Leaving the EU and transition

I am pleased to see the government does intend to put the departure date into the Withdrawal Bill. It needs to be there to ensure continuity of law on the day we leave, which will be 29 March 2019 according to the Treaty procedure. I accept the addition of the proviso that were the UK to request to stay in for longer and were all 27 to agree Parliament would need to change the date. Parliament could do that anyway. That seems very unlikely.

The next issue is so called Transition, or Implementation. The Prime Minister has always been very clear. She has said we will need an Implementation period, assuming we have an Agreement to implement. She rightly says it would not make a lot of sense of exit on 29 March 2019 going over the WTO arrangements for trade and making other arrangements for issues not covered elsewhere, only to switch systems again a year or two later when the new Agreement with the EU comes into effect.  She has also rightly said this Implementation period should not be longer than needed, and could be of variable time depending on the issues concerned and the complexity of completing the arrangements for the new Agreement.

Were there against her aim and wish to  be no deal because the EU was unreasonable in its approach, there would be  no need for an Implementation period. It  would be best to pass straight to the new arrangements for out without a special partnership on 29 March 2019. The government assures us they are planning for just such a contingency, whilst stressing it is not what they want to happen.

During transition it would be best if the UK were not subject to the ECJ, the freedom of movement provisions and the restrictions on negotiating trade deals. Because we are assured we are leaving on 29 March 2019 none of these will apply unless the UK enacts them into UK law for a period in furtherance of an Agreement with the EU.

The opponents of the government include numerous opposition  MPs and lobbyists who want to slow down or delay Brexit. They see Transition as effectively another two years in the EU, paying our contributions and accepting all old and new laws as if we were still full members, without any voice or vote over what the EU does. This they see as a period for further negotiations over what might happen next. Some of the government’s opponents want to use the next year and the Transition to effectively mirror everything the EU currently requires of us into UK law and into an Agreement which is membership in all but name. This is clearly not the Prime Minister’s view. She repeatedly argues we are leaving the EU, the customs union and the single market. We will take back control of our laws, our borders and our money. Leave voters knew exactly what they were voting for and expect no less.

The issue is now one of timing. Many Leave voters feel they have waited too long already. They can accept waiting until March 2019, but do not want another two years in the EU thereafter. As the government sits down to talk about Implementation it needs to stress three things. One, the issues that do need settling even without a  wider deal can be settled  prior to March 2019. We have unilateral fixes, but agreements would be better. Two, the UK does need to be free to negotiate its own trade deals with others, to put in its own migration policy, and to get on with reforms of fishing, agriculture and the rest from March 2019.  Three, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The UK cannot legislate for the draft Agreement so far without having agreement on the wider partnership. The public are not in favour of making large payments to the EU without good reason, or even at all in many cases. The government will need to show a good wide ranging Agreement to persuade people to accept  a generous settlement.

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  1. Ian Dennis
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    The EU famously states “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.
    This phrase means something different in London than it does in Brussels.
    In London it means that the agreement in its entirety including the ongoing relationship.
    That is not what Brussels means, it sees the leaving of the EU and an FTA with the UK, as two entirely separate events. As far as Brussels is concerned the deal Mrs May signed up to last week is the “everything is agreed”. They are already making it very clear that unless we legally sign up to last weeks agreement there will be no movement on any FTA.
    May has fudged this issue, stating to Parliament that last weeks deal is dependent on an FTA, swiftly followed by Brussels demanding a legal agreement, and the UK agreeing.
    I don’t see how May can sign that agreement with no more than the promise of talks, that is politically untenable.
    But if she does, the EU has no incentive to swiftly conclude a deal, all the forces of remain, in the UK and in Brussels will conspire to push Brexit far off into the distance.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      As A50 stated that both the divorce and on going trade deal was to be negotiated, if the EU is reneging on this, then they are breaking their own laws, that must make the divorce agreement an unlawful arrangement.

      • Hope
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        I thought it was against WTO rules to appear to pay for a trade deal? This is what May has done and is doing. It is completely stupid. The EU wanted the distinction and did so from the beginning to get around this little obstacle and that is why it did not agree to talk in tandem per arcticle 50 terms. Undoubtedly the EU will claim the U.K. was aware and agreed to the staged process of talks on this basis.

        May has sold the country, your party and leavers a kipper, where was Davis? Is he up to the job intellectually? May is untrustworthy and a national embarrassment. Do you think it a xoicindence she allowed remainers in her party to talk with Labour or the EU without censure or sanction. Today we read how she is sticking up for them! Project fear allowed to go unabated and ministers allowed to speak against agreed govt policy. With all the background none of you sought to address this treachery of the public vote?

        Specious claims of Burke references to support remainer acting in fundamental breach of trust to the electorate, party, govt and country have no bearing on modern day voting or behaviour of MPs. Different voting system, educational standards, different processes altogether. Nevertheless prompted by the pro EU DT.

        Suggest leave MPs get their act together ASAP.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:33 am | Permalink

      Absolutely agree !

    • Chewy
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      Very good point about how EU see’s situation. But think our host has previously commented that ex gratia payments have to be voted on in Parliament. Hope so cause I don’t reckon there’s a cat in hells chance of getting a vote through to pass over £40B with nothing concrete in return. Or at least I hope so!
      Confirmation would be appreciated.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      “Brussels” (a misnomer, this is the Council, ie the 27 Remaining EU states) will be even less happy to keep the UK as a co-decision maker. As a trade partner, fine. The “legal agreement” is a test for the UK’s reliability as a treaty partner. That reliability had veen put into question by the chain of events that started with Cameron’s attempts to renegotiate, the referendum, the unquestioning following by the subsequent government of the referendum result and, finally the failure of the current gvt to unite the parliamentary party on relevant legislation. The fact that Tory dissenters continue to act as if EU membership is poisonous, does not instill confidence for the future.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        So where did those words “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” stem from? In English, that means that until everything is agreed to, nothing is agreed, by treaty or otherwise. The UK presumes that the EU won’t break its promise on that format.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          Well, in this context those words first appeared as a statement of an established principle in the European Council guidelines a month after the Article 50 TEU notice had gone in:


          “In accordance with the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, individual items cannot be settled separately.”

          • Chris
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            Well done, Denis, for unearthing this.

      • NickC
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Rien, The EU is “poisonous” – that’s what in effect 17.4m of said. Not least due to the behaviousr of the EU since the Referendum. It is time that our government, the EU, and you, accepted the result. Unfortunately the Tory dissenters who want us governed by Brussels don’t.

        Periodically it seems the NW corner of Eurasia has an ideological spasm and we get lumbered with the consequences. This time it is the form of the EU. You have chosen the path of bureaucratic harmonisation. We prefer independent democracy and mutual recognition. I think you are wrong, but I’m happy to live and let live. Let’s see if the EU is.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          @NickC interesting comment. 17.4 (note the .4) comes up again. All of them said that the EU was -in effect- poisonous. I wonder if they really meant that and how you can be sure of what you said..

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      If that is indeed the situation then the UK government should not proceed on that basis. Presumably that is why the EU wants to delay the start of trade talks to March 2018. It would be foolish beyond belief to turn The Report into a legally binding document and an act of bad faith by the EU.

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

      Ian, you are right. There is a Withdrawal Agreement, and there is later on a trade deal. Once the Withdrawal Agreement is finalised, it is done, and complete. What happens subsequently with the trade deal is irrelevent, even if no trade deal is ever agreed. The Withdrawal Agreement, we know now from the decisions taken over the last 10 days, will include a commitment by the UK to stay in the single market and a customs union (this is the only way for the Uk to meet its promise to avoid a hard border in Ireland) and to pay tens of billions of pounds. That is settled now -what happens later on with the trade deal, even if nothing happens with the trade deal, does not unravel those promises that. Mrs May is trying to hide that. Mr Redwood and Mr Rees-Mogg seem not to understand that

    • acorn
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      I agree that the EU sees the leaving of the EU (phase 1 / divorce), as separate events from the “future relationship” phase (phase 3 ???). The WTO say that appearing to be purchasing access to a Trade Agreement, is against its rules. That’s why Barnier separated the parts originally, and made sure the WTO understood that. You can understand why the EU wants the divorce agreement (phase 1) written down. The UK is not exactly speaking with one voice Cabinet or backbench wise.

      My question is. Does the phase 1 divorce agreement, de facto include, an agreement by the EU27, to extend the date (introduce a extension / transition period); at which the Withdrawal Agreement becomes effective, as per Clause 3 of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty? AND; effectively postpone 29th March 2019; to so far, 29th March 2021 plus, plus, plus?

    • Mark B
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      On this issue I am afraid I am with the EU on this. I have long argued that the EU cannot negotiate a trade deal UNTIL the UK has left.

      The whole thing is nothing but a charade.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        It can surely negotiate all the aspects of a trade deal without signing it until we leave, is that not the point, otherwise why an implementation period at all.

        • Jonp
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:21 am | Permalink

          The transition period is just that it will give UK a chance to signal to the EU how it would like things to be in the new relationship so that all sides can prepare.. but there will be no detailed negotiations until all of this ground work is prepared and agreed. The negotiations themselves could take years..meanwhile the transition period is only a holding period but it will have time limitations not to our advantage.we are the ones leaving the bloc..we are also the ones hoping for a new trade deal with the bloc..of course wr can decide to walk away if we think it all not worthwhile..but walk away to where?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

            I’m not clear whose side you’re on.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Why not? If the UK can negotiate a withdrawal treaty with the EU and the other member states while itself still a member state while can it not also negotiate a trade treaty while it is still a member state? In my view the UK government should not have rolled over and quietly agreed that it would have to wait until after we have left when there was an argument to be had about it, and an argument in which our government could have at least scored a moral victory in the eyes of the world. Just as our government could have scored a moral victory in the eyes of the world if it had stood up to the EU and pressed harder for sensible parallel negotiations rather than the foolish sequential negotiations the EU wanted.

        • Jason wells
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:38 am | Permalink

          Denis..i am afraid you’re once again seeing the world again through the wrong end of the telescope.. this has nothing to do with moral victories or in the eyes of the world..the fact is that there is an economic club of 500 million people which we are part of, wholly part of, and of which we are bent on leaving, but we would like to rejoin in part, we would like to have the parts that suit us and ignore the other parts that we don’t care about or that we dislike..well Denis the world does not work like that..as we know from the time when we had our own empire ..we made sure that everyone obeyed the rules otherwise the cohesion of the empire wouldn’t have worked…savvay?..so get real there will be no cherry picking allowed nor will we be able to have our cake and eat it..there will be no cakes on the table for anyone..only salt and vinegar..but it was our choice..the EU is the King here..this time it is we who are in the ha’penny place

          • Hope
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            Utter rot. Project fear failed before and is still failing despite May’s best efforts. Tell your your story to the destitute and unemployed across the Eurozone. Savvy?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            Actually we did not make sure that the whole empire had the same laws, that is historically incorrect. You can check that by looking at the Coronation Oath where the promise was to govern the different parts “according to their respective laws and customs”. Nor is it even remotely correct to describe the EU as an “economic club”. However those little excursions are both beside the point that when the EU insists on stupidity we should make sure that the whole world can knows that it is insisting on stupidity over our objections, we should not agree to support it in its stupidity.

    • Hope
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      May needs to ask Grieve first what he wants! Soubry falsely claiming in her article she put the country interest. Utter rubbish she went against her constituency, party govt and country and national vote for very selfish reasons, she also voted for staying in the single market and customs union. Morgan wants a static transition and Hammond states the transition will be effectively staying the same. In contradt JR writes a blog based on fantasy expecting us to believe things are different! May has proven to be untrustworthy, she sneaked off to maker deal which keeps us in all but name, missed by JRs blog, makes a false claim she achieved a fair deal for taxpayer and public services after her HS stated any money would fall on deaf ears after increasing the risk to people in the UK by insecure unsafe borders. Letwin brokered a flexible date with Grieve rather than an end date! The public voted leave in its entirety not what the untrustworthworthy Tory govt speciously claims. JR suggest you read phase one of the capitulation May made on her grovel,into knees to the EU.

    • Malcolm Knott
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. The whole notion of agreeing the divorce bill first was nonsensical. We should never have fallen for it.

    • Timaction
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Read this and decide for yourself what a total capitulation Mrs May and the Tory’s have signed us up tro! Won’t see this reported in the msm!


      4. Such transitional arrangements, which will be part of the Withdrawal Agreement, must be in the interest of the Union, clearly defined and precisely limited in time. In order to ensure a level playing field based on the same rules applying throughout the Single Market, changes to the acquis adopted by EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies will have to apply both in the United Kingdom and the EU. All existing Union regulatory, budgetary, supervisory, judiciary and enforcement instruments and structures will also apply, including the competence of the Court of Justice of the European Union. As the United Kingdom will continue to participate in the Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) during the transition, it will have to continue to comply with EU trade policy, to apply EU customs tariff and collect EU customs duties, and to ensure all EU checks are being performed on the border vis-à-vis other third countries.

      Transition?? No extension with ALL four freedoms!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Those are the 27’s negotiating guidelines and we haven’t signed up to them or agreed to what they want, yet.

  2. Mick
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased to see the government does intend to put the departure date into the Withdrawal Bill. It needs to be there to ensure continuity of law on the day we leave, which will be 29 March 2019 according to the Treaty procedure.
    I agree but only because I don’t trust some of your fellow mps , I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them, we voted out and that means out especially 11pm 29th March 2019, with no strings, we are not stupid the public know that a lot of mps want to stay in the eu but 17.4 million don’t and they had better remember that or they’ll be picking up there P45 after the next GE 😄

    • jerry
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      @Mick; Yes we did vote you leave, but we did not vote on how nor when to leave. Many MPs will indeed be picking up their P45s at the next election, but again, perhaps not for the reasons you think…

      I do not trust our MPs either, but I very much doubt for the same reasons that you don’t. Those who attempt to hijack the democratic process, so they can impose something in the name of the people that the people have not actually asked for, play on very thin ice – be they Europhiles of Brexiteers.

      • sm
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        We were not asked to vote on how or when we should leave the EU.

        The Referendum Bill was, in my opinion, an all-round badly-botched affair, but whether a workable option could have been found to cover ‘How’ and ‘When’ on the ballot paper is open to lengthy but pointless debate.

        • Hope
          Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          Cameron stated the very day after the referendum the letter would be sent. So two years from the 17/6/2019. Already unnecessarily delayed. This should be the transition period per article 50 future relationhip discussed in tandem. May writing today to deceive people she achieved something other than capitulation and allowing EU rules to continue and also trying to deceive public about an implementation. No one voted for an extension on the terms she is trying to con people about. May is on the same fantasy planet as Soubry. These Tories voted against constituency, party govt and antic all vote. Some are citing Burke, what nonsense. In the eighteenth century only landed gentry voted, similarly they were MPs. Education was not compulsory, the social climate totally different. There is no comparison of what Burke wrote. Utter toss to support remain and project fear. If on a ship they would be called mutineers.

          Sadly th leavers in the Tory parties have turned as have the leave ministers. There can be no doubt the capitulation May rolled over for is keeping the UK in the EU by another name.

          Grieve needs to be asked for his view no he is dictating what happens.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          As repeatedly pointed out during the passage of the referendum Bill it did not say what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU. If it had said that in the event of a Leave victory the government must put in the Article 50 TEU notice within a certain time period then Gina Miller would have had no case to take to the courts.

          • Hope
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            But as you pointed out previously Cameron stated unequivocally he would send the letter the following day. Had he kept his word Milner would not have had no case.

      • Duyfken
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        It would be reasonable to assume that the public, on voting “leave”, expected the government of the day to proceed punctually and purposefully simply to leave the EU. It is not a matter of how we leave, just that we do leave, and leave in good order and in good time.

        • Hope
          Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Two years from the 17/06/2016. No extension, no four pillars of EU under guise of diffent names i.e. Divorce bill, family meme era allowed and sham registration scheme, ECJ applying regulatory alignment, standstillt ranistion. All specious words and phrases to deceive the public to keep the UK in the EY by clever use of words. Tory remainers working with Labour to keep us in or as close as possible. Labour now holding a remain position on voting to get what remainers, including May, want. Leave politicos too weak who lack moral fortitude to deliver on t public vote.

        • jerry
          Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          @Duyfken (and @Hope;); Stop trying to project what you want or think on to the entire voting adult population of the UK – if you want to cite what the people want then best ask them via Brexit-Ref2, otherwise allow parliament and its MPs to do the job they are elected and paid to do!

          • Helen Smith
            Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            Well, it’s what I want and what I voted for

          • jerry
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            @Helen Smith; “Well, it’s what I want and what I voted for”

            One down, just another 17,410,741 to declare what they want (assuming non have changed their minds as to how they voted)…

          • NickC
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Not allowing that Leaves knew what they wanted when they voted leave is merely a Remain propaganda trick. It can be turned back on you – how many Remains knew what they were voting for?

            For good or ill, we were invited by Parliament to vote Leave or Remain in a binary question. Why we Leaves are angry now is that the government is pretending it doesn’t know what the simple English word “leave” means.

            It should not need to be stated that we must sever all treaty, danegeld, legal, court and governance ties with the EU, taking back full control as an independent nation state. Only then can we decide how the country will look by electing Parliaments to take us in the direction the electorate wishes.

          • jerry
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; There were 28 different Leave groups, all with their manifestos -in deference to our host I wont list them, not just the one you now try and claim there was, so it is plainly daft to suggest that voters knew what sort of Brexit they were voting for as some groups were at opposite political poles to each other and thus wanting totally different things from Brexit.

            Indeed, with 19 different Remain groups and their manifestos, many who voted Remain equally did not know what they were voting for, that is why I have said more than once on this site that it would be just as wrong (had Remain won) for europhile federalists to now try and hijack the result and push for the UK to join a fledgling USE, adopt the Euro or what ever – and I would be just as vocal in opposing them.

            The only people now trying to use “propaganda” to hoodwink the electorate are hard-line Brexiteers like yourself. If you feel so confident that a majority of voters think the same as you then why don’t you call for Brexit-Ref2 and ask those “How” and “When” questions, but of course that is the last thing you would want happen…

          • jerry
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:34 am | Permalink

            Try again…

            @NickC; There were 28 different Leave groups, not one, thus people voted for 28 different versions of Brexit.

      • Chris
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        The undertaking from Cameron was that Article 50 was to be implemented straight away after the referendum result if Leave won, and that we would leave within 2 years from that date. The fact that Cameron did not do this, and May delayed, doesn’t mean that the date of leaving was not publicised. It was.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          May had no choice but to delay when the applications for judicial review had already gone in before she became Prime Minister, in fact on the Monday after the vote on the Thursday. To have just gone ahead and put in the notice would have been contempt of court.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Very clear 24/06/18, Treaty of Lisbon two years notice, but the fudge started 24/06/16.

        • jerry
          Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          @A.Sedgwick; Try actually reading Art50 of the Lisbon Treaty before quoting it! It is two years minimum – but the period can be extended upon application by the leaving country if the other (EU27) member states unanimously agree to an extension.

          • cornishstu
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

            I think Jerry it is you that needs to read it . Article 50.3 The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

          • jerry
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

            @cornishstu; I have read it thanks…and understood it, which is more than you have!

          • NickC
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, You are wrong. The two years is a maximum; unless both parties agree otherwise. We could leave tomorrow under Art 50 provided we had a withdrawal agreement – that is, in less than two years. Try actually reading Art 50.

          • jerry
            Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; As I’ve said, you and others might well have read A50 but you sure as hell have not understood it. If eurocrats say (as they did) that it will take two years to reach an exit agreement then the minimum is two years -unless we simply walkway without a Brexit agreement. Try actually understanding Art 50…

      • libertarian
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink


        You are totally wrong

        We voted to leave, there is only ONE way to leave, invoke Article 50. That has now been done. To remind you Article 50 once invoked gives a fixed term of leaving within 2 years so we do also know when.

        Once we’ve left as per the mandate of the UK voters we can then and only then begin to look at future deals ( if we want any) then.

        • jerry
          Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          @Libby; As I said to A.Sedgwick above….

  3. Bert Young
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Theresa may prefer a short period of transition but the way I read things at the moment it looks as if we will continue within the grips of the EU for quite some time . I fully support the statement and attitude of Jacob Rees Mogg today . He wants us properly out as from March 2019 ; if we continue under the control of the ECJ it makes a mockery of our rights as voters .

    Merkel and Macron have also spelt out their determination in the next round of negotiations ; they have both indicated a toughening up approach instead of indicating a willingness to reach a mutual agreement . Both Germany and France have much to lose if they push us into a tight corner . Nigel Lawson may well turn out to have given the best advice .

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      “France and Germany have much to lose” What? More than the UK?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Dear Rien–It is not a race!–Small confort to especially Germans losing money to know that we are losing more (even assuming that is true which I do not accept but that is not here my point). It cannot be said often enough that the rEU, net, export to the UK so they stand to lose cash from us. And please don’t start on percentages which are about as relevant as logarithms on this.

      • NickC
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Rien, Germany has much more to lose in trade terms. According to Statistisches Bundesamt for 2015 Germany exported about c£79bn to the UK whilst the UK exported c£34bn to Germany, at current exchange rates.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I’ve been saying for more than a year now that I have no problem with appropriate transitional provisions being built into our withdrawal agreement(s).

      For example, this is from December 13th 2016:


      “Off-topic, I’m rather bemused by the fierce objections to a transitional deal when we leave the EU. After nearly 44 years of entanglement with the EEC/EC/EU project I’m perfectly prepared for it to take quite a long time to completely disentangle ourselves with causing any major disruption on the way.

      However my condition is that the transitional deal must be in the form of transitional provisions written into a withdrawal treaty which takes us out of the EU when it comes into force, but with some of the present legal and practical arrangements wound down gradually afterwards according to a pre-determined schedule, not in the form of treaty arrangements which would take us out of the EU but at the same time effectively keep us halfway in through the EEA or similar, potentially in perpetuity.”

      Well, what a fool I’ve been, I should have known that if you give the euromaniacs an inch then they will try to take a yard, it’s what they always do, and now we have all this oxymoronic nonsense about a “standstill” or “status quo” transition.

    • Hope
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      It is not transition it is an extension. Now there is a flexible leave date! Two years after the referendum was the leave date.

  4. Gareth
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    “Many Leave voters feel they have waited too long already.”

    Well, many Remain voters feel it’s not long enough. And we have a say too. It’s not just about Leavers.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 16, 2017 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Dear Gareth–Rubbish–Sorry but you lost

    • gregory martin
      Posted December 16, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      “Well, many Remain voters feel it’s not long enough. And we have a say too. It’s not just about Leavers.”

      You are mixing your tenses, you have had your say, you did not persuede the voting majority, thats all PAST.
      You need to be progressive, move forward, accept the fact, and depending on your personal circumstances, get a(nother) position

    • Chairman Miaow
      Posted December 16, 2017 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      No, Remain activists in the political arena feel it’s not long enough. There are no Remainers in the general populace moaning. In this country, we accept the vote result. Only people with weird politics do not.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Gareth, what don’t you understand about a democratic vote? If at the next general election the party you voted for is successfully voted in by the majority would you be happy for them to be thrown out by others who voted differently? No, I thought not.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:04 am | Permalink


      For the avoidance of doubt:

      In a legal referendum on 23 June 2016, 17.2 Million of the UK electorate voted to leave the EU. This was a UK majority vote to leave!

      It is no longer about Leavers or Remainers that is irreverent. A decision was made and all that is required is for the elected Government to execute the democratic will of the people….period!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:27 am | Permalink

      The remainers have far, far too much say given that they lost decisively. On BBC discussion programmes it is typically about 4 out of 5 who are remainers plus the chair is always on their side too. MPs, the Lords, the civil service, academia and the appallingly biased BBC are hugely pro-remain.

      It seems very clear to me that we will get only Brexit in name only under May. Brexitino is the best we will get from the Tories.

      • Andy
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        The reason why ‘BBC programmes are full of remainers’ is because there are very few Leavers in Parlimanrs, business or academia – and many of those who there are are clearly unhinged.

        Very few Leavers speak publicly now because, when they do, they usually just embarrass themselves. Neither Fox, nor Davis, nor Johnson can open their mouths with saying something dishonest or inaccurate. Sensible people notice this stuff and disassociate themselves from it.

        • NickC
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Andy said: “Leavers . . . . many . . . . are clearly unhinged.” Typical Remain, all ad hominems and no rational argument.

          You just don’t appear capable of telling us why the British should be ruled by an unelected oligarchy in Brussels rather than our own democratically elected national Parliament in London.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      We had a vote. You lost. Move on.

    • Duncan
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Democracy’s a real nuisance isn’t it.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      You lost the vote.

    • stred
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      The government promised to implement the result of the referendum. You lost, against all the odds, the government machine and lies of project fear. Leavers are being taken for a ride. If we are kept in the EU in all but name there will be a collapse in trust in parliament and the issue will be fought out elsewhere. Do you want to start a civil war?

    • Tabulazero
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      When it comes to John Redwood it is actually all about the Leavers. Leaving is the man’s passion.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Just as remaining is yours.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink


        Well then go away, dont read this blog, start your own blog where you can cry to your hearts content about what an awful country the UK is, with no jobs, no economy blah blah… Or if the EU is so brilliant why would you not take up residence there while you still can?

    • zorro
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      You would wait forever!


    • agricola
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      No Gareth, it is about the future of the United Kingdom not factional interests.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink


      At this point in the proceedings, those that wished to remain and those that wish to leave the EU should both be looking for the best deal for the UK leaving the EU.

      This doesn’t seem to be the case, too many of those that voted remain seem to want to change the result of the referendum. The only outcome of this is a weak and poor deal for the UK, is this what you want?

      We are leaving and everybody needs to get behind this.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      It was 40 years since the last referendum and u we won despite the overwhelming odds against us because the deep state was vehemently opposed to us leaving.
      Without project fear it would probably have been 60/40 for leaving.
      We still have an establishment 5th column trying to nullify the vote.

      • old salt
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Ian – Project Fear is still alive and well. BBC QT last -Unelected Scientist Lord Winston suggesting cancer treatment at risk as material required might not be available from the E.U.
        Lord Adonis saying “First step towards defeat of Brexit”.
        Mr Lamberts (of the EU) is being sent as one of several outriders to tell the daunting truth: the EU will keep Britain in transition for as long as possible.
        Heard on TV this morning poll quoted – Remain 51% Leave 41%.
        The establishment would seem to be winning.
        When democracy fails…………

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Parliament voted overwhelmingly to submit A50 which set the leaving date, they also support the 2 year transition with minor changes to that date being possible but unlikely. As the referendum was only advisory the views of Remain voters on the dates are irrelevant and need not be taken into account – Parliament has decided on your behalf. That’s how it works isn’t it ?

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      @ Gareth

      In a democracy we are all invited to go into a little box and with no pressure make a mark.

      Sometimes you are on the winning side and sometimes you ain’t. I have been on the losing side a number of times. It is a fact of life that some you win and some you lose so stop grizzling and grow up and get over it you lost.

      Your side for all the venom and hatred direct at us leavers not one of you have come up with some gold carat reason to stay, especially in the light of the plans that are beginning to raise their ugly head as the EU demand and desire more control of everybody.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Well this is the thing Gareth. For the past 25+ years it’s been all about people who benefit financially from EU membership. The government has conceded all sorts to the EU in order that middle class supporters of the multinationals will benefit, and as a result communities up and down the country have been neglected, dispossessed, and in some places (mainly coastal and rural areas) totally ignored and fobbed off with a few quid to keep them quiet. But people don’t want to just sit at home and do nothing apart from a couple of shifts at B&Q, and they don’t want their children to be in massive classes or wait weeks for hospital appointments.

      That’s why a 20 year democratic campaign to finally achieve a referendum result took place. That’s why this petition has been signed over 15000 times in the past 24 hours:


      So, actually, now it is all about Leavers. It’s the government’s fault that they are now in this position; if they hadn’t meekly signed Maastricht and Lisbon but had maybe consulted the electorate first and consequently used their influence in the EU bodies we might be remaining. But they took their eye off the ball and now that ball has hit them harder than a Josh Hazlewood bouncer.

    • Ralph Hulbert
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Sorry Gareth, we voted to leave. If you vote for the losing side in any election, you do not get to decide on policy thereafter.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Unless you are Theresa May, Philip Hammond or one of the many similar types that is!

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Gareth ,

      Remainers must learn to respect the wishes of the majority as expressed in the referendum .

      Support of democracy means accepting the result both when it delivers a result you agree with and also when it does not .

      If you are so keen on remaining in the EU then at least you have a choice – move to the European mainland . You may be happier there .

      If Remain had won , patriotic Britains would have had no choice .

      It’s time for you to chose your country .

      As the croupiers in the casino say , Fait votre choix .

      • hefner
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, “Faites vos jeux, rien ne va plus” (play your bets, nothing more).

        Otherwise, an interesting comment: Remainers have the choice to move out to stay in the EU, Leavers have to stay put to move out of it. Not surprising that some people might be confused.

    • Oggy
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      You get the runners up medal.

    • Cartimandua
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Remainers keep quoting 17 million voters voting out. What they never mention is that more people voted leave than have ever voted for anything in the UK.

    • lojolondon
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Gareth, I voted Conservative in 1997, 2001 and 2005. In 2005 the Conservatives had a majority in England. I really don’t remember anyone saying that our thoughts and feelings matter, or taking any opposition policies into account. Worth noting that only about 12% of the most elite are still trying to reverse Brexit. Unfortunately that 12% is the Elite, so includes most of the House of Parliament and the Media.

      • Gareth
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Well, a lot of replies – but each and every one fails to address the point I actually made. Yes, the U.K. voted Leave, so that was what we will do. That’s settled. But the referendum ONLY asked whether we Leave or Remain- nothing else. So the mechanism of leaving, when we do so, transition arrangements and future relationships with EU states are all to be decided. And in those, we will all have our say – Remainers included. This is not a case of Leavers saying “we won so we determine everything” – the answer to that, is no you do not.

  5. RupertP
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Once the UK has signed the withdrawal deal and agreed to pay the EU the money and stay in the single market and customs union for transition, where is the incentive for the EU to agree anything with the UK on trade? The EU is already saying that there will only be the outline of trade arrangements by the time we leave and no trade deal for some years. The EU can always frustrate any potential trade deal by saying any proposed UK arrangements for Northern Ireland are not acceptable.

    Presumably if we have failed to agree a trade agreement by the end of the initial transition period (as seems almost certain), transition will be extended (for more payments, all as if we were a member, but without voting rights / representation). If the EU can keep this up for long enough, the situation will eventually change (e.g. a change of UK government) and the final destination for the UK might well change to something more acceptable to the EU.

    I could easily see the EU thinking that it is good for them to keep the UK in “transition” until the UK comes up with the “right” answer on what our eventual destination is. This is Extend and Pretend – Extend transition and pretend that the UK has left the EU…

  6. We Will!!!
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Very few MPs supporting an extension past 29th March 2019 will be involved in politics for much longer. Political Life does not depend on majorities. No it doesn’t!.Northern Ireland politics proved this. It depends on the strength of feeling of significant minorities. Remainers in the population are wish-washy, oh must post this letter before I go to the toilet and then do the washing up..,Oh yes I’m voting Remain if that’s what you call it, well things aren’t too bad, are they? My daughter’s just got a job as a barmaid, how good is that????”
    Leavers by contrast have much greater commitment, as professional Remoaners have pointed out. Much more commitment!!”! We WILL get our Country back! We have been brainwashed from birth to love our country and we will not take extension for an answer.

  7. Andy
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    A poll today shows a decisive majority now back remaining in the EU.

    As more Leave lies are exposed this number will only increase.

    Brexit is dying. It is just a matter of time until we kill it.

    I hope we let it happen and let it fail first. So we can kill off the Tories at the same time.

    • Chris
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Read the small print of the poll and you will see apparently that 9 out of 10 of the original Leavers have not changed their mind. The poll however does reflect the views of those who did not vote in 2016. NB also the size of the poll and other parameters.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      That’s just not true, is it?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Just likes the polls before the actual referendum, but the vote was for out.
      Many lies were told, well-meaning perhaps if you want to be kind.
      I am at a loss to understand why the EU should have such appeal. Surely, the contemptuous performance of Brussels officials we have seen over the last year would put anyone off joining. You would have thought they actually hated the British, wishing to inflict on us the utmost harm.
      I think there are benefits to belonging to the EU, I just wish it was a better EU worthy of joining.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      The last real poll was a recent general election in which the only Remain party got a stuffng and its leader unseated.

    • longinus
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      The poll was of 1500 people, inconsistent with other polls and hardly trumps the Referendum result. I had a poll of 1 and 100% for leaving.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink


      I think you are howling at the moon on that one. It appears to me that Mrs May is still living in cloud-cuckoo land expecting to negotiate a ‘deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement’ by end October 2018 especially as phase 2 talks are not expected to start until March 2008. If May agrees to any deal within the final version of the EU’s guidelines http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/32236/15-euco-art50-guidelines-en.pdf then it will be voted down in the UK Parliament and we will be leaving with no deal.

    • old salt
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Andy – Yes is it any wonder with the ongoing project fear with the likes of the unelected Lord Winston on BBC QT suggesting cancer treatment at risk or might not be available as material required might not be available from the E.U.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


      More nonsense….fake news that no one is buying!

      BMG Research paymasters…just look at its client base….you could not get a more Pro Remain bunch if you tried? I have no more faith in their Polls than listening to Hammond’s delusive twaddle!

      No doubt this Poll was commissioned for a particular Remain narrative? Teacher’s comment: Remainers must try harder!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      OK. Let say we remained in the EU. What do you think it will look like in 10 years time ?

      Mr.Redwood MP sir, may please ask that you do an article on what life would be like, taking in the Five Presidents’ Report, the EU Army, and statements made by Herr Shultz and Guy Wierdostat (sp) MEP concerning more integration ? It would be nice to here people like Andy on this subject.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Mark B

        This is the problem. Remainers don’t do research, they simply dribble out the typical worn out phases that no longer have tangle substance…..have you met one individual that can eruditely elucidate the EU benefits and why the UK should remain in the EU?

        I have asked Remainers on this blog many times to present their case for remaining in the EU…..I have yet to receive a reply from any of them!

        In my opinion Remainers no longer have credibility….until they can verify the key EU membership benefits, which they believe are so marvelous?

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Yeah , you’ll be killing a lot more besides now you’ve got your EU army which Clegg and the remainers said would not happen .

      How about stating some examples of what you believe to be remainer lies ?

      The side of the bus did NOT state that £350m/wk more would be spent on the NHS . It intimated that we pay a GROSS £350m/wk to the EU and that this money could be used better on items we chose . Of course it would have been less misleading to state the figure net of the rebate which Maggie won for us .

      One can only hope that remainers are more vigilant when it comes to reading the small print on the forms they sign .

    • libertarian
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink


      One biased poll in a remain newspaper is not a democratic mandate

      Remind me about the Remain lies 3 million job losses , City moving to Frankfurt, No EU Army, No Federal State of Europe.

      Oh my little snowflakes, what would you do if your generation of 20 somethings managed to overturn the vote only to find they had been conscripted to 2 years in the EU army….lol

    • Woody
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      A majority in a poll in a city that predominately voted to remain continue to want to remain ! Interesting however that some research indicates that the very same polling organisation produced much the same result in favour of remaining pre the referendum …out of a sample of 1500. Desperate remainer again.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha – you first tell us that an official referendum is “only advisory” but now you cite some mere opinion poll in support of your argument ?

      • Andy
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        The referendum WAS only advisory. It said so on the bill.

        More to the point the referendum was not a vote for something. It was a vote against something. There has to be a ‘what next’ and, frankly Brexiteers can not even agree with each other what this ‘what next’ should be.

        Liam Fox and Chris Grayling may want an open globally Britian but Doris in Burnley voted Leave because she wants all the immigrants gone. There are many Dorises. Half of you will be disappointed.

        Personally, I am delighted with Brexit. It is going even worse than I expected. The Tory right have descended from mere unpleasantness into completely comic ineptitude. It is clear that Brexit is not only a very short lived thing but also that the Tory party will die in the process. Future generations look at the Conservatives and see a party they will NEVER vote for. Thanks to Brexit that is the Tories electoral future – and they’ve not figured it out yet.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          People voted remain for many different reasons too.
          In favour of a United States of Europe?
          EU Armed forces?
          UK using the Euro?
          Further nations joining like Turkey and other former USSR satellite nations also with free movement?
          Bet your vision for the future is very different to many others.
          Labour have no real agreement on what they want.

        • NickC
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Andy, The 2015 EU Referendum Act states: “1. (1) A referendum is to be held on whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union.”

          That is: “whether the UK should“, it is not a request for “advice”. You will get nowhere by attempting to claim that the government could ignore the Referendum result. The government is already on dodgy ground by following Remain advice as it is.

          As for your supposed clairvoyance: you are a Remain, you have no knowledge as to what “Doris in Burnley’s” reasons were. Not least because you insist on telling us what we Leaves think, rather than asking us.

          As a young man I was duped by the “In” lies in the 1975 referendum, and had no intention of succumbing to the Remain lies 41 years later. Especially as the Remain lies became more obvious, extreme and foolish as the Referendum campaign progressed. I think you will find that many young people today will realise how nasty the EU really is, given time.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Try reading the actual results of the YouGov polling conducted December 10-11 2017, according to which only 15% believe that Brexit should be abandoned and that we should remain a member of the EU.

      You are in a small minority, so rant on but nobody cares. This is not a party political issue except for troublemaking opportunists; it is a national issue of whether you want to live in the United Kingdom or the United States of Europe.

    • Linda Jones
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Very well, Andy, you have nailed your colours to the mast. Now tell us why, exactly, we should be so much better advised to remain shackled to this organisation (and I use the word loosely) than to be a free and sovereign country. Why should we abase ourselves further, when it has been shown very clearly that we are somewhat despised by your EU masters? Remainers are quick to tell us we are mad to want to be free, but they don’t tell us why our country would be improved if we did a u-turn. Unless the EU’s threats have had some effect on their thinking.

      • NickC
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Linda, Good questions, but you won’t get a sensible answer. Andy and his type seem unable to put forward a rational case for being shackled to a foreign oligarchy. Hardly surprising really.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 18, 2017 at 2:08 am | Permalink

      “I hope we let it happen and let it fail first. So we can kill off the Tories at the same time.”

      Yes, the Labour Party are now cynically putting Party before country by opposing Brexit in the hope getting into power, even though they said they were backing Brexit during the last GE.

      There is no reason for Labour to be opposing Brexit because the country and not the Tory Party voted to leave the EU.

      • NickC
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Original Richard, J Corbyn Esq (Trots-R-Us) has flipped to keep his job as leader and now he is a Remain. It will be up to Labour Leave voters to do something about it.

  8. miami.mode
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I, too, am pleased that the departure date is being put into the Withdrawal Bill because this will at least clearly show which MPs are opposed to it.

  9. Iain Moore
    Posted December 16, 2017 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    It seems May’s offer for a transition arrangement is being used by the EU to place another hurdle in the way of Brexit and create another delay. I do not see how a transition deal can be negotiated when we don’t know to what we are transitioning to. The EU likes its transport analogies, which makes this like setting out on a car journey without deciding where you are going. May should tell them in light of them making it such a troublesome thing to agree, and as getting on with negotiating a trade deal is more important , we won’t bother with a transition deal, as such we will go straight to a trade deal negotiation which we will implement on March 2019, but of course being made to be such a subservient party (a position so readily accepted by our Government) to these negotiations, she of course won’t.

  10. Man of Kent
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    We Leavers have lost as soon as the legal agreement of last week’s climb down is finalised .

    In fact morally we have already lost .

    We are not allowed to continue with trade talks until this is all signed up .

    We proposed pushing N.Ireland into the Customs Union and Single Market under the heading of regulatory alignment ,without clearing it first with the DUP .
    Thanks to Arlene Foster this was rejected but has now been extended to the whole of the UK.

    We are destined to remain under the regulatory control of the EU for ever and a day.
    Plus we have agreed to pay to leave and it seems accepted ECJ jurisdiction during transition . We do not have the room to negotiate trade deals with any but the smallest countries , certainly not the USA.
    We are truly to become a vassal state thanks to TM and PH who know exactly what is going on .Shame on them .

    The time for the real confrontation with the PM has now passed .
    The die is cast we will never be clear of the EU … unless our host can show us a way …..I met our MP last evening ‘they’ said trust TM she will get us out .
    But I felt that I know more than ‘they’ do about what is going on .

    The deal is so bad that we should pull out now but we can all dream on .

    This was all cleared by cabinet.

    No wonder the BBC were leaping with joy and congratulations and the disgraceful ‘rebels ‘ felt emboldened to delay and extort further concessions. Rounds of applause led by Frau Merkel and compliments by Junker show they have already won .

  11. James neill
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    “Leave voters knew exactly what they were voting for and expect no less” – so say’s our host – but looking at the confusion throughout the country at every level, even today, this hardly stacks up.. the truth is that the majority of people throughout the land havn’t a clue, no more than the Tory led government that is still scratching around. Brexit was not planned for, it was not thought through at any level by our political or business leaders, it was a referendum run largely on a whim, a Cameron whim, with awful consequences and JR says we knew exactly what we were voting for- the mind boggles that we can still have politicians who think they can fob us off with this old guff.

    • longinus
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      I’ll get you a tissue.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      I have to say I didn’t know when voting leave and winning I didn’t realise I’d need to cave in to the losing side for many years because I’d otherwise be accused of letting snowflakes melt. I rather think that in the reverse case of a Remain win, no quarter would have been given to any aspects whatsoever of Leave arguments until they were proven correct in time.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      James neill

      Come on James, you cannot blame Remainers for everything…though it is hard not to at times, I grant you!

      We should remember, Remainers are in control of this ramshackle negotiation debacle, not Leavers?

      If one places Remainers on the negotiation table, then expect negative, clownish consequences. I do not believe we would be in such a mess had Brexiteers executed the negotiations!

      Place John Redwood on this table and then we will see more favourable results?

      • hefner
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        It might have helped if Andrea Leadsom had not been chosen to carry the torch for the Leavers. Shame on JR and the others …

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          hefner….your comment makes no sense…again!

          • hefner
            Posted December 19, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for your deep thoughts.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink


            You don’t deserve any!

      • Linda Jones
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        Dennis Zoff – what a great post. You are absolutely correct, and this is exactly the right way to look at it. The committed ”leave” politicians certainly do seem to be more robust and honourable people. The remain politicians appear to be somewhat unruly and turbulent and not the sort of people you’d want at your back in any sticky situation.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Quite right Linda,

          Remainers are of the Neville Chamberlain variety!….

          ….Brexiteers are of the Winston Churchill variety!

    • libertarian
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      James neill

      I’m afraid that just because YOU lack awareness and because YOU dont like the result it doesn’t actually mean any of US that did want it are confused.

      We voted to LEAVE, simple is that, doesn’t need anything else. Just leave, become a so called 3rd Country just like oh I dunno, the USA, China, Australia, Russia, India etc etc . You EU types need to broaden your horizons

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Let me guess. You voted Remain ? I inferred that because you are so sure you know what leave voters did and didn’t vote for.

  12. Peter D Gardner
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    In the Spectator 16 Dec 2017- James Forsyth ponders how the cabinet will decide on the its intended future relationship with the EU. It is not encouraging. Of three categories of outcome, two are about organising a better EU using UK as an example and guinea pig. They are not about Leaving the EU but reforming it. The third category, where the UK wants to do things completely differently, is where the Brexiteers put everything to do with a sovereign independent UK, for the entire bucket to be vetoed by the Remain dominated Cabinet led by Hammond who will kill it most effectively and without argument by the simple expedient of not providing any money.
    What all three buckets have in common is that they view UK through European eyes. The Cabinet is still conducting its deliberations as if Uk will remain a member of the EU one way or another. There is simply no concept of a sovereign independent self-governing state in the higher levels of government.

  13. VotedOut
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    There is no reason for any of this discussion, debate or payments.

    The European Union Referendum Act of 2015 passed sovereignty from Parliament to the people on the issue of leaving the EU.

    Now, Parliament is stopping Brexit. Everyone can see this – the public is not thick, even if MP’s think we are.

    This will result in huge damage to the British political system. It is clear few MP’s realize this or could give a dam if they did!

    • libertarian
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Voted Out

      EXACTLY, you are 100% correct. The sight of Nicky Morgan smirking on BBCQT until she realised they were talking about her too shows how detached our political class has become from reality

      • VotedOut
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        Nicky Morgan voted for the European Union Referendum Act of 2015.


  14. mancunius
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    And you all had your say, Gareth, for months, years before 23 June 2016 – in a virtual monopoly of propaganda noisily promoted by government, the BBC, and academia. And you lost. It was a clear binary question. We voted to leave: and it always was – and still is – very clear what leaving means: no ECJ, no ‘four freedoms’, no single market, no customs union, no ECT, no restrictions on third-party trade agreements, no annual Danegeld payments – complete independence, and the entire reversal of the 1972 joining process. Where is the room there for the losers who wanted the very opposite outcome to ‘have a say?’ Any compromise proposed would mean not leaving in any real sense.

    At some point the pretence must cease that we voted to Leave the EU with the Augustinian rider of ‘but not just yet’, or ‘not completely’, or ‘oh but we don’t really want to.’ A majority of the voters – many of whom had been waiting for the opportunity since Maastricht – rose up in an angry tide and told the politicians exactly what to do: Leave the EU. It was a ‘once-in-a-lifetime decision’, and we have made it. Any further shilly-shallying would be an insult to our democracy.

  15. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    There should be no transition period. Free trade in goods could be implemented by 29 March 2019 unless continental nations prevent it for reasons of spite – there can be no other reason. That’s what the UK should propose.

    Free trade in services can wait. It doesn’t really exist in the EU at the moment. Major service contracts must be openly advertised in the European Journal but an advertisement can state, for example, “Italian language only” and competition goes out of the window. A British engineering firm wanting to do business for Italian Railways will encounter obstacles of this type, even if goes into partnership with an Italian firm in its bid. Consultancy work directly for the EC favours the communitaire principal: bids from consortia from more than one Member State are favoured even when this results in unnecessary financial overhead. Also, if you work for the EC, allowable travel expenses include air travel and first class rail travel but not car travel.

    We should now express our willingness to conclude free trade deals in goods with individual EU Member States. Recognising the legitimacy of the European Commission as the EU’s sole negotiating authority is not in our interest. If you can’t beat it, destroy it. Several Member States will want to break ranks and negotiate directly with UK.

    It should go without saying that it’s full steam ahead on recovering our sovereignty, leaving the CAP and common fisheries, controlling immigration and implementing trade deals with non-EU countries.

  16. Dennis Zoff
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:43 am | Permalink


    As a first step, perhaps you could enlighten us all, as to exactly why and for what we are paying a £40 Billion down payment? Are there any legal obligations/justifications for this absurdity! There appears to be no clarity on this fundamental legal payment issue?

    Perhaps someone on this blog would like to have a guess as to why we are paying?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Exactly we are paying for nothing. The government is just giving your money away to your business competitors.

    • Linda Jones
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      This amount seems to be a ”bribe” and it is always mentioned in connection with trade. Surely that is illegal in the interests of trade? Like you, Dennis, I really would like someone to explain exactly why this seemingly ex gratia payment should be made.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink


        You are correct. This is a bribe, and is exactly the point, nothing more, nothing less!

        We have all clearly established, due to their very visible past actions, how the EU will ebb and flow on points of legalese to suit their particular objective.

        Our kind host can see through this opaque subterfuge, as can the vast majority of Leavers. Only Remainers (within the UK Government) appear to have difficulty understanding this ludicrous duplicity, or worse, it suits their personal agenda to ignore the EU’s rapacity ?

  17. GilesB
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    According to Art. 50, these negotiations are meant to take into account the framework for our future relationship. So that should have been agreed first.

    As the Irish border discussion has shewn, agreement cannot be reached if the sequence is wrong.

    Similarly an agreement over an implementation/transition period can only be reached after there is agreement on what we are implementing. Without an agreement on the future relationship any so-called ‘implementation period’ is more honestly and simply a deferral of the 29 March 2019 exit date

  18. Simon Taylor
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I do not understand this post, Mr Redwood. Mrs May and Mr Davis have made clear we are paying over the cash, and to secure no border in Ireland we have agreed to carry on applying the rules of the single market and customs union. Even though we have no say in the making of those rules. Why are you pretending this is not the case, Mr Redwood? It appears you too have the joined the camp of Leavers-in-name-only.

    • Chris
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Simon. I believe the EU is quite clear in their mind that we have accepted those things, and that they will be put into law, regardless of what happens later on. Mr Redwood does not agree with this interpretation as suggested by a response to one of my earlier questions. However, it is the EU doing the negotiating and not Mr Redwood (sadly).

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    In the papers today there is another idiotic proposal to virtually force even 18 – 22 year old’s to save for their pensions. Many of whom will doubtless be struggling financially and borrowing (at perhaps 20% + interest rates) yet the government is going to effectively force them (and their employers) to save in a pension returning perhaps 3% or indeed less. Also limiting their pay, and killing many jobs in the process. Once again damaging UK productivity and many employers ability to invest for the future.

    Under the current Tories we are ruled by socialist, interventionist, halfwits with even worse Marxist idiots waiting in the wings.

    May was (is?) a remainer who dishonestly assured the nation that we “had control of out borders through Schengen” in order to try to trick them into a remain vote. She even seems to believe there is a gender pay gap that is not entirely explained by the choices the different genders make, despite all the abundant evidence to the contrary.

    She bizarrely still thinks that ever more government, ever more taxation, more expensive energy and ever more regulations are the way for the UK to go. Surely we have suffered more that enough of this lunacy?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      With people like Hammond in No 11, with his hugely diminished pension pot limits (and other rip off rules) you might well find your pension pot is taxed 55% by the state anyway – probably worse still if “the lets be Venezuela” Marxists gets in.

  20. Duncan
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    This is all very interesting but people have lost faith in you and indeed in my own party. You have been exposed

    I believe that what we are seeing is a grand deceit being played out, like a Wagnerian opera, with the express aim to create a perception that we are leaving the EU when in fact the aim is entirely the opposite

    Moreover, I resent this PM. She’s a faux conservative, unprincipled and not too be trusted. Indeed anyone offering her support is no better

    What we saw in the Commons last week was an orchestrated rebellion. It wasn’t real. It wasn’t natural. It was planned.

    17.5 million people are being lied to and deceived.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      We were lied to by Heath from about 1972 onward, and for all the 45 years years since by the establishment. Theresa May even lied to us in the recent referendum that we “had control of our border while in the EU through Schengen”.

      Even she is not daft enough to have believed that is she?

      Today she declares (in the Telegraph) that she has silenced the doubters by securing 
 Britain a deal in the first stage of Brexit negotiations.
      Hardly a deal though, merely an agreement to discuss it further perhaps. Looks rather worse than no deal to me.

      A colony of the EU for years to come as Jacob Rees-Mogg rightly suggests.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I have little confidence in the government taking us out of the EU. We have a Parliament with the lowest calibre of MP I can remember. Most of them want to reverse the result of the referendum, whilst lying to the public that they accept it. I am sick of the duplicity and mendacity. They are in the process of destroying democracy in this country. Not really surprising, as democracy is anathema to their beloved EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Indeed at the time of the referendum it was 479 MPs who were remainers and only 158 for leave. In the Tory party it was 185 to 138.

      The remainers are still running the show. So how can MP’s be so out of touch with their voters (who are on this issue so clearly right). Is it just vested interests and corruption perhaps or some other explanation?

  22. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    On the surface one would think that the EU may be prepared to grant the UK another two years of membership privileges. That looks generous (from their perspective of course) and useful for UK business. Should not be rejected out of hand for non-economic reasons.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Dear Rien–And what after that?–A third (so-called) transition period??–What exactly is getting transitioned??? Best I can see the only thing changing is Time since the Referendum–After say five transition periods, and a decade has passed, it is easy enough to see the play along lines of, “That was then, this is now”. This always was obvious and it is a disgrace that the Government, in particular Hammond with his “Give up the pass before we even get there”, mentality, are being allowed to let this happen.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        EU would be happy to have a good (from their pov) trade agreement. Not with everything membership brings but then one would also have to accept the other “freedoms”. It is likely that UK’s quasi EU membership cannot last too long, because the whole purpose of the Single Market etc is to facilitate business as much as if everyone was in a one large country.

        But rational expectations would indeed holds that this must come to an end. What end? And that is the real problem about this poorly designed British Exit. No one, neither the UK nor the EU knows wat shoul;d come next. It is up to the UK to choose from an EU menu or leave completely. Postponing that choice rather than saying, we, the UK are very sorry we created this disturbance, can we be members agin and we promise etc. No one would believe that and that would defeat the purpose of staying in by stealth.

        I’ve thought about all possibilities but the EU and UK are simply not compatible enough for a permanent relationship other than strictly at arms’ length. That is far removed from membership.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Nein danke

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Rien Huizer

      You are joking , yes?

      John Redwood has pointed out time and time again that there are no membership privileges or benefits, just costs and ludicrous legal (anti-competitive) entanglements?

      Please list the tangible EU Benefits (I have politely asked you several times previously to list them, but your PC somehow seems to go into lock-down mode immediately after the request?)….just two will suffice?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        I think mr Redwood knows very well that there are benefits and they are well known. I do not know of any respectable economist who would say that there are no benefits. Redwood and co. believe that different trade partners, currently constrained by UK’s EU membership will offer even greater benefits and about that I disagree until I’ve seen reasonable proof.

        Of course there are no free lunches so these benefits (the fruits of cooperation in a much larger market offering economies of scale unattainable elsewhere) are associated with obligations. You may not like the obligations and fail to see the benefits. This is subjective. Redwood & Co and Momentum agree that the UK should not be in the EU but envisage completely different scenarios for the future. Some “EU benefits” from Momentum perspective are costs to the other side and vice versa. I thought that most people who follow the news with a bit of general politics/economics knowledge would have reached that point of insight.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted December 18, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          Rien Huizer

          “I think Mr Redwood knows very well that there are benefits and they are well known”

          For the avoidance of doubt: Your comment is a complete waste of reading?

          If the EU benefits are well known and simple to elucidate here: I will politically ask again, what are the tangible benefits of remaining in the EU?

          ..and as to your paragraph:

          “I thought that most people who follow the news with a bit of general politics/economics knowledge would have reached that point of insight.”

          By what assertion do you think I do not have “general politics/economics knowledge” equal to yours?….your credentials are what exactly?

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Here’s something for this year’s Christmas crackers, a topical update on the traditional “When is a door not a door?”:

    Question: When is a transition not a transition?

    I’ll try to answer both questions later, but anybody who would like a sneak preview for the second can find it towards the end of the comments on yesterday’s thread.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 18, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      The answer to the traditional riddle is “When it’s ajar”, while the answer to the new riddle is “When it’s a transition during which nothing changes”.


      “The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.”

  24. Nig l
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I see Theresa May I saying she has proved her doubters wrong. ‘ Mirror mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?

    Has to be the only explanation.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Dear Nig–It’s this conceit she has that was fundamental to the unbelievableness of the running of the Election–She even thinks she did a good job in the Home Office

      • rose
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        ‘My pitch is very simple, I’m Theresa May and I think I’m the best person to be Prime Minister’ – followed by Mrs Clinton-style nodding.

  25. JoolsB
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    If May had got on with it the day after the vote instead of wasting a whole year, businesses would have had plenty of time to adjust. The transition period is just another excuse for the anti-democratic remainers to keep us tied to the EU for even longer. Full withdrawal with no transition period should be implemented in full by 2019 but unfortunately the spineless politicians negotiating on our behalf, humiliating this country every inch of the way in the process, don’t have the guts.

    As for the departure date being written into the withdrawal bill, aren’t the traitors in your party along with Labour, the Lib Dums and the SNP about to scupper that next week? Yet another tactic to keep us in indefinitely and thwart the will of the people.

  26. Tabulazero
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Or what ?

    Theresa May’s government fall, there is a general election and Corbyn might get in ?

    Lead Brexiters are too afraid of that to let it happen. They will ultimately cave in and bless whatever May manage to extract from Brussels the best thing since the invention of sliced bread.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Surely, that should please you.

    • longinus
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      When Brexiteers see that Corbyn and May are offering the same EU deal then all bets are off.

  27. MKB
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with Gareth. We, the 48 per cent, must not be forgotten. What happened in Parliament this week is called Democracy.

    Us Remainers are not going away. The country is permanently divided and will be so for many, many years.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      You lost.

      You would have forgotten us if we had because those were the rules.

    • sm
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      MKB, isn’t it one of the EU’s saddest legacies that it has bitterly divided our country over decades?

      • rose
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        Foreign rule is well known for that. First it corrupts the ruling class and the judges, then it favours some regions over others, then it exacts tribute, then it imposes settlers, then it conscripts into its army…

    • old salt
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      So are we going to re-run the last general election because someone didn’t like the result. Oh, and the ones before that as well.
      In the past UK voting public and their MP’s accepted the result until powerful external influences had their say.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink


      Dunno where you’ve been for the last 100 years but this country has always been divided politically.

      You clearly have no idea what democracy is either. I think we can safely ignore you

  28. DaveM
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    It would seem that a clause limiting the so-called implementation period is required. Are there any plans for that?

    • Richard
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      At £12Bn per year Net, the 2 year implementation period alone costs £24Bn, whereas the 21 months to a fixed date 31/12/2020 would cost £3Bn less and facilitate FTAs & interim FTAs with RoW. 31/12/2020 seems agreeable to the EU, so surely we can ensure that we are ‘sufficiently ready’ by then?

      To protect the UK both the Leaving Agreement and the UK-EU FTA should be signed & transit all approval stages at the same time. The UK should be prepared to leave at 11pm on 29/3/19 with the Leaving Agreement still unsigned, if the EU continue to delay unreasonably.

  29. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Just a thought. As I write this four comments have been cleared under the posting yet my comment on yesterday’s piece is still awaiting moderation. Now I wonder why.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      When it does I will read it and may make a comment. Do check back, you might even get to read mine;)

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      My comment today is still a waiting moderation too even though it is short, put in early today and is not inflammatory in any way.

  30. zorro
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I am afraid that this is an exercise in sophistry….. The PM has made clear that she will be shadowing the SM/CU/ECJ to the letter so we will not have left but in name only but without any vote in formulation. So we will be taking even more dictation as a vassal state.

    You mention about….’opponents of the government’…. are you talking about P Hammond? He is after all only the Chancellor!


  31. Mark B
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I like many of the people both here and elsewhere do not like the clause; “Regulatory Convergence. ” I like many feel that it is Single Market and Customs Union via the backdoor.

    The government need to be clearer regarding who gets the final say. Currently parliament has won that round but I would like to know what alternatives there are should we not like what has been agreed this far. Allowing EU Citizens to bring their families here is wrong as creates different classes of immigrant. What is to stop China, India and others from demanding, quite rightly, the same.

    It is a poor deal. I voted to leave the EU so that we could, once again, be an independent sovereign nation like all the rest. Instead we are in danger of becoming a vessel state.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink


      • stred
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        The wiki definition of ‘vassal’ state seems to describe Mrs May’s idea of Brexit perfectly. Her controlling civil masters must be pleased.

        capcha thinks a car is a bus

  32. zorro
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Here are the Chancellor’s own words from the other day. How will you spin them John?

    “What they should expect as a result of the agreement we’ve reached this week with the European Union is a transition, or implementation period, which will start at the end of March 2019, during which we will no longer be members of the European Union, we won’t technically or legally be in the customs union, or in the single market.
    “But we’re committed, as a result of the agreement we’ve made this week, to creating an environment which will effectively replicate the current status quo so that businesses can carry on trading with their commercial partners across the European Union, as they do now.
    “Borders will operate as they do now, and financial service businesses will be able to carry on conducting their business across borders as they do now.”



    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Which will become a transition to another status quo.

      Remember, “nothing has changed”. Nothing will. They’re more scared of big business then they are of the people.

  33. alan jutson
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    We were promised no negotiation in public by all concerned, but unfortunately with the current 24 hour media trend this is not happening, as we are getting different stories by different people by the hour.

    Can I make one simple suggestion, all Ministers refuse to be allowed to make running comment on anything to do with the EU and our wishes and negotiations, and only either the Prime Minister or David Davis make statements of progress, because this has now become a farce.
    So many people are making conflicting statements I really do not have a clue what is truth or fiction.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      I hope the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday leads to some sort of positive consensus, and that Hammond can just keep his views and his words to internal meetings only.

      I am absolutely fed up with listening to our Chancellor who seems to have views of his own on rather too many subjects for the Conservative Parties good.

      Quite why Mrs May tolerates his constant off message ramblings is a mystery to me.

      • Chris
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        May tolerates him because she also supports him, or her advisers and cronies round her do.

  34. agricola
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    We already have a tariff free trade and financial services agreement with the EU so the cleanest way would be to transfer it to the jurisdiction of the WTO. If the EU wish to pick at it piecemeal or separate finance from trade then they should get an emphatic NO. Failure to agree something that is of continuing benefit to their nation states and citizens should result in a reversion to WTO tariff trade, from which on current figures UK exporting industry can be compensated to the tune of £5billion for the duty they would pay and the treasury would be a further £7 billion better off. Transition / Implementation periods should only be paid for at membership rates for the short time that is required, ie. six months at £6 billion. Cooperation in other spheres and cost of same should be decided in parallel.

    Noises out of the EU suggest this next negotiation will be harder than the last. I would say , only if the EU wish to lose out. Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) should be our modus operandi.

  35. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “The opponents of the government include numerous opposition  MPs and lobbyists who want to slow down or delay Brexit”

    Well there are opponents IN the government too apparently because Mt Hammond has announced that we are effectively staying fully in the EU for the transition period.

    At the start of the process the EU mentioned all the nuclear waste from EU countries currently held in UK. Their proposal was for UK to keep this waste, assume full responsibility for it in perpetuity, and (implied) with no payments from the EU to cover costs. I assume we caved in on this too ?

  36. adams
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    No one trusts incompetent T May John . Except you ? The fact that negotiations are left to May and Davis are deeply worrying . The talks in March are only about the transition conditions . A transition to what we ask ? Maybe neither in nor out and another million immigrants meanwhile ?
    Your Party and Parliament is not up to the job . nothing new there of course .

    • A different Simon
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      What has T May ever actually done ?

      She was a disaster as home secretary being an enthusiastic supporter of the horrendous EU arrest warrant .

      She was a disaster when she presented the cabinet with a fait a complis manifesto produced by external consultants .

      She’s shown herself to be an authoritarian control freak with no talent for actual implementation ; a talker , not a walker .

      It was obvious the UK needed to start from the position of WTO most favoured nation and let the EU ask for enhancements .

      • rose
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        It would also have been better not to have used Article 50 but to have appointed a cross party Brexit Cabinet, repealed the 1972 Act, notified the EU, and offered them free trade. Anything which needed to be discussed could have been done from a position of independence, on the premiss you suggest.

  37. Kenneth
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    IMHO we should have issued visas and set up the non-physical Irish border by now and should have been ready to leave the eu by today.

    I suspect the civil service has played a big role in delaying things.

    Why are we negotiating?

  38. Shieldsman
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I am sure Ian Dennis has it right.
    The EU want clarity in law of the the ‘fudge’. Playing with words ‘regulatory alignment’ and ‘regulatory divergence’, meaning different things to different people was never going to be acceptable to Brussels.
    49. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.

  39. majorfrustration
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    If we go along with the initiatives only coming from the EU we are going to get screwed. Lets stop chasing after them and walk now. The UK should work towards WTO but if a real trade deal is indicated by the EU we can look at it. At least WTO gives UK Ltd some certainty come 2019. Leaving matters to the EU will just drive us into a corner in 3/2019 – which of course is what the EU wants. Why the politicians cant see this is beyond me – or am I missing something?

    • John O'Leary
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      “At lest WTO gives UK Ltd some certainty come 2019”

      Yup, the certainty of an economic disaster!

  40. John Jones
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I assumed the transition period was the two years after the A50 was submitted.

    • bigneil
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      I’ll bet the transition period won’t even start two years after the leaving date. The EU wants our money and our annihalation as a nation. They, and apparently all Remainers, won’t be happy until this country and it’s people are consigned to history.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Indeed and the A50 should have been served months earlier, the day after the referendum as “Cast Iron, low tax at heart but never in reality” Cameron promised us.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


        New Oxford dictionary entry:

        A Cameron – oxymoron for truth and integrity!

    • Malcolm Knott
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Quite so.

    • Chris
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I did too, J J.

    • Iso
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      You assumed wrong. So ask our host why his claim that the EU needs us more than we need it has proved so utterly false

    • old salt
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I thought it started when D Cameron said he would trigger Article 50 the day after if it was an OUT vote but he ran away.
      Dimbleby on BBC on the day of the result exclaimed “We’re out” so many people thought we were out as of then. Is it any wonder so many people are angry to say the least.
      When democracy fails…………

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Many assumed this and progression dictates that this is the only reasonable assumption, however reason isn’t something which is in abundance. Some say that similarly trade deals cannot be made until we have left. I find it hard to believe that prioritised plans cannot be laid out in general .

    • Linda Jones
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s what most of us thought, John. The word ”transition” was never mentioned, and certainly isn’t included in Article 50.

  41. Bob
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Phil Hammond said that technically the UK would leave the customs union and single market when we leave in March 2019 but a two-year transition period would “replicate the status quo” and trade and immigration rules would stay the same until 2021.

  42. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    There was no implementation/transition period after 01/01/1973.

    • D Gardener
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      And no second referendum either, after we found we were totally mislead into believing we were voting only for a Common Market.

    • old salt
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Or joining fee!

  43. Oggy
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    John you need to speak to Philip Hammond he has different ideas on ECJ jurisdiction during any transition.

  44. Epikouros
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    It would appear to me that when we voted to leave we were doing so to enable the UK to take back our sovereignty and the right of self determination. That leaves only negotiations on the future of trade relations, areas of desired mutual cooperation, reparations(that only the EU perceive should be forthcoming), the position of expats and a formula to satisfy the Irish and Northern Irish on issues like the rules governing the border. Trade and the Irish are the ones that will undoubtedly be the ones that cause the greatest difficulties and will be the ones the EU will use to extract their pound of flesh(reparations) and impose whatever punishment and restrains they have in mind for us.

    Having agreed that nothing is agreed until all is agreed will either mean that we leave only after years of protracted negotiations with a never ending transition period which will really mean continued membership of the EU or we leave without a deal. The latter appears to me to be the only solution making it plain that we will continue to negotiate post Brexit. Although I believe if the EU believes that we are going to leave without a deal they will at least make a deal on everything but trade and the Irish border question. We will have to put up with the inconvenience until they do.

  45. Iain Gill
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    No the issue is not just timing.

    People expect proper control of borders and immigration.

    People expect the views of the majority of Brits to be listened to, and not swamped by the group think of the liberal elite.

    People expect control of our fisheries, our rules, and our finances.

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I note on another blog this morning:

    “But for the EU to insist that we continue to be bound by the entirety of EU law in order that we should be able to continue trading with EU Member States, when the Single Market acquis extends only to about a quarter of the law in force, is neither necessary nor logical.”

    Correct, but the illogicality goes further than that, insofar as only parts of the UK economy are actually involved in the unfettered “trading with EU Member States” which we wish to preserve – even though we run a chronic, massive trade deficit – and the parts which are engaged in exporting goods and services to the rest of the EU amount to maybe 10% of GDP and involve only 6% of businesses, and yet every business and every person in the UK is bound by all of the EU laws which apply to the UK under the treaties.

    How about the UK government promising the EU that after we have left the EU all exports from the UK to the EU will continue to satisfy all EU requirements, enforced by the same kind of UK laws as now but only covering the 25% relevant to the EU Single Market and only applying to the 6% of businesses which want to export to the EU?

    By my reckoning, that would potentially provide the UK as a whole with more than 97% freedom from EU law, with the less than 3% residue only impeding those who want to export to the EU and who must therefore meet the EU’s requirements.

    • Richard
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      Mutual recognition & Mutual Recognition Agreements are inherent to WTO rules:

      “…WTO practice, stretching back to its rules on domestic laws and regulation as encapsulated in Article III of the GATT and Article VI of the GATS, and as expressed in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreements.

      This is the critical issue. The direction of travel of international trade thinking is towards countries recognising each other’s regulatory systems if they achieve the same ultimate goal of regulation, even if the underlying regulation differs, and to regulate in ways that are least distortive to international trade and competition. There will be areas where this level of recognition will not be possible, in which case UK exports into the EU will of course have to satisfy the standards of the EU. But even here we can mitigate the trade costs to some extent by Mutual Recognition Agreements on conformity assessment and market surveillance.”

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 18, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Well, I think you should enlarge on this, not necessarily on this thread, because your argument is not clear. The point on the other blog is that something like three quarters of EU laws are deemed not to have EEA relevance and so do not apply to the non-EU members of the EEA. My point is that about nine tenths of the UK economy is not involved in exporting anything to the EU and so does not need to be subject to any EU law, and if at present the EU trusts the UK authorities to ensure that the one tenth which is involved with exports to the rest of the EU will comply with EU requirements then there is no reason why the EU should not continue to trust the UK authorities on that matter after we have left the EU.

    • rose
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Quite so.

  47. Slim Jim
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Why will the government not consider the EEA/EFTA option of transition between leaving and concluding a FTA with the EU? Perhaps David Davis is not the only one who appears to be not too bright. Or perhaps the plan is to screw things up so badly that we will never leave.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Lucky that the government has not been suckered into that one, at least.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Your last sentence is probably closer to the truth than you imagine.

      David Davis MP was the Cheif Whip under John Major at the time of the Maastricht treaty. Go figure.

  48. John Booth
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    You are stretching ‘loyalty’ to breaking point Mr R. The ‘implementation period’ means staying in the EU but pretending we have left. This period “should not be longer than needed” is mealy mouthed nonsense & could mean forever. We need & deserve clarity & certainty.

    Mrs May is not being straight with us and is conceding anything the EU request. You know this as well as I and any interested observer knows.

  49. Realpolitik
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Parliament and Fake News are having an exclusive conversation amongst themselves about EU, transition, EU (Withdrawal Bill ) immigration, and whether lunging one another is allowed or not at their get-togethers.

    We voted to end immigration.

    The rest.Those are add-ons. By politicians and their Fake News.

  50. Peter
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    “The issue is now one of timing”

    Partly true. It is also one of numbers. Who has the strength to push through their wishes on Brexit. Mrs. May can only keep both sides on board for so long. Tough choices down the line.

    I do not know how this will end.

    I suspect if it is Brexit in name only there will be some sort of Orwellian Newspeak conjured up to describe the result as a glorious success. The main players will then retire.

  51. ian
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    What the Gov needed is more ideas on how to leave the EU and what image to show the world of the UK as a free trade Nation in the world and UK place in the world.

  52. D Gardener
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I am far from confident that Britain will get a good deal and that the Government will surrender too many key points (and cross those red lines) to the EU in order to gain access to the now diminishing single market.
    I remain stunned that Britain, having a massive Trade Deficit of £83 Billions per year with the EU, is sitting as the weaker side in these farcical negotiations.
    It is the EU who have to most to lose by our leaving so it should be they who must provide a deal that surpasses that available from the WTO and one which is currently utilised, successfully, by the likes of the USA, China, India, Australia et al.

    We must take a firmer stand and make them understand that we do really mean to leave with or without a deal. We look weak and I sense that they believe it is they who are running this show and they finally, will get their way, whatever happens.

  53. Rosemary Biscuit
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile in China. Not a word today. It is 22.45 in Beijing as I write Sunday 17 12 2017. Has Hammond got the Government’s tongue?
    Is he resigning on the plane coming back or by email today?

  54. Norman Porter
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen anything on the subject of asking the EU what they want out of a trading agreement with us, including the extent to which they would adhere to our regulations and the supremacy of UK courts. Why has this approach not been triggered by our negotiators? Perhaps John, you could make this suggestion.

  55. old salt
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Mr Lamberts (of the EU) is being sent as one of several outriders to tell the daunting truth: the EU will keep Britain in transition for as long as possible.
    Lord Adonis – following Amendment 7 “First step towards defeat of Brexit”.
    The establishment and others have demonstrated by their actions they have no wish for us to leave.
    The EU would be nothing without us being one of the the richest countries albeit with a debt pile approaching 2tn and increasing day by day.

  56. Fizzer
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    the big problem with the implementation period is obvious, the two years we have no say in rule making from the EU. In this time scale the EU will pass laws that make it impossible to leave, they already have full federal ambitions by 2025- this implementation period is the biggest threat to Brexit & needs to be stopped.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Fizzer, agree totally with your comments. Letting the EU pass laws that we have no control over is dangerous. God knows what they could come up with.

  57. Newmania
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Leave voters knew exactly what they were voting for and expect no less.

    If , like me , you spoke to a cross section of leave voters you would find that not more than one in twenty has the faintest idea what the single market is . The suggetion that this consituency knowingly voted to be poorer, more indebted and to hurst their wonm children is an accuisation I would ceratinly not make of thgem much though they frustrate me .
    They were told they would be richer and that immigrants were the cause of their problems .Not true thenj, not true now and never will be true

    • Edward2
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      It is not about poverty nor enrichment.
      Neither is it about the fabled single market.

      It is actually about being an independent nation.
      Free to run our own affairs.
      Like the vast majority of nations on this planet.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      If – like me – you spoke to a cross section of Remain voters you’d find they have no idea what the EU Commission is, who the five presidents are, what the EU parties are, their leaders, what they stand for…

      Not the foggiest.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 17, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Importing people to compete for jobs, housing and services impacts all three negatively.

    • Oggy
      Posted December 18, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      Dear oh dear back again.
      You must make a new years resolution Newmania ,’I promise not to post here again until my spelling and grammar is good enough so readers can understand what I am writing.’

    • Doom
      Posted December 18, 2017 at 3:55 am | Permalink

      Newmania. You lost the Referendum.

  58. Turboterrier.
    Posted December 17, 2017 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    John in the words of the song by Celine Dion “This is getting serious”

    No one gives a stuff if it is all fake news or what but what we want to see is David Davis and his department meeting head on a lot of this crap that is being printed and broadcast in the media.

    We are sleep walking into a complete and utter **** up orchestrated by our leader and the Chancellor. The party had better get together and have a bloody good clear out as we are being taken apart by a death by a thousand cuts.

  59. mancunius
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    It is becoming clear since Friday (see the remarks made by Barnier and the Eurozone’s MEPs) that the EU will try to ‘book’ our agreement so far, and pocket our cash, before agreeing to pursue serious talks on a FTA: it will then in late 2018 offer us deliberately disadvantageous terms of trade, and not even begin to finalise that FTA-with-strings-attached until after March 2019, once we are already in a ‘transitional period’ that the EU simply regards as maintaining all the further costs and responsibilities of membership while having no voice and no rights.
    Rather than taking a very long spoon for this particular diabolic dinner, we should now accept that no spoon is long enough, and make alternative dining arrangements elsewhere.

  60. Ken Moore
    Posted December 18, 2017 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    This is nonsense. There can be no ‘implementation period ‘ as the EU has been clear there can be no negotiations on trade until the Uk becomes a ‘third country’. It is all there in the agreement. No implemenataion since there will be nothing to implement.

    The whole thing is a complete dogs breakfast and a complete humiliation. We are left with a notional brexit only. Once the voters realise that we are still paying into the Eu, accepting unlimited migration and yet have no say on the rules….well the ERM debacle is going to look like a storm in a teacup. The media isn’t capable of looking beyond the window dressing our dumbed down media aren’t going to save us.


    • Ken moore
      Posted December 18, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Dr Redwood, That is Richard Norths eu referendum blog. Sir you do not have the time to do his detailed reseearch so please use it as your routemap out of this mess!

  61. Jacq
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    All EU nations are members of the UN. The EU committed to us, via the Lisbon Treaty, to respect the UN Charter. The UN Charter upholds the principle of self-determination; military, poliitical or economic coercion are forbidden by the UN Charter as interpreted by UN Resolution 2625.

    Read the WTO GATT and GATS treaties and they also give the obligations to work for the reduction of trade barriers and the liberalisation of trade. Combined, this would give the EU the obligation to give us ‘fair and free trade’.

    That’s actually EU policy and the EU’s court has also accepted that other Treaty goals are binding. In the case of the UN Treaty, it is clearly accepted as taking precedence over any later Treaty.

    So give us free trade without the baggage.

  • 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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