The debate and votes on the EU Agreement

Parliament was told on Monday that the Speaker will accept votes on up to six amendments to the government’s motion to approve its EU Withdrawal Agreement. The official Opposition has already tabled an amendment that declines to approve the Agreement and asks for customs union and single market membership. This is very likely to be selected for a vote. There is a Lib Dem amendment seeking a second referendum. There is a Hilary Benn/Dominic Grieve amendment seeking to reject both the Withdrawal Agreement and exit without an Agreement. There are then amendments seeking to avoid or amend the Irish backstop. There may be other amendments before the Speaker makes a decision on which ones to select for votes.

Under the procedure laid down the votes on amendments will take place before the vote on the government’s main motion proposing the Withdrawal Agreement. Were any of the amendments to be carried, the final vote will then be on the amended motion rather than on the government’s original motion proposing the Withdrawal Agreement. It is important to recognise that were the government to lose an amendment the straightforward issue of whether to accept or reject the Withdrawal Agreement will not be voted on. Presumably the government would find the Opposition amendments unacceptable, having tried to vote them down in the first place. It therefore seems likely the government would ask Conservative and DUP MPs to vote against the motion as amended.

Yesterday the government managed to lose three important votes. The votes on whether the government has been guilty of contempt of Parliament or not was mainly lost owing to the disaffection of the DUP over the Withdrawal Agreement. The third one was over how to proceed in January with what should be a neutral motion on leaving if we are leaving without an agreement, if that is the course owing to the defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement. This was lost owing to Conservative opponents of the government from the Remain side who want to keep open a route to thwart Brexit. It shows the difficulty of whipping against the background of a Withdrawal Agreement which suits neither side in the referendum argument, by a government which has lost the reliable support of the DUP. Supporters of Mrs May also wanted to use the threat of no Brexit to try to get pro Brexit MPs to vote for the May Agreement. This in unlikely to work as the Agreement is penal and does not get us out of the EU in any normal sense of that phrase.

The government should now publish the Attorney General’s advice as Parliament requires. It should accept Parliament and much of the country does not want the Withdrawal Agreement, and notify the EU accordingly.

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


    If some person or group can rescue this Tory party from the current, dire and totally misguided leadership, deliver a real Brexit, prevent a UKIP recovery and this avoid Corbyn/SNP taking us to Venezuela they will surely richly deserve a dukedom.

    I see that Farage has now left UKIP which perhaps helps. The above is surely still possible. Corbyn, Mc Donnall, Abbott, Gardener, Vaz, Rayner, (white van woman) Thornbury and the likes are a far worse threat to the country than a real Brexit. Indeed a real Brexit is a positive boon after a bit of short term adjustment.

  2. Ron Olden
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The difficulty with all this is what happens if the House of Commons doesn’t ratify the Withdrawal Agreement?

    The law as it stands says we Leave without one, which is fine by me. But is John Redwood sure that’s what will happen?

    It’s at least equally likely that the House of Commons will find some way to keep us in the EU, either by extending Membership beyond March 29th OR by withdrawing the Article 50 letter altogether, OR by forcing another Referendum.

    What would happen following another Referendum is anyone’s guess. Parliament is not legally obliged to respect the outcome.

    It hasn’t respected the outcome of the 2016 one, so why would we assume it will if another takes place, especially of it narrowly votes Remain, but with fewer votes than voted Leave in 2016.

    Perhaps the best thing to do is for Leavers to be as devious and hypocrital as Remainers and abuse Parliamentary procedure to best effect, or disrupt procedure completely.

    You have enough experienced Parliamentarians there to know what to do.

    One suggestion that comes to my mind, is to vote FOR the Withdrawal Agreement (preferable on a re-run of the vote in February, so we’re closer to the Leaving Date):- but vote against all the legislative provisions when the legislation comes forward. By which time, hopefully, we’d be out.

    On thing that interested me yesterday us that following a miniscule drop in the value of the pound during these votes the Pound ended the day virtually unchanged.

    I would expect a big fall in the Stock Market today, but that will be because of the 800 point drop in the Dow yesterday evening for unrelated reasons.

    Markets (and the public) appear much less agitated by all this than MPs.

    • Tammy
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Ron, the number of MPs who think leaving with no deal ius fine is about 4. The number of people who understand trade economics and think no deal is fine is zero. Rest assured, we will not leave with no deal. It will be May’s deal or remain

    • Javelin
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      By default it is WTO. I have friends who either export to the EU (and globally) and tell me it makes NO difference. The EU demand paper work to avoid VAT fraud so name address, origin etc is still completed.
      Under the UK constitution a Gov requires a GE to have a treaty changing referendum. Cameron introduced fixed term Parliaments so there cannot be a new referendum before Art50 is triggered. May ensured that when she called a GE.

      Grieve’s ammendent to vote on Art50 is a motion not a law. So 100% MPs can can throw a hissy fit and say they do not like a No deal. But the No deal will still go through. What it shows is the UK is run by popular sovereignty not Parliamentary sovereignty.

  3. Alison
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Why are so many MPs working to prevent options that they personally do not like?? Worse, block the most favourable option?

    For the first time that I heard or read, yesterday Mrs May talked about compromise between leave/remain in a deal. I found this very troubling.
    Perhaps more troubling was the small number of MPs who are actually defending and promoting Brexit, let alone a true Brexit, in the Commons. I heard some of the debate, including MPs quoting from the Treasury’s flawed assessments, and a SNP MP presenting his opinion as fact, that being part of the EU is good for our defence industry (so UK companies have to compete with firms from the EU and rest of the world for UK tenders to build things for our defence). No challenge.

    Why are so many MPs not respecting the referendum vote and what they themselves asserted, that they would respect that vote?

  4. jerry
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    “the government would ask Conservative and DUP MPs to vote against the motion as amended.”

    My fear is that TM has lost the support of the DUP, if reported comments about them not backing a formal No Confidence vote are true, such has been the duplicity from TM with regards never having a border down the Irish Sea.

    • Nick O.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      TM is simply not to be trusted, I’m afraid.

      • Hope
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        Excellent speech in parliament today. Spot on, positive and a true reflecti N of leaf voters. MPs,are trying to thwart,Brexit. The second referendum does not give any solution whatsoever.

        Mark Harpermwas good. It is difficult how any person could not conclude May lied and lied and lied over N.Ireland. Stating no PM would countencce a separation etc. The legal advice clear and explicit and she still carried on with her lie! Do you realise how damaging that is to your party and parliament? May’s plan is clear it so to keep the UK in theEU with a few years of punishment to act as a warning to others! Hammond could not answer whether the UK would be in the same position as Turkey i.e. Accepting countries had access to its market but Turkey not having access to theirs! He could not answer even though the plan would do exactly that!

        What happened to nothing,agreed until I everything agreed? No trade deal so how does this fit with amays promise? Again, another lie?

        Vote down the May subordination plan, then oust her immediately to run down the clock for no withdrawal agreement. Then negotiate a trade deal after we leave in March, after all that is what May is doing with trade but giving away everything first play making our country a colony!

        • Hope
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Wollaston was utterly dreadful. Why on earth does her association not deselect her? Wrong in every regard and even in the wrong party.

          • Hope
            Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            JR, Mark Harper in con home today stating his reasons,as he did in parliament, not to vote for May. He cites your manifesto and there is a clear breach. May and other ministers repeated it honours your manifesto. Would you now confirm the all lied. Not once, but repeatedly lied.

            Zac Goldsmith also gave a good speech. He is correct the public are fuming, specifically with your lying govt. but your party for not ousting her and also with parliament for trying to overthrow the will of the people against what most MPs voted for and stood to be elected on. The second vote nonsense better stop.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Indeed May must go. She had been an even more dreadful PM than both Ted Heath (who created the EU problem by joining the ‘Common Market’ on a lie and without even asking the public’s permission) and John (ERM and still no apology) Major and Gordon ‘no return to boom and bust’ Brown. Quite some achievement. No change no chance.

      She is a massive electoral liability, even on the John Major scale who in May 1997 gave the Conservative Party the worst electoral defeat by a ruling party since the Reform Act 1832. Will May beat this record of Labour held 418 seats and the Conservatives 165? She is certainly trying to it seems.

      The Tories have the benefit that Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP are such an appalling prospect but even so May would be destroyed. She is useless, dishonest and visionless. Her Brexit policy & lefty, big state, tax borrow and waste policies are totally idiotic Corbyn light polices.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Dear jerry–Duplicity right left and centre has come back to haunt her–I have reached the stage where anything at all is a risk worth taking to get rid of her.

      • Gary C
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Me too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Me too.

        We expect politicians to lie. Cameron claimed to be a ‘cast iron’, low tax a heart, Eurosceptic to get elected but proved he was the complete opposite on all counts. Hammond gives us the highest taxes for 40 years and is still increasing the national debt and yet they claims he is cutting taxes and repaying the debt.

        But May has really taken deceit and dishonestly to a completely new level. She really cannot be allowed to get away with it. She will be even more of a disaster for the Tory partly than John Major was unless removed now.

      • Bob
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink


      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      duplicity from TM with regards never having a border down the Irish Sea.

      There are checks on animals anyway between NI and GB anyway.

      • jerry
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        @John Finn; “There are checks on animals anyway between NI and GB anyway.”

        But that is something which has been decided by the UK govt, the devolved govts & their agencies, meaning amendments to, or abolition of, such regulations can be made as and when the elected politicians within GB&NI choose.

        Under what TM & the EU are proposing, many such regulations could not be changed by those elected parliaments (even perhaps County and local councils…) of GB&NI, nor will the UK be able to make our case in either the EP or via the EC any more. The withdrawal agreement (as signed off), should it becomes binding law, will turn the UK into a vessel state, perhaps indefinitely, as the AG had to concede on the floor of the house and as, it now emerges, he pointed out in his official guidance to HMG.

      • Gary C
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        “There are checks on animals anyway between NI and GB anyway.”

        Really, I know of someone who did not have the relevant paperwork to take their dogs to Ireland so took a ferry to NI then drove them across the border and had no trouble doing so.

        Checks, what checks? If they are there they are not fit for purpose.

        This was in 2017.

        • Bob
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          “they are not fit for purpose.”

          Kind of sums up the EU.

          Do you get a feeling of being safe and protected when you see a “CE” sticker on imported goods?

          It’s amazing what passes for beef in the EU.

          • margaret howard
            Posted December 6, 2018 at 12:29 am | Permalink


            “It’s amazing what passes for beef in the EU”

            Inferior to ours?

            “The BSE crisis led to the European Union banning exports of British beef with effect from March 1996; the ban lasted for 10 years before it was finally lifted on 1 May 2006

            The ban, which led to the incineration of over one million cattle from at least March resulted in trade controversies between the UK and other EU states, dubbed “beef war” by media.

            Russia ban lasted for 16 years and US 15 years

            How short memories are.

          • jerry
            Posted December 6, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

            @margaret howard; If you think cattle in other EU countries were not infected by BSE…

            As for the ban on British Beef exports, that was far more about protectionism and/or political than safety, reasons, often tick-for-tack, even today how much beef (and for that matter chicken) of US origin do you see for sale in EU28 countries for example?

            Indeed, how short, and conveniently selective, some peoples memories are Margaret!

          • Bob
            Posted December 6, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            @margaret howard
            I was thinking horse meat.

          • margaret howard
            Posted December 7, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink


            @margaret howard; If you think cattle in other EU countries were not infected by BSE…

            So far 164 people died from the disease in Britain so far and due to the long incubation period more may still follow.

            Do you have the figures for other countries affected?

    • Peter
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Eventful day. I still have no idea how it will all play out.

      MPs must concentrate on defeating the Withdrawal Agreement. That is still not guaranteed.

      Once that WA is out of the way tactics for further battles can be put into place.

      It would seem that WTO has had a set back. Grieve’s amendment is not legally binding. However I would still expect Remainers to put the fix in somehow.

      Anything could happen, but first let’s get WA knocked on the head.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Back in September 2016 Theresa May said that she would not be giving “a running commentary” on the course of the negotiations; up to a point that was understandable and acceptable but she has taken it to such an extreme that now hardly anybody trusts her to be working in our general national interests rather than in foreign interests, or in sectional and vested domestic interests, or both – as is in fact the case.

  5. Mick
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    We are the boss as all these traitors in Parliament will find out at the next GE, Suzanne Evans left UKIP because it is going to far right and attracting the BNP voter, I’m afraid this is the way it will go regrettably with the rise of more party’s of the same, and all these remoaners turncoat mps who in there last manifesto said they would up hold the referendum result lied to get there cushty jobs in the Westminster bubble , they will all be held to account if they win there aim and thwart Brexit or stop us leaving March 29th 2019, REMEMBER WE ARE THE BOSS you work for US

    • James
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      I think Mervyn King succinctly sums up Mrs May’s agreement:-

      ” There are arguments for remaining in the EU and arguments for leaving. But there is no case whatever for giving up the benefits of remaining without obtaining the benefits of leaving. Yet that is exactly what the government is now proposing. It simply beggars belief that a government could be hell-bent on a deal that hands over £39 billion, while giving the EU both the right to impose laws on the U.K. indefinitely and a veto on ending this state of fiefdom.”

    • Chris Dark
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      I think the numbers in UKIP mourning the passing of Evans and Farage are relatively small. There are more incomers than outgoers now, in terms of membership.

    • jerry
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      @Mick; Brexit was won just as much in traditional Labour areas as it was won in traditional Conservative areas, there little or any sign the “far right” has or is gaining the wide support you suggest – if any political group is gaining support it is the ‘hard left’. Along with the afore mentioned resurgent left there is a resurgence of eurosceptic centrist politics.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      @ Mick

      they will all be held to account

      They should all take a long hard look at themselves because if the process carries on as it appears to be going then along with many others I believe it will be the end of parliament as we know it.

      All the main parties will be kicked into touch as the people will see them for what they are and a lot of the minor parties will come to the fore. All adding up to a complete and utter mess for this once great country

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Mick, there is no democratic means to hold them to account. There is not a viable visible party to challenge most constituencies. This the frightening situation, without democracy voices can only be heard by other means. If May’s WA or Norway or Remain happen then at some point peace is going to be lost. Few MPs seem to realise the danger they are causing.

    • John C.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m not so sure. Apart from UKIP, who are in a continual state of crisis, who else but the same old bunch could you vote for? Tearing up your ballot paper will not hurt them.

  6. eeyore
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I understand Government has agreed to publish its “full and final” legal advice. This is not necessarily the same as the “full” legal advice voted for by Parliament.

    It should also be remembered that Brexit on March 29 is guaranteed under the 2018 Withdrawal Act. Changing that under the Grieve amendment would require an amending statute. Mr Grieve and his colleagues would need cross-party support and are no more guaranteed a majority than HMG is.

    • MPC
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Re your 2nd paragraph, Bernard Jenkin was very impressive on Newsnight last night saying the same. There was some rather biased coverage of the Commons debates in the same programme though. Boris Johnson being interrupted during his speech and being accused of having no alternative plan but the BBC stopped that excerpt before viewers could hear Boris’s response which may well have been compelling.

      We need Mr Redwood and his colleagues to continue to emphasise the ‘normality’ and manageability of ‘no deal’ on as many media outlets as possible.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately “exit day” could be deferred by secondary legislation, that would not need primary legislation:

      • eeyore
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Denis. As usual you lead and the rest of us follow.

      • Mark
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        It would still need the unanimous agreement of the EU Council, and there would be questions about the legitimacy of a UK vote in favour without a proper Parliamentary mandate at the least.

    • Andy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Mrs May should tell Grieve that there are no circumstances whatsoever under which she would advise Her Majesty to give assent to any Bill that sought to amend the already passed statute.

    • eeyore
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I may have regrettably miniformed readers in my comment above. Careful reading of the Withdrawal Act appears to show that government may amend the relevant section by statutory instrument on vote of both Houses of Parliament.

      So an amending Act might not be necessary, though Parliament would still have to consider the matter. Perhaps JR might address this in due course.

      • eeyore
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        I meant misinformed of course. The link is

        See SS(4)

        • mancunius
          Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

          By Treaty we leave on 29 March 2019. The import of SS4 is that it allows the government to alter the date ‘the Treaties cease to apply’ – but that can only happen with an extension of Art. 50 if agreed with the EU – and that would have to come before Parliament. JR is adamant that such a measure would need new legislation.

          So that clause is not quite as much of a catch-all as it looks.

  7. Bob Dixon
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister has lost Parliament. The Conservative Party need to appoint Boris Johnston asap.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Dear Bob–Couldn’t agree more–He has huge popularity and the charismatic personality to go with it, which is what we need. Mrs May somehow manages to put me to sleep and make me angry both at the same time, not to mention that her judgement is proven awful and her choice of people worse. Did anybody ever work out how we managed to end up with a Remainer at One and Two? Jacob had it right at the time, viz Absurd. And from what I could stand from yesterday she now seems to be seeking the sympathy vote. Ridiculous.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Or John Redwood? Is John Redwood too free market for the “modern” Conservative Party?

      Cameron’s modernising agenda always missed the point. If you are a geniune free market party by definition you move with the times.

      All social issues should be left to free votes, private members bills, and common sense. Maybe common sense may be in short supply howerver.

      All current social issues originate in far left American universities and have nothing to do with what’s important to most people.

    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    ‘There is a Hilary Benn/Dominic Grieve amendment seeking to reject both the Withdrawal Agreement and exit without an Agreement’….

    This leaves me absolutely speechless. Grieve’s attempt to drag control of Brexit back into the coercive arms of the Commons and to a degree allows him and his allies in the Tory party to continually erode Brexit support

    All Tory voters should be cognisant of the voting behaviour of their MP. They should be punished for voting for any amendment that allows pro-EU MPs to scupper Brexit for that is Grieve’s fundamental aim

    How is it possible for this one person to dictate events in Parliament with regards to Brexit? Does he possess some degree of special influence?

    I don’t understand how a PM of this ilk can survive in the way she appears to be..

    • rose
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      He should be introduced by the media as the anti Brexit MP, Dominic Grieve, but he never is.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      “I don’t understand how a PM of this ilk can survive in the way she appears to be..”

      The majority of the Conservative Party are hard core remainers with many pretending to be Eurosceptics in order to garner the votes of leavers in their constituences.

      Every leave voter should be watching carefully how their MP votes (whichever party they belong to) and ensure that if Brexit is not properly executed then they should make sure they never vote for this candidate again.

      For leavers to keep voting for remain MPs and hence a remain Parliament, expecting these MPs to deliver Brexit, is the definition of insanity.

  9. Nick O.
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    It strikes me as highly ironic that so many MP’s, of the Remain faction, are getting so excited by their own rhetoric and by exercising their power in Parliament during and through this long debate.
    If one thinks about it, all their arguments – and amendments and so on – are being made with just the one, great overarching objective: to limit Parliament and to further reduce its power, in perpetuity. Thus, they delight in using what sovereignty we have left to destroy it even more, and forever bind this Parliament’s successors. However much they are praised for doing so, by commentators on the BBC and elsewhere on the media, they are in turn seeking to deny power to all future generations of the electorate.
    This is shameful. The fact is, they cannot bring themselves to speak with the same passion and conviction in support of the people who elected them.
    How they can even dare to face their constituents is beyond me.

  10. Stred
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Watching the debate yesterday evening, with Conservative MPs backing May and her continual lies, while the Labour side were asking for membership of the single market and SNP loonies were claiming that the referendum was bought by illegal money, it seems that the public should be able to pass a motion of no confidence in the House of Commons. What a bunch of lying ignorant dunces. Thank god Boris was able to speak and restore some logic to the scene.

    • Cerberus
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Boris was continually heckled and interrupted by members of his own party. It was clearly orchestrated. Disgraceful.

      • rose
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        The man behind him with the ugly expression had obviously been put there by the whips to distract him. He kept up a loud conversation, which the microphone picked up, all the way through. Curiously, the Speaker, who was so odiously rude to Mrs Leadsom when she was talking very quietly on the front bench the other day, made no objection to this very much more than chuntering in a sedentary position.

        When it was all over, the only happy face – seraphic in fact – on the front bench, was Lidington’s. The rest looked as if they had undergone a Rip Van Winkle transformation. Has he already been told he is to take over?

    • cornishstu
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your sentiments, It is no longer fit for purpose time for a Cromwellian moment. All their efforts scheming to subvert the democratic wish to their own ends with only a minority of truly honorable mps trying to fulfill their duty and honor the referendum vote. For the mother of parliaments the majority do a disservice to democracy.

    • DaveK
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      You can add our venerable host to your thanks having just watched his stirring contribution. Thank you John.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    As to a second referendum, should that be a referendum to ask the electorate whether they want another referendum on EU membership, or to accept the result of the first?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Good point Dave 🙂

      A referendum to decide if we should have a referendum… Should also ask if it’s going to be “best of three”…

      • Bob
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink


        “A referendum to decide if we should have a referendum”

        Would it be binding or advisory? and would the govt implement what we decide?

  12. Mrs Alison Houston
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    the decision that Britain would become a vassal state like Turkey, in its relationship with the EU was made in the late autumn of 2016. It was announced by Liam Fox at the time, who didn’trealise it was meant to be a secret. He was then madeto shut up and pretend he was just throwing random ideas around. I havea series of emails I exchanged with hin. I was pleasantly surprised that he bothered to reply as I am not a constituent of his. I would like it tobe more widely remembered and talked about, thatthe government betrayed the Brexit voteand embarked on this course even beforethe triggering of article 50.

    I would like to send you the emails, is you can reply to me via the email address I have logged on here with. But in the meantimehereare a couple of therelevant snippets, dated 19/12/16:

    Dear Mr Fox,

    how will you be able to live with your conscience if you let down the people who trusted you? If you have any decency at all you must come clean and perhaps resign, since as Nick Clegg pointed out, your job cannot exist if we stay in the Customs Union or are subject to EU trade regulation in any way.

    If you have the feeling that Britain can be like Turkey in any way whatsoever, what business do you believe you have in representing Britain as a trading partner abroad anyway? We need to leave every bit of the EU, we do not want EEA, EFTA, Customs Union, we want to break free, because the EU is an evil organisation.
    Make a statement. Tell the nation what is being arranged behind closed doors, show how the woman who was imposed as Prime Minister on this country is conspiring to keep us part of this disgraceful, destructive, evil, self interested hideous organisation, against our wishes.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alison Houston.

    And part of his reply dated 23/12/16:

    Regarding the customs union, as I said on the Andrew Marr show last weekend, it is not a binary choice. There are many aspects to the customs union, which is why we are looking at the detail and will pursue the right option that works for the unique circumstances of the UK. There is no benefit to the UK by providing a running commentary on every twist and turn of these negotiations but we are focussed on securing the best outcome for the UK as a whole.

    It is important to remember that Brexit does not mean the end of our relationship with EU, but it is about starting a new relationship which secures the best deal for Britain.

    Yours sincerely

    Parliamentary office of The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP
    Secretary of State for International Trade
    Tel: 020 7219 4198

  13. Caterpillar
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    PM Cameron was very clear before the referendum that the decision was that of the people not of MPs, that leave meant leave (no Single Market, no Norway, no rule takung). This was the basis of the democratic referendum and the Govt would implement the result. What we are witnessing with the PM’s withdrawal agreement (and backstop) and Dominic Grieve’s motion make a mockery of democracy. Most MPs should feel deeply ashamed of themselves, they clearly do not.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      And of course PM Cameron was clear, no.second referendum.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Cameron was also clear that he would stick around to deal with the consequences.

        • libertarian
          Posted December 6, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          Peter Parsons

          So we all agree that our politicians are all two faced liars… Good so explain now why you wish to be governed by more of them, further away from the people they govern and with no way of removing them .

    • Bob
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      ” There is a Hilary Benn/Dominic Grieve amendment seeking to reject both the Withdrawal Agreement and exit without an Agreement.”

      What better way to weaken your negotiating position than refusing to leave without a “deal”. Clearly Mr Grieve’s motive is to undermine the very idea of leaving the EU. Such a deliberate attempt at subversion sure should give his constituents the right of recall as he stood on a manifesto for leaving the EU.

      There’s a word for this kind of behaviour.

      • Steve
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


        The closest word I can find is ‘shyster’ Which I think sums up most of them quite adequately.

    • Steve
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


      “Most MPs should feel deeply ashamed of themselves, they clearly do not.”

      Yes but imagine the look on their faces at the next General Election. It’ll be a sight to die for.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        A Michael Portillo moment for one and all methinks.

      • Bob
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        “Yes but imagine the look on their faces at the next General Election.”

        They should start getting their applications in for “I’m a Celebrity” and “Strictly”.

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Bercow seems to have a lot of power in this situation – no wonder he broke his promise to step down in the Summer in order to promote the Remain cause as Speaker.

    Conservative MPs still overwhelmingly supporting Mrs May personally it seems as less than 48 of them want someone else to lead the party. They obviously don’t have much imagination.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Dear Roy–Hopefully, and unfortunately that is all it is, they are biding their time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Plenty more than 48, more like 120 I suspect. But they cannot agree on the replacement, or if they will be able to kick her out in the ballot or on the best timing. But why oh why would anyone support T May she is just appalling, her deal is idiotic, she is a socialist & not even honest or a straight one.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      There is no appetite for a new Leader, just yet. And no one wants to be the one who tries to draw first blood. You can ask our kind host about that as he, I am sure, is more aware.

      This pantomime has yet to run its course. But whatever happens things are never going to be the same.

  15. Tom Weston
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Is it too late to table an amendment requiring HM Government to make public the assumptions used by the Treasury in their slanted forecasts? If these are not subject to scrutiny by independent sources they will obtain great significance in any later appeals to the public whether by GE or referendum.
    Unfortunately Mrs May and her Chancellor cannot be trusted to have been unbiased.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      The BOE published worst-case scenario, rather like the Military Chief of Staff saying nuclear war could ensue next week. Hypothetically it could but it’s highly unlikely.

  16. Callum
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    All we hear from you is what you don’t want. Never what you do want. Like all Brexiters, you have no clue what to do next. You are the dog that caught the bus.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      How about genuinely taking control of our money law and borders?

      In control of our money by only buying goodwill with it, and balanced agreements, not giving it away.
      In control of our laws and not subject to ECJ decisions.
      In control of our borders and whether and which ones to leave open or closed.

      Pretty straightforward.

    • L Jones
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      In your few words, it is obvious you are a remainer. Never comment unless you can squeeze in an insult or two.

      Like all remainers you criticise the ‘Brexiter’ stance but present no counter argument, so that we might be made to understand what it is about the EU that remainers think is so to be admired, why it is worth giving up our sovereignty for, why it should trump even our own courts, why it should be able to lay down the law in many aspects of our lives, so that we become a vassal state.

      Perhaps you should tell us rather than just make up yet another insult.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

        Exactly. Always a negative with them never a positive. They never argue for the EU stating its benefits just the negatives of leaving. They want to cling to the EU, we want to embrace the world and that includes the EU.

    • Adam
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink


      Your hearing sounds as if something is missing. If you read what JR has repeatedly written on this site, you’ll then know what he & the majority of Brexit voters want.

    • sm
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Callum, that is utter rubbish – you patently have never read Mr Redwood’s blog, in which he has regularly written in detail about what could and should be negotiated.

      ps. you forgot to add the words ‘unicorns’ and ‘selfish pensioners’.

    • Fed up
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Quite extraordinary posting. Mr Redwood has made it crystal clear what he would like, and what is possible, albeit that thanks to Mrs May and Philip Hammond this has been made virtually impossible.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink


      Oh no not another one. Callum dont just turn up here spout complete cobblers and try to be patronising…. yes I know you’re a remainer and patronising is your only debating point but the alternative plans, actions, points and ways forward have been debated on here for nearly two years. We know exactly what plan we want, we just aren’t going to get it because the EU and its acolytes just do not tolerate democracy relying instead on the gullible and naive such as yourself

    • John Hatfield
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      I know what i want, so what do you want Callum?

  17. Richard1
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Feels like it’s heading for Norway

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Dear Richard–Norway hardly good but infintely better than May’s atrocious so-called agreement and correct me if I am wrong but presumably we could get out if we wanted (Not much to ask you’d think??) if we were to go, or perhaps get (ie They might not want us), in.

      • Richard1
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink


        • rose
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

          What about free movement of people, and our financial services being regulated by the EU without a say from us?

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      The Norwegians voted against joining the EEC in 1972.

      The Nowegians voted against joining the EU in 1994.

      However most politicians and media outlets will always find if hard to accept that, when given the chance, people vote against the EU.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Could be…

      But don’t mention the hard border between Norway & Sweden (1010 miles) and Norway & Finland (only 457 miles), I did once but I think I got away with it…

    • jerry
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      @Richard1; A Norway style deal would require not only agreement with the EC (if they agree to reopen withdrawal negotiations), approval by the EU27 heads of government, and the EU parliament, but also agreement from both houses of the UK Parliament – all in about 12 working weeks, good luck with that one!…

      • Cerberus
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure it could be done if £39 bn was at stake.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

        Plus the other 3 members of the EEA. Problem is, although I am a strong supporter of this I am afraid I think we have run out of time – deliberately !!

        • jerry
          Posted December 6, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          @Mark B; “we have run out of time – deliberately !!”

          The default A50 exit is on WTO rules, and the UK parliament voted for triggering the A50 process some two years ago, any other ‘deal’ (or delay/cancellation) has to be agreed by all parliaments etc.

          I take it, Mark B, that you do not want a WTO exit?

  18. margaret
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Thank you John for your concise account. I get very tired of listening to the media debating Brexit on the sidelines and switch off .Things as predicted are in a muddle and I now think we either need to be completely in or completely out. I am usually for compromise and this agreement has been sold as that, but compromise it is not.The process has been more convoluted than is necessary and I anticipated that it would be as money is involved. There are too many fingers in this huge 27 piece pie and Mrs May is not presenting us as being sincere about wanting to go it alone. We have some of the best minds in the world and have motivation second to none. Don’t let us be shackled any more by mindless impotence .

  19. Everhopeful
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The Government couldn’t have tried much harder to lose the votes.

    Really annoying how Remain MPs come on TV and tell us that we would not be in this “ mess” if ill-informed people had not voted to leave. The truth is that we would not be in this “ mess” if we had a PM and Ministers who had quickly and efficiently acted on the results of the Referendum.

    Mrs May is playing her own’s OK for her …she lives in a lovely place ( where planning permisssion is turned down!) and apparently has a comfortable life.

    She has wasted and trashed two and a half anxious years for those of us who voted to leave the EU for a better future.

    The Referendum was a wonderful, exciting victory which has been cruelly stifled at birth by a PM who didn’t want the Tories to be called “ The Nasty Party” any more!!!!

    • Mark B
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      When Remainers call us ill-informed one might like to turn round and say; “Well, you had your chance to ‘inform’ us in the referendum debates and failed, by what right do you wish to criticise us ?”

      • Everhopeful
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Mark B
        Totally agree with you!

  20. Excalibur
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    It looks increasingly likely that we will not get the Brexit we voted for. Leaving without an agreement also seems to be in peril. So the Gina Millers, Anna Soubrys and Kenneth Clarks of this world will have won. So much for the democratic vote.

    One wonders what the point of the referendum was. The publication of the Attorney General’s advice should at least make clear Theresa May’s deceit.

    • Helena
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Excalibur, you never voted for any particular Brexit. You voted for Brexit. But Brexit could mean Brexit and then be like Norway, or Brexit and then be like Swizerland, or Brexit and then be like Canada, or Brexit with no deal and be like no other country on the whole planet. We are in this mess because Brexit is meaningless, the referendum was fake because it never chose a particular form of Brexit. We have to have vote on a REAL version of Brexit – could be May’s deal, could be no deal, just make it clear!

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Read the leaflet helena.

      • Cerberus
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        The leaflet posted to every household at a cost of £9 million was very clear. I suggest you track down a copy and read it.

        • Bob
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          I kept one becuase I had a feeling I might need to refer back to it.
          I said at the time that Mrs May would try to fudge it up.
          How right I was!

      • John Hatfield
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Helena, there were no types of Brexit. Just leave, which voters assumed to mean leave. All the various permutations have been invented by Remainers like yourself to confuse the issue. The mess is then blamed on those who voted to leave.
        A ‘deal’ has always been the notion of those who want to stay aligned to the EU. Those who voted leave did so simply to regain the country’s sovereignty.
        Trade deals can come later.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 6, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          Well said John H

    • Helen Smith
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      It will be a Pyrrhic victory for them, the country will truly go to the dogs, there will be a massive recession and civil unrest, why should we obey laws made by people who disrespect us and over rule us and are a law unto themselves.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      The point of the referendum was to both shoot the UKIP fox and clear the way for further integration.

      • Bob
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B

        “The point of the referendum was to both shoot the UKIP fox and clear the way for further integration.”

        Of course it was. But that’s the Tories for you.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the clarification on the procedures to be followed. If one of the motions succeeds in replacing the WA because it wins a Commons majority, does the government just say to the EU the WA is dead or does it also attempt to negotiate something it voted against in the HoC? That would not be a very convincing position. Presumably it would then be up to the opposition to table a no confidence motion?

    • oldtimer
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I have now seen and read the AG`s letter, dated 13 November 2018, headed Legal Effect of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. This sets out, in starker terms than government spin would have us believe, the implications of the Protocol. But there does not appear to be anything fundamentally different.

      I note it only covers the Protocol, not the WA as a whole. Was this parliament`s intention?

  22. Nig l
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    So Theresa May supported by Soubry etc has won. She never wanted to leave, she comes up with a bad deal that no one likes, Raab ensures there cannot be a No Deal, so what are we left with?

    What the majority of MPs really want. To stay in the EU. Our vote has been a waste of time.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Nig1. That’s exactly how I feel. All the money and time spent on this has been a waste of resources. MP’s have deliberately manipulated everything so we don’t get Brexit and we end up staying in the EU. Democracy is truly dead in the UK. I wonder why I bothered to vote and wonder if I will bother in any other referendum or general election. WHAT IS THE POINT? We are just surfs working for governments to control us while big business and the banks fleece us. We may as well be living in times gone by before parliament was invented and the word democracy was even heard of. I am truly disgusted with the whole thing. Angry doesn’t even come into it.

      • John C.
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure that our version of democracy was ever very democratic. Having representatives is virtually meaningless- how can one person represent thousands of diverse constituents? The only real democracy is when everyone votes on every issue,which is impractical.
        We are only just seeing this clearly, because the side that parliament is taking is actually submission to foreigners, which makes their unrepresentative nature very hard to take. But it’s not really new. How many things have gone through parliament that the man in the street despises?

  23. Mark B
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Parliament was told on Monday that the Speaker will accept votes on up to six amendments to the government’s motion to approve its EU Withdrawal Agreement.

    Not sure if I am reading this right but, did not the EU state that this is a take it or leave it offer ?

    Let us be clear. Any MP that, unless expressed in their personal manifesto’s otherwise, stood on a BREXIT ticket. We want to leave the EU and all its institutions, especially the CU and SM. So any attempt to thwart the democratic will of the people in the referendum is showing total contempt of the people that put them there. Shame on them !

    Interesting to hear that the Speaker thinks the government maybe in contempt of parliament. If so, what an utter disgrace this government is turning out to be.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink


      When Parliament voted for a referendum, it effectively delegated its sovereignty to us. Now that we have not voted the way the majority of MP would have wished, they are trying to take it away by talking about the ‘sovereignty of Parliament’.

      No! We are sovereign in this case!

      • cornishstu
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        We always were sovereign we lend that sovereignty to those we elect. They gave that away to a foreign institution.

        • Mark B
          Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:49 am | Permalink

          Without our full knowledge and proper consent.

    • Richard W
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      This is my thought too. If they amend it beyond anything superficial (i.e. just about anything) then the EU will not accept it. Any amendments will surely increase the chance of No Deal?

    • Bob
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      @Mark B

      “what an utter disgrace this government is turning out to be”

      I hope that disgruntled voters remember this next chance they get to vote.

      We need some fresh ideas, and electoral reform instead of this FPTP tribal party whip safe seat patronage nonsense. It’s discredited, drain the swamp and make Britain great again.

      • M Davis
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        “I hope that disgruntled voters remember this next chance they get to vote.”

        I think that can be relied on – so long as they don’t vote Labour!

      • Mark B
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink


        I keep arguing for direct democracy. I keep arguing for the Legislature and the Executive to be seperate. I keep arguing for the HoL to be abolished and replaced with an elected Senate by PR. But no one seems to want to know. Now, perhaps, they might just start to see that I may have a point to it all.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Bob A new petition is needed to get rid of FPTP

        • Mark
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          That will not help you. FPTP is by far the most ruthless system for getting rid of parties that are past their sell-by date. Look at the history of Canada in the past 50 years , or the eradication of the Liberals in the first part of the 20th Century in the UK to see that.

          What will help is if party members decline to support MPs and PPCs who are at odds with their values, and instead put up alternatives for election who they do support and agree with. An internal party coup if you like.

  24. margaret
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    This comment may be duplicated. When we comment there is usually a timescale where it is displayed as being moderated and this did not happen.?
    Firstly thank you for concise account. Following much waffle and time wasting on the Brexit matter it is refreshing to be informed factually. The media are regurgitating boring arguments again and again. Mrs May is not presenting us as being sincere about leaving the EU and the stalling is inappropriate by all concerned. I usually go with compromise ,but not this time. We either need to be in or out. The tactics used to keep us in though are nauseating and demonstrate how devious controllers ( in the 1984 Orwellian meaning of the word) can be.

  25. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    It’s unfortunate that May has failed repeatedly to take your excellent advice up to now JR, and this is unlikely to change….
    The whole situation regarding this vote has become so muddied by the disgraceful deal, but also by the efforts of many in Parliament to thwart Brexit, that it is hard to see what the outcome will be – If May succeeds, through the self generated confusion, in getting the deal approved, then Parliament as a whole will be held responsible.
    The amendments are nothing but disruptive clutter, and I would propose, if I had the ability, that the deal be voted on as it stands – A great Speaker would help to make this happen.

  26. agricola
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    When the dust settles in Parliament next week we will still be seeking a solution to our relationship with the EU that satisfies the leave vote.
    Owen Patterson alluded to WTO article 24 on tarrifs and trade. This would allow us to leave at end March 2019 but to continue with current trading arrangement for up to 10 years while a permanent agreement is negotiated.
    I request that you explore the possibility in this diary because it might offer an answer that satisfies many in Parliament and both leavers and remainers.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      His seemed the most reasoned speech yet his neighbour on the benches Maria Miller talked rot.

    • Jagman84
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Agricola. That is what I discovered some time ago and it makes the alleged “cliff edge” a complete fallacy. If we had repealed the 1972 act immediately after the referendum, we would be out of the EU and well on the way to a sensible trading relationship. We may have still had Cameron & Osborne but you can’t have it all!

    • acorn
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Article 24 is about not disadvantaging other WTO members when a group of members enter into a Customs Union or a lesser regional trade agreement. It was not designed to apply to a member leaving a Customs Union.

      BTW. The UK has always been able to withdraw its “leave” (Art 50) request. The ECJ is repeating what is allowed under the Vienna Convention (VCLT). But you can only use an excuse once.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Funny that. But under the EU Withdrawal Agreement we would not be allowed to leave the EU tentacles. Vienna Convention or not.

  27. Nigl
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    We are stuck in the EU, our vote was a waste of time. It was what Theresa May, with Soubry etc always wanted. Come up with a bad deal that no one can support and block the No deal scenario.

    The majority of MPs wanted to stay in anyway so, again the the next five days if debate are a waste of time. Just have the vote.

    You have lost JR.

  28. MickN
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Oh how we laughed at the Irish and others when they voted against the EU and were made to do it all again. Never in my life did I think for a single minute that we would ever fall for the same. I had thought of us as made of sterner stuff than that. I am now in a position that I never considered possible. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my country. We need someone here to drain our swamp and put us first for a change. Twice in the last century when Europe was on the brink we rode to the rescue at the cost of millions of British lives. This is how we are treated now. Never again. When it all goes belly up which it surely will I hope they all disappear up their own drainpipes. They have made their beds.

    • Andy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      No one is making you vote again. It is just that the fantasy Brexit you voted for is not (and never has been) deliverable. You can have reality Brexit if you like – but you will be backing the biggest loss of sovereignty and influence this country has ever experienced.

      It really is not the fault of the EU, Remainers or anyone else that Leave voters were so very seriously misled in 2016. It is certainly not our fault that more than 2 years on in the face of overwhelming evidence of the damage your Brexit will cause that you still want to plough ahead. The answer to this mess lies inside the heads of Brexiteers. We will accept your apologies.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Leaving the EU is easy.
        It is just that you remainers have frustrated that straightforward process.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Andy ‘We will accept your apologies’. Ha,ha. You will have a long wait.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear MickN

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      @ Mick N

      We need someone here to drain our swamp and put us first for a change.

      Sadly we needed a Trump figure. There are a few out there but they are constantly put down and belittled by the critical mass within the house.

      To name a few:- Redwood. TC Davies, Paterson, Farage, Johnson, Rabb, Patel, Bone they are there but the media ignores their passion and belief in this country.
      We need a night of the long knives but it ain’t going to happen. We cnnot get 48 votes for crying out loud. How people listed must weep at what we have voted into the chamber over the years.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      We are made of sterner stuff. It is just that those in parliament are not up to the job of governing and know it ! Hence why they are happy for the EU to do it for them. I mean, look at the present incumbent at #10 and her next door neighbour ?

  29. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    What a complete and utter mess this looks to people outside of Parliament.

    All this stemming from the fact that Mrs May was not strong enough in her negotiations with the EU and is proposing a Withdrawal Agreement which only suits the EU, offering nothing of any substance at all to the UK.

    Given the current spread of Mp’s it looks like we will never get the Referendum result authorised, as too many Mp’s do not wish to actually govern our own Country, but instead prefer to take rules from an outside power.

    Why do such Mp’s seek power in the first place if they are not prepared to be in control themselves ?.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      @ Alan Jutson

      Why do such Mp’s seek power in the first place if they are not prepared to be in control themselves ?.

      For a lot of them it is doddle of a number. good pay, excellent pensions, company board position when you leave,no accountability and definitely no responsibilities. Show an interest every five years and wing it for the rest.

      Whats not to like?

      • Mark B
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink


    • Mark B
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Money. Self aggrandisement. Vanity. Working for ‘special interest’ groups. But not us it seems.

  30. Renton
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    You say the government should publish the Attorney General’s advice as Parliament requires, and should accept Parliament does not want the Withdrawal Agreement. Are you any relation to the “John Redwood” who howled outrage and anger when Gina Miller went to court to protect Parliament’s right to control the government in sending the Art 50 letter?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      It would indeed be rich irony if the Gina Miller action turned out to be the harbinger of leaving with WTO rules.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      John Redwood did not howl outrage and anger. From what I remember on the day Gina Miller appeared he said its best to keep calm about these things.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Very different situations.
      The complaint about the Gina Miller case surounded the debate on who makes the rules.
      An elected government with a majority in parliament or the appointed for life judges in our courts.

  31. Iain Gill
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Boris for pm,. it’s the only way the conservatives can win the next election.

    • Excalibur
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Endorsed, Iain, with our host as Chancellor.

    • Bob
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      @Iain Gill

      If they sabotage Brexit and try to bind us irrevocably to the EU they won’t be winning any more elections. We will just have to elect a UKIP government and declare UDI on the basis that the treaty was unconstitutional.

  32. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The point to bear in mind is that accepting this deal is actually WORSE than remaining for the moment in the EU. Things will never be the same again if we continue as a member. The writing is on the wall, and all that is needed is a competent believer to negotiate a way out. Any second referendum would stir up the constitution so much as to be unacceptable.

    • cornishstu
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need to negotiate anything, this has been the big red herring from the get go. Article 50 has been served and we can legitimately walk away next March. Trade was used as an excuse to get us in and the same is being used now to keep us tied to the EU

      • Mark B
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Correct !

  33. Michael O'Sullivan
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    It goes without saying, no need to inform the EU accordingly, The whole world is looking on aghast at what is going on. Looking at it from the outside- I am stuck for words. Parliament has taken back control, yes, but in the process has usurped the role of government- Mrs May may as well decamp now- job redundant. But it also puts the ERG hopes of going directly to WTO rules in a precarious position- God knows what’s going to happen now.

  34. libertarian
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I’ve never spoken to so many angry people. People who rarely comment on politics, people who voted to remain and to leave and people who support differing political parties or none

    People are angry at this absolute travesty of so called democracy. People are angry at the worst PM in history Mrs May, not just on Brexit but on everything she and Hammond have touched. Most of all they are enraged by the useless, spineless , two faced tory party

    The tory party is dead in the water, UKIP has become an ultra right wing nut job party , lib dems and greens disappeared years ago ( being remainer parties they couldn’t sustain enough support) That leaves the Marxist Party , the next government of this country

    Total brainless people come onto this forum with spurious nonsense and made up figures about the economic damage a WTO agreement will do, whilst totally ignoring the fact that their behaviour will result in a Marxist government and the collapse of the economy .

    This is going to end very very badly

    May needs to go now

    • Bob
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Have you read UKIP’s manifesto?
      If so, which part of it do you consider “ultra right wing”.

      Would it be ending politically correct social engineering of society?
      Because I would have thought that was more… ermm, libertarian?

  35. Peter Miller
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    It looks like the Dark Side may have won.

    The ECB announcement that the UK could unilaterally renounce Article 50 and stay in the EU was a masterstroke in timing.

    As the majority of MPs are Remainers, and after last night’s vote in Parliament, the end result of all this is likely to be that MPs will eventually vote to rescind Article 50 meaning we could be stuck, as an emasculated member, in the European Empire forever.

    Insisting on the unnecessary ‘backstop’ was indeed another masterstroke by the EU, as it completely undermined the UK’s hapless negotiators.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      It’s all pitting Parliament against the people, which can’t end well.

    • Stred
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Is this to same European Court which the Attorney General said the UK would have to appeal to if no agreement could be reached after two years and we wanted to leave under WTO rules? It would seem that these unbiased judges tend to want to make it easy to remain.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Well, so far it is only an Opinion, which is here:

      and I note in particular:

      “If, as is the case in the UK, prior parliamentary authorisation is required for the notification of the intention to withdraw, it is logical that the revocation of that notification also requires parliamentary approval.”

      In a previous exchange:

      I suggested that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 was irrelevant, “because it only empowered the Prime Minister to send in the Article 50 withdrawal notice”; but this Opinion takes the opposite view, it argues that a fresh Act would be required to authorise revocation of the notice.

      Which leads me to wonder whether a fresh Act might also be needed to authorise an application for an extension of the two year negotiating period.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      “Lisbon Treaty MEP blasts EU court’s Article 50 opinion”

      “An MEP who helped draft Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has lambasted Tuesday’s opinion from the EU court that a country can unilaterally withdraw its application to leave the EU. Jo Leinen, a German MEP and member of the constitutional convention, said: “The advocate general’s assessment is misguided. Article 50 of the EU Treaty is not intended to allow a member state to take the European Union hostage”.”

    • mancunius
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      But the ECJ (not ECB) announced nothing. One of its senior lawyers gave a legal opinion to the judges. The judges have as yet given no judgement. They might take several weeks or months more to do so.

      Consider the consternation in Brussels once they learn that Poland or Italy could play a game of giving notice to withdraw, renegotiating, and then cancelling it after two years.

  36. Enrico
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Two and a half years down the line from the vote and parliament are still arguing.Why did no one pick upon David Camerons message to the nation while he was still PM that whichever vote the way went then it would be decided by the vote,not parliament,not MP’s but the public.
    May needs ousting now and we need to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and just leave as per the majority of the public who voted.

  37. Adam
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Dominic Grieve’s intent to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement is in the interest of the UK, but being in common with the majority who already reject it, it is probably needless in his amendment.

    Worse, is his intent to prevent the UK leaving the EU without any agreement. That risks cutting our power of choice to within the EU’s control, effectively with Grievous intent against the freedom of our people.

    It is he who should be held in contempt for opposing the will of the people his position exists to serve.

    • Andy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Mr Grieve is my MP. His constituency voted, narrowly, to remain. He is representing his constituents.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Andy, just as when Scotland tries to say they should be treated differently and MP’s rightly say that the vote was for the UK as a whole, MP’s have to realise that their individual constituents don’t count either. It was a UK vote and we voted Leave. Get it?

        • rose
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          The correct answer to this weasel argument is that enough people in their constituencies (and in Scotland and London) voted to Leave to help make up the biggest vote for anything in the UK. And in London, more voted to Leave than voted for Khan. You could probably find that also applies to some MPs.

    • mancunius
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if Parliament agrees to that, they are in effect sticking two fingers up to the majority that voted to leave, and winking to the EU that they are allowed to lock us in and throw away the key.
      Mr Grieve would not have had much of a future during the 17th century.

  38. NigelE
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    What a mess. The chances of reversing Article 50 and never leaving the EU, or some other flavour of ‘hard-Remain’, must now be quite high. Perhaps our best hope for a clean Brexit is a second referendum with hopefully a bigger majority for Leave.

    I do wonder why the HoC needs 5 days to discuss the Withdrawal Agreement. Will all that hot air really change anyone’s views at this stage?

    • JoolsB
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      And if remain win by a slight margin, what then, best of three? Also our duplicitous MPs who are suggesting a second referendum are being their usual underhand deceitful sevles because they are proposing a three way vote – May’s deal, no deal or stay in. Note how they are trying to split the leave vote in two.

      The people have already spoken. It’s not the result which is wrong but the politicians who refuse to implement it. Time they were reminded they are our servants there to do our bidding and not our masters who think they know better.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Another referendum would probably only offer us remain or remain, and the whole thing would be so rigged by the establishment it wouldnt be worth getting out of bed for.

  39. Graham Wood
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    John. Re the Withdrawal Agreement. I’m sure you will be aware of the one crucial question which faces Theresa May and other ‘remain’ supporters on this. It is:
    If the WA is voted through would it be legal under British law?

    Bill Cash made this point with his crucially important comment reported in the Telegraph:

    ” The Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement is incompatible with the Withdrawal Act 2018. This Act, enacted on 26th June, converts all EU law into British law and makes the entire European Communities Act 1972 null and void from 29th March 2019. However, under Mrs May’s contaminated agreement, during the transitional period after Britain leaves the EU, from 29th March 2019 to 31 December 2020, a tampered version of the 1972 Act will remain in place. In other words, the 2018 Act of Parliament – the law of the land, which takes primacy over a treaty – will be scaled down and rubbished. What does all this mean? The consequence is that unless a new act saves her, Mrs May’s Brexit deal becomes inconsistent with the referendum vote, and illegal.’
    Clearly these WA proposals, including the Customs Union and Single Market provisions would place the UK under EU jurisdiction once again which would run counter to the 2018 Withdrawal Act as he rightly argues.
    Who on earth would wish to vote for a policy that directly contradicts statue law passed by our own parliament? That would be illegal and is the primary reason why the WA must be opposed on legal terms.

    • Fuddy Duddy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Graham Wood – whether Bill Cash’s point, which seems a bombshell, is nonsense or extremely pertinent JR seems to have nothing to say about it which is par for his course on interesting questions when a simple reply would be adequate. I don’t understand his non responses.

      Reply Bill has made a good point. The government’s reply is they intend to change the law to make the Withdrawal Agreement legal. As I expect the Withdrawal Agreement to be voted down it becomes academic.

  40. Alan Joyce
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    The disconnect between MP’s and the people grows ever wider…..

    • Nigl
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Totally agree. Time for the Sans Culottes.

    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    John, the WA is better than not leaving at all. I’m now convinced of that. We all recognise there is some risk but by the time the backstop kicks in most of our economy will be outside the EU and the EU win only have limited control of our laws.

    We’re heading for NO Brexit and May’s deal is the only chance of avoiding that.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      No, you’re swapping a lousy hotel for a prison.

    • Adam
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Those who claim that there is only one way reveal they are unaware of the others.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink
    • Cerberus
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      May’s deal is no Brexit. Leaving on WTO terms is our current backstop agreed by Parliament. Changing this position and explaining it to the public should be interesting. Public anger about any possible betrayal is simmering nicely in the Shires.

    • Stred
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Given the determination of the Remainer MPs to welch on their promise and undermine the whole vote, you may be right. May could be deposed after leaving and, if treason could be established, a new government could renegotiate or leave on WTO with preparations ready.

    • JustGetOnWithBrexit
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it takes time to read and understand the WA and the Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU…but it’s definitely worth doing.

      You can add in the Legal advice, as well…to get an idea of what is being proposed.

    • davies
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure about that. I’m not too sure about anything anymore regarding this issue, its a total pantomine.

      Copied from a prominent member of the Bruges group:


      “1. The Grieve Amendment isn’t binding; backbenchers cannot command Government policy. The Grieve Amendment carries no legal weight whatsoever; it remains law that if we do not have an Agreement in place, we exit on WTO Terms on 29th March 2019.

      2. Staying in the EU simply is not an option; there is no mandate to rescind the Article 50 letter. A second Referendum would be required for that; there is no time for that before March.

      3. Theresa May’s so-called “Deal” is HIGHLY HIGHLY unlikely to pass, although I believe the vote will be closer than envisaged.

      4. Focus should now be on what happens after the Withdrawal Agreement is defeated; she is at a European Summit Thursday/Friday after the Tuesday vote; I do not believe the EU will give any flexibility to amend/re-open the Withdrawal Agreement.

      5. If there is a second vote on the Deal, I would expect that in mid January, rather than before Christmas recess, but I cannot see that passing either. THERE IS A RISK IT COULD PASS, HOWEVER. By that stage, assuming out does not pass, with just ten weeks to go, we must fix our course and focus on delivering the “managed no deal” scenario.

      6. As Peter Lilley stated last night at the Bruges Group Meeting (see the announcements for the livestream of the event) “no deal” planning is now well advanced, much more so than is being made public, and much less is required to be done than the media makes out.”

    • Helen Smith
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Probably our best and only option is to vote the deal through, then as a country renege on it and/or take the government to court as it infringes our human right to self determination.

      • cornishstu
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:01 pm | Permalink


    • mancunius
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      The EU would have total control – because any laws it subsequently makes and any further power-grabs by the ECJ must be adopted by the UK.

      I do not see how Parliament could legally vote ‘against’ Brexit since they voted extensive legislation that firmly and unambiguously enacts Brexit on 29 March 2019.

      Some MPs could move for an extension of Art. 50 – or even its reversal, if the ECJ were to rule in time on the possibility of unilateral withdrawal (and too much has been made of the Advocate-General’s legal opinion as submitted yesterday to the Court. The Ad.-G is not a judge, and his opinion is opposed by the full weight of the EU Commission).

      But if they do that, the people will know democracy in this country is dead. And they will bestir themselves in great anger.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      John Finn,

      The backstop is infinite risk, very sad to say, staying in allows us to do it all again.

    • Al
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that May’s deal isn’t Brexit either – its remaining on worse terms with no exit clause.

      I find it interesting that after a response from the government on the 3rd December to this: saying outright: “we will not hold a second referendum” that certain parties are now pushing for it.

  42. JoolsB
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    What a sorry day for democracy when the world is watching UK politicians fighting amongst themselves like ferrets in a sack over how they can thwart the will of the British people and arguing over what must be the biggest humiliating surrender document in our history. Sadly I am losing all hope of now seeing the clean Brexit that we voted for. We have a choice between traitor May’s Government that wants to thwart the will of the people and keep us in Europe by the back door or a marxist Government that also wants to thwart the will of the people and keep us in. The vast majority of them are so wedded to the EU that they refuse to see the wonderful opportunities for this country free of their shackles. They are pathetic.

    What is even sadder John is you and your fellow Brexiteers had the chance to get rid of traitor May and you blew it. Much of this could have been avoided had we had a leader that believed in Brexit and told the EU what we wanted instead of going down on bended knee as she did and ask what they will give us. And still Tory Brexit MPs insist it’s the policies that need to change and not the Prime Minister.

    The Great British people have been well and truly stitched up.

  43. Pete Else
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that parliament is spreading as much confusion and disinformation about Brexit and May’s awful agreement as humanly possible in order to be able to claim that the agreement actually saves Brexit. It serves the government and the majority of MP’s that really want to remain that the country is so scared of simply leaving that it goes along with this narrative. What is completely clear to me is that none of the larger political parties reflect the will of the people and are simply continuing their policies of lying, cheating and stealing rights and wealth from the British population just as they have forever.

  44. JoolsB
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Not sure our kind host will allow me to do this but for all those who wish to see a no deal, please sign E petition 221747.

  45. Graham Wood
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    JF I suggest you have a misplaced perspective. The WA is primarily a political and legal issue, not an economic one. See my post above as to why this is the case.

  46. Shieldsman
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The amendments. The Hilary Benn/Dominic Grieve amendment seeking to reject both the Withdrawal Agreement and exit without an Agreement.
    If it was selected and carried, could Theresa May carry on in Government?
    She cannot get the WA through, so what will the Conservative Party and its MP’s do to stay in power?

  47. Andy
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I am in a quandary.

    I’ve never voted Tory – though I did briefly consider it during Mr Cameron’s time. For me Brexit is a deal breaker – I think I will never vote blue.

    BUT, my MP is Dominic Grieve. A man who has done more to assert the Parliamentary sovereignty that Brexiteers claim to have voted for than anyone. He has done an excellent job of holding this car crash Brexit government to account.

    I know lots of his older more rabid and frothy mouthed constituents will vote against him at the next election. I look forward to some knocking at my door so I can politely tell them to go away.

    So who should I vote for at the forthcoming general election? Should I back the fabulous Mr Grieve – while holding my nose and ignoring the fact that he’s a Tory? Or should I pick a different party instead? Hard call.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Ogood idea vote Tory

    • libertarian
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink


      Vote Macron if I were you

  48. Ian Pennell
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    It is a complete shambles. The Prime Minister has lost control of the Conservative Party and cannot get MPs into line- such is the utter mess that she has made of Brexit.

    The only way forward is for Theresa May to resign and for a new Brexiteer Prime Minister to take charge of the whole situation- by calling for a General Election or (at the very least) promising to throw the full weight of government behind arguing for “No Deal” in a new Referendum.

    I wonder if Mr Redwood would do more to encourage his colleagues to submit more letters to the Right Hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale West. Theresa May may well be resilient, but she is a walking disaster as last night’s three Commons defeats clearly exemplify: She must go now.

    Ian Pennell

  49. a-tracy
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Is there something stopping the Leave MPs or the DUP tabling an amendment?

    Something simple about what would make this withdrawal agreement acceptable to them. Then MPs voting against a simple amendment in the UKs interest exposes those working against our nation’s advantage.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      You could consider some free movement with benefits off the table clause unless someone has lived here and paid in national insurance for say five years or have proof they have lived in the Country for eighteen years. Those working migrants that are all contributing to the national insurance pot won’t mind this at all. I always wonder if so many migrants are making such a big boost to our national insurance funds why aren’t our schools, hospitals, and working benefits sufficiently funded by contributions by both the employee and employer? 250,000 to 500,000 incoming workers should be giving a massive boost surely – the full yearly cohort at school is only around 450,000, isn’t it?

  50. agricola
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I have done some provisional research onWTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Article 24.
    As I understand it, if two parties in a trade agreement wish to re-visit that agreement then either party can invoke Article 24 which in effect maintains the original agreement on trade and tariffs fot up to ten years while a new arrangement is negotiated.
    This in effect removves the politically manufactured cliff edge so popular with remainers. Even the Labour Party whose position is to say the least confused, apart from wanting a general election, have the assurance of the same customs union arrangement on trade and tariffs for the next ten years. I can find no restriction upon us striking free trade deals with whoever we wish during the ten year period. Even NI should be happy as the manufactured border goes away.
    I do not know the detailed merits of the withdrawl agreement except as it applies to ex-pat citizens. However it could be signed knowing we have ten years of the status quo. Industry in both the UK and EU should be delighted with such stability.
    Can we have a more detailed appraisal of Article 24 as a way out of the impasse in Parliament thas has the virtue of pleasing nobody.

    • Shlomit
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      agricola, you have it wrong. Art 24 concerns parties in negotiation over a trade agreement. If the UK leaves with no deal on 29 March, there is by definition no ongoing negotitaion, and so Art 24 does not help. If anyone tells you that the UK can walk away on 29 march and yet still keep existing arrangements in place for ten years (or even for one day), then they are lying to you, or they don’t understand WTO rules

  51. MickN
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Just a thought but if Mrs May had shown the same determination, pig headedness and disdain towards the EU as she is against the result of the referendum perhaps she would have a deal that would be acceptable.

  52. NickW
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    It is easy to lose sight of what is at stake with everybody getting engrossed in procedural complexities and fringe plotting. Out in the real world, things are more simple.

    1) Parliament is debating on whether or not to ignore the referendum result.
    2) May’s so called agreement ignores the referendum result.
    3) Any MP voting for May’s agreement is a traitor, because in ignoring the referendum result, they are effectively destroying Parliamentary Democracy, in addition to surrendering control of the Country to outside forces.

    If it all goes wrong and we get an election instead of Brexit, there will be a mass boycott of the polls because there won’t be any acceptable candidates or political parties.

    In which event, the Country will refuse to accept the election result and go French; on the general grounds that if Parliament can refuse to accept a referendum result they don’t like, the people can refuse to accept an election result they don’t like.

    If those who support remain in Parliament succeed in getting Brexit stopped; they will lose everything. A Democratic vote has to stand and be supported fully by the House; regardless of whether MPs like it or not, or there will be anarchy.

    Perhaps MPs should all watch videos of rioting in France before the Debate, so that they fully understand the consequences of ignoring a democratic vote.

  53. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    If Jeremy Corbyn really wants to keep us permanently under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market then his best option would be to support Theresa May’s ‘deal’ and then watch over the years as the Irish government did that job for him.

    I cannot understand why MPs are so squeamish about highlighting the role of the Irish government in this fiasco. For example yesterday Boris Johnson named three nations which could demand a price if we wanted to leave the ‘Irish backstop’:

    “The EU knows that having that regulatory control over us, they would have no incentive, as it were, to take the foot off our neck. They will have us in permanent captivity as a memento mori, as a reminder to the world of what happens to all those who try to leave the EU. This is a recipe for blackmail and it is open to any member of the EU to name its price for Britain’s right to leave the backstop. The Spanish will make a play for Gibraltar. The French will go for our fish and our bankers. The Germans may well want some concessions on the free movement of EU nationals—and so it goes on.”

    But the country most directly involved with the ‘Irish backstop’ escaped mention.

    Even on this blog for more than a year now I have repeatedly had comments about this crucial aspect not just held in moderation but vaporised; yet it is the Irish Republic which has the greatest economic interest in keeping the UK under EU rules, and has a national veto on any future arrangements, and is clearly prepared to use it.

    As I tried to point out yet again yesterday, in this as yet unpublished comment:

    which concluded:

    “Ireland would have a veto over any future treaty between the EU and the UK which might replace the ‘backstop’, just as Wallonia had a veto over the EU deal with Canada; so why should it ever willingly release the UK from the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market which work in its favour?”

  54. Den
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    As I believe, The Withdrawal Act 2018 is now British Law. It states that we shall leave the EU on March 29th 2019.
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (And Agreements) says that National Law can over ride any Treaty or Agreement.
    That being the case and that the EU members, including Britain, are signatories to that Convention, this country will surely leave the EU next March or defy both British Law and the Vienna Convention?

  55. Stred
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May was asked why the EU would find it in its interest to agree to the UK leaving after the 2 year delay. She said that they would not wish us to stay, as we would no longer be paying them. The Attorney General has said that if the period were to be extended, then we would have to pay extra over the £39bn. Who is right?

    • Den
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Ask a lawyer for the answer not a Remainer.

  56. davies
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    You never know, the way the Euro is going with the Germans waking up to thier wealth getting siphoned off through the Target 2 mechansim, a populist Italian Government at loggerheads with the ECB and the threat of bond markets hanging over them our government and parliament could find themselves looking very foolish when the consequences of this play out for the EU.

    This is before the populist parties rising up all over the EU ready to get elected in May next year.

    It could be worse, our people could be on the streets up to no good wearing high vis jackets.

  57. Chris
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Sir William Cash has highlighted the government’s attempts at deception again with a tweet stating that the legal advice released by government is NOT complete:
    Bill Cash‏ @BillCashMP · 22m22 minutes ago

    “The motion passed yesterday required AG’s advice on Withdrawal Agreement but the gov has only released advice on Northern Ireland. Given that Law Officers ought to have been consulted regarding the whole Withdrawal Agreement, (Ministerial code) where is the rest of the advice?”

  58. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve just been watching that turncoat Liam Fox struggling to pretend that he could still have a proper job even if Theresa May’s ‘deal’ went through, and threatening us with no Brexit at all if we don’t go along with that betrayal, but I think this admission should ring alarm bells for anybody who hopes that eventually he could have a proper job:

    “Without the backstop we would not have been able to get the Irish government to take part in the negotiations.”

    So why on earth does he suppose that kind of attitude displayed by the Irish government will ever change, and it could start saying “OK, now we no longer mind if the UK gets out from under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market”?

    Again, like the Attorney General he talks about ‘a calculated risk’:

    but fails to take into account the extreme and intransigent attitude of the Irish government and the national veto which it has at its disposal.

  59. NickW
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Remain supporters in Parliament would be wise to consider how much freedom to negotiate a future relationship, the various options offer.

    Signing up to May’s deal ties Parliament’s hands completely and surrenders all decision making to the EU in perpetuity.

    A no deal Brexit leaves the door completely open for the negotiation of a future relationship in this Parliament and all subsequent ones. No deal simply means that our relationship with the EU is negotiated after we have left instead of before. Negotiating before hasn’t worked and very obviously won’t work.

    If a no deal Brexit results in the EU or individual Countries taking vindictive action against
    us, the Country will unite 1000% behind Parliament to overcome difficulties.

    There is a Patriotic Britain waiting for a Patriotic Parliament and a Patriotic Prime Minister, the root of our present problem is that we have neither.

    Further, the riots in France show that the EU is not static, it is evolving and may be about to undergo a North South split. I am sure that the Italians fully support the French people in their efforts to oppose an EU led by Northern Europe and designed to suit only the interests of Northern Europe.

    We need to be free to choose which Europe we want to belong to, and avoid at all costs having to stay shackled to a corpse with a putative liability for the Trillion Euro Target 2 imbalances; to which May’s agreement would leave us wide open. (That’s why they have to stop us leaving).

  60. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Macron has shown that even in a big Western democracy it is possible for a new party from a standing start to win a majority. As a big majority of constituencies voted Leave that is the way forward.

    • hefner
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Please note that the French elect their President as such, and that they do not have FPTP for electing their MPs. I would think anybody here dreaming of getting a UKIP Government in the near future should really question what they are injecting/ ingesting/ drinking/ smoking.
      And that even without questioning the quality of potential UKIP candidates.

  61. Mick
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    So Northern Ireland would be kept in the custom union as such so what , are the 55 million people of England going to be held to ransom by the DUP and there 1.8 million people I don’t think so, GB-EU-Republic of Ireland don’t want a hard border the backstop is a red herring to throw us off the real reason that Mrs May wants to be part of the Eu , so just drop the backstop and get us out, if that means Northern Ireland stays in for the time being so be it, there’ll still be a part of Great Britain and if the dreaded Eu try to make Northern Ireland part of the Republic of Ireland then we should take that as a act of war against GB and act accordingly

  62. Steve P
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    The UK Elite’s voted to accept Dominic Grieves amendment to the Withdrawal Act – effectively a non-democratic attempt to overthrow a referendum and make UK an autocracy. The UK Government is also found in contempt. It is obvious the UK Establishment is bringing an end to democracy. As a UK citizen I cannot support this move that alienates it’s citizens and so I am in the process of renunciation of UK Citizenship – otherwise to remain is become an appeaser to the EU and a traitor to my country as it is now not a friend.

    I do not want to take the risk of being classified as British or European in an autocratic society that can sign me up to things I have no input or vote on. Likewise, I am sure the UK and EU Establishment does not want citizens who can think for themselves – that has been made clear.

  63. Ringside
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Why make comments when we can just sit back and see it all happening right before our eyes.

  64. Fed up
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    How long before we see placards reading “come back Guy Fawkes, all is forgiven”?

    Followed by arrests for “Hate Crime”.

    • Steve
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Fed up

      Yeah I know. Even stating the fact that nationalism is on the rise, without expressing any particular allegiance results in one’s post being deliberately left awaiting moderation.

      It’s almost as if they’re terrified of you even thinking their days are numbered, let alone posting the fact on a blog. Kind of; shoot the messenger, just in case.

      And as if that’s not bad enough, last I heard they were trying make ‘dislike’ a criminal offence.

  65. ian
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Things are going great and couldn’t be better, just Mrs May deal now standing in the way a full Brexit on 29th of March 2019, ministers will have to start telling the government department to start implementing EU leaving processes soon and schedule more legislation for next year for leaving.

    Mrs May and cabinet with government departments and all civil servants are committed to leaving the EU next year in accordance with people vote, whatever happens, that will not change.
    If the deal is defeated next week, the gov will not try for another deal like that but just go for citizens rights with other small things for a deal, if the EU refuses then there are things in the small print of the treaty which will allow the UK time to implement leaving over a period of time, nothing much will change after the leaving date for quite sometime.

  66. sm
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    The Chancellor is now reported as saying that this Deal should be supported because it would heal a ‘deeply fractured country’.

    I assume he cannot see that this Deal is turning a fracture into a chasm.

    • Steve
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink


      Hammond is simply May’s chinless twit poodle, and when he says supporting May’s deal would heal a deeply fractured country, what he’s really doing is trying desperately to say the right thing to please mistress.

      None of that crowd care a toss about the country being fractured, it was they who did it.

  67. mancunius
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    And lo and behold, the AG’s advice is revealed as having been what we all thought it was – i.e. that Mrs May’s ‘Agreement’ would mean permanent enslavement to a malign imperial bully.

  68. G.T
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant speech in parliament this afternoon. You have captured in words exactly how I feel. I urge you to keep fighting for us. Very few seem to want to and if we don’t have someone fighting our corner we will soon lose our country – forever. I think there are millions of descent honest citizens who think like me.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      Any chance, Mr. Redwood MP sir that you can put it up here ?


  69. David
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic summary of the state of play. I understand more by reading this blog post than by trawling through the coverage on news outlets.

    And, by chance, I saw your Commons speech just now. It was passionate and it stated the truth. Thank you, John.

  70. Cerberus
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on your excellent speech today. Such positivity and sensible content is rare in Parliament at the moment.

    • John C.
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

  71. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Good speech.
    Along with O Paterson and N Evans.

    Now P Hammond realises that the EU can give other countries access to our market tariff-free whilst we’re denied tariff-free access to theirs.

    Stupidity to even think this deserves scrutiny.

  72. Chewy
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Hard to believe that Dominic Grieve et al stood on a manifesto of No Deal being better than a bad deal. And guess what? The conclusion from all sides is that this is a bad deal.
    The usually loyal Damien Green backing the Grieve amendment speaks volumes insomuch as I wouldn’t doubt his ongoing loyalty.
    Only way to save Brexit is Theresa May needs to be replaced by a Brexiteer, not a Remainer who poses as a bit more Brexity than TM. That person needs to engage with the public and put the positive case for leaving as well as the real negatives of a Corbyn government or Remaining . I’ve always thought a fresh election may be needed to undo the damage of the last but a candidate who can establish a poll lead and make such an endeavour more viable could change the dynamic somewhat.

  73. Stred
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Your speech, calling for MPs to stop using project Fear and take back control was very good. Apart from you colleague who sits sideways and is clearly a leaver, almost all continued to show Fear. The liberal doctor from Totnes told us that her precious NHS would run out of medicine and isotopes. She was followed by another Labour female who thought her husband would have died if WTO happened. For gods sake, do these MPs realize that Euratom is legally separate from the EU. It was formed in 1957 and Switzerland is a member while the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries participate. But our civil service persuaded May to withdraw. Why, as recommended by a Commons Committee, do we not apply to join on 30 3.19. They are not the Commission and dhould use sense and not refuse. If they did, the US or Australia may be willing to put some Isotopes on the plane from Perth overnight. These MPs must be truly thick. By the way, during your speech, Sir Alan Duncan was laughing, with his back to you, giving his true loyalties away.

  74. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    So, have we definitely seen the full legal advice or just a final, redacted version?

    “1. This is not the full legal advice on the May’s deal.
    It is a very selective piece of advice solely on the Protocol, article184 and 5.

    So no other issues are considered. Parliament asked for the full legal advice on the deal, not just part of the deal.

    Where is it?”

  75. Martyn G
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    For Heaven’s sake, can no MP ask of the PM the question ‘does the TA and what follows ensure that this Parliament will be able to accept, reject or amend EU directives and regulations as befits a sovereign nation in its own right?
    Would not such a question force Mrs May to state the truth? She parrots on and on about the immigration question and ignores that which, probably, most people voted for, which was to recover our sovereignty and to be able to act in our own best interests without EU interference and direction.

    • Andy
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Yet, ironically, those of you who claim to have voted for ‘sovereignty ‘ seem to deeply dislike Mr Grieve’s amendment which effectively does just that.

      Perhaps you only like Parliamentary sovereignty when Parliament agrees with you?

      • Martyyn G
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        You have entirely, as usal, missed the point of the question.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        You are being silly again Andy
        Grieve is trying to stop the UK leaving the EU
        If he succeeds the UK will have no sovereignty at all.
        But you know that really don’t you.

  76. DUNCAN
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    May is a pure, bred pathological liar and we want her GONE from our party.

    We want a pro-UK leader who will defend our nation, its constitutional and territorial integrity and its pride.

    We will not accept international humiliation brought upon us by a leader that is in cahoots with a foreign political entity

    It is incumbent on all patriotic Tory MPs who believe in the UK and its people to depose this offence that appears to have crawled to the leadership of a once great party.

  77. Dioclese
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    48 letters on their way on Wednesday I wonder?

    Perhaps the PM will not be going to Brussels on Thursday as planned. Well, not this PM anyway…

    • Maybot
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      She’s about to sign us up to the UN immigration policy. After loss of control of immigration is what caused Brexit.


      I think the Tory party is over now. She is really bloody awful.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Dioclese. I hope you are right.

  78. Original Richard
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    In 2016 a majority of the UK voted to take back control of our laws, money, borders and assets and regain our sovereignty and the freedom to elect and remove those who govern us.

    A remain PM has spent over 2 years preparing a Withdrawal Agreement which if passed by Parliament would lead to the exact opposite for that which the country voted !

    We would be losing even more sovereignty with a “backstop” that we cannot exit, a position where we are permanently tied to an asymmetric customs union with no representation and ensuring that we have many years of business uncertainty as every single EU country makes its demands as we try to negotiate a trade deal.

    The PM is taking Parliament and the country for fools and this has to be the worst example in UK history of a PM trying to pull the over the country’s eyes.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      …pull the wool over the country’s eyes.

  79. agricola
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Apologies for returning to this a third time but I now have a clearer idea of what the WA does. Though there are acceptable bits like the treatment of ex-pats as a whole it is unacceptable and must be voted down.
    My way forward is as follows:-
    1. Vote out the WA while noting the bits of mutual UK/EU benefit for retention.
    2. Leave the EU on 29th March 2019.
    3. Trigger Article 24 of the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to enable a continuation of the
    Current trading regime between the UK and EU for up to ten years. It should please industry in the EU and UK. It eliminates the NI border problem. It frees the UK to strike trade deals around the World.
    4. Negotiate a free trade deal on goods and services with the EU in the next ten years.
    Tell me I have got it wrong if there is good reason. The most important thing to do is sell it to Parliament.
    At the moment Parliament is utterly confused with factions going in all directions. They need to be brought together in the national interest.

  80. Steve
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Calm down children !

    The outcomes are;

    1) Second referendum to allow the answer remainers want.

    2) Leave with no deal (best in my opinion)

    3) No brexit

    But no matter what outcome, the British people will never again be treated so contemptuously by their own government. We will ensure this at the next general election, when we make such an example of the conservative party that no other will dare try hoodwinking the people ever again.

    This country WILL leave the EU, perhaps now, perhaps later on.

    Nationalism is on the rise right across Europe and is about to go exponential. ‘That’ is what will bring down the franco walloon empire, and prove one thing; you cannot subjugate the will of the people.

    So fret not, the reckoning is on the way, they will get theirs.

  81. Original Richard
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    The bigger Mrs. May’s loss in the Withdrawal Agreement vote the bigger the mandate the UK has to go back to the EU to demand a re-negotiation for better terms.

    Especially if it also leads to the UK going back with a completely new negotiation team.

    This is to the advantage of not only leavers and remainers who do not consider the Agreement respects the referendum and would be a very bad outcome for the UK but also for Parliament itself as it says it does not want the UK to leave with “no deal”.

    • Steve
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard

      Agree in principle, but most who voted leave did not vote for negotiations, deals or compromises. They were spanners thrown into the works by big corporates who emphasise their profits as being above the will of the people.

      Many of us just want to walk away from the EU, and frankly if big business doesn’t like it, hard luck this is our country not theirs.

  82. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it about time John that you and a few other true Conservatives started up a new party? Let’s face it, the old one is toast and we deserve better. There can be no pride in being a Conservative MP any more.

  83. Tweeter_L
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    According to Damian Green on BBC R4 today, although a Commons vote to prevent a so-called “no-deal” wouldn’t be binding on the government, the government would be very, very unlikely to go against the expressed will of the HOC. The BBC’s John Pienaar later confirmed that, from the historical viewpoint, in his opinion this would indeed be very unlikely.

    Apparently though, it’s OK to go against the expressed will of the British electorate, in a referendum that WAS supposed to be binding, and attempt to thwart our exit from the EU.

  84. Mike of Wokingham
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    The process is starting to look thoroughly mismanaged. Without a parliamentary majority, party discipline is at a premium. It seems to me that now is the time for compromise and consensus.

  85. Steve
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Look on the bright side, the truth and extent of May’s sneaky underhanded tactics during the last two years is all starting to come out now.

    If there is a parliamentary process or law standing in her way, she just disregards or changes it.

    Also if an honest person is in the way; simply threaten or sideline them, or, if they could be useful – bribe them with a knighthood.

    If a legal document is incriminating – just don’t let anyone see it.

    Finally…..try telling the British people that the EU can be trusted, and hope they believe you.

    You see now how this disgraceful woman operates ?

    She’s finished, and the conservatives with her.

  86. Simon Coleman
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    No, if Parliament doesn’t want this deal, it can look for a compromise that a majority of MPs would probably support. That’s the DEMOCRATIC way forward, the very one you don’t want. Going back to the EU will achieve…what? You hope to achieve No deal by default – in defiance of the wishes of the majority of the Commons. You are now finally exposed as the undemocratic politician that your posts have suggested for a long time.

    The fact that you want No deal by default proves that you don’t want Parliament to agree on anything that you don’t like. You don’t know the meaning of the word ‘democratic’.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      It’s NOT a ‘deal’. It is a Withdrawal Agreement and we do not have to sign it. Name me one thing in it that prevents this so called, Cliff Edge ?

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Simon Coleman,

      You point doesn’t make sense when you write “Going back to the EU will achieve…what?”.

      If Mrs. May’s/the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement is rejected by Parliament and then Parliament manages to find a proposal that a majority can support, which respects of course the referendum result and the manifestos of the two main parties in the last GE as anything else would be undemocratic, then of course our UK negotiating team will need to “go back to the EU”.

  87. Original Richard
    Posted December 6, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    If Parliament gives in to the blackmail threat from the EU and its UK collaborators that “no deal” will bring economic Armaggedon to the UK and approves Mrs. May’s/the EU’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement then this threat will be used again and again during the subsequent trade negotiations until we find that we will have given away control of our laws, money, borders and assets and with no representation we will be a vassal state/colony of the EU.

    This will be the exact opposite of how the country voted in the EU referendum and following GE. There will be political instability and the subsequent economic uncertainty and decline will be far in excess of that of a “no deal” at this stage.

    • The Narrative
      Posted December 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      We have to rejoin the EU, leaving was not possible we were all conned. Thank you Remain politicians for teaching us that.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

        Leaving is easy
        Just like the over 160 nations not in the EU.
        But the process of just leaving has been hijacked by remainers.

      • Original Richard
        Posted December 6, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Of course leaving is possible.

        All it required was for the Conservative Party to elect a leaver PM rather than a remainer PM who is trying to ram through a deceiptful “deal” which locks us into the EU for ever.

        So bad that not even remainers are supporting it!

  • 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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