to how to write an election manifesto, run an energy policy, run a sensible fiscal system, have sensible employment laws or run an economy efficiently.

    Interesting to hear Tony Blair on Radio 4 yesterday – on Reflections. In it he said that some Indian graduate student he respected at Oxford had pointed out to him (Blair then being (Left wing ed)) that the state “can be a vested interest too”. Amazingly he said be found it “a very profound incite” and stayed with him! What a dope he must have been, he was then a grown man reading Jurisprudence at Oxford. How on earth can you get past the age of about ten without having worked that out?

    The state is not only a vested interest, it is the most dangerous, parasitic & damaging one of all. Why do we get such complete dopes as PMs? Heath, Blair, Major, Brown & now May what did we do to deserve such daft socialists? Perhaps even Corbyn and lets follow Venezuela next!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Sorry I missed out Wilson, Callaghan and (cast iron/low tax at heart but never in action) Cameron. Even Lady Thatcher made massive mistakes (some under duress from the bonkers EUphile wets I agree). Perhaps her main mistake appointing Major as chancellor (a man without even a maths O level I think) and letting him take the country into the ERM.

      May has lived through all this but has learned nothing from it at all.

  42. margaret
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    The difficult with captcha is that it is not clear. For example it asks for street signs. Does that include the post which the directions are attached to?

    • margaret
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink


      • rose
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        I find it is not that precise. If you go for posts one time and not the next, it doesn’t mind. Nor is it that fussy about other things. Just keep moving forward and so will it.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink


      “Captcha not clear”

      I agree, even with a 27 inch screen I have problems viewing clearly what is often shown.

      Must be difficult for many on a small screen, or with limited time.

      Not unusual for me to have 4-6 goes, but then that is probably the point of the software to prove you are a human, even a frustrated one at times.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      It’s appalling and getting worse. It’s also totally unnecessary for those of us who have been commenting here for years with recognised names or pseudonyms and email addresses from the same known IP location. I have repeatedly been asked whether I am a robot, I have repeatedly and with mounting difficulty convinced the system that I am not a robot, and yet it will ask me again whether I’m a robot when I want to make another comment even if it’s only minutes later! How can it possibly not see that the next comment is from the same non-robotic source as the last comment?

      • Mark B
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Because it too is a robot !

        Oh the irony of a human being being asked if it is a robot by a virtual robot 🙂

    • hefner
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Yes, it does.

      • Original Richard
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        What about when there are very tiny bits in an adjacent square ?

        • hefner
          Posted August 12, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          I even click on the very tiny bits in adjacent squares.

  43. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink


    Yes, and judging by the voting on various issues in Europe they are divided too. It’s all a question on whether you have been persuaded by the left or right and it seems to many of us that to go down the left route is a journey to disaster.

  44. MikeP
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I think position papers have their place. Given that the EU is dictating what can be officially discussed when, it can’t do any harm to signpost how we stand on issues that will be of great interest to French & German politicians and businesses even if they’re not yet to Barnier and Verhofstadt.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      These position papers would be better described as appeasement papers, that is they are for the appeasement of the remoaners. Weak leadership.

  45. Colin Hart
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Very neatly put.

    All we have to say is in March 2019 we are leaving. What trade deal with us would you like? We are prepared to offer a completely free trade deal. Let us know what tariffs you will impose. Regrettably, we will then have to match them.

    As for continuing to pay into your budget or be subject to your court rulings, forget it.

    If that means no free trade deal – tough. We can live with it. Can you?

  46. Freeborn John
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I do hope the government pay attention to the latest opinion poll showing that even a majority of those who voted Remain now want no brexit fee, and an end to EU law, ECJ jurisdiction and freedom of movement. No British government will ever have experienced a backlash in public opinion as severe as this one will face if it caves in to paying a multi billion £ exit fee. The poll tax will be as nothing. The government might be willing to surrender to Brussels and pay a Danegeld equivalent to the cost of HS2 but the British people are made of sterner stuff and will wreak a terrible vengeance on any politicians so weak.

  47. Freeborn John
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    One very serious mistake would be for the UK to accept that EU regulations are the only ones that apply in the UK (even transposed into national law) after brexit. We should aim for regulatory competition post-brexit with UK consumers being offered the choice of produce that satisfies regulations applicable in all the major western markets. Many goods in the US are far cheaper than the UK yet cannot be sold here because they do not meet EU standards. We should conclude an fta with the USA that allows any goods that can be sold legally in the USA to be sold here freely against goods that meet EU specs with it left to consumers to decide which they prefer. This would drive the cost of many goods in the UK down, such as cars and undermine the monopoly power of the EU to dictate product standards in the UK.

  48. Bert Young
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Once again still being “moderated” at 10pm !

  49. anon
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    A metaphorical shot across the bows is called for.

    Enable a law to enable trade deals to signed and actioned prior to the official exit date and to disapply the EU tariff wall on imports, defence contracts etc.

    Start the transition now on our unilateral terms and wait for the action in response.

    Start implementing “no deal” scenario planning. Including potential scenarios involving multiple countries exiting the EU for trade purposes, without the EU politics.

  50. Trumpeteer
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    People are surprised Mrs Merkel comes out against Trump’s robust warning to North Korea. If any country could be said to be “on the side” in even the most circumvential oblique sense then Germany is your man. Well I, am not surprised.
    What is surprising is that any nation state from Vladivostok to the Falkland Islands would pussy-foot with a nation which, and with, just invented technology threatens to land four missiles within 18 to 24 miles of 163,000 of the citizens of your country. It would be like a foreign nation threatening to land four missiles within 18 miles of Brighton , population about the same as Guam. Unacceptable! Thankfully Trump is not a Green. One needs proper leadership with such threats and, he is the one.

    • rose
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I am heartily sick of the BBC making out the North Koreans are on a moral par with the Americans. Just as they did with us and the IRA and Galtieri. Each bulletin makes out Trump has provoked all this.

      If they were concentrating, which they never are, they would have noticed the Japanese PM was the first in to Trump Tower after the election, and the first in to the White House. What on earth did they think he was so anxious to talk about?

  51. Simon
    Posted August 11, 2017 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    LOL John. There you go again with WTO terms. Non tariff barriers do not yet appear to be in your thinking at all. How are WTO terms going to solve eg the issue of race horses moving between Ireland, UK & France ? The racing and associated gambling is worth billions a year. And that is only one of maybe hundreds of issues for which there will be no treaty framework regulation or permission once we Brexit.

    Incidentally I would like to make a prediction now to be here in posterity. When the “trade” talks eventually start the EU will put a number of big ticket items which have nothing to do with trade on the agenda first. And like the withdrawal agreement there will be no move to the next phase until they are solved. That is how the EU operates. They open the acquis chapter by chapter. The first items are going to be things like environmental and agricultural standards, fisheries, workers rights, health n safety, fundamental rights, EU arrest warrant & security, defence and related matters. They may then move onto matters such as common corporation tax and similar items.

    Reply If the EU is that stupid then we will but imports from somewhere else. Our trade works fine with non EU countries.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      And will you, Simon, be rooting for the EU? It seems to me that there are some people who are sailing very close to the wind as far as their loyalty is concerned.

      • Simon
        Posted August 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Denying reality is not loyalty.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      “And that is only one of maybe hundreds of issues for which there will be no treaty framework regulation or permission once we Brexit. Etc.

      The sensible way forward for the EU is to continue with the “regulations and permissions” as they are at present, just as we are doing with our Repeal Bill, and to make the necessary changes as and when necessary or wanted.

      Unlike other third countries we will have started from a position of being a member of the EU and hence are fully compliant with all EU regulations. This will be the case whether we have a free trade deal or work with WTO terms.

      To do otherwise, as you suggest, will be taken by the ROW as unfair treatment.

      Of course the EU may act as you say/wish and introduce delays in the negotiations (such as threats to stop for 2 months etc.) so that a clean Brexit is inevitable.

      With regard to the erection of non-tariff barriers we have been subject to these ever since we joined, as can be seen by the fact that we have a massive trading deficit of nearly £100bn/year with the EU yet a positive trade position with the ROW.

      The main reason the EU are so unhappy with our leaving is not simply the loss of our contributions, which amounts to hundreds of £billions, but that the fact that we will no longer be shackled down/handicapped in our dealings with the ROW.

  52. Euecho
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    In my neck of the woods, Up North, many people broke into song in the bath. You could even hear them caterwauling from the street. You never hear them now. Can’t you Brexiteers understand what you have done?

    • Oggy
      Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I’m in Yorkshire and I sing ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Jerusalem’ in the bath – I’m surprised you haven’t heard me.
      But I never sing ‘Ode to Joy’.

  53. Simon
    Posted August 12, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Only complete nutters think that shadowing the EU by putting EU regs into our law somehow entitles us to simply carry on as usual.

  54. Peter D Gardner
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    ” It is not, for example, in the UK’s power to decide what rights going forward will apply to UK citizens living in the EU after we have left. That will be a matter for them to decide, under international law.”
    Indeed. But the Government has already made the mistake of discussing with the EU whether the same is true of EU citizens in UK and, indeed, on a range of other matters as well. The idea is utterly unprecedented and preposterous.
    ECJ jurisdiction should not even be on the agenda.

  55. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Can we now please have a real and realistic debate about our negotiation strategy now that it has been acknowledged that we need a transition period to prepare properly for leaving the Eu and this also means stopping the nonsense about thinking we can stop paying into the Eu in March 2019.

    And by the way it is £ 156 million net a week which is far less than was previously stated by the pro–Brexit campaign thank you

    • Anthony Hopkins
      Posted August 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      The amount of money paid to the EU per week is actually double that stated by the pro-Brexit campaign thank you.

      ‘True’ £660m weekly cost of Britain’s EU membership
      THE true cost to Britain of being in the EU has been £660million a week since 2010, a think tank says.
      PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Aug 13, 2017 | UPDATED: 10:41, Sun, Aug 13, 2017
      This includes more than £80billion lost to the Treasury after the European Court of Justice forced tax rebates to multinationals and £50billion in Eurozone bailout obligations.
      In membership fees alone, after the rebate has been returned Britain has paid out £70.6billion in fees.
      But the Bruges Groups says our real financial commitment is £275.08billion
      Over seven years that is £34.3billion a year, or £661,260,000 a week.
      This includes £7billion in welfare payments to EU citizens living in the UK.
      In 2014 the UK was forced to hand over an extra £1.7billion after the EU bust its budget.
      It was the year that then chancellor George Osborne announced a £12billion welfare cut as part of a plan to mend Britain’s deficit.
      Crucial to the equation, says the Eurosceptic group, is the £40billion spent on propping up the euro and bailouts.
      It includes £6.6billion to bail out Portugal and Ireland, with £32billion given to the European Investment Bank, and £1billion to the European Central Bank.
      Last week Brexit critics seized on Treasury figures which, they said, showed the UK paid £156million a week to the EU last year, not the £350million claimed by the Leave campaign.
      Robert Oulds, director of the Bruges Group, said: “The point is that all of these figures grossly underestimate the true level of Britain’s financial exposure over the past seven years.”

  56. RDM
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Re: Weekend News, today 14th Aug.

    According to the Weekend Times, L Fox and P Hammond agreed terms for a Transition period, as part of the overall agreement.

    I just wanted to challenge the logic behind said agreement, with a few questions;

    First; No one has said why or what a company would need five years to change?

    If they need two years from 2019, why not two years from today?

    What is it (what needs changing, for all company’s) that the government has to negotiate, and not done on an individual bases (with government support, if needed)?

    A two year Transition, with an End date on or near a General Election? You are asking for it! Second Referendum on Brexit! but this time, the remainders will try to use questions like could we afford the NHS, with a similar relative spend as the average EU member. Forget your answer; this gets the topic on too Corbyn Territory, he’ll promise the world.

    My point; The Conservatives will be making a big mistake, if they try to enter the next General Election (currently 2022) without a deal in place, and have been for a year or so. So, people can settle down with the detail of the deal! So, the current deadline, 2019, is exactly what will be needed to kept to!

    So, that combined with a full package too offer to the public, the leader will make a better job of it, then the last time.

    But for now, as I have said before; A statement should be put out stating that any company, big or small, will need to send the Business Department a form and description of the problems it will have, coming leaving the Single Market and Customs Union on 2019.

    They will be judged, and then treated on a case by case bases, with all the support necessary.

    Leaving the ECJ will need no transitional support, may be a few new Judges?

    Even for the large Banks, I can’t see why they should start the regulatory changes, required, now?

    So, it must be the issue of Passporting, they are waiting to see what is negotiated.

    I could hazard a guess, and say, that the EU are using the issue of Clearing (1/2 a Trillion) as leverage?

    Would it be worth while making the City more Internationalist in nature, and offer to make the Euro/Dollar legal tend (bond issuance) so the Banks/Company’s could hold/trade Euros/Dollars.

    I know the Euro is traded already, in the City, but how attractive is the city, to European/USA Banks/company’s that want to Bank/hold assets (£/$/€).



  57. Anthony Hopkins
    Posted August 18, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    One possible solution to the Irish border issue is simply for the UK not to impose tariffs on EU goods. Inevitably, if the EU chooses to impose tariffs on UK goods, then this raises the problem of UK goods being smuggled across the Irish border into the EU. in that event, the onus is on the EU and the Irish government to decide whether to install customs controls on goods coming from the UK into the EU. Should the UK decide not to impose tariffs on EU goods, and the EU choose to impose tariffs on UK goods, this would look vindictive in the eyes of the rest of the world, as its only purpose would be to punish the UK for leaving.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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