The UK can easily calculate the exit bill – it’s nothing

We hear that Mr Barnier wants the UK to set out its calculation of the exit bill. That’s easy. The bill is zero. Nothing. Zilch.

I read that Mr Barnier thinks we owe them £66bn. So he needs to present his draft bill, and the UK can explain why it’s a load of nonsense. There is no Treaty article requiring a departing member state to pay extra for the period after it has left. The UK did not receive a present or rebate on joining to take account of the liabilities existing members had entered into before we were sitting round the table, so why would there be one in reverse when we leave? The EU has had plenty of notice of our departure so they can adjust their 2020 budgets accordingly.

Many of us who just want to leave thought about recommending that the UK simply legislate in the UK Parliament to leave and go. That would be well within our constitutional rights and in accordance with our wish to take back control. We agreed to make a big gesture to the EU to go along with the Treaty over the matter of leaving, knowing that left us exposed to having to pay additional regular contributions to the EU up until the date of departure. The EU wants more. We have already been very generous. Doubtless the EU will want to spin the talks out for the maximum permitted two years to pocket more of our money.

I read that Labour now wants to undermine the UK’s position by arguing to pay the EU more money for longer. It’s always good to see the Opposition sign up to very unpopular policies. Parliament will not I trust vote for that act of self abuse, when we need the money to spend on domestic priorities.

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  1. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Your comments this morning John are like music to my ears. Straightforward and bluntly put. Just what we are all thinking. Why, or why aren’t there more of you in the cabinet? I feel Labour just want to appease everyone and I am hoping against hope it doesn’t work for them. Let’s just get on with it before we blow it.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. Brexit is Brexit, Leave is Leave. The UK is the UK!!
      I sent a note to TM some weeks back suggesting JR and Mark Harper are appointed to cabinet. Haven’t heard too much from TM since the recess which perhaps suggests there maybe big change coming up?? If we had a leadership vote tomorrow I would vote for TM today and the next day and the next day and the next day and the next day. I don’t think DD will blow it because the EU don’t want to blow it… (famous last words?)

  2. Giles
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    “The UK did not receive a present or rebate on joining to take account of the liabilities existing members had entered into before we were sitting round the table, so why would there be one in reverse when we leave?”

    The precedent here is Austria joining the EU in 1995. That country immediately became a net contributor but the wider budget was not recalculated and existing net contributors were never compensated for the new funds Austria was providing.

    The reverse circumstance will be the case when the UK leaves. It will leave a hell of a hole in the EU budget but if Davies et al use Austria as precedent the UK exit bill could be nil.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I hope our Prime Minister and her negotiation team agrees with you JR.

    We do not need to negotiate to leave at all.

    The only negotiation which is needed, is if we want to try to get an arrangement which is thought to be better than WTO rules, or to agree on co-operative projects.

    • Liam Hillman
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Mrs May is a Remainer. This is something that seems to have been overlooked. She will water Brexit down until we are left inside the EU. Where did this “transition period” come from? We didn’t vote for that in 2016.

      • John O'Leary
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Where did this “transition period” come from?

        It probably come from your boss who is hoping to continue to employ you after March 2019.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

          A childish comment.

  4. Gary C
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    How about informing Mr Barnier we have had enough of this nonsense, there is absolutely no way we will cave into their unreasonable demands and are leaving . . . . . . . . . Today.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Nice – I like it!

    • Peter
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink


      No sign yet that this is likely to happen though.

    • Duyfken
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      We could do that individually Gary. His email address is .

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Dear Gary–Much too slow–Tell them it was with effect as of midnight

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      That is what we should hold in reserve in case they continue to mess us about, and my idea was that this should have been mentioned in our Article 50 TEU notice – that it was being given “without prejudice to the UK’s unilateral right of withdrawal under wider international law”.

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Totally agree but fear May and co. will do just that – cave in!!

    • Oggy
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      You would do that and I would do that …………….. but unfortunately our politicians do not have big enough cahones to do that.

      • John O'Leary
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        If you’re going to use a Spanish word you could at least spell it correctly. The word is cajones.

        • zorro
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          LOL…. hombre quiere decir cojones!

          cajones is a set of drawers!

          zorro (and yes I do know how to speak Spanish)

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

            ….did you mean the cojones in the cajones?

          • Oggy
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Thanks guys for correcting my spelling (but you knew what I meant).
            I was going to reply to Mr O’Leary’s post with some sarcasm but I see you’ve done that for me.

        • getahead
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink


          • zorro
            Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            sin acento…..


          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            ¿Con o sin acento? works! 😉

  5. Turboterrier.
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    But are our negotiators up to the mark to and firmly stand their ground? Sadly I think not.

    The only thing they have got to negotiate is amongst themselves is: Who will be last through the door as they leave and will they please close it.

    If the media is to be even partly believed the EU is well on its way too falling apart as different countries are waking up to what and who the EU is really all about.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      The Eastern Bloc countries could well walk. Once the monies start to dry up and their own citizens have to wait in line along with the rest of the world to enter and work in the UK (no easy jobs to send money home) things will look decidedly bleak for the EU. Its appeal will wane as liabilities (enforced third world immigration) begin to outweigh the benefits (free money).

      They will have rebuilt their countries and, once out themselves will pull up the draw bridge to the EU, UK and the rest of the world. etc ed

      • Mitchel
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        And probably gravitate back into the Russian orbit – the free money from the West will be lost but they’ll still be dependent on Russian pipelines unless they want expensive American LNG.

  6. agricola
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Time for our negotiating team to spell out a few basic facts. We owe nothing from our date of departure, and only the nett membership fee until then. I would not trust them in the present climate to continue supporting institutions that they have supported up till now, like the BBC for instance. Ask the question concerning areas in which continued cooperation would wisely continue. Ask them to choose trade on WTO rules or free of tariff trade. Tell them that we will sort out the Irish border question in cooperation with the Irish. Tell them that EU citizens presently resident in the UK for retirement or work will be treated as if they were UK citizens. Give them a deadline by which they should make up their minds, the day after which we leave.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Indeed not even the pension liabilities of the EU to their UK employees are the UK’s responsibility. Let them pay or just let them default on them. Unfortunately T May (post the absurd punishment budget election) is weak, misguided, not too bright. She is essentially an interventionist, climate alarmist, tax borrow and waste socialist and lacks any sensible uplifting conservative vision.

    She will rapidly cave in unless the sensible wing can prevent her.

  8. dame rita webb
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Looking a bit less into the future what is the government going to do if the £ hits parity with the euro or it becomes worth less than a euro? Is Carney going to raise interest rates and risk toppling the pile of private debt or is he going to follow Dr Gono of the Bank of Zimbabwe and his “cheap money” policies? The average voter should be more concerned about this rather than Mrs May and her lipservice delivery of BREXIT.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Discussions with people in the City have confirmed for me that they are far more worried about the effect on the economy of Corbyn being elected than by Brexit – certainly a sterling crisis would be one immediate outcome. Given that, it is odd Keir Starmer isn’t recommending we all vote Conservative to prevent that particular cliff-edge fall into crisis and to provide stability for business.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Read the Bank of England Act 1998.

  9. Epikouros
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    The question is does Mr Barnier really believe that the UK owes a Brexit bill or is it just another one of the EU’s negotiating teams absurd ploys. If it is the former then Barnier just needs to hand David Davies an invoice listing what has to be paid for and then let the UK reject it giving reasons why or pay up. Asking that the UK invoice itself is sinking to the depths of ridiculous so suggests it is the latter.

    As you say under the terms of the treaties there is no provision for any member to pay an exit fee. However that is based on the logic and reasoning of a person with some capacity to be able to use these skills wisely. The world is populated by many who either do not have that capacity or disdain them if it profits them to do so. Hence we do have those who favour the likes of socialism, progressive doctrine, big state magic money tree economic and social policies, EU membership and make judgements based on perverse logic and reasoning. Considerable success can be achieved if inconvenient facts and the truth are ignored by the dishonourable and grasping and the EU is both of those.

    • Londoner
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      The only people who talk about an exit fee are Boris Johnson and John Redwood, who are trying to deceive you into blaming the EU when the UK’s economy crashes. All the EU is asking is that the UK meets existing agreed obligations.

      Reply Why then dont they list them with Treaty references to why we have to pay them?

      • zorro
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense, Londoner…. Show me the official EU statement showing how much and what the supposed obligations are…. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. There is no settlement fee. As we are following the supposed provisions of A50, that only specifies a maximum period of two years which means sub payments u til 30/03/19….. Nothing more than that ✌️


      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        Londoner–The so-called divorce bill (which if it were indeed a divorce bill would these days involve sharing assets and no other payments) is nothing more than a naked attempt at ‘blackmail’ or a demand for a bribe, which should be treated, as they say, with the contempt it deserves

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        We know why not, JR; because it’s all a load of bull which only convinces those like Londoner whose primary loyalty is to the EU not the UK.

  10. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    It’s time we started laying down our demands to the EU, and despite everything else, the EU still need us more than we ned them…. David Davis needs to start talking plainly to Barnier, and make it clear what our terms are:
    – no divorce settlement;
    – no ecj;
    – no single market;
    – no cooperation from UK in the future if the EU does not suport our right to rule ourselves.

    They have used us as a means to fund their socialist agenda, robbing us blind, using our resources to enable the infrastructure of less well-governed nations to be vastly improved while our’s crumbles – No wonder they want more money from us as a punishment.

    Britain has never been a true partner within the EU – when it suited them they folllowed our lead, but on the important things they demanded, and we aquiescied – The EU is the most aberrated form of government possible – even the old French kings were not so abrasive, demanding or self serving…

  11. Know-Dice
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink


    “The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce (DIHK) said uncertainty over “business critical” issues such as workers’ rights, tax and customs arrangements needed to be tackled.

    DIHK said the uncertainty was affecting German firms which traded with the UK.”

    Did someone blink? 🙂

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink


      Exactly its a two way street, and they have more at risk trade value wise than we do.

      Perhaps they are at last beginning to wake up and smell the bacon !!!

      The German car workers should be worried, very worried.

      • Londoner
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, because it is only the Brits that buy German cars …

        • David Price
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:30 am | Permalink

          No it isn’t only the Brits but where is there a ready market for an additional 800,000 expensive German cars and spares per year to replace the UK market?

          If the EU and behind it Germany and France are seen to punish us in ways you advocate such as paying a fictitious bill do you seriously think there won’t be a backlash.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

          It’s up to the Germans if they want to throw away a major market and the employment in Germany that relies on that market…

  12. Sean
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Sadly I think that our negotiators need to grow some!

  13. ChrisS
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    A very accurate assessment of the legal position and Giles above has made a very important point about the EU budget after the accession of Austria. It’s one I haven’t heard of before and does indeed provide a precedent, although the 27 will probably argue that the example of Austrian accession shows that the joining or leaving of a member does not change the contributions of other members.

    I have never believed we could negotiate a sensible and practical exit deal and everything we are hearing from the other side of the Channel has just confirmed what we already know : whatever the EU decides is rarely sensible and practical because it is overwhelmingly a political organisation.

    Politics always have to come first, ahead of the interests and prosperity of the people. The best example of this is, of course, the running sore that is the Euro.

    As for Labour, I’ve never trusted Starmer – in his Andrew Marr interview a couple of months ago he seemed to be showing common cause with the Government’s position but he and the other Remainer MPs in Labour’s ranks have seemingly persuaded the hapless Corbyn to go along with a policy that will undoubtedly cause fury in Labour’s Northern heartlands and make David Davies’ task today a lot more difficult.

    It’s just as well we didn’t have the current lot of politicos around in 1939 !

    After the recent debacle over ending student fees, will many people ever trust the party again ?

  14. formula57
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The overriding task of government now is of course to deliver Brexit, one jeopardized by Mrs. Weak and Vacillating’s bad judgement in running a disgraceful election campaign. If it expects to deliver through voluntarily disbursing huge uncontracted sums to a party properly viewed as hostile then it will deserve a further and likely fatal fall in support.

  15. Tasman
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    How shrill! Mr Davis has already made clear we will and must pay what is due. So has Mr Johnson. You, Mr Redwood, are whistling in the wind.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      We must pay what is due. Correct. Why do you think that isn’t zero ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      So what is due? We await an itemised invoice. Suggesting that we might like to make an initial offer does not cut the mustard here. Well, I suppose it might with some people whose primary loyalty lies with the EU rather than the UK.

    • dame rita webb
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Watching Deutsche Welle TV, in English, this morning they are reporting its a done deal that we are paying a minimum of £40 bln with the rest being subject to negotiation with a top line of £100 bln. Remember DW is funded by the German government.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Two little flies in the ointment:
    1. If we just take away our £12,000,000,000 per annum, the EU will go bankrupt. Apart from Germany, no other country is paying nearly as much. Indeed, the next three countries together pay only about the same amount! And Poland in itself takes all of our contribution. They know this.
    2. What about Non tariff barriers to trade made worse by the Northern Irish border question? They know all about this too. As midnight would have struck on Big Ben on 29th-30th March 2019, we will simply become a third country – cut completely off from Europe.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      We are and always (nearly) have been cut off from Europe Mike.
      If you scenario is correct, won’t Europe become cut off from Britain.
      Who is going to buy all those German cars and kitchen appliances, the French wines and cheeses and all the Spanish fresh food.
      All these goods are available probably cheaper elsewhere around the globe.
      Cheer up Mike, your mentor is being very silly.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      If we leave the EU then as far as they are concerned we will become a third country, like 160-odd other countries around the world including Norway and the other two non-EU EEA members – and contrary to your persistent delusion, if a country is not in the EU then it will not escape that “third country” designation by being in the EEA. However none of those 160-0dd countries are “cut completely off from Europe”, the closest to that situation being rogue states such as North Korea. So are you saying that if we leave the EU they will treat us a kind of rogue state? If so, do you think that would be a reasonable response? Or does that ridiculous prospect incline you to think that we will be much better off without such cretins having any hand in the future government of our country?

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink


      You have just answered your own question with number 1.

      That is why we are really in the driving seat, but many on our side do not yet understand it.
      We do actually have the stronger hand.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mike–On this subject you seem to have run increasingly mad. I for one would be happy for the EU to go bankrupt– Not the individual countries, mind — I cannot see why in that event we wouldn’t just carry on trading with the countries. Of course there would be grief and maybe a completely revamped EU which we would have nothing to do with but I reckon grief is coming anyway and it’s time we faced up to it. The EU deserves all it gets for its arrogance trying to preset the agenda and inventing ridiculous bills both of which they seem to be regretting. And as for rejoining the rest of the World and becoming the dreaded (I don’t think) Third Country I see that as precisely what we are trying to do.

  17. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Is David Davis constrained by Parliament for any exit bill he agrees, or just the Government?
    I suppose we might contribute to programmes already agreed during our EU membership, but then we should also claim a return on the income from the completed projects.

  18. rose
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Priceless protestation yesterday from a BBC presenter interviewing a mildly admonishing Frank Field:

    “But we only say what the EU tells us!”

  19. Iain Moore
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    When someone presents a bill to you the least you expect is for it to be itemised.

  20. Michael
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Two points.

    First the Government has said it will honour the UK’s legal obligations implying that a payment will be made.

    Second the EU want the UK to honour not only legal obligations but also moral, ethical and political “debts”

    The Government’s starting position in the negotiations is that a payment will be made. It will be a great surprise if it turns out that we pay nothing..

    • matthu
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      First the Government has said it will honour the UK’s legal obligations implying that a payment will be made?

      Would the meaning change if they had said instead that the Government will only honour the UK’s legal obligations and no more?

  21. Nig l
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    But Hammond and co want a transition period which will mean us paying for possibly a further three years.

    The conference season will soon be with us. Please ensure the Party is on message and that is hard hitting. I do not want to read a Treasury produced Hammond speech that enables the press to read umpteen messages into it and various ‘splits’

    The mood in the country is one of getting on with it as quickly as possible and Labour are showing contempt for a democratic vote. Please exploit these to the max.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Time for some straight talking. Parliament asked if we wanted to remain in or leave the EU. We voted to leave. We demand that Parliament carries out that mandate. Negotiations should not be about negotiating to leave they should be about the future arrangements between an independent UK and the EU. Experience has shown that democracy is anathema to the EU and also it would seem to many of our politicians. The government should not allow itself to be dragged into a mire of endless “negotiations”.

    • DaveM
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Second that. Perfectly put.

  23. John S
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Do we not have a responsibility to finance pensions of British employees and MEPs after we leave? Also surely we will need to continue to pay in areas where we mutually co-operate, e.g. Europol.

    • anon
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      No. Not after we exit.

      The EU has been given notice and can restructure itself and its future spending, cancel projects, reduce headcount, like any other organisation.
      Many in the EU have had the misfortune to losing work,contracts. What makes them uber special

      Are you suggesting we give liflelong garantee’s for highly paid jobs & pensions when there is no legal obligation. How would you square that with the “private sector ” who enjoy no such largess or guarantees?

      Other areas of continuing co-operation may require agreement but should strictly related to its purpose and not result in wasteful open ended funding.

  24. Caterpillar
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Clearly the strategy being followed by government remainers, now supported by the opposition, is to stay within EU agreements for as long as possible whilst waiting for the electorate to forget or give up. The strategy of ignoring people, simply continuing with policy for the privileged groups has, apparently, been demonstrated by the BoE’s monetary policy – that the Govt will apply the same approach to Brexit, supported by the opposition, is no surprise. (The opposition will have a choice of positions it can take by the time of the next GE).

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Here’s Article 50 TEU:

    Perhaps those who are taking the side of the EU could point out where in that article it says that the withdrawing state must pay an exit fee in order to leave the EU.

    Well, they will have some difficulty because of course it doesn’t say that, or anything that could possibly be interpreted, or even easily misinterpreted, as meaning that.

    But in any case let us look at this from the point of view of plain common sense.

    If the UK leaves the EU without any final financial settlement then accountants from both sides can continue to meet and chew it over until eventually there is a final agreement, and even if that takes many years to complete relatively little harm will be done.

    On the other hand, according to the EU and its traitorous supporters in the UK if we leave the EU without any trade deal then that will be utterly catastrophic – I don’t necessarily agree with them on that, but that is what they claim, and they endlessly repeat.

    So which of the two does the EU think must take priority, and even though the two strands of negotiation will not involve the same personnel and so will not actually be competing for priority? Why, the EU thinks that the most important thing is how much money it can extort from the UK, not our future trading relationship.

    The EU is a dishonest and hypocritical organisation, and never a reliable counterparty in any transaction, and as the British people have rightly voted to leave it is high time for the British government to stop behaving as a humble loyal servant of the EU, as it has been over the past four decades, and get stuck in to expose the truth about it.

    • miami.mode
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Denis, it’s almost as though our legislators and their hired helps, with notable exceptions, are afflicted with Stockholm syndrome and are terrified of making autonomous decisions.

      • rose
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Yanis Varoufakis: “Soon Mrs May will be fighting for the right to negotiate…”

        And he should know.

  26. James Neill
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Not quite correct- unfortunately we have been sitting at the high table for the last forty years or so helping to shape what is the EU today. We were collectively responsible for allowing enlargement of this body and the cost of this enlargement has been agreed and projected well into the future and into future budgets. Therefore we still owe for commitments made in the past, amongst other things. We cannot just walk away, wipe the slate clean and in the next breath ask for a new deal to suit ourselves- not possible, that’s not how the world works.

    Whatever the figure owed is will have to be worked out and agreed, on the other hand if we agree to stay in the single market and customs union, which in my opinion as a remainer would be the best solution, then we might not have to pay a lump sum but continue contributing on into the future as we do now- but without a say at the big table- Norway style or something like it.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Here’s an idea: why doesn’t the EU just adjust their future budget to spend less ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      “… if we agree to stay in the single market and customs union … then we might not have to pay a lump sum but continue contributing on into the future … ”

      Where is the logic in that? Oh, let me see, you think that if we agree to stay in the single market and the customs union then the EU can rest assured that we will continue to tamely make our annual budget contributions ad infinitum, but on the other hand if we leave the single market and the customs union then we could not trusted to pay whatever was due in instalments over several years, it would have to be a single lump sum before we left. What a very high opinion they must have of us, which you as one of their supporters apparently share.

    • Andy
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      You are wrong. How exactly is the EU financed ?? What is the legal basis for that ?? It is derived from the Treaties. The financial arrangements are not separate to the Treaties, but a part of them. Once we leave the Treaties cease to apply and so do any obligations arising from those Treaties. This is why the EU27 have got their knickers into such a twist over this issue. And further more it would not be lawful under UK Law for the Government to handover a huge wad of cash. They can only do so via the 1972 Act under thr Treaties and to do anything else will require an Act of Parliament.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      James, we may have been sitting at the top table during negotiations but really how much clout did we actually have? If the EU wanted to do something we did not approve of or did not want to fund did we have a choice? I rather doubt it in many respects. We often got voted against and how much of our money has been spent on grandiose buildings and high costed jollies around the world, supping the best wines and champagnes money can buy? Where are the accounts? Nowhere to be seen so what exactly are we paying for?

      • rose
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        David Cameron was at the top table but when he wanted his colleague in no 11 to be able to reduce the duty on tampons here he had to crawl round 27 countries begging permission. He didn’t get it.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      “We were collectively responsible for allowing enlargement of this body and the cost of this enlargement has been agreed and projected well into the future and into future budgets.”

      So you expect us to pay indefinitely for the cohesion and structural funds of the countries the EU are currently working on joining – Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine and all the “stan” countries as far as the Urals (Mr. Cameron’s Kazakhstan speech July 2013) ?

      When most countries are net recipients!

  27. Bert Young
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I take heart from the way John states our case . We should not owe a penny more than the statutory regulations – that we have signed up to and oblige us to follow . The biggest problem are the ranks on the Conservative side – the Clarkes , Soubrys etc ; who seem determined to have their way and disregard democracy .

    Talk this morning is all about a minimum transition period of 3 years ; the BCC and its counterpart in Germany are both insisting on this condition . These 2 organisations may have opinions of this sort , but they have no right to tell us – the public , what should happen . Davis has to make it clear to Barnier today that we are not prepared to proceed further on the grounds presented by the \EU . If this produces nothing then ” zilch ” is the result and we simply go our own way .

  28. RupertP
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    If we refuse to pay even the genuine outstanding liabilities as you are suggesting, we will be seen as a rogue state that does not pay its bills and we will have no goodwill in Europe to conclude any sort of arrangements for future trade and co-operation in time for March 2019. You are right that there is no legal basis for much of what the EU is asking us to pay, but politically, we need to reach agreement with the EU about what we will pay to enable us to have an orderly exit from the EU with minimised disruption to existing trade.

    Leaving on a disorderly basis without even a withdrawal deal means planes cannot fly between the EU and the UK, UK products and qualifications would not be recognised as being fit for sale in the EU even under WTO terms and would be stopped at the EU border. Hard borders would be required to be re-imposed in Ireland imposing huge hardship on people depending on free trade between North and South Ireland. Security co-operation would immediately cease and UK access and contributions to EU security databases would be blocked. In effect, it would be the equivalent of declaring economic war between the EU and the UK, as the EU would do everything it could to block all UK trade with the EU on the grounds of there being no legal basis for it to continue.

    Is this really what you are suggesting we should do?

    Reply No-one has found a legal liability including you in this piece we have to pay other than our regular contributions up to the date of leaving. I agree with the government that we pay what is legally owing under the Treaties, which does not include a leaving present to them.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Well said John and simply put. There can be no justification for payment whatsoever.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      RupertP wrote: “You are right that there is no legal basis for much of what the EU is asking us to pay, but politically, we need to reach agreement with the EU about what we will pay to enable us to have an orderly exit from the EU with minimised disruption to existing trade.”
      What you describe is extortion. We should have none of it. Talking about paying for minimised disruption to existing trade, how much is the EU prepared to pay the UK for that? Remember they sell us £60bn more per annum than we do to them.

    • zorro
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      That’s cute Rupert, please tell me how this ludricous Continental type blockade quite tallies with A8 TEU…… Come on you know that you can do it 😀. I really do worry for some people.


    • Richard1
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Rupert is correct that these are the implied – but not explicitly stated- threats by the EU bureaucracy towards the UK, should the UK not cave in to EU demands. Whether the launch of such economic warfare by the EU would be supported by the German govt, which in the end calls the shots, is another question. Rupert’s piece illustrates nicely both the risks and difficulties of EU withdrawal, and the utterly dysfunctional nature of the EU, which is the underlying argument of Leave for withdrawal! The problem with caving in on the money is the EU will bank the win and move onto something else. It’s essential that the UK remembers that no deal is better than a bad deal, and that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We may well end up having to give the EU a £10bns bung. But not a penny should be handed over until there is a signed free trade deal. If we are going to WTO terms (& possibly over the cliff edge) then of course they should get nothing.

  29. bigneil
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    £66bn – Will that NOT be paid in the same way as a previous EU demand for money wasn’t paid as well? I believe your words John – no-one else. We shouldn’t have to pay anything – -but shouldn’t and won’t are two very different things.

  30. Richard1
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I have been involved in many negotiations as I’m sure others have. My experience is that all successful negotiations share three characteristics: 1) Both sides have been able to regard and present the final deal as being a success; 2) Both sides have been prepared to compromise at some point over some aspect, normally over several issues; & 3) both sides have been prepared to walk away from a bad deal – they have had some ‘reservation’ price or terms.

    It follows from 1) that Mr Junker and others who talk like him will need to move away from their position that “Brexit cannot be a success”. It follows from 2) that the UK will have to make some sort of a bung so the EU can save face if nothing else. And it follows from 3) that the position taken by Labour, the SNP, LibDems, BBC interviewers etc that we can’t say “no deal is better than a bad deal” is a recipe for failure – either for a very bad deal, or even for total collapse as the EU demands more and more, believing that the UK will never walk away.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I guess we may be hearing more about this little gem later today: “Another point to take on board is that the Article 50 withdrawal agreement is not in itself a treaty”.

    Just a reminder of the view taken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

    “The term treaty describes an international agreement concluded in writing between states which creates rights and obligations in international law. Treaties are known by a variety of names, for example agreement, convention, protocol, treaty etc. They may be in the form of a single instrument with numbered articles or in the form of an exchange of notes. There can also be treaties between a state and an international organisation.”

  32. JoolsB
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Well said John. We owe them NOTHING, if anything they owe us. Let’s just hope that there are enough similar like minded people in the cabinet and Brexit negotiations but unfortunately I fear not.

  33. NHSGP
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Just ask Corbyn how many Nurses get axed to pay Eurocrat pensions?

    On the divvy up, why is the EU demanding the split on the percentage of contributions, not on the basis of an equal amount per head?

    No assets included.

    Stand up and tell the EU citizens they are on the hook for the EU’s debt mountain. Personally.

    EU Expansion? Sign up and be on the hook for lots of debts. A real winner.

    So why won’t you John put the state pensions on the books so everyone, the young in particular can see the debts you’ve dumped on them?

    • dame rita webb
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      In all fairness to JR, long term readers know that he has been quite open about the size of the state’s pension liabilities in relation to GDP (around 200%). If the young still believe they will receive any meaningful income in retirement from the state they deserve what is coming to them. Similarly anybody who is hoping to retire on a juicy public sector final salary pension needs to wake up too. There are enough examples in the US at the moment e.g. the Dallas police officers scheme and virtually anything connected to the state of Illinois with the benefits at retirement being significantly altered. The UK universities scheme appears to be just a straw in the wind.

  34. Prigger
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    If you listen to the economy bulb leading lights of Labour they are the EU. They repeat verbatim to our loyal, trusted, truthful, honest, patriotic media what the EU says and demands. They tell us we should listen carefully to Lord EU-EU and believe and follow all he says.

  35. forthurst
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    It really is time to call the EU’s bluff; they need a trade deal far more than we. In fact we don’t need one at all. They cannot replace the City; they simply don’t have the capacity, whereas, we can replace their vehicles and food whilst bolstering our own base; so let’s stop discussing how much to donate to the EU and how far we will be beholden to their ECJ and how much of our fish they can continue to expropriate and just get out.

  36. VotedOut
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Regardless if your politics is left (as I am) or right, the central issue that stands over everything is UK sovereignty. Nothing is more important.

    A referendum was held in 2016 where we were told ‘no ifs, no buts’. Well we voted out in the biggest vote in British history. We didn’t vote for a transitional deal. We didn’t vote for a 9 month delay. We didn’t vote to hand over any money or any other ‘generous offer’. We voted out.

    We all knew exactly what we voted for – out of the EU the single market and customs union. We knew exactly what that would mean and it is an insult to me and 33.5 million voters to say otherwise. Those that refuse to accept democracy would perhaps be happy emigrating to North Korea?

    Teresa May was right to say that a failure to respect the vote would endanger our democracy. With very few exceptions most of the political class do not understand how dangerous this waffling about is. I do believe this is as serious a state of affairs as existed in the 1830’s and that nearly brought down the state until the people were listened to.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Voted out

      Hear, hear a thousand times

  37. Simon
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Not only did we graciously agree to take part in the ludicrous brief arrangements set out in Article 50, an article no one ever anticipated being used which was thus bereft of meaningful process; but the EU then responded by refusing to start framework talks. The British are still not responding to the evidence right in front of them as to the nature of the EU bureaucracy we are dealing with.

    I really do hope JR and his like minded colleagues keep the PM & DDs feet to the fire on this financial settlement issue. We need to inflict an embarrassing defeat on Barnier early doors to show them we mean business.

  38. acorn
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “Many of us who just want to leave thought about recommending that the UK simply legislate in the UK Parliament to leave and go.”

    So why not do it now, see how much support you get in the lobbies. Put up or shut up!

    Do we give Barnier a bit of paper that says article 50 process concluded, we’re off as of next Friday. We could then spend the next decade arguing in international courts, if we owe any money.

  39. jack
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Barnier hasn’t got the last word he is just a negotiator who takes his instructions from the commission. The commission under Junker has to take into account Verhofstadt who is the top guy in the EU parliament and who has taken the brunt of Uk MEPs abuse and insults for years – so walking away without paying a price will not be allowed..that’s if we want another deal?..On the other hand we could just go the scenic route by the cliff edge but thats a pathway leading to nowhere. The choice is ours.

    • acorn
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Jack. The UK is voluntarily leaving the EU club using Article 50. The EU is not ejecting the UK from the EU club.

      In an international court of law, the EU is the damaged party that is entitled to claim damages because the UK has not cited any breach of the Treaties, that would stand up at the UN and to Article 60 of the Vienna Convention.

      The EU Treaties mean whatever the EU administration of the day, says they mean. What the UK Foreign Office thinks they could mean on another planet, is irrelevant. The UK could spend years at the UN, trying to resolve that one.

      Reply You dont need to mAke any such claim as the EU Treaty itself gives you the right to leave without a bill!

      • zorro
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        What are you talking about? How can the EU claim damages or aggrieved status when there is a specific provision within the TEU which allows a country to leave????


        • acorn
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Article 50 is silent on the cost of leaving under Article 50. It does not say there will be a charge; or, no charge, for leaving. There are various international conventions, like the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, that have been designed to adjudicate in such matters.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        There have been multiple breaches of the EU treaties, however the question would be whether the present UK government could legitimately disown the connivance of previous UK governments in those legal breaches …

    • Mark
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      What Article 50 says is that the European Council are in charge of the negotiations – not Juncker and the EU Commission, whose role is limited to providing advice, and not Verhofstadt and Europarl, whose role is limited to rubber stamping the negotiated deal at the end of the process. It’s time the European Council took their responsibility seriously, and spent time together agreeing a way forward: otherwise they will find that they have run out of time to work out how to re-arrange the EU’s budget funding and spending after we leave.

  40. Jason wells
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Yeah john right on!.. the EU crowd are going to screw us so bad.. they will rub our noses in it and then some more.. in fact it’s pay back time now for all the whinge and upset caused and in case anyone might still be in any doubt. A50 has been activated and so there is no way back- not in a million years- only a big bill to pay..that’s if we ever want the chance to do some kind of a future trade deal with them. Zilch is not the word exactly.. more like gazillion

    Reply We do not have to pay a single Euro to trade!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Jason Wells, if you are British you are taking the wrong side.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink


      The people that you describe do not seem the sort of company a gentleman would wish to keep. Hence why we are leaving.

      This nation has suffered much over the centuries from those on the continent of Europe. It is only when we look further over the horizon have we found our fortune, fame and greatest happiness. And we can do it again.

      I am not one of those who voted in the belief that this was going to be both quick and painless and, I believed that the EU would make damned sure we suffered for our independence. But we have faced far worse and we have overcome such trials, and we, once more, shall do so again.

      Have a little more faith in your country and countrymen.

    • zorro
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need a trade deal to trade with them either!


  41. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    One is really amazed that Barnier et all don’t seem to have even read the Treaties they rabbit on about. The way the EU is financed is subordinate to the Treaties and is not a separate agreement, so there is no legal basis for the EU to demand a penny after we leave. Nor is there any provision for the UK to demand a large slice of the EUs assets – I notice that teh EU wholeheartedly agree with that principle.

  42. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I really think that Labour or Momentum as it should be called have scored a home goal.
    Telling their supporters that they will keep free movement and continue paying £billions to Brussels will go down like a lead balloon in the Midlands and the North.
    If you sort out the students voting and postal scam you could possibly win if you don’t capitulate to Brussels.

  43. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    What a pity that the UK entered into many financial commitments with many European entities! Leaving all these contracts without paying your bills??? Even an extreme government politician like the foreign secretary by now acknowledges that instead of whistling any tune, a financial settlement is necessary . . . . and do not forget that the whole world (with all your future contractual partners) is watching.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      PvL, I’m not sure that the UK as a single entity made that commitment?

      Surely it was the EU that entered into many financial commitments which it now needs to adjust to meet it’s current potential budget shortfall.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        @Know-Dice: All details had already been provided as one of the 12 June EU position papers, and the EU doesn’t forge the UK signature. To my knowledge the UK has chosen not to delve into all these details provided, although, lets keep some hope for this week.

        • David Price
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 5:15 am | Permalink

          If you are referring to TF50 (2017) 2/2 “Essential Principles on Financial Settlement” then there are no details at all, simply a list of departments, agencies and funds of the EU.

          paragraph 2 of that document states;
          “This single financial settlement should be based on the principle that the United Kingdom must honour its share of the financing of all the obligations undertaken while it was a member of the Union. The United Kingdom obligations should be fixed as a percentage of the EU obligations calculated at the date of withdrawal in accordance with a methodology to be agreed in the first phase of the negotiations.”

          This attempts to commit the UK to obligations taken on by the EU regardless of whether the UK agreed to them or were party to their agreement. Good luck with that.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          We call that phishing!!!

          There doesn’t seem to be ANY legal basis for those items detailed in the 12 June EU position papers.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      “…do not forget that the whole world (with all your future contractual partners) is watching….”
      The whole world despises the EU. Apart from Greece for some reason.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink


        Well according to a Greek national I was talking to the other day they may despise the EU but they despise Germany even more.

    • ian wragg
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Peter I believe we agreed to the current budget which lasts till 2020. As we are leaving the next budget will have to take into account our loss of contributions.
      There are many things I would like to do but can’t afford to do. The EU will have to cut its cloth accordingly.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        @ian wragg: The EU negotiation team itself hasn’t provided any amount, it wants to talk about HOW to calculate the financial settlement. The UK chose not to enter into that as yet.

        • Mark
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          It’s really quite easy. In 2019 we will pay our gross contribution covering the period January to March based on GDP and VAT receipts for the quarter, and the requisite share of customs duties for the same period. A year later, the EU will refund us our rebate on a similar pro-rata basis.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      If the contracts exit why doesn’t Barnier present them ? Also why did the EU’s own internal legal team advise him that no significant divorce bill was legally required ? The best way to handle this is to appoint a 3rd-party legal team from a neutral country to arbitrate on what the legal settlement defined BT contract and treaty is. Of course the EU wouldn’t agree to that, and we know why.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        @Roy Grainger: Complete lists were provided on 12 June, plus the suggestion (in vain so far) to talk about HOW to calculate any settlement. Maybe the amount will be low, that depends the manner of calculating.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          Go on then, provide a link to those “complete lists”.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink


      When we joined we immediately started to pay for projects that others had voted before we joined.

      You seem to want it both ways.

      Given we have always paid in more than we have taken out we have been a net contributor for over 40 years, time some of you others paid your fair share to pick up the slack when we leave.

      Anybody put their hand up yet to volunteer. ?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson: you apparently don’t realise that (per citizen) the Netherlands’ net contribution has always been higher that of the UK.
        Claiming that you were ignorant of running projects when you joined this club is not a very strong suit.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          Its the actual cash paid, that is the relevant statistic.
          Per capita is just an interesting diversion.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            @Edward2: Well, then why don’t you protest against having contributed more than Malta?
            In the real world statistics don’t only concern absolute figures as you suggest.
            Is you tax system based on absolute figures as well? 🙂
            Every Englishman paying the same figure instead of a percentage?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            I have no wish to protest about the UK paying more than Malta
            Your arguments based on per capita statistics are ridiculous.
            The UK has been one of the biggest net contributors since it joined.
            I say that as an observation rather than a complaint.
            But this fact must be taken into account when we negotiate our leaving.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

          So you won’t mind paying a bit more to keep the show on the road.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Aren’t statistics wonderful, they can say anything you want…

          Regardless the EU will miss our not so small contribution.

    • Andy
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      It is a pity you don’t understand the EU treaties and how the EU is financed. There are no ‘contracts’ and anything to which the UK has agreed it has done so ‘as a member of the EU’ and in that capacity. Once we leave the EU it matters not if we had agreed in the Council to finance Junkers sauce bill. As of 30th March 2019 we wont be doing so. After all you seem to tell us the EU is a club. When you leave a club, even if you have been on the committee and agreed to the new roof on the club house you are not liable for that expenditure once you cease to be a member. And by the way if you are demanding money we must demand a proportionate share of the assets – you cannot have liabilities without assets – so you will have to pay a huge figure to the UK to ‘buy us out’ or we charge rent.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        @Andy: If it were that simple, why does the UK negotiation team avoid taking a clear position and tell the EU-27 how the calculations should be done?
        No amount of money had been asked, just a position on how to calculate the settlement.
        Forget all the foam of politicians and media throwing estimated amounts, the EU negotiators have not mentioned a figure.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

          It is the EU who are demanding a leaving payment.
          It is for them to justify their demands not the UK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink


          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            @Denis, are you shouting loudly enough?
            Don’t read too much UKIP or Daily Express, just stick to the official line, verbalised by Barnier.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Correct Denis.
            Well said.
            It needed saying loudly too.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted August 30, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

            According to M Barnier, the EU doesn’t want to punish Britain but nonetheless wants £60 billion from us. I would hate to see what punishment would look like.

            I think that we have heard more than enough of the EC official line, verbalised by M Barnier.

            Is the continued existence of the EU in Britain’s interest?

        • Andy
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          We are not the ones demanding money with NO LEGAL BASIS – You are. You simply fail to understand what you are a member of. There isn’t even a legal basis for the EU to demand a payment for EU Pensions.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Many of those so called “commitments” were initiated by the EU and carried by QMV giving the UK no chance to opt out. Yes a financial settlement is necessary, but nothing like the humongous figures being bandied about, mainly by the media I think.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        @John O’Leary: please just specify which these QMV commitments were from the very long list provided on 12 June.
        Mind you, when the UK agreed to the QMV formula, it meant that it agreed, right. In plain May English: “agreement is agreement”, “treatement is treatment” “ratifiction is ratification”.

        • alan jutson
          Posted August 29, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink


          Leaving means leaving.

    • Bert Young
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      PvL I hope the world is watching . The way the EU is behaving in its negotiations is enough to put any country off . UK history has always shown responsibility in the deals it has done ; we are respected in world affairs and we have no reason to fear . Shell and Unilever are examples of the way we can and do respect each other ; I am certain these 2 organisations will continue in concert in the future .

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        @Bert Young: Of course Unilever and Shell will continue as ever, they already existed before the UK joined I believe.
        But also please don’t blame the EU for the UK’s internal divisions, its unpreparedness, its lack of output, its lack of timely reaction to the many EU position papers on 12 June. I do believe the referendum result was known on 24-6-16, that is already 14 months ago!!!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        We should make sure that the rest of the world is giving at least some regard to what is going on and to the appalling attitude being shown by the EU.

    • acorn
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Old EU joke. “How do you know when the British delegation has arrived at the airport? You can still hear the whining after the engines have stopped.”

      • Mark B
        Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Not after 30th March 2019 they won’t


        He who laughs last, laughs loudest.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        It’s OK, acorn, we already know which side you are on.

  44. Robin Wilcox
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    If the EU wanted to charge member states for leaving they should have put it into the treaty. The EU is very fond of banging on about their precious treaties when it suits their purpose. We should be giving them a taste of their own medicine not our money.

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink


    “A new word has entered the lexicon – Brexodus – to reflect the claim that Europeans are leaving in droves as they shun post-Brexit Britain.

    But it is a funny sort of Brexodus which leaves the number of European nationals in Britain at an all-time high. While the quarterly immigration figures did show a significant reduction in the scale of EU immigration to the UK, and a rise in the number of Europeans departing, those figures also showed that twice as many Europeans came to the UK as departed from it, with an estimated 122,000 EU nationals leaving the UK while 249,000 arrived in the year to March 2017.”

    It’s just another load of Remoaner lies, they have no scruples.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I would argue that those who are leaving have made their money and are using it to invest at home. Those coming in are from even poorer countries and are willing to work for wages less that their fellow EU / Eastern European cousins.

      As the pound continues to slide, I believe part in due to the ECB and others in the EU selling Sterling, working for some in the UK will become less profitable. Only those from the very poorest will be able and willing to work here as wages at home are so low.

    • Mark
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      The silver lining in the figures seems to be reductions in the numbers coming “looking for work” with no definite job to go to, and in students from outside the EU, who now are facing a sharp rise in average fees paid compared with earlier years when they were charged little more that EU/UK students on average. Perhaps the bureaucracy is slowly lumbering into gear, and preventing some of the abuses of the past.

      There is no sign of any upturn of ex-student emigration, despite the ONS paper and exit checks that only apply to a subset of students if you read the definitions carefully.

  46. David Williams
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Do not pay an exit bill. Firstly there is no legal requirement. Secondly it would be a national humiliation. Thirdly it would demonstrate to other countries and organisations that the UK is a soft touch.

  47. BobE
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Dithering Doris, as per usual.

  48. PaulW
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    The government should put JR into the negotiating job instead of DD and problem solved..we would have reached the cliff edge by the fastest route. Liam fox could then roll out his plans for future new global trade deals, we could beef up the army to protect the irish border and deport all of the three million EU foreigners out. As i said problem solved

    Reply No-one is going to evict anyone legally settled here under current EU rules. We do not want a hard border in Ireland.

  49. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Even if we agree to pay only €1 the EU will have won the argument.

    We must pay NOTHING.

  50. margaret
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    They are just taking the ****. It is inappropriate at this time to call the EU’s bluff. Perhaps some one can guide me to the most up to date part of the treaty which discusses leaving fees and I will assess it for myself. I don’t want to wade through mountains of words which in the end seem to mean nothing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      There is no such part of the treaties discussing leaving fees.

  51. ian
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    As i have always said, triggering article 50 was a mistake, and that was up to mr cameron and con party after his talks, and then ref, to take the uk out of EU right away, so talk could get underway. As you can see triggering article 50 has just muddy the water, which can now go on for years, with interim agreements that make no sense, with the EU interested in money talks only. MRS May can still take the uk out at any time she wishers to do so, with no vote in parliament, because it already been voted on, for out. Coming out on the 1st of jan 2018 is the way to go, which shut down the money talks for good. Single market and customs union will carry on, with everything else apart from paying in money to the eu.
    Then talks will then start in earnest, with the eu leading the way on what it want to do, WTO or free trade or it own ideas, but you will have free trade for quite along time till the eu makes up it mind on which it wishers to do. The uk can not lead the talks, it can only make suggestion to the eu, which not really talking, because the uk will have to go with what ever they come up with, good or bad, which is the case now, and of course the eu has no need for talks, because it still collecting the uk money, and making uk laws with support from uk MPs in parliament, which the eu and uk MPs want to go on for years with interim agreements, which can last forever. Brexit could be in the news for years to come, always leaving but never do. Happy voting, your welcome to it.

  52. treacle
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    We need to prepare for no deal, and for the imposition of tariffs. It’s obvious that the talks will achieve nothing, just as Mr Cameron’s did. But I don’t trust the government not to sell us short, just as Labour clearly want to do. If the government were serious about Brexit, they would have Mr Redwood in the cabinet, preferably as Chancellor.

  53. Terry
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Well stated John. BTW does Number 10 actually have a PR department? If so, what do they do each day? Enforce their vow of silence?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Yes, Number 10 has a media unit, as does the Department for Exiting the European Unit, which even has a twitter account which it barely uses:

  54. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 28, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Michael Portillo said, back in June: 1. May can’t get Hard Brexit through. 2. No-one else in the Tory Party can either. 3. Only Ruth Davidson has the charisma to lead the Tories – but she’s a remainer.

    Since then, Corbyn is now going for Soft Brexit to outmanoeuvre the Tories. And so we’ll be left with the worst of both worlds: Soft Brexit with the socialists in power.

    Brexiters should have had a strategy before trying to win the Referendum.
    1) You have to have a leader who can implement something that David Davis has described as difficult as a space landing.
    2) You first have to pay off your bills, before incurring new ones with the inevitable cost of Brexit (borrowing to cover costs of re-jigging your economy, and others costs).
    3) You’ve got to be clear about what you want (Lots of Brexiters have different views from Soft to Medium to Hard Brexit, that it’s about immigration, the economy, sovereignty, and so on).

    As a betting man, I’d put good money on Soft Brexit. Rather than that and the socialists getting back into power, I suggest we try and remain in the EU whilst going hard to reform it for our benefit (and the EU’s which in turn benefits us as well).

    We can turn a negative into a positive. Let’s be ambitious for our country, whilst being pragmatic, and opportunistic in a positive way.

  55. David Price
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    According to a Guardian article on 12-July-2016, immediately after the 2016 referendum but before the Article 50 letter the EU instituted a policy of rejecting UK academics and institutions from joint projects to the extent of firing any Brit from leadership positions.

    “In a confidential survey of the UK’s Russell Group universities, the Guardian found cases of British academics being asked to leave EU-funded projects or to step down from leadership roles because they are considered a financial liability.

    In one case, an EU project officer recommended that a lead investigator drop all UK partners from a consortium because Britain’s share of funding could not be guaranteed.”

    Until the article 50 process was instigated, and in fact until we leave we are supposed to be a full paying member of the EU with full rights yet, if the article is true, the EU has officially treated us otherwise in a clear breach of trust, maybe even in breach of treaties.

    The EU has set a clear precedent, as we have not been treated properly since July 2016 as a paying member we should no longer pay the full amount.

    • Mark
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      If the EU thought the projects and the contributions from UK academics and companies were worthwhile, they would surely have included them and expected to secure UK agreement to continued funding, because it would be to mutual benefit. Plainly, they have no confidence in the work they were commissioning.

      • David Price
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        That was not the case at all if you read the quote from the article.

        The key point is the second paragraph where an EU official specifically states before the Article 50 process was started that all UK contributors be dropped specifically because they don’t think finances can be guaranteed because of Brexit.

        Wriggle all you want but the EU official policy has been clearly discriminatory and quite possibly in breach of their own rules and treaties.

  56. Original Richard
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “The UK can easily calculate the exit bill – it’s nothing.”


    Equally easy will be the trade terms.

    These will either be to continue with no tariffs, as at present, or revert to WTO tariffs.

    The decision will be for the EU to make as we are perfectly happy to go to WTO tariffs especially since we have a £80bn/year trading deficit with the EU.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted August 29, 2017 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      No, Richard UK business is not perfectly happy with your proposed outcome and you need to come down from your ideological horse and face the music

  57. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 29, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink


    This ideological nonsense will have to stop.

    We all know that there will be a bill to pay and having our own internal domestic ideological debates does not lead to anything, it just makes it more difficult for our businesses whoa are dependent on Europe to make money for the country.

    We can talk about what we want and do not want, but no deal is not an option for UK business and your ideological crusades are not going to change the real facts on the ground.

    Wake up and face the music

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    “No deal is better than a bad deal”. Now, in the face of EC and Franco-German bullying, is the time to hit the button. I think that Euro-sceptics need an uplifting song to cheer themselves up. May I recommend Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover”.

  59. Mark Weightman
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I could not disagree more. The calculation of the “Divorce bill” is very complicated and is far from zero. Once you factor in what the divorce bill is designed to distract us from you will understand why.

    We have not, or maybe it is just I have not, seen any account of what went into the EU calculation. Here are a few item I bet have not been included:-

    Assets and real estate owned, at least in part by the UK.

    Repayment for assets and monies the EU have allowed to be fraudulently pilfered.

    Reparation for damage done the the UK economy, industries and citizen due the EU mismanagement.

    When all this is taken into account, the Brexit bill should be billion in our favour.

  • 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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