Two views of Brexit

Brexit continues to dominate the media because there remain two different views of how to implement it.

There are those in the civil service who understand the wish of the majority to leave. They realise we voted to take back control of our money, our borders, our law making and our international relations, especially on trade. They are working diligently on what can come as soon as we leave. They are planning a new fishing policy, a new agricultural policy, new trade deals with non EU states, and much else. I am pleased they are and look forward to the results of their detailed labours for Ministers.

There are others who seem to think after Brexit we need to mirror all the arrangements and controls we had when in the EU. They have been busily mapping every nook and cranny of EU involvement and interference in our government and daily lives. They present each intervention or control as a problem, or as something we have to negotiate to continue it or to replicate it. They also seem to think the UK is in a weak position because in their view it needs to keep so much, so they recommend making many concessions to the EU negotiating position in order to cling on to something similar to what we have.

There is an irony here. The Remain advocates who encourage this type of thinking are often the same people who told us before the referendum that the EU did not have much power over us, that we remained a sovereign state even within the EU, and that Eurosceptics exaggerated when we claimed the EU now does control a lot of our lives. The vote has made a difference to their view on all this.

The truth is the EU does currently control a lot of matters which a self governing country controls for itself. We have agreed between remain and Leave advocates following the result that we should aim to take back control of our law making on departure, but to ensure continuity we will replicate in UK law all the features of EU law. Parliament will then at its leisure review, amend or repeal what we do not need or can improve.

This model should not be diluted by rushing to agree permanent extensions of EU law, or by seeking to newly bind us into decisions of the ECJ or into regulatory bodies we do not control. We can only only take back control of our laws, our money and our borders if we leave with no further commitments to EU jurisdiction. We also need to remind the EU there is no legal requirement to pay a so called divorce bill, and I still want us to spend our money on our own priorities from the day we leave the EU. The government still states its policy as taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money. That is all a good idea. Let’s set the deadline as 29 March 2019 and work to it. There is still enough time to ensure all works well under the WTO option if the EU continues to refuse a sensible discussion of a Free Trade deal.

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  1. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Agree totally with all you have said John. Let’s just get on with it. No more delays and no more money to the EU.

    • eeyore
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I feel very uncomfortable with the way the negotiations are going. A particularly bad sign is that Mr Juncker has started saying complimentary things about Mrs May.

      It is a consolation that our host, and other MPs such as JRM, are watching carefully on our behalf. I think we must accept that what’s good enough for them is probably as good as is available. I wish I could feel as confident about our Prime Minister.

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Latest news I’m hearing is that Theresa May is offering Northern Ireland on a plate to the EU. Predictably Remain PC, SNP, and Mayor Khan all want the same – to stay in the EU in all but name. Breaking up the UK to appease the EU is beyond political insanity.

      I have no idea whether this news is true. If it is true then Mrs May won’t be taken seriously again. I hope it is untrue, but the fact that such stuff can be circulated and apparently believed by the likes of Sadiq Khan shows that the Tory government has to get a serious grip on reality. True or untrue, JR, you can’t go on like this.

  2. Colin Hide
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Perfect sense.

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately led by the PM and Chancellor the second group are firmly in charge.
    Sacrificing country and party for their beloved EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Looks that way to me so far. With the ……..Corbyne and Venezuela hovering in the wings.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:25 pm | Permalink


      We need a deal for the future prosperity of the businesses in the UK, WTO deal will not solve that issue, I am afraid.

      Or do you have information that the rest of us do not possess?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        Odd logic
        We buy over 70 billion more from the EU than the EU buys off the UK every year yet you worry WTO rules will hurt the UK.
        WTO rules seem to suit all the non EU nations and I don’t see any shortages of Chinese nor American goods for sale inside the EU.

      • Bob
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        “WTO deal will not solve that issue”

        what evidence can you provide to support your assertion Hans?

      • NickC
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Hans, obviously you don’t possess the requisite information: we already export much more to the rest of the world under WTO rules (60%) than we do to the EU under EU rules.

      • Jagman84
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        We already have WTO for everyone, except the EU. We operate at a surplus with the RoW but a £60-100 bn deficit with the EU. What does that tell you of the merits of each system for the UK?

  4. David Price
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    On Sunday the excellent Facts4eu people put up a copy of your December 1st “leave means leave” letter to the PM. It is important to keep up the pressure on our negotiators as well as the EU which I hope your letter achieves.

    Your letter does not include the important point you make above, that the UK should not accept any new obligations concocted by the EU since the article 50 letter was delivered. Ideally we should not adopt anything between the referendum’s Brexit mandate and the article 50 letter either and any complications from that are solely the PMs head.

    • Hope
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      What will JR and colleagues if the letter is ignored as forecast?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Dear Hope–Diddly squat of course

      • Timaction
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        It was ignored and she wants a continuity deal keeping Northern Ireland in the EU in all but name. Thankfully the DUP, true patriots, have scuppered her plans. This tells me and those others politically aware that she wants us VERY CLOSELY aligned to the EU’s tax and “regulatory framework”. In other words in the EU in all but words. Her non mandated promise not to change our tax and regulations at the behest of her beloved EU. A Tory sell out again. Well there’s a surprise. I wonder why millions of former Tory’s no longer trust or vote for them. She needs to be removed, our Country is more important than any person or party!! Her actions are a sure winner at the next election!

  5. Nig l
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    To all the condescending Remainers who believe many people like me didn’t know what I was voting for and need to be protected, rubbish. It is you using this as a lie to justify your own position of staying in at all costs.

    Nonetheless we saw the threat from Jeremy Hunt yesterday, take what Theresa May offers or have a general election and get Corbyn. An interesting political conundrum because both
    Leavers and Remainers will have a decision to make when we see the result of the negotiation, not the Least for yourself. I fear a disgraceful sell out by a weak PM out of her depth.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Weak and out of he depth, which is it seems about 2 m. Hopefully the N Irish MPs and the sensible wing will stop her making any more of her huge mistakes.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        2 mm depth I meant no where near 2M. She does not even understand that asking for peoplee votes while promising to punish them is not such a good plan.

    • Fed Up and Angry
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      If they sell us out, the establishment can have Corbyn as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully he then steals on their assets.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. As a life long Tory and of late UKIP lately vote for Corbyn. We might just as well let him go on his destruction spree then we can clear out these Limp Dumbs masquerading as Tories.

  6. matthu
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Although any large, unexplained pay out on exit appears to favour exactly what “others” are aiming for, presumably by binding us into some murky, under the counter project that will never be properly audited or justified, exactly what those who voted for Brexit were seeking to avoid.

    Why is Jeremy Hunt (previously an ardent remainer) suddenly so keen to stress that UK must accept any deal we are offered and be grateful because the alternative would be no Brexit at all?

    • rose
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I think his conversion is genuine. He has seen how they are behaving and the scales have fallen from his eyes. He probably thinks if she is overthrown there won’t be any Brexit as a lot of us think that. A new administration won’t be the Brexit one we would like but a Rudd one, or a Starmer + Cable one, or a Corbyn one.

  7. Mick
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink
    Let’s just go for a No deal I’m and probably not on my own pretty fed up with all this bully boy tactics by the eu, as for the ROÍ if they want a hard boarder go ahead and build one but not with my money, as for the Remoaner mps just shut it and do what we your boss told you what we put you into Westminster for and that is to abid by our wish to leave the dreaded eu, and if that’s means no deal then so be it , so remember this because some of you seem to to be suffering from memory loss that we are the boss NOT you

  8. Mark B
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    By the way of things it sounds that no one is taking a blind bit of notice of our kind host. I think the question over the Irish border may well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    Plan A should have been no negotiated settlement with the EU. The PM should never ever have got involved. Her vanity got in the way of good administrative sense. Let David Davis MP deal with things.

    Leaving is not going to be easy. Having a foreign body so most of your administrative work for the best part of half a century has an effect on a nation. There are many skills, jobs and departments that will need to be recreated. This is an an escapable fact.

    Not good !

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, The EU makes the rules, it does not implement them or administer them. That is left up to the member state. That is how the Remains can claim that the EU is no bigger than Little Wallop, or whatever.

      So really we do have all the skills, except at the top of government. You can see that with so many of the establishment politicians trying to retain their comfort blanket of EU rule. They don’t want the responsibility.

  9. Lifelogic.
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Still Cameron did at least achieve the right referendum result. Let us hope that T May does actually get us out and not in name only.

  10. oldtimer
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I back your position. The fact is that there are those who wish to overturn the referendum result and put the clock back. There are others who want to dilute or otherwise frustrate it’s implementation – some in influential positions. May’s negotiating stance and the need to have in place a working body of law and regulation at the exit offers plenty of chances for them to do so through parliamentary guerilla action. The utmost pressure needs to be applied if Brexit is to be delivered as promised. I do not see how the Conservative party can remain in office if it fails in this task.

    • Bob
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      a Corbyn govt seemed a virtual impossibility until Appeaser May became Tory leader.

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Oldtimer, and Bob, I agree. We are looking on in bewilderment at the appeasement antics so very similar to 1972.

  11. Nig l
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Ps you indicated last week that there were other important topics than Brexit so I wonder whether this post means you expect a sell out?

  12. Linda Jones
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    ”There is a name for appealing over the head of the Crown to an authority outside the realm, and that name is treason.” Thus said Enoch Powell.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink


    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

      Lest we forget! And nor should we forget that MPs who wish to take their seats in the House of Commons swear their allegiance to the crown, not to the EU.

      We ought to familiarise ourselves with the definition of the word ‘traitor’ and ask, do these pro-EU politicians really act in Britain’s best interest and put our people first?

      With the oft made and insurmountable economic and political cases illustrated on this blog, I think we can safely say they are hugely in error, and that is being very, very charitable, so what other reasons under-pin their leaning towards a foreign entity?

      I make no excuses for wanting the very best for my country and its people, and seeking to defend both. Others are clearly driven by a different set of values entirely. Beware the pro-EU politicians who harbour vested interests – especially the ones who seek to preserve the EU tax-payer funded gravy train.

      Tad Davison


  13. Cobwatch
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    First off John, congrats on signing that letter. Everything now comes down to values, if the UK chooses to implement a Brexit that mimics EU “values” many of its advantages are lost. This “punishment” clause, to be implemented if the UK introduces anything beneficial, that tells you where the battle really is.

  14. Captain
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    My view is that the border with the Republic of Ireland should be more rigorous than the one operating in Calais, as it is impractical to dig a 22 mile wide channel allowing seawater in to it protecting our country from what will be a mass intrusion. EU migrants to Ireland , 5 year wait for citizenship, or 3 years through marriage then calmly walk into Mainland UK. The same goes for any refugees Ireland may be bound to accept. Ireland, a small country unable to defend its interests against EU. Any easing of that border making it frictionless should be dependent on the Republic triggering Article 50 NOW . Also we need assurances Ireland will not reduce citizenship-granting to any less than the five years but it should be increased to fifteen to twenty.
    If this is not negotiable then we must reserve the right at any time to stop access to Northern Ireland within 24 hours notice by NEW Irishmen and women.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Off topic I am afraid but my personal soap box

    A report today suggests that £297 per week spending money after housing costs for a family of three is relative poverty.

    Assuming housing costs in London of £1,500 per month then relative poverty equates to around £33,000 after tax.

    Child benefit starts to be removed from rich people who earn around £36.5K after tax so the difference between relative poverty and broad shoulders seems to be £67 per week.

    Maybe your government might like to revisit the child benefit heist and remove the money from large families and not from those struggling to live with London’s ridiculous housing market.

  16. Turboterrier.
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Good post John

    Let’s set the deadline as 29 March 2019 and work to it.

    Some, no a lot would say “stop this death by a 1000 cuts process being forced upon us by the EU and their arch supporters over here”

    The EU is falling apart albeit very slowly and all they want is more funding to try and keep it together and to prevent others following the UK.

    Our PM should today announce enough is enough of all threats and counter threats, push is going to shove on the 1st January 2018 and will be leaving with full effect from the 29th March this is and will be totally none negotiable.

    The longer we naff about the more time the remain fifth column has to think up more mischief and mayhem.

  17. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Today could be the day we walk away.

    Or it could not.

    If we do not the public needs to know what concessions have been given. It may not just be remainers who want a vote on any deal.

    Membership fee until we leave, normal rights of naturalisation and no hard border for Ireland. Not so difficult I feel.

  18. Excalibur
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Brexit dichotomy is propagated by Remainers because they are unable to visualize a world outside of the EU. After forty years, many have not known any other system. Indeed, they seem to want EU control of their lives.

    If life within the EU is such a big deal, how is a charity able to claim today that ‘hundreds of thousands are struggling to make ends meet’ ? The fact is that life has always been a struggle. Careful budgeting and rejection of the tenets of ‘instant gratification’ would eliminate much that is now regarded as poverty. We will be better able to control our lives outside of the EU.

  19. Original Richard
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    “The government still states its policy as taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money.”

    And, I hope our assets, because to give away our fishing grounds for the second time would be unacceptable.

  20. Tabulazero
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “The former cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson, Nigel Lawson and John Redwood have said it would be unacceptable for the European court of justice to have any jurisdiction over the UK during the planned two-year transition after Brexit.”

    Wouldn’t it strike you as exceptionally odd if for example the UK could initiate a legal action in front of the ECJ for a potential breach of the Single-Market rules during the transition period (who is to say if it will only last 2 years) but the reverse would not be true because the UK does not recognise the ECJ jurisdiction ?

    • miami.mode
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Wrong word, Tab old bean. It’s an implementation period of two years.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink


      “Wouldn’t it strike you as exceptionally odd”

      Really? , well not if you understand the rules on jurisdiction then no it wouldn’t. Do you people really not understand there is a whole world of people, trade, commerce, finance and law outside the 27 EU members ?

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, You mean odd that the UK should be a supplicant to the ECJ, or odd that we should allow ourselves to be suckered back into the EU in all but name? We are rightly ashamed of such crawling.

      I’ll give you another oddity. The Miller case made it explicit that changes to our rights (and obligations) derived from EU laws must be voted for by the UK Parliament. But what happens when the EU produces a new Regulation which by definition alters our rights (obligations)? Parliament must have the right to strike that Regulation down, don’t you think?

  21. Original Richard
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    “There are others who seem to think after Brexit we need to mirror all the arrangements and controls we had when in the EU.”

    It is becoming increasingly clear that this is the PM’s preferred option and why Mr. Juncker urged her to have a snap election so as to gain a big enough majority to enable her to have a large EU supporting majority in the HOC and the cabinet.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      We have to be thankful that she only has a slim majority with the DUP. they will inject some backbone into Mrs May whether she likes it or not.
      The ongoing punishment beating by Brussels is becoming an embarrassment to a once proud nation.
      Walk away and be damned.

      • DaveM
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Quite right. Let’s just hope the DUP don’t waver. It’s certainly not in their character to do so. Unlike the current crop of jellyfish who have taken over the Conservative party. Never mind turning in her grave – Mrs Thatcher will get up out of it if May sells us out one more time.

  22. Richard1
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    The fundamental problem is there is no acceptance by the soft Brexit / Remain side, nor by the Government, that the WTO option is not ‘falling off the cliff edge’. So in reality there isn’t the confidence to get up and walk away. The EU knows this, so they continue to drive a hard bargain. The only way out of this is for the Govt to set out clearly its own view of the walk away option, and so be credible in explaining to the EU that that’s what’s going to happen if there isn’t a sensible agreement. If they can’t or won’t do that then they would do better to stop all David Davis’s huffing and puffing and go for the Norwegian or maybe Swiss model and have done with it.

  23. Alan
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The difficulties of extracting ourselves from the EU are not a demonstration that we lost sovereignty by being in the EU. The detailed arrangements for trade and travel will need to be reproduced after we have left. We will have no more sovereignty in that respect after we have left than before we leave.

    It is a limit to our sovereignty that we cannot fly our aircraft where and when we please, but anyone who imagines that we will gain powers like that by leaving the EU is living in a fantasy world. Of necessity we must make compromises with other countries.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      How do the 140 countries not in the EU manage to overfly and trade with Europe. Last time I checked there were direct flights from China, Malaya, Australia etc.
      They don’t appear to be in the EU. What about planes wanting to come to the UK, will they be allowed, just us not being allowed. Your being silly.

      • Alan
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        These countries are not in the EU, but they all make agreements with the EU and each other that limit their freedom to fly. We will do the same when we leave the EU. I was making the point that there is no gain in sovereignty in this respect by leaving the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Alan, Declaration 27 states that EU law has primacy over UK law. That is our loss of sovereignty. It means we have lost the power to enact new law,or amend old law, in our own Parliament for our own country, in the areas where the EU has power to enact legislation. So, clearly, merely agreeing with another country about flights between us does not deprive us of sovereignty, it is an exercise of sovereignty.

  24. Juiliet
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    “mirror all the arrangements and controls we had when in the EU” this group do not want change they want the status quo without challenging what works and what doesn’t, this is a flawed perception of reality staying within the comfort zone, here lies the group of disablers stuck in the past, protecting territories, time for a change of attitudes and clear out

  25. Pat
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I would prefer suspending all import duties the day we leave pending negotiations of a proper trade deal with each country in the world, so that consumers have access to the cheapest goods possible.
    We’re I in your position I would probably not say so, were I in Government I would certainly be threatening WTO terms in hope of leveraging good terms for our exports.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Getting rid of all the entanglements we have with the EU suits me fine . The Civil Service have a job to do and I trust its efforts will bring forth a detailed positive set of recommendations . Spending our money on our own priorities is another of my preferences ; I don’t see why we should surrender one iota to any outsider . Last week a very old friend of mine aged 90 years died and just a few days before expressed his wish to see us out of the EU ; I shall continue to support him and others with the same objective .

  27. Alan
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    In one sense of course we lose sovereignty when we leave the EU. Before leaving we have a vote on all these arcane complex regulations that are necessary to run the modern world. Once we have left we lose that vote and our freedom of action is to that extent diminished.

    I’ve never really understood why Eurosceptics care so much about the details of trade and borders. Someone has to arrange all these things, but I am content to leave it to those who are being paid to do it. It’s actual impact on me is mainly when they fail to get it right and I am inconvenienced. If they do their job well I’m hardly aware they are doing it.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      In the EU we don’t have a say in these arcane complex regulations, they have been the EUs prerogative.
      On leaving we will have a seat and a voice in these institutions denied us whilst in the EU.
      The EU is essentially run for the benefit of France and Germany.

      • Alan
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        Of course we had a say in these regulations.

        And the EU is very influential in decisions of this type. It is the world leader in setting many standards. We will have less influence when we have left. Of course we will sit at the table and our representative will make speeches, but other countries won’t pay that much attention. They know what matters is what the USA, China, and the EU say.

        We gained a lot from our membership of the EU, and we will notice its absence when we have left. In fact we are already noticing now the effects of leaving. They are not all good, and those that are good are ones we would have had whether or not we were in the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      But you should know that in broad terms those “arcane complex regulations that are necessary to run the modern world” are increasingly agreed across the world as a whole, and we will regain our sovereign influence over that global process rather than lending it to the EU to speak on behalf of all its member states.

      I’m sure I remember that being one of the arguments for staying in the EEA after we have left the EU, that Norway for example has its own independent voice in setting global standards before they are passed to the EU for implementation.

    • rose
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      “I’ve never really understood why Eurosceptics care so much about the details of trade and borders. Someone has to arrange all these things, but I am content to leave it to those who are being paid to do it. It’s actual impact on me is mainly when they fail to get it right and I am inconvenienced. If they do their job well I’m hardly aware they are doing it.”

      Thus speaks a man who has enjoyed a lifetime of peace and plenty and has no idea where it all came from.

      • Alan
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I have enjoyed a life of ‘peace’ (although I remember well the Cold War and the IRA’s campaign, not to mention the foreign wars as we left the Empire and the wars in Egypt, the Falkland Islands, Iraq, and Afghanistan, so it has not been as peaceful as you imply). And I have not always enjoyed plenty. I’ve never been starving but I have been much poorer than I am now.

        I do realise where it comes from, and one source is trade with the EU. That’s something that many people on this blog overlook, but I expect that they will notice its absence when we have left.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink


      I guess you’ve never run a business or traded then as you seem blissfully unaware that some of us trade with many many countries NOT in the EU, and international trade has always had different rules, regulations and sometimes standards. If you remotely understood anything about business and trade you would know that despite EU regulations and standards there are still very different things to be done to some goods prior to export to EU countries. There are a lot of standards and regulatory bodies in the world, Finance and Banking, Telecomms, Engineering etc that currently we have no say in at all ( even though we established some of these bodies) because the EU has usurped that role for us.

      Oh by the way the impact on you is actually quite large, you are personally paying through the nose for it.

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Alan, No, we do not “lose sovereignty when we leave the EU”. One vote in 28 is not the same as deciding for yourself. Think about it: if 27 of us (and you) controlled how your salary was spent; and then you left our little consortium so you controlled your own salary – have you gained sovereignty, or lost it?

      You also say: “I’ve never really understood why Eurosceptics care so much about the details of trade and borders.” You are making the assumption that the EU is only about these details. It isn’t. We care about fairness, freedom, sovereignty, patriotism, democracy, self-determination, our own constitution, and not being merely an English speaking area within an EU empire.

      The EU is corrupt, dysfunctional and undemocratic. We can nothing about that from within it, though we tried for 43 years.

  28. Michael
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    29th March 2019 must be the day we leave and leave must mean exactly that. No deal is better than a bad deal.

  29. Andy
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    You have failed to understand how irrelevant your argument is anyway. Demographics alone mean your Brexit vision is doomed.

    Young people do not wish to leave. We have no problem with immigration (the biggest Leave gripe). We understand the huge economic benefits the EU brings. We actually like the EU and loathe Brexit.

    We are also the future – unlike the miserable pensioners who have imposed Brexit on us. Look at the irrarional Labour Leaver MPs in Parliament. Average age 72. With no offence to Tory Leavers like Bill Cash (age 77), Lord Lawson (85), Lord Lamont (75) – they are really not the future.

    If you think 29 March 2019 is the end of Brexit you are sadly mistaken. It is the beginning – and unless you make it an overwhelming success, fixing all the things you claimed were wrong with the EU while making nothing worse AND make us all richer (and do all of this quickly) – then Brexit will be swiftly overturned.

    You simply won’t have the numbers to stop us. And this is why you are desperate to avoid both proper Parliamentary scrutiny of your plans and a second referendum on the deal. You know you’ll lose both.

    You may think you have won Mr Redwood but you are about to suffer the biggest loss of your career. It will be a joy to make sure your pension is paid in Euros!

    • Edward2
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Current polls still show a majority who want to leave the EU.

      With age comes wisdom Andy.
      Your time will come.

      • acorn
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        “Public enthusiasm for a clean break from the EU has ebbed,” he writes, citing a YouGov poll that found 46% of people now think the UK was wrong to vote to leave, compared to just 42% who think the opposite. (Will Martin at Business Insider)

      • Alan
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Actually current polls show a majority believing that leaving the EU is a mistake. Maybe Andy’s time has come.

        Anyway I’m pleased that he wrote in and gave his views.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      A wonderful parody of a raging euromaniac, well done!

    • Charles Crofton
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Andy, you are clearly young and naive and haven’t had worldly experience, lived and worked in different countries, employed people in different industries and met with business leaders from different cultures.

      It would do you well to pay more attention to JR, Bill Cash, Lord Lamont and Lord Lawson because they are working to ensure we all have a future.

      In the meantime I suggest you (words left out ed) pull yourself together and study the unaddressed debt, fiscal and political imbalances within the EU which mean it’s going to crash anyway. The EU is a racket composed of self-serving eurocrats who don’t pay tax and have little interest in their constituents.

      Come back when you have a sensible opinion.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Dearest Andy–Funny how you managed to avoid the matter of the enormous cash cost to us of the EU, as if none such existed–And you might also like to consider factoring in the even more important reasons for leaving, pre-eminent among the same being no longer having to be told what to do by (multiple) foreigners.

    • graham1946
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      One thing I never saw during the referendum debate was what advantages are there in the EU going forward to cause us to stay in? It was all about what we would lose if we voted out and still is. Did anyone mention the budget going to be doubled, therefore higher taxes, the formation of an EU army (with quite possibly conscription), the inevitable joining of the Euro, (our opt out is only just that, not cast in stone forever) the reduction and eventual abolition of our rebate which the EU hate (Blair was conned – he gave a lot of it away for reform of the Agricultural policy which never actually happened). How you can put your faith in such people is beyond me. The hopefulness of youth, presumably. You will learn.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      The youth vote will, hopeful, aquire some wisdom as they age. The Tories will also surely have a real Conservative at the helm by then, rather than the current dithering, socialist electoral liability.

      If they are daft enough to be taken in by the magic money tree fraud Corbyn they will deserve all they get.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      When I was a teenager I didn’t have a single friend who didn’t vote Labour. That’s why now 40 years later Labour are in power with a massive majority. Oh, wait a minute ….. some people must have changed their minds as they got older !

    • acorn
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know if you ever saw the film “The Long Goodbye”; there is likely to be a Brexit version.

      “Samuel Tombs, an economist renowned for correctly predicting the result of June’s general election, has a fresh prediction: Brexit isn’t actually going to happen.

      Writing in a note circulated to clients of Pantheon Macroeconomics on Sunday evening, Tombs — Pantheon’s chief UK economist — argued that Brexit will be so damaging to Britain’s economy in the short term that no politician will feel comfortable actually pulling the UK out of the bloc when push comes to shove, both for the sake of their own reputations, and the UK’s economic health.

      Tombs writes that he believes the UK and EU will eventually agree to a transition deal to smooth Britain’s passage out of the EU, but once Britain reaches the intended end of the transition period, it will then stay in the EU.

      “A transition deal—which keeps the U.K. inside the single market and customs union but gives it no say over its rules—is the only viable outcome in 2019, Tombs said. The U.K. likely will go into a transition deal intending it to last for only two years, but we see a high chance of it becoming permanent.” (Business Insider)

    • Bert Young
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Youth changes its mind when it matures and understands real values .

    • Richard1
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      It is probably correct that if Brexit is reversed the U.K. will end up in the euro. That will also mean accepting the coming common tax and welfare policies. Perhaps it is a decision each generation will have to make – does the U.K. wish to be an independent democracy or a state within a pan-EU Government? Note that in independent Switzerland (Europe’s most prosperous and solvent country), opposition to EU membership is stable at around 80%.

    • Alexis
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      My word, you are naive as well as ignorant.

      It is nothing to be proud of. Try to learn a bit more about the goals and costs of the EU. Do not just support it because you vaguely like the idea of what you believe it to be. Do not support it because it gives you a nice warm feeling about yourself. Find out some facts.

    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Andy, When I was young I voted in 1975 to remain. I learnt better as I got older. Just think how duped you will feel in 5 – 10 years when you find out how the Remain campaign lied to you, as I did after the 1975 referendum.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      “Young people do not wish to leave.”

      Firstly it is simply not true that all “young people” do not wish to leave the EU, just a majority.

      Secondly, all young people get both older and wiser.

      The argument that today’s young people will always remain EU supporters is false as can be shown by the fact that whilst a majority of people will vote Labour in their youth, many change to vote for the Conservatives as they get older and wiser.

      If this were not the case then there would simply be no Conservative Party, let alone one that received the most votes in the last GE.

      So as the “miserable pensioners”, as you describe the older generation, die off, their votes to leave the EU will be replaced by those of a following generation who will have realised not only the benefits of sovereignty but also learned how much we are being fleeced by the EU.

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      In some ways Andy I think you are right, although perhaps rude. My generation, myself being 66 yrs old , were around long before we had overpopulation and values where social mobility, culture , pleasantries , gentle fiscal improvement were a part of our lives. We were not quite as materialistic , enjoyed a freer type of existence ,and did not have to watch our backs all the time in case someone was going to cheat us out of our life’s work or put a bomb in a crowded place .We were collectively of a more gentle mindset. We looked at our history within Europe and could not believe that Europe wanted to engulf us. We could not believe, even though there were 2 world wars to try and remove our identity, that it would not happen again . We were gullible .We were young and looked at the best side of everything, because we had become those people who thought we understood that everyone must have a similar outlook on life as us. We were wrong.

  30. Jason Wells
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Here we have JR still harping on about walking away and working to WTO rules. You know it takes two or more to trade and just exactly who is going to trade with us if we renege on our responsibilities. In this country there are a lot of commentators and politicians who think that living up to your responsibilities, ie. paying the bill for divorce after 45 years marriage, has everything to do with holding out, like bargaining, for some kind of a future charm deal on our own terms, bespoke deals if you like, cherry picking, but that is not what it is about and it is not going to work with the EU as some will learn to their horror probably later today. we are not going to be allowed to trade in the old model wife for a new model of our choice- we are not going to get that new trophy wife..that’s the hard reality.

    We voted to leave then that is what we should do now except for our government, even the hardliners DD, Boris and Fox realize now that we are in great danger of ending up by ourselves on the edge of europe. Lets be clear about this there are no new international trade deals out there waiting for us that we can count on- it was all part of the old sloganeering by Farage Boris Gove and others, just like 350 on the side of a bus

    • Jason Wells
      Posted December 5, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      What’s the matter JR? don’t like what you see?

  31. hans chr iversen
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink


    you keep talking about an alternative WTo solution as oppose to no free trade del with the EU.

    The WTO solution is no real solution, just taking one UK pharmaceutical company which says it will have to pay export duties of £ 30 million for exports and £ 5 million for imports under WTO rule, this is just one company, think of the increased costs for squeezed consumers across the board.

    WTO is not a real alternative solution

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      You don’t pay duties on exports so that argument is rubbish as is most of what you post. Anyway the consumer pays.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink


        You pay duties to the Asian and Mediterranean countries in extra duties for exports, this comes directly from AstraZeneca.

        The 5 million is for the import of pharmaceutical ingredients. The source is the Times today on page 44.

        It is not my fault you do not understand the workings of imports/exports in the pharmaceutical industry. I think your response speaks for itself.

        thank you

        • acorn
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

          Hans, there is little understanding on this site, of why import tariffs are needed to protect domestic production of good or services. That is, where domestic production can’t satisfy domestic consumer demand and imports can. If foreigners can supply Lamb Chops cheaper than the domestic producers; unchecked, they would wipe out domestic Lamb Chop producers. Simples!

          Hence, an import tariff on Lamb Chops could be set to keep import prices slightly above domestic prices, assuming normal domestic profits.

          A wise government, with an eye to getting re-elected, does not want the price of Lamb Chops to become an election issue, so a quota of imports at lower tariffs may reduce the prices in the shops without harming domestic producer pricing powers. Result: happy voters!

        • NickC
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Hans, It is you that does not understand the WTO trade rules. WTO signatories can and do charge import duties, just as the EU does with its own tariff wall.

          We are still in the EU, and operating by its rules for trade, particularly for imports. When Astra Zeneca imports pharmaceutical ingredients the tariff it pays to do so is set by the EU (and 80% paid to the EU).

          When A-Z exports to a WTO signatory nation which has its own import tariffs, the customer will pay the duty. It is possible that A-Z will cut its prices to compensate, so will take the hit. I think that’s where you have misunderstood.

          The UK exports more successfully under WTO trade rules than we do under EU rules by about 61% to 39% (Pink Book, using ONS 4% guess for the Rotterdam effect). The WTO rules are ready made, the only trade deal on offer at the moment, and demonstrably better for us than the EU.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Works for all the non EU countries.

      • Alan
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        No. The WTO does not deal with clearing pharmaceuticals. That is done mainly by bilateral agreements, which we will have to negotiate. By no means impossible, but it is yet anther thing that has to be done.

  32. Peter
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Yes control is everything. Nothing to disagree with in what you say.

    However, key question is whether there is enough strength to ensure the government adopts the sensible path rather than pay billions to the EU with no real benefit for this country

  33. NickC
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    JR, An excellent post. The fact that the UK will have left by 30-03-2019 is indisputable, and a great joy. Except . . . . Except if the two sides agree an extension as per Art50.

    That means it is up to your government to honour its commitment to Leave. There is not a lot that we can do directly to prevent either the Remain civil service, or the Remains in government from betraying us (again). If they did, the consequences would be profound.

  34. BOF
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    First of all, thank you for putting your name to the excellent letter to the PM.

    After today we may have more clarity but I am pessimistic that Theresa May has it in her to achieve anything but a bad deal when she has always said ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’.

    £40 B+ is a bad deal. Any involvement of the ECJ is a bad deal. Citizens of any other country having different or more rights than UK citizens is a bad deal. Any trade off on the CFP or on UK regaining full control over territorial waters is a bad deal and most important, if the UK is prevented in any way from concluding trade deals with other countries during any ‘transition’ period then that is a very bad deal indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Bad ideas indeed, but May clearly likes bad ideas such as HS2, Hinkley C, £50 billion, attacking the self employed, gender pay reporting, absurdly high and complex taxation, ever more red tape, green crap lunacy, building on workers rights, voting remain, punishment manifestos, Philip Hammond…. ….


    • NickC
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      BOF, A really good summary of the possible errors by Mrs May and co.

  35. Derek Henry
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The neoliberals are strying to stop it at every turn John.

    The neo-liberal austerity mindset within the UK government has to stop and should be no guide for what the British government has to do now to revitalise its flagging economy.

    The British Treasury released two reports in 2016 covering its estimates of the impact of a Leave vote:

    1. HM Treasury analysis: the long-term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives (released April 18, 2016).

    2. HM Treasury analysis: the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU (released May 23, 2016).

    The problem was that the estimates in the HM Treasury analysis were ideologically-biased and lacked any real basis. Anyone with an understanding of the way monetary systems work would have been able to see through their analysis. Most of the analysis was based on the fact we still use a gold standard.

    In the ‘immediate impact’ analysis, they also use NiGEM (the NIESR General Equilibrium model), which is used “by over 40 organisations including the IMF, the OECD, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank” … and HM Treasury!

    These ‘models’ are fictions (as all models are) but with little linkages to the real world, which makes them unreliable as a guide to what would happen in that world if something changed. The Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model that all 40 organisations use.

    It attempted to merge the so-called Keynesian elements of money, imperfect competition and rigid prices with the so-called Real Business Cycle theory elements of rational expectations, market clearing and optimisation across time, all within a stochastic dynamic model.

    That mind sound daunting to readers who haven’t suffered years of the propaganda that goes for economics ‘education’ these days but let me assure you all the fancy terminology (like ‘rational expectations, stochastic dynamics, intertemporal optimisation’ and the rest of it) cannot hide the fact that these theories and attempts at application to real world data are a total waste of time. In other words, like most of the advanced macroeconomics theory it looks to be complex and that perception serves the ideological agenda – to avoid scrutiny but appear authoritative.

    So, they all gather around the same Kool-aid feeding trough and produce an array of reports that make it seem as though all these different organisations are coming up with the same result on their own – ergo, the conclusions must be correct.

    If you believe that you will believe anything really. These exercises are in the same ball park as ‘fake news’.

    Same Kool-aid, same poison!

    Garbage In, Garbage Out!

  36. Shieldsman
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    “There are those in the civil service who understand the wish of the majority to leave. ”

    Unfortunately there are those that prefer the easy life of transposing EU Directives and other passed on rules (UN etc) into UK law. Lord Kerr,the former UK ambassador to the European Union made such a poor job of drafting Article 50, we have been left in a no-mans land held up to ransom. The Southern Irish are even using it in an attempt to fulfill their childhood teaching – we want our six Counties back.

    The television channels are so pro EU I switch their news programmes off. When is the Government going to fight the United Kingdoms corner. Cameron spent almost £10 million of taxpayers money in producing, printing, delivering and promoting the leaflet which will set out why HE believed Britain was better off in the EU, having failed to obtain any changes in our membership. His failure caught him out.

  37. margaret
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    John .. you are still blogging on Brexit ! Yes the irony is obvious . They have us dangling from a string . They are puppeteers.

  38. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I am not sure anymore how many Conservative MPs are genuine Leavers but WHEN the May stitch up arrives I would expect them to force a leadership contest to give some credence to this country being a democracy.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Dear A.S. –Yes–I confess I am unable to fathom why such should lead to a General Election–In any event the risk would be worth it to get rid of her and Hammond’s (lack of) judgement

      • rose
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        It doesn’t have to lead to a general election but it could lead to a Rudd administration without even token Brexit presence.

  39. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic, I notice there’s a great deal being said about the speech Theresa May gave in Florence in September, but in fact there were few changes from the speech she had already given in Lancaster House on January 17th:

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

    I emphasise the date of that speech because it was over a week before January 26th when the Bill to authorise the government to send in the Article 50 TEU notice was introduced into the House of Commons, and more than two months before that Bill completed its passage and the notice was duly sent in.

    In other words, parliamentarians had had plenty of time to study her speech and notice, for example, this passage:

    “… our objectives include a proposed free trade agreement between Britain and the European Union, and explicitly rule out membership of the EU’s single market. Because when the EU’s leaders say they believe the 4 freedoms of the single market are indivisible, we respect that position.”

    I don’t know how any parliamentarian can now claim that the government has not been perfectly clear about this: we only want three of those four freedoms, the EU refuses to even discuss splitting them into three plus one with the UK exempt from the fourth, and so we have to reject any arrangement which would keep us bound to all four – which in reality would include continued membership of the EEA.

    So when somebody comments on a certain Remoaner blog:

    “I just don’t understand why the silly ***** can’t see that if she leans towards EEA EFTA, then all her problems go away. ***, is it really that hard?”

    the silliness, and the ignorance, is actually on their part.

    I actually have a lot of sympathy for Theresa May, who has been expected to deal with a difficult situation after David Cameron first made sure that there would be no contingency plans in case he lost the referendum, and then broke his word by not putting in the Article 50 notice before the court actions started up, and then broke his word again by running off and leaving it to somebody else to take us out of the EU.

    • Hope
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, today we read and hear reports that she is giving in to demands over Ireland! I think the quote you give is crumbling today, reports there will be no divergence in regulation i.e. Stay in custom union and single market!
      I accept your point about Cameron, …………

    • rose
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Is the main difference the reference at Florence to “commitments”?

  40. English Pensioner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    One of the problems of any review is that there are numerous Civil Servants charged with enforcing the EU law and regulations in fields as diverse as fisheries, agriculture and financial matters. They have a vested interest in keeping these rules in place as without them, their jobs wouldn’t exist.
    My experience as a Civil Servant (before being ‘hived of’ to an Government Authority) was that the Civil Service as a whole is strongly opposed to any changes which might result in less work and put their jobs at risk. Any review of the continuation of EU law and regulations MUST be carried out by individuals who don’t have a vested interest in their retention

  41. Epikouros
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    If only we were all libertarians then we would not be having this argument as we would see big state and and centralised economic and social control for what it is. Nothing but legalised robbery, a mechanism to remove our civil liberties and a power grab. What government we then would have would only exist to protect us against those who would do us harm. The EU would not even exist nor would trade blocks and and the only free trade treaties would be not about tariffs but standards and mechanism to ensure smooth flows.

    Few are libertarians the rest are either politically left or right. Some with a view to dominance and the imposition of their policies and practices. They are the dangerous ones and who have brought us to the sorry state we have now where bureaucrats and politicians rule our lives no less harmfully than autocratic monarchs of old. The EU being the pinnacle of this modern autocracy where power is now almost absolute and dissent dangerous. Past and aspiring emperors and tyrants would be proud of what the EU has achieved Kaiser Wilhelm very much so.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’ve just heard the Irish Foreign Minister speak against “the re-emergence of a border on this island”. It was in a video embedded in this article:

    which is headed with a picture of signs at that border which must not re-emerge, and he then went on to say that at present this non-existent border which must not re-emerge is helping to bring people together rather than dividing them.

    I think that either he’s very muddled or he’s trying very hard to muddle others, and I think I prefer the clarity of his subordinate, the Europe Minister, who told Sky News:

    “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.

    As the Irish government is sufficiently crazy to rule out “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”, when it is self-evident and undeniable that there already is a border, and moreover an international border, for all kinds of agreed purposes, legal and practical, it really seems utterly pointless and a complete waste of time and energy to try to negotiate any kind of agreement with them.

    • bigneil
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      I cannot understand the opposition to cameras – the UK is already THE most watched nation on the planet, with more CCTVs per person than anywhere else. Tied to the power-hungry EU which is bleeding our finances and watched as if we are all criminals – -A FREE COUNTRY ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Personally I’m not happy about the spread of CCTV cameras nor about the lax way in which officially obtained footage is handled. I well remember government assurances that such recordings would not be made public except for legitimate purposes such as in the course of court proceedings, now they are a supply of cheap material for TV programmes.

        But I know I am in a minority on this, as most people in the UK think the CCTV cameras are useful and even like to have them for reassurance, and are not too bothered about any civil liberty considerations.

        Of course it is the attitudes of the Irish people which also matter here and I don’t know whether they accept the presence of CCTV cameras as readily as most people do in the UK.

        But the fact is that there are cameras, and the Irish authorities have no problem with cameras across the Republic apart from near that border which they choose to pretend is not a border.

        “It’s fine to have cameras in Dublin, and even increase their number … “

      • rose
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        The oppostion arises from the fact that there are elements in North and South who want to conquer the North for the South. Pretending there is no border is the first step towards establishing that there is no border. These elements are also affecting the politics in Dublin.

        In fact there is a border and a lot of smuggling takes place across it. How could that be if there aren’t two countries involved? The smugglers, whose membership overlaps with the would-be conquerers, don’t want any change to their lucrative trade.

      • hefner
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        Are you saying that the huge number of cameras in the UK is due to the EU? In that case, why do other EU countries not “enjoy” the same number of CCTVs per person?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      Denis, I listened to him and was bemused, there bare differing VAT rates, different corporation taxes and a whole lot of other divergences between the 2 parts of Ireland. Is he suggesting they harmonise everything which of course would be a backdoor uniting of Ireland.
      It’s a good job we have the DUP. It would be ironic if Irelands stupidity forced a NO DEAL.

  43. Tom William
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    While there are argument for paying some sort of “divorce bill” to leave amicably there are absolutely no honest arguments for allowing the ECJ to have any, repeat any, powers over UK laws once we leave. Even to allow some powers during any “transitional period” is a slippery slope on which we must never tread.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Dear Tom–Couldn’t agree more–It is all nonsense–Does Canada have to kow-tow to an ACJ?–Of course not–What is the difference??

  44. BretW
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    So the letter signed by 30 brexiteer tory types to the PM sets out the red lines. If she were to carry this through there would be no basis then on talks only the cliff edge.

    The EU by being denied a role for the ECJ is not going to abandon 3 million of it’s citizens on the night of 29th March?? Not without there being massive consequenses..consequenses for the the tory right wing think-tank groups better think again and get real. It’s all of this wooly thinking that has us in the place we’re in

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      What about the 200,000 US citizens living in the UK? If EU citizens residing in the UK can turn to the EU quasi-federal supreme court for protection of their rights, possibly over-turning decisions of the UK courts, do you think US citizens in the UK should be allowed to appeal to the US federal Supreme Court? And what about UK citizens living in the rest of the EU, should they be allowed to appeal to the UK Supreme Court over the heads of the national courts where they live? You think there will be consequences if we reject these ludicrous ideas? What consequences?

    • Jagman84
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      The phrase “When in Rome” comes to mind. EU citizens will abide by our rules and UK citizens in the EU states will need to reciprocate. The ECJ will have to accept it. It is that simple.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      EU citizens living in countries not in the EU have no rights other than those of the nations they decide to live in.
      If a French or German person lives in Canada or America or Saudi they live there under the rules and laws of those nations.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bret ,

      Why would we be the only independent country in the world to allow the ECJ to be the court of appeal for EU nationals living here ?

      I have lived all over the world and always been content to abide by the laws of my host country ; just as I expect EU nationals living here to abide by our laws .

      If injustices arise then they should be sorted out by diplomatic means .

      Why not ‘abandon ‘ the EU nationals , they have had ample warning of what will happen and still keep coming ! Has the EU issued a warning to its nationals living here that they will be in danger if they do not leave in 2019 ?
      It is all a confection and quite unnecessary for the EU to do , save to keep us in in a state of permanent gravitational pull as a supplicant nation .

    • Tom William
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Do you, for example, think Turks living in Germany should live under Turkish law? Or Americans living in the UK be under US law?

      Even more to the point do you think UK citizens living in the EU (who, by your definitions, have been “abandoned” by the UK) should live under UK law?

      • BretW
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Tom..i did not say that the uk could completely ignore ECJ when it comes to the matters of its EU citizens..but if Uk wants to go like that then there will be massive is accepted in Europe today now that being an EU citizen is a specual status..just like Uk status used to be during the time of the empire.. the USA have the same thinking today about its own people…they think their own people are special and hold them in a higher regard.. just try queui g outside of a USA embassy and watch how US citizens skip the queue ..that is the reality.. the same with EU citizens now

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted December 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Dear Bret–Can you really have said that?–You don’t think it makes a difference that the US citizens are queueing outside their own Embassy?? Have you noticed that ‘queueing’ has five vowels all in a row???

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      There are over one million German citizens living in USA. You would propose the USA “Gets real” and allows the ECJ to protect their rights ? If not, why not ?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bret–Balderdash–Foreigners can either go back where they came from, else submit to UK Courts like the rest of us, which submission I doubt anybody would view as a great hardship on any basis

    • sm
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Who says these EU citizens will be ‘abandoned’? If they are citizens of say, France, they will be supported by the French State if there is a dire problem, not to mention by the laws of one of the most civilised and law-abiding nations in the world, the UK.

      You write as though these 3 million Europeans were forced to come to Britain under duress – perhaps you know something the rest of us do not?

    • rose
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      The EU doesn’t give a damn about the 4 million Continentals here. If it did, it would have allowed the 28 governments to make reciprocal arrangements as soon as there was a change of PM here. That is what the new PM went all round Europe trying to achieve, and that is what over 20 of the other governments wanted too. But the Commission, and the French and German governments, callously put the kibosh on any agreement, because they had schemes in mind to use 4 million people here and almost 1 million on the Continent as tools in their manipulation of Brexit to visit damage on the UK.

      Just as they are using the Northern Irish and the Southern Irish. They are pretending to be best buddies with the Southern Irish but again, they don’t give a damn about them: they are playing with gunpowder now and look how they treated them when they voted against Nice and then against Lisbon. Look how they treated them when they took charge of their budget. Just like Greece. No, the EU does not care about people, it despises them; so it can’t be capable of abandoning them.

  45. potwalloper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Brave stuff John but I hope you and your colleagues can follow this up with real action as the sell-out approaches…

  46. am
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    strong and stable may has become weak and wobbly. or has it been a plan all along to cave and then in the months ahead to entirely stop brexit. devious more than weak that makes the issue a matter of trust which I cannot give her.
    the threats of corbyn might get in if she is not supported are to cow the leavers but it need not be they just have to remove her as leader of the government. but whatever tory mps do the brexit voters will take corbyn as punishment for the tory party and big business who both need to be dealt with as they are behind this destruction of democracy.

  47. Local Lad
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree with what you say, Mr Redwood, but I am depressed about the way we are making concessions to the EU time after time. I cannot believe now that we are going to get the Brexit for which we voted. Mrs May seems to have already given our money away and agreed to accept most EU demands. Do you really believe that after all these concessions we can get a clean break from the EU? If so please reassure me.

  48. Norman
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    To those who point to the advanced age of many Brexit supporters, whether in or out of Parliament, let it be said that ‘wisdom comes with age’! A serious problem, especially today, is historical illiteracy. It is naive to equate sensible levels of immigration, with wholesale cultural transplants, – perhaps calculated to negate everything a nation stands for. Thankfully, the intuitive, collective wisdom of many ordinary voters (a majority, as it happens) are far more savvy than the dismissive caricatures ranged against them.

    • Alison
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Re Brexiteers’ supposed advanced age> There is a scary lack of knowledge amongst the supposedly educated youth, made so much worse by political correctness. Plenty of knowledge of pop stars, actors in TV soaps. I think there is a move to extend voting to 16 year olds (as in Sco referendum 2014, which was a good thing in some respects – massive high-level, deep, responsible engagement by 16-18s). In the 2017 election, last few days before, I almost screamed at local Tories up here in Scotland, that there was no communication with the younger voters, who just regurgitated PC stuff; there was then some action in our constituency and next door. For Tories to engage with the younger voters will take time and care. If the next election does extend to voters over 16, it’s curtains.

  49. Andy
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow. If the reports are correct and May has agreed ‘no regulatory divergence’ then the cost of Brexit just went up from £50bn, to £50bn plus Northern Ireland. Well done Mr Redwood – your party has agreed to end the Union.

    • Cobwatch
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Why are we not surprised.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      And if true she has also put in play Gibraltar and Scotland into play, for the Nats will love this. I hope this is not true, but in light of May’s unerring ability to create failure out of a winning hand, I fear it isn’t.

      It is also worth noting of the propaganda / spin failure of N10 machine. In light of the perilous situation the Government is in. you might have thought that protecting their backs was pretty important. But no they have let Brussels and Ireland set the narrative, and even if they could be bothered to try, they aren’t going to recover the ground they have already lost today.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      This is why it would be far better to say now that the UK intends to trade on WTO terms and will not be seeking any special trade deal with the EU for the foreseeable future after leaving the EU, and therefore the UK only wishes to discuss whatever practical measures to facilitate trade may be required to ensure that there will be no unnecessary disruption of the existing trade flows.

      The UK would also do well to issue a reminder that the EU and all of its member states have signed up to the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement:

      and therefore the UK has a right to expect the EU to co-operate on this.

  50. Fed Up and Angry
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “They present each intervention or control as a problem, or as something we have to negotiate to continue it or to replicate it. They also seem to think the UK is in a weak position because in their view it needs to keep so much, so they recommend making many concessions to the EU negotiating position in order to cling on to something similar to what we have.”

    Which is exactly why we needed a PM that believed in and understood Brexit – but that’s not what Conservative MPs gave us unfortunately.

  51. Simon Coleman
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Tedious waffle, going over the same ground again. As for the desire to ‘mirror all the arrangements and controls we had when in the EU’ – business leaders overwhelmingly want to keep most of them. They work well. You keep saying that people voted for this and that – well what about the points-based immigration system? Didn’t they vote for that? And we won’t mention the 350 million for the NHS. The referendum was such a joke that Brexit will never be widely accepted unless it turns out to be a runaway success. And I think even you know that won’t happen. May is doing a deal right now that spells the end of your hard Brexit-no deal fantasy. She’s conceded on the divorce bill and the Irish border (NI will effectively stay in the Customs Union at least, perhaps not in name). Your WTO ‘solution’ has been exposed for what it is – a third rate option.

  52. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    So a deal has been nearly reached with the EU and they are smiling so are obviously going to receive billions of our money. That should keep them going for a while. Meanwhile, at home we have more people living in poverty. Riding buses to keep warm! Expect a big backlash against your party John. Surely your own people at home must come first?

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear! No Foreign Aid to the EU! Go directly to WTO!

      If allowed to continue, May’s pathetic grovelling to the EU will mean the end of this country becoming a sovereign nation once again – and the end of the Conservative Party!

      Time for the Tory Party’s infamous Long Knives to be taken out of storage and put to good use once again!
      Off Topic – Have just heard the joke of the day! Juncker said that May is a tough negotiator! Ha Ha Ha!

  53. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    What was the point if a referendum? We are worse off than before thanks to cowardly negotiations from May and co. I think angry and humiliated sums it up.

  54. DragE
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    So all the talk ..all the comments have largely come to nought..the truth was out there written on the walls talked about by the dogs on the streets and now has largely been accepted by our leaders including some brexiteer types right at the heart of question is how is it that JR still see everything so much differently? WTO rules indeed!

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      The problem is a PM who is not prepared to walk away from a bad deal, which has left her unable to negotiate strongly.
      My observation is that JR has been impeccable in his judgement of the situation – Don’t be afraid of WTO, but go for an FTA as that is in the best interest of Europe because of their trade surplus and isn’t bad for us either.

  55. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Bit of a typo in your piece John ? Instead of “civil service” in the first sentence shouldn’t you have written “Conservative Government” ?

    Any idea how we will handle Northern Ireland being in the Single Market and the rest of the UK being outside it ?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      You mean England outside?

  56. Alison
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dr Redwood, apologies for writing this, but if reports are correct, Mrs May & team are totally spineless, ignorant of the massive strength of our negotiating position, and condemning the UK to ignominy and break-up. Nicola Sturgeon rushing to demand same as for NI. Spineless. If the reports are true, then there is big trouble ahead, almost certainly an election. I am just back from Europe (sic), and there was a great deal of understanding (if not more) of our UK decision to leave. And a lot of contempt for our recent negotiating.
    I feel as if Mrs May has just sold us into slavery. And I am not going to let that happen without a fight.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      No excuses needed, Mr Redwood will be pleased to read this. He and his pals believe that his faction is electable and May is in their way.

      • NickC
        Posted December 5, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Rien, Don’t forget the 52%.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Alison, I think many agree with you. The DUP has now given the government time to reflect, I hope over the next day or two the government does this and recalls that the referendum was to leave the European Union not to destroy the United Kingdom. I also trust that if there remain any MPs in the HoC with any loyalty to the UK they all get together and remind the govt what the referendum was about – there is now no time for the opposition parties to be playing school politics, it does seem that the union (UK) is at risk.

  57. Shieldsman
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Looks as though it is over for today. The Gerry Adams type weasel words – ‘regulatory alignment’, did not pull the wool over the eyes of Arlene Foster ad the DUP.

    “We have been very clear: Northern Ireland must leave the European Union on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom and we will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separate Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the UK. And the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must not be compromised in any way.
    And Her Majesty’s government understands the position of this party. The prime minister has told the House of Commons that there will be no border in the Irish Sea. And the prime minister has been clear that the UK is leaving the European Union as a whole, that the territorial and economic integrity of the United Kingdom will be protected.”

    No weasel words for the DUP. ‘regulatory alignment’ becomes regulatory divergence. This leaves Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar speechless and Theresa May up the creak, with the EU’s version of the Irish border unsolved.

    The Conservative Party has been temporally saved from its pro-EU MP’s.

  58. Jonp
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The DUP have gone off in a huff..but no doubt they will be reminded that although they are propping up the government there is no government in Northern Ireland at this Mrs May has total say on what happens there. If the DUP decide to not support mrs Mays govetnment then there might be a general election or could be that support might come from the other side of the house to get her through. In this case the DUP bluff would have been well and truly called..with the eventual consequences for them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      For the purpose of these international negotiations it is irrelevant that there is no devolved administration in Northern Ireland at present.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes the DUP feel let down and we feel let down for them. It looks as though Arlene Foster might be the person to give the UK the deal. She has to stick out for this – for us and for them. Don’t ley May break up the UK.

    • rose
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      It is not a bluff and it is not a huff. It is an extremely serious state of affairs, and viewed as such by all thinking people on the mainland. It is a pity we are so ill-served by our media that the DUP have to explain the position at an emergency press conference. The former First Minister, Lord Trimble, also had to explain on the BBC. There should be no question of “getting her through” if by that you mean giving Northern Ireland away and stirring up consequent dissident trouble in Scotland and London.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      It is not a bluff. The public in England would go ballistic if Mrs May allows Northern Ireland to be captured by the EU – with Scotland and Wales soon following. You do realise the EU is doing this because of its openly declared official policy of territorial expansion, don’t you? Not to mention its policy of hardening its external borders to help control the self-inflicted migrant crisis. Do you also realise that recognition of the integrity of the UK is written into the Belfast agreement so her appeasement of the EU would also be a serious breach of that?

    • Time's Up
      Posted December 5, 2017 at 12:32 am | Permalink

      Let us hope there is a General Election. Fighting the EU as Davis has repeatedly stated in the House so three million foreigners will be allowed to vote in our local elections is not Brexit, nor is handing over a part of the UK, an intrinsic part, to the rules and regulations of foreigners. She must be voted out and the Tory Party which has allowed these FAKE Brexit talks. We can deal with Corbyn but not people who secretly betray the UK interests in secret talks with the EU dictatorship.

  59. Alan Joyce
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    As predicted, Mrs. May completes her hat-trick as she adds a third climbdown on the Irish Border issue to her first two (own) goals on the Brexit Bill and role for the ECJ.

    We know how the EU works. Regulatory alignment, whether it applies just to Northern Ireland or possibly the whole of the UK as some have said already, will metamorphose into a requirement to slavishly incorporate all rules and regulations – backed enthusiastically by those in the Civil Service “who want to mirror all the arrangements and controls we had when in the EU” and “interfere in our government and daily lives”. I wonder which body will interpret claims and disputes as they arise?

    Already, we have the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers seeking to stir things up with a demand they should have the same deal as Northern Ireland. Similarly, Sadiq Khan thinks London should do the same.

    The Prime Minister has become a liability. She is behaving like a loose cannon making decisions on the hoof. Decisions that have profound implications for the UK. Decisions that one would think could not possibly have been agreed in Cabinet or the reduced Brexit Cabinet bearing in mind the stated positions of some leading pro-Brexit ministers?

    This is becoming a fait-accompli. We are being softened up for the ‘deep and special partnership’ where we have a Brexit in name only. Hardly suprising with May and Hammond in charge and with some senior Brexiteers seemingly more intent on saving their ministerial careers rather than sticking to their principles.

    Having extracted the maximum number of concessions on the Brexit Bill, the ECJ role and the Irish Border problem, the EU will allow the UK to move onto the future relationship.

    Ronald Reagan once said “You ain’t seen nothing yet”. Get ready for more of May’s negotiating skills when trade talks begin.

  60. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    As an aside, it appears that MEPs have been given information before our MPs; as I recall David Davis expressly promised that would not happen.

  61. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Has May and her Conservative government indeed stitched us up, Mr Redwood. If so, utterly disgraceful. The Cons will deserve all they get coming to them.
    IT’S A STITCH UP: May faces fury of Brexiteers as she ‘caves in to EU on ECJ and Ireland’

    BREXITEERS today reacted with fury over a proposed agreement between the EU and Britain that they said tramples over Theresa May’s key red lines on the ECJ and Irish border. …..

  62. Peter
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Complete sell out. Still needs to be finalised though.

    Time for DUP and true Brexiteers to bring down May and her team. Hopefully the electorate can come together to play their part via petition and protest rather than leave it to prominent individuals and then moaning about the lack of progress.

    The Prime Minister has always proved to be totally useless. So no real surprise I suppose.

  63. Wabbit
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Writing as Mrs May has left Juncker and going to have a chin-wag withTusk. Thank Heavens the DUP are in a decisive position or Mrs May would by now have offered the EU 100 Billion, Northern Ireland to join seamlessly with the Republic, and, Irish becoming their official language. Also Kent to be handed over to the French if we can have a good deal on the import from Kent of apples..those tasteless French ones
    It is about time Mrs May walked away from the talks and not allowed back. The word she is looking for to say to Juncker is NO. To Tusk NO. Then Goodbye!!! End of negotiations!

  64. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we all know what Mr. Redwood wants – and I’d agree with much of it. What I would like to know is … what on earth is actually going on?

    So far, all I can see is that we have agreed to hand over a fortune to the EU. Now it looks as though they are going to get their way on the Irish border. Soon we will have the news that we are staying in the Single Market and Customs Union for 5 years … then we’ll have another government and it will all be unwound and back to business as usual.

    In the process, the Tory Party will disappear. There will be enough people who will never vote Tory again if things carry on as they are. I see Brexit as a golden, once in a lifetime opportunity. No deal would be the best deal, in my opinion. Just offer to pay what we owe and get on with it. If they want a trade deal with us afterwards, let them get in line.

    • rose
      Posted December 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      We don’t owe anything. Do you think they would let us run up a debt of what we legally owe when they are in dire financial straits? They owe us.

  65. Wabbit
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Does the government genuinely feel they did right re Devolution when the Mayor of Manchester thinks he should have a seat at the Brexit negotiations and the Mayor of London thinks he is a separate Republic and wishes some kind of Ulster Deal and Sturgeon wants a deal.? Will we have a government which is going to end ALL devolution?This is as was predicted, A Stupidity. The newt in my back garden pond also wishes an Ulster deal … and a seat at the United Nations. North Korea has one so why not my newt? He points out there was a US politician called Newt Gingrich. Well there you are!

  66. Prigger
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Arlene Foster should be Prime Minister. Full Stop! She is British where no other is.

  67. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just seen Anna Soubry saying that if we stayed in the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union then that would give everybody what they want. Well, of course what she wants is an indefinite continuation of uncontrolled and unlimited … immigration from the EU, and so she would get what she wants, but she is very much in a minority.

  68. Philip Larsson
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Quite right!

  69. Lear's Fool
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    What about today’s gyrations in sterling on the exchanges? Anything to do with Brexit sir?

  70. Oh Really
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    The Irish PM says “I am happy to give the UK more time” How terribly sweet of him. Heard enough of this nonsense.. Let’s walk away!!!!.

  71. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I watched the press conference in Dublin and for the Irish government the sticking point is that there must be no “hard border” with Northern Ireland.

    But when it came to questions from the assembled journalists not one of them thought to ask what was meant by a “hard border”.

    There was a question about the Irish Prime Minister’s tie, but not about his government’s definition of a “hard border”.

    That was a pity, because he had his Europe Minister on his right and he could have asked her to repeat what she had told Sky News last week, from 3 minutes in here:

    “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.

    Or he could have turned to his left and asked his Foreign Minister to explain about the border which presently does or does not exist bringing people together rather than dividing them but in any case it must not be allowed to re-emerge, see above.

    My own conclusion is that it’s pointless trying to negotiate about this with people who adopt such an absurd, extreme and intransigent position, and rather than faff around trying to find a form of words which everyone can accept but each can interpret in a different way, and which may well weaken our Union, Theresa May should just say now that the UK will no longer seek any “deep and special” trade deal with the EU but will trade on WTO terms, and the Irish government can like it or lump it.

  72. James Dell
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    It really should come as no surprise that May – who talked like John Wayne at the Conservative conference but behaved more like John Inman while at the Home Office – would roll over and beg when her moment in the spotlight came. Good job the DUP have a bit of a backbone.

    What on earth is she doing carving off NI to the EU in the negotiations? It really is a most embarrassing thing to watch.

  73. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    So the DUP have scuppered the agreement. What a surprise – not. Does this mean we will have to stay in the single market? Convenient for Mrs May? Didn’t take long for the Scots to start whining. God what a mess. It could have been so much easier but instead its a complete cock up. You can always trust a politician to muck things up.

  74. Freeborn John
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    What an idiot that May is. Any one of the DUP seem better negotiators than the entire dysfunctional cabinet.

  75. Andy
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Today has been a complete car crash. Brexit fantasy being hit for six by reality.

    The Brexiteers have returned to their default position – rage.

    The world is looking at our inept government and is shaking its head.

    The Tory party is on life support. If Brexit happens it’ll be implemented by Jeremy Corbyn.

    The irony.

  76. oldtimer
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    The failure to reach agreement today suggests another miscalculation by Mr May. Either she thought she had the DUP on board with the position she took with the draft form of words about the border (clearly incorrect) or she thought she could bounce the DUP into accepting them (also clearly incorrect). This is not her first miscalculation. It seems to me that the pendulum has started to swing in a different direction today

  77. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Steven Woolfe, eurosceptic MEP, apparently describes the Brexit negotiation by May as follows:
    ‘The dream of Brexit is fading faster than England winning a World Cup Penalty shoot out, only this time we have no goalkeeper and all the EU have to do is put the ball on the spot and fire into an empty net!”

    I agree with him.

  78. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    An interesting set of comments. Great diversity of opinions too. Excellent timing Mr Westwood, but unfortunately there is no deal so your clever article and this set of comments are not going to help you build a platform for making mischief when the “deal” comes along in earnest. Maybe one should let the DUP just stew in their own juices for a while. There is one thing the ERU does not want: an impoverished Momentum led failed state across the sea that would give non-European countries an excuse to meddle in European affairs yet again. No Venezuela, North Korea etc. The EU will carry the UK (or should I say England now, thw Scots etc seem to be deserting) if necessary, Deal or no Deal. Just look at what Mres May achieved the last couple of weeks: peace.

    • rose
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      I thought it did want an impoverished Britain. Pour encourager les autres.

  79. Peter D Gardner
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    The question now is whether the EU has gone far enough for Mrs May to suspend negotiations. Yes, you read that correctly. She is walking backwards. The likely deal she will get will be unacceptable to voters. She is now or very soon will be in a position where suspension of negotiations would be welcomed with a sigh of relief by the public. If rumours about giving way on Northern Ireland are correct she is about to break up the United Kingdom. This really is the end of the road.

  80. Turboterrier.
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    John, who the hell is kidding who here.

    With the so called non deal that our PM has had to walk away from, thanks to the actions of the DUP did no one think to tell her such a deal was going to get the Empress of Scotland leaping out of her pram.

    What a sad spectacle this country has become. Who in their right mind would want to do business with us based upon today’s debacle? Did our PM not think to discuss her proposed line of action with her political alliance before opening her mouth, basic rule in negotiating, engage brain first.

    She may as well have opened the door to number 10 for Corbyn and given him the keys.

    The very people that could have kept us afloat and have the vision and the balls for the fight that we have entered into with the will to win because they have belief, still languish on the back benches. What we have in place at the moment is a complete and utter disgrace to the country and the party. We surely cannot stoop any lower, can we?

  81. Our Land
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May should be held to account now. We wish to see the entire negotiating stance of her negotiating team. We need to know exactly what she is attempting to negotiate in detail. If Brexit means Brexit then clearly she has not been recognising that at all. We need a word by word full transcript of every talk/speech/cosy chat she has had.
    Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. Our land

  82. rose
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    “She’s a tough negotiator, not an easy one.”
    I found this ominous. Why has he suddenly started praising her in this way? Is it what the EU call “helping” her to pay the money? And to give away various bits of the kingdom, including Gibraltar?

    • Chris
      Posted December 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I think, rose, it represents barely disguised contempt for May, and could be translated as “We have got you where we want you, Mrs May, and occasionally we will humour you with little compliments, just to let you know who is boss”.

  83. Pierre
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Your letter is just the latest that Mrs May is ignoring. Court, money, transition – you name it, you lost it. Don’t you feel a bit silly? You should

  84. Ken Moore
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    What an unbelievably awful deal cobbled together by the most useless, inadequate and spineless politicians this country has ever seen.
    To think that treating NI differently to other parts of the Uk was ever going to work..the May woman is a complete disaster totally and utterly out of her depth.
    The whole thing looks like a complete capitulation delivered by the most useless bunch of politicians this country has ever seen.

    Some of us were warning of the need to stop the talk about grand ‘visions’ and get down to the detail….

  85. Philip Pritchard
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Separate Brexit terms for NI. Scotland,Wales and London want the same It seems to me that the EU regions are being put in place by the PM. Was it the plan all along?

  86. a-tracy
    Posted December 5, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Brexit repercussions – costs allocated for pensions?

    Why are we protecting future EU staff pensions, when the British government decided there wasn’t enough put aside to pay UK pensioners what we’d been told for half a century was our entitlement from our and our employers’ national insurance contributions over 39 years they simply raised the pension age in my case by seven years 30 years into the agreement which will cost me even on today’s pension rate at least £60,000 pa and because private sector pension annual pension rates are so low will force the majority to work on longer than we were originally entitled. Whilst at the same time UK public sector workers pensions were ringfenced – here we are again ringfencing unaffordable, not invested EU pensions.

    • rose
      Posted December 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Because the PM “doesn’t want anyone to be out of pocket” anyone who is anyone, that is.

  • 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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