Non Tariff barriers – the EU has to play by WTO rules

One of the many absurd Project Fear scares is that we will be unable to export many goods to the EU without an Agreement because they will say they do not comply with EU rules any more once we have left. This flies in the face of the fact that they will still so comply, as the companies exporting will continue to meet EU specs for EU trade.

More importantly, the EU has built World Trade rules into its own legal structures. The WTO, for example, has  a  Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement to deal with just such issues, and a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement for agriculture. These require a WTO state to accept product from another WTO state as complying with standards unless there is an objective reason to establish they do not comply. The EU has and uses powers to recognise the standards and competent authorities of third countries to be able to import their goods and to comply with its WTO obligations.

So hear this all you Project Fearmongers. The EU is a legal construct which also has to live by the rule of international law. Under WTO rules non tariff barriers have been dealt with, so the EU cannot legally mount a Napoleonic blockade against UK goods once we have left. After all, the day following our departure UK produce and products still meet all existing EU standards. I still find it odd that those who most love the EU think the EU would want to try to do this. It would also, of course, be a violation of the EU Treaties themselves which require the EU to develop positive relationships with neighbouring states and to promote trade with them.

The WTO has done good work in recent years to make it illegal for countries to impose new non tariff barriers to impede trade. The EU has built these requirements into its own law codes. People on both sides of the Channel will continue to honour contracts and buy and sell to each other after our exit. To suggest otherwise is silly scaremongering.

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  1. Ian wragg
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    The day after we have left the sun won’t shine and all first born will be slain.
    I can’t wait to read the 84 preparation documents being released this week.
    Gloom and doom writ large.

    • Hope
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      JR, your blogs are quite correct. However, it does beg the question why May has not instructed her civil service and communication dept to inform the public in the way you have. It is therefore striking what a lying traitor May is to scare the public witless to on a false premise to get her way. What is even more troubling is that Cameron and Osborne did exactly the same thing using all govt depts available to them, including those allegedlybindependen from govt!

      Does this not strike you how this effects the credibility of your party? May has not corrected, censured or disciplined any of those who have blatantly lied or acted dishonestly, for example civil service KitKat policy to hide true costs and ties to EU. How do you think this effects her credibility among ordinary 17.4 million people who were promised by her that she would deliver a clean Brexit, not half in or half out or remain bits as that would not be leaving. How could 17.4 million people not reasonably draw the conclusion she is a liar?

      • NickC
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Theresa May has just stated (again) that there will be no second referendum. That means she is planning one right now. We will be offered WTO, Revolving-door Remain, or Remain. Most Leaves will vote revolving-door to avoid hard Remain. The campaign has already started with WTO being denigrated at every opportunity. Brexit Tories have been comprehensively outmanouevred. Again.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          Of course WTO can be denigrated when its supporters virtually invite their opponents to represent it as a sure recipe for chaos while failing to point out how little we have gained from the Single Market.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

          Certainly it is reasonable to assume that T May is lying yet again. As with her there will be no early election promise. She has a lot of form after all. We shall see if the sound wing of the Tories are actually outmanoeuvred again.

          William Hague is, it seems, against Tory Members having a fair, unfettered say in any leadership election. He is wrong. Members would never have given us a dope and electoral liability and disingenuous disaster like T May.

          • Hope
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Why would anyone listen to Hague? He has not achieved anything in his lifetime. He could not get the party in power, he has shifted left as he got older and his views all changed when he shared a room with a staffer. H even got on with Hilary Clinton! He should disappear quietly, never ennobled he did nothing to deserve it. A drain on the public purse all his life with little in return.

        • Paul N
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          In my view another referendum is mrs. May’s best option. She will however offer the choice between a soft (EEA) and a hard (FTA) Brexit, while advocating for a soft one. Another referendum will in my view also be acceptable to mr. Corbyn and to the majority in parliament.

    • Paul N
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Who said the sun would not shine after Brexit?
      As for the 84 preparation documents, I would advise you to read some of them, just to get a more objective picture. I see no reason why they should not be factual. Keep in mind while reading that the basic premise of these papers is that there really is no deal on anything.

      Of course mr. Redwood is right that the EU is obliged to trade by WTO rules. In case of a no deal (and I mean really no agreement on anything), then EU non-tariff barriers for third countries will take full effect. UK exports like dairy products have suddenly for 50% of shipments to be fysically inspected. For proof
      If the EU would not do so, it would be in violation of WTO rules. This will lead to traffic jams and so on.

      Mr. Redwood wrongly mixes up complying with EU standards with having official EU approval. For EU approval, it has to be tested by an institution that is recognised by the EU. The UK institutions will no longer be recognised by the EU as a consequence of leaving. This is also true of drivers and other licenses. Of course, a solution for this can be arranged, but that means a deal of some sort.

      • sm
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        As far as recognition of UK driving licences is concerned, should Brussels be so incredibly bonkers as to no longer recognise them, then all the UK drivers with current licences have to do is to obtain an International Licence – if it’s easy to do out here in South Africa, it’s easy anywhere!

        • Paul N
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          I think so. There will probably be a special arrangement between these countries and the EU. It only takes a special arrangement between the UK and the EU to solve the problem, so another part of some kind of deal:)

      • libertarian
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Paul N

        You seem to have overlooked that ALL , every single last one of our products HAS ALREADY BEEN TESTED BY THE EU !!!!

        It seems that the UK Dairy Industry association disagree with you

        Heres their headline from this weeks Trade Website

        Dairy Exports a Huge Opportunity for the Industry post Brexit, Says Dairy UK

        Going forward for the future those of us that export will expect to see the UK implement compliant regulations for those exporting to the EU in exactly the same way we comply with Non EU regulations to third countries

        • Paul N
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          WTO is not chaos, no deal is.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

            Paul N

            WTO IS “no deal”

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        British Standards Institution BSI is part of ISO the international standards organisation.
        Items tested and approved by ISO affiliated organisations like BSI carry certification accepted worldwide.

      • Stred
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

        Are drivers from the US, Canada or even the Stans allowed to hire a car and drive in the EU at the present?

  2. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:28 am | Permalink


    Can we start looking at the real problems in the UK such as
    -Educational standards
    –Lack of investments in infrastructure
    -Social problems with young people
    -Apprenticeships challenges
    -Our elderly care
    -Lack of productivity

    That would be real problems to bring up

    • Edward2
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Classic “whataboutery” hans.
      I presume you are claiming all the things you have listed are perfect in all the other EU nations.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink


        “Greece has ended a three-year Eurozone bailout programme which was designed to help it cope with fallout from a debt crisis”

        From basket case on the road to recovery. No wonder Greece was so keen to join the EU. They saved it from total collapse just as Britain was in the 1970’s when we begged to join.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          margaret howard

          Oh my word. Greece is only a basket case because of the Euro .

          Wall Street Journal TODAY

          Difficult to overstate just how incredibly bleak the last decade has been for Greece. Total number of employees down 16.5%, Total wages down 19.4%, GDP down 24.2% on ten years ago.

          You live in a fantasy world Margaret

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


            “You live in a fantasy world Margaret”

            Really? I’m not alone because the following is
            an extract from the World Bank on Global Economy:

            In the “Doing Business” category Greece came 61st, just behind Tunisia

            For “Reliability” it came 155th, just behind Malawi

            For “Tax Collecting” it was behind the Solomon Islands

            But in other criteria it compared favourably to Tongo and Marocco

            Without EU help they would have been sunk. That’s why they voted for a pro EU government at the last election.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 23, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            Wow… just wow that is propaganda in a class)of its own? ed)

            Greece wasn’t any of those things UNTIL the EU forced them into the Euro , They had their PM IMPOSED on them by the EU , just like Italy

            The country’s post-World War II development has largely been connected with the Greek economic miracle. During that period, Greece saw growth rates second only to those of Japan, while ranking first in Europe in terms of GDP growth. It is indicative that between 1960 and 1973 the Greek economy grew by an average of 7.7%, in contrast to 4.7% for the EU15 and 4.9% for the OECD. Also during that period, exports grew by an average annual rate of 12.6%. Then Greece joined the EU and its been downhill ever since

            This is what your EU has done to the people of Greece and you should hang your head in shame

            As Greece exits international bailout programmes, it’s worth remembering:
            – 500k people, mostly young, emigrated
            – Unemployment hit 27.8% (still >20%)
            – Youth unemployment reached 60%
            – Economy shrank by 25%
            – Debt/GDP ballooned to 180%
            – Suicide & depression rates rose sharply
            – One third of Greeks now live in poverty in 2018

        • Edward2
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          Is that relevant?
          Hans listed problems which affect every EU nation yet suggested they only affect the UK
          I’m pleased Greece is improving.
          EU enforced austerity impacted them very hard.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          They should not have been allowed to join the Eurozone but France and Germany wanted them in.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        no they are just more important than WTO rules and that is the point of this exercise it ahs nothing to do with the Eu and WTO but it is more important thank you for your valuable contribution Edward 2

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
          Stick to debate.

          • hefner
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            Ed2, what about you reading the Wikipedia page on rhetoric and see how many echappatoires you use in your answers. The pot calling the kettle black.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            How about you mind your own business hef

        • libertarian
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink


          Unnecessary and rude, have you run out of ( made up) arguments?

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        No, are you? Nick C

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink


      Can we start looking at the real problems in the EU such as
      – youth unemployment
      – lack of democracy
      – NPLs in the EZ banking system
      – hidden subsidies via Target2
      – setting up an EU army
      – excessive bureaucracy
      – corruption
      – outright hostility to the UK
      – theft of rights from the nation states

      That would be real problems to bring up.

      And our problems are none of your business.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:49 am | Permalink

        as a British citizen they are my business thank you

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      And all much easier to deal with when we don’t have the EU’s hand in our pocket.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Oh I agree with you hans, we don’t need to wait to make a start on these things and we should look at the worst offenders in each category first.

      Educational standards aren’t poor in all schools, we need to look at the bottom 10% first.
      Homelessness – I would start building student like studio apartments in the big cities, then I would build attractive retirement complexes and encourage people out of big housing association and council homes with town centre, easy access, local to GP social housing for people, private sector apartment builders do it with big success so why don’t housing associations, because they don’t have to they have a queue of people waiting for them to house them! Then I would convert some three-bedroom council properties by building extensions into often large gardens to create two new bedrooms like those with private homes have to expand out into or indeed into loft space to house these big homes people who have ten children need but shouldn’t be rewarded with mini mansions.
      There’s just a couple of ideas.

      Productivity – it would help if accountants told businesses that the government consider on their measures unproductive so that you’re aware, they should then offer guidance of improving productivity using similar business benchmarks, it could also be improved by stopping these ridiculous 50mph motorway sections, one after another after another rather than finish one project before starting on the next, this is also causing many more accidents, multiple pile-ups and much frustration to the general public who get no say in it.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


      All good points, lots of them covered on this blog in the past and education and infrastructure both recently

      If only the wild eyed, remainiacs would shut up, let us get on with implementing the democratic will of the people we could indeed focus on these important matters

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink


        thank you very much

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, there is a real to do list. Moreover, leaving the EU will maximize politicians’ accountability, responsibility and flexibility. Hopefully it will be habit forming, and hopefully the electorate will become more focused on each MP’s individual performance. Excuses will be reduced.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      hans christian ivers

      “That would be real problems to bring up”

      An excellent suggestion Hans, and core to many underlying social issues not being tackled by the current or previous Governments!

      Let’s get Brexit out of the way (successfully) and then start to clean up/address the multitude of public service problems, post-haste!

    • whataboutery
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Hans- also we would like to know who is going to replace the East European workers from the NHS when they decamp back to Europe- would also like to know also who is going to pick the fruit and veg from the fields

      • matthu
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        I have never quite understood why we need *immigrants* to pick fruit which is essentially a seasonal activity?

        You would have thought that if they immigrate, the fruit picking sector would be saturated. And if they don’t stay after the end of the season, they shouldn’t be classified as immigrants …

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Whataboutery, Before we joined the EU, British students went to Europe for the summer to pick their fruit, and European students came here to pick ours. That tells us 3 things: we don’t need the EU to travel and work in each others countries; we did travel to Europe before the EU; and there are always solutions to mundane problems like fruit picking.

    • whataboutery
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Hans is correct- we have real problems and the problems are made worse because so many EU nationals will leave next year despite government promises- they are not going to stay in a place where they don’t feel welcome.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Immigration still at several hundred thousands a year.
        Many trying to escape 50% youth unemployment in EU member nations.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          You really have to top this focused discrimination

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            Don’t go playing the race card Hans.
            Read the original comment by “whataboutety” to which I replied.
            There is no discrimination in my reply whatsoever.

            There was a claim many EU nationals are or will be leaving.
            My comment stated that current immigration is still at high levels from the EU

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

            Any response Hans?
            Any chance of an apology from you for your dreadful comment towards me?

        • hefner
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

 “Youth unemployment rate in EU member states as of May 2018” : Greece 43.2%, Spain 33.8%, Italy 31.9%, Croatia 23.6%, … UK 11.5%
          Awful numbers I agree, but not exactly consistent with your “many trying to escape 50% youth unemployment in EU member nations”.

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        Whataboutery, Why do you suppose they are any more welcome now than they will be next year?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        whatalotofaboutery & hans

        From full fact check

        Overall, the EU citizen population in the UK has gone UP by an estimated 240,000 in the last 12 months, an increase of 7%.

    • Narrow shoulders
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Too true Hans and once we are out our government can not use the EU as an excuse. It is on them. We can vote them out an expect the new government to deliver rather than kowtow to the EU.

      There is much wrong with many countries in the world and the solutions are particular to those countries not to QMV

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we could Hans if you remainers stopped making the whole process so lengthy. This all could have been done and dusted if people who want to remain would recognise that the vote was to leave and just get it got!! Then maybe we can concentrate on getting this country back on its feet with nobody dragging us down.

  3. Yorkie
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    The vast majority of people do not write Comments on blogs and most people tell pollsters what they wish to hear and their own public stance, the neighbours may be listening.. I have not personally questioned 2000 people like pollsters who say 66 million think this or that.

    Remoaners of course do not hear the silence in the UK. Just media and the echo of their own betrayal. The silence ought to tell them something. People voted. They voted to leave. ‘Nough said, as we say in God’s own County. No need to say things twice. That would be an insult to who we told. We are polite.

  4. Mark B
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The CE Mark. This has to be displayed on products sold in the EEA Area.

    NB This can be added by countries trading outside the EU/ EEA.

    I seem to remember the scandal of both breast implants which had the CE Mark and not to standard. We also had the scandal of the adulterated meat that came from the continent and was sold as pure because it had the right (sic) EU paperwork.

    The point of all this. Outside the EU the UK can have better control over these and other areas. Our standards and checks could be more rigourous. Something I am sure some on the continent will not like.

    Reply Yes, and our current products have CE marks will not be taken away on 30 March

    • Graham Todd
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      CE marks may be applied only if the trader has a base in the EU. So any UK trader who wants to market a CEmarked product in the EU will have to go to the expens of buying a base in the EU. Many are already moving investment out of the UK

      Reply What nonsense! Chinese exporters to the EU apply CE marks. You may self certify in many cases. As the Uk has a whole range of CE compliant and marked products today it can go on selling those after we leave! Another silly scare story.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Graham, I don’t see that condition mentioned here:

        I do see references to an “authorised representative” doing things, but just as an alternative to the manufacturer itself doing them.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        @Graham Todd.

        Love your reply John. What on earth are people going on about? Seems they will do anything to scare or try and scare people. Only idiots believe all the nonsense.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      The CE mark may not be taken away from current products but it could perhaps be declared invalid or counterfeit by the EU Commission once the UK was no longer bound by the relevant EU law, in the absence of any new legal basis such as (most obviously) a Mutual Recognition Agreement like those that the EU already has with seven non-EEA countries around the world:

      “List of mutual recognition agreements”

      But while there may be no practical problem with the UK being added to that list that would need an agreement to be negotiated.

      • JasG
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think you understand just how little has to be done to apply a CE mark. Far less than US standards or even the old BS kitemark. The idea that CE or EU standards have anything to do with quality is based on ignorance. The CE mark is only a self-certification and EU standards in my field (engineering) are mostly blatant plagiarism of better US and UK codes mashed together incoherently and constantly lagging behind the codes they copy from.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink


          “There are mechanisms in place to ensure that the CE marking is put on products correctly.”

          and if the EU Commission chose to be picky it might decide that CE marks on our exports were invalid after we had left the EU without first getting a Mutual Recognition Agreement.

          Reply Not so. This system is about auditing and checking particularly the self validated CEs, and applies today to China’s exports etc. Why are you so determined to argue the EU has the power and the wish to stop our trade when they dont

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Of course they have the power to bring our exports to the EU to something as close to a halt as they may like, and as I have said before they could do that by just by “working to rule” if we had left without having sorted out all the legalities. In this case, they could choose to ban UK imports bearing what they chose to treat as counterfeit CE’s, and in all probability the world would then be on their side not on ours.

          • jasg
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            Yes despite their supposedly rigid rules they can be very parochial – as with the ban on UK beef (mentioned below) which contravened their rules. I have also detected in my own dealings with Europe that the UK is often held to standards that other EU countries are given a free pass on – commonly known as Brit-bashing. Is this behavior really a good reason to stay in this club? Maybe we were better off with the Commonwealth – a much larger union or EFTA which was started by the UK.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:56 am | Permalink

        Exactly. And we intern would have ours and they would have to comply with us. But the PM has signed us over to a regulatory alignment so there should be no problem. Except that is it applies to the whole of the UK and not just those who sell to it.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Outside of the EU we can implement our own testing procedures so as not to be caught again by massive frauds such as the German diesel emissions testing scam and importantly be able to obtain compensation for our citizens.

      • JasG
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        We always had superior testing procedures. The idea of such tests in the EU was just the EU catching up with the UK. It’s all a farce! The only ideas that started life in the EU have been uniformly bad ideas – like throwing dead fish back in the sea. Or the CAP with its butter mountains and wine lakes. Or banning fire-prevention gas because it might warm the planet by 0.00000001 degree in 1000 years. etc, etc, Not only are the EU a fountain of crap, job-killing, loony-lefty tropes, there is there is never any accountability so they never admit they are wrong which might have allowed us to fix the messes they have created. All they do instead is double-down on the original stupidity.

        • robert lewy
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

          Too true. But you omit what is probably he most important issue – fire safety of buildings.

          It can be argued that the absence on clear overall EU standards on building fire safety (as standards were piecemeal and inconsistent) led to a false sense of security in the UK with the consequence Grenfell.

          CE marking is a statement to consumers that goods are in compliance with EU standards. If a product is found not to comply the trader will have to demonstrate how they have ensured that the goods are compliant. Without such assurance they will face the appropriate legal sanctions. Ensuring compliance, in practice, will mean obtaining a test report from a recognised testing house where such capabilities are not available in house. These testing houses tend to be international and can test to whichever standard is applicable for the market being addressed.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


          “We always had superior testing procedures. ”

          Really? So how come our farmers caused Mad Cow Disease that got our beef exports banned world wide for years?

          Or Edwina Currie lost her job when she exposed the salmonella in eggs scandal?

          They were by far the most serious outbreaks to happen in any EU country.
          How come those ‘superior testing procedures’ failed so disastrously?

          • a-tracy
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

            Oct 2016 Pigs infected with the superbug MRSA can be freely imported into the UK due to regulatory loopholes, the Bureau can reveal.

            An investigation has established that there is no mandatory screening for live breeding pigs leaving Denmark – where MRSA (might occur ed) throughout the country’s herd – and entering the UK.

          • jasg
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Yes when you test for things you find them and eliminate the problem. The Europeans by contrast just didn’t bother testing to the same extent but they still had them. Whatever issues arise it is not until deaths occur that anyone seems to care. Our food standards are among the best in the world and we employ more inspectors per head. Stop pretending otherwise!

            The main problem with BSE was the reliance on ‘experts’ who first pretended that Scrapie couldn’t transfer to cows and then pretended that BSE couldn’t transfer to humans. We dodged a bullet thanks to our procedures. Woe betide anyone who just relies on the guesswork of ‘experts’ alone without testing.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            Or the EU with ots horse meat scandal .

          • libertarian
            Posted August 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            How on earth do you think that BSE got identified so quickly? Remind us how many people developed CJD as a result of eating infected beef? Was it the 100,000’s predicted? No , why? because own procedures , captured and isolated it. Beef was banned in other countries AFTER that

            Now on to the EU and food testing

            Like a bit of horse meat lasagne do you

            Salmonella in Dutch chickens anyone

            Forced feeding of Geese

            Live transport of animals for slaughter

      • Mark B
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

        Yes. As I said, certain members of the EU will not like it.

  5. eeyore
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Another dose of solid common sense from our host. But under which jurisdiction would UK businesses pursue the EU for breaches of WTO rules? If through UK courts, how would rulings be enforced?

    And although treaties demand good relations, how are they to be enforced too? If there is a lack of goodwill in any commercial or international relationship, all the laws and treaties in the world will not remedy the deficit.

    Reply Each supply contract specifies the jurisdiction that controls it. Of course if people don’t want to buy your goods the law cannot make them

    • Dominic Johnson
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      They would be pursued through the WTO

    • acorn
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      The WTO Dispute Settlement System is an “unelected” court of sorts, with no sanctioning powers. The members have to duel it out between themselves, with countervailing tariffs etc.

      It has seven members but currently three are missing, due to Trump blocking the appointment of persons from countries he doesn’t like. Trump’s unilateral “America First” sanctions, have rendered the WTO dispute system to the small fry outside the US; EU and China blocs trade blocs.

  6. Richard1
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Do you mean you don’t think that 1) the M20 needs to be turned into a lorry Park (as the govt govt says); 2) UK driving licenses will still be valid on the continent (govt says maybe not); 3) millions may not die (BMA?) etc etc?

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      UK driving licenses will still be valid on the continent (govt says maybe not) That works both ways!

      • hefner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Cost of an International Driving Permit: £5.50 valid from one year, available from the Post-Office. Procedure very similar in cost and ease of obtention in most EU countries.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Richard1, first you have to ask: “Why, in precise legal terms, are UK driving licenses presently accepted as valid on the continent?”, and then looking at the relevant law establish whether that present acceptance is contingent upon the UK being a member state of the EU. This is nothing at all to do with whether UK licenses should still be acceptable, but with what legal changes if any will be required for their continued acceptance as a matter of law. Maybe no changes will be needed, but if they are then they will have to be negotiated and obviously that could not happen if the UK had packed its bags and walked away from all negotiations.

      Reply This is exactly what the govt has meant to be doing for the last 2 years so if any adjustment is needed it will be done. People coming from outside the EU are allowed to hire cars on the continent and drive them!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        They are, by virtue of agreements, “deals”, which have been negotiated.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          Denis Cooper, Which is why I, for one, talk about a trade deal, and do not talk about “no deal”. “Deal” has to be defined.

          The independent UK does not need a bi-lateral trade deal (RTA in WTO speak) with the EU. In theory a trade deal with the EU is a good thing, but the reality is the EU is so nasty, and our government is so incompetent, that we will end up swapping some of our independence for a trade deal. And that is unacceptable. That makes the basic WTO trade deal the best.

          Of course we have to sort out a range of other issues from dual taxation, to flying rights, to driving licences. But those are usually dealt with internationally where the EU is merely one player, or by simple internationally recognised techniques. Therefore strictly they are not “deals” specifically with the EU.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            Then that makes two of us, perhaps we will manage to persuade our host to join us before it is too late …

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    “To suggest otherwise is silly scaremongering”

    Indeed it is, but that seems to be the main activity of May, Hammond, her remain ministers, the civil service, the BBC, channel 4 and this government in general.

  8. Henry Spark
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. You should be embarassed. You really do not understand the first thing about the WTO. Please, go away and read a basic textbook, and come back once you have understood that WTO rules are MUCH more tolerant of non tariff barriers than EU rules. Brexit will expose us to thousands of obstacles to trade that we do not face now – Brexit is a rejection of free trade.

    Reply Nonsense. Try reading the WTO materials themselves as I have done

    • Edward2
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Most of our trade is outside the EU already, do you see delays and problems with it currently Henry?
      Because I don’t.

    • Jagman84
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Free trade does not cost £19bn a year, despite any rebates grudgingly given. We are in a customs union. It hinders free trade with non-members, as it is a protectionist bloc.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Henry Spark

      You just won, most deluded post of the year

      Meanwhile for the last 20 years ( whilst members of the EU single market) my company has faced non tariff barriers doing business in Germany ( trying to do business). No other EU countries has the same barriers in my industry

      Henry, give up. Until you’ve run a business and tried your hand at trading you have nothing of value to offer

    • mancunius
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      @ Henri Spaak
      Several posters here previously referred you to chapter and verse of the WTO regs that militate against NTBs and demand that WTO signatories (who include the EU) must avoid such practices.
      But no, you just carry on blindly blustering. Not impressive at all.

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      The UK has always been exposed to hidden non-tariff barriers when trading in the EU which is one of the reasons we have an £80bn per YEAR trade deficit with the EU.

  9. Hameed
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    This angers me. I did not vote to Leave the EU only to be ruled by the WTO. Who is the WTO? Did I ever vote for them? No, I did not. We are taking back control by leaving the EU, so why, Mr Redwood, do you want to hand over power to the unelected WTO? We should leave the WTO on the same day we leave the EU.

    Reply No, there needs to be international trade rules and we have always accepted them and used to help shape them before we joined the EU

    • Edmund
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink


      Obtusely with you, Theresa May did not vote to Leave the EU in the Referendum either.

      As she now claims that to her Brexit means Brexit, she should sign up & register to support LEAVE means LEAVE with those other fine leaders, & contribute generously to campaign funds.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      The WTO can’t ‘rule’ us whereas the EU does, effectively.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Have you been listening to that silly James O’Brien on LBC ?

  10. DUNCAN
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, but the UK, in the way we understand ‘Leave’ to be, will not leave the EU in March 2019. Yes, Parliamentary law as set a Leave date but what does that mean in the real, physical world? It means absolutely nothing

    Our laws, our economy, our public finances, our infrastructure both here and in NI are now so intimately entwined that it can never be disentangled. This complexity is of course deliberate.

    The Byzantine strategies of the administrative class bamboozle elected politicians who by and large are either too clueless or too spineless to confront and destroy. Some elected politicians conspire with the civil service class and indeed the wider public sector to formulate strategies that create a deliberate entwining of the UK and the EU.

    We are tied in and we’re going find it difficult to disentangle ourselves.

    The question is do we have a leader with the belief, energy, conviction and sheer political will to see this task through? Is there another Thatcher lurking in the Tory party? Someone who tells it as it is? Direct, clear and honest

    We are sick and tired of political double-speak. We just want a political leader who speaks in clear, apolitical language. The language of the real world, not the language of the political world

    • Mark B
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      Very true. But you have to start somewhere.

  11. Gardener of England
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I export fruit from Kent to France. Could you give me a rough estimate of how long it will take me to get a complaint upheld by the WTO if the French block my exports after Brexit? Months? years? I would be grateful for detailed advice, not generalities. My business depends on it

    Reply How and why would they? You presumably have an enforceable contract to supply.

    • Reno Fardner
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      The French could refuse entry at Calais. Please explain how quickly the WTO could step in, Mr Redwood

      Reply Why and how could they refuse access? Can always go via Belgium.

      • Reno Fardner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        No, belgium and france are both in the EU so they apply the same rules and standards. You cant play them off against each other

        • libertarian
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Reno Fardner

          So you are saying that the EU intends to mount a blockade refusing entry to all of our goods. OK…… la la la la

        • Stred
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

          We should block French products in retaliation. Then buy home produce. The Camembert I bought is excellent and made in the UK with British milk.

    • Beecee
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      They block our produce under EU rules now when it suits them. They also frequently block Calais etc.

      Try getting compensation from them now!

    • Norman
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Might you do better, then, to sell into the UK?

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      What sort of fruit do you export? Are you fearing your French clients won’t buy from you or renew contracts or the French public won’t buy your produce?

      I was listening to the radio recently talking about political movement in the UK to overturn some of the EU rulings on perfect shapes and sizes of fruit and veg, will this help you? Perhaps if new markets are created for miss-shapes for purchase by British schools, hospitals, prisons and other large catering establishments to stop them being used for animal feeds or rotting in fields it could create less waste and better internal UK markets. France and Spain are two of the largest exporters of fruit and veg to the UK I can’t see them wanting to make a trade war like this with the UK, but if they do the British government will need to buy locally grown produce such as you grow and there will need to be a campaign from the Farmers Union to increase local trade and new export markets and quickly, if you are losing business already.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink


      How long has it been taking to handle your complaints when the French blocked your exports on a regular basis in the last 20 years ? Oh and who exactly do you complain too?

      • Gardener of England
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        No, no blockages at all, just simple free trade. This is why I cannot understand Brexit. It robs me of my free trade. Now – no checks, because we are part of the club. Why throw that away? It is costing jobs

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          No checks because since 1992 the UK has enforced domestic laws to reassure the other EU countries that if they were to reinstate routine checks of our exports at their borders then they would find them to be a waste of time and money. And even outside the “club” there could still be alternative UK laws having the same practical effect of rendering nugatory routine checks on our goods as they entered the EU.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink


          Ha ha ha Operation Stack has been running for 20 years, the French routinely blocking Calais . Who do you complain too? How much of your fruit has gone off waiting to cross?

          By the way 41% of all fruit exports from UK are to Ireland and 12% to France ( mostly re-exports of oranges, bananas etc)

          We DO NOT have free trade with EU, its a protectionist customs union that we pay to belong too.

          There are 829,000 unfilled jobs in the UK today. It hasn’t cost a single job , your problem isn’t losing jobs, its losing cheap Eastern European workers .

          What exactly are you exporting?

    • Rick
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Well, Gardener of England
      You could try selling your fruit to the UK instead, then we would not need to import so much from the EU. Or, do you get greater subsidies (backhanders) by shipping to the EU?

  12. Tabulazero
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    The fact that the EU will absolutely conduct sanitary checks on UK imports is not some kind of obstruction to trade.

    It is actually the EU doing its job under a host of international obligations, starting with a requirement not to discriminate among WTO members.

    The EU has no intention to conduct some kind of ridiculous blockade but the fact that yes it will have to check UK’s imports and given the number of packages this will involve, this will likely lead to severe disruptions.

    As for Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement what the WTO simply does is to tell members to enter into consultations, but it doesn’t force them to recognize another’s standards.

    The UK is could be in talk at the WTO and the funniest thing is that all the Brexiters which are up in arm against the unelected foreign judges of the ECJ … are absolutely happy to trust the unelected foreign judges of the WTO court which is a much more opaque organisation.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Do we see delays to the tens of millions of containers fuĺl of goods entering Europe every year from countries outside the EU currently?
      No we don’t.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Have you realised that most of the goods exported from the UK to the EU is loaded on trucks rather than in containers ?

        A RoRo terminal and a container terminal aren’t the same thing.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          More red herrings from you.
          There are no delays with goods arriving and leaving the UK from EU and non EU sources.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Seems like a sensible and practical solution JR.

    So simple in fact it seems to have escaped the thoughts of Mrs May and Mr Robbins, those twin self proclaimed experts of manufacturing, commercial, industrial and international trading knowledge, who seem to be supported by those in cabinet of similar experience.

  14. Edmund
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    If EU Remain Scaremonger spokesman Andy doesn’t believe, he could resort to a failsafe option of buying purely UK products & holidaying alone in the Scilly Isles.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Do you mean Silly Islands!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg

        Or even Silly Land!

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    This is no doubt correct but we must all be aware and accept that there will be acts of spite perpetrated against us regardless of law and practise. They may be significant in some cases. We must recognise them for what they are and not be afraid to act in the short and long term against the offenders and quickly. Appeasement will not do any more.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      We have a £80billion deficit so I guess we could retaliate.
      I certainly boycott French German and Spanish goods and Ireland is being added to the list.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I buy English cheeses now. They are every bit as good as French and I buy wines from NZ and Oz and sometimes English when I can find it.

  16. Zorro
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Indeed, I have been banging on about the nonsense of suggesting that the EU think that it might be viable to resurrect a Continental System style blockade to forbid trade with the UK, notwithstanding the fact that EU standards will be effectively transposed on exit day and will stand unless/until they are repealed/changed by the HoC.

    It does no credit to seemingly reasonable/intelligent people to keep plugging this chimera. This is really basic stuff!


    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink



      Which sane European person/business would wish to negate this lucrative business activity to the UK:

      EU Commission released the latest EU28 trade figures.

      SINGLE MARKET COSTS THE UK £97bn TRADE DEFICIT: EU RELEASED FIGURES, August 2018 (June 2017 – June 2018 period) – Facts4EU

  17. Andy
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    According to the Telegraph this lousy, nasty and downright evil government is going to ‘take the moral high ground’ and allow EU citizens living in the UK to stay in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It should have done this, zero questions asked, on June 24 2016.

    Instead to try to appease the ranting hard right pensioners these incompetent ministers have thrown the lives of millions of people into chaos, confusion and uncertainty for more than two years. This is not ‘taking the moral high ground’. It is the political equivalent of swimming through a sewer.

    A friend of mine – a Dutch citizen – who has lived and worked here since he was 4 but has never got a British passport, reduced to tears over fears he would be deported and not see his children again as they are British and he is divorced. A Spanish friend of mine spat on in the street by an angry old white man for daring to speak to her children in Spanish. A black American friend of mine – highly successful and a big taxpayer – told after the referendum by a random stranger that “we’d voted for people like her to (go ed) off home.”

    The Conservatives are morally bankrupt. Not just loathesome and wrong but not verging on evil too. It is not time to drain the swamp. We need to blow it to pieces.

    Reply The official Leave campaign argued for common migration rules for everyone around the world, and advised the government to reassure all EU citizens currently legally in the Uk that they could stay.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink


      Well my French friend took just 5 minutes to fill out the Right to Stay form online and was accepted

      So I call BS on your other stories unless you can provide some proof

      “spat on in the street by an angry old white man for daring to speak to her children in Spanish” Gender fluid was he/she/they ?


      “Brexit Anxiety Disorder”: the ultimate conceit of a new 21st century pathology for the ruptured sense of metropolitan middle class entitlement combined with the traditional fear and loathing of the dangerous masses that stretches back to Peterloo

      • hefner
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        In fact for a EU citizen there is no need to do anything at present ( 16/08/2018). The right to stay appears guaranteed till 31/12/2020. According to, the site to apply for a settled status will be open by March 2019.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      The EU were offered this in October 2016. Merkel blocked it. It is the EU who wanted to use their citizens as bargaining chips, not the UK but you are so blinded by bigotry, you don’t even know of it. As for deporting Dutch citizens, the government have said several times this will not happen. We can’t even get rid of European criminals!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        No, Theresa May did not offer this.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Andy, You do realise you are wildly criticising the Tory government for things they have not, in fact, done? It is the classic strawman argument. It is you who is swimming in the sewer of irrelevance, hostility, anger, ageism, and invention.

      Interestingly you are feeding your children this poison – you have boasted about it. A 6yr old thinks a 45yr old is ancient. When your children are young adults they will despise you for the crime of being old – and you will have taught them. Your chickens will come home to roost and you will richly deserve it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      And Theresa May, a Remainer, ignored their advice and instead took the disgraceful advice of Sir Ivan Rogers.

    • Stred
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      As did UKIP. But our PM and the ambassador didn’t bother to read what the winning side had published during the referendum, or thought that the voters should be ignored. 2 years of wasted arguments and worry for nothing. Blunder woman as usual.

    • Eh?
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      ..allow EU citizens living in the UK to stay in the event of a no-deal Brexit”
      Why are you in favour of people staying here in what you believe will be a post Brexit hell?

    • sm
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Your Dutch friend who has lived and worked in the UK since he was 4 (as a chimney sweep’s lad?) never thought of applying for dual citizenship then?

    • Original Richard
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      I believe it is still the case that British nationals living and working on the continent are entirely in the dark over their future status, with no direct communication from the governments of France, Spain or Germany on what they need to do after Brexit.

      And the EC saying nothing except that British nationals living in one EU country may not be able to move to another EU country.

      Does this make the EC, France, Spain and Germany “nasty and downright evil” ?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      I have many foreign friends and none have been treated like that.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        The ages of voters have been groups arbitrarily in order to create division. You are in the 40 to 55 group who voted Leave.

  18. Kevin
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    JR writes: “the EU cannot legally mount a Napoleonic blockade against UK goods once we have left…. I still find it odd that those who most love the EU think the EU would want to try to do this”.

    Would they like us to pay for an EU navy that could implement the blockade?

  19. John S
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    All very fine but the EU does have a track record of ignoring rules, even ones it made itself, if it suits it. If it did so, it would take a long time for justice to be done and meanwhile things could be chaotic.

    In spite of this, I would still take a chance on a “no deal” Brexit.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      If the EU wants to behave like a toddler having a tantrum, we shall watch with amused aplomb until it is forced to see sense by its citizens.

  20. Stred
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The daftest story so far is that civil servants are writing to cigarette makes telling them that the EU owns copyright of the horrible pictures of cancer on the packets. They think smokers will be unable to risk killing themselves after 30.3.19 unless new horrible pictures are available.

    We must have the most stupid civil servants in the world.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Stred, We do. Or, the least patriotic.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Don’t call them stupid, they will be getting paid more than you and I together, for writing such stuff.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Well, we clearly do!

  21. Anthony
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I’m a brexiteer who delivered leaflets and canvassed for vote leave during the referendum. I wanted to get that out of the way so that no one thought I was a project fear monger.

    The blog above addresses the question of meeting the EU’s requirements on regulations. Indeed, even with no agreement with the EU, it is possible for the UK to voluntarily mirror EU regulations. Then UK goods will meet EU requirements and there is no no need to run a UK production line and a separate EU production line, reducing costs relative to other third countries.

    But that isn’t the whole story. Exporters not only have to meet the regulations of the destination country but prove to the destination country that the regulations have been met (so called “conformity assessment”). This is where the cliff edge, if there is one, lies, not in the regulations themselves.

    WTO rules mean that we can export to the EU for sure, access is not denied in the way it isn’t often presented, but there may be extra costs and delays.

    How can these costs and delays be mitigated unilaterally? Can exports normally headed for Calais be rerouted? Is there sufficient capacity elsewhere for this to work? Can extra costs be mitigated by a reduction in corporation tax? Can cash flow problems due to changes in VAT processes be addressed through government sponsored loans?

    What about highly regulated sectors such as cars and chemicals? Do extra actions need to be taken? Food all has to be exported through a limited number of border inspection posts. There is limited capacity on the EU side and the UK side – do we simply have to write this trade off, if the EU is not helpful, noting that we import three times what we export in this sector but that our choice of food domestically will be more limited for a period?

    A sensible discussion that accepted that there are problems but also solutions would go a long way to dealing with the soon to be febrile atmosphere.

    • NickC
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Anthony, Our exporters already meet the standards required in nations around the world – they do not, in the vast majority of cases, need “a separate … production line”. What it does mean is the vast majority of businesses will no longer need to conform to EU rules(**) for their non-EU exports and our domestic market. That is a welcome simplification and cost saving. **Provided Mrs May’s revolving-door Remain conformance to EU rules is defeated.

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Excellent post. In reply to your last sentence, it won’t stop them trying though. The remainers are depending upon their ability to make people scared.

    They employ deplorable underhanded tactics to try to get their way. I only wish our Prime Minister wasn’t one of them.

    Tad Davison


  23. acorn
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    The WTO does not authorise Truck Owners; Operators and Drivers!

    Yesterday, a group of us had an interesting conversation at an M27 Service Station concerning one of the sixty eight EU Notice to Stakeholders (NS). Particularly; “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU Rules in the Field of Road Transport.”

    It was supposed that one of the government’s no-deal technical papers, will be an answer to the above; and to the other 67 NS?

    Reply As this EU communication makes clear drivers licences are a national member states competence. I expect them to carry on recognising our licences in return for us recognising their licences.

    • Goran
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      So, Mr Redwood, you think the UK will leave the EU, but the EU will then change its rules so nothing changes for the UK? Is that what you really belueve?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        The EU recognises driving licenses from non EU countries currently.
        So if you are American you can drive in Europe.
        You think they will deliberate just refuse to accept UK licenses?

        • acorn
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

          We are not talking car driving license acceptance for holidays.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            They are recognised.
            Car or van or lorry .

  24. Fishknife
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Rarely in the last 40 years have I heard anyone with a really good word for the EU.
    That it has achieved something that we couldn’t do alone if we so wished.
    Before the referendum I asked my children for a positive reason to stay in the EU – nothing.
    Since the Referendum – from the Remainers – nothing but unfounded FEAR.
    Has this EU drive to Federalisation done anything positive for Europeans that “A Common Market” wouldn’t have achieved?
    Apart, obviously, Germany’s balance of payments.
    The millstone of the Euro has has produced misery for millions.
    Start from the solid foundations of WTO rules and build up from there, without the aquis.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Yes, JR, but after forty-five years of EEC/EC/EU membership many of the numerous agreements which confer rights on the UK – and of course in most cases also impose obligations – are now predicated on the UK being a member state of the EU.

    That certainly doesn’t mean that it would be impossible or even difficult to adjust such agreements to take account of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and nor does it mean that counterparties would insist that the corrections be made immediately rather than taking a pragmatic decision to allow the existing agreement to run as it stands for a time on a provisional basis, as is often done.

    For example, after it had joined the EU on July 1st 2013 Croatia was immediately treated as if it was also a member of the EEA for all practical purposes, even though the necessary amendments to the EEA Agreement had not come into legal force, and as far as I can see they still have not come into full and final force even now, it is still only provisional, but nobody seems at all bothered by that technical irregularity.

    But it does mean that these legal changes will have to be negotiated and agreed, and that will not be possible if the UK walks away from negotiations saying that it would prefer to have no deal at all with the EU.

    I note, JR, that you have declined to publish my comments yesterday pointing out how anyone who suggests that “no deal” at all would be fine, and what’s more we could save the £39 billion exit fee, is handing Theresa May a potent weapon with which to beat us, and is actually helping her to impose her kind of deal, but that does not alter the truth.

    Reply I didn’t read that one – you were just turning out far too many long posts. Nor do I agree with your convoluted logic that we need to stay in in order to leave! We need to get on with leaving. The government has had two years to sort out the detail of the No Deal option and has said it is doing so and will be ready for March

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s hardly convoluted logic to point out that you can’t negotiate new agreements to extend or replace existing agreements if you’ve stopped all negotiations.

      Quite right that the government has has two years to sort out the details and it was nine months ago, last November, that I recommended on here that the government should declare that it would not be seeking any special or preferential trade deal with the EU and instead it wanted to focus sorting out the details needed for a smooth and orderly transition to trade on WTO terms, plus all the other details.

  26. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Exaggeration is mainly a British thing. In the end WTO may work well. Rotterdam is already prepared to handle your trade more smoothly than other continental ports.
    An interesting youtube series “Brexit explained” states the per capita net EU contribution per year for the UK as €110. That tells me something about the famous “Brexit dividend”: Provided the pound doesn’t collapse it amounts to an extra cup of coffee almost every week for each of you! And on top of that the illusion of freedom, sovereignty and control!

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s not about €110 It’s about being a sovereign state. Tell me again why every man woman and child should pay that money for £80 billion trade deficit.
      Explain why EU employees should only pay 5% tax on there income and by products duty free from special shops.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Your concern is touching.
      ‘Weep not for us, but for yourselves and your children.’

    • acorn
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Peter, our Brexiteers have no idea how dependant the UK external economy has become on Dutch and Belgian Sea Ports. And, how much of UK non-EU trade, is enabled only by EU Trade Agreements conducted through those Ports.

      All WTO Trade Agreements; and, all Supra-national Agreements, always mean you have to give up some of your sovereignty.

      • sm
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Oh please, how do you think Great Britain has exported the overwhelming majority of its products for centuries, acorn, except by sea to Dutch, French, Belgian and German ports – amongst others.

        And how do they get their stuff to us? The same flippin’ way.

      • Retti
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, and this is why we must LEAVE THE WTO!! If we are to be a free country, we MUST NOT BE BEHOLDEN TO THE WTO. Did i ever vote for a wto mp? I dont think so

        • libertarian
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink


          Lol, so funny. Every country in the world just about belongs to the WTO. Its not a government its a trade standards body like one of the 150 other international trade standards bodies that exist

      • libertarian
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink


        acorn doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about

        80% of the UK economy is in services , acorn probably doesn’t know this but you dont need a sea port to deliver services

        Service exports in 2017 rose to £167.4 billion ( exc financial services, travel and transport) 64% to non EU countries

  27. English Pensioner
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The situation is quite simple. The EU sells us far more goods and services than we sell them. They would be the losers, we might have problems for a few months with some shortages whilst we set up alternative sources of supplies, but they would have far bigger problems selling, say, as many cars to other countries as they presently sell here. We would have short term problems if there is no acceptable agreement, they will have long term problems with the loss of our market.

    • bigneil
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Problems not just with the loss of our market – -but also the loss of our contributions – presumably TM has told them some VERY large brown envelopes will be quietly delivered over the channel.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Exports from the UK to the EU 27 represent 12% of the UK’s economy. Exports from the EU27 to the UK represent 3% of the EU27’s economy. I would suggest that experiencing disruptions to 12% of an economy is likely to have more of an impact than experiencing the same disruptions to just 3% of an economy.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Exports from the EU27 to the UK represent 3% of the EU27’s economy.

        Care to break that down by country? Some countries export lots to us, some very little.

        Would it be more than 3% of Germany’s exports if we were unable to buy products made by Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ford (two of the biggest selling cars in this country, Fiesta and Focus are made in Cologne), Vauxhall, Bosch, Siemens, AEG etc. etc.

        Where I live, in the heavily populated South East, half the cars on our roads are German made. Mostly big, expensive ones too.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          That information isn’t hard to find. The EU published their Brexit impact sumnaries on the internet over a year ago.

          If you want to talk about cars, the UK is Germany’s 3rd largest market after the EU27 and the USA at 14% of total output. The EU27 is the UK’s largest market at 54% of total output.

          The German car companies see it in their interests to protect the integrity of the single market for the EU27 over and above access to the UK market on current terms. If their products become harder and more expensive to sell here, they seem to be willing to live with that as long as their biggest market remains intact.

          Any attempt by the UK government to adopt a divide and rule negotiating strategy seems likely to fail as the obvious divisions exist in the UK, not the EU.

          • NickC
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            Peter Parsons said: “The EU27 is the UK’s largest market at 54% of total output.” Pure rubbish. Look at the Pink Book tables for exports for 2017 (pub 31 July 2018) – our exports to the rEU amount to just over 12% of UK GDP. Over 87% of our total output is either domestic, or exports to the RoW.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

        Peter Parsons

        How many more times do you need to be told. Trade happens between buyers and sellers NOT COUNTRIES or Empires.

        Fact Check , More German cars are sold to the UK than anywhere else

        Exports of French products of £34 billion make the UK their 4th largest market

        Exports of goods and services from EU to the UK were worth £320 billion in 2017

        I would expect disruption of highly essential or desirable products is more disruptive. So as world leaders in Cancer Scanners for instance I would think that EU health organisations would be quite keen to keep buying, oh and mobile phones, tablets that kind of thing tend to be quite sort after .

        Every single remainer post highlights the lack of business and trade understanding. Its quite frightening really

      • Ian wragg
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Remainers love to use percentages as it makes our position look week. How about the UK is the second biggest market for German cars.
        See thats fixed it.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

          That information isn’t hard to find. The EU published their Brexit impact sumnaries on the internet over a year ago.

          If you want to talk about cars, the UK is Germany’s 3rd largest market after the EU27 and the USA at 14% of total output. The EU27 is the UK’s largest market at 54% of total output.

          The German car companies see it in their interests to protect the integrity of the single market for the EU27 over and above access to the UK market on current terms. If their products become harder and more expensive to sell here, they seem to be willing to live with that as long as their biggest market remains intact.

          Any attempt by the UK government to adopt a divide and rule negotiating strategy seems likely to fail as the obvious divisions exist in the UK, not the EU.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 23, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            Peter Parsons

            From the FT ( a pro remain paper remember)

            According to the German association of the automotive industry, the country last year exported 769,000 cars to the UK, its single largest export market. The US came second with 494,000 cars. German carmakers also export 258,000 German-made vehicles to China, plus those produced in US and Chinese factories.

            If the UK were forced into a cliff-edge Brexit in March, the German car industry would face tariffs in its two largest export markets within a few months of each other. Daimler-Benz issued a profit warning last week, and this only in relationship to the expected rise in Chinese tariffs on Mercedes cars made in the US.

            Hmm you may want to have a rethink

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

        Honestly, if the EU is going to punish ANY country just for wanting to be a sovereign state again then do we really want to be a part of such an entity? The whole club sounds evil to the core and there are many nations out there that are friendly and can’t wait to do trade with us and not charge us for the privilege. What a nasty, snivelling lot these EU bullies are portraying themselves to be. Best you join them if you’re happy to be trodden on.

  28. Newmania
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Yes no … who knows , we cannot work on that basis, this is not a debate any more . There is some interesting advice form the FCA today on what appears to be a unilateral extension of passporting rights or three years pending the non resolution of a Transition period
    I wonder if the UK will unilaterally accept equivalence for inward capital / security ?

    Lets all guess shall we … thats how we like to work

    • Edward2
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      The majority of our trade is non EU.
      This carries on smoothly without delay and has done for decades why are you so unsure about the future?

  29. Philip Walker
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Regardless of the legal niceties, the two to one imbalance of trade in goods between the EU and UK is also such that it would be economic madness for the EU to contemplate cutting off its exports to the UK by failing to play by WTO rules.

    Assuming we do end up with WTO rules and tariffs, the tariffs collected by the UK government on imports from the EU would be significant and would far outweigh those on our exports to the EU. The Government could choose to return an amount equal to the WTO tariffs our exporters would pay to businesses, indirectly targeted at export-led industries (which is by and large permissible under WTO rules), and still have a significant fiscal windfall left over to support further tax cuts or spending. Conversely, the EU will by contrast collect far less than paid in tariffs on imports to the UK, so could not similarly support its export industries.

    Under WTO trade terms, the fiscal windfall and potential resultant competitive advantage to UK industries relative to the EU needs to be quantified and made more of by Brexiteers. How many billions would be collected by the UK in WTO tariffs? How much would need to be returned to businesses to equal the total tariffs paid to the EU? How much would be left over for tax cuts to UK consumers?

  30. bigneil
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Last night I watched the James Bond film Spectre, where one group was trying to take control of the entire world and remove any form of nations- said it was progress, Reminded me of Brussels.

  31. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Off topic: Is the “United” Kingdom moving further towards Benjamin’s Disraeli’s characterization in Sibil?
    (In reaction to “our Queen reigns over the greatest nation that ever existed: Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets” . . . . the rich and the poor)

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I think Disraeli referred to the watchers and the do-ers as being the two types of people.
      The suffragettes chained themselves to railings to achieve democracy in terms of votes for women. I wonder what the people who voted Leave have to do to achieve the same?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        @Sir Joe Soap: I’m certainly no expert on Benjamin Disraeli, but re-reading the part of the book online which has that quote, it clearly appears to me as a comment on British society, seeming two, rather than one. The words rich and poor appear in the next sentence in full capitals. My instinct for posting this quote was looking at British leading politicians in Tory and Labour party and who they appear to represent.

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted August 23, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          Disraeli always was a reactionary pseud. For years supported the Corn Laws and voted against free trade.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted August 23, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            @Lindsay McDougall: You’re only attacking the messenger, which shows weakness in you. The observation that the UK was not at all “united” (seeming more two disjunct societies) is there for all to see in 2018! For me, quite a revelation actually.

  32. LiamB
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Exactly..and that’s why we’re going to have a deal i suppose- but what kind of a deal? if it’s just like to WTO rules then we can be sure everything will be slowed’ll be like back to the 1960’s in some respects..we just can’t be sure because as said before whatever is agreed at government and WTO level may not be the same as the actual workings at the level of customs, immigration officials and border control- there will be unforeseen consequences.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Why would WTO be like the 1960’s.? The bulk of our international trade is with WTO rules and there are no hold ups. The days of paper Customs Entries, and clearing them at Customs House before sending then to the dock have long gone. It’s all electronic now. EU trade will be done the same way if there is no FTA, but surely it won’t come to that. At the eleventh hour a deal will be done. I’m more concerned with what our government is giving away to achieve it and whether we will actually leave.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps. But the sun will still rise and set, and provide light and heat. Plants and animals will still grow to provide food. People will eat, sleep and love. So fear not. Things will work out. We will muddle through as usual.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      usual multi-ID suspect – ignore

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “The EU is a legal construct which also has to live by the rule of international law. Under WTO rules non tariff barriers have been dealt with, so the EU cannot legally mount a Napoleonic blockade against UK goods once we have left.”

    Well, the EU and the rule of law are certainly well acquainted but they are not always on close terms, that depends on what suits the eurocrats at a particular time in a particular case; however if the EU did stick to the rule of law then perhaps it would have no need to mount any “Napoleonic blockade”, it could just say “This agreement has ceased to apply”, and “That procedure is now illegal”, and “Your paperwork is no longer valid”.

    Rather like trade unionists causing disruption not by striking but just by working to rule; and who will be able to criticise the EU for “working to rule”, insisting that it must strictly obey its own treaties and rules, isn’t that what you’ve always said you wanted?

    You say you would be very happy with “No deal”, and that would save us £39 billion; and you see how our opponents deliberately and loudly interpret that to mean no agreements at all to continue or replace any of the numerous existing agreements, rather than just no new special or preferential trade deal, and yet you persist with that line …

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      Denis. I cannot believe people want to be dictated to be EU thugs such as you are describing. Get some bottle for goodness sake. Thank God we are not at war. Remainiacs would crumble at the first hurdle

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        It’s not a matter of bottle but of realism. If we leave without tying up all the legal ends then we put ourselves in a vulnerable position, and why should we suppose that the EU would not seek to exploit that?

  34. hardlymatters
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    When we leave nothing will be the same so there’s no point in pretending otherwise or that we can go on just as before. There will be many changes in just going to WTO rules- everyone will be hesitant for a start and that is sure to cause huge confusion..after that things will move along at a different pace. The EU side have already said many times that we cannot be better off outside than we are inside..and we had better believe them..because from their side it might jeopardise their whole project. So we see politics trumps economics in all of this irrespective of WTO rules..and all part of project fear if you like

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      hardly matters

      You do know that 56% of current UK exports are outside the EU and ALREADY conducted under WTO rules right? You do know that most exporters are already familiar with and have systems in place for exporting to the 140 odd countries that aren’t in the EU ?

      • Keith Chegwin II
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Don’t confuse them with facts.

  35. Andy
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The only people I’ve heard talking about trade blockades are Brexiteers. Nobody who backed Remain says that or thinks that.

    However, I’m afraid that Brexit does mean a disruption to trade. It means more bureaucracy, it means more friction. That is what you all voted for.

    One of the things you all claim to like least about the EU – the shared rules – is the very thing that allows the frictionless borders for trade that you claim to love.

    It is an awkward reality for you that trade outside the single market is not as cheap and as friction free as within it – even to countries like Switzerland or Canada. And more friction means more expense for consumers.

    There are plenty of people who understand the intricacies of trade – though none in the current government or among the Brexiteers. Without exception I have yet to read or hear anything from any trade expert who thinks that WTO is anything other than significantly worse than what we currently have.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Since you are expert in these matters, perhaps you can tell us how much Canada is paying for its free trade agreement and whether its laws are being enacted in Brussels for the Canadian Government to rubber stamp into Canadian law? Also, for what reason would the EU have for not doing a similar deal with its ‘partner’ and bankroller?

      You have obviously not been reading this blog or understanding it. Several Remainers have said the NTB’s are the thing which the EU will use to block UK trade rather than tariffs. I have asked them what benefit this would have for the EU, but no answer comes. Perhaps you can tell us.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Trade works like this.
      You have a willing seller and a willing buyer. They transact. Goods and services move from the seller to the buyer. If the seller can’t complete the transaction, or barriers are put in the way, then the contract is voided (sometimes with penalties) and the buyer finds another willing seller.
      The goods move, are paid for, and are consumed.

      On balance we consume more from the EU than we sell to them. Therefore on balance, the EU has more to lose from any barriers whatever these might be than the UK (plus that elusive £39bn).


      • Henry Spark
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        I comprende. So, on your logic, the EU must be rushing to do a trade deal with the UK, and, since it has more to lose than the UK, the EU must be willing to pay for the privilage. So is that what is hapepning? If not, why not?

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink


      Er really ? You yourself have posted about planes not flying, medicine unavailability, cheese shortages etc

      Blimey mate you can’t be that simple surely? How do you think that the EU would stop BMW selling cars in the UK or cheese makers in France other than a trade blockade?

      98% of all world trade is currently conducted under two rules

      The EU’s biggest customer is the USA their trade is entirely conducted under WTO rules . You Andy are deluded

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    It’s taken two years for Theresa May to discard the disgusting advice she was given by Sir Ivan Richards that she should use these blameless people as bargaining chips:

    “Ministers plan to take the “moral high ground” by unilaterally granting the 3.8 million EU nationals in the UK the right to stay.”

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Moral high ground? Pompous asses.

      Sick laughter all the way with the present idiotic leadership.

      • margaret
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        The thing is you can take the moral high ground and not say you are , but would the duller person realise it was the moral high ground?It’s a problem writers have .Do you be explicit and provide a commentary on what you are writing about or do you take a chance and expect the reader to understand?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Rogers, not Richards.

  37. BOF
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Listening to Radio 4 between 10 and 11 pm on a Sunday night has become the weekly anti Brexit/stop Brexit hour where Project Fear reigns supreme.

    One brave conservative Leave voice versus the rest. They need you on to explain how it all works as even people from the business world seem to have no idea, but I am sure they are carefully selected by the BBC.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      It’s certainly gone downhill since Carolyn Quin left. I always found her to be fair – perhaps that’s why she no longer does it.

      • mancunius
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        It’s a ‘mistake’ the BBC has corrected by having the programme presented by the deeply prejudiced ES stalwart, remainer Anne McElvoy, fresh from her personal hatchet-job on Boris Johnson the previous week in the Guardian.

        On the plus side, Tim Loughton was superbly combative, and Jack Dromey gave the game away by saying that the only charming MP in the current HoC was… Sarah Wolleston! Partly, he explained, because ‘she isn’t really a Tory at all.’

  38. Nigel Seymour
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    It will make very little difference in what scaremongering is adopted by the remain groups. They are so desperate to stop Brexit and it’s getting to the stage where outright lies are being used to conjure up support for another ref. I’m surprised nobody has come up with a new site “Referendum Monthly” .There is no such thing as a people’s vote but May will probably concede to this as she now seems hell bent on stalling the negotiations for as long as possible…I’ll stick with my past prediction that 29 March 2019 will come and it will go!!!

  39. Mick
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Let’s just have a clean break then trade on WTO rules and keep the £39 billion to spend on our own citizens in this great country ,

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      But the UK could only justify keeping the £39 billion (or whatever) if it simply upped and left the EU without any deal on anything at all, not just without any special or preferential trade deal, and over forty-five years we have become so deeply entangled with the EU that the economic damage resulting from such a chaotic withdrawal would far exceed £39 billion.

      Reply Wrong on both counts. There will not be damage when we leave and we do not have to pay to oeave

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        We have been over this before, more than once, for example:

        We do not have to pay to leave, but we have to pay to leave with a deal which irons out all the legal problems which would otherwise cost us even more.

        • graham1946
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          You mean a bribe? I thought that was illegal. Lets call it what it is, not ‘what’s owing’ or some other sanitised wording, it is a bribe, a bung, not justified, just a figure plucked from the air because someone thinks they can bully us. Danegeld worked well didn’t it? You cannot rely on the EU to honour any deals they make – we have just discussed the welchinng of the EU on the deal Blair made, they took our money and gave nothing. They are not trustworthy. Quite why anyone wants to ‘partner’; such people is beyond me.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

            I suggest you go back to the previous discussion, as linked. I get fed up repeating the same things over and over again.

      • Retti
        Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        You dont have to pay to leave, but you do have to pay your bill – that is £39 million. Please stop misleading your readers Redwood

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

          Bill for what? We’ve already paid more than our fair share to make the rest of Europe function.

        • graham1946
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          Could we have a breakdown please? I reckon the ‘bill’, although not legally enforceable is about half that. I would like to see in your breakdown what is owed to the UK as offsets, but I won’t hold my breath – Remainers usually just spout what they are told without recourse to facts.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Retti, The one doing the misleading is you, not JR. Like any other contract the EU treaties must be obeyed until the treaties are abrogated (the contract expires). We cannot owe more than we would have paid if we had remained. The EU owes us, just as we owe them. Combine the two and the result is around zero. The £39bn is therefore a bribe. Nor is that bribe necessary to iron out legal problems, unless the EU behaves illegally.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

            There’s often a fine distinction between a “bribe” and a “goodwill payment”. Technically we may not be liable for anything after the day we leave, politically it makes more sense to agree not to pull the financial rug from under the feet of the other member states, or at least too abruptly. But I don’t see that as an attempt to buy a favourable trade deal, just to lubricate the process of tying up all the legal ends of our departure.

  40. hefner
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    (Slightly) O/T: A number of commenters on this blog this past week seemed to have recently registered as UKIP members or have indicated their velleity to do so. This certainly shows a high degree of political nous, at a time when LeaveVoteLeave is calling its supporters to enter the Conservative Party and support Mr Johnson or Mr Rees-Mogg in the likely future internal CP elections.
    So, well thought, guys. Forward to your own goal.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink


      Two points

      The call to join the Tories is from that (man ed) Arron Banks, dont believe his BS. What would be the point of joining the Tories now? You can’t have a vote for 3 months from joining and anyway the Tory party doesn’t let the vote get anywhere near the grass roots membership , it why they always end up with such bad leaders .

      I see Farage is also threatening to rejoin the fight, thats the last thing we need.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        Why do you say that about Farage? He would seem to be our last hope along with the ERG as most politicians have already sold out. This whole thing was Farage’s victory, despite what spin the Tories try yo put on it – they were running scared of him then and will do again.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Members of the Tory Party do not get to decide which two leadership candidates they can vote for. Do you seriously imagine that entryists would be allowed to decide the leadership? Arron Banks is deluded and no one can vote for Leave Means Leave so maybe people who join a party which does actually wish to the leave the EU, unlike the liblabcon, may not be as foolish as you imply.

  41. David Evans
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I seems that to leave under WTO rules is the right solution to Brexit. However it will all have to go through parliament , the members of which are unlikely to accept it.

  42. Den
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    It is clear the Remoaning Fear Factor promoters are not aware of the WTO agreements the EU have accepted into EU law. This will include those in the House of Lords as well as in Parliament and in the Bank of England.
    The Leave Campaigners should so educate them.

  43. VotedOut
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree with all this 100%


    The EU is run by people who are pursuing a political project rather then an economic one. The euro troubles show clearly they are happy to inflict massive damage to people in the EU to save their project because they are unaccountable.

    You are falling into the same trap all UK politicians do when dealing with the continent. They will not obey the law if it is in the way of their political goals. The redress the UK may take internationally will take a long time to resolve. During that time the UK will be in pain.

    This is going to be a bar fight – and you had better prepare the UK for it.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Spot on !

  44. hardlymatters
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    What’s the matter JR..don’t like what i’ve got to say?

  45. graham1946
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the UK offered the EU this in October 2016, but they refused, saying they would not discuss it until after Article 50 was triggered, thereby using their citizens as bargaining chips. It was reported at the time (in the Independent 29th November 2016, for one that I know of) that Angela Merkel personally blocked May’s informal offer to guarantee EU citizens rights in exchange for similar for UK citizens. They care for nothing but their Grand Projet, least of all their citizens.

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      PS this is a reply to Denis Cooper re Citizens rights, above. Seems the reply button did not work.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      No, Theresa May proposed reciprocal bilateral agreements, so unfairly making the future treatment of the EU citizens already settled in the UK conditional upon the good behaviour of the politicians in their countries of origin.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

        And what’s wrong with that? Why not try to ensure our own people will be safe living in an EU country?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          What’s wrong with that is that it’s unjust to punish innocent people, whether they are UK citizens or not.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Sorry, don’t understand that. What is ‘good behaviour of politicians’? Why was triggering article 50 mentioned? I never saw anything like that, but then of course like most people I get my information from news – I don’t have your ability for wading through interminable official stuff. So thanks for putting me right, but it certainly did not appear that way.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          In this context, the good behaviour of the politicians in their countries of origin would consist in a willingness to behave with the same kind of decency towards the UK citizens resident in those countries.

          What would you suggest? That if the EU decided to treat UK citizens resident in the EU badly then we should take that out on EU citizens resident in the UK, even though they had done nothing wrong?

          • graham1946
            Posted August 22, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            Not at all. Why on earth would you think that from my post? This sounds like an Andy type of judgement and I am disappointed in you Denis – I really thought you a serious contributor who read things properly. I have suggested, even here on this blog that the people already here should be granted their right to stay regardless of the childish antics of the EU and am pleased the government are saying this as well.

  46. Dennis Zoff
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Nice summary John, thank you….which may help the commercially impaired EU believers understand the mechanics of inter-country trade.

    QED for those that deal with EU legislation on a daily basis, not those that only think they know how it all works?

    Sagacious European Businesses will and do scoff at the Remainer’s ignorance and frankly, are not the least bit interested – international business continues, regardless of Political interference or intrigue. I speak for myself and my Board and have personally seen “no changes” in the pipeline pre-Brexit, pending post-Brexit or indeed listen to Remainer’s rehearsed delusive negative nonsense. Business is booming, and we are employing in the UK and globally to meet the demand. Those in high-end businesses laugh or shake their heads in utter disbelief when watching/listening to Remainer’s hilarious unqualified histrionics!

    Post note: In which imaginary world do the Remainer faithful believe Project Fear 2. will be any more successful than the discredited Project Fear 1. (with all its proven nonsense?)

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    As someone who believed, for the sake of democracy, that we should leave – I have changed my mind. Not because I have changed my view that national democracies are, so far, the best way of running things – but because our present government is making such a dog’s breakfast of leaving that we might as well give up and stay. All we are learning at the moment is quite how incompetent the government is. Very well. Give up and let the EU govern us.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      @Mike. For goodness sake get a grip. The British people do not give up that easily. Our governments might but we don’t. If you believe in your country then support it. Stand up for what you want and what the majority voted for.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Wilfully incompetent

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      “Hook, line, and sinker” springs to mind!…..

      “All we are learning at the moment is quite how incompetent the government is. Very well. Give up and let the EU govern us”

      …….you sound like someone who has been completely deceived or tricked. You have fallen into the delusive trap laid for you by the Remainers, initiated by Remainers and executed by Remainers.

      Hold firm, this is not done yet!

  48. Keith Elliott
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    So why did Michael Gove suggest (at Chequers) that a no deal Brexit was not a viable option? I genuinely don’t understand. He seems like a smart and reasonable person. So do you. And yet you cannot both be correct. Help!

    • mancunius
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Help is readily at hand. First, read the entire White Paper. Then read international lawyer and senior QC Martin Howson’s commentary on its legal implications at Lawyers for Britain: tab ‘Legal Views and News’ – ‘Chequers White Paper Briefing No.1 and No.2 ‘.

      Then if you have further doubts, check through Mr Gove’s biographical details, and see what relevant expertise he may have in the matter of trade and international law.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      No deal on what?

      It’s one thing to say, as we should, “We are not seeking any special trade deal for after we have left the EU, we would prefer to spend the time and energy sorting out all the legal and practical details of moving to trade on WTO terms”, and it is quite another thing to say “We don’t want any deal about anything”.

  49. Mick
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
    Of course it’s a trap only the very nieve or brainwashed cannot see it, the remoaners are getting very desperate now so they will be saying and doing all they can to keep us tied to the dreaded Eu

  50. Helen Smith
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I think even the patience of our host is beginning to wear thin!

    Is is extradinary how those who say the EU is so kind and loving we must stay in it are the same ones telling us that the EU will let 100,000’s of Type I diabetics die by refusing to sell the UK insulin and don’t see any contradiction there .

  51. Den
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Are you, John. behind the new upfront approach to retaining the Brexit momentum funded through the “Leaves means Leave” Group.

  52. margaret
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    A couple of weeks ago you asked us to spread the word. so I tried to retweet and asked for you to become a friend on face book without response. All social media is a good place to disseminate EU/Brexit info

  53. OTT
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t noticed an extremely common phenomenon of mass hysteria in the General Public.

    There are quite a number of historical cases.
    They start by a relatively small group of people with an odd communal mis-perception ( causes largely unknown )
    The trigger for it spreading widely is another unknown.
    Mass Media was unknown then, so heaven knows what might eventuate in our modern times. The potential is of course unthinkable, but dangerous!
    Persons in power should moderate the BBC etc with sound advice.

  54. OTT
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Cameron said to one “Calm down dear” 🙂 which made him a hate figure in covens up and down the Labour dark forest thickets .

  55. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m just listening to the scaremongering from the NHS about shortages due to Brexit. When is all this rubbish going to stop and when is a government spokesperson going to trash this nonsense? It gets worse but not as bad as the ridiculous posts from Remainiac Andy. He is really saying some vile things.

  56. Caterpillar
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I think the Lawyers for Britain WTO piece is a good complement to today’s Diary and comments,

    I hope the PM and Mr Raab found/finds the time to read this.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Here we go:

    “The alternative pathways to Brexit: Theresa May’s Chequers deal Vs the Canada Plus option”

    Just the two, you see, because there is no other option; it is reckoned that the government and its allies have already proved beyond doubt that just reverting to WTO terms of trade would be catastrophic, and not least because no special trade deal has been successfully conflated with no deal on anything.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 22, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Even if the European Commission is not minded to abide by WTO rules, we have an easy counter. We can withhold All of the £39 billion exit fee if the EC imposes ANY non-tariff barriers.

    On tariffs, it is easier still. The EC may impose what tariffs they like. We will match their tariffs item by item, quantity by quantity, rate by rate. Since they export more to us than we do to them, they will be the losers in any trade war.

    A question for you: Why cannot Mrs May say that?

  59. Andrew Shakespeare
    Posted August 22, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    A firm Leaver and proud former activist for Vote Leave, I do none the less worry what happens if the EU simply decided to ignore WTO rules. Even if they are written into their own laws and rules.

    They’d just need to have their puppets in the ECJ rule that black is white, and that it’s all fit and proper, regardless of what the rules say. This is what they did to bail out Greece, despite a clause in the eurozone treaty explicitly ruling it out.

    So what would happen should they do likewise over Brexit? Yes, we could take legal action, but that would take years to resolve. We could threaten sanctions, but Timid Tessy is far more likely to beg ignominiously than display backbone.

    Simply, she has to go, and the sooner the better. We need a strong leader willing to present an optimistic, patriotic front, and to respond robustly to Brussels’ threats.

    If “he who wields the knife shall never wear the crown,” perhaps some backbencher contemplating retirement could be persuaded to kick start the battle?

  • 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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