The Commons tries to undermine the government’s negotiating position

Yesterday was another Groundhog day when we are asked once again to debate the customs union. Twice we have had major debates and decisive votes on this issue, and twice the Commons has voted to leave the Customs Union when we leave the EU. One was on an amendment to the Queen’s Speech, and one was on an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill.  That’s as well, as the EU is not offering us free membership of the Customs Union when we leave anyway!

Yesterday the Conservative party did not vote on the motion. The motion was not to embed this approach in law, so the government decided it was not   binding.  Another possible binding vote on this issue will be held again if Labour wishes to change its former position in the Commons when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns from the Lords, if the Lords have passed  an amendment to that bill which  Labour now likes. Labour abstained on the two important votes held so far on the two rebel Labour proposals to stay in the customs union.

The problem with all these motions and amendments to draft legislation, binding or not, is they are requiring something which is not in the gift or control of the UK government. Were the government to give in and accept we should belong to the Customs Union after leaving, or  want a customs union look alike on departure, that would require an offer and consent from the EU. I do not think the EU would give us such membership without also demanding we accept freedom of movement, budget contributions and obedience to many of their laws, as if we were still in the EU.

I have often made the case why many of us prefer not to  be in a customs union anyway. I think we will  be better off out.  Yesterday there was a tired old rehash of the Remain arguments from before the vote. Most of those contributing have clearly never run a complex supply chain in their lives and have no idea how modern business works. Their speeches were peppered with words like “paperwork” and “form filling”, conjuring images of queues of lorries at borders as staff tried to work out what the lorry had on board, how much customs dues it should pay and how each product conformed or not with rules of origin. There was no talk of electronic manifests, filing in advance, electronic debits for customs dues as for VAT and Excise at the moment, no mention of Authorized Economic operators with rapid transit at  borders, no mention of TIR and all the other ways that have already been developed to ensure the free flow of goods. In modern  complex industrial supply chains  each item is recorded in detail so its past can be traced, and this is  recorded on electronic manifests which can be made available to the authorities to settle any issues and money owing without needing to do that at a  border post. There is today complete  electronic visibility of goods in transit by all Authorized Economic operators.  Nor in the debate was there any acknowledgement let alone understanding of the WTO’s wide ranging Trade Facilitation Agreement which binds both us and the EU, nor of how the rules of origin are currently policed without  border hitches.

There was a concerted effort to try once again to undermine the UK’s negotiating position. Sending a loud hint that the government might be forced to change its mind on customs union membership was obviously designed to weaken the UK’s position and give the EU more reason to delay serious talks in the mistaken belief that the UK position on that matter might alter. There is clearly no point in negotiating a free  trade agreement between  the EU and the UK if the UK is going to stay in the customs union after all. Instead we would just face dictation of terms, as an EU that could not believe its luck would set about recreating all features of our membership of the EU as the price for such a concession, rightly claiming that you cannot be in a customs union unless you go along with much of the rest of their project.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed, “a concerted effort to try once again to undermine the UK’s negotiating position”.

    But made so much worse by the vision less, rudderless, robotic, broken compass leadership and the highest taxes and tax complexity for 40 years and still borrowing billions to waste!

    Still I see some public “services” can actually be run efficiently. Croyden Council is apparently raising million with £130 fines for parents daring to drop off their children at school by car. All those gold plated LEA pensions to fund! Vote for us and we will use you taxes to employ lots more people to mug you further!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Local Authority Pensions I meant not “LEA”.

  2. hans christian ivers
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink


    How come you have not mentioned your electronic/technological solution to the border issue in Northern Ireland?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Hans you must have been sleeping for the last few months…

      The EU’s own solution here –


      Smart Border 2.0
      Avoiding a hard border on the island of
      Ireland for Customs control and the free
      movement of persons

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      JR has done this – several times

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Hans, We do not have a border issue in Northern Ireland. You do. It’s not the UK that wants a hard border, it’s the EU.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink


        I asked a question and you draw far reaching conclusions this is really getting very boring

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Correct, at least for the foreseeable future while goods complying with EU standards can still be considered at least OK and so not needing to be checked at the border as they come into the UK. There could come a time when we had decided that certain EU standards had become so defective that we wished to keep some goods out, but that would be a long way down the line and we need not worry about that yet. The reverse is not true, once we had left the EU they could quite quickly decide that some UK standards had drifted too far below EU standards, but that would be their problem for them to deal with.

    • MIke Stallard
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      This is at the behest of M. Barnier and the EU.
      They have repeatedly said: No Deal.

    • John Finn
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Why should John mention it when it’s already been fully researched by Lars Karlsson (President of KGH Border Services; Former Director of World Customs
      Organization; Deputy Director General of Swedish Customs)

      In his paper , Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of
      Ireland for Customs control and the free movement of persons
      , Mr. Karlsson writes

      The second answer to the research question is:
      It is possible to implement a Customs and Border solution that meets the
      requirements of the EU Customs legislation (Union Customs Code) and procedures, with expected post-Brexit volumes of cross-border people and goods, if using a combination of international standards, global best practices and state-of-the-art technology upgraded to a Smart Border 2.0 or similar solution.

      Then there is the evidence from the Head of HMRC which includes the following


    • Helen Smith
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      He has, many times.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      What’s your solution then Hans?

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        I am not sure I have one at this stage however the select committee was very clear that they do not believe this is a viable solution

    • getahead
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t that what they’ve got already?

  3. Mick
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I watched the debate yesterday in the HOC and to say I was getting a little p/££:d off with all the mps calling for a custom union was a understatement, and I’m not the only one who’s getting fed up of mps saying they except the vote of the people that we are leaving the Eu , NO NO NO they bloody well don’t except the result these muppets are taking us for idiots both main parties got re-elected on manifesto to get us out of the Eu which included the custom union and the single market, we can hope there is a GE soon so all these Eu loving mps can be replaced by people who are true believers in democracy and British at heart and not bloody European

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Mick, It seems to me that Remains think Parliament has a “pick’n’mix” right to change Leave at their whim. It is as though the whole of the period from Mr Cameron winning the 2015 election, to debating and passing the Referendum Act, through the campaigning, to the Referendum and the Leave result, has just passed them by.

      It cannot be over emphasised that Parliament now has no right to change Leave. Not only are we, the people, sovereign; but Parliament itself gave us the right to decide. We decided. Parliament has no other mandate because at the 2017 election, no party won an overall right to govern.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Mick.

  4. Andy
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    It’s great. Parliamentary sovereignty in action.

    I am repeatedly told that 17.4m people voted for Parliamentary sovereignty in June 2016.

    Yet it surprises me how many of these 17.4m now object to it.

    Maybe they only like Parliamentary sovereignty when Parliament agrees with them?

    Anyway, it’s tough because these 17.4m are not allowed to change their minds anyway.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      There is indeed a big problem with parliamentary democracy. The MPs are elected on one basis but then nearly always do the complete opposite for five years. They mainly respond to their party & not electorate. Most people, for example, want lower taxes and better services. But we have had the complete opposite for most of my life. Also there is the problem of MP using some tax payers money to try to buy votes or spend the money on propaganda.

      We need decent & honest MPs, preferably with some understanding of logic, science and economics rather than dreadful career politicians with PPE & Law degrees. We need to be able to recall and fire them and we need more referendums. The public are usually make far, far better decisions than do MPs.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Do you really not get it ?

      We voted for Parliament to take back control – subsequently they vote to do the opposite.

      I believe that Remainers would damage Britain rather than allow Brexit to make our country a success and prove them wrong. This seems to be what is happening.

    • Beecee
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      No Andy!

      They voted to leave the EU – having been told by both sides that it meant leaving the single market and Customs Union.

      Do please try to keep up!

      • Andy
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Literally nobody mentioned the Customs Union until after the referendum. Virtually no Brexiteers – including some of most of the high profile ones in Parliament and elsewhere – had even heard of it until after the vote.

        The notion that 17.4m people voted to Leave a Customs Union they had never heard of is, like most things concerning Brexit, frankly laughable. But please try to convince yourselves otherwise.

        • Jagman84
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          It was in the booklet the Government sent to us all at a cost of £9 million. Obviously you cannot comprehend simple information. How on earth do you manage to run a business? Or is that another lie?

        • Edward2
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Totally wrong Andy.
          Both our Prime Minister and the Chancellor made it clear that leaving the EU meant leaving the customs union and single market.
          And read the leaflet sent to every home.

        • NickC
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Andy, You don’t know what you are talking about. The “customs union” is not a separate treaty or body, it is enmeshed in the EU treaties (see Arts 3 and 206 TFEU), and exists as a part of the EU.

          VoteLeave distributed a fold-out leaflet “5 positive reasons to Vote Leave and take back control” in its millions. Both reasons 2 and 4 talk about trade: “If we vote remain [the EU] courts will be in control of our trade …” (2); “If we vote to remain in the EU, we won’t be able to make our own [trade] deals.” (4).

          VoteLeave was absolutely clear that voting to Leave meant taking back control of our trade. And that means leaving the EU in its entirety – including the customs union bit.

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Andy, You are repeatedly told that the people are sovereign in a democracy. Moreover Parliament handed the decision whether to Remain in or Leave the EU, to us, anyway. That was the Referendum. You might have missed it.

      • Andy
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        Parliament is sovereign – not the people. And Parliament has no obligation to accept the advice of an advisory referendum. Particularly when the advice is demonstrably lousy.

        • Jagman84
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          The sovereignty comes from the people and is exercised by the elected representatives, such as our host. Your whole outlook is based on false conceptions on how the democratic process works.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

          Too late.
          Parliament has voted to leave.
          Did you miss those votes?
          Huge majorities.

        • NickC
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Andy, Since Parliament (HoC) is elected by the people, it follows that the people are sovereign.

          Parliament acts with the mandate of the people. In this case the clear mandate is to leave the EU, so that our relation with the EU becomes akin to, say, Australia’s.

          You have singularly failed to demonstrate that remaining in the EU is better.

    • Original Richard
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      “Parliamentary sovereignty” does not allow Parliament to give away the country’s sovereignty.

      • Andy
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        Actually that’s the nub of it. Parliament had no right to cede so much of its powers and undermine our rights, freedoms and liberties without the explicit consent of the People. Our membership of the EEC/EU has been a stain on our constitution long enough.

    • Hope
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      You are devoid of fact. The public voted leave toget control over laws, borders and money. May, a remainer, has failed on all in the first two stages and is doing her best to prevent all by the punishment extension, not needed or required, and remaining in in all but name.

      We were promised right to recall after Westminster was found to be institutionally corrupt by themselves, if right to recall introduced all those in parliament yesterday would be gone. Quite right to.

      It is irrational why all those present yesterday do not think it is right that we have the right to recall and allowed to change our minds at every election. They are advocating for getting rid of the ballot box, then what? Letwin made it clear acting on the public vote I said more important than any issue before parliament. He is spot on.
      Traitors like Clarke, Soubry, Grieve, Morgan etc need to understand they have no purpose to the public any longer.

      • Andy
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink


    • a-tracy
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      The Conservatives
      In short: Prime Minister Theresa May was against Brexit before the EU referendum but now says there can be no turning back and that “Brexit means Brexit”. The reason she gave for calling a general election was to strengthen her hand in negotiations with the EU.

      Democratic Unionist Party
      The DUP campaigned in favour of leaving the EU – and, in its manifesto for this year’s Assembly elections, said it wanted to see a “positive” relationship with the rest of Europe, involving “mutual access to our markets to pursue common interests”.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      So please tell us how many of the people who voted ‘remain’ now wish us to leave, or at the very least, just wish the government to get on with it. Or doesn’t that quite fit in with your lop-sided equation?

      Your rose-tinted spectacles are getting darker by the day Andy, they are now so dark, that very few glaring facts are getting through to your eyes and you see only those few things that are filtered through. You seem to miss the obvious, and you certainly seem to underestimate the will and resolve of the British people who will have something to say if we do not get our democratic rights upheld by a parliament that seems hell-bent of obstructing them every inch of the way.

      And a message for those parliamentarians who might read this, who think their obfuscation will ultimately succeed – be afraid, be very, very afraid, for your actions jeopardise the very system of government we presently have. The people have had enough of things being done surreptitiously supposedly in their name. Their tolerance is almost spent. Please don’t act surprised if and when this comes to bite you on the backside!

      Tad Davison


      • L Jones
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        But people like Andy are pleased to bang on about why we should wish to remain shackled to the execrable EU, but they never bang on about all the wondrous benefits that would have been ours, had we decided to remain.

        Perhaps Andy’s ‘argument’ would carry more weight if he only told us what is so admirable about the constantly morphing EU and why he believes we are mad to leave it.

        • Andy
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          I am happy to – and have tried to a number of times, but my posts are not published.

          • NickC
            Posted April 29, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Andy, Too many of your posts are published, and none of them contain information defending the EU (other than mere opinion), and none of them are succinct.

    • Pud
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Imagine that the referendum result was to stay in the EU, but then MPs acted to leave anyway. Would you still be supporting their desire to ignore the referendum result?

      • Andy
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        A better comparison would to imagine if the vote had been 52/48 to Remain and, as a result, we had joined the Euro and a European Army.

        The fact is that Brexit was never defined beyond a bunch of slogans which we now know are nonsensical. That’s the problem. And ask 10 Brexiteers what Brexit means you get 10 different answers. You were not voting for something – you were voting against something. And you all voted for different things.

        It’s like going in to a restaurant and saying ‘I don’t want the soup’ – and then demanding the waiter bring you something unspecified that you do like. Chances are you’ll find your dish unpalatable.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous remainder nonsense.g

        • NickC
          Posted April 29, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          Andy, What we want is for the UK to be independent. But what did Remains want? – a lot them wanted a reformed EU, which was never a realistic option.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Dearest Andy–Complete twaddle from you as so often–To Hades with parliamentary democracy, which means nothing to me and was of course not what people voted for at all, as you well know. Now what the Conservatives are up to is another story–They should of course broom May and appoint Boris which but for Gove’s treachery is where we would have already been these long months–Boris may not be perfect but he is popular and with him in charge we would have tied the wretched EU in knots instead of the other way round.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Can I be bothered to reply to you? These traitors merely want to ignore the vote of the aforementioned 17.4m people and give parliamentary sovereignty back to Brussels.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      17.4m voted to leave the EU. Parliament will have their say. Those who voted to remain will also get their say. Should we have a 2nd referendum and then a 3rd and a 4th until everyone is happy…

      • Andy
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        You lost the first referendum in 1975. Pro-European parties also won majorities in the NINE subsequent general elections. (Note – many of today’s most prominent Leave backing Tory MPs were happy to be repeatedly elected on a pro-European manifesto during this time).

        Leave then won a small majority in 2016 – only having excluded millions of Remain voters first. Then Mrs May went to the country last year to demand a mandate for a hard Brexit – and the majority of voters said no.

        So Remainers don’t need another voter. We’re already winning 10-1 with 1 draw.

        • NickC
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          Andy, There is no such thing as a “hard” Brexit, there is only Leave or Remain. Mrs May has the mandate for Leave, she doesn’t need another.

          The issue is the EU, not Europe. Both Conservative and Labour parties were (and are) divided, and were therefore certainly not just “pro-EU”, and not perceived as such by the electorate.

    • English Pensioner
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      The impression that I get is that the people wanted Parliamentary sovereignty, but Parliament itself doesn’t want it. Are a majority of MPs scared of having the responsibility for making decisions and having no-one to blame if they are wrong? Seems like it to me!

      • SecretPeople
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Much like they won’t accept government having so called Henry VIII powers to pretty much conduct a ‘find and replace’ exercise in order to help push legislation through on time, yet neither do they want to go through weeks and months of sittings and have to pore over and debate each line themselves.

    • acorn
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      Last evening, at a gathering in the New Forest; which, due to its position on any house price index, is naturally biased to the “Blue Rinse” side of the Conservative Party.

      I concluded from the conversation, that this Conservative Party government, was considered to be, the most incompetent, compared to any decade in living memory.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Parliament can keep on debating these issues if it wishes.
      I and others can continue to criticise the process.
      It is one of the reasons I voted to leave the EU, that our Parliament is more closely connected to the voters.
      So far I have been happy with all the votes in Parliament on this issue.
      I am watching the voting record of my local MP and if I am unhappy I can vote for someone else at the next election.
      Something I cannot do for EU Council nor Commissioners nor Presidents.

    • libertarian
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink


      Parliament has already exercised its sovereignty , they voted to leave, to leave the CU and single market. Its SOME MPs trying to undo their own sovereignty. Its not the people, we’re just reminding them what they already voted for.

      Sacked your staff yet?

  5. Richard1
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should have a Swiss style referendum where you answer several questions. The ballot paper could have a yes/no for each of the customs union, the single market and subjugation to ECJ rulings. If we end up under all three, and perhaps even under any one of these I’m clear we would be better off to just run up the white flag in negotiations and stay in the EU.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      Apparently c 2% of imports landing at ports other than Dover, which deal with trade under WTO Rules, are subject to any kind of physical inspection. The Irish border issue and all this talk of queues at Dover and form filling if we are also under WTO with the EU is clearly nonsense.

  6. RodC
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    The game is up JR- writing is on the wall..just ask Liam Fox..ask DD..ask Michael Gove

    Some kind of CU will have to be agreed to get round the Irish land border situation

    Free movement of EU people will continue with registration as will free movement of Brits in Europe

    Some kind of fudge will be worked out- so no need to keep going on about this – your party – your government

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      “Some kind of CU will have to be agreed to get round the Irish land border situation”

      Which it would not do without the UK also staying in the EU Single Market.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Corbyn it is.

      I’m never voting again. Most I know say the same.

      British politicians will be surplus to requirement.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        The same Remainer/Snowflakes have called it wrong on Trump too. He is proving to be a most effective President.

        China, Russia and now N Korea all respect (nay fear) him.

        For Andy to suggest that we reject him is idiotic but then idiocy is what we come to expect of Andy.

        Andy is wrong on just about everything.

        • Anonymous
          Posted April 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Mrs May needs to organise a state visit forthwith otherwise she is kowtowing to our minority Left and doing Britain great damage. The real power is with Trump. He is the President of the United States and proving to be a capable one.

          Mrs May is an awful and soppy PM.

          Whatever would Mrs Thatcher do ? You can guarantee that May won’t.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      …and we truly do not want a fudge – there have been too many concessions to the EU, without a single real one from them – Time for a clean break, as I just do not understand the attitude of anyone that wants to be close to such a nightmare entity that the EU is…

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      RodC, We voted to Leave the EU, not remain in parts of it. Most countries in the world are not in the EU, so it is perfectly possible for us too. There is no Eire/N.Ireland border “situation” for us, the UK. Only the EU needs a hard border for its protectionist model.

    • ChrisF
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      According to Jon Thompson, Head of HMRC, this ‘border issue’ is a bit of a non-issue…perhaps conflated by certain people to become an issue to serve their purposes? Maybe that’s just me being cynical though 😉

      (page down to 3rd article)

    • margaret
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Perhaps we all need to trample on all countries, claiming our rights , and causing havoc and violence where ever we go . Watch out the rest of the world here we come. Have you got our pay outs ready and our houses built , get your health service up to scratch; we are to bleed you dry !

  7. Peter
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I never thought I would have a good word to say about the Democratic Unionist Party. However, I now have to say “Well done!” to Arlene Foster and her colleagues for laying out in no uncertain terms that a customs union would lead the D.U.P to bring down the government.

    Clarity and strength of purpose from one party at least.

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Peter, I have no idea why the Northern Irish are so looked down on by the chattering classes. It’s very parochial to do so. N Ireland is a vital, valued and valuable part of the UK.

    • Blake
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Peter..don’t be taken in by the DUP bluster..if they bring the govt down then they will bring themselves down with Sinn Fein poised to overyake them as the majority party in they will buckle when it comes to it

    • margaret howard
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      A party of religious bigots any decent citizen would cross the road to avoid? And the taxpayer was forced to give them £1b and whatever else to support a stumbling government led by an incompetent, dishonest woman?

      • Stred
        Posted April 29, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        Did you know that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness got on so well that they were known as the Chuckle Brothers.

    • SecretPeople
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      Am I missing something, or would the DUP be ok with the whole of the UK being in a customs union, just so long as the RoI is not treated differently to the rest of the UK?

      • alan jutson
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink


        I would suggest if it were any sort of EU customs Union, then the EU would set the tariffs, wouldn’t you.

        • alan jutson
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          oops reply to wrong posting.

          Happens when you get interruptions !!!!

      • rose
        Posted April 29, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Secret People, the DUP have said that staying in the Customs Union would not be honouring the vote of the British people as a whole, because it would not be leaving the EU. That is their opinion.

  8. Mark B
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The CU argument is a sham. The UK does not need to join it bit a fake argument is being created so that the Tories and the PM can claim a victory whilst burying the betrayal of being in the Single Market via Regulatory Alignment.

    Politicians need to know who pays the tariff. We do ! We the consumers. Businesses do not pay it but, the government collects the tariff money 😉

    I argue therefore that UK Government will shadow the EU CU both in types of tariff and level. Yes the UK Government will have control but the EU will sleep safe that their CU is there in all but name.

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    I cannot believe that those members voting to stay in the customs union think it will be in our interest. What hurdles will the EU bestow upon us if we decide yo be a member of the customs union? We will be at their beck and call with no chance of being able to trade with the rest of the world. It will be the end of the UK and we will be slaves to Germany. I just hope those who are plotting to keep us in the EU pay for it at the ballot box. What a mess all parties have made of this. Why couldn’t they have done what was promised in the referendum and given Brexit a good go? The way its going it will be a disaster for the UK and the remainiacs will blame Brexit. What Brexit? Its all a farce and one that will blow up in our faces. What a tradegy on a major scale.

  10. Epikouros
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if remainers are being malicious or are just thick. All their arguments have been aired multiple times. Each time they are they have proven to be baseless devoid of coherent logic implying dire consequences for acts that Brexit will impose which either there is already a known adequate solution which like petulant children they ignore or are figments of their imagination. Then also like petulant children having a tantrum they do not give up their screaming and ranting ignoring entreaties to see sense they mouth the same discreaded nonsense all over again.

    No wonder our world is so topsy turvy it is not just remainers who behave like this but everyone who has a grievance or a strongly held belief in a dogma that no amount of proof that they are baseless will persuade them to desist from pursuing. So as it is that the majority of us are like that they have the number power(a power only diluted by the fact of having many competing absurdities grouped into factions) to make others acquiesce to their demands the consequences of course is to create a society that is not ordered by logic and reason but by whim and emotion(exploite naturally by the nefarious).

  11. Peter Wood
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Slightly off topic – ref DD’s interrogation on Wednesday, are we really going to accept into UK law, all the obligations of the Withdrawal Bill and Transition agreement, that includes continuing payments, without having a FTA agreement agreed in all details and a commitment to sign on 30-03-19? Who in their right mind would trust the EU to ‘do the right thing’ and follow through on a Political Statement only? Are we really so naive?

    • Toffolo
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      No, Peter, we are not naive, but we are in a very bad bargaining position. The EU does not need us but, since we do half our export trade with them, we need them. Reserve your anger for the brexiters who hid this from you

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Dear Toffalo–Half our export trade isn’t really that much (from memory half of 12% of GDP = 6%) for which we would receive enormous compensation in many ways–Even if there were no compensation I for one would happily go 6% poorer to run a mile from the misconceived undemocratic bureacratic over-regulating protectionistic appalling-in-general EU.

    • NickC
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Peter Wood, The withdrawal treaty with the EU includes payments by the UK to the EU which exceed what we would have paid, if we had stayed in the EU up until the termination of the MFF budgetary period. Go figure. Then on top of that excessive payment, we are remaining in until the end of the MFF (Dec 2020)!! Truly we have a useless FCO/Treasury and government.

    • Hope
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Not naive, this demonstratesm unequivocally that Davis and Co are stupid and incompetent in talks with the EU. He should have remained firm on parallel talks not sequential per article 50. The U.K. Govt is an absolute disgrace. Nothing of substance has been said or evidence why there should be a punishment extension as a vassal state? JRM put it to Davis who giggled like a buffoon. So JRM repeated his question.

      By now any country with any sense of self respect would have walked away. But then again, you have remainer May who will capitulate on any for the EU and kiss the cheek of the man who makes threats towards our nation! In stark contrast Trump who wants us at the fron of the queue and heralds our country treated like he is, politico idiots.

      May, immigratio ,scandals, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants lost, insecure borders led to three attrocities, those here legally under Windrush considered for deportation, stop and search stopped serious crime through the roof worse than New York, prison sentencing pathetic serial rapist let out, public service overwhelmed, British citizens cannot buy houses,lumbered with life time education debt, tax hikes worse than under Labour. Has May actually ever achieved anything that could be quantifiably measured?

  12. oldtimer
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Perhaps parliament needs a dose of robotic process automation to prevent it needlessly repeating itself..

    • Georgy Llewor
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      « Robotic process automation » ? Like what produces LL’s contributions every day of the week, week-ends included?

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink


  13. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    This truly is the nub of the argument. Those wishing to remain in the EU will never convince me they were right in the aftermath of our exit unless that exit is fully supported in the first place so we get the best deal possible.

    Without full support I will always wonder what might have been if the rewards from leaving do not materialise and would campaign/support for further extrication in any future vote about whether or not to reenter the EU.

    Let us not forget that many campaigning for remain admitted before our vote they would not join the EU as it is.

    So let us get out well, with an FTA not a customs union.

  14. agricola
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I hope these appeasers are planning retirement at the end of this Parliament in 2022. Just as they refuse to acknowledge the clearly expressed will of the people, they wish to undermine their vulnerable government who are trying to fulfil the wish of the people. I find their behaviour abhorrent. I would wish an end to their whinging incoherence.

    The Customs Union is useless to our needs because it comes with unacceptable strings attached. We are not looking for this or a version described as “A Customs Union”. The requirement of the UK and even more so the EU is a free trade treaty, inclusive of financial trading, that has no obligations beyond free trade between the UK and EU. I think it would be of great benefit to all concerned, particularly the UK general public, if our negotiating team only talked in terms of a Free Trade Treaty. The a or the of customs unions only clouds the issue.

  15. Adam
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Decades of convoluted EU ways tied us in worthless entanglements. Now we are releasing ourselves from their Cannots.

    Brexiteers can undo their Fisherman’s Knot, their Round Turn & Two Half Hitches, their Man o’ War Sheepshank, & any kind of Stop Knot they attempt.

    Britain voted for better. We can & shall be free.

  16. Ian wragg
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    How much longer are you going to support a Prime minister who constantly undermines the referendum result.
    Now we have the unqualified failure Rudd saying that the government is working on a Custom Partnership.
    We want a robust rebuttal by number 10 clarifying that we are leaving the Customs Union and single market. End of.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      But we have never got any robust rebuttals on anything, unusually the government claims to have a policy but declines to defend it from constant attack.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Brexit in name only is all you will get from May. That combined with the highest taxes for 40 years, endless new regulations, incompetent public services with lots of PV virtue signalling thrown in.

      Rudd should go now, not some much for her failures on Windrush which I suspect are mainly departmental incompetence but as she clearly wants to defeat a real Brexit at all costs.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      And all the time Macron is stealing our thunder with Trump due to the hapless dithering May. Walking disaster.

  17. AtlanticSpan
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,I hope you are able at the first opportunity and preferably on the floor of the House of Commons to remind Amber Rudd that there is NO ambiguity over whether we would ever be a part of a Customs Union.

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I am sick of listening to hypocritical MPs saying they accept the reult of the referendum and then promoting actions which in effect negate the result. They talk about the situation as though all trade with the EU will end if we leave. They never acknowledge the fact that the EU has a trade surplus with the UK of £80bn. These people are not “honourable” they are duplicitous and mendacious. They are acting as a fifth column on behalf of the EU to whom they appear to have unflinching loyalty over and above that to the UK. Their contempt for the British people is clear as they constantly tell us we are so ignorant that we didn’t know what we were voting for, they know better and must show us the error oof our ways. They are aided in their endeavours by the broadcasting media which is clearly also anti-Brexit despite being mandated to be impartial under the broadcasting code.

  19. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t think it is right that MP’s in the House are playing politics with something as important as a clean break Brexit. Either we stand united and get the deal that we want thats best for UK plc, or we will not get the £350m a week for the NHS that the dreadful Boris Johnson promised the nation.

    Good luck with your lecture at Oxford later this morning

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    As I tried to say in a comment yesterday, as yet unpublished, the most honest contribution during the debate came from the Labour MP Owen Smith, who said:

    “… “We must stay in the customs union AND the single market.” The truth is that staying in the customs union is insufficient to guarantee that we will not, over time, have a return to a hard border on the island of Ireland. Regulatory divergence unfolding over a longer period will be the one thing — more than the short-term effect of customs tariffs at the border — that will guarantee the return of the hard border … ”

    Some other MPs urged that we should stay in the/a single market with the EU as well as the/a customs union with the EU, but none explained so clearly that basically the claim made in the motion:

    “… the free circulation of goods on the island of Ireland is a consequence of the UK’s and Republic of Ireland’s membership of the EU Customs Union …”

    was demonstrably false.

    Suppose that we got what the baying crowd of europhile MPs were demanding yesterday and the EU agreed to form some kind of customs union with the UK, but without the UK also being part of the/a single market with the EU.

    Even if UK standards started off as being the same as EU standards, so that the EU felt no immediate need to introduce new checks at the Irish border to protect the integrity of its EU Single Market, that harmony could not be expected to endure in perpetuity, not unless the UK committed itself to keeping the same standards as the EU in perpetuity.

    There is an alternative approach, which is for the UK to apply its own standards within its own territory, including Northern Ireland, but agree that its goods exports across the land border with the Irish Republic must continue to conform to EU standards.

    Thus rather than using import controls on behalf of the EU to prevent the entry of illicit goods, as it does now, the UK would use export controls to prevent onward movement into the EU of any goods deemed illicit by the EU.

  21. stred
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    All of this talk by Remain welchers about the difficulty of transporting parts and the finished product should be cleared up once and for all, or the repeated lie will be accepted by the electorate. Someone should spell out exactly how, for instance, car components cross borders within and outside the EU are put together and then exported within the EU and outside. Also that the finished product already is sent outside the EU perfectly simply and would be to the EU with only 10% tariff at best. Best because all the German cars would carry a 10% tariff and we would then buy more British cars.

    We are told that there is no tariff on components but a non-tariff log is required. Batches of components will be sent in thousands and, presumably, not every single component will be labelled and counted. There will be an ID on the container and an electronic check at the port. If there is a discrepancy, then the container may have to be searched. Can anyone imagine Nissan being so stupid as to try to smuggle illicit items through and then risk being stopped every time? Smaller traders will also rely on internationally experienced shipping and lorry operators to ensure that the right label is on the truck and the electronic data is correct, otherwise they would soon be out of business.

    The problem is that May and Hammond have delayed putting in the right cameras and computer software and we will not be ready to operate a WTO system when we leave. Even the much- needed lorry park, intended for when the French go on their frequent strikes, has got nowhere. It should have been half built already. This is all part of the plot to delay and reverse. The public must be made aware of what is going on and political parties which will keep promises made need to be ready by the election in order to sweep the EU collaborators out of government.

  22. Peter
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The Spectator is claiming that we are not prepared for a “No Deal” :-

    “The EU’s trump card in these negotiations, though, is that Britain can’t walk away because the May government has failed to make the necessary preparations. As a result, her negotiating position is significantly weaker than it ought to be. Even now, the Treasury is reluctant to spend serious money on ‘no deal’ preparations. The bottom line is that Mrs May has to sign.”

    Collapsing the government in a Samson manoeuvre looks increasingly attractive.

  23. Stephen Priest
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    As I understand it the only non EU country in THE Customs Union is Monaco.

    The only non EU countries “A” Customs Union with the EU are Andorra, San Marino and Turkey.

    Switzerland is not in the Customs Union or Single Market. The is definitely not delay or problem crossing the border.

  24. Michael
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It needs to be shouted from the rooftops that the EU will not agree to our membership of the CU wthout “also demanding we accept freedom of movement, budget contributions and obedience to many of their laws, as if we were still in the EU.”

    This is not properly understood.

  25. a-tracy
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The Labour party should announce it’s position before the May elections. The Conservative Party should force them into this.

  26. Anthiny
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink


    Couldn’t the government simply put off the trade bill and indeed the withdrawal bill until after the withdrawal agreement, including the UK leaving the customs union? If the withdrawal agreement is presented to parliament late in the process, then there won’t be time to negotiate anything else. Parliament will be obliged to accept it.

    Then amendments on the other bills to remain in the customs union will be moot. The Remain crowd will cry foul, but then they cry “parliamentary sovereignty” only when it allows them to give it away again. They’re not playing fair either.

    I’m sure I’m not the only person to whom this has occurred. But it is necessary to advertise this plan so that the EU takes us seriously.

    Reply.we need to pass the EU Withdrawal Bill now to

  27. Andy
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    It is time to stop blaming MPs and the EU and the BBC and anyone else you can all think of and for Brexiteers to now take responsibility for the mess you have created.

    For so long you were so irrationally angry with the EU that none of you, not one, ever stopped to work out a better alternative.

    And that’s why you are in such a mess now. Despite your irrational hatred of the EU every single solution you propose to every single challenge is worse than what we have now.

    Literally nothing you have come up with makes Britain better and more prosperous. And you are all responsible for this national humiliation.

    Still, I’m really rather enjoying it. Keep it up.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      How many times to I have to tell you ? The Brexit we voted for is being sabotaged by Remain !

      You stupid STUPID boy.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Do you see the other 160 free nations who are not in the EU in “such a mess”?
      I see the EU as a protectionist, low growth, centralised, high unemployment, highly regulated organisation.
      Best to be free of it.

  28. BOF
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I am confident that the reason you and other Eurosceptic MP’s have to continually make the argument for not being in any CU with the EU is the appalling leadership that we have been handed by the Conservative Party.

    Not only does Mrs May capitulate to every demand by EU negotiators and get nothing in return, but we have the Remain and Europhile cabinet members like Rudd and Hammond who never seem to miss an opportunity to undermine the endlessly stated aim of leaving leaving the CU and SM.

    It is only thanks to the ERG and the DUP that this process has remained unsteadily on course. Mrs May. however, already has us lined up for a very bad deal.

  29. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The people who want us to stay tied to the EU, via a customs union, with all that entails, know very well what they are doing, and they are a disgrace to democracy.
    They are, apart from making BREXIT more difficult, trying to imply that they are the masters and we the servants….. Which is how the EU behaves.

    If I had the money, I’d have each one of these traitors investigated – to see what their links are to the EU, how much money they obtain from it and others that would fund a failed BREXIT, as well as other skeletons they might have…

  30. David L
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    So frustrating. If we’re decided on a road let’s ruddy well take it and get to grips with whatever problems it throws up. We seem to be heading for the worst of possible worlds. I was at the recent classic car show in Essen. Several people I conversed with there don’t believe the UK will be outside the EU in a few years time and think we’re in the middle of a mindless self-inflicted period of pain. Our government must take it crystal clear that we have a cohesive plan otherwise no-one will take us seriously anywhere in the world…and that won’t help negotiate trade deals.

  31. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The Remainers and the EU politburo are feeding off the fact Mrs. May is indecisive and hopeless as a PM. At some point before 29/03/19 she will face a serious Commons defeat with a general election or a leadership challenge. Most of her appointments have been dire. Boris has developed in political stature in the last two years, to the point he is the only alternative. My wife and I would rejoin the Conservative Party just to vote for him in a contest against ? Rudd, Hammond, Hunt, Davis, Williamson!

  32. James Matthews
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Sadly it doe not appear that Remainders are alone in undermining the UK negotiating position. The cabinet shows no visible sign of preparation for exit without an agreement. The message that sends to the EU is that ultimately the UK will have to accept whatever it is offered (if anything) because, short of declaring a national emergency, it will have no other realistic option. The Government seems intent on sabotaging itself.

  33. Norman
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Very trying John, for you especially. Knavish tricks abound! Please don’t give up. The very fact that this battle is so intense confirms the seriousness of it, and that we are on the right path. Take courage!

  34. a-tracy
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Isn’t anyone else disturbed that the elected President of the USA is being encouraged to stay away from London and the Mayor is reported to say “If he comes to London, President Trump will experience an open and diverse city that has always chosen unity over division and hope over fear. He will also no doubt see that Londoners hold their liberal values of freedom of speech very dear.” Khan should not be encouraged this one-sided protest at all – London is being shown to be intolerant and not open and it’s diversity being unwelcoming. These leaders should be encouraging their followers and supporters to simply show their dislike by staying away from any event in London, holding a quiet, don’t show up dispute more like Brits. If we keep encouraging marchers and the hard left types who need lots of police protection for ordinary people going about their business it is going to lead to anarchy.

    We seem to be allowing ourselves as a nation to be run by some Media spokespeople from the different parties (I mean Caroline Lucas for one who is a part-time leader of a single elected MP! Anna Soubry, Kier Starmer) who don’t speak for the whole nation they speak for their own small clique but are escalated into a position of power over us they weren’t elected or promoted to.

    If the silent majority don’t say anything at all we will give way etc ed I don’t like kids getting brainwashed with one point of view.

  35. Bob
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Mrs May should not kowtow to the likes of John Bercow and Sadiq Khan in their rudeness towards President Trump. She has weakened the UK in many respects by doing so. How your party can allow her to continue as leader is a mystery.

  36. MIke Stallard
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Were we to enter the Customs Union after Brexit, who would set the tariffs?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      “The European Union created a Common Commercial Policy to govern its trade relations with non-EU countries. The creation of a common commercial policy followed as a logical consequence of the formation of a customs union among its Member States. The European Union’s trade policy therefore establishes common rules including, among others, a common customs tariff, a common import and export regime and the undertaking of uniform trade liberalization measures as well as trade defence instruments.

      The Common Commercial Policy is explicitly placed under the exclusive competence of the Union (Article 3 of the Treaty of Lisbon). This confirms existing case-law of the European Court of Justice and means that the Union alone is able to legislate and conclude international agreements in this field.”

  37. Billy Elliot
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Ok. Fair enough Mr Redwood.
    One Question: Will we be 100 % out of customs union or are there any plans to negotiate something for car industry?
    That JOT system you know.

  38. John Finn
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    John, I watched This Week (with Andrew Neil) last night. The conservative MPs, Ed Davey, claimed to be open minded but could not find anything in favour of leaving the Customs Union.

    Clearly the pro-leave arguments haven’t even reached members of your own party. Thankfully, there are a handful of Labour MPs who are still onside.

    • John Finn
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      “Ed Vaizey” not “Ed Davey”. Davey was the old lib dem climate change or something or other minister.

  39. ian wragg
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    So yesterday Barnier stated categorically that staying in the Customs Union means we must hand over our trade policy completely to Brussels and there would be no amending of the rules.
    Just why do the majority of politicians, civil servants and other movers and shakers think it’s a good idea a foreign government controlling our trade. No doubt at a distinct disadvantage to us.

  40. a-tracy
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I don’t think this is going to be resolvable without another general election. The next time I think that all the UKIP MEPs need to get their acts together in the seats of people that are acting against the UK’s interests and trying to force us in a tie-up with no say and no rights and no votes with this common market aim that they already know the EU has said a definite NO to if we wish to be a global marketing Country of trade.

    This time we should suspend postal voting so students and others can’t vote twice, the only exceptions will be for people who can prove they will be out of the Country and unable to exercise their vote otherwise, then their UK address local election office should have their name scratched off the voting list.

  41. Ron Olden
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I’ve wrtten umpteen articles about this myself.

    Even if this was desirable (which it isn’t) Parliament can’t just vote something into existence and blame Mrs May if she doesnt get it, or suggest to the EU that we won’t leave if it doesn’t give it to us.

    That’s hardly going to leave them quaking in their boots.

    Carrying on like this is going to stop any progress at all in getting any concessions from the EU and we’ll leave with no ‘deal’ whatsoever

    As for all this alleged, ‘form filling’, it’s just a symptom of the fact that these Remainers, especially Labour MPs are nearly all ‘public sector’, ‘social enterprise’, paid charity ‘workers’ and lawyers, where antiquated methods, pointless time wasting, and low productivity, is de rigeur.

    If they’d had proper jobs they’d know how easy all this is, to overcome.

    In any case, if we don’t get the deal we want, we can, if we wish, simply declare unilateral free trade with the whole world anyway, and as far as our imports are concerned at least, we’d be in a Global ‘Customs Union’ instantaneously.

  42. VotedOut
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Both political parties stood for election on manifestos to leave the EU, Customs Union and Single Market.

    MP’s voted in 2015 to pass sovereignty to the people on the decision to be in the EU, Customs Union and Single Market. This unique act means that for any MP now to obstruct the directive of the people, is by definition an act of treason (sensational maybe, but true).

    All these semantics over “what we voted for” and we “didn’t understand”, is disingenuous. Every household had a leaflet from the government explaining what was being asked. The EU too published the Five President’s Report, which stated clearly on 24 pages what staying in the EU would mean. Those that didn’t bother to read all this cannot now complain they didn’t know – some of us take voting seriously and we knew exactly what we were voting for.

    Please do continue to uphold the will of the people – we the majority, appreciate your efforts.

    • alan jutson
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink


      You would be amazed at the number of Remainers I speak to who have never even heard of the Five Presidents report, let alone read it.

      Thus I send them an electronic copy, but they still refuse to read it !

      The excuse “Its far too long”

      Unfortunately they are happy to be suckered in to believing short fake news so called facts, they can find, or are rather posted on the internet.

  43. Derek Henry
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    None of this will matter if Hammond keeps on cutting the deficit he can’t grasp the connection with GDP.

    He reminds me of the fiscal conservative lumberjack and hairdresser

    ‘no matter how much I cut off it’s still too short’…

  44. Newmania
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Parliament feels it ought to make some feeble show of representing business , the working population , the young , the well-educated and the various parts of the half of the remain constituency, as they are half the country and the most important half .

    The problem is not Parliament, the problem is a wholly insufficient mandate to run the country upside down and take vast risks with our lives . Gosh how boring it must be

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      With 50% of the populace going to university degrees are now as cheap as chips.

      You aren’t so gullible as to believe that the young have suddenly got brighter than the old, surely ? You haven’t been suckered in by Blairist grade inflation, have you ?

      To think. You once stood as a Tory. That’s as disgraceful as a former Tory number 2 editing a paper which reads like the Graudian.

      (80% of students oughtn’t be students and 80% of lecturers oughtn’t be lecturers and wouldn’t have cut it 30 years ago.)

    • mancunius
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      The well-educated know how to type and punctuate. (It is not difficult to learn.)
      The well-educated do not confuse their ‘education’ with intelligence and common sense. They are clever enough not to patronise the voter. They do not make crass assumptions about the young, or about being more ‘important’ they are than all those who do not agree with them.
      And the well-educated are also numerate. They know that 48% of a ballot does not amount to ‘half’. Nor are they stupid enough to assume that all those who did not vote at all must tacitly agree with them.

      • mancunius
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        “or about being more ‘important’ they are than all those who do not agree with them.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      About 6% of UK businesses are involved in exporting to the rest of the EU.

  45. rose
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    It was good to hear your still small voice of reason and intelligence in the debate. Yvette Cooper was reduced to spluttering when she heard it. No-one else managed that feat.

  46. Simon Platt
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I’d just like to point out that the Customs Union is a Bad Thing not only for the UK, but also for poor countries outside the EU.

  47. Dioclese
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I live in hope that what is actually happening is that we keep going round and round in circles until next March when we crash out. That way there’s no need to vote on the conditions of a non existent deal.

    I may live in hope but I’m not holding my breathe either…

  48. MPC
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    If the government were taking the trouble to confirm its detailed preparations in the case of no deal/WTO then we’d be reassured. The silence on this must mean there are no real such preparations, in which case the EU will at the last minute reject key aspects of a draft agreement leaving us powerless.

  49. Stephen
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    No, No. No on giving BTL tax advantages over owner occupation.
    Why should BTL buyers have a financial advantage over owner-occupier buyers, making it extremely difficult for first time buyers to compete for purchases? The more first time buyers are priced out of the market by BTL buyers and forced into rented accommodation , the less stake they have in capitalism. If BTL increases at its recent rates, BTLers will gradually hoover up the bulk of the housing stock, and most will become renters. Once bought for BTL, that property is unlikely to ever be owner occupied again.

    • mancunius
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Quite so, Stephen: in my local area BTL’ers relentlessly hoovered up all the decent, lower-priced entry-level FTB properties years ago, and they will never relinquish their grip.
      Impossible for a young professional to get on the housing ladder these days, as I did in the early 1980s.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I agree Stephen

  50. Helen Smith
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    This needs to be a confidence motion, leaving the CU was in the Tory manifesto, the likes of Morgan, Grieve and Soubry stood on that manifesto, it was also clearly defined as a result of voting to Leave, there is zero justification to stay in the CU. If we lose then those ‘Tories’ who voted for must be deselected, and their constituency Chairmen should be making preperations for that now, and May has to go too, we cannot go into another GE with her at the helm. This time, no coronation, let the eurosceptic members have a say. If Labour keep us in the CU and SM we have to destroy the Labour Party too.

  51. margaret howard
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s all falling apart, isn’t it, John.

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Margaret. It is. Indeed.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        And apparently both of you would be happy to see that happen even though it would clearly be damaging to your own country. This is what I would do for people like you: I would take away your UK citzenship and give it to some loyal Windrush immigrant who needs and would value it.

    • NickC
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Margaret. “It” being the Remains getting their way.

  52. Bob
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I read in the DM that Britain is still giving £47 million p.a. in aid to China?
    UK-funded schemes included improving dementia care in the port city of Qingdao and a schools programme to encourage children to consume less salt.

    And your Chancellor wants us to pay more tax.
    He needs to focus more on where he spends our money.

  53. Paul Cohen
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article in D Telegraph yesterday by Ambrose Evans Pritchard regarding his assertion that we are now headed to a drift into a Greek Syriza trap, allowing us to be beaten down by protracted talks on talks set entirely by Brussels. He also suggested that the UK at the outset should have intimated the intention of following the WTO route, forcing the EU to approach us to make any amendments.

    I sense a stitch-up presently, we not having a energetic talented team of negotiators, not
    seemingly enthused by their task – why are our detractors allowed to get away with spouting so much innacurate information without a response by “our team”.

  54. GilesB
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    ‘A €1000 per truck per crossing’? That sounds about right for Irish exporters using the U.K. as a land bridge to reach the EU, or Rotterdam for the Rest of the World. Of course if we are not in a Customs Union we won’t apply rules of origin and wouldn’t levy such a charge.

    But is that really a risk that Dublin will take. They don’t seem to building any extra port capacity … …

  55. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    “The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday said the EU would not change the rules of a customs union for the UK, adding that Britain would have to give up independence over its trade policy if it were to agree a customs union with the EU. He said, “When you’re in a customs union for goods, like Turkey for example, you become part of a common trade policy — you don’t have autonomy anymore.””

  56. alan jutson
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Afraid I am now getting absolutely pi55ed off with Mp’s who are trying to fight old battles, and who are at the same time undermining the current one.

    They have now had two votes after the Referendum result, and on both occasions leaving with all that entails, won by a clear majority.
    The Government before the Referendum delivered at some cost, (£9.4 million I believe) a leaflet to every household in the Country, which outlined very, very clearly, that we would be leaving the Customs Union, and the Single Market if we voted Leave.

    The Government set the Referendum Question, with at the time very few complaints from any MP’s, Leaver and Remainers had the chance to put their arguments to the people, and the people gave their answer.

    The failure of this Government was to delay sending in a letter to enact article 50 (cowardice on the part of Mr Cameron) and to try and talk a settlement before we simply left on WTO terms.
    Had we left and immediately implemented WTO Rules, then the EU would have come to us.

    Why on earth some politicians still want to argue a position which will favour the EU is absolutely beyond me !

    • David L
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I don’t think those leaflets have been delivered yet in this part of Wokingham, Alan!
      Neither my neighbours nor I have seen them.

  57. Katy Hibbert
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    ” There was no talk of electronic manifests, filing in advance, electronic debits for customs dues as for VAT and Excise at the moment …”

    Yet according to the remainers, leave-voters are all old codgers who still use a quill pen and abacus.

    • Toffolo
      Posted April 27, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      As ever Redwood is ignorant of non tariff barriers

      • Edward2
        Posted April 27, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Non tariff barriers are illegal under WTO rules.
        Deliberate delay of legitimate trade is not allowed.
        I hope you are not suggesting the EU would stoop to underhand methods?

  58. getahead
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    John, deal with her, for God and the country’s sake.

  59. Ron Olden
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    Following the ASDA (Walmart), Sainsbury ‘merger’ news, I would be interested to see someone prepare and maintain a list of all the companies which have come to invest in the UK, expand their operations here, or pay over the odds for takeover bids, since we voted to Leave the EU.

    Food Retailing is particularly pertinent case to examine

    Against all logic and reason, Remainers tell us it’s going to cost retailers more to buy their stock, it’ll be harder to get it, and there’ll be less choice, when we Leave the Single Market and the Protectionist Customs Union.

    In that case, perhaps they can explain why Walmart wants to near double its food retailing presence here, and every man and his dog is queuing up to invest here.

  • 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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