Mr Barnier’s state of mind

Mr Barnier seems to think the UK will not settle what it owes. That is a misunderstanding. The UK government has always made clear it will honour its legal obligations. It will, for example, pay around £30 bn of additional net contributions to the EU for the near 3 year period of transition from our vote to leave to our exit in March 2019. That is a big win for the EU, given the fact that the UK Parliament could have moved to implement the referendum decision quickly and unilaterally to end our contributions much earlier. We could have renounced the EU Treaty instead of complying with it by sending an Article 50 letter. We chose the friendly route of leaving instead. It gives them plenty of time to adjust their budgets for after our departure. The problem for Mr Barnier is there is no legal or Treaty power to levy money on us after we have gone, and no legal requirement for us to co fund their budget after 2019.

As Mr Barnier and his colleagues are usually sticklers for the law of the Treaties, he should get on with implementing the various clauses in the EU Treaties requiring the EU to have close and friendly relations with neighbouring countries, and to promote trade between them. That of course is what businesses and many voters on the continent want him to do, as they want best possible access to the lucrative UK market.

It does sound as if the EU has been doing some homework on the lack of UK Ministerial powers to make ex gratia or additional payments to the EU above and beyond the legal and required contributions whilst we are a member. I see they are now talking about the UK paying money to low income third countries as overseas aid. UK Ministers do of course have powers to make overseas aid payments to such countries. The good news is we are already making large payments under this heading, so the EU might be able to take that into account to help it move on to the important issues over our future relationship.

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  1. Tabulazero
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Barnier is doing his job: Fighting for the EU corner by all means necessary.

    He is not there to be “helpful” to the Conservatives. That is neither his brief nor what his paid for.

    I simply wish we could cut the crap and go straight to December when the EU refuses to open parallel trade negotiation, leaving the UK with either a) hard Brexit or b) EFTA for a couple of years.

    Either way the UK’s influence on continental affairs is reduced and an example is made. Job done.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      You fail to realise that the fortunes of the UK and Europe are connected.
      Making an example of the UK, as you put it, will only make for a poorer future for the people of Europe as well.

      • Bob
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink


        “a poorer future for the people of Europe”

        when did a tyrannical dictatorship ever worry about the welfare of its victims?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Like all other EU functionaries Michel Barnier should strictly obey the EU treaties which have put him into his present position, and he should insist on obeying them even if some heads of state and government urge him to break them. Bear in mind that the EU treaties are not like some treaties made by governments without any national democratic parliamentary approval, in which case the terms of the treaty could possibly be changed just by common assent of the governments without any reference back to their national political institutions.

    • NickC
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Tabulazero, the EFTA membership is up to EFTA, and being in EFTA does not mean being party to the EEA agreement, joining which is a subsequent decision. “Hard Brexit” is an emotional phrase with no specific content, just propaganda.

      The reality is, in a properly constituted Referendum, the UK decided to become a country independent of the EU. That is not negotiable. All we are negotiating is for a free trade deal. If the EU refuses to do that, as you suggest, that is fine by me.

      Even Remain Theresa May said no deal is better than a bad deal. But actually I see no reason why we should continue to allow the EU such unfettered access to our home market, which happens now and under an FTA.

    • alte fritz
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      No. He is fighting the EU machine’s corner. Not that of EU members or citizens.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 2:45 am | Permalink

        Indeed he is acting against the interests of EU citizens and those of the UK.

    • G Wilson
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      What Barnier is doing, by refusing to discuss the framework of our future relationship with the EU until some new hurdle is cleared, is looking more and more like reneging on the the EU’s promise made to us in the Lisbon treaty.

      I’m pretty sure breaking the treaty isn’t his “job”.

    • John
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      If he was fighting for the people of Europe then he would want them to have the smoothest frictionless trade as possible and start discussing that. Not using citizens as bargaining chips to extort money from the UK taxpayer like some racketeering crook.

  2. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Now that Mr. Davis has stated in the press conference that the UK will pay what it legally and morally should pay when exiting the EU, there is reason to not press the matter much further from the EU side and show more empathy for the political impossibility to sell an exit bill to the British public when they have been previously promised to receive 350 million pound every week to support their NHS.
    Because Mr Barnier has never mentioned an actual figure, that should be easy enough. Come March 2019, it will be clear that a transitional period will be asked by the UK (and by continental businesses), the focus will long have turned to work towards a future EU relationship which will be more suitable for a country like the UK. Time to start being a little nicer to the Brits (without giving in to any cherry picking)

    Reply Thank you for your observation. Some of us do not see a Free Trade deal as a concession to the UK but a sensible bilateral arrangement of great benefit to the EU. The next 19 months will see whether the EU puts the interests of its voters and members first, or wants to make an expensive political point to its remaining members.

    • NickC
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      PvL, Please cite the “promise” to pay the NHS £350 million per week?

      Since the UK has demonstrated that there is no legal basis for the EU’s punishment bill, there will be no payment of it. The pension liability can be transferred directly to the UK so that the carpetbagging Remain politicians will stop being blackmailed by the EU.

      We have no reason to allow the EU such unfettered access to the UK market that it has hitherto enjoyed. For example a customs tariff of 5% on cars would help to stem the flow of EU cars into the UK, provide extra revenue for the government, and reduce the price of cars from the rest of the world. Of course under WTO terms that would rise to 10%. Better for the UK car industry I believe.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        @NickC: It is about perception, Nick, both for the believe that 350million pounds would become available for the NHS as for this wrongly called “Brexit bill of 100 billion euros”. Both are believed by the British public, even though both are false. There is a simple settling of accounts and which rules to apply for that is still being negotiated. No figure about the total amount has been mentioned.
        My perception is that the Brits would still buy their Mercedes cars complete with customs tariff, because at that expense level, the high end of the market, they would go for quality.

        Reply Even Mercedes have to be price competitive, as Jaguar, Range Rover, Lexus, Aston Martin and other luxury brands compete.

        • NickC
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          PvL, No, that’s your perception, assuming you are not fooling yourself (or us). You made a claim but can’t back it up with evidence.

          The “British public” do not perceive what you claim on their behalf, only a few Remain politicians and hangers-on do. Not surprisingly, since it is no secret that they would overturn our democratic vote if they held power.

          In any case what about examining the false and downright peculiar Remain claims? We can start with the official Remain campaign’s view that for every £1 we put into the EU we get back nearly £10. Even if that really happened, it would make the EU merely a Ponzi scheme.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted September 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            @NickC, See for yourself:
            Nearly half of the British public believe Vote Leave’s claim that the UK pays £350 million a week to the European Union despite the figure being debunked, a poll shows.

            Ipsos MORI found that 47 per cent of the public believe that the claim, which has been repeatedly criticised by the UK Statistics Authority, is true. (Thursday 16 June 2016 09:00 BST)

            I’m not suggesting that the remain campaign was truthful, I’m no great supporter of the instrument of referenda, a bit like Margaret Thatcher and Clement Attlee, who argued:
            “referenda are a device of dictators and demagogues”, although I would say it favours populists too much.

          • NickC
            Posted September 2, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            PvL, I guess you think that switching your claim won’t be noticed? You originally claimed that the Leave side said that “… 350million pounds would become available for the NHS …”. You still haven’t provided evidence for your claim. Or admitted you were wrong.

            Now you switch to: “Nearly half of the British public believe Vote Leave’s claim that the UK pays £350 million a week to the [EU]”. That’s different. A mistake – or have you deliberately tried to mislead? If I adopted the same outlook as you I would call it a Remain lie. See how easy it is to be as unreasonable as you?

            Our total (gross) bill owed to the EU in 2015 was about £18 billion. When divided by the weeks in the year that becomes c£350 million per week (gross – as VoteLeave said). That’s where it comes from, so certainly I believe it.

            Your supporting referendums, or not, in the UK is irrelevant. It’s none of your business. Sneers that a referendum “favours populists too much” is anti-democratic and typical of the arrogance of the EU establishment.

  3. Andy Marlot
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I smell treason Mr Redwood. Why exactly does the government think that it is acceptable to get around the lack of power to give taxpayers money to the EU using the foreign aid budget? If that was done by a business or individual they could well be guilty of fraud or theft. Instead of being a stickler for the letter of the treaty as you suggest you appear to be finding a way for the government to evade it’s responsibility to look after the interests of it’s citizens. Nothing unusual for politicians I am aware but blatant none the less. An immediate hard Brexit would been billions of pounds cheaper and far better. What we actually are going to get is a sellout yet again.

    Reply I am not saying any such thing. I am pointing out the state of Ministerial powers, but continuing to recommend we pay the EU nothing above our regular contributions up to departure.

    • Dave K
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      The Foreign Aid budget is 0.7% of our annual GDP, therefore it appears the EU in a desperate attempt to keep funding it’s non-contributing poorer members would like Ministers to allocate some of these funds to them. I personally have no objection to this (until we scrap the ridiculous budget target) as long as we get to decide how it is spent and have a Union Flag plaque or Poster displayed (seems fair).

    • John
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I took it to mean the EU is seeking that route maybe, not that the UK government was in anyway. It was Mr Barnier who mentioned payments to 3rd world countries or 3rd country status at that conference.

      interesting to see what transpires in the end.

      • Juiliet
        Posted September 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Seems the EU wants UK to pay into their migrant crisis debt fund. £30bn – £50bn according to the Sunday press, will cover the huge debt for 5 years?

        Germany admitted 75% of the migrants/refugees face long-term unemployment and life on benefits whilst EU admitted hardly any migrants reaching Europe are refugees. Then Germany says Germany needs third world migrants as German workforce dwindles, but must pay for them

  4. A different Simon
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The “Brexit bill” the EU presented was nothing short of an attempt at extortion .

    It’s amazing that despite all the evidence of the true nature of the bullying EU in Greece , Italy , Ireland and now over Brexit , that some Britons still hate their own country enough to want to remain part of the EU .

    • Timaction
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Very true. Hating their own Country in favour of a foreign power (EU) is rife in the Westminster bubble! They just never state their true traitorous views in public but deceive and lie about trade etc.

      • Juiliet
        Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Westminster swamp needs a clear out. Remainer rebels are self-serving and only care about their own agenda, if there was no GE most would of lost their seats after that little stunt they pulled with article50

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    The EU should have no say in allocations of UK aid. Are you softening us up for endless payments to EU countries via the aid budget.
    Apart from the fact that the aid budget is a travesty the population will not be fooled if forced to prop up Polish farmers or loans to Ukraine.
    Pull the other one John.

    Reply My view is we pay nothing as I have repeatedly said. I am just pointing out that whilst Ministers have no legal powers to send money to the EU and rich member states other than our regular contributions as a member, they do have powers to grant money to low income countries under Overseas aid provisions

    • bigneil
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply
      The govts of this country have handed over untold billions in “Foreign Aid”. The only thing I have seen change is the populations of the countries that have received it. No checks on where the money goes ( though I suspect a lot of us remember reports of a certain leader buying himself a £30m private jet within days of getting a handout ) .
      It is clearly just a way of giving taxpayer’s cash away. Why should those countries do anything for themselves when leaders like ours will just continue throwing OUR cash away?

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      “loans to Ukraine”…which have frequently ended up as foreign investment in Cypriot banks!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      We already give more than more nations do now. I don’t think any more money should be handed out to foreign countries. We pay too much now.

    • Juiliet
      Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      We have paid in enough everyone now realised that the biggest Beneficiaries of loans and funds are the eastern bloc countries and Germany. UK hould have exited before the EU enlargement, fed up seeing UK wages being depressed whilst poor europeans recover from high unemployment on the backs of the money that we pay in and our roads still filled with pot holes and public services creaking nearing crisis from the 1.5m additional people not catered for. UK is the wallet for poor European countries

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “As Mr Barnier and his colleagues are usually sticklers for the law of the Treaties, he should get on with implementing the various clauses in the EU Treaties requiring the EU to have close and friendly relations with neighbouring countries, and to promote trade between them.”

    In fact, promote trade not just with neighbouring countries but around the world as a whole, according to some of the treaty provisions I listed here:

    However it should be understood that while the EU loudly proclaims to the world that it is committed to the rule of law:

    “The European Union is based on the rule of law. This means that every action taken by the EU is founded on treaties that have been approved voluntarily and democratically by all EU member countries.”

    we know that only applies when it suits the eurocrats.

  7. Alan
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I’m a bit surprised to see that the payment of £30 billion and the need for a transition phase is now accepted. I welcome this small step towards an acceptance of reality.

    For too long Brexiters have imagined that when we leave the EU we will retain all the advantages and have none of the costs. It is more likely that we will lose many of the advantages and we will incur additional costs and inefficiencies from trying to run our economy in a way that conforms with the need to export to the EU.

    Reply The only £30bn the UK accepts is our continuing contributions up to the date of leaving.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      For too long advocates of the EU have imagined that membership brings enormous advantages for our country. Note that I say “for our country”, clearly not all the EU member states are in the same position.

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

        It has brought enormous advantages to our country, and we are about to lose them. We are far wealthier now than we were before we joined, especially before the single market was started.

        Reply We would have been wealthier today than in 1972 if we had not joined! We would also have been spared the big loss of income and output from the ERM.

        • Alan
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think there is any evidence that we would be richer if we had not joined the EU.

          Neither do I think there is convincing evidence that we would be poorer now if we had re-joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism, or if we had joined the euro. Either action might have caused us to re-structure our economy and make it more productive. As it is our currency has been devalued several times since then, with the danger of turning us into a low wage economy. At some point we will either have to accept an economy that fails to keep pace with others or make our industry more productive. We cannot keep on relying on devaluation to solve our problems.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 2:50 am | Permalink

          Indeed and wealthier too had we had not had the endless stream of incompetent socialist and slightly softer socialist governments.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          “It has brought enormous advantages to our country, and we are about to lose them. We are far wealthier now than we were before we joined, especially before the single market was started.”

          Then you should have no problem producing objective evidence that we are much better off now than we would have been if we hadn’t joined the EEC and helped to create the Single Market, so I await you doing that and will remind you about it from time to time.

    • NickC
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Alan, Yes, the EU costs – but only because the money is being used to construct the EU state. It is businesses and individuals who trade.

      What costs are incurred in having a free trade deal? None.

      Exporters simply use the existing contract law of the UK or the customer’s nation, as agreed. That’s what I did. That’s what UK sellers and buyers do for trade with the USA, for example. On the rare occasions that a contract law dispute ends up in court the marginal cost is borne by the seller and/or the buyer.

      • Alan
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        There are costs involved in all the regulation and enforcement needed for trade with other countries. We don’t want dangerous or illegal goods brought into this country and we have to demonstrate to the country we are exporting to that our exports are of acceptable standard to them. These costs won’t be as explicit as they are with the EU, but they will be there. In practice we could be insisting on EU standards for our imports (since the exporter will find it easy to do that since he is probably exporting to the EU as well and we know EU standards are safe), and that we have to provide EU standards to our exports, since the importing country will know that is safe. We will lose our ability to influence what these standards will be – and that will be another cost that we will never see but will be there.

        I don’t think it will be ‘free’ trade by the way: that would destroy many of our industries.

        • NickC
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Alan, You are confusing trading standards/technical standards/national contract law on the one hand, with the entire panoply of the Regulations, Directives and Decisions of the EU on the other hand.

          Most EU laws (and therefore EU costs) are concerned with running and promoting itself, and imposing itself on member countries. Most technical standards are international, not EU derived, and they are cheap. We do not need the EU to trade, as our exports to the rest of the world testifies.

          Customers always expect their requirements and standards are met. That applies whether UK firms export to the EU or to the USA. Contract law and trading standards already exist in every country to deal with internal trade and exporters simply use it.

          So the costs incurred in having an FTA are none; given we are already members of the UN, WTO, ISO, etc.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Dear Alan–Costs of running a mere trading market should be small, with any still needed being just running costs (We have surely already more than paid our share of set up costs)–But the EU crank in the cost of huge unrealistic political goals, very much including the additional bricks and mortar, pen pushers and God knows what, which are nothing to do with us. It does rather beggar belief that “they” are unable or unwilling to itemise what they think they are going to screw us for. Did the unpronounceables just pluck a figure out of the air? Tell them to go boil their heads.

      • Alan
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        I think the ‘bill’ is mainly for items that we have already agreed to, so you could look them up if you want to.

        We could just ignore them, but we do want their cooperation on other things. If the worst comes to the worst we can leave it to a court to decide how much we are legally required to pay. (I don’t think the statement that we owe nothing is likely to be true.)

    • zorro
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink


      The so called benefits of the Single Market and the ever so great costs!


  8. Peter
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Maybe Barnier believes the UK does not have the will to just walk away. He may think “no deal is better than a bad deal” are just empty words.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    We will miss some things about the EU …

    “Noisy vacuum cleaners banned in EU”

    • Mark
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Vacuum cleaners that work effectively banned in the EU. Bought one before the regulation took effect. Should last until we get the regulation repealed. Did they ever study what it takes in extra time to clean with an inefficient vacuum, and how much extra energy is consumed? It’s a bit like the nonsense with toilet cisterns that are too small to flush effectively. You ending up flushing them three or four times, using more water than if they had been designed to be effective.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Well we shall see if, as I fully expect, UK government caves in.

    With May threatening to stay on for the next election, I am reminded of the phrase “no chance no chance” which proved to be completely accurate (as was predictable) when Major buried the party with his ERM, a lack of even an apology, general lefty pro EU incompetence, the cones hot line …. May seems just the same as Major to me, perhaps a little less dim but not much. I am “not a quitter” she says, but if you have a broken compass quitting is the best thing to do – or get a new co pass with a brain transplant perhaps.

  11. robert lewy
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    The logic of the divorce bill is so simple:

    There is no Legal basis to justify making a divorce payment
    If a Trade Deal is worse than WTO then there should be no divorce payment
    If a Trade Deal is better than WTO then a divorce payment should at least be considered.

    Unless the EU consider UK a partner in which case they would offer us a TD better than WTO there would be no value in paying anything.


    • Monza 71
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Why should we even consider making a divorce payment in exchange for market access ?

      If there was to be any such payment it should be from them to to us because it is the 27 that have the trade surplus with us.

      I can’t see why anyone in the UK is even suggesting we should agree to paying the 27 anything for access.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is the total volume of trade that counts not the x % of theirs to the y % of ours – as the remainers used to tried to con the electorate!

      • Helen
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        No one except Redwood is suggesting it. The EU certainly is not

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink


  12. JoolsB
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    30 billion is far too much. I hope I am proved wrong but I have a feeling this pathetic socialist/Liberal bunch of remainers Government is talking tough with the EU for now but when it comes to the crunch will cave in and 30 billion will become 50 billion or 60 billion or more. Not only will that be a betrayal of the people but it will make us a laughing stock and a pushover for the trade talks.

    Funny how this Government can squander billions of taxpayers’ money on the EU and foreign aid, things it doesn’t have to do yet is happy to sit by and watch England’s young face 30 years of eye watering debts and England’s elderly not have the decent care they deserve in their old age.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Many who sit in Parliament despise the “English” and are only too keen to give money to foreigners whilst cutting social care budgets and increasing tuition fees.
      They can magically find £50 to 100 billion for nonsense such as HS2 which itself is an EU inspired project.
      The fifth column is alive and well within this country.

      • JoolsB
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        How true. All the more reason for the English to push for an English Parliament and be gone with these self serving anti-English Con/Lab/Lib politicians in the UK Parliament.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      Quite right Jools. Disgusting! Any party that does this will be toast. This nation is fed up of paying for every Tom, Dick and Harry.

  13. Know-Dice
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Paying any amount above our legal obligation to the EU is not acceptable.

    We hear every day Councils, NHS every public sector complaining about austerity budgets and yet our Brexit negotiators think that it’s could be acceptable to ship Billions of pounds out of the UK on some “moral whim” – its not.

    Brexit means Brexit means UK first…when we run a budget surplus and money no longer needs to be borrowed to fund our public services, then by all means be a bit more charitable to overseas countries, until then UK first…

    • Helen
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Nobody at all has even suggested paying more than we owe. Except John Redwood, who is trying to fool you into thinking it is the EU to blame as all the brexiteers promises go up in smoke

      Reply So how much do we owe and why? State the legal base for any claims. I think we owe nothing above the contributions up to departure.

      • Helen
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

        Clearly we owe our share of obligations already agreed. Decisions made in reliance of British support must be honoured. And of course we have to cover costs of moving the medicines agency, pensions, changed letterheads etc

        Reply Why? They don’t have to move the agencies unless they want to.

        • Helen
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          They have to be in the EU which the UK has chosen to quit

          • NickC
            Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            And out of the EU, the UK no longer “benefits” from those agencies/programs, so there is no reason for us to subsidise the other 27 who will obviously, by your logic, in future benefit proportionately more.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sky surpassed itself for blatant bias with its press review last night, with the presenter making a weak attempt to introduce some appearance of balance against the two viscerally pro-EU and virulently anti-Brexit invited commentators. Incredibly the woman, who writes for the Times and presumably gets paid for it, thinks we should understand that once we have left the EU they will see us as no different to the Solomon Islands. Yes, that’s right, she thinks the UK will be seen as no different to a collection of islands in the Pacific with a total population of about 0.6 million, one hundredth of ours. While the man argued that we should stop worrying about legalities – see above, “The European Union is based on the rule of law” – and just cough up whatever vast sum is demanded or can be agreed, and even if there was no legal basis for any payment at all.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes,even by their standards it was shocking-they were allowed a platform for their pungent views on the EU rather than present an objective review of the papers.

      • Timaction
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        ITV are almost as bad as the toxic BBC with its constant EU love ins and anti-Trump everything! I’m getting to where you need to triangulate real news not the fake news. Oh, how Trump has done the world a favour as everyone now questions the msn and ALL politicos.

    • Helen
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      If we don’t do a deal, and fast, we will be like the solomon islands. Which bit of becoming a third country do you not get?

      Reply The UK will not be like the Solomon Islands! What part of the Solomon islands, incidentally, do you not like?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Now Helen is descending into complete twaddle …

        • Andy
          Posted September 2, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

          Twas ever thus.

    • rose
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      She was completely off the wall, even for a remainiac, saying she felt sorry for the EU and then going on to traduce and insult her own country! It was funny seeing the presenter desperately trying to introduce a modicum of balance – and of course failing.

  15. Michael
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Moral obligations are subjective. They are not legally binding. Payments to satisfy non legally binding arrangements to satisfy moral obligations can only be ex gracia. Why should the UK make any such payments to the EU at this stage?

    It would appear David Davis has left the door ajar on the question.

  16. Prigger
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “I see they ( the EU ) are now talking about the UK paying money to low income third countries as overseas aid.”
    It reminds me of the American owned credit card companies here in the UK telling their very best and regular payers “Either you spend the money which is in CREDIT on your account or we will close your account and send that money to one of three UK charities. You can choose which one if you phone us. ” They did.
    EU Ministers should stop following bad practice of US financial firms in not attributing the proportionate respect to their very best customers leaving themselves with losers. Perhaps they just want to make money and need losers for that.

  17. margaret
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    The EU together with our contributions pays a total of 50% of aid to poorer countries according to one source.

  18. Bob
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood,
    Will Britain will lift the ban on vacuum cleaners over 900w after March 2019?

    • bigneil
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      And as 2018 approaches – are all new cars sold in the EU from Jan 1st going to have a tracking system active ( also told the car would NOT work at all if it was disconnected It was originally said to be an automatic calling system for the emergency services in case of a crash- -but is really a full time tracking system – -automatic speed fines next – the computer can work out from where/when.

      • Bob
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink


        “new cars sold in the EU from Jan 1st going to have a tracking system active”

        presumably this will allow the Authorities to disable the vehicle if the owner makes an “inappropriate” remark on social media?

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear Bob, I hope not because the establishment might find what we say on this diary “inappropriate” In other words reality.

    • anon
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      So a 1000 watt vacuum cleaner is banned but private jet flights for EU elites are ok? Which does the most useful job?

  19. graham1946
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Ministers have no authority to pay more – no doubt correct, however:

    On Newsnight last night their reporter said it is being considered (according to his ‘government contacts’) to do it via a 3 year transition during which we pay our net 10 billion a year – another 30 billion which apparently the EU will accept. I wouldn’t be surprised, but whether the public will wear it I am not so sure. This will take us right up to 2022 and they may take it out on the Tories at that election, or the government may hope it will all be lost and forgotten about by then, with plenty of spin like ‘the best deal we can get’ etc. A sell out is surely coming or somehow contriving to stay in. The Brexit we want is fading by the day.

    Reply They have no evidence for that

    • Bob
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Brexit means Brexit, no deal is better than a bad deal.

      in the capture puzzles, a pickup truck counts as a car !”

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Bob, surely the capture puzzle askes about vehicles and a pickup truck counts as that.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Well, maybe. But does it not strike you as funny that senior members of your government (particularly Hammond) want just such a thing – a transitional arrangement? By the time we get ‘evidence’ it will be too late. You and your colleagues must make quite sure Hammond and his cronies do not get their way.

    • Simon
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      The evidence was the statement made by a very senior EU bureaucrat to that effect. Transition payments are nothing to do with the “divorce bill”. That is the evidence.

  20. stred
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The EU is currently following the UN scheme to encourage immigration from poor countries with high birth rates, which it considers helpful to the economy. It is no accident that the recent chief, who designed this policy, is ex GS and world trade organisation. The policy is also backed by Deutche Bank and others.

    They plan to alleviate migration by spending vast amounts on economic aid, such as the port in East Africa. If they think this will result in families not sending young men on the risky journey to Europe, they must be deluded. The only way to stop the thousands
    arriving in Italy would be to prosecute the charities for assisting illegal trafficking and
    pay Tunisia to take the boats just a few miles from Libya, then offer them a trip back south. It will not be popular if the government decides to throw vast amounts away on building ports etc.

  21. jack Snell
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what all of the fuss is about, nor do I have any special insight into the state of Mr Barniers mind. The simple truth is, if we want a future trade deal with the EU we will have to first to settle the bill for old commitments made. If we don’t want a future trade deal with the EU 27 and don’t wish to pay a red cent then we can always engineer a confrontation so that we can crash out. Simple.. and so it’s now up to the government to decide. Anything will do except this awful drip drip news feed where it seems everyone is the expert now?

    • margaret
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Are you a manager Jack; seems like you understand the underhand tactics of business.?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Taking the wrong side, Jack, taking the wrong side.

  22. ChrisS
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I certainly do not agree that we should make full contributions during a transition period which must be a maximum of two years and not three.

    If we are to have a phased withdrawal, payments into the EU budget should similarly be phased.

    I would suggest we limit payments to 66.6% in year 1 and 33.3% in year 2. We could then negotiate on this, finally agreeing 80% and 40%. Three years @100% iks completely unacceptable.

    That would yield a total of £11bn and we could agree to take over a proportion of the foreign aid budget they are taking about but only until 2020. But this FA money would have to be spent in ways that we decide and be paid and managed direct by us. They can then reduce the EU aid budget by the same amount.

    This will effectively cost us nothing because it wil be taken out of our own bloated FA budget and the money would probably have been wasted anyway. Perhaps we should insist that the African despots use our aid money to buy black Jaguars rather than their usual Mercedes models ?

    Finally we would agree to continue to fund those bodies to which we wish to subcribe on an ongoing basis like Europol but only to the extent of a fair share of the direct running costs without all the add-ons they would undoubtedly like to include.

    On the Barnier’s own principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” any payment whatsoever past March 2019 will be 100% dependent on a trade deal that is acceptable to us. Otherwise they get nothing at all.

    We should brook no nonsense like future supervision by the ECJ over anything that impacts on the UK. That has to remain the most rigid of red lines.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      PS : Obviously we could allow the more successful despots to opt for Bentley ot Rolls Royce models.

  23. majorfrustration
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Surely the facts of the matter are that if we agree any amount now – and I hope we don’t but we all know what politicians are like – and subsequent trade deals will be subject to add on amounts thereby increasing the divorce settlement amount. Just walk away from the shower and let them stew

  24. Epikouros
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    “sticklers for the law of the Treaties”

    That is of course only true when it suits them. Other times when it does not it can become a very movable feast. Now the shoe is on the other foot and they obviously do not like it and are looking for wriggle room to circumvent an inconvenience that they do not like. Mr Barnier and his colleagues are beginning to find out that the EU omnipotent fantasy world that they live in does not live up to reality. The question is do they believe the claims they are making have merit, are just and incontestable. If they do and I believe they do because otherwise by now they would have softened their stance then they suffer from hubris and delusions of grandeur and may well find out they are going to be hoisted with their own petard. Assuming the UK team does not capitulate to their threats and bluster.

  25. Ken Moore
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood,

    I just wish you would get to the hub of exactly what the implications of the Uk becoming a ‘third country’ would entail. I am tired of the indignity of the constant lectures from the EU on basics matters of which Mr Davis clearly has no understanding.

    I wish it wasn’t so but it is becoming apparent it is fantasy to believe that because we already have “regulatory convergence” or “equivalence” with the EU (having adopted and implemented its acquis), concluding a free trade agreement will be a simple matter.

    I urge urge urge urge you to study the detail, and check that your position is sustainable and not just deliver a message that appeals to popular opinion. We cannot go on with this position that the Uk will be allowed yo somehow ‘have it’s cake and eat it’.

    I bow to no one in my loathing of the Eu but I see that the sceptics who have not done their homework properly are a gift to the Europhiles.

    Your Government has decided to leave the Single Market, when we leave the EU, so we will acquire the status of “third country” and all the rules pertaining to third countries will automatically apply to us. Have you even begun to amalyse the consequences?
    Time for a grown up and honest debate please…

    Reply Yes of course we have analysed that and are helping the government with its No deal Plan B which will work fine. The US/Australia etc trades perfectly well with the Eu from outside without an FTA.

    • Helen
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      The US pays tariffs. Its goods are too dear to do well. That is the fate you promise us. A weakened Britain, its trading advantages thrown away for right wing ideology

      • Captcha King
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Here we go again. Demonisation of Brexit voters to nullify their votes.

        “All Brexiters are right wing so should have been ignored.”

      • Edward2
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Strange how Apple computers and phones are selling everywhere in the EU and UK.
        As just one example.

      • ian wragg
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Helen, American made goods are invariably cheaper than UK/EU manufactured good. I suggest you are walking with your eyes shut if you think the USA doesn’t export to Europe.
        My next door neighbour drives a Jeep.

      • John
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Are you confused? The US pays tariffs because the EU has no trade deal with the US. We are likely to strike a trade deal with the US and also with other non EU countries.

        Most of our exports are to non EU countries.

        The US does very well I think you will find. How many people have:

        Ipad or other Apple product
        Ford cars
        Microsoft products
        Ever used Facebook or Google?
        HP or IBM computers?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      For crying out loud, Ken, if you leave the EU you revert to being a “third country” as far as the EU is concerned and there is no way that can be avoided.

      Do not be misled by those who claim that Norway is in the EU Single Market and is not treated as a “third country” by the EU, as both those claims are false.

      “Third-country economic relationships with the European Union”

      • rose
        Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Nothing to be frightened of in being a third country: it is just EU jargon for normal country.

    • MPC
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      I know from experience of working with the EC that ‘third countries’ is not the derogatory term you seem to think it is, and that such countries are treated by the Commission with far more respect than it affords to the UK, because those countries cannot be pushed around.

    • John
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      How splendidly refreshing is this..

      “Reply Yes of course we have analysed that and are helping the government with its No deal Plan B which will work fine. The US/Australia etc trades perfectly well with the Eu from outside without an FTA.”

      I still think Government Information Videos on BBC on a no deal scenario to the general public would help. We have had these before such as Clunk Clip Every Trip.

      We need simple Public information films on how a no deal is financially much better than our current arrangement.

  26. William Long
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It is time we heard something about talks with the WTO. The only thing that will make Brussels (although not necessarily even then, M. Barnier) start thinking, is a clear signal that we are developing a Plan B and are prepared to use it..

  27. Dennis
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    JR wrote, “, as they want best possible access to the lucrative UK market.”

    With £ almost at parity with the Euro their products will/are too expansive for us to buy.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      The exchange rate would improve for their exports if there was a satisfactory deal in place.

      Another reason for the 27 to be flexible and keen.

    • John
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, the average wage in the EU is below that of the World average wage.

      Believe me, we can afford what say Latvians can make, where their average wage is under £7000 a year.

      Products and services they make are not too expensive for us. On the contrary, we don’t want to compete with low value economies, we want to compete at the other end. High value because we are a high value expensive place.

  28. formula57
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Barnier’s approach betrays the motives of the Commission perhaps rather than those of the member states whose interests when recognized it relegates to a subordinate position.

    The Commission very likely does not want the doubtless intractable difficulties of coping without the UK’s money and so we are treated to the nonsensical negotiating stance we see.

    The Irish prime minister has shown some grasp of the realities by warning time is ebbing away (there is no fooling him!) but of course the Commission would rather spend time promoting its 1950’s vision of what the Evil Empire should be than attend to member states’ vital interests. The people’s Blue Boris must be encouraged to make clear to each of those states that they will be held accountable for the hostile, maladroit manoeuvrings of the Commission: accordingly, any with influence (Dr. Merkel) might like to give some sane direction before it is too late.

  29. ian
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Mr Barnier state of mind is one of a globalist, and is doing what ever he can to keep the uk in his globalist organization, the eu, like wises, so are globalist uk politician, which is the majority of politician in parliament, who have masters to look after.

  30. Duyfken
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    With the comments here and on other threads (eg those attached to Verhofstadt’s article in the DT), I fear that the longer the negotiations are prolonged the greater the likelihood of bad blood between the leaders and citizenry of UK and those on the Continent. The sooner we can complete the withdrawal the better, and don’t wait until 2019.

    My advice to the government: stop all the slanging on both sides and just make it a fait accompli asap – delay just makes it worse . We need to be good neighbours. I imply no blame attaching to either side (adamant Brexiteer as I am). Just least said soonest mended.

  31. Bert Young
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Barnier does not seem to understand that we are the masters of our own fate ; we have decided that up to the date of our leaviing we will honour and pay what we have signed up for , beyond then , our obligations cease . . EU countries will be the losers if they do not continue to sell us their goods and services . Mention has already been made of Merkel and Macron getting together to force Barnier and the EU negotiators to see the sense in agreeing to our continuing trade with the EU ; they know full well that their economies will suffer , unemployment will rise and other detrimental knock on consequences will occur . Barnier has to toe their line .

  32. agricola
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    First I would like to see the itemised bill beyond our annual contribution, and to know whether we signed any legal commitment to contribute for a number of years. Barnier is between a rock and a hard place, in that he has 27 masters to answer to. Can he utilise flexibility and imagination in the negotiation or will he forever parrot from the hymn sheet of 27.

    Anything the UK may be asking for like free trade, an open border Eire/NI and normalisation of our respective citizen’s status in the UK/EU are of greater benefit to the EU to achieve.

    I hope that we are using all the facilities at our disposal to gain a real time understanding of thinking within the EU. This may only be a talking war, but war it is. The first task in war is to know the strengths, weaknesses, and intentions of the enemy.

    When we leave, the EU will have a considerable shortfall in it’s income, but it will have had a good three years to adjust. This it must do because for the UK to fund it beyond March 2019 would be politically untenable. By all means we can contribute to areas of mutual cooperation, but nothing more than this.

    Has anyone in our team quantified the real estate assets of the EU and our share of them based on nett contributions to the EU budget. If only as a bargaining chip they should be made aware of this sum which we arguably own.

  33. BertD
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Again and again the assumption is made that the EU 27 countries will want the best possible access to the UK market in the future and will bend over backwards on all fours if necessary to see that this happens..but this is far from the truth..i have just returned from travelling widely in european countries and can tell you that most of the EU business and political people i met have had enough and don’t give two hoots about Britain and future trade deals and will be glad to be well shut from the constant whinge they hear from this side of the channel.

    Threatening new trade deals with Japan and other Asian and Pacific countries is seen as being only that, a threat, and will have absolutely no impact on the EU negotiators..none at fact we are only making a holy show of ourselves..
    The EU side have been very clear that we are not going to have our cake and eat it..we are not going to be allowed the cherry pick we had better grow up.

    Reply Fine. If they don’t want access to our market to protect the 5m jobs they have making things for us that is their issue. There are plenty of other places around the world who would like to supply us, and often at cheaper prices if we rejig the tariffs. I think your judgement is wrong, however.

    • ian wragg
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Funny that, we also travel widely in the EU and find many people especially in Italy and Spain very supportive of our stance.
      I’ve not spoken to one person who thinks the so called divorce bill is justified.

    • Mark
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

      I doubt that many in the EU hear any whinge from the UK. Instead, they hear the propaganda from Brussels alleging that the UK is in a weak position, and doesn’t have any idea about negotiations. That has been rather blown out of the water by this recent set of sessions that made plain that we understand the treaties very well, and have done our homework. However, the Continental press will continue to ignore reality, particularly in Germany and France.

    • Simon
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Rejig the tariffs John ? I thought you advocated a continuation of zero zero with the EU ?

      Reply Yes, but if they want tariffs we can lower our tariffs with non EU countries

      • Helen
        Posted September 2, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        O no we can’t. Get a book on WTO law , mr redwood

  34. KatC
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    By using megaphone diplomacy Liam fox tells us that we should be able to move to the finsl settlement quickly and to get on with the talks for a new deal presumably. He says thats what the business people of UK want, and that is what the EU people as a whole want as well. But he should be reminded that it is not the people who are negotiating but only the EU Commission and the UK government appointees. I am afraid thst these talks are going from bad to worse..the clock is ticking, and we could end up with no transitional deal which would be very bad indeed for UK business. Anyway using a loud hailer to shout across the oceans is definitely not the way forward as we shall see in a few weeks time when the EU council meets, when it is spelt out that there is not enough progress on the exit talks to allow us to move forward to discuss the future relationship.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Why aren’t you complaining about Junker’s megaphone diplomacy tossing out insults even though he’s not in the negotiating team ? Answer: because you are a Remainer and so pretending the EU are above any criticism.

    • Mark
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      You should understand the real meaning of any such message form the EU Council. It would be an admission that they had continued to ignore the need for internal negotiations among themselves as to how to share out the consequences of Brexit among themselves, and therefore have no agreed proposals to make to tackle Brexit. They are content to assume that the UK will remain, and therefore they won’t have to have those painful discussions.

      Any rational observer understands that the agreement has to interlock all issues – and a little bit of give here can be offset with some take somewhere else. Moreover, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – so securing supposed agreement on some issues has no validity if there is no agreement on show stoppers. The idea that the agreement can proceed piecemeal on substantive issues is nonsense. You can only tackle peripheral issues where the agreement is obvious.

  35. David Williams
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Good to see the PM in Japan and Brexit secretary in USA this week. Let’s prepare for less EU and more Rest of the World. EU27 has less than 10% of the world’s population.

    Do not pay anything for a trade deal with the EU. Canada got it for free and soon will Japan.

  36. danR
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Never mind barniers state of mind, listening to d davis today from america i would have more concern for DD’s capacity.
    Then again listening to Fox i know now we are sunk.

  37. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Not sure Barnier isn’t anything other than a total irrelevance, just filling time until after the German elections when Merkel will decree what deal the EU will offer.

    • Dolphin
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Barnier was Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries 18th June 2007. He knows how much France has to lose, our fish!

  38. robert lewy
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    The “divorce settlement” is clearly poorly described as it suggests a clean break without continuing responsibilities.

    It would be more properly described as the sale of a share in a joint venture which had assets,
    liabilities and commitments relating to uncompleted projects.

    When the EU decides to allocate funds to projects it is understood to be after an economic assessment of the costs and benefits relevant to that project. In, particular, the benefits are
    understood to help improve infrastructure and advance economic growth for the benefit of the EU as a whole.

    Either it is a complete fiction that there are material benefits to the EU as a whole, or the calculation of the financial settlement should include the value of the asset created based on the economic projections of the projects at the time they were approved.

    Perhaps the reticence of the EU to publish its invoice for the financial settlement also reflects its embarrassment at the poor return on the outcome of projects.

    But we all know that the real return on these EU projects is via patronage i.e buying political support for EU.

  39. Ed Mahony
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Whatever people’s views about Europe, can i please ask you to get the Conservative Party to focus on the Family at the heart Conservative policy.

    With a strong family life, you have a strong country. Strong family life leads to children growing up to be hard working, getting on with others in society, patriotic and so on.

    And just starting off with the basics (that is so often missing): a MUM + a DAD. Children need love. The soft (without being indulgent) love of a mother. And the tough (without being a tyrant) love of a father.

    Once things improve here – with the Family – so many other things in our society will fall into place. With a strong families, you’ll end up with stronger individuals (in every sense), and so less need on the state (social welfare, NHS, less crime, and so on). Less taxation. More reliable workers attracting investors from abroad. And so on.

    And strong families just mean happier people in general. We want prosperity. We want peace. But we also want happy people.

    I don’t know what the Tories can do. I have no knowledge whatsoever in how to connect the importance of strong family life with the policies the Tories can introduce to help the Family. All i know, for sure, is that strong families are vital to the well being of our country in general.

    (Lastly, this is not to punish those who make mistakes. We all do. I do all the time. Saying that, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have something positive to aim for: strong families, with a Mum + Dad).


    Reply The Conservative party does try to help the family, but it is not in the power of government to create happy families – that is up to the individuals involved.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      ‘to get the Conservative Party to focus on the Family at the heart Conservative policy’ – to focus more i meant to say.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Thank you.

      I meant help for the family unit to exist. Sure, then it’s down to the individuals.
      Saying that, Conservative politicians do have a strong influence over, and are able to work with, in a creative way, the media, educationalists, even the Church, on the matter of trying to create strong families in the UK.

      Strong families isn’t just a social thing. It also impacts on the economy, social welfare, the NHS and more.

  40. Prigger
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    We see described by the media yet again “top business people” sitting listening to David Davis spouting about how negotiations can be rough.Had they got a job bottle-washing they would be ticked off in a trice “Get on your feet and get some work done!” .But why do these people need telling anyway about the roughness of negotiations? Why do they not automatically understand? Have they been to a proper school and studied anything of use?

  41. Prigger
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    I wish they would stop moaning. The TV interviews small business people from time to time complaining about uncertainty, the low pound, not being able to plan for the future. They buy basic materials from abroad such as zinc, make tiny artificial limbs for (French people ed) and then export them to France. What happens after Brexit they ask in desperation? Well, there are French-Canadians in Canada and the French influence in Republic of South Africa after all those Huguenots settled there,where they have lots of (French speakers ed) needing artificial limbs.

    • Prigger
      Posted September 2, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      JR You ruined my joke, albeit a lame one.
      I was referring directly to the habit of French people eating frogs legs. I was not referring to French people as themselves “frogs”. I joked about amphibians needing artificial limbs. In fact you’re ruined my joke twice over , for I needed to explain it. I think you did this deliberately with a sense of humour I appreciate very much.

  42. JM
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    £350M per week is £18.2 Bn p.a. If we assume that the EU budget cycle ends on 31.12.2020 and we are leaving on 31.3.2019 then there is 1 3/4 years “missing” contributions. That is £31.85 Bn in payments. Where does the EU’s reported figure of £70 Bn come from?

    Then there is our share of the assets, which falls to be deducted from the £31.85 Bn.

    This, of course, leaves aside the question of whether the treaties actually require us to pay to the end of the budget period notwithstanding that we have left. What is clear is that article 50 requires the negotiation on leaving to take account of the future relationship, which is not the present stance of the EU.

    I am resigned to the fact that we are to be given a punishment beating, or at least they are going to attempt it. I have little doubt that trade will be made as difficult as possible. We will just have to look elsewhere and the sooner we get on with that the better.

  43. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Another of my posts deleted without any reason noted???

    2 posts together at great length and personal abuse of an EU official.

  44. Cwybaby
    Posted September 2, 2017 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I thought they loved us and wanted us…to stay 🙁

  45. James murphy
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Looking at things with macron french president i would say as an irish nationaist from galway…up thw repubilc..we don’t need royalty..we people are strongr thsn that

  46. Juiliet
    Posted September 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    “UK Parliament could have moved to implement the referendum decision quickly and unilaterally to end our contributions much earlier”

    Then we should have done this instead of waiting so long and now being stung with £30bn transition dictated by pro-EU organisations that could not be bothered to be business ready like the banking & finance industry

  • 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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