That Boris speech

We know that the Foreign Secretary’s speech today was checked and approved by 10 Downing Street, and is a statement of government policy.

It is clear from the text that it remains government policy that we will leave the EU, the Customs Union and the single market in accordance with the Article 50 letter and Act, and the EU Withdrawal Bill.
It is also clear from the text that the UK will regain control of its laws and regulations, and will take the powers necessary to amend and improve the law codes once out as we see fit.

This should come as no surprise to all those who have followed the votes in the Commons on the Bill or who have read the PM’s two speeches on this topic. It will nonetheless come as a surprise to those who have been writing that the government is about to reinvent the or a customs union, forego an independent trade policy, and accept the need to follow all new EU laws.

The speech does not offer us any guidance on whether we need and will accept a so called Transition period, or on whether we will agree to a substantial payment to the EU on departure. I assume the speech is silent on these matters because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and much has not even been discussed so far. I still see no need for a transition or for payments all the time nothing good is offered that we will transit to.

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  1. Mick
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Watched the speech and thought is was very much what I thought I was going to hear all positive, then i switched between sky/ bbc channels and the total bias of them came out, bbc had the labour muppet Umunna on spilling his bile and then there was that bunch of muppets on a belcanoy waving there eu loving posters were Boris was giving his speech, if they don’t want to live in a free democracy then go live in one of the other 27 Eu countries, but I guess they won’t do that because they prefer free loading in Great Britain

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Mick, Yes, I too noticed the bias from the BBC. When will they ever stop trying to brainwash the public into thinking their way? They are a disgrace and so much so, I don’t listen to much of what they say anymore. Unless something is neutral I tend to switch off now.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        It is way past the time when the BBC should stop being funded by the License payer. Recent pay disclosures show the attitude to using other people’s money, then broadcasting one-sided “news”.

        • Hope
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          It is an extension, it does implement nor a transition because during the period no change takes place! The UK not allowed to change. The EU states all rules apply without a voice! Stop using these strap lines to deceive people. It is not open transparent or honest. There is no need of an extension, no one voted for one and the govt has not detailed what the period is for. By 2019 the small amount of businesss would had three years to make any changes required. It does not take five to seven years! Is the period giving the U.K. Time to pay the ransom for leaving?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed all the problems of the world (according to “BBC think”) are all due to Brexit, Trump or Climate Change. Either that or they are due to:-
        not enough immigration, not enough taxation, unscrupulous landlords, not enough magic money tree government “investment”, insufficient government regulation (of everything).

        Or lack of “fairness” or “equality” (regardless of merit – of course).

        Anything good is happening despite Brexit, Trump or Climate Change.

        The BBC line in a nutshell to every single issue they discuss. Overpaid dim lefty. PC, art graduates – almost everyone of them. Yet you have no choice but to pay for this drivel.

    • John
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Agree but maybe one of his main targets are remain leaning MPs and Lords. The public won’t read it and the fanatics won’t either but those who’s heads can be persuaded may.

  2. Atlas
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I presume that we will still have to accept Directives that Cameron signed upto during any transition phase – so 4 recycling bins per household etc, etc – even if we think the idea is not the UK’s way of doing things. Perhaps though, May could develop some backbone and say NO to such events?

    • bigneil
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      May is the first invertebrate PM. No matter what she says to us, we know she is doing the same as Cameron and selling us out, throwing taxes to the EU and elsewhere, with no thought.

  3. Hope
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Nothing mentioned about security and defence. You need to start to tell May it is not a given or being away for nothing. The EU Florence speech watered down the Lancaster speech of which many of the twelve points dropped. It is looking more like Cameron’s Bloomberg speech,as you know nothing came of it and all substantial points dropped before negotiation with him lying that he reformed the EU! May has already lied about the amount the UK will pay, £100 billion not £40 billion as UK assets and cash deducted to reach £40 billion. Davis and May should be open and transparent about the amount. She is deliberately hiding the true cost. Again, you do nit mention regulatory alignment whether there is a deal or not. Single market by another name when only a tiny amount of business goes through Ireland i.e. 0.01 percent as Dennis regularly informs us.
    I suggest your party delivers Brexit in its entirety or get of office for the next generations to come.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I will be amazed if May delivers Brexit in its entirety or indeed in any real form. She gets every thing else wrong after all. She was/is a remainer and clearly a big government, high tax socialist. She even wants more religious schools!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        May also wants to build on EU “workers rights” and forces companies to report on the non existent (other than by choice) gender pay gap. She even thinks HS2 and Hinkely C are sound “investments” and that punishment manifestos are a good plan at elections. She absurdly chose high taxing dope Hammond to be chancellor (and still has not fired him despite his abundant incompetence).

        Can anyone tell me something sensible that T May has done since she became PM anything at all? I struggle. Cameron did at least eventually give us the referendum, made squatting a criminal offence and abolished HIP packs (well apart from the idiotic energy performance certificates which still waste everyone’s time and money).

        Can anyone come up with something, anything at all?

        • rose
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Before the election she seemed to be able to get the legislation through – or someone did.

    • cornishstu
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Hope, security and defence is mentioned and whilst nothing specific is said on our future relationship on this I get the distinct impression that British taxpayers will continue to contribute to the EU’s defence directly, as in outside of our UN / NATO commitments.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        I thought that too !

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Hope……if that is true about the total cost being £100bn, then it is truly disgusting.

  4. John B
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


    I know your heart is in the right place but all I can say to you is “dream on”. I haven’t seen the Boris speech so I’m not aware of what he is forecasting about actually leaving.

    I have, however, today received a response from the government to my online petition that we should leave the EU completely in March 2019 with no transition period or delay. In it they disingenuously say that we will definitely leave in March 2019 but then go on to say that we will continue after that during an “implementation period” effectively on the same basis as before, accepting that we will be required to implement new EU laws without any influence (other than a hope that the EU will be reasonable) for “around 2 years” (which I would speculate will more likely be double that). I, and nearly everyone I speak to, do not call that “leaving in March 2019”.

    Elsewhere I also saw a headline that stated that UK borders will not be ready to deal with Brexit in March 2019. I could rant and rave at this. Why the **** not!!? The government should have been energetically working on this issue as soon as A50 was agreed, if not sooner, when it was obvious that we would need to plan to control our borders, protect our fisheries etc, etc.

    Yours Disgustedly from Eastbourne
    John B

    Reply The Revenue and Customs have told Parliament our borders will work fine on exit in March next year

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      Does that mean fine like now where every man and his dog is allowed in.
      We have no idea how many people actually come each year and we issue thousands of National Insurance numbers.
      Will the DWP continue to issue NI numbers without checking authenticity?

      • bigneil
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Ian – that is a VERY silly question. There are many who have come and registered MULTIPLE times for benefits. One couple nearly got away with £3.9 million, then after a small sentence, was, of course, allowed to stay, no doubt still wanting their freebies and healthcare on the UK taxpayer that they had just tried to rob. Any foreigner knows that after getting into the UK — crime definitely DOES pay. Even murderers are allowed to stay after release.

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink


          Afraid you are so right about being allowed to stay.

          Even if they are deported they tend to come back again, had a colleague who used to work for a company which escorted deportees back to their original foreign home location.
          Once released back home they simply made their way back to the UK via another route, or in one case back on the same plane as him, only to either be let in again, or to claim asylum.

          In his own words, the system was a joke.

    • Alan Bell
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Is this the bit where Revenue and Customs said it would be fine?
      They have CDS on a tight timeline to replace CHIEF before Brexit, however the specification has not been changed, so they are not building a customs and border system for Brexit, they are building one with a pre-2016 remain specification and it is not specified to handle the volume of declarations that would be required as a third country. On what basis are you saying that HMRC think the border controls will be ready?

      • Stred
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Can you write to find out if this is the case JR. If so, we will not be able to operate as a third country or take the WTO option.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      What does “will work fine” mean to HMRC I wonder?

      Nothing they do works fine, they cannot even answer the phone or reply to letters sensibly and they preside over a tax system of absurdly damaging complexity and total stupidity that wastes millions of man and woman hours in unproductive activity.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure all these bureaucracies are as bad as is often made out. HMRC aren’t responsible for the complexities of the tax system, successive chancellors and parliaments are. HMRC are attempting to make digital submissions easier, can respond to queries etc. I’ve recently had v surprisingly good – albeit indirect – experience dealing with the FCA, another entity which is often panned! I think we need to look to lawmakers for changes in the law, not the employees of the state whose job it is to implement them.

      • Adam
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Response to Lifelogic

        Although HMRC must do some things satisfactorily, your criticisms of their wide-ranging failures are accurate, & will be familiar to perhaps millions of those who have difficulty in dealing with them.

        Apparently, with regard to the North:South border on the island of Ireland, both HMRC & the Irish equivalent opined that most of their reciprocal cross-border trade is expected to work fine, although they each might have used different words in their descriptions. Nevertheless, they may not meet the quality service expectations of all those they seek to serve; unfortunately near-normal.

    • L Jones
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I read the response to your petition, and the somewhat weasel words certainly sounded deliberately indeterminate. Using the word ”implementation” instead of ”transition” for instance. Disappointing, to say the least.

    • David Price
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      the government response to the petition states;
      “During the implementation period, we will be able negotiate and sign new trade deals for the first time in more than 40 years. These deals will not be brought into effect until after the implementation period has concluded.

      So the government doesn’t intend to exit properly in March 2019.

  5. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Well, it was quite a long speech:

    and so it will take some time to properly digest its full contents, if indeed there are any contents that need to be digested …

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      He says:

      “… it is this government’s duty to advocate and explain the mission on which we are now engaged; and it has become absolutely clear to me that we cannot take the argument for granted. We cannot expect the case to make itself.”

      Well, if he thinks that is the duty of this government then perhaps he could explain why the government department responsible for managing our withdrawal from the EU allows floods of pro-EU anti-Brexit propaganda to go unanswered day after day, week after week, month after month.

      And perhaps he could explain why the Prime Minister permitted civil servants to produce a fresh edition of their totally unreliable politically biased doom laden forecasts of long term economic harm if we left the EU:

      And also why one minister who correctly spoke out against the efforts of some civil servants to defeat government policy was told to shut up.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      “And for those of us within the stockade, the cost of EU regulation was estimated at 4 per cent of GDP by Peter Mandelson and 7 per cent by Gordon Brown.”

      Much of which will have to remain, for several reasons, but not all of which needs to apply so indiscriminately to every person and business in the UK.

  6. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The speech does not reject transition (aka continuation) or payment because clearly these have been conceded and May doesn’t want it mentioned.

  7. Bert Young
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I heard some of the speech on the lunch time news . Boris put it across in a straightforward manner ; there was no sign of his inventive waffling .The points he made echoed all the important priorities and I support his effort .

  8. PaulW
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Boris can talk all he wants..tiger in thd tank..350 on thd side of a bus and pulling the ship off the rocks but he is not fooling anybody and certainly not anybody in brussels..they know his form up will be Mrs May making another one of her famous speeches and then I gather it will be Dr Fox’s turn..but pity these speeches and fine words couldn’t be made at the negotiating table to have some value..but no! our political leaders have decided to throw shapes instead hoping that theatrics might bring some resolution to the happenings and so now according to megaphone diplomacy we are to leave everything completely.. cut off all ties and head off to the unknown, probably reinvent the merchant navy and East India do trade with africa and Bolivia and countries in the Far East and far away should be fun..looking forward to the next few months to see how all of this is going to play out..idiots

  9. Time Lord
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Boris’s speech and the recent Masquerade Ball of Jacob Rees-Mogg look for all the world like electioneering. But for what? The plight of three million EU people living here has been settled by Davis so there’s nothing left to do in the remaining twelve months before we leave the EU; therefore, it can’t be Davis’s job up for grabs. What more progress could he have made?

  10. agricola
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Having listened to the speech by Boris Johnson I found it both directional and inspirational. No doubt about what we are leaving, single market and the customs union, but very positive on the opportunities that this would offer. Much no doubt to the chagrin of ardent remainers he did not spell out the our precise position having left, except to say it was up to us. Without the benefit of a crystal ball, how could he or anyone else for that matter. The general trend of the message was that it was better to fly free of an organisation, the EU, that epitomised almost everything that was alien to the British psyche, while at the same time praising everything European that attracted us in the millions every year.

    JP Junker thought it fallacious when the EU was described as being on a path to a United States of Europe. Bizarre as JPJ has promoted this as the way forward for the EU, best described as the subjugation of the nation state. If any organisation is in a state of confusion it is the EU.

    Remainers, like Chukka Ummah try to make mountains out of the technical detail which has yet to be discussed. The Irish border question, which both HMRC and their Irish equivalent agree that technology can handle minus physical barriers.

    All in all a very positive contribution. very important when the divisions between the EU and the desires of their nation states, re Brexit ,are becoming apparent.

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Agricola – could you post a link to the report you mention on the Northern Irish/Eire border? The only one I could find from the Eire Revenue Commissioners was 2 years old and stated a hard border was unavoidable. The remain-dominated House of Commons committee on leaving the EU came to the same conclusion.

      The speech was long on talk. The Government needs to start on the detail; time is short.

      • agricola
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Obviously you desire a hard border because it helps your case for staying in the EU.

        HMRC have been before parliamentary select committees on seven occasions recently on just this subject. They have stated that the bulk of trade is already pre-cleared electronically. They only physically inspect 0.5% of shipments from none EU sources. It is very clear to me that you only have to change slightly the detail in the information you exchange electronically for trade to flow unimpeded.

        At the last meeting HMRC’S Mr Thompson stated, “We do not believe we require any infrastructure at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland under any circumstances.” If HMRC thought there was a problem in the collection of any taxes due they would be the first to say so.

        This is mountain creation in a fog generated by remoaners and an EU that sees £12 billion of it’s income stream going down the tube.

        • John Soper
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          You don’t seem to understand. There is no problem now because we are in the EU. But we have voted to leave the EU. So things are no longer the same.

          • agricola
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            We are well aware of what you say, but whatever the final trading arrangement is between the UK and EU it will be handled electronically. There will be no “Checkpoint Charlie” as some would have us believe. The EU have only suggested a hard border to stir up dissention between Ireland and Northern Ireland because they know that historically it has been an area of friction. The more hardball Barnier attempts to play the more egg will end deposited on his face.

        • John Barleycorn
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Agrciola – my question was for the information to support your assertion that “…both HMRC and their Irish equivalent agree that technology can handle minus physical barriers”. I have read the evidence from Norwegian and Swiss customs and I would be very interested to see the opinion of the Eire Commissioners that you mention but I have been unable to find it. A link to it would be very informative.

          • agricola
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Suggest you look up:-
            Office of Revenue Commissioners [ie]
            You should then find:-
            Committee on Finance Public Expenditure an Taoiseach Meeting 25th May 2017 Opening Statement by Niall Cody Chairman of Revenue, page 3 para 2.

            “The Union Customs Code envisages the development of paperless customs systems managed entirely on the basis of electronic processing”

            Obviously the information exchanged electronically is dependant on the final trading arrangement which at present is not known. Hope this convinces you that both HMRC and the Irish are on the same hymn sheet, but await the outcome of the negotiation.

          • agricola
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

            Please moderate my detailed reply lest JB gets over excited.

        • John Barleycorn
          Posted February 18, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the link. Sounds like the Commissioners are planning for a functional EU electronic system, if rather intimidated by the amount of work it’ll generate.

  11. Blue and Gold
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Boris, can you hear me?
    You are a member of the wealthy Establishment who was part of Project Deceit. You and your chums are in the process of inflicting financial hardship on millions of ordinary citizens, those you claim to want to help.

    The UK is being damaged because of a handful of Tory MPs dislike the EU.

    Nothing has changed, Remainers fight on. The Country will remain divided.

    Get real.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Blue and Gold

      “..a handful of Tory Mp’s dislike the EU”

      Not a handful of Mp’s but 17,400,000 people.

      Oh I forgot, not a single one of them had a clue what they were voting for, but all the super intelligent Remainers did.
      Although I would suggest they do not have a clue where the EU is heading.

      I wonder how many read the Five Presidents Report, a wonderful EU document which may, just may, have given them a clue.

      • rose
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I tried to get my remain friends to read the 5 Presidents Report but none of them could be bothered.

        • Jenny
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:06 am | Permalink

          I read it, rose. Once I saw it concerned only the eurozone, I saw it was irrelevant to the UK and stopped reading

          • Edward2
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            Well at least the penny is beginning to drop what the future in the EU will look like Jenny.
            The EU has stated ambitions to become the United States of Europe.
            One government
            One currency
            One taxation policy
            Armed forces under their central control
            Supremacy of laws
            Your idea that it will affect only those nations who use the Euro is wrong.
            They will drive the implementation but it will affect all 27 members.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Get back in your Brussels kennel.
      We are leaving and if the Tories don’t deliver they are dust.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      The UK will be better off cleanly out. If you want to live in a vassal state with no democratic controls you have plenty to choose from. I want my children to life in a democratic and successful one.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Blue and Gold. Get over yourself.

    • Adam
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Blue & Gold’s intended quest is tantamount to pushing water uphill on sand, which its lack of traction will change nothing worthwhile.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Standard of living is up.
      Get your facts right.
      Stop your propaganda blue and gold

  12. Nig l
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Typically the Remainers made their response personal. An MP Antoinette Sandbach made some nonsensical response about rules. Of course in any market you export to, you have to accept their standards etc, as the Chinese, Americans etc but to say that they accept laws relating to non trading aspects, say the environment etc as we would have to in her and Soubry world is pure project fear dissembling, resurfacing yet again.

  13. William Long
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree it gives ground for hope, but I will suspend judgement until I have heard/read the speeches that we are told are to follow.

  14. Helena
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    It is indeed clear we are leaving the customs union. It is also clear from the agreement Mrs May struck in December that, unless a technological solution is found (and not one single person in the world has suggested one exists), then keeping the Irish border open after the UK has left the customs union means that Northern Ireland will continue to apply the exact same rules as the Republic of Ireland. And Mrs May has also promised the DUP that there will no difference between the rules applied in Northern Ireland and those applied in the rest of the UK. So it follows that we are leaving the customs union in name only. In fact we are leaving the EU in name only.

    • agricola
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Wrong, both HMRC and their Irish equivalent have confirmed that it can be done electronically with no physical border. I would assume that something similar must be done at present between the UK and EU if only to deal with VAT.

      • Adam
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps, in due course, the UK would find a better domestic method of tax. VAT is a complicated ‘pass the parcel’ process of charging. Payments & refunds rattle back & forth in irrational perpetuity, lacking efficient simplicity & adding needless ambiguity & muddle.

        Consumption is the sole purpose of all production. Ultimately, it is the end-using consumer who pays. One payment at the end would settle the bill, as well as disciplining the earlier stages.

        The UK probably implemented VAT merely because it was what former member countries happened to use in their own preference.

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink


          Very many decades ago we used to have “Purchase Tax”, it worked in exactly the manner in which you describe.

          The tax was paid by the consumer on/in the final price of the purchase.

          Could it have been abolished because we Joined the Common Market ?

          • graham1946
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

            Purchase Tax was levied on what was seen as ‘luxury goods’, not virtually anything and everything like VAT is. The dispensation for food, books, newspapers etc. was a derogation for the UK and my belief is that had we stayed in the EU, VAT would be payable eventually on everything and we would be forced into the Euro. VAT was instituted by rule of the EU and replaced Purchase Tax and was originally designed to pay our subs, but as per usual, politicians saw a good opportunity to use it for general taxation such that it now raises north of 100 billion a year, whereas our subs are 10 billion, so there is no chance that when (if) we actually do exit, it will be repealed. Imagine how the economy would take off if it was abolished, but politicians are more interested in the status quo than anything radical so that won’t happen.

          • rose
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            We understood at the time that we had to pay VAT because the Continentals wouldn’t pay their other taxes. Not all of them, obviously.

      • Helena
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:19 am | Permalink

        Something similar is done at present between the UK and the EU. This is because the UK is a member of the EU. Once the UK leaves the EU something simular cannot be done. That is what you voted for – leaving the EU, leaving a world of open borders. But, to keep the Irish border open, Mrs May has agreed to sign up to the EU’s rules for ever and a day – that is what was agreed in December.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      “not one single person in the world has suggested one exists”

      Oh dear, do you insist on being wrong about everything?

    • Richard1
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      It is certainly unclear as is evident from your confidence that we will leave in name only, and JR’s that we will clearly make a clean break. Btw, if you do think we are leaving in name only why are you so exercised about it?!

  15. Kelly
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I would welcome Mr Redwood’s views on whether he judges Mr Johnson a reliable defender of Brexit. That will be of the utmost importance once there is a leadership contest, which we all know will occur at some point before the next Election

    Reply There is no leadership contest so I have no intention of commenting in this way.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Not listened to the speech as yet, but pleased at least some Ministers are now publically making a case and giving voice for Leaving.

    I will view with interest, as I will the other planned speeches.

  17. Adam
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    The 2 years between Article 50 being triggered & our leaving was supposed to be the ‘Implementation’ period. Trade is a matter of satisfying the customer’s demand & specification, which all commercial transactions have to do. The UK has been complying with EU rules since the Common Market. What is the massive elusive obstacle that needs a 2-year adjustment & then an additional 2-year buffer merely to continue buying & selling what both we & our customers want & need?

    • getahead
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      The massive elusive obstacle is Phillip Hammond pandering to the wishes of his big business friends, the reputedly less than 10% of UK businesses who actually benefit from EU membership.

  18. Mark B
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The problem is time. Or the lack of time. Do we have enough time to set up parallel arrangements ? It seems to me that the UK government is betting on the EU giving in. I’d doubt it.

    • Harry
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:27 am | Permalink

      Mark B…I don’t understand what you think the EU should give in about..they are there and we are where we are..after march 2019..we will be completely free of them to pursue our new international deals ad per Liam Fox and Michael Gove

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink


        What concerns me is that an awful lot of people, on all sides of this debate, and even before joining the EEC/EC/EU, have been very disingenuous.

        Disingenuous about us joining. Disingenuous about us remaining. Disingenuous about the consequences of leaving.

        I have always maintained that in the medium to long term that leaving the EU is in our national interest and have tried to state why. I also argue that many claims by MP’s and talking heads on all sides does not address the central theme of governance and how we are to replace all the agreements that the EU have signed for us and all the bodies that we are part of by virtue of being an EU member. We will, in many cases, have to start over again. There are those here that will tell you otherwise, and so be it. But time and reality is beginning to show that I and others are being proved correct. I commented on the issue of the border between the two Irelands whilst our kind host kept talking about trade. Now it is suddenly and issue.

      • Winston
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        I totally agree. We should trust Dr Fox

  19. Flautists eyebrows
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    The people in Northern Ireland have come to the conclusion they can’t get on. Well I’ll go to foot of our stairs!

    • Harry
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:30 am | Permalink

      More like the DUP don’t want to be in the mix when the proverbial hits the proverbial..but too late for them unionism is on the wane..sinn fein will sweep the boards at the next election.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I’d doubt many Protestants will vote for Sinn Fein IRA, do you ?

        • rose
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          More chickens coming home to roost after Blair’s disastrous regime.

          He should never have put these people into government or given them the power to bring the government down and keep it down.
          We all know what their ulterior motive is and the EU are beneath contempt for aiding and abetting it.

  20. John
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    It will be fantastic news if we do get to write our own laws and regulations again.

    I look forward to the resulting smugness of passing laws, agreements and regulations that re affirm our country as treating animals fairly and anti value tariffs such as on Africa.

  21. Ian Dennis
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    May made an horrendous mistake asking for a transition period.
    Up until that point we were asking the EU for nothing that was not provided for under Article 50. All that changed the day she asked for a TP. The balance of power swung dramatically to the EU and has stayed there since.
    We don’t need a TP, few want a TP outside of the CBI.
    The decision to ask for one will turn out to be the biggest mistake since Suez.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      No ! The mistake was to reject out of hand the EEA as a ready made transition period. This I would imagine was done to appease those on the Leave side of the party. She should have done due diligence on all options first then debated each in turn.

  22. Peter
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    So Boris has made a speech, the tone of which was widely publicised in advance. Big deal.

    Actions are what counts and we are still a good way off the final settlement arrangement.

    I suppose our host will do his usual trick of holding back in moderation any views that do not put a spin on events which echo his own.

  23. Oliver
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Genuine question, answer appreciated:

    If Parliament can’t bind its successors, how is it that the situation Maastricht, Blair, Lisbon got us into [a] could arise and [b] how do we prevent “you” in parliament selling us down the river again?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      a) Because they are treaties and any parliament can withdraw from the treaties. aka Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty / EU Constitution.

      b) We can’t ! But if they did, whoever did it, would finished !

  24. Bob
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    @Mr Redwood,
    during the transition period will the UK be able to implement a ban on foie gras imports the export of livestock as promised by Jeremy Corbyn?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      I do hope so Bob. The production of foi gras is barbaric. The way animals are exported is good enough reason to give up meat.

  25. Andy
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    It was billed as Boris’ Valentine’s Day love speech to Remainers.

    He did, indeed reach out to us.

    But he reached out with a clenched fist.

    We will respond and the failed, inept, hard-right Tory pensioners in government will not know what has hit them.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      The hard right slur again.
      Ridiculous lie.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Brexit has got to deliver real immigration reduction, otherwise the tectonic plates between the majority of ordinary voters and the political/journalistic classes will start to move causing earthquakes. I really dont think people are in the mood to put up with lame promises and excuses much longer.

    If Boris does not accept that then he is badly advised, and has not got his ear to the ground of what the majority of real people think.

  27. Bob
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Just watching Channel 4 News’ Matt Frei doing a hit piece on Boris comparing him to a shark. It includes an interview with Frei’s soul mate Anna Soubry wherein she accuses Boris of making “smutty remarks” during his speech.

    How do they get away with calling this “Channel 4 News”, when it is actually “a political broadcast on behalf of the EU”.? Is Offcom completely toothless or are they also part of the Agenda 21 project?

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      I think you will find that the smuttiness was in their minds. I just heard that UK goes on holiday to places like the USA, Thailand etc. Which is true ! Nothing smutty about that.

  28. Iain Gill
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Got to be said that homeless man dying sleeping rough outside parliament should be causing our political class to think hard.

    Given that men with social housing accommodation have stopped handing the keys back when they form a couple, and routinely break the benefits rules by claiming to be single when they are in a couple, its obvious this happens because if the relationship breaks down the men will be left homeless and sleeping on the streets. If you want people to own up to being in a couple there needs to be a safety net in place for men too.

    This stuff is not rocket science. Open up some halls of residence style accommodation if nothing else. In fact if you can do nothing else, in this weather, get the army to put up some tents up in hyde park!

    There is no excuse for doing nothing, especially given the amount of money we are giving away to other countries as supposed “aid” when we cannot even help prevent people freezing to death sleeping on our own streets.

    Why the resistance? Why do the political class talk but not deliver on this?

    • Andy
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Because it is a fake choice. You should not be picking whether you help a homeless white man freezing to death in Westminster – or whether you help a starving black child in Africa.

      If you have an ounce of humanity you try to help both.

      • graham1946
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


        We could spend every penny we have on foreign aid and it still would not be enough. With the best will in the world, we cannot solves all the world’s problems. Your beloved EU is actually immoral by your (and my) standards. Goods are being kept out of of the EU from the Third World because of protectionist tariffs. Trade, not aid is the way to help, but the EU prefers to feather-bed its own inefficient farmers and producers by keeping out cheaper goods. We pay 20 percent more for our food than we need due to this, so how about a bit of compassion for people here who have to choose between heat and eat at this time of year? Are you writing to the EU asking for tariffs on Third World goods to be zeroed?

    • Edward2
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      What do you do with those that refuse to live in hostels?
      You need to first make rough sleeping illegal and street begging illegal.
      Near me charities report rough sleepers refusing to “come inside” or returning back to the streets after a few days.
      Issues with drink drugs and mental health need multi agency help which isn’t being provided.
      But you are right single men are at the very back of the very long housing queue.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Why do the political class talk but not deliver on this?

      Because homeless people have no vote !

      I have mentioned this on this very site. The government have given just a few million to this problem. There are many homes in London that are vacant due to the fact that the owner resides in foreign lands. Fair enough. But the government gets vast sums in Stamp Duty / Tax and I thin it high time that this money, much like our overseas budget, was earmarked to help such people and others on low income. That would be both the proper and decent way to acquire and spend tax monies.

  29. duncan
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The transition period is little more than a cynical political tactic designed to prevent Brexit in the way we understand Brexit to be. I expected little else from the vile EU and this despicable PM. She then sends out this Johnson fool to pump out to the public this tosh

    I associate lies, cynicism and deceit from Labour. I now perceive this Tory government in exactly the same way.

    Some Labour BB’s are decent and honourable. Many Tory BB’s are decent and honourable including Mr Redwood who I have always admired but this PM, her Chancellor and many of Cabinet lackeys bring democracy and honesty into disrepute

  30. Chris
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Boris Johnson does talk about transition and the need for it, and how it will “mirror” what we have at the moment, in order to provide stability for industry. That is not what I and many others had voted for.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Agreed. This is not about industry it is about governance. But the government has to replicate many agreements that the EU have signed for and on our behalf.

      I do not like any transitional deal, whether it be bespoke or EEA, but I do accept that there may be a need for it. But so long as the government, parliament and above all, the people, can see the positive benefits of leaving the EU and becoming and independent nation once more, I think things will be a little easier. But we need concrete time frames and milestones !

  31. SecretPeople
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the transition period, I saw a quote from Boris in the Telegraph today in which he said (in a Q&A following his speech, I think) that ‘everything would stay the same’ during this period. Also in the Express, a quote from David Davis that the transition would ‘no longer be an implementation of the consequences of the vote to leave the EU’ or very similar wording. Both those statements should be ringing alarm bells.

    There is much spoken about ‘after Brexit’ and ‘when we leave’ (see also Suella Fernandes responding in the Commons to the petition to Leave the EU immediately), but that doesn’t seem to mean what anyone might reasonably think – after 29 March 2019.

  32. Aardvark
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    “1960: In a speech to MPs in the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, Mr Macmillan spoke of the “wind of change” blowing through the continent of Africa”

    Little did he know how long-winded.

  33. lawnmower
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I hope to God it’s not NS and CB.

  34. Dennis Zoff
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Is this the EU’s insidious plan below to drop in new Red Tape/Shackling Laws to inhibit/limit/reduce/damage/strangle the City of London’s international pre-eminence, once we are in the transition period without voting rights? I smell and rat!

    “Brussels moves to shackle the City of London with red tape after the UK leaves the bloc. Brussels will bestow the new powers on the ESAs during the Brexit transition period when Britain will be stripped of EU voting rights and be powerless to stop the changes.” Telegraph

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      There is no insidious plan. European securities markets regulation is still unfinished and I doubt the UK (one of the main drivers behind that regulation) would have a problem with the remainder of that agenda even without brexit. Anyway,it is likely that the general conditions for securities activities oriented towards EU clients will change as a result of brexit. My guess -but nothing more than that- is that bits and pieces will move away from London and that the residue (which may still be substantial) will consist of facilitating hedge funds, corporate advisory and dealing with offshore wealth.

    • Jenny
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Britain has not been stripped of voting rights, Dennis. Britain has chosen to surrender its voting rights by leaving the EU. This is what you voted for, Dennis

  35. Treacle
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t hear the speech, but the Guardian and its readers have reacted to it in absolute fury. So I think it must have been good.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      It was 🙂

      And the fact that the Guardianistas exploded makes it even better 🙂

      • rose
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        I decided it must have been good because it wasn’t getting any direct coverage, only damning “analysis”. So I went to the Spectator and found the whole thing. It was good, and nicely delivered.

  36. LenD
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Yes..if this is the way we’re going then why do we need a transition period..transition to where? All we have to do is wait until 29 march 2019 and let the clock run out. So why go on with this pretense that we have a whole new future with them waiting? Next year Junker will be gone and very likely the new Commisioner will be Martin Schultz the hardliner ..we are not going to be allowed any kind of special deals, no bespoke deals, no cherry picking, and all the while the EU will just reorganise without us and march now the question for us is..where is Boris and Mrs May leading us?.. i just can’t see it..and nobody will point it out..all i hear is about taking back control for whatever that means to most of us? Now waiting to hear what Mrs May gas to doubt we’ll gear from the EU Council in March

    • Mark B
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      . . . where is Boris and Mrs May leading us?

      The destination was on the ballot paper. Either we stay in the EU or, we leave and become a sovereign independent nation. The only thing that was not discussed, was by which route. And you can thank CMD for that because he did not allow Whitehall to plan for the possibility that we would vote to leave the EU.

  37. LenD
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink


  38. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    It is not clear how anything substantive to which UK would transition can be agreed by October. There is time only for two possibilities. Either WTO rules or continuing under current rules. Either might include an MOU or some such to negotiate towards a trade agreement in the future. Only the former is worth having. The agreement already reached ensures regulatory alignment for the whole of UK not just Northern Ireland.
    The most likely outcome by October is a bad deal, whether it is intended as temporary or permanent.

  39. Mark B
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Good speech ! But just a speech.

    What I want to see, and what The Foreign Secretary, Alexander Johnson MP stated, is that those both in government and on the Leave side, need to keep stating the case for leaving the EU and basically put more flesh on the bone.

    Remainers have real concerns and they must voice those concerns peacefully and articulately. Those on the Leave side must listen and seek to address those concerns but, must make it clear that the UK is leaving the EU and shall be a sovereign independent nation and that there is nothing to fear from that.

    The EU, despite their demials, is a sudo-federal state in the making. Not quite like the USA but no democracy either. Ministers were warned BEFORE the UK joined the EU that we would not understand or like the remote working of the EU and that we should not come to know what is being done to us. Yesterday, The Foreign Secretary, Alexander Johnson MP broke with tradition. He told it like it is. I think it is high time that more, including our Prime Minister, did the same.

    The people must know, Leave and Remain, what EVER CLOSER UNION means. And when they do, they will come not to want to have anything to do with it.

  40. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    On track for a clean break!

  41. Epikouros
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    It is amazing how many politicians, journalists and pundits grab the wrong end of a stick either by accident or design. They pontificate on matters and make statements as if they alone have deduced the ultimate understanding of what has been said, done or what it represents when in fact they have either totally misunderstood, misrepresented or manipulated the meaning for their own advantage. The reasons for doing so vary from outright stupidity to being utterly iniquitous. Us the poor public are bombarded 24/7 by the media with these utterances that do nothing to clarify our understanding of current affairs some of them very important to us.

    The end result is that we are confused and directed to express our ire at many an action whether they deserve them or not. In fact often it is the innocent or against the right course of action or to denigrate someone who is no more sinful than the rest of us that receives our anger. So we follow the wrong, political, economic, social paths and make woefully inadequate decisions. Examples are we are told to believe that socialism and progressive ideology is good and free markets and profit are bad. That remaining in the EU is an absolute necessity and leaving to regain our sovereignty and allow us self determination and to formulate our own policies and laws are very very bad. Absolute nonsense as in fact the opposite is true in every instance.

  42. BOF
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    ‘Conformity to the EU legal and regulatory systems during the transition period ‘?

    This is difficult to reconcile with leaving the EU. It is also the part that will give the EU the most leverage to prevent the UK from achieving the stated goals of making our own trade deals and freedom from jurisdiction of the ECJ. Also the part of any deal, should it be written into it, that Hammond, Rudd, the Treasury etal will ensure is strictly adhered to.

    Otherwise an excellent speech by Boris.

  43. nigel seymour
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I would profer that many leavers are reading between the lines as brexit statements and observations flood in from everywhere!! . The date we all await is 29 March when we cast off the EU yolk.

    Alas, God say’s you can have whatever you want – BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT….

    “The speech does not offer us any guidance on whether we need and will accept a so called Transition period, or on whether we will agree to a substantial payment to the EU on departure. I assume the speech is silent on these matters because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and much has not even been discussed so far. I still see no need for a transition or for payments all the time nothing good is offered that we will transit to”.

  44. Stred
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Why did Boris have to insult Ukip and Farage, then say how proud he was of the mass immigration to London. Ukip voters like myself think net migration is far too high and numbers inaccurate. I personally would exchange hard working well educated Europeans for our yooflakes if numbers were manageable. Boris only got the chance to come out of his metropolitan lair because of Ukip. He makes too many mistakes and unfortunately is not leadership quality and should go back to writing. Mogg has said the things that Kippers agree with and may vote for a party lead by him. May never, Boris only as a last resort.

  45. rose
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I liked the speech. It was easy to listen to, well constructed, and uplifting, as Boris usually is. It covered most of the ground.

    One could surmise it had been edited by outside hands, and from the answers to the questions one could deduce the Foreign Secretary’s hands had been tied.

    I parted company with Boris on his unnecessary hostility to “Farargeiste…etc” this was a misrepresentation on the lines of others’ misrepresentation of him. Not necessary to go on about UKIP’s misfortunes either. This was ill-judged and unwisely ungenerous. After all, the 17 and a half million people will have included many with loyalties to those targeted.

    Leavers are not gloating, nor are they complacent. All over the country they are terrified of being betrayed. When they say “you lost, get over it” they are invariably responding to horrible abuse. They are being restrained and not responding in kind.

    Within the constraints, the Foreign Secretary did a grand job and reminded us of what we are missing. Naturally the media traduced it afterwards.

  46. mancunius
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    JR – I realize you and your cohort are paying great attention to the nuances of government-speak, but I am worried by what I perceive as an ambiguity of intention in the words ‘when we leave’ and ‘until we leave’. e.g. ‘We must of course pay our dues and observe all EU regulations *until we leave*’.
    Of course, this legally means 29 March 2019, but I notice this phrase being used loosely now to apply to the end of 2020, as if the transition/implementation/post Art. 50 period is part of our continuing membership. We should watch carefully for Remainers trying to convince the nation by this usage that we have not ‘really’ left in March 2019.
    It would help of course if we really DO leave in March 2019, and in the meantime convince ministers and the civil service that they really really must do the odd stroke of work to ensure MRAs are inplace for a sensible WTO outcome

  • 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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