European Council: The Article 50 meeting – Guidelines

There has been some confusion created by this slim document that came from the EU after the recent Council meeting. Some seem to think it was an agreed document with the UK, and that we should therefore take its positions as the likely outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU. It is, of course, just a statement of a bargaining position by the EU preparatory to the talks on transition  and a future relationship. The UK’s opening position will I assume be rather different!

That became clear in the Prime Minister’s response to questions on her Statement yesterday following the EU Council meeting. She confirmed that

1. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed

2. The UK will not make a formal offer of money unless and until there is an Agreement on everything else which the UK  Parliament approves

3. There will need to be UK legislation to provide the powers to pay the money and to implement any Agreement

4. The UK is seeking a wide ranging partnership based on good access to the EU single market.

The EU document wants the UK to convert the draft partial Agreement so far into legally  binding promises. It says if there is to be a 2 year transition the UK will have to obey all legal and financial commitments of a member of the EU.  It is coy over what it might offer on trade and access to the single market over and above the access we will have anyway as a WTO partner. It suggests no deal on trade before we have left. It imagines we will spend two years accepting all EU law and decisions, without the benefit any more of a veto over some items and a vote in Council on others.

There would clearly need to be changes to this approach if there is to be any deal the UK could expect Parliament to accept. It remains the case that a zero for zero tariff deal on goods is greatly in the EU’s interest, as is continued similar service access.

Any potential Agreement will be subject to ratification by  both sides. This rightly includes the UK Parliament, as well as the Council and the EU Parliament. The EU will need to understand that a Deal does indeed have to be better than No Deal. No Deal gives us freedom to make our own laws, settle our own borders,sign our own trade deals and spend our own money. A wide ranging partnership could add to that, but only if the price of it does not damage the changes No Deal offers too much.



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  1. Trumpeter
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove had an interview on Brexit with Newsnight five days ago also on some things like security which used to be his own business. He doesn’t think Trump will be President after the US Election in 2020. It all fits. It may explain why remoaners and media are trying for delays via scrutiny, and transition periods.It will likely be Ivanka Trump who will be the next President. But not until Trump does another four or five years up to 2025. Unlike Donald, truly, she is right- wing.So Remoaners better not throw away their diapers and comforters just yet.

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

      Who gets to hold her hand in the White House cloisters.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        More tax rises, council tax set to rise by a whooping 6 percent while May falsely claimed she made a good deal for the taxpayer by giving away £50 billion to the EU which it i she not legally entitled To! The low tax conservatives hitting us again and gain! You simply cannot bel I’ve a word this untrustworthy person says.

        • Hope
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          JR you are wrong phase one has been agreed. Helena is correct. You cannot draw any other conclusion after Rudd’s open letter inviting 20 million EU citizens to the country to fleece the taxpayer, use public services and go home.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Doubtless Sir Richard (along with most of the establishment) did not think Trump would win in the first place either. Or indeed that Brexit would win the referendum.

      They suffer from establishment “group think” as they so rarely talk to people in the real economy or real world. D Gauke, for example said “everyone thinks auto pension enrollment is a great success” – what sort of out of touch bubble does he live in? Everyone one sensible think it is just more damaging, costly red tape for companies. In effect another damaging tax.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Spot on,LL, it i she group think not acne on the public vote to leave by 2019. No extension, no special concessions for the EU or their citizens. If the U.K. Trades with a country it abides by their rules, EU no different. If he EU wants a hard border in Ireland put one up, there are no commitments the U.K. Need to pay for if there were you could bet the pro EU Lords would have bent over backwards to say so. Our fifty billion of taxes given away for what? Their report was clear we do not owe a penny. May still silent on what the U.K. Or it’s citizens got from phase one, nothing. How about our net contributions over forty years for assets, no mention! The right to remain living in EU countries! Big deal, no different from the other countries in the world. You do not pay countries in money or conditions on citizens for a trade deal. It is all utter tosh by he politicos to stay in.

        • Linda Jones
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          No-one has yet explained why we should expect to pay for a trade deal, or for trade considerations. Is this a bribe? Perhaps Dr Redwood could clarify.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        M Gove sensibly suggests we should get out of the working time directive. Yes indeed, of course we should out of all this hugely damaging nonsense. But doubtless the “we will build on EU workers rights” Mrs T May will do nothing that sensible. Preferring to go for over regulation of everything and thus lower productivity, fewer jobs and less ability to compete in the world.

        I have seen figures suggesting that the increase in numbers of female doctors (who take career breaks and are more likely to work fewer hours) together with this W.T. directive resulted in needing to train nearly double the number of doctors for the same number of productive hours of output.

        So twice the training costs per useful hour (and only about 50% of UK qualified doctors even go on to work for the NHS, so unattractive an employer is it).

      • rose
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        This man is one of the clever people in the Establishment – there still are some, though they tend to be retired, like him.

        A brexiteer, he has written to Macron explaining why it is in his interest to let us go, and he thinks our main problem is a lack of self belief. He forecast no more than five years of turbulence on leaving. He also said he had seen no evidence of Russian interference in the Referendum, which has since been declared publicly. It was one of those embarrassing BBC interviews which was really lop-sided intellectually.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Auto pension enrolment is a great success from Gauke’s viewpoint, and proves he’s another socialist. It’s like saying adding 5p onto income tax or NI is a great success – it is if you’re high tax and spend. That auto enrolment money would be better spent by young people on training themselves, setting themselves up in business or even investing in a sensible ISA portfolio, which they have control of.

        • mancunius
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          Ah, Sir Joe, if young people invested in ISAs the government would rob itself of its hefty 20-40% tax on the future pension income, which from Gauke’s point of view would be ‘not a success at all’. 😉
          How much ‘more successful’ for the government to retain the ‘take-the-money-off-them-now’ SDT/housing and personal pensions enrolment scams. They can always be ramped up or discarded, as a (‘nothing to do with us guv’) future government so rules. For example, SDT can be ‘converted’ into property sales tax and pension income can be extra-taxed & NIC’d, just to catch all the poor ferrets as they emerge from the drainpipe of working life.
          Remember all those cards with pretty stamps they used to force youngsters to buy for even the most poorly-paid holiday job? ‘For your future pension’ they were. Some were ‘for the NHS’. Now whatever happened to them?…:-)

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Exactly. The structure of auto enrolment is a disaster, a tax on businesses, a reduction in the number of jobs available, reduced competitivity and reduced net pay levels. What guarantee do you have that you will even get the pension in 30 years time? It will probably be stolen off you by another Gordon Brown, Osborne, Hammond, McDonnall type, who will waste it all for you.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        Personally, I think that auto pension enrollment has added to relative poverty figures when people are losing 2% that they used to have to spend in their net income, and their employer is paying an extra 2% (employers ni cost dressed up as NEST both costs going up to 3% next year) deferring earnings from today and into a scheme that will give a pittance in retirement if current annuity returns continue people are going to be very upset if politicians keep peddling it as a ‘great success’.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          Meanwhile probably having their council taxes going up by 3 times the rate of inflation too.

          • a-tracy
            Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            If Councils carry on with these ridiculous tax hikes on rates, and the incessant top-ups into their personal pension schemes to fill the poor investment decision black holes they created with our taxes the backlash will come very soon.

  2. GilesB
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed must include all future trading relationships.

    In particular, until the trading relationships are agreed, it is logically impossible to agree on the Irish border.

    And it is clearly inadvisable, and politically risky if not suicidal, to agree the divorce bill before the future trading relationships are agreed.

  3. Helena
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have, unfortunately, misunderstood what has been agreed. A week last Friday Mrs May agreed to pay c £50 billion, she agreed a deal on citizens’ rights, and she agreed that the UK will stay in the single market and customs union indefinitely unless a way is found to allow the UK to leave the single market and customs union without the introduction of a hard border in Ireland. You rightly say nothing is agreed until everything is agreed – but all that IS agreed, and the next stage, as agreed by Mrs May, is that all that will be converted into a legally binding document signed off by the Uk and the EU. Discussions about our future trade relationship will take shape only later. You seem to be under the misapprehension that if the UK doesn’t like the offer about a future relationship, it can then withdraw what is already on the table. But you are wrong. What Mrs May gave away a week last Friday is gone forever, and there will be no talks about our future relationship until that – money, citizens, Ireland – is signed, sealed and delivered.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the Brussels interpretation. If you are correct and I doubt your view could get through Parliament then the Tories are dead meat.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        So if there is to be no agreement on trade until after we have left that means 2021. What are we transiting from or too.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Have you noticed that in contrast with what the media is reporting, no concrete figure on payments has ever passed the PMs lips?
      Agreements so far are not legally binding – they can’t be while we are still a member of the EU. What will be legally binding is the Agreement that is only signed the day after we have left the EU.
      Can the EU wave a signed document specifying what has been agreed? No, they can’t.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        The reason is because the EU wanted agreed areas in principle some May hold keep the sum out of public knowledge so it could be a lot more spread over decades! She is a national embarrassment and makes you cringe each time she speaks to give away more. Country before Party that applies to Labour as well.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      It is clear that the EUs tactics have been to use the bogus Irish border to bring about the result you describe. It is equally clear that the government have confirmed no such thing as you set out, that such a bad result will not have support in the Country, and will most likely not get voted through by Parliament, including in particular by many ministers. Your interpretation is a Continuity Remain fantasy.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps this ‘deal’ is a blank canvas upon which different sides can paint whatever picture they like. Helena is an EU enthusiast – and clearly well informed. I’m sure she would admit that JR is well informed, even if on the opposite side. Yet they have diametrically opposing views of what’s been agreed and written down in black and white! Likewise, the interpretation of M. Barnier seems to be the opposite of the clarifications given by UK ministers. So what all that means is nothing is in fact agreed, and we will find out at or close to 29 March 2019 what deal the UK & EU will actually agree, if any. I think that’s generally good news. I have always expected fudge and compromise on both sides, as in any negotiation. But it reinforces how essential it is for the UK Govt to prepare in detail and in earnest for WTO terms. We must be prepared to walk away.

    • jerry
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      @Helena; Try reading what Theresa May and Donald Tusk have both said in public;

      “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”

      Thus TM has agreed to nothing – yet, simply because the UK could still decide that walking away on WTO terms is better that the deal on offer, are you seriously suggesting that the UK would comply with those part 1 ‘obligations’ if we return to WTO rules?.

      What is more, if this report [1] has any feet what so ever the prospect of a no-deal exit on WTO terms must be a lot higher than many will admit.

      [1] by the Guardian & then picked up by other news outlets- “Michel Barnier’s stark declaration quashes hopes for a bespoke trade deal to include financial services”

      • Javk swelke
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Yes Jerry.. we have to go by our own red lines which because we won’t be in the single market then we will not have passporting for our financial services and is our choice

        • David Price
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

          … and the EU will not have passporting for their services into the UK market – apparently they currently have more passports than our services do.

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      What is the basis for this assertion? A Guardian or BBC report?

      The two sides are still negotiating.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink


      May I ask where you got the information on which your post is based, as Mrs May stated in Parliament only last week that nothing is agreed until all is agreed, and that the offer of money would be taken off the table if no agreement on trade was agreed.
      This statement was made after both sides had agreed the first stage offer.

      • Iso
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        You are right Alan – Mrs May has not been telling the truth in Parliament. Helena is quite right that the UK has agreed to all this, and in return we get only the chance to talk trade. No promises!

        • Linda Jones
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          We should NOT pay a bribe in the interests of trade, let alone simply to talk about trade. This is outrageous. Bribery is not allowed. Will someone explain how this can be right?

          • John Soper
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

            Linda, it is not a bribe, it is simply the UK meeting its existing commitments. You don’t get to discuss the next round of drinks until you’ve paid for the last one

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            We’ve been paying for the drinks ever since we joined the EEC, apart from in 1975 which happened to be the year of the previous referendum when we happened to be a net recipient, just.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Sadly but indisputably you are right .
      I’m off to Ireland for Christmas – not looking forward to this particular festive season .

    • WingsOverTheWorld
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      This is also my reading of it, however the PM mouths sweet placations that imply the first phase is not yet agreed by an act of Parliament, and therefore does not apply; the EU might think very differently. If May has agreed to implement Phase 1, or if we subsequently agree to it before seeing the final deal, I fear the Government will have to be brought down to stop us making an irrevocable mistake. It will look shambolic, and colour the Conservatives up to the next election.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      The Labour Party seems to have moved 180 degrees from its position at the election & now says the UK should remain in the single market and customs union, meaning no control over laws and borders and continued loss of all the money, but in future with no votes. Surely you / they can see this will be unacceptable to almost everybody and will lead to calls for a new referendum? (Maybe that’s the plan?)

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      If everything had already been agreed, there would be no need for further talks. The minute that further talks were agreed to by the EU was the minute in which the EU conceded that everything had not yet been agreed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      If this is true then May and the government are even dafter than I thought. Can JR assure us this is not actually the case?

      I suspect this is, in effect, the case.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Helena, how do you know this? Do you work with Mrs May? or with Mr Barnier? Did you see the signed agreement? Why aren’t our newspapers reporting this signed agreement that our serving politicians like Mr Redwood aren’t aware of?

      • Jonp
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Because our newspapers..the rag types..have been telling us lies for years- the right wing politicians including UKIP have also been at it..all fake news that has led us to this..just wait until you see them all disappear into the woodwork when the horrible truth dawns.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          I’ll ask you the same question Jonp what inside knowledge do you have? Who do you work for that you know this as a fact?

    • Chris S
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Helena ( or is it Baroness ? )

      You are either being completely disingenuous or you have not been following events at all closely.

      The EU has always maintained the principle that “Nothing Is Agreed Until Everything Is Agreed”. It was originally their policy, not ours. However, it is a policy that is now backfiring on Brussels and it is very clearly in our interest to ensure that NIAUEIA is maintained and applied strictly to both sides.

      We know that the legal advice given to both sides by their own lawyers was very clear : Once we have left, all legal financial obligations cease. The basis for this is the EU’s own treaties including Article 50.

      In international law there is no such thing as a moral obligation but even if there were, there would be an obligation on the EU to follow their own Treaties that say very clearly that they must pursue a policy of free and fair trade. This seems to have been forgotten in their unseemly desperation to get hold of our money.

      It therefore stands to reason that any payments we make after 29th March 2019 has to be tied to trade deal that is acceptable to the UK. It looks suspiciously like blackmail to me but we are in the world of Real Politik.

      I agree completely with our host.

      However, I have never thought we were going to get an good deal and have said so here repeatedly. Given the BS coming out of Brussels, which clearly sees sees the future UK as a subservient client state rather than as an independent and powerful free country, No Deal is looking more attractive by the day.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        You might agree with JR but he is the gnored. Hammond and a Grayling made it clear that the U.K. Would pay the sum whether there was a deal or not. There was no confusion in their minds when they separately made their claims. The disingenuous one who is making, and has made, false claims is May. Look at phase one against her alleged previous red lines, they no longer exist. Think of the damage she is also making for future trade deals by her capitulation and caving to demands and subservience to the EU. If you were another leading world power what sort of deal would you expect to achieve from May?

    • Peter Wood
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      I believe you are too pessimistic; clause 5 makes it clear:
      “5. Under the caveat that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the joint commitments set out below in this joint report shall be reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement in full detail. This does not prejudge any adaptations that might be appropriate in case transitional arrangements were to be agreed in the second phase of the negotiations, and is without prejudice to discussions on the framework of the future relationship.”
      We have a report on the general terms to be agreed, in specifics, in another document, the Withdrawal Agreement, that is not yet ready. So the Verhofstadts of the EU can go whistle.

      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        Suggest you look at clause 46, 49 and 50 of phase one.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Helena, whilst I don’t generally agree with your postings 🙁

      In this case unfortunately, you seem to be too close to the truth…

      I really don’t believe that May and Hammond will get a deal that leaves us independent of the EU and in particular NOT under the aegis of the ECJ and our hands completely tied by remaining in the Internal Market and Customs Union.

    • Nig l
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I don’t believe it. I have seen enough of these much trumpeted last minute deals to know that downstream, the actuality is vastly different. This was more about the politics than the nitty gritty of the end agreement. Even now we are hearing more ‘divergence’ chat than before before.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink


      Unfortunately you seem unable to read. Not a surprise really

    • sm
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Helena, I would truly be interested to know why we should believe your interpretation rather than John’s.

      I know that he has an extensive – and intensive – background of examining EU legislation and methods since before Maastricht, and would therefore like to know your credentials so that I can consider what you say.

    • Bob
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood,
      This is shocking!
      Were you aware that this was already agreed?

    • Chris
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      That is exactly what I understood, Helena, which is why I, and so many others, were devastated by what May had apparently given away, and why the EU was apparently delighted. Mr Redwood’s post is clear, open and honest, which I would expect from him, but I believe there are those in government who do not operate like this. I tried to find reassurance from May’s answer to Mr Redwood’s question on this in the H of C:

    • John Finn
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood, you have, unfortunately, misunderstood what has been agreed.

      Thanks for this, Helena. Many of us, including John Redwood it seems, have made the mistake of accepting the opinions of numerous legal experts in the EU and UK who have assured us that the recent joint report agreements are not legally binding.

      I’m glad that you have now put the record straight. Please keep us informed on further legal developments.

    • Miss Brandreth-Jones
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Do you take ‘everything agreed’ to mean that’ some things’ are agreed and final.
      In my English degree I certainly did not take ‘every’ and ‘some’ to be the same!

      Enlighten me . Is it EU nuspeak?

    • acorn
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Helena. As far as I can establish from the other side of the Channel, you are not far off. It has been suggested to me that what was agreed last Friday, will form the first three clauses of the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50. Should any or all of those clauses fail, then the whole thing fails. On the Principle that nothing is agreed till every thing is agreed etc.

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I just hope Mrs May sticks to her guns and walks if the deal on offer isn’t good enough. Some guy from the EU was insisting last night that if we didn’t want a hard border with Ireland we would have to stay in the single market. This is enough reason to walk away now if they are not going to budge on the issue. It is all taking too long John and IG is tedious.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      She has already conceded all this .
      It’s a done deal !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      May will cave in and is clearly doing so already.

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

      Sorry, IG should not be in my last post. Damned phone.

  5. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    More needs to be done to counter what people are reading in the press and listening to on the BBC. It is all negative. It is only by reading your posts that I get a more balanced view.

    • jerry
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      @Fedupsoutherner; That (utterly daft) comment can be turn on its head, the only way we get a balanced view is because of the free press and media in this country, otherwise we would live in a country were the elected govt. controls the message and messenger – just remember, within the next 5 years that Govt. might well be lead by Mr Corbyn, do you want the media having to kowtow to what Momentum want?…

      • Lifelogic.
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        The BBC is, like the government and the establishment wrong on almost every thing. Renewable Energy, the size of the state, over regulation of everything, political correctness, absurdly high taxation, green crap, electric cars, law and order, open door migration, human rights, the EU, the essentially non existent gender pay gap …… they are the mouth piece of government funded by a poll tax on everyone.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Jerry, well I haven’t heard anything positive from the BBC and some other channels either. Much of what I read and hear is misleading and biased towards remaining in the EU. Utterly daft? I don’t think so.

        • jerry
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          @Fedupsoutherner; That is a point of debate, to put it politely, not fact.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        @ Jerry

        Hardly daft. With a lot of us it is all about perception and it does seem more than ever that the media and press maybe free but there is a hell of a lot of one sided bias. It is commented on this and a lot of other sites on a very regular basis.

        • jerry
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          @Turboterrier.; “It is commented on this and a lot of other sites on a very regular basis.”

          Indeed it is, by both the political Right and Left, never mind the centrists….

          All rather suggests that bias is more likely found in the eyes of the accusers than the alleged perpetrator – after all it is more than a little difficult to be both biased towards and against the same issue, at the same time, often in the same report!

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Agreed. I have never heard a single positive about Brexit on the BBC.

      • Lifelogic.
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        5 (plus the chairman) to 1 are pro remain on nearly all BBC discussion programmes.

        • jerry
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          @LL; Cue theme to Question Time, for that is the only programme you ever seem to cite! There are many balanced one-on-one+host interviews and discussions on the BBC.

          But why do some only attack the BBC, why not Sky News, or Ch4 News? An example, I watched an interview on Ch4 news the other day the only way a prominent Brexiteer (interviewed down the line from central Lobby) could get his message across was to simply start talking over the programme host who kept trying to interrupt, but there is not one squeak of a complaint on this site from the usual suspects about Commercial TV companies…

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Oh I dunno, Anon–There is the positive glee with which the BBC jumps on and trumpets any imagined, often exaggerated even manufactured, negative they can scrape up.

        • Bob
          Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          @Leslie – that’s how subversion works.

          • jerry
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            @Bob; “that’s how subversion works.”

            Indeed, and used to good effect by some anti EU politicians and media, always have (remember all those straight bananas and cucumber stories?), always will – what ever did happen to that Vote Leave post Brexit £350m per week promise….

          • libertarian
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink


            Even the EU can’t quite bring themselves to deny they had and I quote “rules on the curvature of bananas ”


          • Bob
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry the joker.

            Subversion is not about the shape of fruit, it’s about demoralising and breaking down societal values; you should watch the tutorial by ex KGB “journalist” Yuri Bezmenov.

            It involves infiltrating the political, religious, judicial and educational establishments promulgating wacky ideas that we often refer to as “political correctness”; which is why you can change gender at a whim, our prisons are now run by the inmates, SAS selection is being dumbed down to allow women to join (among other things).

            The shape of fruit doesn’t come into it.

          • jerry
            Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; Indeed they do have quality standards, but that is NOT how the UK europhobic press report it…

            @Bob; “Subversion [is] about demoralising and breaking down societal values”

            Yes, and that is exactly what the anti immigrant manta from some anti EU parties and factions does!

            “It involves infiltrating the political, religious, judicial and educational establishments promulgating wacky ideas”

            Why does the (right-wing) UK press & UKIP come to mind whilst reading the above!

            “The shape of fruit doesn’t come into it.”

            So why keep mentioning the shape of the fruit, sausage, sparkling wine, butter, chocolate etc?

            First the europhobic press had a laugh with some fake news about the EU wanting ‘straight bananas’, then they had similarly styled rants about the EU setting standards for just about anything else. By doing so they planted the seed that the EU is self-obsessed, wacky and (by association) terribly left-wing.

            So started their subversion of the EU, even when it is not the EU’s fault, culminating in them demoralising and breaking down the societal values we have seen, for example in relation to eastern European migrants who come to the UK in order to do the necessary essential (but non-the-less often skilled) manual work that many people born in the UK thought above themselves or their (grand)children when jobs were plentiful. Then, for good measure, the bleating started about the lack of housing and NHS services etc, implying that the shortages were being caused by these migrants, when all to often is has been the domestic political policies that have been the real cause.

          • jerry
            Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            I knew I should not have put two replies in one comment…

            @@libertarian; Indeed the EU does have food quality standards, but that is NOT how the UK europhobic press report it…

          • Bob
            Posted December 23, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

            You seem to have a fixation about sausages and bananas.

    • formula57
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Exactly so! The Cabinet is alas bound by collective inertia though so cannot speak out.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      How can we have confidence in the May/Hammond leadership (and indeed the Tory party in general with its 11+ traitors) when they are clearly so very keen to accept a far worse deal than no deal? Anyway, May is so wrong headed on most other issues too – she likes expensive energy, workplace pensions, gender pay reporting, endless PC drivel, the attacks on the gig economy and self employed and the huge over taxation and over regulation of almost everything.

      We will, at best, get Brexit in name only from May and this Tory party. Still it is a better than dire Corbyn & Labour and his appalling shadow Cabinet. Diane Abbott yet again on the BBC last night answering non of the questions at all. Why does she always get such an easy & gentle ride – what a complete joke she and Labour are. Yet the current Tories are so weak and pathetic they struggle even to beat them.

    • Alan
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      You will get a more balanced view from the BBC than you will from reading this blog. It’s not good to isolate yourself from what is happening in the real world.

      The BBC is not always right, but it does have a wide range of contributors who are very knowledgeable, more knowledgeable than some of the contributors to this blog.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        We all watch BBC too !

        We come here for the other side of the story !!!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        They have lots of staff and contributors but they nearly all suffer the same “BBC think” lunacy.

        Andrew Neil seems to me to be sensible and about middle of the road. Everyone else at the BBC is way to the pro EU, green crap, big government, PC. open door immigration, high tax left of him. So where are the equal number to the right of him? There are none.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        In fairness, and thanks to Mr Redwood, he allows opposing opinions on this blog.

        I respect him loads more for that than whether he is right or wrong about Brexit.

        Personally, I wish he’d move further towards the centre of the party and a more conciliatory position on the EU (i accept the EU has loads of problems and they need to be challenged) and then he would get loads more support and his talents would go a lot further in government. I think anyway.

        I only call a spade a spade to people i like and respect.

      • Bob
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink


        Have you heard any criticism of the EU or anything positive about Brexit from the BBC?

        Ever noticed that the BBC’s current affairs programs weight the guest panels in favour of remain?; Question Time usually 80/20 even in locations that voted to leave.

        The BBC doesn’t reflect what is really going on in the world but rather it spins current affairs to promote the globalist agenda (AKA UN Agenda 21).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Next to nothing is being done. Steve Baker tweets from time to time, and that is about it. David Davis presides over a department which allows the most outrageous distortions and outright lies to be told about its work without answering back. As I understand this is because David Davis has taken a “vow of courtesy”. When an MP suggested that the Irish government was behaving with “intransigence”, which was obviously true, he avoided any hint of criticism of the Irish government and instead rebuked the MP with “Get thee behind me Satan”:

      Over seventeen months the whole government has proved absolutely useless at maintaining public support for its official policy, which could make one wonder what these people really want and what they are really up to, and which is one reason why public support is beginning to drain away.

      • Tasman
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Denis, if it quacks like a duck and it walks like a duck, it’s a duck. So if the UK is behaving as if it is in a very weak position and is caving in to all demands, then you should draw the logical conclusions as to what the UK’s position in reality is

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          I think I draw a more logical conclusion about our civil service and the kind of advice being offered to ministers.

  6. Mick
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink
    Let’s get 17.4 million to sign the petition and let’s get out of the eu ASAP before the remoaners use more devious tactics to try and keep us in there beloved eu

  7. Jack snell
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    All ok JR..but what does the EU27 say? What does Barnier, Verhofstadt abd Junker say? Whatt will their reply be when they read this piece today and think that it might be UK official government thinking?…they will certainly wonder at the bone fides of the UK side..hard to believe any progress can be made..we’ll not even get off the starting blocks.

  8. John Soper
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Sir, the problem is you try to persuade us this is a negotiation. It is not. The EU has conceded nothing – why would it, it is in by far the stronger position! You, and other Brexiters, claimed the EU needs us more than we need it, but this has been exposed as false. We cannot get any deal that is better than the existing one. We have tried Brexit. It has been shown to be a route to less power, less influence and a very bad deal. 2nd referendum now, and Remain!

  9. Jason wells
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Helena above is absolutely correct..there is nothing more I can add

  10. Mark B
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    This nonsense about securing access to the Single Market maintains the lie that membership of the EU is all about trade. If the UK market is so important to the rEU27 then let them make all the running. From my perspective it seems the UK is the begger nation and as we all know, beggars cannot be choosers !

    This us why I think this whole access to the Single Market is such a sham. It is being used as an excuse to stay in the EU by stealth allowing large corporates to maintain regularltory control over the UK market and stiffle competition. The political class benefit because regulation and law can still flow via SI’s from the EU due to Regulatory Convergence.

    We are being had !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The overall economic effect of EU membership is grossly exaggerated.

      I prefer to say “effect” rather than “benefit” because it is a matter of longstanding and irremovable doubt whether in total the effects are positive or negative; what is much clearer is that either way the overall economic effect is small.

      I saw Stephen Kinnock on TV talking about the possibility that thousands of people could lose their jobs. Well, of course for each person that would be a problem, and potentially a very serious and life changing problem; but in the greater scheme of things with 35 million jobs in the UK you would need to get job losses running into the hundreds of thousands, not just thousands, for that to even begin to stand out above the statistical noise.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you for that summary.

    The chances of an “orderly” departure seem no higher than 50/50 to me given the very wide gap between the UK and EU positions and the differences of opinion within each of them. A further unknown is the impact of no effective German government at this time; it appears that Merkel is having real difficulty forming a new coalition. Another election is possible if minority government does not work out. May’s position is strong by comparison.

    If a mutual trade agreement covering both goods and services cannot be secured, then no deal looks the better option to me.

  12. MikeP
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Mrs May made the point that she doesn’t wish businesses and individuals to have to go through two sets of changes, one in 2019 to enter the transition period, then another to the new deal in 2021. But Barnier has insisted that we can’t talk about the new deal till we’ve agreed to details (ie money money money?) of the transition period. We need to be free from this leech-like arrangement.
    I was hopeful that No Deal had been modelled – indeed how else could the statement “No Deal is better than a bad deal” hold up? Then we would know what the negotiation needs to better economically. Sadly David Davies seems to have misled everyone as no sectoral impact assessments exist apparently. Really? Really?! Not for FS, the car industry, Pharmaceuticals, Aerospace? This is as unacceptable as it it shameful.

    • Hope
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      There would no no two sets of rules, this is a sham a deceit. The position exists now not all countries of the world are in the EU. If companies wish to trade with countries they abide by their rules. So more than two sets of rules currently exist. The small amount of businesses who wish to trade with the EU would have to comply with their rules, not hard as they already do. This pathetic scam from May should be seen for what it is, an extension to stay in the EU. There is also no transition, changing from state to another, as the U.K. will replicate in full what it does now without the legal or technical wording that is all. Hammond was right when he said it, he should have kept his mouth shut and not let the cat out of the bag, the same as Hunt saying to Leave MPs May’s Brexit or no Brexit. All the other fog is about disguising the punishment the EU is giving the UK for daring to leave the EU. A bit like the punishment meted out to Greece two years ago. The U.K. Stood passively by not outraged.

    • Richard
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Also Policy Exchange used prudent/pessimistic assumptions re RoW FTAs etc, so also much potential upside.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mike–Personally I shall manage to struggle on without so-called impact statements–For a start opinions (and that is all they will be) on ‘impacts’ would depend on who is doing the opining–Wouldn’t want Hammond anywhere near for a start.

  13. formula57
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    What a pity and at what huge cost saving that we did not leave soon after the referendum outcome was known, to be spared these daft negotiations with a power hostile to us that has no interest in seeing the UK flourish post its liberation.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Dear 57–Just so long as we flourish sufficiently to buy their exports to us

  14. agricola
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    My fear is that the EU will try to break any trade and financial agreement into segments to suit themselves. We should make it absolutely clear that this is unacceptable. It is to be all or nothing and our team must be prepared to play hard ball.

    Any agreed period after March end 2019 is for implementation not further negotiation. Our maritime borders should revert to international norms without discussion as should our fishing rights. If we wish to licence some EU fishermen that is for discussion with them. Equally no more involvement with the CAP. No curbing our freedom to sign our own trade deals after March end 2019.

    Talk of regulatory compliance is bullshit. The EU has it’s own regulations with which all trading nations comply. Put simply, if they want all their bath plugs to be green, we sell them green ones. The starting point is total regulatory harmony because as current members of the EU we are as one. On leaving each side is free to regulate as it wishes.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘Put simply, if they want all their bath plugs to be green, we sell them green ones.’

      Good points, but given the surfeit of EU rules and bureaucracy, they would probably spend ten years just talking about which shade of green they want!

      Mind you, the tax-payer funded ‘gravy trainers’ and all who have a vested interest would just love that!


    • StanleyW
      Posted December 20, 2017 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      Agricola..we are not the equal of the EU that we can think about bargaini g with them in this is this kind of crazy out of date thinking that has us in this position..we are putting ourselves outside of the door and then knocking again hoping to be let into the porch out of the rain..that is the thruth of it..crazy stuff

  15. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    According to the Mail we are leaving the CAP and CFP immediately on leaving the EU. Would that be 2019 or 2021 when we leave or some indeterminate date in the future.

    • DragE
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Ian..if we can’t agree a transition period during the next phase of the talks then we will be out of everything 29th march 2019..we’ll be out free as s more more free movement of more trade or services until we set up under the WTO..banking and finances will also stop trzding in Europe..queues will form at sea ports and airports until customs get themsrlves organised

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Dear Ian–Depends how many extensions, sorry transitions, we have

  16. alan jutson
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Given the intransigence of the EU and timescale involved in trying to seek a complicated negotiation agreement with long transition periods.
    I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that a clean and total break without any agreements at all other than WTO terms is the best way forward.

    Should the EU want to talk to us after that to agree a better solution then so be it.

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

    No Deal is coming closer I think.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      No trade deal, there will have to be a multitude of other deals large and small.

  18. Old Albion
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Good try JR. But I don’t believe a word of it.

  19. Tabulazero
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Why not simplify things a little and let the UK finally decide if it wants EFTA or CETA once and for all ?

    Also, no mention of how the transition period should work in what you have written, Mr Redwood.

    Don’t you think the EU might have a legitimate interest to avoid the UK gaming the system during the Transition period especially if the latter ends up lasting more than two years ?

    As always, I see in what you write why the UK might want that but not why the EU would agree to it. The people in Brussels or the Councils are not that dumb.

  20. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    It appears that the communiques of messrs Redwood and Barnier have crossed. If the Redwood view is dominant in the Conservative Party (I doubt it is and more importantly, how long support for that pov will hold) and what Barnier is referring to are indeed his principals’ (the 27) “red “or whatever color lines, there appears to be not too much room for compromise and all has been a waste of time. I would not bet on the Conservative Party following this but a slightly different track, one towards compromise as the only option to avoid a hard Brexit. The votes are simply not there for a heroic but suicidal (in my humble opinion of course) result.
    Barnier is not going to serve what is not on the menu. And once more, if England pays any attention to prescriptions like yours, the result will be undermining the trust that Davis has been trying to build. What you and your friends are doing is the same that happened to Cameron: he tries to negotiate and is then shot by his own party, forcing him to retreat into silly political contraptions. And that will play into the hands of those in the EU that wanted to get rid of the UK in the first place, driven, like yourself not by economic but anachronistic political ideas.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      “anachronistic political ideas”

      Reminds me of Nick Clegg dismissing the Bill of Rights, still the founding document of our parliamentary democracy, as “some law dating from 1689”.

  21. Epikouros
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I read into that statement that the EU has backed down and has let slide the demand for a divorce settlement before other talks begin. That is a positive step in which we should applaud that common sense has prevailed and that the EU is no longer sure that intransigence was their best tactic. Probably wiser heads have intervened. Now it is a simple tussle between those who wish for independence and democratic freedoms, leavers and fantasists and those who hanker for the tyranny of big government and bureaucratic rule, remainers. Unfortunately the remainers have the advantage as we already have corruptible parliamentary systems UK and EU, bloated bureaucracies, crony capitalists and other vested interests that favour their cause.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    “There would clearly need to be changes to this approach if there is to be any deal the UK could expect Parliament to accept.”

    Actually I think that if the government made agreements which faithfully followed the EU’s negotiating guidelines then those agreements, or instruments of surrender, would be readily accepted by large majorities in both Houses of Parliament.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Of course, but that would not satisfy some people who are heavily overrepresented here..The People have spoken. And said nothing of practical substance.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        You entirely miss the point.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Our host is very generous. Everybody is free to make their point.

        It might seem to you that some are ‘heavily over-represented’ (and by that I think you mean leavers far outweigh remainers) but you should ask yourself why?

        Permit me to enlighten you. It comes down to right versus wrong. The majority of people who post on here are consistently right and I defy anyone to contradict Denis, he is renowned for his forensic analysis and for researching the facts. You challenge him at your peril, but maybe you don’t mind being made to look ridiculous?


        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


          Quite right…Remainers do not do research, hence the likes of Rien Huizer that use delusive obscurantion to deflect from their lack of indepth erudite knowledge….rather, they prefer to emit constant incoherent twaddle?

  23. Kenneth
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    IMHO we must not lose sight of the vote we took to leave the eu.

    One foot still in the door is not leaving – it is remaining.

    Remainers are wrong to use the term “crashing out”.

    If visas and borders are organised correctly we can leave the eu in an orderly way and we do not need to negotiate anything.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      “Crashing out” annoys me too. It is accepted by the BBC however. The same as “despite Brexit” whenever there is good news.

      No Brexit = No BBC

      A boycott seems likely.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I read that 3.5 million have quit the BBC without consequence recently.

        I don’t suppose that many people can be prosecuted.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Exactly Kenneth. this is what I mean by biased and inaccurate reporting in both the papers and the BBC. Crashing out is so negative and inspires more scaremongering. Same as falling off the cliff edge. All meant to worry people.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      ‘Crashing out’ – I notice the BBC does little to stop the use of that most misleading term. They don’t even explain to viewers and listeners that the term is just an expression of the opinion of those who use it, and bears no relation to reality. Thus, the scare factor is ruthlessly and surreptitiously employed to the advantage of remainers.

      So much for ‘balance’ yet the BBC continually gets away with it. Another poster (above) seems to have a better opinion of the BBC. I say, please let us know what it is you’ve been drinking, I’ll get some in for New Year!


  24. Eric Sorensen
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The 19 Euro-suffering members have just had their “miner” print e-money to the tune of trillions, ECB’s QE version x, y and z. Why is a few billion from the UK so extremely important and allowed to disrupt dearly needed work positions of the real kind?

    Because the agenda is another one that talked about. A deal with the UK will show an escape from the Ever Closer Union and hence not even thinkable to the custodians of the great project.

    Thus, let’s keep dreaming and pretend negotiations are taking place.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      ‘The 19 Euro-suffering members’

      – Really?

      GDP per capita:

      – Netherlands: 51% (two places behinds the USA)
      – Sweden 50%
      – Germany 48% (and big, big exporter to outside the EU)
      – Austria 48%
      – Denmark 48%

      Pretty good. And these countries don’t need to make excuses. Good work ethic.
      And then outside the EU, look at:

      – Japan 41%
      – South Korea 38%
      – New Zealand 37%
      – Malaysia 27%

      Yes, there are real problems with the EU, and Yes, there are some EU countries struggling. But look at Ireland’s relative poverty during 1970’s. And how the EU played key role in helping Ireland reach relatively prosperity today.

      And Ireland’s relative prosperity played a key role in the peace in N. Ireland. Just as the EU has played a key role in securing peace and security throughout Europe compared to so much of the 20th century Europe ravaged by wars, revolutions, conflicts, and class war.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        I’m puzzled by your figures Ed Mahony.
        How do you get a percentage when quoting GDP per capita?

  25. Simon
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    All debate and dialogue in the public domain including this blog is utterly polluted and confused by one simple fact. Right from the beginning of this process the Govt and hence the MSM and most commentators have referred to “the deal”. Although this might appeal to Sun readers the nature of the document(s) is that they will be treaties. We are not in a souk buying a carpet. More significantly though what is in progress is not one treaty but at least two or more. Article 50 makes no reference to transition at all. And it makes no reference to future trade beyond a vague reference to a framework. So either the UK now finalises and agrees the P1 matters so far concluded or there will be little progress on the framework and none on the transition. Brexit means Brexit.

    JR’s rather simplistic view of the Brexit process is clearly misplaced as it has been from the start. And No deal / WTO as a road map is completely fanciful. When Ireland became independent it took them over 20 years in stages to sort out the new relationship, followed by at least a quarter of a century of poverty and isolation.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    There is too much fudge around at the moment concerning the negotiations . One party alleges this and another party alleges that . Clearly the Cabinet is divided and much of the “uncertainty ” is derived from this source . The responsibility lies with the Prime Minister ; her compromising nature prevents her from really putting her foot down and delivering a position that defines a clear way to go . It is confusing and bewildering to all observers be they leavers or remainers ; the resulting mayhem is a field day to the media .

    I have always believed that a “hard” Brexit was inevitable and I still think this way . I do not support anyone’s view that a transitional period is necessary . Markets for products and services are out there to be won and simply padding out the time will not change things . Initiative and incentives are the ingredients for winning ; provide them and the job is done .

  27. iain
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    At the heart of the EU “negotiations” is the fact that they will lose their second largest contributor and the longer they can delay our exit and screw more money from us the better. I remain surprised that so many in the UK seem to think that the EU have the stronger position. The EU will have to dramatically reorganise their financial affairs after we leave and I expect they have already started the process of deciding where the cuts will fall.

    As it stands at the moment I think “no deal” is quite likely and I trust that we are getting on with preparations for that outcome.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s now obvious that they are deliberately slowing down the process. Whether that’s just so they can screw a bit more money out of us, as you surmise, or they are also hoping for a change of UK government so that we can be kept in, I don’t know. I did say that as we had agreed to Article 50 being put into the treaties we should start off by trying to use it to try to negotiate an orderly withdrawal, but with on condition that if they started to mess us around we would cut the process short by walking away. I believe we are now coming very close to the point where we should do that.

  28. James Samson
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Not so many years ago in our own relations with the US, they rightly questioned the paying of dues without having a voice in Parliament. This subjection before the EU seems very similar to taxation without representation.

  29. John S
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Theresa will cave in as she has done before. The big problem is passporting rights for the financial sector in the City. Like Cameron, who in spite of claiming to be Eurosceptic, there being no way he would have reluctantly recommended we leave the EU, similarly there is no way Theresa May will agree to a “No deal”. This will be defeat by instalments.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      There bare about twice as many passporting arrangements into the UK than vise versa so they would be disadvantaged.
      London supplies aboutn70% of EU funding.

  30. English Pensioner
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    If we have a transition period during which we obey European Laws, it must be made very clear that we will obey only those laws that were in place at the start of the transition period, not any new laws or regulations that they might introduce during the period.

  31. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I see Barnier has been sounding off again saying the only deals on offer are those for Norway or Canada. I wonder what he said when they were negotiating with Canada, that the only deal on offer was that for Norway ? About time we bypassed him completely and leveraged our influence to get a deal via national governments like Italy etc.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s a deliberate insult, like the Dauphin sending tennis balls to Henry V – and look how that ended up … so “tell Barnier his jest will savour but of shallow wit, When thousands weep more than did laugh at it”…

      More to the point, once again we see the brazen hypocrisy of the eurocrats: because there is nothing in Article 8 TEU to say that it will not apply to any neighbouring country which was previously a member state of the Union but has exercised its right to withdraw:

      “The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.”

    • Tasman
      Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Roy, I don’t think you have been paying attention. The Uk has been trying to go behind M Barnier’s back for over a year now. And it has got nowhere. The EU is completely united. The only thing that is divided is the UK government

      • libertarian
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


        ” The EU is completely united”

        Ha ha ha you might want to try that one on Poland and Hungary, oh and Ireland when the EU force their CT rates up .

        I’m sure that the EU are very much in tune with the new far right Austrian government though

  32. nigel seymour
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    17.4m voters in the ref voted leave – enough said

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean leave the EU or the single market?

      Leading Hard Brexiter Owen Patteron said before the referendum that leaving the ‘market’ was ‘madness’ (and other leading Hard Brexiters said it was only a Norway-style departure). All the evidence on the internet, stored away in Google servers in California or wherever.

      Let’s be Solomon about it and cut it down the middle 50:50. So half of 17.4 m voters is 9m. So only 9 million people voted to leave the single market. If you have a more accurate, scientific way to measure, please say.

      But without true voter support (and a truly lousy hashed referendum), without true leadership (and May is the best there is), without a proper strategy, and without the money to support a major re-jig of the economy, then down-to-earth, good British and Business common sense is pointing at Hard Brexit being terrible, perhaps, disastrous economically, politically, socially.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        You misquote Mr Paterson who was talking of continuing trade with the EU should we vote leave in the referendum.
        Some hard remainers were suggesting that once out of the fabled single market all trade would stop.
        Madness indeed.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted December 20, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          ‘Some hard remainers were suggesting that once out of the fabled single market all trade would stop’

          – I’ve just listened to the full clip. None of what you write appears in the clip. Again, Mr Paterson said, ‘only a madman would leave the market.’

          More importantly other leading Hard Brexiters (indirectly) support this comment when they say leaving the EU is about a Norway-style agreement. Lots of evidence on the internet on this.

          More importantly, the evidence is all pointing, that Hard Brexit doesn’t have the legs. It lacks the leadership, strategy and economic strength in the country to last years of national economic decline before things get better.

          ‘It’s about the economy, stupid.’

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            The comment was actually made in the context of Richard Reed of Innocent Drinks who asked (via a Sky newsreader),

            ‘Why would you leave the biggest trading group in the world just to rejoin it in some form?’

            To which Mr Paterson replied, ‘Only a madman would leave the market.’

            Doesn’t really matter what i think. Historians and others will all pick up on all of this in the future.

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

            You misunderstand the quote…leaving the market.
            Many nations trade successfully with Europe without agreeing to freedom of movement nor being in the single market
            The inference is that leaving the market means not trading with Europe in the future.
            That is not what Mr Paterson meant.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        Theres no such thing as an EU single market.

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Just checking round what he said I came across this:

    “Mr De Rynck said: “Each free trade agreement is tailor made for the party with whom the EU negotiates. The Canada one is not a replica of the South Korea one, for example.”

    “Tailor made for the party … ” – that’s what “bespoke” means, for God’s sake. So we have Michel Barnier saying that there will be no “bespoke” deal and his senior adviser saying that every trade deal is “tailor made”, that is “bespoke”.

    And they say we don’t know what we want …

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      And now I read here:

      “Michel Barnier has told EU leaders in Brussels that Britain’s only alternative to a ‘no deal’ Brexit was a Canada-style trading arrangement, using a diagram to prove his point that the UK’s red lines made any other outcome impossible.

      The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has repeatedly insisted that Britain cannot have a bespoke deal and that the future relationship must be based on a pre-existing arrangement between the bloc and a non-EU country.”

      How does that square with his adviser saying “Each free trade agreement is tailor made for the party with whom the EU negotiates”?

      “The European Commission’s stark conclusion is that Britain must choose between a Canada-style free trade deal with no access for services, opt for a return to WTO rules in a no deal Brexit, or compromise … ”

      I think David Davis should be looking at the EU’s deal with Canada:

      a) from the perspective of Canada as the counter-party to the EU, and

      b) from the hypothetical perspective of the UK in the place of Canada.

      We know that from the EU’s perspective the deal is projected to be virtually worthless, and we also know that it is projected to be of very little value to Canada, but as mentioned before:

      we need to work out whether a similar deal between the continuing EU and the UK would be of any greater value to the UK.

      My guess is that it wouldn’t be worth the bother and we may well be better off saying now that it would a waste of our time trying to negotiate it with these untrustworthy hypocrites in the EU, and so we only want to sort out the practical details for a reversion to WTO terms of trade.

  34. Ken Worthy
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The UK’s opening position may well be very different from that of the EU. However, if past negotiation performance is any guide, the UK’s closing position will be almost exactly the same as where the EU started. The EU’s obdurate stand has made Theresa May back down on every issue of importance. Why should we expect either side to change their negotiating tactics?
    Watch out for Theresa May’s first “generous offer” for Phase 2.

  35. PaulDirac
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Why are we talking transition first?
    There is no point in talking about transition, for God’s sake, from what to what?
    Even if logic isn’t something to expect from the EU, this discussion order is putting the cart a mile ahead of the horse.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    With wearying predictability. Mirada – Royal variety show. First gag. “Leave your woes at the door – no Brexit talk, no Trump…”

    3.5 million people have quit the BBC with no consequence in the past 4 years, incidentally.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


      If you think falling over is funny then I suppose she is.

      Ho bloody ho.

  37. mancunius
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    A lot of the Remainer fear-mongering reminds me of the Millennium Bug Scare. This ‘will happen’, that ‘will happen’.
    And yet what actually happened was nothing at all – but then a year later the bottom fell out of the over-hyped techno shares in the companies employing all these clever Cassandras.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 20, 2017 at 12:49 am | Permalink

      The Millennium started on 1st January, 2001 – a year too late to fix the computer date problem, a problem that was needed to be fixed in all the sewerage pumps, lifts and non-IT organisations. The IT companies knew what they were doing – or at least 99% of them did.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 20, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Robert Christopher

        Total cobblers. there was no “millennium bug” . Please explain why a sewage pump would have a computer programme with a two position date field and why if it did it would even be a problem. I was a millenium bug consultant and I never found a single lift that had a problem . I dont think you even know what the bug was supposed to be…

  38. Prigger
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    US Senate has voted in the tax bill. The Democrats tried the remoaner tricky trying to delay it by sending it backwards to a lower level for ” scrutiny”. But unlike the Remoaners here they failed to delay it and thus have it cancelled.
    Just like the Remoaners, the Democrats threaten to derail it and cancel it at the next opportunity even when it is in operation 2019 and 2020. They must have joint strategy meetings to thwart democracy. Whatever you call Remoaners/Democrats, they are anti-democracy and a severe threat. They even go into kids social media sites to encourage them to write bad stuff by provocation. And then call kids, racists etc.

    • Prigger
      Posted December 19, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      The Breaking News is that the since this post the “Democratic” Party has delayed it for technical reasons for 24 hours meaning a repeat vote tomorrow. That was after the Speaker Paul Ryan’s “At last” speech.
      The media has even convinced the majority of ordinary people that the massive tax cut they will receive is not going to happen. So, it will be a happy surprise for them in January. Suddenly, on this thought, a glum Hammond pops into my mind 🙁

  39. Mel Cornwell
    Posted December 19, 2017 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    We voted to Leave. The facts of it were made clear by both parties, and EVERYONE (no matter how much they posture) knew exactly what they were voting for. Stirring up shedloads of ‘confected trouble’ for Brexit will increase, not deflate, peoples resolve.

    The Terms of Reference for the referendum were ratified 6:1 in favour by Parliament itself, and Cameron then blew £9Million very kindly hanging himself high, sending us all his document of certainties and promises. Perhaps May needs to read it again…

    Ergo, despite all the nonsense doing the rounds, the government is BANG TO RIGHTS to deliver Brexit in full, as it was detailed by all concerned at the time i.e. Completely Out.

    The only way the Remain camp sees to stop Brexit is to be able to say the Leavers have all ‘changed their minds’… well, that is as far from the truth as you can possibly get. We were taking the alternative route, hence we all checked and researched our position before voting, and consequently (given all that has gone on in Westminster and Brussels) we are even more firmly embedded in the desire to Leave now than ever before.

    Many Remainers just ‘went with the status quo’, or folded due to Project Fear, or took the silly faux elitist route, whereby they had no good reason to vote remain other than what can only be described as silly snobbery. Turkeys voting for Christmas, if you like…

    In reality, there are almost NO Remainers in the normal, general UK populace who have an actual issue with Brexit now (other than the stupid delays). In this country, we do tend to accept a voted majority result. Hence, it is only really the few weirdo political Remain activists and faux elitists who feel the need to continue to delude themselves that for some bizarre, ludicrous and unjustifiable reason, we the Leavers might change our minds!!

    Risible. Totally risible.

    GET US OUT. 29 March 2019, LATEST. No strings. We are WATCHING YOU…

  40. Freeborn John
    Posted December 20, 2017 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    The government has shot itself in the foot by asking for a “transitional period” when nothing changes. All that does is separate the negotiations on exiting the EU from those on trade meaning no leverage on trade can be got from the massive concessions the government has made so far because we will have paid through the nose already before any trade deal. No wonder Brussels gave May a standing ovation last week, but she will pay dearly when we next get a vote on her disastrous inept performance in a general election. She cannot even maintain cordial diplomatic relations with the US and is jeapordising what should have been the open goal of a FTA with the Trump administration.

  41. VotedOut
    Posted December 20, 2017 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    What on earth was done in the 9 months before Article 50 was triggered?

    Why did we opt for a 2 year notice period under Article 50?

    What legal requirement means the UK must pay £50 billion to the EU to trade?

    What PM would have offered part of the country – Northern Ireland, over to a foreign power?

    By what logic does Parliament seek to overrule the 2016 referendum?

    What benefit to business does 2, 4, 6, or 8 years of transition bring?

    Brexit has been stopped – this ‘deal’ is a shameful scam, because both main political parties are together conspiring with foreign powers.

    No MP has any honour, not one.

  • 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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