ERG members and the vote

I was not present at the meeting I read about between the ERG and the Chief Whip as I was speaking on the advantages of leaving when the meeting was said to have taken place.

It is quite clear there is no UK Parliamentary fix that the government could offer to make the Agreement acceptable. The whole point about the Withdrawal Treaty is it will override anything the UK Parliament might want to do in future were we stupid enough to sign it.

I assume those ERG members who were present will have the same view as I do that the current Agreement is unacceptable and would take a lot of amendment by the EU and UK working together on it before they could consider voting for it. I would go further and think it would be best to observe the words of the Conservative Manifesto which said a Future Trading or Partnership Agreement has to be negotiated in parallel with any Withdrawal Agreement.


  1. Stred
    December 6, 2018

    After your speech, during which a minister in the FO was laughing, Anne Marie Waters? gave a similar patriotic speech and tried to explain that leaving on WTO eas not a disaster. She was interrupted by Grieve and they argued points of law. On the lower benches there were many Remainer MPs who were laughing at her. How can you stay in the same party as these welching specimens? The name of the new party that you need to be quietly planning could be the Conservative Independence Party. Money would flow from the old Conservative members and ex Kippers. There are also good ex Ukip MEPs available. The present party is unreformable.

    1. Peter
      December 6, 2018

      There must be lots of behind the scenes plotting and politicking which the general public will not hear about for a while. So we await new developments and the verdict on the Withdrawal Agreement.

      In the meantime, I wonder if the Prime Ministers actions could be construed as criminal? Deception and duplicitous behaviour are probably not crimes just the base side of politics. Withholding advice is merely ‘contempt’. Ceding sovereignty and permanently granting power over the country to a continental bureaucracy though? If that is not actually criminal, then it ought to be.

      1. L Jones
        December 6, 2018

        Enoch Powell said:
        ”There is a name for appealing over the head of the Crown to an authority outside the realm, and that name is treason. ”

        Was he right?

        1. Richard1
          December 6, 2018

          It would be better to tone down such silly language

          1. Martin R
            December 6, 2018

            Facing up to reality is silly? As usual Enoch hit the nail on the head.

          2. eeyore
            December 6, 2018

            I believe the offence of treason is no longer on the Statute Book. However, one cannot help but notice how a few high words from MPs have produced an instant concession from the EU.

            In the House this week Mrs May congratulated herself for not banging the table and walking out of negotiations. Given the result a bit of table-banging has achieved, is it not a little suspicious that she did not try the tactic?

            Perhaps when she goes to Brussels on Dec 13 she will tell the EU that she is perfectly comfortable with the leaving timetable as it stands, and that if they want to change it it will cost them, say, £39bn. That would certainly give the lie to all further silly talk of treason.

          3. Steve
            December 6, 2018

            Why ? He’s absolutely correct, it is treason.

          4. John C.
            December 6, 2018

            Better for…?

        2. Lifelogic
          December 6, 2018


          1. Hope
            December 6, 2018

            JR, it is clear May has lied r pearedly to the public and when n parliament. She stated no PM would treat N.Ireland differently etc. She knew when saying this it was a lie because of the advice Cox had given her.

            She knows the backstop was the intended destination not insurance policy, she knew good faith only compels the EU to read any proposal not negotiate or accept it, she knew the back stop would coniuemifm rade talks broks down. May is a liar and has proven to be dishonest. Whenis action going to be taken to impeach her? The same for the other ministers who knew and read the advice and advocates otherwise. Jonny Mercer MP made some the points clear in parliament so when will action be taken? This is worse than the Blaire scandal in r spect of lying to the public, not the consequences,as they have not happened yet.

            Moreover, where is the full legal advice. This was only in relation to the backstop. May cannot be trusted therefore all advice should be demanded to be produced.

          2. Stred
            December 7, 2018

            If May goes, the first action of a Leaver PM should be to seize the cabinet computers and trawl through emails to the EU and Merkel.

      2. acorn
        December 6, 2018

        Worth having a read of

        Also, the link on the page to – Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, also known as the ‘backstop’.

        1. Denis Cooper
          December 7, 2018

          You have done well to provide that link.

          “There’s no need for a backstop during the transition period negotiated in the Withdrawal Agreement as the UK will continue to participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market.”

          Which is precisely what the Irish government wants:

          and once the UK government has caved in to the express demands and implicit threats* issued by Irish politicians there is no reason why they and their successors in government should ever be satisfied with less than that, and they will always have the power of veto over any future agreement.

          * From October 18th:

          “If anybody here still believes that the present Irish government may be open to the possibility of sensible negotiation then I would urge them to just look at these two articles in today’s Irish Times … ”

          “Mr Varadkar brought a copy of Wednesday’s Irish Times, which featured a story on an IRA bombing of a border customs post in 1972, into the summit dinner to stress to EU leaders the importance of the Border issue for Ireland.”

    2. Kenneth
      December 6, 2018

      Stred, I am beginning to think you are right and the Conservatives are beyond saving.

      Too many socialists

      1. Alan Jutson
        December 6, 2018


        Too many EU supporters

        Too many with power, but who want to give it away.

        Too few with any backbone.

  2. Nigl
    December 6, 2018

    Yes. I can see why she fought so hard to keep the legal advice secret because it demonstrates unequivocally that she is lying to us.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 6, 2018

      May has never misled anyone says Downing St. Sure!

  3. Newmania
    December 6, 2018

    If you will not publish my comments ,and I quite understand why you would not , then there is not much point in commenting is there. Free agree with me , twas ever thus .

    1. L Jones
      December 6, 2018

      Don’t be soft, Newmania. Much of your tripe has been published up to now.

    2. Richard1
      December 6, 2018

      I should think we see as much from you as from anyone? I imagine you were going to suggest brexit be reversed?

    3. Helen Smith
      December 6, 2018

      I have to wade through your Rubbish on a daily basis, perhaps your post was libellous or something?

    4. Maybot
      December 6, 2018

      The first comment I’ve read of Newmania’s that doesn’t include at least one ad hominem insult to people like me.

      Perhaps Dr Redwood has got the message that this is unacceptable.

      The Sun newspaper is virtually threatening riot in its editorial today. I have never ever read anything like it in a national newspaper.

      (The Mail’s shares have gone off a cliff since it took up a pro Remain stance under new editorship.)

    5. Anonymous
      December 6, 2018

      “Free agree with me , twas ever thus .”

      LIAR !

      The proof in in several years of your insulting posting on this site – for all to see.

    6. margaret howard
      December 7, 2018


      That’s because you are one of the few remainers willing to contribute here because not many would be prepared to wade through the drivel posted by so many here. Brexiteers can’t stand too much reality. Closed minds and all that -:)

      1. Edward2
        December 7, 2018

        Regular insults and blatantly incorrect facts are not proper contributions.

      2. libertarian
        December 7, 2018


        Great post, from the person that posts the same falsehoods over and over and over again

        1. margaret howard
          December 8, 2018


          Any examples?

    7. libertarian
      December 7, 2018


      Probably just bored

      Heres your post anyway

      Whah whah old people

      Grizzle grizzle thick

      Whine whine our childrens future

      Cry cry cliff edge

      bleat bleat the economies crashed and we’re all going to die

      Followed by completely made up stats such as Africa is less than half the size of France

      I’m a Finance insurance expert and heres some statements that prove i’m not

  4. Betrayed Leaver
    December 6, 2018

    Desmond Swayne will suport Mrs May, I understand. The ERg are being picked off. No backbone. I predict only Redwood and Baker will vote against in the end

    1. Martin R
      December 6, 2018

      Putting party before country. Well, who’d ‘a thunk it?

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 6, 2018

      Better if you kept your “concern troll” predictions to yourself.

  5. Ron Olden
    December 6, 2018

    Regardless of whether the Withdrawal Agreement is, or is not, a good idea, IT WILL NOT override anything the UK Parliament might want to do in future.

    The Crown in Parliament is Sovereign in the UK, and we can withdraw from any agreement or Treaty any time we like.

    The Withdrawal Agreement and things like the ‘Backstop’ are, in any case dependent upon continuing legislation operating within the UK to allow the provisions to apply.

    I heard Dominic Raab confirm this VERY POINT a few weeks ago, in an answer to Desmond Swayne

    In any case Parliament has a record of voting to enter into Treaties which contain explicit provisions to withdraw or lapse.

    The original EEC Treaty, the Single European Act, the Maastricht Treaty and the NATO Treaty, contain(ed) NO PROVISIONS for us to Leave.

    But no one ever believed or believes we were, or are, prohibited from doing so.

    In fact we had Referendum in 1975 to ‘advise’ Parliament whether to withdraw from the EEC. What was the point of that, if Treaties override Parliament?

    Recently following the Referendum, Leavers, (including I think John Redwood (although I might be wrong about that)), were saying that Parliament could simply Leave immediately regardless of what Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty says.

    And they were right!!

    Greenland and various French Colonies actually DID Leave before Treaty provisions for Leaving existed.

    Incidentally the UK Act of Union contains no provisions for Scotland to Leave the UK without the consent of the UK Parliament. But no one suggests it can’t.

    The ‘law’ referred to in this ‘Legal Advice’, is ‘International Law’. But as we all know ‘International Law’, is a pretty ephemeral thing at the best of times.

    It can’t stop Sovereign States withdrawing from agreements and Treaties.
    ‘International law’ is consent-based governance. This means that a state may choose to not abide by International Law, and even to break its’ Treaties if it’s vital National Interests are at stake.

    The Trump Government and umpteen others over the years have already done so.
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties states:-

    “A Treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty IN THEIR CONTEXT AND IN THE LIGHT OF ITS OBJECT AND PURPOSE.”

    Plainly that means that the UK can withdraw from any Treaty if the EU is refusing to act in accordance with what we reasonably expected i.e. hurry up and agree Trade Terms to avoid the backstop.

    Even if no one else agreed with us, there’s still no International Court in existence capable of doing anything about it and especially so, in the case of the UK, as we have so many allies in the World.

    In fact we could probably successfully sue the EU for Treaty Breach and even sue it in the ECJ for failing to observe the terms of the Lisbon Treaty which requires it to pursue excellent Trade and Political relations with neighbouring non member states.

    The fact that we will no longer be subject to EU jurisdiction doesn’t mean that they aren’t.
    Of the UK withdrew from the Agreement, the EU would also be liable to be sued by all its’ Trade Deal partners because it was failing to deliver the UK Market within its Trade Deals.

    Reply Of course we could just leave and refuse any legal challenges to our doing so. That requires enormous political will and may entail acting illegally. If we enter a Treaty with no exit clause there can be international actions under the law of Treaties against us, and attempts to make us accept continuing obligations after unilateral renunciation. Our own courts also could accept actions against any government that withdrew illegally from a Treaty. Why take the risk. Either do not sign such a Treaty, or place in it a clear exit clause like Article 50 to avoid doubt. The absence of such a clause is another worry about this unacceptable draft.

    1. margaret howard
      December 6, 2018

      Reply to reply

      Legal or not – who would ever want to deal with us again?

      1. Stred
        December 7, 2018

        Trump and the Aussies for a start.

      2. libertarian
        December 7, 2018


        Actually if you lived in the real world and could actually cope with facts you would know that lots of countries are eager to deal with us

        1. margaret howard
          December 8, 2018


          Name a few that we don’t trade with already.

    2. Martin R
      December 6, 2018

      Surely it isn’t a question of whether or not the UK is perfectly within its rights to tear up any such treaties, especially when they run counter to the clearly expressed majority vote to leave the EU and the government’s own clearly expressed commitment to abide by that vote. No, what I would suggest this is about is to provide the EU with a ready excuse to use force if necessary in the future to ensure the country complies with them, bearing in mind as well that the UK armed forces and police will also by then be under the control of the EU.

    3. Helen Smith
      December 6, 2018

      I’m understand there is a clause where we can leave the backstop in the case of civil strife. Well, I am up for a bit of rioting if that is what it takes!

      1. Maybot
        December 6, 2018

        The Sun virtually says as much today.

  6. A.Sedgwick
    December 6, 2018

    What I find most disturbing is the wilful blindness and it will be alright on the night attitude of this government and almost certainly the majority of Conservative MPs.

    Corbyn may defeat this Bill for electoral reasons but I fear the CP may have lost a generation of its past voters.

  7. Bryan Davies
    December 6, 2018

    Managed to listen in part to your speech yesterday – could feel your emotion. Keep going we need MPs like you

  8. Alan Jutson
    December 6, 2018

    Seems like an awful lot of attempted horse trading is going on behind the scenes to try and get this agreement passed in any way possible.

    Shame Mrs May was not as forceful with the EU, then perhaps all of this nonsense may not have been necessary.

    Afraid Mrs May has now been proven to be a liar on more than one occasion ,why on earth should anyone believe another word she says.

    She has to go before she does even more damage.

  9. Lifelogic
    December 6, 2018

    Indeed but a majority of Tory MPs and all the Cabinet are indeed stupid enough to want to sign it. So stupid are they that nearly all of them voted for the climate change act. It is hard to overestimate what a poor grasp of science, economics, business and reality so many of these Tory MPs have. The other MPs are even more deluded.

  10. BOF
    December 6, 2018

    To think that our Welsh MP was once a member of the ERG, but now propping up May. I am sure the whips provided very compelling reasons for him to change his mind!

    1. Bob
      December 6, 2018

      “I am sure the whips provided very compelling reasons for him to change his mind!”

      They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

  11. Shieldsman
    December 6, 2018

    May’s pro WA Conservatives will take too many risks, they choose the uncertain, , jumping in at the deep end and hoping the can reach the shallow end. The Conservative Party remainers, like many Labour MP’s dislike the WA, but are also against a no deal. As the WA is almost certain to be voted down, they want Parliament to choose a solution. But who has the solution. Many want to seek a way to remain in the EU, they want to ignore a democratic vote by whatever means.
    The Spectator lead article is worth a read.

  12. henryS
    December 6, 2018

    The current agreement is unacceptable so vote it down, then all we have to do is wait until 29 March- so why are we still talking about a future trading or partnership agreement with them? it is not going to happen in that way. As soon as we leave we will be treated just as any other outside third country and will have to negotiate our way from there. There is no point in wasting time in thinking that somehow we can have another style and equal partnership with them- not now and especially after all of the bad feeling that has gone on over the last twenty thirty years- they will be quietly glad to be shut of us- too much trouble they will say- good riddance they will think.

  13. Bob
    December 6, 2018

    “the Withdrawal Treaty is it will override anything the UK Parliament might want to do in future were we stupid enough to sign it.”

    And yet there are MPs who support signing it and Mrs May is trying every trick in her book of cunning plans to get her Surrender Treaty over the line.

    The French know how to deal with political leaders who get drunk on power.

  14. miami.mode
    December 6, 2018

    Mrs May was on the radio earlier and basically seemed to have no coherent answers to direct questions about the backstop among other things. For someone who is endeavouring to shape a nation’s future it was woeful.

    How anybody could sign a document that determines their future with so many details yet to be agreed is beyond my comprehension.

    1. Fuddy Duddy
      December 6, 2018

      Mrs May may be seen to be weak in front of the EU but she is not in front of BBC interviewers. John Humphries on the Today prog . today was swamped by her waffling and destroyed Humphries’ attempts to frame pertinent questions. She triumphed there.

      Many remainers continually say that the brexiteers always have said they want all the advantages of EU membership but to be independent. I have never heard any of this since the referendum but my memory perhaps is not good. But as this is never refuted perhaps they are right – are they?

      1. L Jones
        December 6, 2018

        I wonder what advantages that would be, then?
        I can’t recall hearing this before OR after the referendum. It was only when I began doing my own research BEFORE the referendum (so that I could make a properly balanced judgement of remain or leave) I realised that there actually weren’t many advantages to our membership

        (Perhaps the E111 was one – but as travel insurance is STILL required even in Europe, that’s probably not a good example and, in the great scheme of things, isn’t even very important. Though people like Andy probably think it is.)

      2. miami.mode
        December 6, 2018

        FD, please explain how waffling is a triumph.

  15. Kenneth
    December 6, 2018

    I presume the PM knows she is finished and therefore is taking her wrecking ball to Great Britain and the Conservative party with impunity.

    She seems determined to finish them off as well.

    Please ask your ERG colleagues and other MPs to do that can be done to remove the PM from office urgently

    1. Martin R
      December 6, 2018

      If she thinks she has finished off the Conservative Party with all these betrayals then for once in her life she’s probably actually got something right. As they say, even a stopped clock gets the time right twice a day.

    2. Al
      December 6, 2018

      **Please ask your ERG colleagues and other MPs to do that can be done to remove the PM from office urgently**

      If the MPs should require further encouragement, I suggest looking at the rejected petitions page under Teresa May (

      The sheer number of rejected petitions either for her removal or a vote of no confidence are virtually a petition in their own right.

  16. Den
    December 6, 2018

    Regretfully, the promises made in the Conservative Manifesto have long been abandoned by this seriously-unpopular Government. Unless those wrongs are righted I fear the Party will suffer come the next General Election.
    There is much work to do to ensure a Conservative majority in 2022 and remaining under the jackboots of the EU is never going to be the way forward.

  17. Mark B
    December 6, 2018

    Good morning – again

    . . . Future Trading or Partnership Agreement . . .

    We don’t need a ‘Partnership Agreement’ either ! And as for a Trading Agreement the EU have stated that they cannot negotiate one until ‘after’ we have left. So we Leave the EU with no Withdrawal Agreement as the EU have also said that that is the FINAL offer and it will NOT be renegotiated.

    This pantomime must stop ! It isn’t funny or clever. People were asked to vote on a single question with only two possible answers. IN or OUT ! We voted out not continuity Remain. We were told by the Remain PM, David Cameron, that Leave means leaving the CU and the SM. So we knew what we were voting for.

    STOP these shenanigans ! Just vote the WA down and prepare for WTO BREXIT.

  18. Chris
    December 6, 2018

    I understand from Brexit Central news email that your speech has gone viral.

    “Day two of the Commons debate on the deal yesterday brought a wealth of contributions, including a rousing call from John Redwood to “lift the gloom, stop the Project Fear and stop selling the electors short”, which went viral. We have compiled video clips of the highlights from the debate which you can watch here.”

    1. sm
      December 6, 2018

      I have just read John’s speech of yesterday online. It was terrific!

  19. MickN
    December 6, 2018

    I hear moves are afoot to “investigate” (read that as shaft him as a potential PM candidate) Boris.
    I am still awaiting the investigation into Mr Vaz who I presume is still too ill to answer question on his alleged friend Jim the washing machine salesman.
    They are really running scared aren’t they.
    Drain the swamp !

  20. Nigl
    December 6, 2018

    We hear a parliamentary lock is being considered. It is BS, it won’t be justiciable in terms of outranking the ECJ and the individual EU countries can veto any deal keeping us tied to them whatever this so called lock means.

    1. Betrayed Leaver
      December 6, 2018

      Once the Withdrawal Agreement is signed, a Parliamentary lock means only that Parliament is permited to act in breach of an international Treaty. Utterly bogus from May

  21. Denis Cooper
    December 6, 2018

    JR, I am staggered at both the duplicity and the sheer stupidity of a Tory government which not only claims to value the “precious” British Union but actually depends for its continued existence on the support of unionist MPs from Northern Ireland, but which has been prepared to betray both them and the British Union because it prefers to cave into the totally unreasonable demands* of the government in the south.

    The DUP MP Sammy Wilson made several interesting contributions to yesterday’s debate, but the one which struck me most forcibly was here:

    “I say to those on the Government Front Bench that we had an arrangement to keep the Government in power and working between now and the end of this fixed-term Parliament. Promises were made. In December, we sat with the Prime Minister in Downing Street and she said, “I will make sure that Northern Ireland has the final say in this because the Assembly will be the final arbiter as to whether or not these arrangements are put in place.” Those promises were taken out of the agreement. There has been bad faith. The agreement and understanding that we had has been broken. As the right hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper) said in his speech, that has caused tensions. Going down this road will create tensions. We want to see our agreement honoured because we want to see the United Kingdom preserved.”

    * Just to recall once again the words of the Republic’s Europe Minister Helen McEntee during that Sky News feature on November 24th 2017:

    “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.”

    How can you have a sensible discussion with people who pretend that there is no border when there clearly is a border, and reject “anything that would imply a border”?

  22. Christopher
    December 6, 2018

    It’s what everybody commenting has been saying for 12 months

  23. Horatio McSherry
    December 6, 2018


    In my humble opinion, your speech in the house yesterday was one of your best; full of emotion.

    It’s unfortunate you had to deliver it to a chamber full of supercilious anti-democrats, but don’t give up now.

  24. NigelE
    December 6, 2018

    Unfortunately, I missed your speech yesterday. Do you plan to publish it here? It would be appreciated.

    1. TRP
      December 6, 2018

      It is on youtube.

    2. Helen Smith
      December 6, 2018

      Yes please

  25. Richard1
    December 6, 2018

    Why are Conservative brexiteers all over the place on this? Why hasn’t it been better coordinated, ministers and backbenchers together? No wonder we are in such a mess!

    1. Bob
      December 6, 2018

      “Why are Conservative brexiteers all over the place on this?”

      Mrs May’s scheme is to split them up, divide and rule. She’s picking them off one by one.

  26. Alan Joyce
    December 6, 2018

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Negotiating the Future Trading Agreement in parallel with any Withdrawal Agreement is eminently sensible. It would allow us to see what we were getting for our £39bn and plan for the future.

    However, it cannot be negotiated by Theresa May or her inner coterie of civil servants and advisers. She has proved herself far too untrustworthy.

    The Conservative Party badly needs a new leader and the rejection next week of the Withdrawal Treaty should be the trigger for it.

  27. Adam
    December 6, 2018

    Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is a crazy paved path on the way to nowhere worth being. She mixed her foundations with sham & shambles, yet now she wanders & wonders why wet pieces slide off causing precipices at virtually every step.

    Her false claim of Strong & Stable, was soon exposed as Weak & Wobbly. Each day proceeds into Slimy & Slippery as truth about risky concealment of botched workmanship is revealed drenched with her reign.

    We don’t need a bigger boat; Brexit was the biggest vote. We need architects capable of quality construction in charge. JR & ERG have such expertise.

  28. agricola
    December 6, 2018

    Okay so the WA is unacceptable to a majority in Parliament inclusive of remainers and leavers. Vote it down in Parliament and inform the EU that though there are aspects of the WA that may be acceptable but as a whole it is a failure in that it does not satisfy the concept of leaving the EU as voted for in a democratic referendum.

    Tell the EU that we are prepared to revisit the WA and go to the WTO requesting that Article 24 be invoked pending the negotiation of a free tariff trade deal covering goods and services. This would give us a period of 10 years where present trading arrangements would stay in place pending a new trading agreement.

    Give it some serious thought because a chaotic Parliament is driving us up the proverbial creek
    mnus a paddle.

    1. agricola
      December 6, 2018

      Why no moderation.

  29. Rien Huizer
    December 6, 2018

    Mr Redwood,

    But the EU is looking for insurance -or collateral as people might call; it- and that means that indeed it cannot be left to either party to cancel arrangements. You would not like to have an insurance policy that may be withdrawn when an insured event occurs.

    And the EU made it abundantly clear that if the UK wants to have the smoothest possible trading privileges plus compliance with the GFA (otherwise Ireland would have no choice but vetoing whatever is negotiated), something like the present monstrosity is required. But, as Mr Gove put it very well, this is an arrangement that many EU members do not like at all, because it is too advantageous to the UK, hence the EU will try and exit this as soon as technically feasible.

    The misconception in the UK is that the EU wants to keep the UK in. But that is not the case at all. The EU does not want to have a privileged third country on its doorstep enjoying many facilities with any contribution. So I personally expect lots of sympathy with a Norway style arrangement, if (an impossible if) either Ireland joins that instead of the EU or, NI becomes a de facto EU member (which may be a little less impossible)..

    Reply Many of us do not see a border problem, knowing the UK will not erect watch towers and complex customs posts at the border! So there is no need for insurance, and if the EU insists then we just want to leave without an Agreement. What can you not understand about that?

    1. L Jones
      December 6, 2018

      Because, like most remainers, he has his fingers in his ears and his hands over his eyes. Quite a feat!

    2. Andy
      December 6, 2018

      Membership of the EU does not form part of the Good Friday Agreement, to which the EU is NOT a party. The EU should recognise that Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom and it should respect the territorial integrity of the UK, a fact that is underlined in the GFA. The UK has said, as a sovereign state, that it will not erect a hard border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. How the RofI deals with its border is a matter for it to decide.

    3. Monza 71
      December 6, 2018

      Reply to Reply
      Even Varadkar is on record as having said “if we did end up with a no-deal situation, we would find ourselves having to negotiate a ‘no-deal deal’ quite soon thereafter” (to ensure that the border in Ireland remains open)

      That proves that whatever he or Brussels have said, the border has been weaponised to make it almost impossible for us to negotiate a proper free trade deal.

      If May signs up, Brussels can procrastinate more or less indefinitely, keeping us locked into the backstop. As the Attorney General readily admits in his advice, proving they have not negotiated “in good faith” and “used their best endeavours” is almost impossible to prove.

    4. Rien Huizer
      December 7, 2018

      Mr Redwood,

      I understand that the backstop is not what you want but it is simply a condition for EU cooperation. The EU is the party that wants insurance and you know very well against what. No backstop no deal. That was obvious from the start. The issue is, does the UK electorate really want “no deal”.

  30. Original Richard
    December 6, 2018

    Mrs. May needs to be removed before she does a “Merkel” and signs the UK up to the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration on December 10th/11th.

    1. L Jones
      December 6, 2018

      There’s a petition (232698) ”The UK should not agree the UN’s Global Compact for Migration” – and it’s already well in excess of 100,000. There have been 12 days since it passed 10,000 but the Government hasn’t responded yet.
      What happens now?

    2. Steve
      December 6, 2018

      Original Richard.

      A signature by someone who is criminally insane is null and void anyway.

    3. hefner
      December 6, 2018

      OR, Have you read what the Compact is? It is not a treaty, it is not constraining, it is just a declaration of intentions, which for most countries will be without consequences.
      Obviously people are free to knit a bonnet and get a few bees in it, but I would think more useful to concentrate on what is presently happening in Parliament.

      1. Original Richard
        December 6, 2018

        If it’s “not constraining” then why sign it ?

        1. hefner
          December 7, 2018

          Simply because, as with so many other declarations of this type (e.g., on climate, conflict resolutions, animal welfare, …) it makes the politicians look good, as if they were addressing an important question, even if practically nothing is done at the time and nothing much comes later out of them.
          Just in case you have not yet realized, the most important contribution of politicians, newspapers, websites (like this one?) is producing a steady flow of hot air. In Antiquity it was ‘panem et circenses’, nowadays what would it be?

  31. Colin
    December 6, 2018

    Thank you John for your stance and contribution to this very important episode in our lives.
    I understand that the Government has still not made public the full legal advice on the Withdrawal Bill, just a small portion of it.
    Has it now been been fully disclosed to Parliament or are certain senior ministers still guilty of contempt?
    I believe the shameful contents should be available to all and would appreciate this apparent shortcoming being brought to the Speaker’s attention.

  32. Alan Joyce
    December 6, 2018

    Dear Mr. Redwood,


    If you harbour ambitions to be Prime Minister, it would better to sharpen your responses to difficult questions in the House.

    Yesterday, in answer to a question from the DUP’s Nigel Dodds about the Attorney General’s revealing advice regarding the treatment of Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement, you answered as follows:

    ‘Nobody is pretending that everything in the Agreement is perfect….’

    Oh Dear!

    1. Rich Mans Trick
      December 6, 2018


      both Sajid and Gove went begging to the neocons to be next PM.

      1. forthurst
        December 6, 2018

        I think Jeremy Hunt’s thrown his hat in the ring, also. Unfortunately, JR’s passport doesn’t indicate he’s sufficiently well travelled, so sadly he wont be the next Tory leader.

  33. matthu
    December 6, 2018

    Reports suggest that Theresa May is considering some sort of “parliamentary lock” as a means of persuading MPs to back her Withdrawal Agreement. Presumably this is because the last parliamentary lock was so popular.

    How might such a lock work?

    The last parliamentary lock (which was ever so popular) was supposed to ensure a referendum if any further powers were ever passed to the EU. Only, there were so many exceptions provided for that it never actually kicked in.

    And in the case of the backstop agreement, we would not be passing any additional powers to the EU, merely cementing in place in perpetuity powers we had already decided to give up.

    Remember: you can never successfully gild a turd. That’s why TM is frantically trying to sprinkle her deal with glitter. Good luck.

  34. Lifelogic
    December 6, 2018

    JR why do you think T May and the Cabinet are so determined to go ahead with the vote on the absurd deal when they are clearly going to lose it? What is May’s real agenda?

    Is it to delay leaving, just remain, have a new referendum with just a none choice (between remain or her idiotic deal) or some other absurd stitch up? Why is she so very keen to destroy the Tory party and give us the delights of Corbyn?

  35. Lifelogic
    December 6, 2018

    Perhaps the stupidest argument (repeated by Nicky Morgan today) is that the EU will not want to enter the backstop as it is unattractive for them.

    If so why are the so insistent on it?

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 6, 2018

      The backstop is very attractive to the Irish government, which will have a veto on any new arrangement to supersede it.

      “Mr Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue, and said it was a “very simple fact” that “if the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue”.”

    2. am
      December 6, 2018

      The initial pitch and spin by May was to get the support of the brexiteers. Now it is to get her real objective. Not only stay close to EU but be able to delay and extend transition for ever.

    3. Sir Joe Soap
      December 6, 2018

      This seems to hinge on the fact that exports from NI to the EU will be duty free, and they will also be able to sell to the UK duty free, making companies from Galway to Galatasaray seethe with rage.

  36. fedupsoutherner
    December 6, 2018

    I see MP’s in France have voted no confidence in Macron. Why can’t ours and get rid of May? How on earth can our MP’s stand by such a poor PM?

    1. John C.
      December 6, 2018

      Poor MPs support a poor PM.

      1. rose
        December 7, 2018

        I am afraid this is very much the case: the majority of those MPs who read their speeches inarticulately rather than making them in the normal way, just feel more at home with this thoroughly inferior PM. Ditto for many of the broadcasters, especially the women.

    2. hefner
      December 6, 2018

      A “motion de censure” has been put together by some French MPs (PS, LFI, PCF) against Edouard Philippe’s government. It should be discussed next week. It is not clear at all whether such a no-confidence vote could/will get a majority.

  37. davies
    December 6, 2018

    If our politicians from the outset had to put anywhere near as much effort into scrutinizing and challenging the EU over the years as they have done coming out of it then perhaps we would have ended up in a different EU and not chosen to come out of it.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 6, 2018


  38. eleanor justice
    December 6, 2018

    All the EU agree about May’s “DEAL”being the best does that not ring any warning bells? Walk away and tell our Prime Minister to get off her knees.

  39. Tony Bevan
    December 6, 2018

    I wrote to the OBR asking for the result of basic modelling of the fiscal mutiplier assuming a No deal Brexit.

    This was the answer

    I am speechless !

    1. Tony Bevan
      December 6, 2018

      Dear Tony

      Many thanks for your enquiry. I am afraid the OBR has not modelled these scenarios or estimates – sorry we could not be of more help.

    2. acorn
      December 6, 2018

      Tony, assume it is about 1.7; but, that is dependant on the leakage rates from government spending (taxes; savings and the level of imports). It depends if you are an IMF “crowding out” follower or an MMT “crowding in” follower. The IMF version was proved spectacularly wrong in the 2008 GFC. Ask the Greeks.

      You would be better off studying Sectoral Balances.

      1. libertarian
        December 7, 2018


        Actually you’d be better off living in the real world and binning all that economics bullshit that is just manipulation of statistics to “prove” the conclusion you started with

  40. Stuart Price
    December 6, 2018

    John, unfortunately I missed your speech, and as per the comment above, will you be publishing it, as I would like to read it. I did, however, catch Owen Patterson’s the previous evening, who I thought spoke with passion and a lot of common sense.

  41. William Long
    December 6, 2018

    It seems quite clear from the analysis in today’s daily Telegraph, that the great majority of the Conservative party support and will vote for the Withdrawal agreement. It looks as if we are relying on the Labour Party for any hope of voting it down. I am at present in the Newton Abbot constituency and I am confident my Conservative MP will vote against, but after the boundary change comes into force we will move into the Totnes constituency where the member is a leading remainer which poses a real problem. We do need a replacement for UKIP and urgently.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 6, 2018

      Oh goodness, Ms Wollaston! Worrying that she was a GP with her logic!
      She seems to think that our customs officers will confiscate cancer drugs at Heathrow and place them in quarantine indefinitely.

  42. Denis Cooper
    December 6, 2018

    JR, please could you ask your colleagues in government to stop being so deceitful?

    This morning, Stephen Barclay, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union:

    “… the political declaration’s recognition of an independent free trade policy … ”

    The only “recognition” of an independent trade policy in the political declaration is as something the UK government would like, not as an already accomplished fact.

    “…we will be free to negotiate, sign and ratify free trade agreements during the implementation period.”

    But even when negotiated, signed and ratified any such agreements could still not come into effect without EU approval until after the end of the implementation period.

    I’m sick to death of this constant sneaky behaviour, it may have started at the top with Theresa May but all the time her followers are spouting the same garbage.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      December 6, 2018

      Yes this is weasel words in the extreme. The truth is that no other country will bother to discuss trade with us until the EU has concluded the deal they decide we can have, because there is no certainty of us being free to sign such deals. This could take many years. In the meantime, the EU is free to sign trade deals with others and give them one way access to the UK market.
      The very least we should do is stop the EU signing any deals elsewhere for themselves until they have concluded ours.

      This, as it is, is madness.

  43. Alan Joyce
    December 6, 2018

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    ERG members and other conservative MP’s, still undecided on the Withdrawal Treaty, must focus their minds on the consequences if they vote for the deal.

    It is said that most of the Party membership does not support the deal. I would think that most Leave voters do not care for it either.

    If the Prime Minister’s deal is approved then you will lose the support of the DUP and be in a minority government possibly unable to pass any further legislation to do with leaving the EU on the run-up to 29 March 2019, or indeed, any other contentious bills.

    This will lead to a general election and a removal of those MP’s who inhabit marginal constituencies as disappointed leavers take their revenge. It will leave the Party unelectable for a long time.

    I am sure MP’s will have thought of all of this already but one wonders sometimes?

  44. Alan Joyce
    December 6, 2018

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I am heartily sick of hearing some MP’s (I have just listened to Damian Green) pontificating over how a government should go about incorporating conflicting views from a binary referendum vote into any deal. In other words the 48% (who lost) must be listened to and catered for.

    How much consideration was given to those of us who never supported the European project as it was rammed down our throats and into law by successive governments? Did they consider the corrosive effects on our democracy as they conspired to keep the ultimate aims of the project secret from the British people? Were we consulted when our sovereignty was given away in wholesale chunks?

    Many of the intractable problems we are seeing play out in the House right now are a direct result of the way in which devious politicians have concealed the reality of our relationship with the EU over many decades.

    I promise I will not post again today.

    1. Anonymous
      December 6, 2018

      Rest assured that no consideration would have been given to Leavers had the result been vice versa.

      The proof ?

      Parliament nor the EU has any intention of addressing the discontent that caused Brexit. No. They are determined to smear 17.5 million people as racists and bigots so they can ignore them.

  45. Monza 71
    December 6, 2018

    May is clutching at invisible straws if she thinks giving MPs a vote on whether to extend the transition period or enter the backstop. Neither outcome is acceptable. Extending the transition period would cost at least £850m a month will just prolong the inevitable breakdown in talks. Entering the backstop is clearly unacceptable to the ERG and the DUP as it should be.

    There are only three ways forward from here :

    Give up the whole idea of Brexit.
    Renegotiate : either to drop the backstop or move to a Canada + deal, or
    Leave on WTO terms

    When push comes to shove, I don’t think MPs would dare to defy the referendum result or call a divisive second one so that leaves two options.

    The EU won’t go along with dropping the backstop so it will have to be a free trade deal that does away with the Irish border so-called-problem which is nothing more than a device devised by Brussels to lock us in.

    That’s what May should have gone for in the first place. She’s had her chance and blown it. Someone else will have to take over after next week’s humiliating defeat and be a lot more determined than she has been.

    1. Anonymous
      December 6, 2018

      It is a complete dereliction of duty not to have prepared for No Deal and that was one of the key cards thrown away by May.

      That was what the referendum vote was for – No Deal. Remain turned it into something else.

  46. Shieldsman
    December 6, 2018

    How did Theresa May come to drop this load of poo on Parliament and the Public?
    After all those fine speeches and promises by Cameron and May we remain shacked to the EU. In two and a half years the PM has achieved absolutely nothing, negotiations on future trade are yet to start.
    Next April it will be WTO by default thankfully

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 6, 2018

      She decided to cave into the explicit demands of the Irish government and the implicit threats of renewed nationalist terrorism.

      This time last year she could have issued a declaration that for the immediate future the UK intended to make no changes at all at the border, and would never make any changes at the border at any time without the agreement of the Irish government, and offered to put that commitment into a bilateral treaty.

      Moreover the UK could have offered to pass and strictly enforce new legislation to control the carriage of goods across the land border into the Republic so that there would be no new need for inspections on the Irish side, and that commitment could also have formed part of the new Anglo-Irish agreement.

      That treaty, perhaps overseen by a group of disinterested powers such as Canada, could have served as the guarantee, the “insurance policy”, that there would never be a hard border and north-south co-operation would continue.

      Instead she chose to exploit the Irish demands as a pretext to do what she really wanted to do anyway, that is keep the whole of the UK and its economy under the economic thumb of the EU for the convenience and benefit of some of the 6% of UK businesses which export 12% of UK GDP to the rest of the UK, the ones who shout loudest through pro-EU organisations such as the CBI.

  47. Mike Wilson
    December 6, 2018

    Now Mr. Farage has left UKIP there surely has to be another political party in the offing. Either way – it’s ‘goodbye’ to the Conservative Party. It is, of course, about time. You have been split on Europe for 40 years. You need to split now – and take 17.4 million voters with you.

  48. a-tracy
    December 6, 2018

    The minute you see Sandbach, Soubry and other big remainers say they back May’s deal you know how rubbish it is for leave, it appears it is a trap and I think the Lib Dems and Labour remain MPs will vote it through to keep us tied up for a decade causing trouble.

    1. Stred
      December 6, 2018

      There was a lady Conservative MP for Erewash making her speech his afternoon. She is supporting the Withdrawal Trap because she thinks that the upholstery factory in her constituency may have problems getting the materials. It really is quite amazing how such poor thinkers can become MPs.

  49. fedupsoutherner
    December 6, 2018

    Can anyone find a link for John’s speech please? I have tried looking but had no luck.

    1. hefner
      December 6, 2018

      Type “John Redwood 5 December 2018 Commons youtube” and here it comes together with some of John’s other speeches.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        December 6, 2018

        Thanks. I found a couple but not the one I wanted.

  50. Denis Cooper
    December 6, 2018

    Here’s something that could go in a Christmas cracker, courtesy of Philip Hammond.

    Question: When is an economic forecast not an economic forecast?

    Answer: When it is totally wrong, then it is just a modelled scenario.

    Oddly enough even after he has been told that what the Treasury previously presented as economic forecasts were in fact just modelled scenarios a Labour MP persists in treating them as economic forecasts, and what’s more reliable economic forecasts, and what’s more involving “shrinkage” of the economy and our “impoverishment” even though it has been emphasised that the economy would continue to grow.

    I blame Philip Hammond more than anybody else in the current government for misusing public resources to produce and then leak new editions of the tripe pushed out by George Osborne before the referendum, he should at least be forced to resign.

  51. mancunius
    December 6, 2018

    I see the latest news just now is that Mrs May is planning to postpone the parliamentary vote – ostensibly to have further discussions with Brussels (which every person in the country knows is pointless, as we shall be able to see through any pretended ‘concessions’ they make, and why should they make any at all at this stage, until she has actually lost the vote?)

    My own impression is that she is deliberately delaying just in order to make her destructive lack of preparation for exiting without a WA even more obvious, to ratchet up Project Fear.

    I must say that the way the Tory Party machine and its Remainer MPs have acted is the most disgraceful anti-democratic conspiracy I have witnessed since Suez.

  52. PrezleB
    December 6, 2018

    John you should tone it down a bit, I don’t think anyone is interested in pamphlets anymore. Go to those ERG meetings instead and listen, and listen some more and then come out and tell us that we are on the right path, or not? I see you’re still talking about an equal partnership with them, but that is not going to happen, no chance,
    either way ‘In or Out’ we’ll still be rule takers as far as they are concerned

  53. Colin Hart
    December 6, 2018

    Great speech yesterday. Please keep up the good work. It is rare to see and hear both reason and emotion so forcefully combined.

  54. Simon
    December 6, 2018

    How is it going now Mr Redwood ? !

    1. PrezleB
      December 6, 2018

      Simon..I’d say the penny has dropped by now..some of those ERG types thought they were going to get a kind of gold plated equal partnership deal with them after cherry picking our way, but that thought is fast slipping away now, and just going by the bravado talk of DD and the look on IDS face this evening i’d say things are not going swimingly well- all of that plummy rhetoric speak of the past has faded away- no mention of the bavarian car workers now.

  55. Monza 71
    December 6, 2018

    Could you please incorporate a “like” or “dislike” facility into your site so we can record our approval of contributions ?

  56. James Snell
    December 6, 2018

    Heard DD making a very brave speech in the House today, it’s a pity he wasn’t so brave when he was chief negotiator

  57. Ron Olden
    December 6, 2018


    ITV has scrapped it and that’s the end of that.

    Now four people no one’s ever heard of are going to go on Channel 4 and discuss Brexit instead.

    So what’s new about that, and does anyone care? We can go down the pub and do that.
    I myself did it only today with ‘Ali the Turk’ in the ‘Taste of Istanbul’ Kebab Shop.

    In case anyone’s interested Ali’s ‘pro Deal’, because he needs easy access to imported Doners, salad items and cheap ‘chilli soss’, but is concerned about the effect of the backstop on sovereignty.

    I’ll ask the woman who runs the Chinese tomorrow.

    1. Peter
      December 6, 2018

      Maybe you should seek opinion in your local fish and chip shop?

      Or ask the bloke who runs Wetherspoons.

      I wonder if wet fish shops will make a comeback if we leave the EU?

  58. mickc
    December 6, 2018

    You are making a very dangerous assumption. My assumption is that most Tory MPs will back May.

  59. Nigel Seymour
    December 7, 2018

    So May has now given Gove the final say in the debate next Tuesday. I never ever thought we would get to the stage where Brexiteers have become Europhiles and who now give scant regard to 17.4m voters. Why doesn’t he just team up with Blair and try to force another ref!

    Gove has never been a popular person with the public let alone politician; I think this may well enhance this reputation…

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