Labour’s approach to Brexit

Labour says it wants to be involved in Brexit. It is and will be. Next week if there is a vote on the government’s Withdrawal Agreement Labour’s votes against will matter given the divisions on this proposal within the Conservative party. Labour is understandably reluctant to set out a positive approach to Brexit given the wide range of views within the party, but will oppose most of what Mrs May produces as an opposition usually does. They have set out a wide range of reasons for being against the Withdrawal Agreement.

Mr Corbyn is treading a careful path against the background of trying to lead a party much more divided over Brexit than the Conservatives. The Conservative party in the Commons contains up to 12 MPs who cannot reconcile themselves to Brexit and who used a number of opportunities to try to derail or modify the Withdrawal Bill as it went through. There is now a slightly larger group who say they want to prevent leaving without an agreement. The rest of the Conservative Parliamentary party accepts Brexit, including more than 100 who were Leave campaigners and strongly believe in it. The Conservative membership is also strongly pro Brexit, and an increasing proportion of the Conservative vote in the last General Election came from Leave voters who saw the party as the best way to get Brexit implemented.It is easy to unite practically all the Conservative party on Brexit by ensuring it happens.

In contrast there is a much larger group of Labour MPs who cannot reconcile themselves to Brexit, who try various Parliamentary tactics to seek to derail or delay our exit from the EU. There is a small group of pro Brexit Labour MPs, and some who accept the verdict of the voters and who fear for Labour’s future if it is seen to stop Brexit. There is a larger group of pro Jeremy Corbyn MPs who wish to use Brexit to try to secure a General election. The membership is heavily in favour of Remain, whilst the voters are split between some very pro Leave constituencies and some very pro Remain constituencies. There is no way the leadership can suit all their audiences. The Manifesto said it would want to implement the referendum result. The best course for the leader is to oppose much of what the government does, to unite his forces by concentrating on trying to force an early election, and hoping that in practice the Brexit issue gets settled by the Conservatives so he can move his party on to more unifying terrain.

Next week the question is a simple for or against the Withdrawal Agreement. It’s not a difficult question. It is difficult to see why many would want to vote for it, given the way it guarantees another 21 to 45 months of Brexit rows and likely continuing political paralysis because of the continuing talks with the EU. That would make a deeper split in Labour that much more likely.
Labour seems to understand that adopting a second referendum as their policy as their pro Remain group want to do would be very damaging to their poll position. It would mean losing more of their Leave supporters who would feel insulted and let down by telling them they got it wrong the first time. The Lib Dems found backing a second referendum left them a poor third in the 2017 General election.

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  1. oldtimer
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Corbyn wants a GE. May’s dud deal and the divisions it has caused in the Conservative party provides a convenient platform for him to argue the case. It is reinforced by the collapse of Cabinet responsibility and unity. He will wait, vote against the deal and continue to pursue a line of unconstructive ambiguity on Brexit. Time is on his side while the issue remains unresolved.

    • eeyore
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Old timer – is time really on Mr Corbyn’s side? Every party in this business seems to believe it’s on their own side, but to my way of thinking, so long as Leaving Day remains nailed down by law, it must be on WTO Brexit’s side.

      Analysis of the numbers such as our host provides today seems unavailable elsewhere. The time for argument is long over and all that matters now is the arithmetic. Once again JR gives real hope and confidence, based on solid fact. What a leader!

      • oldtimer
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        I did say at the “as long as the issue is unresolved”. By my calculation there are 11 weeks to 29 March. Based on Harold Wilson’s dictum that “a week is a long time in politics” much can happen in that time – such as a split in the Conservative party. That seems entirely conceivable based on expressed opinions about the deal or no deal. Personally I support attempts to run the clock down to no deal. But there some in the Cabinet determined to prevent it. They may not succeed in that endeavour. That does not preclude a party split. That will be Corbyn’s opportunity. Indeed May is using this very argument to push her dud deal.

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        JR, why would Grieve write an amendment he knows would not be normally accepted? Why of all the proposals did Bercow choose his? These are the real questions.

        Two days ago during Brexit debate Clarke and Letwin were asking Starmer in parliament if he would have a meeting and agree a way forward!

        Letwin previously said to uphold the will of the people is more important than any issue before parliament. Clearly he has abandoned his view and has become two faced to go against what he said.

        Boles knows Norway frustrates Brexit. He wrote the same in 2016. Now he sees it as a chance as confidence grows to defy the public vote.

        This is a collusion by MPs to remains in the EU. Clarke and Harman now working on ways to protect MPs from public from an angry public! I got an idea: be honest open and transparent, do your best to fulfil manifesto promises, act on what you say and act on the public vote it is called democracy. Social norms of behaviour escape MPs on a daily basis as we saw with Bercow this week.

        Not act like slimy underhand dishonest weasels who think they know it all and are too high handed to be treated the same as ordinary people. Clarke demonstrated this recently with his arrogant opinion poll comment.

        • Steve
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


          “Not act like slimy underhand dishonest weasels who think they know it all and are too high handed to be treated the same as ordinary people.”

          “Clarke and Harman now working on ways to protect MPs from public from an angry public!”

          While you’re entirely correct, you’re lucky that got through moderation. I and some others mention similar and JR deletes our post. Even information in the public domain put there by the HoC gets deleted.

          Presumably it’s ok to call MP’s weasels, but not skunks abusing their parliamentary positions because of business interests.

          Or maybe it’s good old fashioned double standards. Nothing ever changes.

          Perhaps its time to chuck our selves off the cliff by voting for Corbyn, just to shaft the Conservatives.

          Moderate that ye big wuss.

          Replyif you do like my site you do not have to come on it. I delete personal attacks on people as I do not have time to check out their truth and do not want contributirs to end up in libel suits. Do not come here if you want to attack people personally.

      • NickC
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Eeyore, Leaving day is not nailed down by law. The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 states that a Minister may amend the date – and it won’t be amended to an earlier date that’s for sure.

        • eeyore
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          This is true. A Minister may extend the date by SI, but the procedure requires the consent of both Houses. Our host has already pledged himself to resist extension. No doubt his colleagues will help him.

          Further, though revoking A50 may be done unilaterally, extending it requires the approval of each of the 27 remaining EU nations.

          So the PM, who has promised time and again that we leave on March 29, will have to beg each nation to give her more time. I say give, but of course the correct word is sell.

          Then, strapped to that multi-billion pound suicide bomb, a Minister will have to confess to Parliament and country that the government is so miserably incompetent that two and a half years was not enough time to get the work done.

          • NickC
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            Eeyore, Forgive me – we are on the same side – but the sub-states will do as they’re told by the EU. If extending (or revoking) Art50 is to the advantage of the EU (and stopping the UK from leaving is very much so) then it will happen.

            Neither Theresa May, nor the government, will “confess” anything – they will give us a second referendum instead with the excuse that Parliament “can’t decide”.

        • Paul H
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:02 am | Permalink

          But the EU does not have to agree.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          It does not have to be. Article 50 clearly states that a member leaves 2 years after giving noticed and, since EU has primacy over UK law we will be leaving on that date.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      May is playing into Corbyn’s hand. She says the only option is her deal, leaving with no deal or not leaving. I suspect that perhaps only about 5% the population want her deal, about 55% want no deal and about 40% want to remain.

      Not a very clever politically to take this line given this uniting 95% against her. Furthermore the 5% who want it are mainly just sick of Brexit in general and want an end to it. Her deal would ensure years more of negotiation and from a much weaker position.

    • Merlin
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Not so sure about the anti-referendum point.

      I’m not sure what the question should be. But, considering the current chaos and the lack of parliamentary appetite for no deal, I can see no other alternative at this point.

      I hope I’m wrong and some sort of parliamentary majority can be found. Though the unwillingness to compromise on all sides is alarming.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Compromise is not required. The Tories should honour the Referendum result as they promised in their manifesto.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          And May promised many times.

        • Merlin
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Eh? You appear to be saying you know what the British people voted for. I believe the question was ‘should we leave the E.U?’

          It’s a negative, not a positive. It’s not defined – despite the many claims made on all sides. Which is largely why we’re in this pickle.

    • Peter
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Mr. Corbyn wants a General Election. Set against May’s WA or BRINO or No Brexit it is not the worst option and would enable voters to replace many members of Parliament who are thwarting Brexit.

      I think it is a bit much to claim Labour is more divided than the Conservatives. They seem much of a muchness on the Brexit issue.

      I note Lifelogic has already managed to post several times. We could start a Lifelogic bingo with a points system for his various hobby horses – “greencrap” etc.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic should be left alone. He is an institution.

        • Peter
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

          He’s in an institution?

          Thanks. I was not aware of that.

        • James
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:24 am | Permalink

          I agree with Lifelogic. It’s a pity he’s not an M.P.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:47 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic sends in some sensible, right thinking posts. Keep it up!

  2. Mark B
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The positions of both main parties is similar. They have both betrayed the electorate and broken their manifesto promises.

    All the issues concerning Leaving the EU should have been covered in the debates prior to the referendum. The fact that two and half years later we are having all this shows we do not have MP’s, or for that matter a Speaker of the House, that knows what they are doing.

    We voted Leave. At no point in the debates did anyone ever discuss the Withdrawal Agreement. No one discussed the Article 50 Procedure. No one ever mentioned what Remaining in the EU meant. We are here today because MP’s did not understand what they were doing and still do not. Of course J R-M does know and it was good of him to point it out to the Speaker.

    The Dice have been loaded against us (Leave) right from the very beginning. Never has a people been so badly served.

    • Bob
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      “Never has a people been so badly served.”

      Don’t agree.
      The people of Zimbabwe, the USSR, Cambodia, PRC, North Korea, Cuba, Congo, Venezuela were all badly served.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        No. They were imprisoned in their own country, tortured and murdered. And none of those you mentioned are or were democracies.

        Your point therefore, has failed.

        • Bob
          Posted January 13, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          @Mark B

          “none of those you mentioned are or were democracies”

          That simply is not true.

          • Mark B
            Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

            Oh yes it is.

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      The language in parliament this week supports what you say. Anyone voting Brexit, public or MP, labelled as extremist, right wing and far right, even from two female Labour MPs who represent leave constituencies! I looked them up deliberately as they spoke to see how their constituencies voted. Their language was disgusting because it was an absolute insult to the people who voted for them. Their constituencies were very much Labour and very much leave. Neither, far right, right wing, nor extremists. One on her web site invites constituents to come to parliament and her staff would help them! I would urge all Labour leave constituents to look what their MP said in parliament and then pay them a visit.

      It is clear a narrative of right wing, extremists is being used to smear leave voters.

      Time for a proper right to recall. These MPs need grounding in humility.

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        About 300 MPs are now desperate that the UK might leave the EU with no strings attached. That is what 17.4 million people voted so it should be rejoiced not condemned. However, in their desperation they now break rules to achieve their ends to remain in with only a technical leave.

        However, it must be a clear factual point that if MPs break rules, convention and democracy to get their way why should any rule apply in disposing of them from office? The social conventions of laws are broken from an orderly society and they must accept responsibility for deliberately denying the people electoral democracy, yes that also applies to referendums where the people were told and enforced by parliament that it was thei chice. Cromwell sought to give parliament the right to resent people and create laws and taxes. If MPs think it is right to disregard these rules then it equally applies the other way around. For Harman and Clarke to be planning for a situation to try to protect MPs demonstrates they know what they and colleagues have done and are doing.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I’m astonished that so many, presumably otherwise intelligent, MPs have been so intimidated by Project Fear and its mendacious scaremongering that they have come to believe that a ‘No Deal’ outcome would be catastrophic, that the world (or at least life in the UK) would come to an end, that we would be doomed to wait years for vital medicines and that motor manufacturing would grind to a halt (which it has done already incidentally, courtesy of the Chancellor).

      • Mark B
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        They don’t believe it ! They are creating a false narrative so they can go back to the electorate and claim; “I only voted for the ‘deal’ because I wanted to avoid the ‘cliff-edge’.”

        They are just doing it to save their political skins

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mark B–The wretched Remainers are fond of saying, ridiculously, that the people didn’t understand the question. Maybe. But by the same token Remainers clearly didn’t understand the many and various promises that they made.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Indeed as you say:- “It is easy to unite practically all the Conservative party on Brexit by ensuring it happens” (and win the next election you might have added). All except the May, Hammond, Greg/Ken Clark types who are essentially tax and regulate to death Libdems at best anyway.

    Anything other than a real Brexit now will surely destroy the Tory party and give us Corbyn. Mc Donnall & the SNP to destroy the economy.

    I see that Sir Richard Dearlove and Lord Guthrie rightly saying the withdrawal agreement will put aspects of UK security “in foreign hands”. How can anyone even consider voting for May’s fake Brexit scam? It will condemn us to years more negotiation and dithering.

    Question Time has a new “BBC think” Chairman I see. Needless to say she is an arts (language) graduate and doubtless has the usual wrong headed lefty, big government, climate alarmist views and little understanding of science, logic or economics. She got a dig in about Nigel Farage almost as soon as the programme started even though no one had even mentioned him. Notionally two Brexit supporter on the programme (rather than the usual one or none) but James Cleverly supports May’s deal so clearly cannot be taken seriously a Brexit supporter.

    Why on earth have the unfunny and ( etc ed) Nish Kumar on?

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I was so disappointed with Fiona Bruce last night. Disgracefully as usual, there was only one Brexit supporter, Melanie Philips, (I agree James Cleverly who backs May’s deal cannot for that reason be counted as backing Brexit) who was up against as usual a pro-remain panel including the odious Emily Thornberry. Bruce was useless allowing the two politicians sitting either side of her to dominate with Melanie Philips on the far end at times trying and failing to catch Bruce’s eye to speak. Then This Week followed where we had the equally odious Owen Jones given a platform on which to constantly attack those awful Tories.

      The Biased Broadcasting Company at it’s best.

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      German defence minister, highlighted in Guido Fawkes, saying a EU army is a reality.

      The UK should NOT be under EU control or support its security, defence and foreign policy. Cooperation at best if in our interest not blindly support or follow. Germany will use it as a way to expand and conquer as it has always done throughout history. Merkel made it clear in a public statement in November that the public should have no say over sovereignty, borders or immigration. She is a menace of our times. Gladly Germans are now wise to her.

      • margaret howard
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        I suppose you didn’t mind our government blindly following the US into the illegal war in Iraq and all that followed, setting the whole middle East on fire and leading to millions of terrified refugees flooding Europe.

        As for your claim that Germany always wants to ‘expand and conquer’ I think the following quote will give an answer to that:


        “George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved of blame on the imperialistic front.”

        • Edward2
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          Have you reported your claim that the UK went to war illegally with evidence to the Police yet Margaret?

          Your quote about Germany relates to 1914-1918
          Germany’s economic power and influence in 2019 via its dominance of the EU is a totally different matter.

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink


            Since when is it legal to invade a country and murder its leader? The Americans along with us should be taken to the Hague and charged with war crimes. But they were too big to take on. But look at the mess they made in the Middle East. Who pays the price for the thousands of innocent people who have been killed or forced to flee.

            And my quote about Germany relates to empire building, nothing else.

            Won’t be long before you Brexiteers add Germany to the long list of those you blame for the mess you have created.

        • sm
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          MH – a significant proportion of the British public thought it was insane for Blair to get us (by misleading us) involved in the Iraq war.

          And you are quite obviously ignorant of the extent of both German territory and influence in Southern Africa before WW1 and quite a degree after it.

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:21 pm | Permalink


            Did you REALLY believe in the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ propaganda or super gun lies our government told us? We didn’t but were shouted down.

            As for German influence in Southern Africa I was replying to Hope’s ridiculous claim that ” Germany will use it as a way to expand and conquer as it has always done throughout history”

            Compared to British empire building Germany was a minnow.

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, As usual you traduce history and facts to make your weak Remain case. Your Remain hero Tony Blair was probably the main instigator. The Iraq war may have been launched under false pretences, but it was not “illegal”. The whole of the mid-east was not set on fire.

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 13, 2019 at 1:11 am | Permalink


            So it is legal these days to invade a country, bomb it relentlessly for thousands of people to die or fleeing their homes and then killing its leader?

            Strange times we are living in.

            And the Middle East is as happy as happy can be.
            No millions of refugees fleeing for their lives.
            No collapsed, lawless Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq etc.
            Happy days in fact?

    • rose
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      On QT, nothing has changed – not even the million pound salary or the unfunny left wing comedian.

      Now James Cleverly is compromised, it was the usual 5-1 on Brexit, with the lone Brexiteer getting just one go. It is all on youtube now.

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Why watch it? I think it is best to avoid BBC, Mail etc. You know the outcome before it starts. Use your buying and watching power. I,read,BBC,figures,plummeting, Mail,figures plummeting. The latter effects its revenue through advertising. BBC is another broken Tory promise to reform.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          It always amuses me to see the appalling bias and stupidity of the BBC agenda. The BBC are wrong on almost every issue – energy, Brexit, tax levels, science, economics, climate alarmism, political correctness, immigration levels …….

    • Andy
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Except, of course, Mrs May went to the electorate in 2017 to seek a mandate for the hard Brexit you think people want.

      She lost.

      There is no hard right majority in this country. And you can go to the electorate as often as you like to try to prove it. You will always get the same answer.

      Reply 85% voted for pro Brexit parties in 2017

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        If the Tories go for a real Brexit, far lower taxes, cheaper reliable energy, a sensible law and order agenda. selective quality only immigration, a bonfire of red tape, a relaxation of planning and other sensible. pro jobs, and real Conservative policies they will win hands down – especially against Venezuela Corbyn.

        All they need to do is offer the compete opposite of the May/Hammond agenda.

      • Andy
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        And? 88% voted for pro-Europe parties in 2015.

        99% voted for pro-EU parties in 2010.

        Huge majorities voted for pro-EU parties in 2005.

        And 2001.

        And 1997.

        And 1992.

        And big majorities voted for pro-EC parties in 1987, 1983, 1979.

        By my count you personality stood for election for a pro-Europe party 7 times.


        But only the one time you stood for an anti-EU party counts?

        Reply I stood for a referendum on the EU in both 2010 abd 2015 and now need to help deliver its result

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          Andy, We had a referendum on the separate issue of Leave or Remain. Parliament asked us, the people, and we gave the majority Leave vote for that one issue which you spend your time complaining about.

          In a democracy (demos=people, kratos=power) the people are sovereign. General elections cover a multitude of policies so will always be unclear on any one policy. That’s why a single issue referendum settles the debate. The 2016 Referendum result gave Parliament a clear mandate from the people to leave the EU treaties. Not doing so is a cheat.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


        And the answer is that the “right” win, every single time





        With the worst government in history in power the left wing opposition is STILL way behind in the polls .

        You live in a fantasy world

      • Steve
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink


        “There is no hard right majority in this country.”

        Wait and see.

    • Steve
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


      “How can anyone even consider voting for May’s fake Brexit scam?”

      Oh that’s easy; all you need is business interests and some property in France, and hey presto ! to hell with the entire country.

      Alternatively one might break the rules and crawl up Labour’s backside, if hypothetically one was subject of bullying accusations. Again, to hell with the entire country.

  4. Mick
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Labour says it wants to be involved in Brexit.
    Corbyn couldn’t or wouldn’t answer the question yesterday about Brexit because he knows that most of labours seat north of the Watford gap are for leaving the Eu , they would be wiped off the political map as soon as they state they want to stay in the dreaded Eu, labour along with all the other parties outside the Westminster bubble have not got a true feeling of patriotism in the country, labour even being 6 or more points behind the conservatives insisting on a general election are they for real if they were negotiating a deal they would keep us in the Eu all they would do is lie lie lie lie to get the keys to number 10 bloody champagne socialist

    • Stred
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      It was amusing to see Corbin’s face when sitting beside Sir Starmer, while he waffled on about the need to find a way with other Conservative europhiles to keep us tied to the EU. It was like a Meerkat watching a snake.

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Tory leaver MPs need to highlight in parliament what some Labour MPs are saying about their leave constituents. Two this week grossly insulted the people- wrongly smearing them as right wing, hard breixiteers, far right etc in their speeches- who voted for them.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    So the desperate, lefty dope Theresa May wants to enshrine EU workers’ rights and other red tape lunacies into UK law after Britain leaves the European Union.

    I am sure the many workers who lose their jobs directly as a result of this (through making the UK far less competitive) will be very grateful to her. What “workers’ rights” do you have after your job has gone or business has gone bust? The best workers right is plenty of available and good alternative jobs should you dislike your current one! The way to this is by being more competitive not less by cutting taxes, the greencrap and the endless red tape.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      I am surprised the union leaders have not been supportive of Mrs May. After all they all fully fledged members of the economic establishment. They indirectly want more freedom of movement of capital and labour through the EU, even though its is detrimental to their members whose subs provide them with their six figure pay packets. Bit of difference from Keir Hardie when he was opposing the importation of cheap East European labour to the Scottish coalfields.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        If a union manages to obtain very high pay etc. for their members by holding a business to ransom then they only do this by putting up the costs to that business. Making it less competitive and thus reducing the number of jobs available in that business industry.

        Simply supply and demand. If, for example, train drivers or pilots cost a fortune you will run fewer trains or planes where profit is marginal and will thus employ fewer people. Or you will automate more. So they may help the members that do remain but not those who can now not get a job as they are prices out.

        • a-tracy
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

          It makes me wonder how does British pay rates, hours worked, holiday package, sick pay package, other enhancements and pension package for trains and tube workers, drivers compare to France: Paris, Germany: Berlin, Italy:Rome?

          Then how does this compare to fares and turnover?

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        People seem not to have noticed how EU freedom of labour migrated to freedom of movement. The two are distinct.

        Workers rights can be protected by an independent U.K. Govt without any help or support from the EU. Labour had 12 years in office where they could have introduced or reversed whatever the Tories did. Why did Blaire and Brown not change workers rights if it was their priority? They had long enough.

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      We hear this morning that May has now reversed the cap on benefits for families with more than two children. No doubt a demand by the unions or Labour in return for backing her attrocious surrender document.

      This socialist dope of a Prime Minister and her equally bad socialist EU loving Government and their betrayal of Brexit will destroy the ‘Conservative’ party. Maybe that was her plan all along.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:42 am | Permalink

        @ JoolsB

        Maybe that was her plan all along.

        Not was >>>>>is and always has been

      • a-tracy
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Oh my, maternity units best ramp up for next year then, kerching.

        Why reverse such a difficult but necessary ruling, the not many British families than can afford to raise more than 2/3 children anyway so this benefits claimants and foreign families abroad, and those here with wife’s that don’t work, oh any single parent women who immaculately conceive with no man present every couple of years.

  6. /IKH
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    I am for a WTO Brexit and I would have been fine with Canada+ even if it meant pay a significant but finite exit price ( but not the unlimited but estimated 39 billion ).

    What I fear is the the PM will do a cross party deal with the remoaners in labour, lib dems, SNP etc to avoid a no deal Brexit. Sadly, because there is a majority in the Commons that oppose “No Deal” I think this will happen.

    This will leave a very disillusioned electorate. I know of many conservative voters who will not suppot the Tory party at the next General Election if this happen


    • Al
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      I suspect a more immediate result of May’s deal going through will be another fall in the pound. It resolves very little and simply kicks the can down the road for another two years.

      I don’t think they have realised that spinning a constant narrative of disaster leaves people asking the obvious question: “You’re the government, why aren’t you fixing it?” Rather than panicking people as they expect, it simply reduces faith in the government.

    • Turboterrier
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Disillusioned voters? Yea right. There are tens of thousands out here who feel totally let down.

      If they all rebel and vote for UKIP all that will do is make it easier for Corbyn.

      May said she wouldn’t lead us into the next election so will she stand as de if Labour get their way? Surely the best person for interim leader to fight an election at that time would be our host he at least has the C V and not carrying any baggage like some of the other hopefuls

      • Steve
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink


        “Surely the best person for interim leader to fight an election at that time would be our host”

        No, I disagree. He censures factual information about other MP’s, which is disclosed to the public domain by the government. Why? what’s he scared of ?

        If the tories can’t come up with a real patriot who has balls of steel, then I will vote for Corbyn just to see the conservatives destroyed. Price worth paying as far as I’m concerned.

        • sm
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          Steve – you seem to think you have an automatic right to your remarks being published on this site – you don’t.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      IKH, I fear many Labour will abstain thus supporting Mays sell out without actually voting for it. Others may go missing when the vote is due again helping May destroy our country.
      Hunt was on the Radio saying in effect if we don’t accept Mays travesty then there will be NO BREXIT due to paralysis in the Commons.
      There won’t be paralysis amongst the electorate after such a blatant betrayal. I fear a very nasty backlash.

      • Steve
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        “….after such a blatant betrayal. I fear a very nasty backlash.”

        Why else do you think they’re bolstering personal protection ? because they know what’s coming.

        “Hunt was on the Radio saying in effect if we don’t accept Mays travesty then there will be NO BREXIT due to paralysis in the Commons.”

        Doesn’t matter if HoC is paralysed. Come March 29th we’re out. They would have to delay Article 50 before they were paralysed, but then risk public wrath.

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Steve, No, they will have a second referendum to “let the people decide” because “Parliament cannot agree”. Just you wait and see!

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      It does not matter how many MPs oppose No Deal. This is a treaty, and the foreign treaty partner pays no heed to the House of Commons. The EU will not give the deal MPs want – why should it, after two years’ negotiation and the PM’s agreement to their well-crafted plan, which in most EU countries Parliament would be simply communicated to them by their government!
      The EU will only extend Art. 50 (assuming the government changes its stance and proposes it) on very restricted conditions: a second referendum, one which will be much better ‘organised’ than the 2016 one – i.e. gerrymandered, engineered and rigged so as to produce the Remain result that is the only alternative the EU will accept to the WA.
      We have to open our eyes – and the eyes of others – to what is going on: something the civil service and FCO are working night and day to bring about, with the assistance of the BBC. The HoC are bit-players.

      • mancunius
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        ‘which in most countries Parliament *would* simply have communicated to them’ etc.

  7. Dominic
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    We know that May will be putting out feelers to Labour MPs in the Commons in an attempt to defeat you and every other Eurosceptic Tory MP. This is the British PM working surreptitiously with Marxist Labour to defeat a bill that to all intents and purposes is carrying out the wishes of a democratic vote. Is that an acceptable way to behave for a Tory leader and a PM? Why can’t she accept that she must do the right thing?

    Whenever May appears on my television I turn to another channel. She is everything I despise in a politician. A moral vacuum.

    It’s bad enough having a crypto-Marxist as leader of the opposition but to have a disciple of identity politics as our leader and as our PM is simply offensive.

    52% voted to leave the EU. We won. We expect the UK to leave the EU. We also expect May to be replaced by someone that doesn’t pander to every vocal, lefty activist group by capitulating to their demands.

    • Ben Gaunt
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      It seems clear Mrs May will get her deal agreed thanks to help from Northern Labour MPs, and will thereby defy the will of a large number of her Conservative Party MPs. I would like to ask Mr Redwood whether the Conservative Party can allow this. It is a constitutional outrage

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Dominic. Well said yet again. I cannot watch May a more either but not can I watch any more programmes about Brexit. It’s all so loaded on the remain side and I know I’m going to be listening to a pack of lies. I cant even think about voting for any of the 3 main parties as I would feel like I was endorsing their behaviour. It is truly contemptible what has gone on in parliament recently and a disgraceful example to the rest of the world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


  8. DaveM
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    All these slimy underhand tactics being used by career politicians, with the assistance of the no-longer-impartial Speaker. Are these people so stupid that they don’t realise it’s exactly that kind of behaviour that led to the 2016 result?

  9. Newmania
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Both main Parties backed Europe for most of my lifetime and during that time received virtually all the votes other than when the SDP revolted against a hard left Labour Party. Equating the Lib Dem national Vote with remain is a demonstrably inane analysis.
    I agree that the Conservative Party occupy the space formerly held by UKIP and the BNP before it with only few forlorn outcasts to speak for business Liberality and Internationalism.
    The ultra Nationalist right has a good 4m votes in this country and should of course have fair representation. Its ‘unholy alliance’ with the hard left has been noted with distaste.
    We Helots must work now for a new center group. It may be a project for my children as well as me but it will go on until we get our country back

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Both main Parties backed Europe for most of my lifetime and during that time

      **** None advertised this during elections “Vote for us. We love the EU !” The Tories have been split on it for decades.

      I agree that the Conservative Party occupy the space formerly held by UKIP and the BNP before it with only few forlorn outcasts to speak for business Liberality and Internationalism.

      **** The BNP mustered 500k members at its height. Around 17m Brexit voters rejected the BNP.

      The ultra Nationalist right has a good 4m votes in this country and should of course have fair representation. Its ‘unholy alliance’ with the hard left has been noted with distaste.

      **** Not wanting such rapid change in one’s community and country is not “ultra Nationalist right”

      We Helots must work now for a new center group. It may be a project for my children as well as me but it will go on until we get our country back

      **** Ever the hero. With the whole of the establishment and Millbank behind you. How brave ! (Try admitting you’re a Brexit supporter in public.) We ALL think we are in the centre group so we take a democratic vote to sort out where that is – then you ignore it.

      OK, Newmania. I get it. I’m too stupid to vote, so I won’t. *Correction* I’m voting Labour. After the disgusting things you’ve said about my people I’m never being your working-class Tory voting fag again.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      What exactly do you mean by “Both main Parties backed Europe”?

      What was the nature of that backing, and in what way did Europe need it?

      Did Europe ever speak up and thank them for their backing?

      Do you not think that perhaps they should have backed Britain instead, given the precarious position of Britain and the possibility of it breaking away and dropping off the edge, taking poor old Ireland with it?

    • Edward2
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      The “demonstrably inane analysis” is yours NM.
      Plainly the current Conservative government is more left leaning than previous ones.
      High taxes. Enthusiasm for green policies. Laws to reduce freedom of speech. No real control over immigration. Pro EU and so on.

      Love your line “get our country back”
      Presumably so you can then give it away to become a subsidiary region of the United States of Europe.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Hadn’t the Spartans used to conduct an a periodic cull of the Helots to keep their numbers down?Does martyrdom beckon?!

    • Hope
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Idiotic rantings with fact.

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Newmania, Declaration 17 of the Lisbon treaty reiterates that EU law has primacy over the law of its member states. You will not get our country back until we actually leave the EU treaties and don’t sign up to similar ones (as Theresa May would have us do). And what you call the “ultra Nationalist right” (Remain speak for Leaves) was 17.4m voters, not 4m votes.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      We are trying to reclaim the country back from the likes of you, ‘Andy’ and your ilk. The wrong-headed thinking that you espouse is what got the UK into such a mess. BTW, there are not 4 million ultra Nationalist right people in the UK. They are decent ,honest people who were the mainstream view until Blair and Co. began the march through the institutions and tried to criminalise them for having an opposing view to the orthodoxy. Let battle commence, I say! I hope that you can take another defeat so soon.

    • Pud
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Your comment shows the vast difference between voting in a referendum and voting in a general election.
      The EU referendum asked just one question, should the UK remain in the EU or leave, so there is no doubt about what voters thought on the issue.
      In a general election, parties produce manifestos covering many issues and voters make their choice on these multiple topics. EU membership (not to be confused with Europe) might not be mentioned, or all main parties may share the same pro-EU view so the voter doesn’t get a choice. I deliberately said “main parties” because it is very hard for a small party to gain an MP (3 million votes gave UKIP one MP, although the same number was enough for many more SNP MPs). Even if a party did offer to leave the EU, you’d have to trust them on other matters e.g. Corbyn has been anti-EU for most of his career but if Labour stood on a leave manifesto I’m not sure I could ignore their other policies and vote for them.
      People frequently interpret general election results in a way that suits their viewpoint, for example you are happy to claim that past general election results indicate support for EU membership but as the last general election went badly for the Lib Dems who backed remaining, you claim their result is nothing to do with their EU stance.

    • Andy
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. These people think Brexit is done on March 29th. In truth it is a bottle they will be losing for the rest of their lives.

      • Merlin
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        I speak as somebody who voted remain. I personally am willing to compromise here. My only priority is the economy – and I have no idea (nor does John Redwood or indeed anyone) of the consequences to the economy of simply cutting ties. The only given is that will have to be negotiated somehow – which will entail compromise.

        It’s the general lack of compromise and unwillingness to discuss that troubles me. The government seems to be doing its best , but without anyone moving position there seems no way out of this quagmire.

        • NickC
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          Merlin, No nation with any sanity gives up its independence for the mere promise of better trade. Would the EU hand over its political power to the UK just to continue trading with us? So why should we?

    • Blue Rinse
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Newmania. There already is a centre party. It’s called the LibDems but the likes of you have hijacked the Conservative Party instead.

      It’s in the name. CONSERVE-ative. What have you been conserving exactly ?

      I blame YOU for the oversteer that caused Brexit.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


      A new centre group you say, what like the one Andy joined recently, you know the one that collapsed after 3 weeks , that centre party?

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    It is clear that most MPs want to keep the UK in the EU (including Mrs May). I voted to leave the EU in order to live in an independent, self-governing country, not under the control of a foreign power. Most of the current MPs seem incapable of honouring the result of the referendum and their own election manifesto pledges re leaving the EU. They seem incapable of governing unless instructed by the EU. They need to be replaced by those who are both capable and enthusiastic about their role in an independent UK Parliament.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink


      I agree with you, but while the leaders of all of the main Parties want us to remain in or be controlled by the EU in some form, they will never allow a genuine Leaver to even get on a platform, let alone be a candidate.

      The only real way you will ever run your own Country the way you want to is to have a clean and complete break from the EU.
      164 other Countries in the World are not controlled by EU polices, but still trade with them.

      Getting ever more angry as the days pass, when I see so many MP’s (our host excluded) who lack belief and faith in their own Country to govern itself.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        Alan Jutson

        Getting ever more angry as the days pass, when I see so many MP’s (our host excluded) who lack belief and faith in their own Country to govern itself.

        You are not alone Alan. Thousands feel the same

    • NickC
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson, Exactly right.

    • Andy
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I live in the United Kingdom. Until 23 June 2016 it was an independent, self-governing country not under the control of a foreign power.

      Now – because of your vote – we are an international laughing stock. A vassal state. A trading minnow being forced to kiss the feet of whoever demands it.

      The problem is not MPs. It is your deeply flawed understanding of our country.

      • Chris Dark
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Self governing? what planet are you on?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink


        • Andy
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

          Which bit do we not govern which you wish us to govern?

      • Edward2
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        You need to read the various EU treaties andy.
        The EU has law making powers and powers to make the UK take directives and regulations.
        In addition our own courts can be overuled by the ECJ
        Therefore we are not an independent self govering nation.

        • Andy
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          False. EU courts can not overrule English courts on matter did English law. Or Scottish courts on matter of Scottish law.

          They rule only on EU law or on matters where national law and EU law may conflict.

          I have yet to find a single Brexiteer who can identity a specific ECJ court ruling against the UK to which they can actually object.

          Very few cases involving the UK actually get to the ECJ. Institute of Government figures show just 83 cases involving the UK reaches the ECJ between 2003 and late 2017. Less than 6 a year.

          Of these cases some concern individuals but most are environmental cases – particularly the UKs failure to adhere to EU waste water rules. Yep. Sewers. You voted to take back control of our sewers. Self governing sewers. Genuinely. Farcical.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            You just make it up Andy.
            Our Supreme Court can be overruled by the ECJ.
            There are many brexiteers on here who have already given you examples of such cases.
            Oddly in your last paragraph you give some examples yourself.
            If you want to do some further research look it up on the internet.
            The reason few cases get that far is that the UK is one of the few EU members who meets it legal obligations.
            We follow the requirements laid down in the Treaties we signed up to.
            What disappoints me about EU supporters is that they seem afraid to admit the facts about the EU.
            You should be unafraid of promoting these facts not denying them.
            Or are you just ignorant of these facts?

          • NickC
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            Andy, Few cases get to the CJEU because the UK obeys EU laws. It doesn’t mean that there are very few EU laws. Farcical.

            From knitted wool coated sheep ornaments to GDPR, from waste disposal to the way Junior Doctors are organised within the NHS, EU law controls every aspect of our lives. The reality is we cannot amend, modify or reject any of the EU law (except by leaving). And we cannot stop the flood of new EU law made under the constitutional provisions of the TEU and TFEU.

            Why are you so afraid of change? Why are you so fearful of independence?

      • libertarian
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink


        Meanwhile here on planet Earth , the UK is the second most powerful country on the planet, the 5th largest economy, has big countries queuing up to strike FTA’s and has a healthy growing economy with record inward investment and the highest number in employment ever

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink


          ” the UK is the second most powerful country on the planet”

          Is that the same report that claimed:

          “UK is ‘second most powerful country in world and could win wars with China and Russia’ report claims –”?

          We couldn’t even win a war against Iraq, Afghanistan etc these days, even hanging on US coat tails.

          As for WW1 and WW2 it took practically the whole world to defeat Germany.

          Dream on.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:05 am | Permalink

            You need to read a good history book margaret.
            Not one written by Guardian journalists

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 13, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink


            “You need to read a good history book margaret.
            Not one written by Guardian journalists”

            I suppose you recommend one written by a Daily Mail journalist.

        • Mitchel
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          Libertarian,I would take the “second most powerful country on the planet”(if you are referring to the recent report by the Henry Jackson Society-a neo-con propaganda outfit masquerading as a think tank) with a bucket of salt-I have read it;it is total tripe!

        • Newmania
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I`d love to know by what crackers methodology you came up with that gem Libert-Aryan ….. Economically the EU China and the US are rule makers everyone else is a rule taker, look at the numbers fcs
          Militarily the UK is pretty handy but not a global player on its own . This is not an insignificant country of course , it has long reach in Services Creative Tech and educational sectors all of which voted remain and will tell anyone who listens about harm Brexit does them.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The parliamentary labour party are fairly united on Brexit – they want to remain. They are equally united in their desire to remove the Trot as their leader. They will however rally to the cause of bringing down the government and forcing a general election.
    This is one of the guarantees of a hard Brexit. Whatever May tries to contrive to stay in power they will oppose. Come the defeat on the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, all alternatives May puts forward they will criticise, nothing will be approved and we leave on WTO terms by default. Suits the disciple of Benn.

    Reply Mr Corbyn won the votes to stay as Leader

    • jerry
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      @Dave Andrews; Wrong on the first two accounts and partially wrong on the third! A majority of the PLP might be against Corbyn and Brexit but the CLPs are not, and it is the CLPs who hold most of the cards, the last thing many anti Corbyn, anti Brexit, MPs want is a GE as they are likely to face a reselection panel within their CLPs much sooner…

      You are of course correct on your forth point, a WTO exit suits the disciples of Benn, but then it also suits the the disciples of Powell on the right!

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply….

      I found the labour leadership contest similar to a round of Strictly Come Dancing, in that the judges (MPs) rated Corbyn the worst performer but the public (members/Union block) wholly disagreed. I can understand why Mrs Leadsom was nobbled in the Tory leadership. Mrs May would have likely been the loser in a members vote. A “cast iron” certainty now, based on her recent duplicitous behaviour.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    All the shenanigans of the past two years have been orchestrated to foil Brexit. It now looks like those who cannot accept Democracy will get their way.
    If we do not LEAVE the EU on March 29th, Democracy in the (dis)UK is dead. I’ll never cast a vote again. Not in a General Election, not in a Local Election and certainly not in a future referendum (if any Gov, ever allowed another, of course)
    The H of C is packed with charlatans seeking to improve their own standing whilst ignoring the people they are meant to serve.
    So called politicians who prioritise the fortunes of their own political party before the interest of the country they are (well) paid to represent.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      @ Old Albion

      The H of C is packed with charlatans seeking to improve their own standing whilst ignoring the people they are meant to serve.


  13. javelin
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    10 years ago I was working at a big Hedge Fund whilst Greece was being broken by Germany and Germany was mooting the idea of an EU Army.

    I stated. At the next recession how is it going to look when Germany is spending billions on Tanks, Aircraft carriers and Fighter planes and at the same time refusing to bail out Greece and Italy from the Euro balances.

    Well we’re about to find out.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 1:10 am | Permalink


      We have been here before. All the blocks are in place to ensure the collapse of the Euro and it will happen and Italy will be taking a few countries down with it.
      Greece all over again.
      Protesters setting fire to the French Central Bank, and protesting at the Hague . Matteo Salvini making waves with his new plan for Europe with his coalition partner telling the protesters “Do not weaken” Italy will likely go broke , leave the Euro and trigger the greatest financial panic in history.

      Can this country afford to be in this organisation if and when it should happen?

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink


      “whilst Greece was being broken by Germany”

      Not that old chestnut again!

      Should they have let Greece return to the olive oil, donkey and tourism economy it “enjoyed” before it cheated its way into EU membership?

      An extract from the World Bank on Global Economy:

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

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

      For “Tax Collecting” it was behind the Solomon Islands

      But in other criteria it compared favourably to Tongo and Morocco

      No doubt that is why they voted for a pro EU government at their last election. They obviously now have more sense than Brexiteers.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 13, 2019 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        Greece is a wonderful country with lovely.people in it.
        Sadly you shoot some dreadful slurrs at them.
        Very sad how your extreme politics blinds you margaret

  14. sm
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Mrs May believed in Remain, and found herself (mis)managing Leave.

    Mr Corbyn has always believed in Leave, and found himself leading a Remain Parliamentary Party.

    Mr Major, Mr Hague, Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne all presented themselves at first as ardent Eurosceptics, yet supported Remain.

    Mr Blair became ardently pro-EU, but is regarded with contempt by both Left and Right.

    Supporters of both sides hurl abuse directly or through social media at each other.

    It’s going to be a long haul back to even a modest degree of honesty and decency in UK politics.

    • NickC
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      And the only way back is to honour the people’s decision to leave the EU treaties.

  15. Kevin
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    “The best course for [Jeremy Corbyn] is…to unite his forces by concentrating on trying to force an early election”

    A general election, of course, would not alter the attack on democracy involved in ignoring the referendum result. If the Liberal Democrats had won their Alternative Vote referendum, but it had been ignored, and an opposing party had won a subsequent first-past-the-post general election, the Liberal Democrats would surely have called the election illegitimate because the referendum had priority.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I want to ask you a question as a very experienced politician.
    Do you think the party system needs an upgrade? It is becoming very obvious to outsiders that it does. The Conservative and Labour titles do not fit the situation at all. And I notice that there are often groups which represent reality much better – the people who want a second referendum, ERG, Efta/EEA (Mr Boles) and so on.
    It would be lovely (hint) if you could write something about that.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      MIke, not wanting to forestall any reply by JR, but the obvious reason why the present system continues is ‘Follow the Money’.
      I don’t think I’m being unduly cynical by noting that finance, industry, media bosses and unions fund and support the main parties because their respective interests are served or promised by those large parties. Why would they want to fund small parties who stand no chance of power under our FPTP system? Continuing political patronage would be impossible.
      If we had voted for AV (a form of PR) in 2011, small parties, splinter movements and even one-issue parties would all have a chance. But we didn’t, so they haven’t.
      UKIP is a case in point – 4 million votes, and not a single MP.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        UKIP is a case in point – 4 million votes, and not a single MP.

        That is more the fault of UKIP than the system. UKIP Spread its resources far and wide rather than on key marginals. Had it done so it may have got fewer votes but more MP’s. I mean, how else did the LibDems and Greens do so well ?

  17. agrictola
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    From where I sit it is clear that the real division is between the people and Parliament. Parliament is still in shock at the referendum result and a majority in it have divided into multi faceted factions all working in their own interests against the referendum result. The ship has lost it’s steering, the crew have all taken to the lifeboats but no one has a clue as to what is the next safe course of action.
    Metaphors apart there will be no acceptable solution until Parliament aligns with the people. The behaviour of MPs has in the most part disgusted me. They have proved themselves unfit for purpose and inherantly morally bancrupt. In the process they are destroying democracy, the only system of governance that is proven to work.
    T May has frankly apalled me. All those clear speaches ,while in the background she was working away at her remain agenda with the EU. Her level of honesty in politics would have been more suited to governance in the USSR.

  18. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John, please can you clarify something? If May’s deal went through would we ever be able to have another referendum on leaving?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I think 24 hours is too long to wait for a no !


  19. Billy Marlene
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Perhaps our host could explain the current situation.

    I understand that if an agreement is not supported by a majority in the HoC – as a result of the ‘meaningful vote’ by 23:00 hrs 29 March – then the irrefutable outcome (the ‘default’) is that the UK leaves on WTO terms.

    This is now an Act of Parliament and is law. Is the ‘default’ specifically written in to this Act?

    By what means can this Act be overturned? By another Act? There is surely no time for this to be dragged through parliamentary procedure.

    Article 50 cannot be extended without the consent of the EU 27.

    The EU 27 will not approve this unless it results in an acceptance of the current agreement.

    Even if Article 50 were extended to facilitate a GE, and Labour won, then the same agreement is extant and will receive the same intransigent refusal to modify from the EU.

    Whichever party is in power, it does not change the fundamental position of the EU.

    However, I digress. My question is –

    Is there any other procedure, under law, which can overturn our exit on 29 March?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      First the UK Government must seek and extension from the EU. The rEU27 can, for whatever reason, choose to agree or disagree. But bear this in mind, if we were to ask, and they were to agree, on what terms would it be on ? My guess is that we must agree to meet all EU budget agreements for the next 7 years. But don’t expect the government to tell parliament and the people that 😉

    • NickC
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Billy, Yes, a Minister may amend the date as per the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 section 20 subsection 4 as follows:

      A Minister of the Crown may by regulations –
      (a) amend the definition of “exit day” in subsection (1) to ensure that the day and time specified in the definition are the day and time that the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom . . .

  20. Chris
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The article written by a civil servant (whose identity is being protected) on Brexit Central is essential reading I believe. Link below.
    How can any Tory MPs who fought the election on the promise of effecting the referendum result i.e. Brexit ever support this treachery by Theresa May, which theis civil servant exposes?
    January 10, 2019
    Don’t be fooled: this Brexit deal creates a triple lock to shackle the UK to Brussels forever

  21. Adam
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Among those MPs who are firmly intent for or against Brexit may be those with slim majorities, concerned about alienating too many of their constituents. Some might abstain, or feign a reason for non-attendance in a rash attempt to avoid exposing themselves to risk. On some occasions the few make a difference, yet owing to the weight of disapproval against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement, unlikely to in this instance.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I’ve watched quite a few of these Commons debates and I wonder whether most MPs ever learn anything new from them. In fact I wonder whether most MPs ever learn anything new from any source, once they have got their fixed ideas in their heads and ready to be repetitiously trotted out …

    Yesterday there was one Tory MP totally ignoring the fact that we import far more from the rest of the EU than they import from us, giving the impression that this was a one-way trade, just with us selling to them and our economy being totally reliant on the unhindered freedom of UK exporters to do that.

    And then totally ignoring the fact that over a year ago the Irish government categorically rejected even the kind of “light touch” customs border that operates between Norway (EFTA/EEA) and Sweden (EU/EEA) …

    Then there was another Tory MP, an obnoxious creep, proclaiming that the financial services sector makes up 11% of our economy and contributes £72 billion in tax revenues, without any acknowledgement of how little of that economic activity has any connection to our trade with the EU, beyond the requirements to obey EU regulations even for purely domestic operations.

    And then there was another MP, in fact yet another Tory MP, dismissing any concerns about the sovereignty of the Parliament of which she has chosen to become a member as “ideologically purist fantasy”, and then going on to say:

    “We export 15% of our beef and more than 30% of our lamb. Of those exports, more than 90% goes to the EU. A tariff on those goods can be as high as 87% and averages around 40%. That would be devastating for livestock farmers … Some 90% of all UK dairy exports were to the EU. A report from the LSE warns that tariffs of between 41% and 74% will be imposed on dairy produce in the event of no deal.”

    without recognising that of those three categories of foodstuffs lamb is the only one where we run a trade surplus with the rest of the EU, and for the other two if it came down to it there would massive scope for import substitution if we reciprocated with identical tariffs on imports from the EU – especially, of course, on all that beef which we presently take in from the Irish Republic without any tariffs or other hindrances.

    This is how it has been for half a century now, with our politicians – and first and foremost, JR, Tory politicians – systematically deceiving the voters by deliberately telling them just selected parts of the story and dismissing and vilifying anybody who attempts to provide a more rounded picture.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Incidentally, I note that the second of those Tory MPs received only 54% of the votes cast in the 2017 election; so presumably he would be happy to arrange that he would be that constituency’s parliamentary representative for only 54% of the time, while the views of the other 46% of the voters were fully respected by allowing the other candidates to share the seat with him in these proportions:

      Labour 33.4%, so say one day in three.
      LibDem 7.2%, so say one day in every fourteen.
      UKIP 3.0% and Green 2,5%, so round those to one day each every month.

      No, I thought not, he only applies that kind of reasoning to a referendum where his side lost. And that is despite having curried favour with his leader David Cameron by agreeing to promote a no-hope Private Members’ Bill for the referendum.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        We need to tear up this system of democracy and start again. Whether it’s citizen’s councils, a “benevolent dictatorship” of the Malaysian type, or some other system, this one has run out of road.

        If there’s going to be another referendum, those should be the questions.

        Major, Brown, May, Cameron – I forgive Blair, as at the time I wasn’t turning the TV off every time the guy appeared, and frankly he had an ounce of intelligence.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          We need to tear up this system of democracy and start again.

          I agree. May I suggest Direct Democracy ? Works well for all those wealthy, peaceful and landlocked Swiss 😉

  23. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    When the withdrawal agreement is passed or rejected and the way ahead is decided one thing that the Conservative Party, if it is still in power, should be able to agree on is the need for a completely new negotiating team that will put Britain first as the trade talks begin.

    Having the same individuals who have given us the capitulation that is the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration will be to invite another magnificent failure. May, Robbins et al cannot be allowed to create another disaster.

    They should understand that walking away from talks heading in the wrong direction is a necessary part of negotiating tactics. We have had a flavour of how the EU intends these negotiations to proceed with France on fishing access and Spain on Gibraltar. Then there is Germany’s Selmayr and Weyand already setting out the customs union as the basis of the future trade relationship and crowing about how the EU will have the whip hand in talks.

  24. Dominic
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Following the remarkable intervention of an anonymous civil servant over Christmas in the Telegraph, who revealed that the civil service was far more prepared for no deal than the Government was letting on, a second anonymous civil servant has come forward to warn that May’s Deal creates a Brexit “triple lock” which could “shackle the UK to Brussels forever”.

    Writing for BrexitCentral, they warn that the “backstop is intended to be inescapable” and would give the EU “effective control over UK trade and competition policy” as well as “carv[ing] out Northern Ireland as an EU province and set[ting] a border in the Irish Sea”. Nor do they see the promised future relationship as a viable way out, they write that “the Political Declaration replicates all the onerous ‘non-regression’ clauses of the backstop” as well as requiring “even more surrender of sovereignty” in numerous other areas including fishing, defence and agriculture.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Why are the police advising shops to take on extra security staff to deal with the expected riots after Brexit, when the government has already said it will send in the army?

    These people really need to get their act together and properly co-ordinate their lies.

  26. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I see we have another Civil Servant allegedly leaking information about there being a legal triple lock written within the Withdrawal Agreement, in order to keep us shackled, and under the control of the EU with regards to all of our future UK trade arrangements, and also Northern Ireland for ever.

    See Guido Fawkes website for further details.

    Was certainly aware of the backstop and other arrangements, but a legal triple lock !

    Is this just another legal interpretation, or fact, but this time confirmed by our own Civil Service JR.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      The civil servant is simply pointing out the obvious logical conclusion of the provisions contained in the agreement.
      Martin Howe QC has done an excellent job in pointing out its toxic implications on the Lawyers for Britain website.
      Bear in mind that the EU is not trying to disadvantage Britain, but to neuter, dismember, and destroy it a la Versailles.

  27. acorn
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    With all this bottom-up cross-party consorting between MPs, now would be a good time to form a new Remain and Reform party in Westminster ready for a possibly near General Election. Based on the Corbyn vision statement of the same name.

    The reform (the EU) bit may not be totally wishful thinking, but it would be a get out clause for knowing-what-I-now-know, wobbling leavers. Naturally, those outside the three-sigma limits of the political spectrum could form the populist Alternative for England party.

    The real biggy would be the effect on the EU27. A Remain and Reform party win at a UK General Election, particularly with a Corbyn type leader, would totally revitalise the EU against far right populism.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      First the EU has a plan and have no intention of altering.
      The Five Presidents Report sets out the future strategy of the EU.
      There is no change of direction and there will be no compromise.

      Secondly populism is not far right.
      In Europe it is ordinary working people the EU has impoverished and ignored who are voting and demonstrating for change and improvements.

      The next election will clear out both leave supporting MPs in narrow majority remain constituencies and remain supporting MPs in narrow leave majority constituencies.
      Maybe after that politicians will listen a bit more to their voters.

  28. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Through your blog, may I urge your readers to visit this website (hyperlink is below) for a revealing look at the way in which the British Prime Minister has conspired to sell our country down the river. If this is true or contains some truth is treason still a crime?

    The article is from a serving Civil Servant whose anonymity is being protected.

  29. Everhopeful
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Can I get compensation for all the anguish this is causing me?
    A govt has absolutely no right to offer us a way out of the EU and then vilify those who choose to take them up on the offer.
    Nor does a govt have the right to use the results of a Referendum to play self-serving political games ( look who they chose to “take us out” and why…).
    Never mind the fact that the entire parliamentary rule book has been totally ignored and overturned consistently…ever since we were tricked into continued ( EEC?) membership by that Referendum in the 70s.

  30. Andy
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    An odd post.

    The Parliamentary Labour Party is not really divided over Brexit. There is Kate Hoey and and a couple of other elderly oddballs but the rest are overwhelmingly pro-EU. True they are divided over how best to deal with Tory pensioner car crash Brexit but then so are the Tories and the country.

    Labour member are also overwhelmingly pro-EU and so are Labour voters in swathes of constituencies. True there are ‘hard left Leavers’ in places but Labour does not need to worry about them. Few will ever vote Tory. Plus, of course, young people – the future – are overwhelmingly pro-EU and pro-Labour.

    On the contrary for the Tories Brexit poses an existent crisis – but, staggeringly, they have not realised it yet. For the Tories all the matters is the appeasing the angry and declining Tory membership – a group so far out of touch with reality that it is beyond parody.

    I, for one, have no qualms about giving this group the no deal Brexit they crave. Not because it is a good thing but because it will be so bad it will guarantee Brexit is overturned quickly and permanently. It is a guaranteed route to jail for the leave charlatans.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      They are divided.
      There is no real policy and many have different opinions on what to do.
      Stay in
      Stay in the SM CU and ECJ but still leave….very odd idea.
      Second referendum
      Vote for the WA
      Some even just leave
      Others say they will get the EU to agree to another as yet unspecified better deal.
      Next week is make their mind up time.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Labour MPs have made it clear they think the majority of their voters are thick, incapable of making sound decisions and need ignoring. ‘Labour does not need to worry about them’. Oh but it does, if they help May to triple lock the UK in Europe with this withdrawal agreement, and the European crisis they’re trying to cover up at the moment breaks down, and the UK is forced to pay in and take on even bigger debts to filter to the EU as they aren’t bothered that we’d be going bankrupt because we’re incidental, after bleeding us dry they can then cut us off.

      They’re stripping out cash, we’re being told our deficit is getting bigger and bigger, even though tax takes are going up to the highest level ever. How?

  31. Edwardm
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    The warning from Sir Richard Dearlove and the article in BrexitCentral today profoundly explain the Orwellian nature of the “withdrawal agreement”, to deny us our independence and trap us as a vassal of the EU.

    An honourable government would never encounter such an agreement. After today’s and previous warnings, any MP who votes for this agreement will be performing an act of treachery.

    Fortunately it looks like this agreement will be voted down just because of Labour’s blanket opposition to all government proposals, along with the votes of decent Tory MPs and the DUP.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh look, another threat from this unspeakable government, as reported in the London Evening Osborne:

    “Brexit will be delayed beyond 29 March, it is reported, as six key bills must be passed before the UK can leave the EU.

    The backlog of essential bills, which includes the Immigration Bill, means the Brexit timetable must be extended, the Evening Standard reported today.”

    Well, no doubt with the help of her friends on the opposition benches Theresa May could get a Commons majority for the resolution needed to postpone the “exit day” enshrined in the withdrawal Act, and probably her friends in the EU would not charge her too much for an (indefinite) extension of the two year period specified in Article 50 TEU.

    Earlier this morning I watched the pompous Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames deploring the present tone of the public debate and calling for dignity, reason and calm, but that is clearly never going to happen under this Prime Minister.

  33. ian
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I think it a cheap shot trying to make out that your party is full leave MPs and only has 12 remainers MPs in the party when 20 backbenchers voted against the gov this week with remain MPs and have a cabinet full of remainers or ministers who want to be half in and half out, there is no one in the cabinet for leaving the EU.

  34. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly for a leader who prides himself on straight talking and being close the his voters Jeremy Corbyn and his party have played leaving the EU like politicians and have not made any commitments

    Labour has put no skin in the game which whatever you think of the various factions of the Conservstive party and the cabinet cannot be said of them.

  35. Jacey
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think that if the vote goes aheadnext Tuesday the Withdrawal Agreement will and must be defeated ; it is an unmitigated disaster. What then Prime Minister ?

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      If this withdrawal agreement goes through Labour and Conservatives need a competitor at the next election that will make benefits only available if you have lived here in the UK (not Ireland, just the UK) for 18 years. That will keep free movement for workers but they’re ineligible for benefits and their employers would need to purchase medical cover for them and their family if they are not full time PAYE workers paying Employers NI on them I.e being employed as contractors or gig workers.
      Stop rewarding people who can’t afford to raise more than two children with money taken from the pockets of sensible families that stop at manageable levels.
      They need to build and build lots of retirement villages of the type that people want with no stamp duty to pay on them to temp people to downsize, freeing up family homes and keeping people that may need more medical care near to hospitals, town centres and doctors.
      The housing associations and councils with housing need to be forced to actually build these retirement complexes for their housing benefit pensioners to free up larger social needs families.
      Reducing the benefits bill is absolutely a first priority but done in a compassionate small c conservative way.

  36. Shieldsman
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    The Government and Parliament in a Pickle.
    No matter how much MP’s wrangle over whether we should leave or not and the arrangement they would prefer, we are at an impasse and it is out of their hands.
    Cameron’s Government should have paid more attention to paragraph 2 in Article 50.
    2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.
    That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3)[10] of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council [of the European Union], acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

    ‘conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union’.
    It gave the upper hand to the Commission negotiators and left the PM with the WE she cannot get through Parliament.
    The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
    If Lord Kerr was responsible for Article 50, then he is responsible for this impasse.
    It is up to the HoC to a agree a DEMOCRATIC solution, before time runs out.

  37. Martyn G
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Former British foreign secretary Douglas Hurd wrote in 1993 that “if we had followed the polls, we would have been in and out of the EU several times in the last 20 years. On matters of principle, like the monarchy and membership of the European Community, the job of the politician is to persuade, not automatically to follow.”
    As with previous referendum (Greece, France etc) all overturned by their governments and EU, ours looks like also being overturned and the Brexit that the majority voted for is about to founder on the rocks of our supposedly democratic Parliament.
    Lions (the people) being led by donkeys (MPs) springs to mind.

    • rose
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Trust him to bracket the EU with the Monarchy.

      I think he should now be worried about the effect on NATO of this DWA. But then he didn’t read Maastricht before voting on it.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Notice Hurd said polls, not policies. MP’s only follow the polls 12 months or so ahead of a GE, never before.

  38. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it’s time to make a list of laws per those pre-EU -imperial weights and measures come to mind-that we’ll take it on ourselves to obey/not obey come what may 30/3/2019

  39. Den
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    To extricate this country from the debilitating chains of Brussels was the People’s decision in the National Referendum of 2016. ‘Leave’ was expected by most, to mean ‘Leave’. No Hard or soft Brexit, just the definitive, Leave.
    It was the most important act to retain British Sovereignty and bring back democracy to the UK since 1939.
    The dithering and procrastination of Mrs May and her Remainer filled Cabinet have made OUR Country look grotesquely inept. They have embarrassed the whole Nation and subjected us to unnecessary and unwarranted threats from Brussels, as well as those outrageous scare stories from certain parties in Britain, with vested interests within the EU. They would damn our country just for 30 pieces of silver. How greedy and how treacherous can they be?
    So now it is now left to Westminster, in the “Mother of all Parliaments”, to ensure the people’s decision is followed. Sadly, however, it would appear that most of OUR MPs do not agree with the Referendum Result and now wish to defy democracy to get their own way.
    Parliament is elected by the People and it is both disgusting and disgraceful that those elected do not honour the people’s decision. So, I trust their constituencies will remove them at the earliest opportunity.
    Regardless of how they voted, to overturn OUR decision is to challenge British democracy. Much as it was in 1642, when that led to a nasty Civil war.

  40. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I think everyone in this country would literally support Hard Brexit if they properly understood the benefits of it and the circumstances in which it was introduced were right.

    The success or not of Hard Brexit in the long-term will rest on:

    1. Leadership
    2. Planning / Strategy / Tactics
    3. The Economy – strength of
    4. Vision – patriotism.

    I think vision is most important. This is about where Hard Brexit and patriotism interlink. Patriotism as opposed to extreme nationalism. Patriotism that focuses on Sovereignty (which is surely what Hard Brexit must ultimately be about). And all of this connected to other areas of patriotism such as:
    1. Strong Family Life (and the huge indirect and direct effect of this on the economy, physical and mental health and the cost and efficiency of the NHS, social welfare, and so on).
    2. Economy based on Work Ethic. Where employees respect employers. And employers respect employees. And where we focus on High Productivity and high exports.
    3. Strong cultural life – Arts, Architecture, aesthetically-pleasing homes and public buildings. Bringing nature to our towns and cities, and leaving nature outside our towns and cities wild!
    4. Strong sense of Public Duty – towards the Monarchy, Parliament, the Judiciary, the Police, defending one’s country, the Old, the Vulnerable, and so on.

    • Newmania
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Great and when a few half baked cracker mottos scribbled on the back of a beer mat are the basis for running a country the cry will go out . Call Mahony !

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink


        I voted Remain.

        But I think it’s ‘cracker’s to deny that:

        1) 52% voted to Leave (and the democratic significance of this).
        2) The economy doing quite a bit better than Remainers predicted
        3) Serious problems with Europe – Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, Poland, Hungary and the euro
        4) How on earth can foreigners know how to run the UK better than British people?! (And anyone, surely isn’t there an ethical reason for Sovereignty?)
        And more.

        So on this score, I think I more pragmatic than you.

        Regarding, leaving the EU, I’ve been a strong advocate of only leaving (since after the Referendum) when we’re properly ready:
        1) Strong Leader in place
        2) Strong Plan in place (dependent on strong leader)
        3) Debts paid off / strong economy
        4) Wide-spread, deep support for Brexit

        (And that when we do leave, we focus on having excellent relations with the EU – in terms of trade, culture and security).

        Some / many Brexiters would disagree with me on this. HOWEVER, I haven’t pushed my position here because I believe Brexiters need to be given a fair chance. That is why I haven’t been critical of Brexit for about the last 9 months after realising that Remainers had exaggerated what would happen to the economy in 2017 / 2018.

        If, after leaving in March, the economy suddenly dips – and the hole in the hull could sink the ship – then people must re-think Brexit, otherwise BOTH Brexit and our country could sink. But so far, nothing dramatic has happened to predict this. But we must remain extremely cautious.

        There. Now what’s so ‘crackers’ about that?!

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          (And my comments about Patriotism are entirely consistent with important philosophical-like ideas about Patriotism throughout the history of Western Civilisation – Graeco-Roman / Judaeo-Christian / Renaissance – with Sovereignty, The Family, The Arts, Work Ethic, Public Duty, and so on – key to that).

          So one can be philosophical / visionary whilst at the same time being pragmatic. They are not mutually exclusive.

          And frankly I just think you’re being very lazy in your criticism – and just hung on your own ideology of we must remain in the EU at any cost (at least that’s how your comments appear). I don’t see any nuance in your comments. Or admitting you might be wrong on some points and others might be right.

          So if you want to call me ‘crackers’ fine. But please make your point backed up with a proper argument.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

            Lastly, and @Andy’s comment other day about trying to besmirch reputation of Leavers with some fanatics outside Parliament is ridiculous.

            Lastly, don’t forget @Newmania, this is Sir John’s private website. He doesn’t have to publish your or my or Andy or anyone’s else comments. But he does. Thank you @Sir John.

  41. Anthony
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May is going to do whatever is necessary to get her deal through.

    If that means promising dynamic alignment on employment and environmental legislation, she’ll do it. If the EU says “could we put that in the withdrawal agreement rather than the political declaration?” Labour will cheer and May will concede. Sure it’s a future relationship issue and the EU shouldn’t by its own lights allow that, but for such a large concession giving nothing in return they’ll bend the rules.

    If it means a permanent customs union, she’ll do it.

    You name it, she’ll give it away.

    Meanwhile, the withdrawal agreement is an idiotic series of compromises borne of the fact that Theresa May misplayed the strategic situation badly and in any event wants a close relationship with the EU. But apart from the customs union, which I am totally confident we can wriggle out of, the constraints on the UK are not especially restrictive. Insulting, yes, to be sure. Unnecessary if we had played our cards right? Absolutely. But we didn’t.

    And if we don’t get the withdrawal agreement through in its current form, then it will get softer and softer to win over Labour MPs. And Tory MPs will also give in in order to prevent the deal from getting even softer than that.

    Let’s just get this thing over the line. It’s retrievable at this point. It may not be if we wait.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      “the constraints on the UK are not especially restrictive. ”
      Have you actually read it? The WA ensures that the UK completely loses all independence, remains within the jursidiction of the ECJ and either loses Northern Ireland or else remains bound to observe the rules of the EU customs union and loses any capacity to make free trade agreements with other countries – for all time to come.

      • Anthony
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        I have read it. Outside the backstop protocol, the ECJ has oversight of citizens’ rights and some stuff on finances. Nothing else.

        In the backstop protocol, in GB, the ECJ has essentially no further power except in terms of setting tariffs and state aid. On employment and environmental law, we (in GB) are signed up to maintaining standards but not the EU laws themselves AND the ECJ gets no say. In GB, I don’t consider these big restrictions. I don’t consider them permanent restrictions either (see below).

        In NI, it’s true there is much more control but even there, while NI is signed up to maintaining EU goods regulation (which GB is not), NI is not signed up to accepting new goods regulations.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy about it and I don’t believe this was the way to go. But being angry about the path taken doesn’t deal with the problem we have now, which is preventing an even softer brexit or no brexit.

        James Forsyth, who is very well connected, has written today that a number ofTory MPs are considering voting down the government to prevent no deal. If the government stays in place, no deal is a pretty decent bet. If the government is voted out and a general election follows…a very soft brexit under Corbyn? No brexit? Are we seriously going to campaign in an election for no deal? Or are we going to campaign for May’s deal? (That’ll be a vote winner, won’t it?).

        I’d rather see the Tory party take the pain of this deal in the middle of the election cycle. Once the deal is over the line, there will be at least some room for a domestic policy agenda to win support.

        Meanwhile, over time, as the EU continues to build up anti-competitive employment law and the UK doesn’t follow suit, they will want to eject us from the customs union. They’ll start being sensible about it and it will become clear, as if by magic, that customs controls don’t need to be enforced at the border.

        Once the customs union drops away, the level playing field provisions do too and the backstop looks much less stupid.

  42. BR
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Just one thing I’d add to JR’s analysis.

    IN my understanding, Corbyn isn’t quite as laissez faire re Brexit as the article suggests. His position is somewhat more nuanced. He wants Brexit and he would prefer to leave any EU institution that can impose EU laws such as disallowing State aid (he cannot nationalise while that is in play).

    He takes many different positions on each of the EU institutions depending on which Labour grouping’s feathers need un-ruffling on any given day, but my take on him is that he prefers a clean break for the above reason.

    So I suspect that he would like to time a VoNC to help a WTO Brexit to get over the line. The later he can do it, the better. The more desperate the Soubrys and Grieves become, the more likely they are to vote with him. But he needs about 7 to actually succeed and right now he only has a possibility of 2 or 3.

    There’s a period of 14 days to look for another government. If that fails then a GE under FTPA will see prorogation 7 weeks (25 working days) prior to the GE date. That’s 9 weeks, so add into that all the time to schedule votes etc etc and he could get WTO Brexit over the line from now, pretty much.

    If he loses the vote then he would need to time it as late as possible for maximum disruption of Brexit business.

    he also needs to try to calculate how likely it is that May will close Parliament with nothing in place to prevent a WTO Brexit. If she asks for an extension to A50, will the EU agree?

    All these many factors are relevant to Corbyn’s political calculation for a power grab which sees not only him in power but also Brexit complete, but also no inconvenient EU institutions tying his hands over his nationalisation programme.

  43. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    If just one more MP says ‘do not let the perfect become the enemy of the good’……….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      There is nothing good about T May’s deal she and her deal are dreadful – and dishonest with it.

      • rose
        Posted January 12, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        And no-one has ever said life outside would be perfect.

  44. mancunius
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    ” it guarantees another 21 to 45 months of Brexit rows and likely continuing political paralysis because of the continuing talks with the EU.”

    With the Irish backstop, the EU will have the UK exactly what it wants it; any future trade deal will not replace it but have it as its basis, and when the UK’s rather dimwitted government has grasped this simple point, the ’21-45 months’ will extend to 5-10 years or even into eternity – as long as is needed to force Britain back into EU membership.

    We have to realize that we do actually not need a FTA with the EU. Sovereignty and an intact UK is infinitely more precious.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      ‘exactly where it wants it’.

      • Hope
        Posted January 11, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        May’s servitude plan is not designed to leave in 21-45 months. That is for the birds. It is designed for eternity. An anonymous civil servant today claims there is a triple lock to keep the UK in the EU under treasonous plan.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink


        • mancunius
          Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Yes, Hope, that is in the WA, hiding in plain sight. The EU knows very few people will read it from cover to cover.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      UK’s rather dimwitted government . . .

      Not dimwitted but conniving.

  45. Original Richard
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The reason why Mrs. May and her pro-EU Cabinet, Civil Service and Parliamentary colleagues are not preparing for a “no deal” is because :

    1) They want to push through Mrs. May’s/the EU’s “deal” whereby nothing changes immediately but we will have to accept all new directives, rules and laws without representation and can never leave the EU.

    2) Failing that, they are hoping to create a panic situation to give themselves and Parliament a reason to grab power away from the people and simply cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50. The EU will accept this revocation provided we sign up to the Euro, Schengen, loss of control of our military, loss of our rebate etc., all of which will be accepted by Mrs. May and Parliament.

    3) In the highly unlikely event that there is simply no alternative to leaving and with “no deal”, almost nothing will change anyway in the short term anyway because we are leaving as members of the EU/SM (full regulatory alignment) and CU except that the UK no longer makes EU budget contributions and no longer accepts ECJ rulings.

    Any changes will occur gradually over time and be subject to negotiations.

    It explains why the Government has not yet published UK tariff schedules.

    There will be no problems at the N.I./Irish border as both Mr. Varadkar and Mr. Juncker are on record saying that in the event of “no deal” there still will not implement a hard border.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      ‘with “no deal”… we are leaving as members of the EU/SM (full regulatory alignment) and CU.’

      But that is simply not so. In the case of no-deal we leave the EU on March 29th and instantaneously also leave the SM and CU.

  46. Chewy
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Lots a happening and I as I’m sure many others on this site would appreciate your take on current events. As I write a lot is being written that there is a majority in cabinet for indicative votes following the defeat of the withdrawal agreement and although this could admittedly be partly to try and scare Eurosceptics into supporting the WA, I sense there may be a degree of reality in this report. Jeremy Hunt’s statement seems to distance himself from this cabinet view, but it has been aired by Amber Rudd and let’s face it the majority I’m cabinet are Remainers.
    Would be interested in your views as to these developing events although I appreciate you may wish to keep your powder dry until we see what the reality is.

  47. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Advice to The Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary

    Dear Mr. Hunt,

    It is said that you harbour a desire to become the next leader of the conservative party and thus, possibly, the next Prime Minister.

    If that is the case I suggest you refrain from alienating millions of Leave voters and thousands of conservative party members by threatening to cancel Brexit completely if MP’s do not vote for the shabby little deal that you keep pushing on behalf of the government.

    I doubt that people will be in a very forgiving mood if Brexit is cancelled.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Well he did nothing to sort out the appalling NHS. But he was good at endlessly apologising for its countless mistakes and endless gross incompetence.

  48. GilesB
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I fear that May is conniving with Corbyn and Barnier to extend Art 50 and have a referendum with only a choice between:
    – May’s hideous Withdrawal Appeasement, and
    – Remain.

    How can this be blocked?

  49. Ronald Olden
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Corbyn and Starmer are being dishonest.

    What they mean by a ‘say’ is a collective ‘say’ for the Labour Party delivered by them as they see fit, to suit their party political purposes.

    They don’t mean a ‘say’ for Labour MPs on the same terms as each Tory MP.

    Labour MPs will have the same ‘say’ as ours did on the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, and as they did when majority of Labour MPs voted to invoke Article 50.

    Opinion on the EU is as diverse amongst Labour MPs it is amongst Tories.
    The balance might be different but nearly all the opinions are still there.

    There’s also a very large, in some places a majority, hard line anti EU following amongst Labour voters outside the South East of England. In many places it’s majority.

    A third of SNP and Plaid Cymru voters, and even some Lib Dem, voters are Leavers
    Who’s offering them their ‘say’?

    Given the balance in Parliament the votes of Labour MPs are sure to be as decisive as Tories.

    The SNP’s, and (in the event of a close vote), the Lib Dems could be decisive as well.
    Corbyn lost a Vote of No Confidence amongst his own MPs by 172 to 40, but dismissed it has of ‘no constitutional significance’.

    So we know how he regards any ‘say’ for Labour MPs.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that a VITAL one or two of the seats the Tories won in 2017 were won because of Brexit.

    There are also ones they likely lost owing to Brexit. It’s obvious that a number of people voted Labour and Lib Dem because they wanted to Remain.

    That’s fair enough. The votes were counted and Mrs May won.

    The most recent polls show an average of 11% backing a General Election as a means to resolve the issues.

    It’s the most unpopular single alternative available amongst the myriad on offer, and it even receives less support than ‘Don’t Know’.

    The most popular single alternative is ‘Leave with No Deal’.

    Only 40% of people back a second IN OUT Referendum. But what’s the point in having Referendum if the losing side won’t accept the result?

  50. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, this article published yesterday is of great interest:

    “What does ‘No Deal’ really mean?”

    Having this week been accused of peddling “fake news” by a eurofanatic fellow Maidonian in his latest letter published in the Maidenhead Advertiser I replied citing four separate studies to back up my argument that the government is greatly exaggerating the potential economic losses if we leave the EU without any special trade deal; then I began to recall a fifth, and trying to dredge it up on google I came to this article and saw:

    “A brief but comprehensive rebuttal of the Remain side’s fake news”

    Which led me to:

    And in particular:

    “Proposition 5: long-term economic losses from leaving the EU single market and customs union will be very large”

    “The Treasury’s 2016 document and the more recent ‘cross-Whitehall briefing’ claimed UK GDP would fall by 8% in the long-run in the event of the UK leaving the EU and reverting to ‘WTO rules’. This estimate is probably 3-8 times too high.”

    Which roughly corresponds with what I have said in my letters.

  51. rose
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    It looks to me as if she has managed to split the Labour Brexiteers, which is a pity. The group was small enough as it was.

  52. Turboterrier.
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    O/T Universal Credit

    With Amanda Rudd announcing the changes in the new credit reforms, is it not amazing that for this particular piece of government policy they have accepted that a one size fits all programme doesn’t not work. Why cannot the government then accept the same principle regarding the way they run the NHS and Education Service. Today secondary schools are highlighting their shortfall and the problems caused to provide a standard to meet the required targets. Every school due to its location can and do require different standards of the way they teach to enable them to reach the targets as set. These can be more costly to no fault of the school but due to the social and ethnic requirements of the pupils and the expectation of their parents.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 11, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink


  53. libertarian
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    The Conservatives have a Remain government trying to half implement Brexit & remain

    Labour has a Brexit leadership trying to fool their own remain party

    You couldn’t make it up, too far fetched for the House of Cards or The Thick of It

    What we’ve learned from this cluster**** is that our political parties are dead in the water and the vast majority of the elected and non elected in parliament should never be allowed near running anything ever again

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 12, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I wish every politician would read Joseph and His Brothers by Thomas Mann.

      A great work of literature in its own right but also a look at – amongst many things – a great politician (wise, diligent, visionary/romantic, pragmatist/realistic, just, compassionate, family-minded, patriotic and so on).

      Joseph a great mixture between down-to-earth Jewish culture (forebearer of Christian culture) and exotic Ancient Egyptian culture (a bit like The Nativity and the down-to-earth Jewish shepherds and the exotic Three Wise Men from Persia following the star on camels across the desert with their gold, incense and myrrh …)

  54. Simon Coleman
    Posted January 11, 2019 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Backing a second referendum had nothing to do with the Lib Dems’ poor showing in 2017. They had already been nearly wiped out in 2015. They had no opportunity to recover and a second referendum was not an issue in 2017. Irrelevant nonsense once again.

    Reply It was a key issue and they lost more support in 2017

  55. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 12, 2019 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    We may take comfort from the fact that, given a binary choice between No Deal and Mrs May’s deal, the electorate splits 60% to 40% in favour of No Deal. This is the result of a recent Ipsos/Mori poll. Who am I to contradict it?

    The electorate isn’t a problem. This parliament is.

  • 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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