There will be no economic blockade of the UK when we leave the EU

Those who most want us to stay in the EU think the EU is a dreadful organisation. They wrongly say the continent will mount an economic blockade of the UK, stopping us importing medicines and food, to starve us back into membership.

There are many reasons why they cannot do this. It would mean breaking international contracts to supply. It would mean overturning World Trade rules. It would mean contradicting the EU Treaties which require the EU to have friendly relations with neighbouring states and to promote free trade with them. It would mean the EU acquiring new powers to prevent private companies and individuals doing business with UK customers and suppliers.

Let’s take the case of food imports. Food coming through a UK port will be checked and charged customs by UK authorities. They can do so away from the border, and can ensure smooth passage through our ports. Why would they want to suddenly hold up goods that we are importing just fine today through those same ports the day after we leave? Why wouldn’t they levy customs as they levy VAT and Excise today, electronically.

Or let’s take the case of medicines. A continental drug supplier will have the same contract to supply the same drugs on March 30 2019 as on March 29th 2019. The NHS has tested and approved the drugs for us. The company has factory based test facilities with inspection systems that satisfy the NHS today. They will still satisfy the NHS on March 30th 2019.

So why would the supplying company wish to withhold supplies and face a legal challenge from the NHS? Why would a continental port wish to hold up the export of goods for further checks, when these goods have all been produced to EU standards and checked in situ?

Some say the port of Calais will delay our exports going to the continent, demanding more checks at the frontier. If they do then the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ostend and Amsterdam would love to take the business and will not wish to hold them up. Many of the lorries going back to Calais are continental lorries running empty and wanting to pick up a new revenue earning load as soon as possible. Why would the continental port wish to get in their way?

The EU has many powers, but it does not have the power to impose an economic blockade on a friendly European state that happens not to be a member of the EU. The private companies involved all want to keep the business.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    It was interesting to hear yesterday a new argument from the Remainers for a second Leave/Stay vote; being essentially that the government had failed to deliver on its promise of achieving a ‘good deal’. Perhaps you could counter this argument by explaining that the PM and most of her cabinet voted to Remain, and had, and still have, no plan to leave the EU and therefore are working on staying in. It is the Remainers in power that are failing to achieve a ‘good deal’, not the Leavers.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      “most of her cabinet voted to Remain” and would again including her – hence the mess they have created along with other MPs whose constituencies voted Leave.

      64% of constituencies voted Leave – a fact little if ever mentioned.

      • L Jones
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes – look at the BBC map showing the Leave share of the vote by constituencies. It really IS an eye opener – with the caption:

        ”The Leave campaign triumphed right across England and Wales, winning in large northern cities including Sheffield, the Welsh valleys, across the Midlands including Birmingham, and the south and east of England.”

        Pity more people simply don’t want their eyes to be opened.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        That’s part of the plan AS,

        Take the relatively simple task of leaving the EU, give great assurances and platitudes to the public in much publicised speeches such as Lancaster House to get elected, then make an utter mess of negotiations through incompetence and obfuscation, and say leaving is an intractable problem after all so we must stay in. It’s their modus operandi.

        But we ain’t falling for it!


        • Londonbob
          Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          The EU are as fed up with May and Robbins with their continual presentation of an agreement they have already rejected. It looks like the EU will deliver the hard Brexit we voted for, it is shame May is so incompetent we have not prepared for it, nor negotiated with that at the starting point. Remainers in parliament and the civil service have sabotaged us for something that has never been on the table. The EU just isn’t that in to them, and has other concerns.

      • Richard
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        74% of Conservative Party seats voted Leave and 64% of Labour Party seats voted Leave:
        Consistent majorities think the government should ‘just get on with it’.”

        And little support for a second referendum

    • oldwulf
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Hi – I think it likely that the EU’s price of for “good deal” will be too high for the UK and therefore we will choose to leave on 29 March 2019, with no deal. In her heart of hearts, Mrs May probably knows this.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink


        In her heart of hearts,

        She has not got one when it comes to this country.

      • Londonbob
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        The EU have offered hard Brexit and a trade deal, a good deal, May and Robbins continue to propose a soft Brexit that the EU has repeatedly rejected. They must think us mad.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Exactly and doing it dishonestly. Not only that but they are wrong on nearly every other policy. Slightly better than Corbyn/Mc Donnall is about the only positive thing you can say about the appalling May & Hammond.

    • Adam
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Remainers plead that voters can change their mind & vote differently in a 2nd referendum. Their logic is that they have not changed their own mind, they just want those who voted Leave who haven’t either, to change theirs!

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Very sensible John and clearly stated. Hysteria seems tone the order of the day with those that think otherwise. The EU would look very bad to the outside world if they tried a blockade of any sort.

    • NickC
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, Not just Remain hysteria, but Remains actively blocking the deal the people voted for – Leave. Clearly the EU is not going to comply with its own treaty articles and behave in a neighbourly manner to the UK – many of us knew that. But the extent that our own establishment has connived to block the deal we voted for is something that I did not think even they would do. Remain is demolishing our democracy as it re-enacts the EU’s demand for another referendum until we get the “right” answer.

  3. Lifelogic.
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink


    If they did this then why would anyone want to be a member of an organisation that was so determined to damage the UK in this way. They can after all damage the UK far more if we are under the control of the anti-democratic EU and the EU courts.

    Simon Heffer today suggest we need to replace May with David Davis now and that MPs should get writing their letters. The patience of the party is exhausted. He is surely right but will the Tory MPs be as daft again as they were with John Major (with his back me or sack me ‘resignation’). They might actually retain the broken compass on every issue MayBot and bury the party for many terms yet again. Tory MPs are after all a fairly dim collection of pro EU, climate alarmist pushing, high taxing and over regulating Libdim types in the main with perhaps just 100 sensible ones.

    Mrs Thatcher won 3 (really four elections with Major (as her chosen man) until the people sussed him out). Heath, Major, Cameron and May with left wing, tax increasing policies were disasters at the ballot box. Even coming second to UKIP in the EU elections at one point.

    The people want a clear Brexit, competent but smaller government, better living standards, a bonfire of red tape, quality immigration only and far lower and simpler taxes. Please get someone in charge who actually starts to deliver this.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      The BBC seem to keep giving Shakira Martin lots of airtime on political shows (president of the NUS and with a diploma in education and training from Lewisham and Southwark College it seems). She was on Marr again today, why? I do not think I have ever heard her say anything that makes any sense at all. She makes even Billy Bragg and all those lefty BBC comedians seem relatively sound and thoughtful.

      Now that 50% of the University Student (funded by tax payer loans) have 3 D’s or worse at A level I suppose this is what you get.

      Still at least we have got rid of Nick Clegg to California it seems. Having destroyed the LibDim party with essentially the same totally misguided policies that T May adopts.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        She is also described, absurdly, as representing millions of students. The NUS is of course a closed shop. Students are joined automatically and have to be members to take part in activities at universities.

    • Gareth
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      David adavis hardly covered himself in glory in his wretchedly poor negotiations with the EU. No PM material there.

      • NickC
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Gareth, David Davis’ efforts were considerably better than Chequers.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Exactly LL,

      And it will all come down to guts – the thing the Tory part has been seriously lacking in recent times. Yet even a spineless coward can be encouraged to fight if the cause is just, and of course, there’s something in it for them. Even at this late stage, if enough Tory MPs finally see the country is going to absolutely slaughter them and elect Corbyn by default if they don’t alter course, it concentrates the mind beautifully.

      And there is an historic precedent, so here’s seven little words that spell it out succinctly – The Tories cannot win with Theresa May.


  4. Henry Spark
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    This post is completely bewildering. I really fear you are losing your grip, Mr Redwood. No one has suggested that the EU will block exports of goods and services to the UK. It is entirely up to the UK what it chooses to import. The issue is that after Brexit the UK will be a third country, and therefore the UK’s exports to the EU will face the exact same barriers that all third countries face – tariffs, border checks, health and safety inspections, and so on, all of which do not exist now because we are in the EU but all of which will cost UK exporters a fortune once we leave, making UK exports uncompetitive. This will hapen at Calais, and it will happen in the exact same way at Rotterdam, Antwerp etc, because they are all EU ports and they all apply excatly the same rules and procedures. As ever, your version of Brexit is going to damage free trade and damage it hugely

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      So all those Chinese goods flooding in to Rotterdam, are fully checked to be compliant with EU standards for safety etc.

      I don’t think so…

    • Carol Viney
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Since the other 27 EU countries have even more interest in selling their goods to the U.K. ( the U.K. being the biggest importers from the whole of the EU) it is even more in their interest to ensure they don’t block the supply line. As to them putting on excessive tariffs – this again would be counter productive if we returned the favour to equalise the cost. They will not want to imperil their own countries economy, especially those who send their perishable products, such as Spain, Italy and Portugal, who send a huge amount of fruit and vegetables. Germany are already in panic as we are their biggest importers of cars, but France, apart from wine and fruit, also sell large numbers of Peugeot, Renault and Citroen cars here. Just have a look when you are next in a car park. All these models, even Italian Fiat are very conspicuous. We all need to get this into perspective.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      So where are the huge queues at the these ports today with the vast amounts of goods arriving from America China India Korea Chile et al?

    • L Jones
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      ”No-one has suggested….” Yes, they have.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you know what you are talking about. There is no obligation at all on the EU to impose tariffs, there are all sorts of derogations under the rules of the WTO, including one for 10 years if two parties are in talks on an FTA. There will be no tariffs unless the EU wants them – which wouldn’t be logical given the huge EU trade surplus with the UK, and given the EU is attempting to take the moral high ground on tariffs generally, eg vis a vis President Trump.

      Nor are there any grounds for extra inspections of goods on March 30th which were obviously compliant on March 29th. Such Unnecesary and unjustified frustration of trade would also be a breach of WTO rules, as well as gratuitously economically damaging to both sides.

      As in the referendum there is far too much Ill-informed scare mongering. So proper debate on the real issues is absent.

    • Kevin Lohse
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      The EU is not a free trade area, it is a protective customs union.

    • NickC
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Henry Spark, No, plenty of people have suggested that “the EU will block exports of goods and services to the UK”. You can easily find references with a simple search on the internet, from the Remain supporting Grauniad columnists advising food stock-piles, through to the government telling drug companies to stock-pile an additional 6 weeks of medicines. We’ll even be deprived of lettuces for the nation’s sandwiches, apparently.

  5. Kent Grower
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I use Calais right now, every day. For a very good reason – straight through the tunnel. Cheap, quick. Works well. So if they get stroppy, you tell me I should use Antwerp or Rotterdam instead. Really? I didn’t realise Antwerp and Rotterdam were building a tunnel under the North Sea. Could you point me to some information about these plans?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Kent Grower

      I think you will find JR is answering the lunatics who are suggesting the UK will run out of food and medicine, as has been suggested with glee in some circles.

      With regards to exports there are many options, some may not be as easy, or indeed as competitively priced as others, but we traded with the EU before the tunnel was built, and we will do so again if there was a blockade of such.
      Calais and other ports have been blockaded before, even whilst we were UK members.

      Roads have also been blockaded whilst we were members, thats what the French do from time – time when they get upset.

      • Steve
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Alan Jutson

        “Roads have also been blockaded whilst we were members, thats what the French do from time – time when they get upset.”

        That isn’t the half of it. They’ve attacked British lorries, duffed up the drivers and set fire to live sheep. They’ve also attacked British tourists in their cars. All while the gendarmerie stand by with arms folded.

        They’ve also rammed British fishing vessels recently. What was done to avenge that? Nothing !

        Never mind though our PM knows abba music and her attempt at dancing will show the French not to disrespect us and all will be fine.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink


          Fully aware of your points, which proves the case it matters not if we are in or out of the EU, the French people will do as they please, as they have done for generations.

          They also emptied takers of Spanish wine earlier this year, letting it flow into the road drains..

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        UK members

        should read EU members.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Good point.

      Peter Hitchens proposes the Norway option in his excellent article today.

      There is no going back, however. We will be getting the EU project on steroids if we do. Absolutism (Remainer or Leaver) is wrong according to him.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        “It would make the Irish border as relaxed as the current frontier between Norway and Sweden, which is pretty relaxed.”

        He should have watched the feature on this that Sky News broadcast nearly a year ago, on November 24th 2017:

        “Is the Norway-Sweden border a solution for Ireland?”

        “Sky’s Lewis Goodall takes a look at the border of Sweden and non-EU Norway and whether it could work as a model for Ireland post-Brexit.”

        Would something like this be good enough for the Irish government?

        Nope, from 03:12 in, they reject:

        “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”.

        I can understand that very few people will have seen that at the time but I’m really getting fed up with pointing it out again and again for the best part of a year now, along with other statements from the present Irish government making it very clear that essentially they will accept no changes at all at the border. Which is why the immediate response of the UK government should have been to pledge that it intends to make no changes whatever on our side of the border, and to offer to pass and rigorously enforce a new UK law to control what goods can be taken across into the Republic and so obviate the need for any checks on the EU side of the border. Now we have had the best part of a year wasted because Theresa May and Olly Robbins are incapable of thinking outside the EU box.

        • rose
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Shhh! Denis, don’t say anything true about Ollie Robbins or all those remainiac Cabinet Secretaries will be after you, the ones who keep slamming Brexit in the House of Lords.

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          Mr Redwood (and others) use the phrase “They sell more to us than we sell to them.”

          I infer that if they make it difficult for us to sell to them then we will make it difficult for them to sell to us.

          A self imposed blockade is supposed to be our retaliation for bad treatment.

          There are several things that are getting me down now:

          A) It is obvious that there is no Leave leader coming forward in the Tory party.

          B) Germany exports 5x more to India than we do

          C) Holland exports more to Canada than we do

          The “EU is holding our trade back” thing does not follow.


          D) I am alarmed at leading Leavers (and there are lots of them) who tell us that they want globalism. Quite clearly mass immigration is not going to stop, it will only change in direction.

    • Stred
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      French customs work on the shuttle or in the UK at Folkestone and Dover. UK Customs work in France. If they get awkward, we can too. Produce from France can rot in France. The tunnel is now almost all French owned and it will lose customers to ferries, which are British and Danish. We can eat your produce instead of theirs, which will rot.
      To Kent Grower.

  6. Lifelogic.
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    In eight days we have another budget from Hammond. There are been all sorts of threats of yet more tax increases (even though we already have the highest taxes for nearly 50 years and this is combined with fairly dire & declining public services too). Tax cuts and cuts in the endless government waste are what is needed. Little chance of this from IHT ratter, landlord and tenant mugger and private pension robber Hammond.

    • mickc
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      And there are reports of “seizure ” of profits from landowners who sell land for building because the planning permission is granted “by the state”.

      This is entirely wrong; the state has removed the right of owners to do what they want with their land..such as build housing. It is the planning system which causes the high price of building land…in other words state interference in a market and rights.

      Of course this gem of an idea emanates from the “intellectual ” Letwin. Like the stealth tax idea which the Tories originated, it will be picked up and applied when Labour win the next election….even if Hammond doesn’t.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, many will have bought the land at high prices that reflected planning potential. They would pay capital gain on it anyway. Confiscation would mean rather fewer houses build.

  7. Richard1
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Undoubtedly we hear assertions of food and medicine shortages from senior business sources now, almost continually. It’s very odd. as you set out here, there is no logical reason as to why or how this could possibly happen. I would prefer a good deal with the EU, maybe one that moves us to a Swiss type arrangement with a few tweaks. But it’s getting to the point where it might be worth having no deal just to see what happens. If the sky doesn’t fall in in the way almost the entire political and business establishment is predicting, it could be hugely beneficial both as a confidence boost and for the long term health of democracy in the UK. We would also then be able to negotiate a sensible FTA with the EU just as any other independent country does. Mrs May’s begging is a national humiliation.

    • Steve
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink


      ” there is no logical reason as to why or how this could possibly happen.”

      One actually Richard:

      Big business reluctant to adapt and so thinking they can punish us for rocking their boat.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Big business is subject to shareholder and other market pressure. They will not hold up supplies which lead to sales to make a political point. Only governments behave like that.

      • Stred
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        The risk is that civil servants will order paperwork and inspections even though the goods are exactly the same and EU law has been copied into British law in the act passed last year. It could be a continuation of Project Fear as Project Vindication. Of course, it would only take a PM to give instructions to not be so stupid and sack a few for this not to happen. But if May is still there, this will not be the case.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      I’d like to see what happens in the no-deal (or more precisely WTO-deal) event.
      I wonder whether we will see a Brexit boost, not just because of the money we save, but because countries around the world will see the UK as a much more business friendly market than the protectionist EU.
      Our marketplace, of course not nearly as large as the EU’s, is nevertheless considerable and attractive. Global interest in doing business with the UK then motivates British business and the people who work in it. Who knows, perhaps businesses around the world will see the UK as a better doorstep to the EU than having operations in the EU itself.
      Rather than shrinking, we might see business booming for reasons the experts aren’t anticipating.

  8. Andy
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    This is a Brexiteer speciality – fake news.

    Nobody who backed Remain thinks there will be a blockade. Indeed the suggestion of a ‘blockade’ came from Marcus Fysh – a Brexit backing Tory MP. He made his claim on Newsnight when he twisted comments a fellow guest made. I watched it happened.

    What Remainers, rightly, claim is that Brexit will cause disruption to trade. This does not mean we think there will be a blockade. We don’t think that at all. We just understand that your Brexit necessitates extra bureaucracy to deliver what you voted for. Disruption is inevitable – and that means extra expense and inconvenience for businesses and consumers. The question is not whether this will happen – it is to what extent it will happen. And that is down to people like you Mr Redwood.

    Two years on you have still not been able to square the circle that the EU rules you hate facilitate the frictionless cross border trade you claim to love.

    Reply Tell us then how and why the UK will impede food imports

    • John Crossan
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr Redwood, the looming catastrophe is not about imports to the UK, it is about exports from the UK. Please repeat this to yourself every morning when you wake up. It will stop you writing such embarrassingly irrelevant comments

      Reply According to Remain interviewees it is largely about imports, as they go on about food shortages, bans on medicines, planes not flying in to London etc. I also cover exports in my article, so try reading it before automatically disagreeing with it.

      • L Jones
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Couldn’t we all guess that this Crossan person is a remainder? Perhaps he and people like him might consider that it IS possible to write comments without recourse to unnecessary and narrow-minded insults.

        Perhaps Mr Crossan might repeat to himself every morning when he wakes up that he CAN devise a comment that tells us why he admires his EU as he does, and why he thinks our country should remain in its thrall – and all without using insulting language. If he cannot, then perhaps he will go and spout his shamefully discourteous words elsewhere.

        There is always room for politeness, Mr Crossan – or isn’t that part of the remainder ethos, which includes being ill-informed?

      • NickC
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        John Crossan, Has it ever occurred to you that your claim “the looming catastrophe” is purely a guess on your part? And why should being independent like New Zealand be a “looming catastrophe” anyway? Perhaps you don’t do facts independent of your opinions.

    • David Price
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      None of you euphilcs has threatened blockade – really? Picking just a recent one – Huizer on 17th October, 10:53am;

      “The EU are far from desperate because it can safely ignore the UK (or any other country that is not happy within) as long as it is within a strict no deal scenario. That unsinkable aircraft carrier will have to deal with over 60 million people who will pay the price for being on that particular vessel when its leaders decide to cut off the most efficient supply channels. “

      • Andy
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        I have no idea who Huizer is – and that quote does not mention a blockade. It is an inconvenient reality for you that YOU voted for border delays and extra bureaucracy. That is what Brexit means.

        Did you not read the small print? (Too busy with slogans on the side of a bus, eh?)

        • David Price
          Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          Don’t you read this blog?

          Huizer claims, after a number of people questioned why the EU would blockade the UK, that he didn’t mean the EU would blockade us but our own government would establish a self-imposed blockade instead, or some such ridiculous nonsense.

          The EU is not a friendly neighbour and does not want a trade deal with the UK, instead it wants total control. I want trade deals with friendly countries that do want to trade and I already buy goods from. I doubt EU border delays and paperwork will inconvenience me at all.

        • NickC
          Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Andy, Most EU rules are nothing to do with cross border trade facilitation. Indeed WTO rules are more relevant for this than EU rules. Clearly you did not read the WTO small print (Too busy obsessing about slogans on the side of a bus, eh?)

    • Steve
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink


      If there is any trouble it’s likely to be in France, as they have a record of kicking off when faced with the prospect of playing fair. Some of it quite nasty as well.

      The UK has no interest or reason to impede the flow of goods.

      You’re barking up the wrong tree.

      • Andy
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        If you voted for Brexit you voted to impede the flow of goods.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          That is remainer nonsense.
          Are goods from outside the eu impeded?
          Do you find it tricky to buy your latest iphone andy?

          • Andy
            Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Yes. Goods from outside the EU are impeded. The face tariffs, customs checks and duties. This does mean you can not buy them. It just means they end up costing you more than the product price.

            I can afford to pay more for all this stuff – even though I don’t want to. Ironically a lot of people who voted for Brexit can not afford to pay more – even though they voted to. Shame.

          • NickC
            Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            Andy, There is no reason (certainly you haven’t given one) why goods from outside the EU should be “impeded”, or cost more, once we are out of the EU. In fact we can sweep away much of the EU empire building bureaucracy to make things simpler and cheaper.

            There is no reason (certainly you haven’t given one) why goods from the EU should be impeded either. They may cost slightly more – but that is a good thing: it puts EU products on an equal footing with the rest of the world, reduces our dependency on the EU, and collects revenue which we keep.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            You display little knowledge of trading andy.
            The average tariff is a single figure percentage.

            You claim impedence delays red tape etc
            Yet where are these problems today on all the exports and imports to and from non EU nations?

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: You tell us that if they get shirty on our exports then we can get shirty on their imports.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Amazing how non EU nations manage to trade into Europe with all the problems you claim are happening to non EU nations trying to import their goods.
      Shops full of goods from all over the world in the UK and Europe.
      Yet no queues at the ports.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      There is no going back, Andy. If we do:

      A) We will be returning to the EU except it will be on steroids

      B) We will see this nation without Conservative voters

      There won’t be protest marching or rioting – far worse than that. Conservative voters will simply stop voting and – probably – stop paying the BBC too.

      • Steve
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink


        “There won’t be protest marching or rioting”

        I would”t be so sure about that. The left wing rot is oozing out all over the place for all to see.

        If pro EU subversive minorities think they’ll be allowed to get away with killing our sovereignty and democracy, they really need to think again.

        Any doubters should ignore the BBC and take a look at what’s really going on in Germany, and across Europe in general.

        A reckoning is on they way.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        ‘far worse than that. Conservative voters will simply stop voting and – probably – stop paying the BBC too.’

        Oh if only that were to happen! We might then kick out the liberal wets in the Tory party who have dragged it down, get a decent government that is in tune with the majority, and a national broadcaster that is wholly impartial.


  9. Lifelogic.
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Cutting taxes is vital for the economy. But what is really needed is to cut out all the government’s hugely wasteful and often positively damaging spending and the endless red tape. So very much fat that could usefully be cut and very easily. So why does no one in this appalling government even recognise, let alone espouse or action it?

    • Bryan James
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      One can only agree – but this current government is restraining the economy to prove that Brexit is not good for us… This government is adopting ever more marxist policies, on tax, and just about every politically correct thing, and more – so that they can sit in the middle political ground, and attract labour voters…. while denying their own supporters an honest Tory perspective.
      I’m afraid, with so much influence from the Eu within the cabinet, that the Tories have forgotten how to be Tories, and having run out of ideas have no interest in making things run better.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        I entirely agree Bryan, but the prospect of a high-spending Corbyn government might just focus their attention – at least such a prospect would focus the attention of any rationally-minded person who could see the damage it would cause. They need to get their finger out, as the dear Duke might say.


    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      L/L Agree. The trouble is with only Labour or other minor parties to vote for if the Conservatives get in they will see it as a mandate to do whatever they want. They will say the public want Chequers and want to stay in the single market/customs union etc when in fact we found there was only one party that we could possible vote for. We don’t have a lot of choice. If we vote UKIP (my preference with the way May is going) we let in Corbyn/SNP. We really are up against it and the forecast is doom and gloom.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink


      So why does no one in this appalling government even recognise, let alone espouse or action it?

      For the vast majority it is totally outwith their DNA and educational background. Completely unfit for purpose for which they were elected

  10. Mark B
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    They were blocking our beef and lamb whilst we have been in the EU. We has to struggle to get various bans and import restrictions lifted. Something that seems to have been forgotten.

    No matter how or even ‘if’ we leave the EU, there is going to be some disruption. Just how much is unknown.

    The good thing is, as what happened between China and the EU, where Germany raised import tariffs on solar panels, China responded by raising tariffs on French wine. The EU soon got round the negotiating table to resolve that one 😉

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and they export rather more to the UK than the UK does to the EU so we hold the better cards.

  11. Alan Joyce
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Theresa May; If not now, when?

  12. Bryan James
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that remainers are now using the less desirable traits of the EU to keep us tied to the EU………. But having recognized the failings, bad attitude, and dishonest tactics the EU uses, why on Earth would they want to be associated with such an establishment?

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I am reminded of the Groucho Marx classic line – ” I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member”.

    • Steve
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Bryan James

      Because they’re moaning socialists and incapable of admitting someone else is right, especially little Englanders and Tory bigots… get the picture.

      I like to think that when we rebuild this country they won’t be getting a free ride off our backs, then we’ll see some moaning !

      • Woody
        Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        I don’t see the socialism in their ultra chauvinist protectionist approach to trade .. the eurocrats are self servers by nature and will never see a negotiation as a two way street … its their way or no way, and in my view, and many others, no deal is a good deal for the uk, just not so good for the eu. The world out there is a big and richer place .. and 90% of future trade demand will come from outside the eu within the next 10 years .. source .. the eu.

  13. Nig l
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Indeed and to the condescending superior Remainers sneering at the ordinary persons vote, I reiterate that I took my decision to vote leave, fully informed based on a pluses and minuses risk assessment and would do the same today. People who say we didn’t know what we were voting for are correct. I didn’t know what a mess and a tissue of lies the PM would make and weave. Also I didn’t expect the Establishment so nakedly, to seek to sell us out.

    One of the reasons was to escape the clutches of the ‘Stalinist’ commissariat in Brussels. I should have looked closer to home.

  14. Duncan
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Fear and threat. It’s a useful propaganda tool and very effective. May and her EU acolytes are very good at the stoking of it

    The EU is a nasty, vindictive and malicious political entity. It recognises autocratic politics as a means of crushing sovereign democracies and the will of its people. If it can humiliate and subjugate the UK and its people it will. The UK will be made an example of. We have expressed our opposition and for that temerity we will be exposed to threats and attempts to undermine

    How silly of Juncker, Barnier, Merkel and Macron to think we will simply lie down and accept their sinister behaviour.

    What is at stake is nothing less that the future of British democracy. If we allow ourselves to be bullied into submission by snivelling technocrats then the UK will wither

    I am tired of Mr Redwood’s articles in which he assumes the UK will be leaving the EU. He knows full well that this won’t happen in March 2019.

    For Tory Eurosceptics, the choice is simple. Bring down May or accept the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

    Reply You don’t have to read my articles if you are tired of them. You need to understand I am in the business of trying to help build a Parliamentary majority – or avoid a Parliamentary obstacle – to implementing the result of the referendum

    • Steve
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink


      With the greatest respect; please help yourself and your country by getting it into your head that we WILL have left the EU on 29th March.

      The more people who refuse to accept anything else the better. If the government says we have no left, ignore them.

      With enough pressure the government will have to capitulate to us instead of the EU, and it might come down to that in the end.

      Personally after 29th I will not be recognising any laws of EU origin and will conduct my affairs as free Englishman.

      • NickC
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        Steve, What concerns me is the government, particularly Theresa May, telling me we will leave on the 29 March 2019 to my face, when I have a copy of the Chequers plan which tells me the exact opposite. Mrs May is the Judas sheep and too many of us are blindly following her, some out of ignorance, some out of hope.

  15. Javelin
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I get the train down to Walton on Thames. There is a woman who works at Number 10 who I hear on the phone. She tries to be discrete. I often sit across the isle from her to listen in.

    I heard her on Friday and she said “yup, we all know it’s coming” and in response to the person “whoever that’s going to be”.

    Now if you didnt know she worked at Number 10 you wouldn’t know what she was talking about.

    • Steve
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink


      “Now if you didnt know she worked at Number 10 you wouldn’t know what she was talking about”

      I bet she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Even though she did not physically take part Theresa May could be singing in her bath this morning after yesterday’s successful march. While it is unlikely that she will feel her hand to have been strengthened to the point where she could safely renege on her repeated pledges that there will be no second referendum, she is certainly now in a stronger position to go ahead with her BRINO plan to keep us as much under the thumb of the EU and for as long as possible as she can manage – preparing for the day when a future government could more easily take us back into the EU treaties, rather than just have us continue to be bound by alternative treaties with similar legal effects. Maybe it would not be a Tory government which did that – the Tory party has far more votes to lose from its many supporters who want a clean Brexit than it could ever hope to gain from the ranks of those marching against a “Tory Brexit” and their sympathisers at home – but that would hardly matter, as long as we returned to legal subjugation to the EU then Theresa May and most Tory MPs would be happy along with the other eurofederalists.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Spot on!


  17. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Plainly speaking we should not underestimate the vindictive nature of some people within organisations and those who control them. They may not wish to take any long term action, but it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there will be some form of ‘go slow’ action in places, encouraged by continental governments, to make life as difficult as possible for us. They have less to lose than we do, politically and economically, in the short term. It will fit well into the arguments of Project Fear.

    We shouldn’t ignore the possibility and we cannot assume that everyone will act in a gentlemanly fashion. What we have to do is be aware and recognise it for what it is should it happen, and not allow the power of the EU propaganda machine and the subversive elements here who want to wreck Brexit to gain any advantage from it. They must be confronted and exposed.

  18. Adam
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    UKIP & some Conservative MEPs have contributed to a blockade of EU nonsense at its source. In the overdue course, we shall be cutting off the funding that enables the rump to sustain itself.

    Evidently, the EU does not have the power to enforce an economic blockade of the UK, yet some of them, in team with like-minded Remainers here, indicate tendencies of wishing to achieve such obstruction. Their misguided means of punishing the democratic majority who rejected the defective EU in pursuit of regaining freedom lacks both value & traction.

    Nevertheless, they stamp their feet marching in frustration at remaining impotent.

  19. Sakara Gold
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    The masses are getting restless as Brexit day approaches. The Asian left-wing demagogue Sadiq Khan was whipping about half a million of them into a Remainer frenzy in central London yesterday. By contrast, Nigel Farage could only bring about 7000 out to a pro-Brexit rally in Harrogate. Is the public changing its mind?

    Reply No. It wants the government to get on with!

    • Kenneth
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      The London march had heavy advance promotion on the BBC.

      As far as I can see, the Farage event was only reported retrospectively with no advanced promotion.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink


      Is the public changing its mind?

      Well, I for one have certainly not changed my mind and none of my friends have either. If anything we are more determined we should leave after the threats and the way the EU are going about things. The way May is going about it leaves a lot to be desired. We should have gone by now.

    • Fairweather
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Nigel’s rally ( Leave Means Leave) in Harrowgate was one of many all round the country
      The MSM just won’t report them
      Also the media won’t report the fact that Craig Mcinlay MP for North Thanet is on trial at Southwark Crown Court for election expenses overspending in the 2015 election when he was competing against Nigel Farage
      If he is found guilty will there be a bi election?
      The trial is expected to take 6-9 weeks I read in a Kent local paper (found via Facebook)

    • L Jones
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Sakara – ”Remainer frenzy”? I think that says more about the shallow nitwittery of the London set. Nothing to do with the public changing its mind.

    • NickC
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Sakara Gold, No, I have not changed my mind. If anything, having seen the vindictive behaviour of the EU, I am even more determined on independence for the UK. I do not know a single Leave voter who has changed, but I do know some Remain voters who have had their eyes opened by the anti-democratic attitudes of the EU and continuity Remain.

  20. Kenneth
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    On the BBC, we hear of “disruption” at the ports, but these stories are written in the abstract with no attempt by a journalist (as far as I can see) to ask precisely how the mechanics of this disruption will work.

    The stories are vague and amount to nothing because of a lack of detail.

    Of course, if they tried to get into detail, the BBC campaign would unravel.

    Yet more bias by omission the BBC

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the bias of the BBC on the love of the EU, climate alarmism, ‘renewable’ energy, green crap and alway pro ever bigger government, more regulation and endless increases in taxation is just an outrage.

  21. Rien Huizer
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Of course there will not be a blockade in the sense that the EU (or the UK) would try to do harm to the other. But trade friction is a natural consequence of terminating “frictionless trade”. The old having and eating of cake. Given that the initiative to create a situation where friction is likely to increase, the UK must accept the consequences.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink


      There are only so many cross-channel ferries and only one channel tunnel. If every UK truck is help up even for an hour then the other side of the channel then the ferries and trains will be unable to unload. In that situation those queueing on the other side to deliver essential medicines etc., will be unable to embark and we reach gridlock.

      Then of course there is the problem that there is no Border Inspection Point at Calais for the inspection of live animal and animal products, meaning they would have to divert to much smaller ports such as Dieppe or Dunkirk.

      I’m sure you are well aware of these points and pretending that there will be no problems makes you appear disingenous.

      • NickC
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        John O’Leary, Not quite! We already get about half our imports from the rest of the world. No trade is “frictionless”, despite Remain propaganda (why do Remains believe their own propaganda so implicitly?). But we cope perfectly well with imports from, and exports to, the RoW already. The EU will become a third country to us – a bit like China but nearer and smaller. If the EU makes difficulties we shall simply get more from the RoW, rather than the EU.

  22. Den
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    This Country suffered a real European blockade during the early 40s but that did not stop us from going to war with yet another European Dictator who wished to take away OUR Independence and that of the whole of Europe. So why this time?
    Why these people should be afraid of this new batch of micro-dictators is a mystery. Are they really British people? We true Brits don’t “bottle” against such threats .
    And why do these Remoaners always chose to ignore the Much Bigger Rest of the World? It is ten times larger than the EU in size, population and resources and can and WILL provide ALL of our needs (Most, probably at cheaper prices) IF the EU does not want to sell us their products.
    If anyone is to be frightened it will be those millions of Europeans who will be badly affected by our Leaving their tariff-free single market. Our £80 Billions per year trade deficit along with our £10 billions club fees employs many hundreds of thousands of people over there and those out of a job will affect a few million more.
    If there is a democracy within the EU then it will be the people who ultimately decide whether they wish to treat Britain as a good neighbour or as a pariah who has dared to leave their cosy club forever. I await their decision with bated breath.

    • Borando
      Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Hard to understand your point. Germany sells 6x more to China than we do. EU jembership doesnt stop a country being global. Is it just that you dont
      like foreigners?

      • NickC
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Borander, No, we don’t like the EU. It’s a political ideology, not a foreign people.

      • Den
        Posted October 22, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        I do not like foreigners who interfere with my country. Do you?
        I want our country to be able to make its own trade deals with the Rest of the World and not have to suffer the German bias with the terms dictated by the EU.
        And Germany sells more to us than they do to China. But they buy much more from China than they do from GB. So?

        My point being that the current enforced protectionist EU trade rules that control ALL of our exports, do not always favour our products so it is essential that we take charge of our future trade relations with the Bigger World out there. I am not surprised I have to explain that. It is not widely known.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I see a Sunday Telegraph headline:

    “Dominic Raab: Drop the backstop or the UK will not extend Brexit transition period”

    and I wonder if I can even be bothered to try to work out what he means.

    I’m sick of hearing about the Irish border, as I’m sick of seeing pictures of a grim-faced man dressed up as a customs officer supposedly holding up traffic at an Irish border crossing for “British customs” when, as was clearly stated in paragraph 43 of the Joint Report of December 8th 2017:

    “The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to the avoidance of a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.”

    A commitment of which the Irish Prime Minister was perfectly well aware when he pulled his despicable stunt over an IRA bombing of a customs post in 1972:

    Just to put all this into some kind of perspective, a task which our government would be performing if it wasn’t far more concerned with constructing unnecessary obstacles to a clean Brexit, in round figures our exports across the Irish land border amount to about 0.1% of our GDP, which will also work out as about 1% of all our exports to the EU; and taking the EU Common External Tariff their customs duties on those exports would be in the region of £30 million a year, and in the other direction the customs duties we would collect on goods coming in from the Republic would be in a similar ball park, just a few tens of millions; we could even agree that the two totals due were pretty close and the difference was so small that we would treat it all as being “de minimus” in the larger scheme of things and neither side would bother with the trouble and cost of collection, most certainly not at the border or even away from the border.

    I expect some pro-EU parrot will fly in to squawk that this would be against WTO rules, but before they do that they should know that I will demand chapter and verse of which rules would be broken and want to know who would object; and a reply like that recently given by an interfering Dutchman, that I can look them up for myself, will not do.

    • NickC
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, The government is all over the place. Today’s Sun has a piece by Theresa May (presumably written for her by a civil servant) in which she claims that “none of this is about me“.

      She goes on “Am I bringing back control of your money, your borders and your laws? Am I protecting your jobs … Am I protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom? And, above all, am I delivering the Brexit that the people of this country so clearly voted for? I need to be able to answer “Yes” to every one of these questions.”

      Clearly she has not read her own Chequers plan which explicitly lays out how we will remain under EU control via new bi-lateral treaties and existing agreements. Her lies are so blatant I have no idea how she still functions. It is at least as bad as Tony Blair’s fictitious dossier. It is outrageous that our establishment thinks we can be conned again.

  24. Billy Elliot
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    What it comes to medicines I quite agree with you. Especially if we talk about something like cancer drugs, insulin etc. which are vital. I don’t see EU starting to put British peoples lives at risk – I mean that would destroy the relations totally and it would be completely inhumane. If something like that would occur I am quite sure that there is some paragraph somewhere which will solve the issue on spot.

    But generally I will expect some – maybe quite big – friction what it comes to trade

  25. Stuart Williams
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t a blockade an act of war ? Not merely a breach of WTO rules ?

    • Mitchel
      Posted October 22, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      A physical blockade would be.Some idiot official in the USA a couple of weeks ago argued that the US should blockade Russian oil/gas exports and was told by the Russians not only would such action constitute an act of war but it would be responded to as an act of war.(As most Russian exports are via transcontinental pipeline he was also displaying his ignorance!)

  26. Ron Olden
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Apart from all this, how can there be an ‘economic blockade’ of the UK when the Republic of Ireland is wholly dependent on the UK to transport not only goods to sell to us, but to trade with the remaining 26 EU members and their various vassal state satellites?

    If there was any risk that any of this rubbish were true you might have thought the share price of the Channel Tunnel would have collapsed by now.

    In fact the share price has risen from 8.5 Euros in July 2016 to 10.8 Euros now, and is significantly higher even than the 9.4 Euros it was, in October 2015 when everyone assumed we were going to remain.

    There’s one Ferry Service running from Dublin to France and none to anywhere else in the vicinity. And that takes 19 hours to get there.

    The fleet from Rosslare to Cherbourg is much the same.

    And even that assumes we let it come through UK Territorial waters without Customs Checks.

    If we don’t, and stop it coming through our waters altogether the continent will become virtually inaccessible to Ireland for Trade.

    Furthermore both the UK and the Republic have stated quite categorically that ‘Deal or No Deal’ the Northern Ireland border is staying open both ways.

    So unless the EU is planning to invade the Republic and build a wall, or introduce its’ own sea blockade of the Republic, there’s no way that they can stop things coming and going between of the EU and the UK, via the Republic.

    The Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey also have continuing Free Trade Treaties and agreements with both the EU and the UK after we’ve left.

    What are the EU going to do? Blockade them as well?

    In any case when we Leave the EU we’ll be able to buy whatever we like from anywhere else in the world at at lower prices than within the EU. And if we choose, without tariffs.

  27. Original Richard
    Posted October 21, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Whatever damage the EU can inflict upon us outside the EU it is nothing compared to the damage they can wreak upon us when we are inside the EU and subject to their directives, rules and regulations decided either by unelected bureaucrats or by QMV.

  28. Nigel Seymour
    Posted October 22, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it ironic that when art50 was triggered all the commentators and whingers were saying that two years to sort out a deal was an absolute impossibility, it would take several years they said. Now we are on the cusp of getting it agreed the same people are saying why hasn’t it happened already and why have we been wasting so much time! I’ll go with DD when he said there is plenty of time to get a Canada +++ deal agreed by the end March if only TM would make it happen…

  • 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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