What might a UK/EU Agreement look like?

Early next year we should begin talks about trade and the future relationship with the EU. Until we do so the language developed over money and the Irish border is parked. Both sides confirmed “Nothing is agreed until all is agreed”.

There may be continuing misunderstandings on the EU side about what the UK has in mind once the proper talks begin. The UK offers a full free trade agreement covering goods and services, with zero tariffs and no new barriers to trade. The EU sometimes seems to be suggesting they want the UK to sign a leaving agreement and implement it prior to 29 March 2019, to leave, and then engage in more detailed talks on trade. The first thing to clear up is the phasing of the talks. The UK needs to stress the urgency of getting on with the free trade talks. It is accepted we only sign a free trade agreement with them after we have left, but we need to know the details of such an agreement before we leave to judge the rest of the Agreement and the phasing of implementation.

The second thing to sort out is the possible Transitional arrangement. The PM always stressed this would be an Implementation Agreement. It would be as short as needed. We would only need one if there is an Agreement on our future trade and partnership to implement. The idea should not be to create a further two years in the EU under the guise of a Transitional Agreement, in order to have another two years of uncertainty and more talks about trade. Business and consumers need to know where they stand. They want to know as soon as possible if we are en route to a free trade agreement, or if we will be trading under most favoured nation WTO terms.

The third necessity is that once we have left in March 2019 with or without an Implementation Agreement, the UK will be free to sign trade deals with other countries and to pursue its own overseas trade agenda. There are various misunderstandings about regulatory alignment and convergence. Of course when you trade with another country or trading bloc you need to meet their requirements and product rules to sell to them. The UK accepts US law and rules when selling into the US, and will accept EU rules and laws when selling into the EU. What you do not do as an independent country is also accept all the rules and laws to govern all the rest of your trade. You have your own national rules based on an understanding of world standards instead. Alignment or equivalence means you have regulations with the same purpose but they may be different in the areas where this matters. The US sells services into the EU based on acceptance of equivalence for its regulations compared to EU regulations. It does not have to enforce EU rules on its domestic businesses or foreign trade outside the EU.

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  1. Andy
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Alas – the UK has a comprehensive trade deal with the EU covering goods and many services. And you told everyone it was a bad deal.

    Any subsequent deal will be worse. What you propose, for example, will cost many UK jobs. Whose jobs will go? Will you tell them? Who will pay the resulting unemployment benefit?

    Any economic case for Brexit has been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited. Virtually the only one still claiming it will work is Patrick Minford – and you can find numerous reports explaining why his 1970s based economic model is flawed.

    Well done people – you voted to make my children poorer. Who do you expect to be paying your pensions?

    • Mark B
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Of course Andy dear chap, you can always move to Greece, Spain, Portugal or Italy. Nice weather, Single Market, Customs Union, Euro, all you could possibly want. Just no jobs !


      • Hope
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

        Lord Lawson’s view yesterday on the subject was spot on the money. May must get up off her knees. The EU cannot give the UK a mythical good deal. If it did the others would leave.

      • Andy
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Plenty of poverty though. Such are the glories of the EU.

        • Hope
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Yes Andy unemployment and destitution across Eurozone countries is nothing to gloat about. These people have to live with the disaster called the EU.

          No nation, no religion, no family, no gender so that the cultural Marxist revolution of the EU can be implemented ridding nations, traditional families and people of instinctive tribal ties that have been a force for good for centuries.

          Society is already the worse for it in the U.K. With the disasterous May leading the EU aim. Dividing the country into mayoral regions to create an illusion of democracy by vote when EU regulation, directive and law imposed from a few unelected commissars. Now Ridding people of gender and the further break down of the family.

      • margaret howard
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Total rubbish.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          True that the weather is not always that nice. Often too hot in summer and too cold in winter. My Italian friend recently returned from staying in his flat in Rome saying he had never seen it so depressed.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Chin up. At least your children won’t be conscripted into a EU army – you know, the one Clegg told us would never exist.

      • A different Simon
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Roy ,

        I think you are on the right lines .

        As sure as eggs are eggs the EU will turn into a tyranny .

        It will have not only the EU army but also the gulags for anyone who dissents.

        Andy might be ready to give up his childrens countries sovereignty , democracy and protection against the excesses of the state for 40 pieces of silver but in the long term (unless they become inner party members) they will not thank him for it .

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

          It is indeed turning into even more of a tyranny as each day passes. Why can so few of the “BBC think” people not see this. A tyranny with no democratic escape.

          • Robert Christopher
            Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            They think, by being politically correct, they will be exempt from the tyranny.
            Little do they know History – or Science, or Engineering, or Economics, or even what it is to be contented.

      • jerry
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        @Roy Grainger; Do not gloat to quickly…

        Perhaps not the EU army but who knows about being conscripted in to either a NATO or UN Army byway of possible future conscription into the British Army – and I dare say that whilst the ECHR might say something about the legalities of being conscripted into any EU Army it will have little voice here in the UK.

      • margaret howard
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        Chances are that your children will be forced to join a US army into yet more illegal wars and invasions like our soldiers had to in Iraq, Afghanistan etc were hundreds of them died. Britain will be forced to ingratiate itself even more now that trade is vital for its survival.

      • Dave K
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        Sadly though, we will be paying for all these things including the green lunacy that LifeLogic mentions in every comment. Witness the virtue signalling of the conservative representatives eager to continue our de-industrialisation. Do they not notice that our industry has been exported to China and India where they destroy their environments? At least Mr Trump noticed he was being scammed. I can only surmise that our PTB have too many vested interests.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Andy, if you are so convinced UK jobs will go, perhaps you would like to outline them in some detail, give some factual reasons why, and tell us how many.

      Perhaps then some of your statements may hold some water.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      The current EU “deal” is a rotten deal for us :

      In the SM/CU we pay £10 bn/year or more in fees to trade with the rEU and in return we have a trading deficit of £100bn/year and where we must allow anyone in the EU to come and use our non-contributory health and welfare benefits as and when they like.

      In addition we do not have control of our laws or our assets (fishing grounds) and eventually no control over foreign policy, the economy or our military.

      Most importantly we want our freedom and, contrary to claims made by the UK’s EU supporters, the country did vote to be poorer as a result of regaining our freedom.

      In the referendum campaign the PM, the Chancellor, the BOE, the IMF, the OECD, the (EU funded) CBI, the banks, the financiers, the hedge fund managers, the (EU funded) BBC etc. all made it perfectly clear that we would be poorer if we voted to leave the EU.

      The Chancellor had even put a precise figure for it on a board behind him at a press conference.

      But a majority still voted to leave.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      More Project Fear nonsense from you Andy.
      Your predictions for economic disaster for immediately after the vote day have already been “thoroughly and repeatedly discredited”
      And so will your future predictions of doom.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      If you are wavering at all, Dr Redwood, please let us know.

    • jerry
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “Alas – the UK has a comprehensive trade deal with the EU covering goods and many services. And you told everyone it was a bad deal. Any subsequent deal will be worse.”

      If you think that any deal with a exclusivity clause is a good one I really hate to ask what you think a bad deal is… The UK is not allowed to enter any comprehensive trade deals with another country, thus what we are likely to loose on the Brexit swings will be won back on the RotW roundabouts – and that is a given due to WTO rules.

      “What [our host] propose, for example, will cost many UK jobs. Whose jobs will go? Will you tell them? Who will pay the resulting unemployment benefit?”

      Not sure that follows, many contend, backed up with facts (not just theory), that our membership of the Single Market has cost many UK jobs.

      “Any economic case for Brexit has been thoroughly and repeatedly discredited.”

      Nonsense, as was admitted to, and accepted by the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, recently, no impartial reports have (yet) been written.

      “Well done people – you voted to make my children poorer. Who do you expect to be paying your pensions?”

      Many people were saying the same in the early 1970s too, towards Ted Heath, again in the 1980s when the Single Market was being created and again when the Lisbon Treaty was being ratified.

    • Peter
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink


      We would be best to leave as soon as possible on WTO terms. Any further talking could be done after we have left. If there were no further talks it would not be the end of the world.

      Unfortunately our politicians are still dithering.

      • JoolsB
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Peter, dithering is too kind. They are a bunch of useless, capitulating, europhiles who if they get their way, will get us the worst possible deal so they will then have an excuse to vote against it and thwart the will of the British people.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      If you are worried about jobs, then the main thing to concern yourself with, is immigration.

      Unlike the nonsense from the political elite and Blair who “rubbed our noses in it” the real people can see the problems

      Brexit should be chance to start getting immigration correct. (yes I know its a lot to ask with May in charge)

      And in any case the economic issues are a small part of a bigger whole

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Dear Iain–Or, paraphrasing Tina Turner, What’s Trade got to do with it? Even if Trade is granted importance, one doesn’t resign Sovereignty to get it, certainly not bending the knee to a hodgepodge such as the EU and its political desires–as most recently expressed but whose existence was denied for the Referendum. Once the rEU grasps that we want nothing whatsoever to do with their politics (the part that costs the money) we might conceivably yet end up with something closer to that which we originally voted for–and, Why not even from their point of view?

      • hefner
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        If I were to take « real people » to mean people like most of the people on this blog, I would be a bit worried for my own sanity. Fortunately, we have people who dedicate a large part of their time as MPs to study properly the various documents. Would I dare say I tend to give more weight to their comments than to the «musings » of a bunch of disgruntled old foggies. Obviously there are some very few exceptions among you. I’ll let you decide who those can be.

        • NickC
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          Hefner, You mean MPs like Ken Clarke who famously doesn’t read treaties. That kind of studying properly? Most MPs I read/hear/see appear to know a lot less about the EU than most Leaves on here, and they do not propose themselves as experts.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      If the EU was just trade, we wouldn’t be in this position now. But it isn’t. It is also about political unity and no immigration control. This was what made people vote out.

      With regard to jobs, it’s not leaving the EU which puts them at risk, rather than the willingness of people in this country to work. All the time we have benefit scroungers and the NHS treating lifestyle diseases, the economy will suffer.

    • David Murfin
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      We do indeed have a comprehensive ‘deal’ with the EU. It is called the Lisbon Treaty and goes far beyond trade matters. It means we contribute large sums towards ends we do not wish to reach. That is why many people voted to leave.
      Whether your children are poorer will depend on their efforts in life.
      I hope you are teaching them that there is more to life than money.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Andy….please do some erudite research?

      You have clearly succumbed to Remainer propaganda? I am also guessing you are unable to detail the tangible benefits of EU membership…answer this question and you will fully discover why there is a real “need” to leave?

      There is a very large world out there waiting for us..beyond the EU malignant bubble!

    • Fairweather
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Andy
      Freedom and Sovereignty trumps economics and GDP
      Why do you think we fought for it over 2 world wars,not forgetting Napoleon of course?
      We would have been much richer if we had succumbed to Germany in 1939
      Our freedom is very easy to take for granted but when you have lost it………?

      An unelected oligarchy is tolerated when they do things most don’t object to, but the day they do something you detest (like locking you up for thought crime, or sending you for ‘re-education’) and the you find out you can’t do anything about it, your grandchildren will love you won’t they!

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      “Any subsequent deal will be worse. What you propose, for example, will cost many UK jobs. Whose jobs will go? Will you tell them? Who will pay the resulting unemployment benefit?”

      Under our current deal we have a massive trading deficit of £100bn/year and with little means to be able to correct this imbalance whilst we are trapped in the EU’s SM/CU rules.

      Any different trading terms outside of the EU has got to better than this and reducing the imbalance will inevitably provide more jobs in the UK and not less.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      The very real prospect of a trade deal between the UK and the EU seems to have been greeted with shock by Brexiteers and Remainers alike. But why? As it’s clearly in the interests of BOTH sides, it should have come as no surprise.

      We need to be wary of falling into the old mercantilist fallacies when we talk about the UK getting a ‘bad deal’. Trade is not a zero-sum game. If the EU comes up with some wheeze to limit UK exports it will be damaging itself at the same time. Put at its simplest, if we can’t sell our stuff to them, we will have fewer Euros to buy their stuff and that’s not what they want surely.

      If people absolutely want to criticise the present government, they might point out that it is paying the EU for something the EU would want to do anyway. But the amount we are paying for the deal is really down to the opposition and division created by the Remainer chatterati and the nationalists. Without them, would we be paying anything at all?

    • Phil_Richmond
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Andy – So by re engaging with the 85% of the world economy that is actually in growth then this is going to make us poorer?
      By having trade deals with our friends in the Commonwealth & US then this is going to make us poorer?
      By reclaiming our Fishing Grounds & control over our Farming – then this is going to make us poorer?
      By making our own rules for our domestic market (80% of our GDP) then this is going to make us poorer?
      By not paying a £10 billion+ membership fee per year then this is going to make us poorer?

      I’ll explain to you what sovereignty & democracy is another time. I’m sure you like many MPs would have had us join the Euro. Now we would be poorer!!

  2. Andy
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Oh – and here’s a prediction. Not one new trade deal will be signed by 2025. And when we do get there it will be one someone irrelvant- like New Zealand – and the price will be easier immigration from that country.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      I work with a (person from NZ ed). Nice people. Good at Rugby, speak excellent English, love our country, it’s customs and laws. Oh, nice butter and lamb too. Hope to visit them one day.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        Dear Mark–And fishing and topography similar to Scotland’s per a NZ friend–something to do with antipodes I believe–unlimited immigration from our kith and kin in NZ would be fine with me.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Yes. A bit like Poland minus the Rugby then ?

        • Mark B
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          From my experience, I agree.

          It has never been about where someone comes from, but what they offer MY COUNTRY and the numbers that come here.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the Brussels propaganda Andy. It’s not about trade it’s about sovereignty.
      Irrespective of any trade deals we don’t want to be part of Shultz USE.
      First it’s rumour. Next it will never happen and then lo and behold there it is. Another triumph for the unelected undemocratic unwanted Brussels Mafia.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Interesting analysis of the putative “Schulz USE” in this week’s Spectator – “Martin Schulz has dared EU members”-that those members not prepared to go the whole hog should follow Britain and quit.

      • NickC
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Ian, Indeed. The EU is about politics not economics. It is a routine Remain subterfuge to use the economy as an excuse to promote the political takeover of our country by a foreign power.

    • jerry
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “when we do get [a non EU trade deal] it will be one someone irrelvant- like New Zealand”

      It will be interesting to note both the availability of Lamb & Butter and there price after any such deal then…

      “and the price will be easier immigration from that country.”

      Err! You do know the history of NZ, don’t you?

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Andy, I only buy whole legs of NZ lamb because its half the price of Scottish. I doubt they’ll all be rushing to live in the UK, most if us would like to and for indeed emigrate there. They are more choosy than we are but out if the EU we could have a similar policy.

      • DaveM
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Ha ha. Quite. Even if NZ emptied out completely it would only add about 3 million to our population. At current rates the EU’s doing that every 10 years!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      As I understand from Keir Starmer “easier” is the new “uncontrolled and unlimited” in the context of immigration.

      Oh, and if your friends in the EU had agreed that their four freedoms could be split into three plus one then we may have voted to stay in the EU.

    • graham1946
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Andy, you seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that we are trying to replace EU trade with FTA’s around the world – we are not, they will be in addition to the EU trade and we will therefore become more prosperous.
      Trade with the EU will continue much as it does now because it is in the interests of both parties for it to and business will not allow otherwise. Just sticking to trading between parties in the EU and doing a few trade deals, which like Canada which took 8 years is a reason why the EU is sclerotic and most of its nations are poor or bust – there is no ambition, other than to make an EUSSR.
      Similarly, Remoaners keep saying jobs will go offshore if there are tariffs. Surely as the EU exports much more to us than we do to them, logic says it is just as likely that EU jobs will come to the UK for the same reason. Andy, you are like the Japanese soldiers found in the jungle years after the war ended. Face it, its ended and help make things work rather than wish ill on your country just to prove a political point.

    • agricola
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I think you should warn your neighbours of the coming tsunami and plague of frogs. Time to repaint your end of the World is nigh placard.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Andy, I lived in NZ for two years, great people and hard workers…they are welcome in the UK anytime…let’s make room for them!

  3. Prigger
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    In the Commons and on TV, it is clear most SNP and many Labour MPs really are not up to a knowledgeable discussion on negotiations. Even Father of the House Kenneth Clarke yesterday through his questioning in the House to the PM showed he had not read the Agreement. Immediately, I was reminded of his boast, well documented, that he never actually read the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 nor since.
    ~# The point. Our Remoaner MPs for the most part are merely trotting out threadbare cliches and their own Party-Speak. They have not bothered to read the stuff they are barking on about. They are forever it seems calling for useless Urgent Questions in the House and generally wasting time. If I were Emperor I would send them for a month’s labour on a trout farm in the coldest part of Scotland.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      What a great point you make! Let us make sure the remainers never forget it!


    • NickC
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Prigger, That is an interesting point. It does seem that the Remains are poorly informed. They also frequently pop up with objections which they appear to think are novel, but which have already been addressed, sometimes years ago.

  4. Duncan
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    This article is concerning. It’s concerning simply because JR is one of the leading lights in the Eurosceptic ‘movement’. He appears to be suggesting that the ‘regulatory alignment’ isn’t something to be concerned about. I disagree and I would argue that JR is being disingenuous.

    From what I understand ‘regulatory alignment’ is a strategy designed to keep the UK under the umbrella of the ECJ and adhering to and applying EU law after we leave the EU, which effectively means we never leave at all. It is accepting that EU law still applies in the UK and reigns supreme with UK law remaining subordinate. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE

    UK law must be supreme. EU law becomes in effect null, void and inapplicable within the borders of the UK

    Moreover, will the eventual agreement give us independent control over our laws, money and borders? If not, it’s a sham and anyone arguing otherwise is little more than a charlatan

    My problem is this. I don’t trust Theresa May. I don’t trust Philip Hammond. I don’t trust Mr Heywood. And I don’t trust my own party, the Conservative Party. That leaves me in a curious position

    The main problem of course is the Conservative Party itself. They’re quite simply, gutless and spineless. They have been since Thatcher was betrayed. It’s been downhill ever since and if Labour get in next time this country will wither away

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Gutless, spineless and heading in totally the wrong direction. The UK needs deregulation, cheap, on demand energy, far lower & simpler taxes, a clean break from the EU and a far smaller (but more efficient in the few things it does need to do) state sector.

      May & Hammond clearly want the complete opposite. She is just Corbyn’s warm up act.

      Still some good news I am in favour of presumed consent for organ donation. Also for folic acid in flour which seems a no brainer to me. What on earth are we waiting for? How many hundreds of thousands of serious medical problems have resulted from this pathetic failure to act.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I’m in favour of an opt out scheme too LL.

        • rose
          Posted December 14, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          I’m not in favour of the state owning our bodies as well as our houses.

          Because of this commonly shared sentiment, more people are likely to take the trouble of opting out, thus reducing the potential number of organs. If it remains as it is, doctors can ask relations to give their permission, and they probably will, but if the deceased has opted out they can’t.

          The best answer is for people to opt in before they die, as my father did.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I just heard Claire Perry on the daily politics. What complete and utter drivel she talks. She clearly has not got a clue about the economics or engineering of energy systems, or of climate change. She even seems to think that the intermittent “renewables” can now compete without subsidies or rigged markets. Green crap is a huge job exporter and destroyer, she seems to think the opposite.

        Another Oxford Geography graduate I note – please can we have some sensible physicist, engineers, energy economists and scientist to explain reality to this deluded, green crap, dope?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        May leads Corbyn 42% to 41%. Any decent Conservative would be wiping the floor with this appalling Labour (let be Venezuela) opposition and the joke shadow cabinet!

        • Iain Gill
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Problem is the political classes of both main parties are not listening to the real people…

          Fathers4Justice are correct in just about everything they say, have massive support amongst most people I know, and yet nobody in parliament wants to speak on their side

          Association of British Drivers is likewise correct in just about everything they say, their views are accepted by the mainstream workers who need to drive for work, and yet nobody in parliament wants to speak on their side

          And I could go on

          The political bubble, and journalists, seem immune from what they ordinary people think and feel and experience

          The tensions are there for all to see

    • jerry
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      @Duncan; It really is quite simple, there was regulatory alignment before we even joined the EEC in 1973.

      For example if BMC wanted to sell their cars to France they had to fit French Yellow tinted headlights. Renault had to fit clear headlights in vehicles destined for the UK. Both had to fit amber side marker lights and separate side-lights for vehicles destined for the North American markets.

      What neither country had to do was change their own laws, just to import/export.

      Also, as for customs checks, many consignments were transported under the UN’s TIR scheme, checks being done at the point of departure, sealed, and upon arrival at destination and unsealing with non in-between unless the seal had been broken or somehow tampered with.

      • NickC
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, An exporter conforming headlights on a car exported to France is not an example of “regulatory alignment”, it is just “localisation”. Our exporters do it all the time. Such export market compliance does not necessitate the domestic market having to conform.

        Yet the EU is exactly demanding that the whole of the UK should be aligned to EU rules. And Mrs May appears to have acquiesced to it. This has been a bone of contention between the UK and the EU ever since Mrs Thatcher, at least.

        The EU is not a free market. The EU single market works on the “Harmonisation” principle where rules are formulated in Brussels and forced on every country whether it suits or not. In contrast, most free trade areas work on the “Mutual Recognition” model, as we could after leaving.

        • jerry
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; [“regulatory alignment” vs “localisation”]

          Seven, one for each day of the week… The number of Angels dancing on the head of that pin of yours!

          • NickC
            Posted December 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Do you seriously not know the difference between Localisation and Harmonisation? The term Localisation is commonly used as a summary word for adapting your products to a range of markets. For example a British manufacturer complying, individually and separately, to the market regulations in France, India and the USA. Localisation is necessary.

            But Harmonisation is not. There is no intrinsic need for products for the UK to be subject to the regulations in any one of those markets. Not even to the EU; to which the UK exports only c11% of UK GDP. Why force the other 89% of our GDP to conform to EU regulations? Particularly when some of the stuff (61% of our exports) goes to other non-EU countries anyway.

          • jerry
            Posted December 14, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Its not me who is getting confused (with buzz words) here! European Union harmonisation of regulations is irrelevant, even more so for anyone outside of the Single Market.

            Manufactures have always had to align -localise- their product to the regulations of the country they want to export to. China exports much into both the EU and the USA but they do not have to adopt either sets of applicable regulations themselves, nor apply EU or US law as if their own, they simply align product design to the regulations of its intended market.

            Its not as if there is 100% harmonisation of regulations between the UK and Eire (nor the other EU 26) before Brexit, so why do some worry that there will be more alignment post Brexit?

      • forthurst
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        I do not think the Brussels regime would have bothered to insist that we would supply produce which accorded with Single Market regulations; after all the rest of the world does that now and the desire to foist non-compliant ‘food’ on the EU is one of the reasons why the TTIP negotiation failed.

        What the Brussels regime are concerned about is that we might create our own regulatory regime under which for example, their SavethePlant™ electrical appliances would be deemed underpowered or their toilets underflushed, or under which we could aim to improve workplace efficiency, for example for medical students, by revoking the work time directive. We might also wish to depart from the CAP which was designed primarily to accommodate French Inheritance laws such that small farmers are heavily subsidised for producing little and farmers with large holdings are paid for not producing at all, to one in which farmers are simply paid for what they produce irrespective of farm size which, of course, would give our farmers an ‘unfair’ advantage and might result in the displacement of EU produce both here and there.

      • stred
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        In this case, the EU seems to be worried that the UK may start making things like a Dyson vacuum cleaner that is not on half power, as EU directive, and these may be smuggled over the NI border to naughty Irish folk who are fed up with taking twice as long to hoover. We therefore have to be compliant too and have slow hoovers. Customs will have to keep a tight check on any Henrys made in the UK which are made for the ROW, otherwise they may be sold on the black market and compete with Irish hoovers. Barmier is very keen to get things done properly by the book because he went to a Grander Ecole than ours and knows best.

    • Hope
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Duncan, if you could not tell the party left the building years ago. No values, morals or conviction of any conservative values. This is a consequence of being an EU manager for 40 years. There is little difference between the two main parties as the EU only gave them small paremters to work within. Look at the debates now and reflect on the lies told i.e. EU only costs a small amount, now we are told we have commitment beyond our contributions to the tune of at least £39 billion which will be paid for decades according to May yesterday, EU law is so small, why such a debate on the withdrawal bill if true, why the need for regulatory alignment? FCO paper 30/1048 proves the dishonesty and deceit by the two main leading parties.

      Hammond and Grayling claim the UK will pay even if no deal reached! Then we have May lying the deal is fair to the taxpayer! Cuts to our public services while borrowing and giving away billions to EU countries to improve their infrastructure and public services. The interest on our debt costing about £8 million an hour! She also agreed families of EU citizens allowed here, how many more millions is that, no age limit. So she wants to force us to sale our homes for her cultural Marxist beliefs.

      As it was revealed over the weekend, why did Cameron put ………. Milburn in charge of social mobility? There are many Tory choices available.

    • Hope
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Duncan one truthful point made by May was that it was a good deal for remainers! However she forgot leave won the vote. How often do winning parties consider the people who voted for the opposition? Never. Why consider remainers, they lost the vote. May has made it clear the ballot box is null and void, the Irish and US option for independence only available. How sad after all the nonsense about the Good Friday agreement- another UK govt capitulation forced by the Americans.

    • Chris
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      I would agree Duncan, and this remark by Sir Edward Leigh confirms my worst fears. Leigh was addressing the H of C after May had explained the results of her negotiations.
      E. Leigh (from Brexit Central newsletter):
      “Despite all the prophecies of doom and gloom, the Prime Minister, with her calm, true grit, has shown that Brexit can and will be done. We congratulate her on that. Of course it is a compromise, but when Brexiteers like me look at the alternative—namely, a Labour Government staying in the single market forever and having no control over immigration—it is amazing how our minds are concentrated in support of the Prime Minister.”

      • Chris
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        It appears that the fear of a Corbyn government is being used to make MPs support May in her “complete capitulation” to the EU at the negotiations (Charles Moore), which Leigh in his H of C comment euphemistically refers to as “compromise”.

        It seems abundantly clear that staying in power for the Conservatives and saving the Party is ranked above the good of the country, and also, most importantly, above the principle task, which was to honour the result of the referendum. We did not vote for a compromise. We do not have to go for a compromise, but if we have a team led by the PM that is so weak, and a back up crew of apparently spineless MPs more interested in saving their Party than honouring the referendum result, then this result is inevitable.

        The tactics are also classic of the EU negotiating team: you wear people down, attack from lots of different angles, keep raising new problems, keep raising the stakes and the bill/costs, until people are so fed up by the delay and uncertainty that they are prepared to accept a poor deal. This was wholly foreseen, and the so called achievements of May, which the MPs were praising her for in the H of C, were nothing of the sort. They represented a real failure. Lord Lawson yesterday summed it up when he stated that May had got this country into a “humiliating state of cringe”.

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes it’s funny how the chief Brexiteers, IDS, Johnson, JRM and our host seem to be accepting the rotten deal May has come up with. Obviously to do otherwise would cause a rebellion and possible election and as always towing the party line comes way ahead of doing the right thing for the country.

    • Jonp
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Duncan..ah don’t you see it.. JR realizes now only too full well the way the situation is unfolding- the walking away WTO rules or nothing game is up- and in an attempt to get himself off the hook he has to spread the muck about a bit so he poses a number of likely senarios all in an attempt to seem reasonable and put his own best foot forward..right now it is all about the legacy…
      like what did you do in the war daddy?

  5. Mick
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Don’t these people ever give up, after watching Mrs May totally wipe the floor with all who opposed the result of the referendum in Westminster yesterday I’m more convinced she and her team are the ones to give the 17.4 million what they voted for and also to clear up the mess that labour had left our country in 2010

    • DaveM
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed why are prominent anti-EU politicians holding up reports about Schulz’speech on a federal Europe and plans for an EU army and claiming that people who voted to Remain didn’t know what they were voting for?

      • DaveM
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink


    • Dominic Johnson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      She’s arrived late but she’s realised what EUrope is and decided she doesn’t want to lose the next election for it.
      History wont remember Cameron kindly.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Cameron will be remembered for telling us that if leave won, he’d trigger article 50 in very short order. Instead, he bottled out.


    • Christine
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      We knew exactly what we were voting for. It seems to me that it’s politicians who don’t seem to understand what we voted for.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Spot on, but I would add that politicians need most urgently to understand the consequences of not giving the people what they voted for. If they think that thoroughly destabilising civil insurrection could not happen here, they should think again. We’ve had quite enough of political incompetence, chicanery and duplicity.


      • NickC
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Christine, Exactly.

    • Hope
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      No she did not. She was hostile to anyone who challenged the stupidity of her capitulation. She was nervous and unsure when answering Clarke and lost her reference when asked when the 8 year period for ECJ applying to EU citizens. All things she capitulated on for EU citizens not reciprocated for U.K. Citizens, any demand for money by the EU not offset what it might owe the U.K. There was no equality in negotiating, what were the U.K. Demands and what did the the EU give up? All I heard was what the EU demanded and what the U.K. Capitulated on.

      All red lines turned yellow.

  6. Leo
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    O no, there is nothing urgent about this for the EU. It is the UK that is getting scared about lost markets. That is why the negotiations are in truth a surrender

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I’ve already replied to you elsewhere, but you still seem to be under a misapprehension that afflicts a lot of remainers. Are you suggesting we won’t be able to trade with the EU if we leave on WTO terms?

      It’s the terms of the trade agreement that is the sticking point, and the frustrating part is the UK’s apparent readiness to give too much to appease the EU. As Philip Davies rightly said in the House of Commons yesterday, this is a give and take relationship. The UK gives, and the EU takes.

      I repeat what I said to you on another thread, the EU is scared it is seen to be giving in to the UK in case it emboldens other countries who might then want the same. Thus, they are putting narcissism before pragmatism.


  7. Mark B
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Our kind host last paragraph deeply reflects both my views and feelings on this matter. And if I may, I would like to expand upon it.

    If the UK Government were to allow our own internal market to be governed by the EU through regulatory means, them effectively the principle of, “No parliament can bind another” is seriously undermined, making both parliament, the government, the people and democracy impotent and a sham. This then would be a grave betrayal of the people and the referendum.

    Large corporates use the EU to game the markets to suit themselves, limit or destroy competition, and effectively keep prices high by denying the consumer a wider choice. I have long argued here that the rEU27 greatest fear is not the loss of our money but our market through competition.

    • David Price
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      This for me is the key concern also. Our internal market and our relationships with other countries must be independent of EU rules, laws, directives, alignments, policies, whatever. Any business in the UK that wishes to trade with the EU must meet their regulations, just as any EU business must meet ours.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink


      That’s why we need to treat the likes of the CBI, the BBC, and Branson with a great deal of suspicion. They’re looking after their own interests and they just love rigged markets and subsidies.

      By complete contrast, I and undoubtedly many other leavers, campaign in a wholly unpaid capacity for the most altruistic of reasons – we believe that the UK should be master of its own house, and its people should have the right to self-determination. That includes electing the government of our choice – democratic accountability in other words. Where politicians get it wrong, we can remove them. I invite remainers to try that with unelected commissioners!

      We also want the best possible standard of living for our people (and the people of other countries too for that matter – just look at the disaster being a member of the EU has brought to many!).


  8. Lawton
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The US does NOT sell services into the EU on the basis of ‘equivalence’. Utter fiction. How do you have the nerve to write things that are simply invented?

    • NickC
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Leo, From the Insurance Journal 13th Jan 2017:

      “United States and European Union negotiators say they have reached an agreement on reinsurance and insurance regulation. . . . According to the negotiators, U.S. and EU insurers operating in the other market will only be subject to oversight by the regulators in their home jurisdiction.” (my italics).

      Sounds like equivalence to me.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    What might an EU agreement look like – Well under the appalling T May we will probably have all the disadvantages of membership continuing, we will still pay a huge fee, we will still be unable to deregulate and become competitive and we still fail to have any sensible or quality controls on immigration.

    Meanwhile Hammond (together with the EU) picks another fight with Trump over his corporation tax reductions. Perhaps he should concentrate on does something to correct the appallingly complex and high UK tax laws that do such huge harm to the UK economy. Start with Hammond’s absurd rates of stamp duty, CGT, the tenant mugging taxes and get the IHT threshold up to circa £4 million each rather like in the US rather than £325K.

    Then we have Macron telling us that he thinks Trump will change his mind on the Paris accord. I doubt it the science/engineering shows Trump is quite right, the UK should be following him and go for cheap on demand energy too, rather than freezing pensioner in their homes.

    When I drive through France it seems to be littered with absurdly expensive, intermittent and (usually stationary) wind turbines. Politically correct, bird and bat killing white elephants. Gesture politics at its most pathetic from Macron.

  10. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand this John. Perhaps someone would like to explain? We already trade extensively with the EU adhering to all their demands and laws so why do we have to talk about standards etc? It all seems unnecessary to me. Why not say that we want a free trade agreement and if not then we’re happy yo trade under WTO and walk away. I sincerely hope though we are making preparations for this scenario now and not just talking the talk!! Our team have got to start realising their strengths.

    • getahead
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      We can’t appear to be too strong Southerner. That might muck up our quest for a “deep and special relationship”.

  11. Richard1
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    This is all sensible and logical. But it only has any chance of being the strategy adopted if the Govt prepares in earnest for no deal / WTO terms. Part of that work needs to be explaining to the public what WTO terms means, and the likely consequences. At the moment we have clean brexiteers saying WTO is the second best option but is absolutely fine, and continuity Remainers asserting it will be a disaster and “falling of a cliff”. “Crashing out” is the accepted Remain / BBC terminology for WTO. The Govt needs to be clear.

    A brief example of why it’s nonsense to say you can’t have free trade unless there are identical regulations. Some years ago France banned British beef, on spurious health & safety grounds (actually protectionism). The ban got overturned but was in force for a time. So we have a clear example of two countries within the customs union having a major product – British beef – freely for sale in one but banned in the other. The same of course could apply to chlorinated chicken or GM foods, should we want to admit them, post a US trade deal.

    The single most important thing is we are free to negotiate and sign trade deals following March 19. The Govt need to be clearer on this as well.

  12. StephenS
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Of course John, this is what the majority want out of the remaining negotiations but we are clearly being railroaded into a “neverendum transitium” until such time as a Labour government gets the chance to abandon Brexit completely and keep us in the single market.

    What we don’t need during these talks is a Chancellor batting for the opposition at every opportunity and every now and then intentionally dropping easy catches at long on when the team is on top.

  13. zorro
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    We know what you are saying John but there is no way anyone with half a brain would let any statement of intent be put in writing including the ‘regulatory alignment’ phrase in its places in the agreement unless they were mentioning it in the context of SM alignment. Of course, every country has to comply with import/export standards but none would be daft enough to commit to being inn ‘regulatory alignment’. A complete own goal which serves little purpose, and as you said in another post, the EU will seize on it, as Barnier, has already to try and hamstring us…..


  14. alan jutson
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Another sensible post from our host which outlines clearly the suggested steps forward, now we seem to have all sides agreed on a so called implementation period (if Required).

    We are never going to leave with no deal, because the default position is WTO terms.

    We are always going to have to make products to the specification of the Countries around the World who import our goods as we do already, so why are EU regulations a problem (we conform at the moment)
    Of course home made products for home consumption do not need to conform to any other standards than our own, that is why we do not wish to have to take EU standards for home products, which are only made for home consumption, which comprises the vast majority of our total business sales.

    I only hope our negotiation team hold their nerve, push hard, and remain positive.

    All negotiation MUST FINISH before 29th March 2019.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      So pleased Mrs May has now clarified the huge financial offer to the EU in Parliament yesterday, by saying no acceptable trade deal, no money.

      Nothing agreed until everything is agreed.

      I only hope she sticks to it.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        The problem is, the EU is now saying STARTING trade talks will only happen if the stage one agreements become unconditional.
        They are moving the goalposts already.
        What’s the betting they ask for a large payment upfront before even starting to talk about trade.
        They now want free movement until 2021.
        You can’t trust (them ed)

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink


          If the EU want the first stage agreement to be legalised before we start of even finish the complete negotiation, then that is a red line we should not allow to be crossed.

          All agreed or nothing, otherwise its a surrender by a thousand separate agreements.
          Rest assured they will try, we simply have to refuse then Walk.

      • Andy
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry: She won’t.

  15. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Surely, won’t northern Ireland be the sticking point? If the EU don’t want free trade and they insist on a hard border then any deal will be off the table. Mrs May can’t get anything through without the DUP and anyway, if its too radical a deal for the rest of the remainiacs then they will vote against it too. Unless its a middle of the road Brexit then its a no goer.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Goods crossing that border correspond to about 0.1% of UK GDP, and yet that tiny tail is being allowed to wag the whole of the UK economy. We complain that only about 12% of UK GDP is involved in exports to the EU but everybody in the whole economy has to obey all the EU rules, this will be a hundred times worse than that.

  16. Peter Parsons
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    David Davis recently acknowledged the indivisibility of the four freedoms. That is also the EU’s position. Any deal which maintains the current freedoms around goods and services must, logically therefore, maintain the other freedoms as well since both parties have acknowledged that as fact.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      If David Davis acknowledged anything then it was only that the eurocrats hold it as an article of faith that they are indivisible; which would be nothing new as the existence of that quasi-religious doctrine was acknowledged long ago, for example in Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech. Others take the more sensible view that they are separable, and in fact three are primarily about economics while the fourth is much more political in its intention.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        The four freedoms were first laid down in Article 3 of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Ultimately the UK has to accept that the EU27’s view is that the four come as a bundle, and the UK will either have to accept all of them, or accept some other form of tradeoff if it wishes to retain those of the freedoms that some argue for retaining. The UK’s current membership already has more of an “a la carte” flavour to it with all the current opt outs in place than other EU members. The idea that the UK can both leave and then get to cherry pick even more of what it wants to retain is simply not credible. The EU has already done its research in to both the sectorial and geographical impacts, and is no doubt already preparing its members for those impacts.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 15, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          The UK has accepted that the eurocrats are not yet ready to abandon that irrational quasi-religious dogma, and Theresa May said as much in her Lancaster House speech. The exceptions are a small minority whio deceive themselves, and in some cases stand ready to deceive others, that it might still be possible to “reform” the Single Market

  17. Christine
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Unless we prepare for a no deal scenario we are doomed with these trade negotiations. Even if we don’t use it, it is a necessary expense to counter the prospect of a bad deal.

  18. Woody
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I tend to agree with the belief of the likes of Peter Lilley that a trade deal with the eu could be done in 10 minutes. They agree to continue to trade with us on current terms and we agree to continue to trade with them on current terms…. there, its done. However. Its a bureaucracy we are dealing with, and bureaucrats do like making things complicated as it involve lots and lots of talking … free meals and drinks and travel and keeps them in a job. And that is why the eurocracy is sclerotic and out of date with modern times … its a talking shop.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      The issue is that the UK had said it doesn’t want the current terms. If it did, we wouldn’t be leaving. Remember, the current terms cover more thsn good and services.

    • Andy
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      And the EU has an incentive not to do a trade deal with the UK. It will benefit enormously from the tariffs imposed on UK goods, neatly plugging a hole in its income.

      • NickC
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Andy, And the UK has an incentive not to do a trade deal with the EU. We will benefit enormously from the tariffs imposed on EU goods, neatly plugging a hole in our income. And a bonus extra amount being the tariffs on the enormous £104bn trade deficit (£118bn deficit in goods) (2017 Pink Book, tables 9.1 Credit and Debit, Goods and Services, 4% of exports as the Rotterdam effect).

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted December 14, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          And what impact will that have on the UK services industry given the loss of passporting rights which will occur and the fact that the UK runs a trade surplus in services with the EU27?

          • NickC
            Posted December 14, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

            Peter, You don’t know that passporting rights will be lost. Moreover they could be replaced by Mutual Recognition (as in the recent USA-EU Insurance deal).

            Even worse it appears you would sell out our independence from the EU for a £14bn services trade surplus in an economy worth over £1900bn, that’s 0.7%. Unbelievable.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

            The UK is, and always has been, an independent nation. To quote from the government’s own White Paper, “Parliament has remained sovereign throughout our membership to the EU”.

            It may be the case that the UK retains passporting rights, but that may require the UK to compromise on something to do so. If such a compromise happens, will it be one which is acceptable to the more hard line leave supporters?

            The UK economy, rightly or wrongly, is dependent on services. To damage our ability to sell those services to our largest single export market is not something I consider a good idea.

  19. ferdinand
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I cannot believe that companies who currently sell much of their production to the EU have not be fervently assessing the impact of trading under WTO rules. In addition they surely will have been looking at other markets outside the EU. Motor manufacturers outside the EU must see a great opportunity in Britain if we leave without an agreement. Time is passing and at the hour of our leaving after two years of threats and meetings the motivation to stay may well have decayed into a minor aberration.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Some of them want to stay under EU rules and I see no overwhelming reason why our Parliament and government should not pass the necessary UK laws to allow them to do so, in fact compel all exporters to the EU to abide by EU requirements.

    • Leslie Hemery
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Yeah, they are all moving to the EU 27

  20. Chris S
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    What John is saying here is exactly right.

    I used to be the importer a prestige range of American leisure boats. The factory made the necessary changes to their boats to meet European standards. This was done easily and did not affect boats built for the US market or anywhere else, for that matter.

    The cost per boat was minimal and we are talking here of production of boats for the European market of around 100 craft pa whereas most manufactured products would be made for European market in the hundreds of thousands or millions bringing the cost per unit down to a minuscule amount.

    Oh, and by the way, the WTO Tariff on the boats was just 1.7% of the cost price. Hardly anything to be worried about. Importing them was a breeze. They passed through customs clearance while on the way over and we could pick them up from the port on arrival. I guess you could call it electronic but in reality it was done by fax.

    • Lendo
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      What is your point? We LOSE all this framework for free trade after Brexit!

      • NickC
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Lendo, But we GAIN sovereignty and independence and cash. Moreover free trade is not predicated on regulatory harmonisation, despite what the EU tells you.

  21. Edward
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The ECJ, its writ, must, can have no claim to anything within the jurisdiction, the borders of the UK.

    Until that happy event – stamping out the aegis of the ECJ – we ain’t out.

  22. Bert Young
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    The biggest question is whether or not there will be a co-ordinated EU in a few years time !. The rhetoric that currently surrounds negotiations makes no mention of the dissent in the EU ; Brussels speaks with one voice but the mood of the majority of EU people is another .
    My analysis of the dilemma emphasises why we should not part with one penny until the very last moment ; in 3-5 years time there will be an entirely different Europe . Meanwhile we ought to maintain a close relationship with European countries on a one by one basis .

  23. agricola
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with the position you have enunciated. Those that think there has to be a uniformity in alignment to facilitate free trade have never been involved in international trade. Providing goods to the required standard at an attractive price is at the heart of trade. If both sides had to be in perfect political harmony there would not be much trade.

    If we have a free trade agreement with the EU then I think it would be best conducted under the auspices of the WTO because then everything is adjudicated on a level playing field. No ECJ involvement.

    If there is to be a transitional arrangement then it is best kept to a minimum. Most companies who export will be doing so under current EU arrangements and under WTO rules at the same time. HMRC may need time to adapt their point of entry/exit facilities just to be sure the treasury gets it’s dues. If an element of the £35/39 Billion we may pay the EU is to cover the transition at normal membership rates then cutting it to one year would reduce it by about £12 Billion.

    When it comes to the Irish question, free trade solves most of it. The EU would be idiotic to turn down such an offer. Should they, then it would confirm that their own peculiar form of politics was of greater importance than the welfare of their citizens. Elements of their export industry, especially food, are likely to face greater competition if we trade freely with the rest of the World, so the EU would be unwise to manufacture obstacles. The question we should ask the EU is , do you want free trade or not. If the answer is yes it is then only a matter of agreeing the format and jurisdiction. The question is for trade in it’s entirety , do not allow it to be negotiated in segments. Within it all I include financial services.

    • agricola
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      It is long overdue for moderation. If you consider it too long , measure your own submission which I submit is worthy of more than a one liner response. Perhaps you could also comment on whether the offer of £35/39 billion is conditional or unconditional. I hope the latter but there is a difference of opinion between David Davis and the EU parliament it seems.

  24. Peter
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    No signed leaving agreement without a trade agreement being signed at the same time.

    No strung out transition period.

    No regulation or interference by the EU on UK deals with other countries.

    I did not realise that the first was a possibility but the language is so opaque that it might be one interpretation.

  25. Man of Kent
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It may be sensible to move on to trade talks asp , but the EU have made it clear that before that happens a legal agreement be drawn up to make TM’s cave- in absolutely clear .
    I know where my money is for the sequence of events

    This will include the Irish agreement which effectively locks us into the Single Market etc. for ever and a day .

    We have given up the right to become a sovereign independent nation again and the ability to seek a competitive advantage .

    There is a huge disconnect between the Party and the People particularly when we read the laudatory statements from Sir Bill Cash and IDS .
    A couple of Remain voters I spoke to yesterday are now all for ‘get out now ‘

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      From its draft negotiating guidelines that seems to be what the EU wants, but there is no immutable law that the EU must always get what it wants.

  26. am
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    your last para is somewhat reassuring in that the regulations between the uk/eu will not prevent the uk making other trade deals with other nations. Bizarrely the eu may not see it that way but use their deal to attempt to block uk free trade expansion with the rest of the world.

  27. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    “There are various misunderstandings about regulatory alignment and convergence.”

    Understandably, because it was unnecessary for the EU to mention in its agreement if it was solely about standards on their patch.

  28. Peter
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “The EU sometimes seems to be suggesting they want the UK to sign a leaving agreement and implement it prior to 29 March 2019, to leave, and then engage in more detailed talks on trade. ”

    Mrs. May’s words yesterday indicate that is a non-starter. No Brexit payment without a good trade deal first:-


  29. acorn
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    The economic analysis shows that the UK will be economically worse-off outside of the EU under most plausible scenarios. The key question for the UK is how much worse-off it will be post-Brexit.

    The option of leaving the EU with no deal and entering World Trade Organization (WTO) rules would lead to the greatest economic losses for the UK. This would reduce future GDP by around five per cent over ten years, which is a loss of $140 billion.

    Under WTO rules, the EU would also lose out economically, but nowhere near the same proportion as the UK — about 0.7 per cent of its overall GDP, which is $97 billion. Of all the scenarios analysed, the one that would have the most benefit would be a trilateral UK-EU-U.S. agreement, essentially a TTIP-like free-trade agreement.

    However, this is seen as very unlikely in the current political environment. The U.S. will miss the influence and global perspective that the UK brings to the EU decision-making process, particularly around foreign policy, security and defence.

    It will be important for the UK to move into a ‘positive-sum game’ in Brexit negotiations to ensure the best possible deal for all parties. Although the EU is likely to cooperate with the UK, it may see greater benefit in adopting a ‘negative sum game’. Overall, it is in the best interests of the UK, and to a lesser extent the EU, to work together to achieve some sort of trade deal post-Brexit. (Rand Corp)

    PS. You can build your own Brexit scenario and test it on “Rand’s After Brexit report Calculating the Economic Consequences of Brexit”.

  30. Bob
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Philip Hammond has sided with four other European treasury ministers to warn Donald Trump that he could start a trade war with a series of proposed tax reforms.

    This looks like a concerted effort by Cabinet Remainers to antagonise POTUS thereby weakening the UK’s negotiating hand with the EU.

    They are attacking Mr Trump at every possible opportunity.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      ‘thereby weakening the UK’s negotiating hand with the EU’

      – OK come on. Most people in politics and business know the EU is already in a far stronger position than the UK. And if you want some neutral sources to confirm this, look at the recent US Rand’s Corp study on Brexit. They report that impact of Hard Brexit would be small to the EU but severe to the UK.

      Hard Brexit can’t work for the simple reason it lacks the legs to clear all the obstacles in its way in the long run (economic downturn, low productivity, national debt, lack of strategy and leadership and more). Meanwhile Brexit is holding up all the other important things we need to improve our country. The whole thing’s terrible. A kind of 21st century South Sea Bubble but on a larger scale.

      Yes, there are real issues with the EU. But you don’t resolve them like this.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        But it is not too late to change our direction.

        It is strength in business, the military and life in general to be able to change one’s mind and course of action. It is weakness to have your head stuck in the sand, relying on wishful-thinking and the bleating voices of uncritical supporters.

        Brexiters can still come away heroes for challenging the EU over important issues. It has got people on the continent thinking about how we should reform the EU in a more pro Brexit position. But it could easily go the other way. That Brexiters could be compared to those behind the 18th century South Sea Bubble, but on a much worse scale.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Lastly, leading Hard Brexiter politicians aren’t interested in the economy. It’s about the political outcome for our country.

          But they forget that politics is also wrapped up with geopolitics. The EU was created because of excessive nationalism and economic poverty and instability leading to so many conflicts and wars in Europe over the centuries, culminating in the horrors of WW1 (and the millions of British men wounded and killed in the trenches) and WW2 (and the millions killed in general including the Holocaust).

          The EU, despite all its faults (and these should NOT be ignored,) was set up to spread peace, security and prosperity (and all interlinked) throughout the continent. And the EU’s done a relatively good job here.

          Hard Brexiters in politics are completely silent on European geopolitics. Churchill would have come down on them like a tonne-of-bricks, as would Mrs Thatcher no doubt (at least in the early years of her premiership when she was at her best) who experienced, first hand, the price of war in Europe.

      • Bob
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        @Ed Mahony
        Economist’s predictions are often wrong. Remember the total economic calamity that would follow a leave vote? huge job losses, mass exodus of workers, collapse of stock and property prices? Didn’t happen.
        Also remember that these so called experts failed to spot the 2007/8 sub prime crisis and ensuing global financial collapse.

        But irrespective of all that, when in a trade agreement, you don’t start insulting potential future alternative trade partners, which is exactly the Tories are doing. The only motive can be to undermine confidence and subvert Brexit.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I’ve noticed this.

      President Trump is doing very well on his promises. I can see him getting a second term. He is clearly turning out to be a good President.

      Oh, but wait – the deplorables voted for him and the liberals hate him so he can be antagonised by our Liberals masquerading as Conservatives.

    • rose
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      And how dare they continually tell him what he can and can’t do in his own country? Especially when they get it wrong.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Trump wants to cut USA Corporation Tax to 20% I think. Higher than UK’s 19%. Irish Corporation Tax On the other hand is 12.5%. The EU should get their own house in order and force the Irish to stop predatory tax rates before they start moaning about USA. Actually as we are now supposed to stay aligned with Ireland why not cut our rate to 12.5% too ?

  31. Epikouros
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The EU no doubt wants the UK to leave with having agreed to parting with very large sums of money on the basis of promises the details of which to be decided later. Knowing the EU’s track record the promises will take years to be implemented or be so redefined as to be worthless.

    It does not appear to me that Brussels is negotiating in good faith (they never do). Their only objectives are to punish and extort as much as they can from the EU whilst giving nothing back in exchange. The UK negotiators are negotiating in good faith and are prepared to make concessions that is obvious by recent events. However the UK must be wary that some of our negotiators or those close to them are not as dedicated as them to obtaining a fair deal that the leave voters want. Also recent UK concessions will be seen as a weakness that the EU will exploit. There is an argument that to move the talks forward the UK did not make concessions but caved into extortion and as we all know once you give in once then there is no end to further extortion demands.

  32. The PrangWizard
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    It seems Mr Redwood continues with his own ‘re-alignment’ being an arch party loyalist. A year or two ago he said that he would have resigned the party whip had the Tory government joined the Euro. Although this is just as big an issue as far as I am concerned and a betrayal of Brexit and democracy it seems not so with him.

    Get ready for his voting in favour of these disgraceful deals, and postings telling us that black is white after all.

  33. ian
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The deal that was not a deal is off until the first phase is sign into law by uk.

  34. Mick Bolingbroke
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    “The UK offers a full free trade agreement covering goods and services, with zero tariffs and no new barriers to trade.”
    Under the WTO agreements, countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners. Grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.
    So if the EU agrees to a zero tariff arrangement will it have to apply the same to other trading partners? We all know that the EU is a very protectionist organisation so I can’t see that happening.

  35. Two plus Two=Paris
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I listened to Mark Carney on Bloomberg today. He was in Paris at a Climate Change Conference. The interviewer’s first question was :-
    “Why on earth would a Governor of the Bank of England attend a Climate Change conference?”

    Mr Carney began answering with a kind of doublet I have heard before from politicians usually..”Two things……” Then he went on say what the “two things” were. It is not surprising a very intelligent person can give a plausible reason for most things and “two things…” can say much, double one thing to be exact.
    The point is, two things,
    1/ Suppose Mr Carney had not gone to the Paris Climate Change Conference.
    2/ What would have become of us?

  36. James neill
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Right now there is a backroom team working in brussels.,they are going to set out plans for the future of trzde relations but will only allow traDe on their own terms..they are not going to allow the timetable for any of this be dictated by the UK side.. sorry John but it been said already loud and clear cherry picking will not be allowed..as far s the EU is concerned we had it all and threw it away- they will never allow us to have the same deal as now but outside and be better off. Politics trumps economics evertime when it comes to these matters..so you better get real in your hopes and aspirations.. the EU is not going to facilitate and help another potential trading blic to set up on its doorstep in competition with it and be successful.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Correct. But as you said yourself, politics trumps economics. And leaving the EU was about leaving a political monster.

      And you are right, the EU will not like us next door and do all they can to threat us. Not very nice and is why we are leaving.

  37. Iain Gill
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Nigel Lawson has been saying what we all think about May.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “The UK accepts US law and rules when selling into the US, and will accept EU rules and laws when selling into the EU.”

    The difference is that the EU (usually) trusts that UK exporters will meet EU requirements when they sell into the rest of the EU, and so (usually) it does not insist on carrying out checks at the borders, while the US does not have the same level of trust in UK exporters and insists on making checks at the entry points.

    And the fundamental reason why the EU has such a high level of trust in UK exporters is that the UK authorities have made and effectively enforce laws to compel businesses in the UK to meet EU requirements; but unfortunately that applies to ALL businesses in the UK, whether or not they intend to export to the EU.

    And now apparently we plan to continue to do that to ALL businesses in the whole of the UK so that the authorities in the Irish Republic will still have no need to conduct any checks at the border, and even though the goods exported across that border correspond in value to just 0.1% of the UK’s GDP.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Comment missed for moderation here again.

  39. Tabulazero
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry but seen from the Continent, phase 2 of the talks is going to be about the nity-gritty details of the transition period.

    It’s all well and good to be talking about what a future trade agreement might look like but you are one more deluding yourself and your voters if you think the EU is willing to engage on this topic at this stage of the talks.

    It’s pretty clear, at least from Brussels’ side, that the FTA will be negotiated once the UK is out of the Single-Market.

    Once more there is an incredible gap between what I read in the British right-wing press and what is in the rest of Europe’s newspaper.

    Stop kidding yourself. It did not do you any favour during phase I of the talks.

    • NickC
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Tabulazero, Are these the same papers that didn’t predict Brexit? Worse, it seems the EU didn’t predict Brexit either. Indeed, the EU is making the same mistake over Brexit, as it made when it sent Cameron away with a flea in his ear. Mrs May is equally hopeless at negotiating the Continental way. That doesn’t mean we will be a push-over for ever.

  40. Jane Moorhouse
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    IT really is good to read so many pro leaving comments. So many Remainers now want us just to get on with it and leave. Sadly the chattering classes, the wealthy and the powerful are for remaining. To say this is the biggest decision we in the UK have made understates the fact that it is a war between the people and the establishment.
    It is a sad fact that the Labour Party are no longer a party for the people. On the one hand half the party support the powerful and are happy to be run by a dictatorship and on the other it supports leaving the EU only to reinstate itself as a copy of the Venezuelan dictatorship. Mrs May reminds me of the iguana battling through the snakes. The iguana survived, I hope she gets us out of the EU because her downfall and a resulting Labour Governments will ensure we jump out of the frying pan into the firs.

  41. Dennis Zoff
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, if David Davis continues to have a slip of the proverbial tongue, we will be back to square one on negotiations in no time….good, WTO it is then!

  42. Qubus
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Clearest exposition yet this morning by Oliver Letwynd on BBC Daily Politics.

  43. Peter
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”
    Yet verhofstadt expects us to sign on the dotted line :-
    and new Belgian clown on the block Lamberts says we are “gangsters”.

  44. turboterrier
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Agreement? There will be no agreement, hardly a few days old and already it is being reported that thanks to the remarks made by David Davis the EU now want the first part of the agreement enshrined in law, otherwise the second part will not commence.

    Here we go again politicians not thinking about the consequences of their comments.
    That goes for both sides.

    All they want is our money end of. Just get the hell out of it before our leaders are prepared to roll over once more..

  45. turboterrier
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    The Polish nation are beginning to kick off about their situation. Italy trying to leave the Eurozone. Bring it on.

    Before too long the House of cards is going to collapse. Hold the line and keep your powder dry!!!

  46. Chris
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    It seems as though the EU, very predictably, is off on its own track with regard to interpretation of what your government has agreed, Mr Redwood.
    THE European Union is refusing to move on to the second phase of Brexit talks unless the Phase 1 agreement is put into law…..Mr Verhofstadt’s irritation is shared by others in Brussels, and a draft statement prepared by representatives of the 27 member states of the European Union, and due to be signed later this week, has been revised to say: “Negotiations in the second phase can only progress as long as all commitments undertaken during the first phase are respected in full and translated faithfully in legal terms as quickly as possible.”

    • Chris
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      As a PS to my comment above, the EU are also apparently likely to demand that:
      “…Eurocrats are also likely to insist that, as a precondition to any trade deal, Britain must agree to what it terms a “level playing field mechanism” to prevent it offering tax breaks or subsidies in order to gain a competitive advantage over EU states.”

      Please can you explain what is going on, Mr Redwood? why on earth are we signing up to all of this, and why has Davis now apparently confirmed that all that we have discussed in phase one is now legally enforceable? This seems to be madness and nothing representing actually leaving the EU. Apparently we are just going to be a satellite state, still in thrall to the EU and still accepting the “freedoms” of the EU, including freedom of movement, apparently.

      Reply The government made clear to the Commons, and the Joint Statement with the EU confirmed, that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. So the Agreement to date is not enforceable and its terms will only be in the Final Agreement if all else suits both sides. .

  47. ian
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I am not worried about a deal with the EU, it doesn’t matter anymore. When repeal bill comes into law, any law or treat can be repealed, by a new leader or a change of Gov, if they have the votes on the floor of the house, the days of the EU having a hard wire into the civil service will be over, from then on everything has to go through the HOC for reading and voting on and the lords or committee. The old days will be gone.All Laws and treat can be changed, added to, taken out or new ones put in by the GOV or leader of the day.
    That’s why it’s more important to make sure you have the right MP in your area, voting for what you want after Brexit.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I think that is right, totally leaving the EU in terms of dismantling all this “alignment” stuff is a multi-year, possible multi-generational, project but at least we now have the democratic tools to do so.

  48. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    So, the text of the report which we were all told was not agreed until everything was agreed is now going to be legalised.

    More deceit. More lies.

    How are you going to spin this one Mr Redwood. Or have you ‘rolled over’ with rest of them? Party first as always.
    They demand we concede.

    Reply The Joint Statement says Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and this was confirmed in the House by the PM

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      So John, they agree to put it into law and then carry on as per normal singing to the tune of the EU!! That’s an agreement.

  49. R. De Witt Jansen
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood: thank you very much for representing us as our MP over this past year and long may that continue AND for taking the time and trouble to write to the then Housing Minister on our behalf (daughter’s actually) regarding the necessity of ensuring in some way or other that New Build Housing Developers adhere to acceptable building standards. Thanks again for that.
    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

  50. Chris
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Nothing is going to be parked re the discussions/agreement over Ireland, but instead it is going to be drawn up in legal terms asap, according to latest reports. Can you clarify, Mr Redwood?

  51. NickC
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    JR, This is a tweet from Guy Verhofstadt 12-12-2017: “Remarks by David Davis that Phase one deal last week not binding were unhelpful & undermines trust. EP text will now reflect this & insist agreement translated into legal text ASAP”.

    This contradicts your remark that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. It also indicates profound misunderstandings of each side’s positions.

    Reply “My remark” was a quote from the text of the Joint Statement!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      That dictum appeared in the EU’s negotiating guidelines back in April.

    • NickC
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      JR, Reply to reply, I wasn’t making an issue of who originated the statement “nothing’s agreed until everything is agreed”! It was an observation about differences.

      My point was that the two sides have very different (“contradictory”) views of the “agreement”. Already.

  52. Freeborn John
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    If the UK does not have a legally binding trade agreement with the EU27 (even in outline) prior to the Withdrawal agreement coming into force in March 2019 it would be madness to proceed with the Withdrawal agreement. At that point our money will be gone and our leverage decline and the EU would have every incentive to keep us in a ‘transitional ageement’ indefinitely while we continue to accept all the obligations of EU membership including budget payments. It is abundantly clear (see the FT’s Janan Ganesh) that this is what EU supporters are hoping for.

    It is indeed quite likely that the EU will not offer the above in the hope that we would then reverse Brexit. Therefore it is imperative that the Uk is 100 percent ready to trade on WTO terms in March 2019. The sheer incompetence of this government does not inspire any confidence that they can organise that but failure to do will mean the EU has us over a barrel which is what Hammond and Co will be trying to engineer.

    • Freeborn John
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      It is also quite possible that May is only aiming for a never-ending transitional deal. That would achieve the ‘cosmetic Brexit’ where nothing actually changes that the Fankfurter Allegemaine Zeitung reported she told J-C Juncker she wanted.

  53. Peter
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Guido clarifies Verhofstadt false claims :-

    “Today’s Times leader accuses DD of “undermining” the deal, taking the Guy Verhofstadt line that his comments “undermined trust”. Except, as with everything Verhofstadt says, this isn’t based in reality…

    Yesterday a spokesman for the European Commission confirmed the deal is “formally speaking not legally binding”, and that it was merely an agreement “between gentlemen”. In other words Davis was right. Even the Remainers’ preferred legal expert Gina Miller agreed that it isn’t legally binding on Marr on Sunday. Davis and Verhofstadt have spoken this afternoon to agree to “get it converted into legal text as soon as possible”, something which has to be done because it isn’t binding in its current form. Guido is sure someone at the Commission could explain this slowly to the Times’ Brexit-hating leader writers…”

    This rubbish will continue to be spouted until we are free.

  54. ian wragg
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Coming up to the evening peak we are already generating 49GW. Coal, Nuclear and CCGT are at 100% and we are exporting 0.5GW to France.
    There is absolutely no excess in the system with wind generating just 10%. If the wind drops there would likely be power cuts in some areas.
    Just how did we get to this ridiculous precarious state.

    • bigneil
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Coal mines had to be shut Ian. Now the Chinese are busy ripping the planet apart and opening coal mines left right and centre and also shipping hundreds of thousands of tons of ore weekly mined in Australia back to China.
      Don’t worry, once petrol and diesel vehicles are banned all that electricity needed will magically appear from nowhere.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      @ ian wragg

      Ian all very simple.

      Politicians have got us into this mess in that they were a combination of the following:- Incompetent, ignorant, and arrogant.

      Incompetent : only a 100 odd when the realisation of what the Climate Change Act was really about started to speak out.
      Ignorant: Apart from the 100 odd, the rest did not and still do not understand how the energy markets really operate.
      Arrogant: With all the danger flags unfurling the vast majority of the politicians are too arrogant to admit they have got it so wrong.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes Ian. No wind turbines turning here due to low wind speeds. We are paying out money to turn the damn things off more often lately. Still, Sturgeon wants them all over Scotland and they have been taken in with all the jargon the renewables companies tell them. They must be rubbing their hands with glee to think they have such gullible minsters to preach to while holding out their hands for the free money that we have to pay for. Disgraceful. I wonder how many old people are now struggling to heat their homes?

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Hot off the press, main N. Sea pipeline shut down for weeks, explosion in Austrian gas pipeline from Russia. Wholesale prices rocketing.

    • acorn
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      There is at least 63,000 MW available each day till the other side of Christmas. Take it from somebody who actually knows how to run a 2,000 (4 X 500 MW) Power Station. Like all Brexit bullshitters, you are daily exposing your ignorance; this will be the cause of your ultimate demise in the next fifteen months.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Sorry mate. Your way out of date. Including all the STOR diesels we can only muster 50GW.
        If we have so much power maybe you could explain why the other evening peak the voltage was dropped 5% and the frequency reduced to 49.5 hertz.
        And yes I’m a Brexiteer who has spent 50 years in senior management of power stations.
        Only retiring on my 71st last Christmas.

        • stred
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink


          Coal has come to the rescue at 18%. Gas pipelines broken. French and British nuclear halved. No wind some days. No solar. A few American trees to burn. Better turn off the Christmas lights and charge my spare battery.
          Funny to think Caroline Lucas wants no nukes, no gas, no coal and to import wind and solar from a land where it is always windy and sunny. She ought to know as she is a teacher.

    • stred
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Sizewell and Dungeness nukes are down, unplanned.

  55. Caterpillar
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink


    This would seem to not be the case. The EU has remined (the so called gangster) David Davis, that what is agreed at each stage is agreed and is not simply intent.

    Lord Lawson is correct, the UK needs to pull itself out of these embarrassing talks.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Lord Lawson is a retro, 1980’s-capitalist dinosaur, out of touch from his chateaux in France.

      We need a new set of progressive capitalist Tories, focused on turning the UK into the world’s Second Silicon valley. Our current economic relationship with the EU is vital for our future in this industry.

      Then we won’t be so reliant on the City of London (important as that is) / too many eggs in the one basket (and look at the economic consequences vis-a-vis, the recent recession) and then we can get on with quickly with reducing our national debt, raising productivity, improving pay packages across the board, as well as getting on with the rest of the country’s challenges instead of getting bogged down in Brexit.

      The evidence is all pointing to Brexit being a disaster for this country. And not just economically, politically and socially, but there’s also the issue of geopolitics –
      how to preserve peace, security and prosperity in Europe and how history shows that this affects us, profoundly, whether we like it or not.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know about Lord Lawson, but many retro, 1980’s-capitalist Tories envisage turning the UK into a European Singapore.

        Surely wrong when you consider:

        1. The UK many times large than Singapore (crucially)
        2. We will then be putting even more of our economic eggs in one basket, not forgetting how the recession showed how fragile the financial services sector is.
        3. The focus would be even more on London when we need to focus on other parts of the country as well as make use of our great universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the growth of the tech industry. And not forgetting that Singapore in a different part of the world with very different work culture and more.

        • Lendo
          Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Oxford and Cambridge are great seats of knowledge, correct. Both voted over 70% to Remain. Experts eh

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        In many ways, Lord Lawson did a great job in helping to pull this country back from 1970’s socialism. But like some/many of his generation his politics was too reactionary, and focused on the City of London, as opposed to being more objective about spreading capitalism quietly across the country and in different sectors.

        Saying all that, he’s proving to be a dinosaur now for failing to develop his sense of capitalism – of looking too much through the prism of being a reactionary Conservative capitalism (focused on the ‘socialists’) as opposed to be a more objective Conservative capitalist, and too focused on City of London, instead of the country in general, and instead of other sectors, above all the tech industry.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Apparently that is what the EU wants, but contrary to the impression which has been given we are under no obligation to accept everything that the EU wants.

  56. Helen Smith
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    You need to shout this out a bit more John, this is the main difference between being in and selling to the Single Market. Of course companies selling to the EU will have to meet all their regs, but companies that only trade within a 10 mile radius of home won’t, and companies trading with other countries won’t have to either. This is where there are huge savings to be made.

  57. ferdinand
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    We talk about the EU balancing the relative trading volumes of the UK and the EU and our assertion that as we sell less to them than they sell to us they will want to do a deal. But surely that is not the argument. Isn’t it that they are valuing the loss of a member state and the possibility of others following against medium term trading volumes?

  58. Chris S
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I want to know exactly what the terms of the finance settlement are.

    Is it :

    1. £9Bn pa for two years of a transition period Plus £21bn for everything else ?
    That is £39bn Maximum.

    2.£39Bn Plus £9bn pa for the transition
    That is £57bn Maximum.

    3. Either of the above Plus unspecified ongoing payments Ad Infinitum for access to the
    Single Market ?
    That is an open ended, unlimited sum.

    If it’s anything other than 1. I would vote for No Deal immediately.
    At the end of a torturous process I can’t believe we are ever going to be offered a deal worth having but for political reasons Mrs May needs to give the 27 a chance to come up with some kind of offer.

  59. Turboterrier.
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    The media is awash with the assumed backlash from the EU on what we may or may not be offered by the 27 remaining states.

    Accepted this could all be fake news but where are the Brexit Department in challenging all these reports? They are very conspicuous by their absence.

    It all gives the perception they will stay head down in the bunker until the fighting stops.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      For the first time ever David Davis has tweeted two responses. Pathetically weak responses, but responses all the same.


  60. Deficient =deficient
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    JR in the House today, you managed to pave the way for a most interesting response from Labour MP Chris Bryant about a certain Venezuelan revolutionary.

    The idea that removing Henry VIII powers from Tory Ministers was actually, in his mind, a pre-emptive war against the Labour Leader Corbyn in case he and his comrades get into power.
    It is beyond belief what some MPs say in the House. Corbyn’s Deputy, Lin Piao McDonnell, says when in power he’s going to send the Bank of England workers down into the Countryside of Birmingham to learn from the workers and peasants. It might just work!

  61. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    It’s high time that we started calling the shots in our talks with the EU:

    We are leaving the EU at 11pm on 29th March 2019.

    We do not require and will not accept a transition period.

    On leaving, we will not impose tariffs on goods imported from the EU.

    If the EU imposes tariffs on us, we reserve the right to retaliate as we wish.

    Leaving implies exiting the CAP and the common fisheries policy. We will decide what % of our agriculture market will be supplied from UK, importing the rest from the cheapest sources.

    We can agree trade deals with third countries soon and implement them on leaving.

    There will be no hard border with the Irish Republic unless the Republicans resume their violence, in which case there will be a frontier.

    A trade deal in services with the EU can be implemented over time. There is no Single Market in services at the moment.

    The EU Single Market consists of the market negotiated in 1986 with a lot of EU regulation on top, diminishing its usefulness. Within our own country, we will steadily get rid of the regulations that we don’t want.

    The only businesses that should object to this policy are Brussels ‘pets’, who are well in with the EC and unfairly favoured.

    Without a trade deal, the EC gets no payments from us. If they want to go to arbitration, it will have to be a Russian court. No one else is both competent and neutral.

    • Violet
      Posted December 13, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      You missed out “stamp foot like toddler and thcream thcream thcream until i’m thick”

  62. sm
    Posted December 13, 2017 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    John, I simply could not wade through all the media’s inflammatory and unclear interpretations of the latest trade negotiations, so thank you for the calm and straightforward explanation.

  63. stred
    Posted December 14, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    As we are being totally sold out with Brexit meaning Br’exit’ha ha, could I suggest to real Conservatives and Labour MPs, who believe in respecting the promises made in the referendum, get together and form an independent Conservative and Labour for Independence Party. They should then not oppose each other in safer seats and support Brexitvotes, as do the DUP. There is no point in remaining an MP in a parliament run to suit Brussels, especially when it is expanding its budget for its foreign office, military, taxation, propaganda and foisting migration disasters onto countries which have not caused it.

    The local associations could then transfer allegiance to the independence MPS and deselect remoaning traitors and non-conservative Libdems in the wrong party.

    BW. It must be so depressing working with all these liars and agents for the EU in the same once proud party.

  64. Ron Olden
    Posted December 14, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Following the passage of the Dominic Grieve amendment, there’s now no chance of an acceptable Trade Deal. It’s not in the EU’s interest to offer one if they think they can force the UK to stay in.

    The actual wording of the amendment has been carefully manipulated to make it so ambiguous it will be left to a court at the final moment to determine what ‘meaningful vote’ means, so there’ll be no shortage of Gina Miller clones coming forward to get the court to say that we cannot leave the EU until Parliament has accepted the Post Brexit Deal.

    The Remainers will say that for a vote to be ‘meaningful’ it will have to be held several months before we finally leave, and that we will have to apply for an extension of our membership, beyond March 29th 2019, for the vote to count as ‘meaningful’, and stay in, until they vote to accept a Post Brexit deal.

    This vote is game changer. Dominic Grieve knew exactly what the implications of it were when he proposed it.

    The chances are that we will not now leave the EU, or if we do, the Remainers will force us to stay in the Single Market and the Customs Union on worse terms that we would have had, had we stayed in the EU all along.

    The best thing Mrs May can do it to bring another vote to have this amendment removed, make it a Vote of Confidence and challenge these traitors to bring down the Government. If the do so, so be it, Corbyn can take over. We aren’t going to be dictated to.

    In the meantime their Tory Constituency Parties should start deselection proceedings now.

  65. Chris
    Posted December 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Two comments (Q and response)on Guido today with regard to the Remainers and their apparent attempts to block/hold up Brexit:

    “So if we decide to walk away with no deal then surely that means parliament has nothing to vote on in order to approve it. We could just walk away?

    “No – the way they worded the most recent “deal” was that, if the deal isn’t “good enough” (whatever that means) or it can’t be reconciled with the N.Irish border, we will default back to “full legislative alignment” (aka membership of the EU in all but name, minus many of the voting rights).
    Ain’t democracy great!”

    Mr Redwood, is this reply correct, that we have in fact signed away walking away from a deal and adopting WTO rules instead? That is what I suspect the EU thinks.

  • 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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