What now?

The predictable and large defeat of the PM’s main policy is unprecedented in my time in the Commons. I have seen governments forced into climb downs on unpopular policies, but never seen a PM put so much effort into defending a policy which united a large element of her own party with all the forces of opposition. It is difficult to fathom why she carried on with it. She knew the DUP would oppose, so that was the end of her majority. She knew 22 people had resigned from government and party posts in protest at the policy, so how were they ever going to support the policy they had so visibly opposed? She knew an active group of more than 60 Eurosceptics who had helped her secure the EU Withdrawal Act and had offered much well researched advice on how to handle the negotiations were in complete disagreement with Chequers and the draft Agreement. Maybe she decided she needed to show both the UK and the EU that the best Agreement on offer from the EU was completely unacceptable to Parliament and a clear majority of the people Parliament represents.

There is no point in going back to the EU to try to fix the Withdrawal Agreement. Even if the EU was prepared after this to take the Irish backstop out of the Agreement there is still no majority to carry the proposal, though maybe half the Conservatives against it in its current form might think again. Why would the EU offer anything when that too is likely to be rejected?

Instead the PM should come to the House to make her considered statement saying she will return to the EU with two proposals from the UK. The first is to complete rapidly the various agreements underway or needed to ensure a smooth transition on exit on 30 March 2019. The second is to table a full Free Trade Agreement based on the best features of the EU/Canada and EU/Japan agreements which we know the EU can accept. If the EU expresses interest in negotiating such an agreement and agrees broadly with the proposition it should be possible to avoid any introduction of tariffs and other barriers on trade pending the negotiation of a full FTA, under clause 24 of the WTO treaty.

Either way, exiting without a dreadful deal is the right course to follow. The PM was correct to stress No Deal is better than a bad deal. Parliament has just rightly decided that was a very bad deal. Indeed it wasn’t a deal at all. It was a very expensive invitation to more prolonged talks about a possible deal.

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  1. Malleson
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Where is this full free trade agreement that you want tabling? Anyone with understanding of the matter knows trade agreements take years to draft, never mind agree. Where is yours? Of course, you havent got one. You talk vaguely from the sidelines about what should be done, you criticise the PM in the media, but you never do anything constructive.

    Reply A comprehensive one based on existing EU FTAs will be provided to the government

    • David Price
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      A Conservative and DUP group presented an FTA proposal along the lines of the above at a press conference yesterday. This included a pre-prepared ministerial statement the government is required to give under section 13 of the EU Withdrawal Act. The group, including Peter Lilley and David Davis, intend to have a full draft of a trade agreement legal text by the end of the month.

      Plenty of constructive work has been going on since the referendum, you only have to ignore the remainder smoke and mirrors to see it.

      • Hope
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        What happened to the repeated mantra: nothing agreed until everything agreed?

        If not no deal leading contender as it fulfils referendum and manifesto promises by both parties.

        Secondly, £39 billion off the table, backstop off the table, out of customs union and single market or alternatives names for the same, political declaration off the table.

        Security and defence off the table to be discussed at later point after everything else resolved and after EU countries pay their 2 percent. No 2 percent no discussion.

        May is he most dishonest PM in living memory. She already turned down alternatives by many others including the US. She was in collusion with the EU, and I suspect still is. Totally untrustworthy. Baker states May’s cabel of secret planners undermined constitution by going behind the back of Dexu etc to write her plan that got voted down. May stated collective responsibility back in force, why is Hammond not sacked?

    • Dougal Hamer
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – “.. will be provided” . For pitys sake man, WHERE IS IT? It’s two and a half years since the referendum and just 11 weeks til we leave the EU, and still all you’ve got is hot air and empty words, nothing concrete at all

      • APL
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Dougal Hamer: “and just 11 weeks til we leave the EU, ”

        Whoo Hooo! I’ve waited forty three years. Only eleven weeks to go.

        By the way, the German economy is reported to be in ‘technical’ recession. Apparently the figures are so bad, the economists themselves don’t believe them.

        Bound to be BREXIT’s fault!

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Sir John,

      Your argument above is compelling but easily dismissed by those such as Malleson. Put this draft trade agreement into the public domain and argue the case based on substance. Arguing about the document and its merits would move the debate forward. At the moment it is speculation.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      To say JR never does anything constructive is not fair; he tirelessly presents alternatives. Doing nothing constructive is a charge to be levelled at the Labour opposition who just criticise everything the government proposes yet offer no meaningful alternatives.
      Sure, a trade agreement takes years to draft, and even longer for the disparate EU, so we offer barrier free reciprocal trade in the interim and not put up obstacles in a spirit of goodwill. Best for everyone, just not palatable to the Brussels bureaucracy that wants to intimidate other countries from breaking free.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      The Australia – US deal, which covers 96% of all trade between the two countries, took 14 months from start to finish. And the only reason it was that long is there was a hiatus while Australia had to consider whether they would accept a carve out for US sugar beet farmers.

    • Merlin
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      What I find strangest is that the MPs who pushed for this referendum – Bill Cash, Peter Bone and the E.R.G – will end up forcing this country into a customs union and in a worse position than remaining in the first place. What on earth has been the purpose of all this?

      • jerry
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        @Merlin; “forcing this country into a customs union”

        Those you name, I strongly suspect, would be happy to leave on WTO rules…

        “What on earth has been the purpose of all this?”

        To leave the pan-European political project that the EEC has become.

        • Merlin
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          I know they want to leave on WTO rules, but all it’s ended up doing is giving Labour the whip hand – so we’re going to end up in a customs union.

          And yes I voted remain. However, dismissing me simply because I voted remain isn’t going to get us very far. Would it be right for me to dismiss people purely on the grounds they voted to leave?

      • Bob
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        I quote below a tweet from Daniel Hannan MEP

        “An official from a country that has a trade deal with the EU tells me that her government had wanted, not just to roll it over vis-à-vis the UK, but to liberalise further. Britain wouldn’t agree. We wouldn’t even accept the word “upgrade” in the title, lest it upset Brussels.”

        And therein lies the problem. We could have signed a Canada+ deal by now if the govt genuinely intended to leave the EU. They’re deliberately trying to screw it up.

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


          Did Hannan name that official? Or was he the usual imaginary person?

        • matthu
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Hannan in the Telegraph this morning also suggests that there is “nothing intrinsically wrong with being ‘half-in, half-out’ of the EU – just like the British public voted”.

          He adds “There is an overwhelming case for compromise.”

          In that case, does it make sense to have Scotland, Wales, NI and Central London completely in, and the rest of the UK out – just as the people voted?

          If the vote had gone the other way, would there also have been “nothing intrinsically wrong with being ‘half-in, half-out’ of the EU – just like the British public voted”?

          What a crazy suggestion.

          • Richard Elsy
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Sadly, in my view, Dan Hannan is pushing ‘Common Market 2.0′ along with Nick Boles, Stephen Kinnock and a number of MPs including our own. I’m afraid that I can’t buy into this not least because the control of our borders is subject to a rather vague clause which may or may not limit FoM. I’m also dead against the concept of the fees – £5.0 bn, which would certainly be increased, and which seems an idiotic charge levied on British taxpayers who provide a market giving a £95.0 bn trade surplus. Why on earth would we agree to such terms? I’m afraid that a managed WTO exit is the only rational course open. The proposal for the FTA was David Davies’ strategy which was banjaxed at Chequers and, cutting and pasting EU FTAs to which we are already signatories is a perfectly sensible approach. Saving £39.0 bn also looks good, although I have yet to see a breakdown of this charge, or any estimate of UK share of EU assets accumulated to date. Transparency isn’t a strong suit of the Commission, or, the PM, unfortunately. No Deal looks fine to me.

      • margaret howard
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink


        ” What on earth has been the purpose of all this?”

        Personal ambition and near religious zeal – a bit like medieval martyrs whose causes no one knows or cares about today.

        For that they are prepared to ruin this country.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink


          Things got a bit out of hand when they said we could no longer control our own borders.

          I’m sure people will understand that 500 years hence.

        • Jagman84
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          Which side of the debate are you referring to? It is a perfect fit for the Remainer lobby and their slavish devotion to the EU. Do you realise that the plan is to abolish individual nations and create one big happy but dysfunctional EU superstate. The German (non-imperial) Empire seems a good title for it.

        • NickC
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, Leaving the EU treaties does not promote my personal ambitions, nor is it anything to do with religion. It was simply my judgement that the UK could, and should, be as independent as New Zealand. And thrive being so.

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink


            ” UK could, and should, be as independent as New Zealand. And thrive being so.”

            New Zealand has a population of under 5m and yet:

            Unemployment rates for different age groups follow similar trends, but are consistently higher among youth. In the December 2014 quarter, the general unemployment rate was around 5.8%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 21 was 15.6%.

            New Zealand has experienced a series of “brain drains” since the 1970s that still continue today. Nearly one quarter of highly skilled workers live overseas, mostly in Australia and Britain, which is the largest proportion from any developed nation.

            Not that rosy.

      • Original Richard
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        The first people to seriously push for a referendum were the Lib Dems in 2008.

        The justification for the referendum is amply demonstrated by the fact that the country voted to leave despite the opposition of the Government, BoE, MSM, the corporates etc. all operating Project Fear.

        Remaining in the EU, where we must accept laws, trade deals, taxation, immigration, foreign and military policies by people we do not know, do not elect and cannot remove is undemocratic and leaves us totally exposed to corruption and malicious governance.

        We have no idea to where the EU is heading with its dash for political and economic integration controlled by an unelected elite.

        If Parliament seizes power and either cancels Brexit, or signs us up to a permanent vassal status with the EU, then the 2016 EU referendum will be the last meaningful vote the people of this country will ever have.

        • Richard Elsy
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          I largely agree with you, save to say that I think we have a good idea where the EU is heading to. The remorseless push by the EC, Berlin and Paris towards an ‘ever-closer Union’ is on record. The political landscape of most EU nations is, however, changing and the trajectory is the opposite to the preferred course of the Commission, Berlin and Paris. There is no status quo ante the UK Referendum. If our MPs manage to thwart Brexit, No Deal or otherwise, I fear for the future democratic institutions of the country, not least the Conservative Party. By the same token, I would bet that Speaker Bercow’s antics will precipitate calls for a written constitution and the failure of the House of Commons to accept the result of the largest democratic exercise in British history will give credence to such calls. The business of drafting and agreeing a written constitution will be considerably more disruptive and divisive than Brexit. Every wing of every party, every constitutional academic lawyer and political scientist, lobby group and think tank will be out in force. It will be a nightmare and all because we elected 650 MPs in 2017, of whom some 80% were determined to defy the Referendum result, one way or another. It’s very sad.

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Merlin, Errrmm, we’re already in the EU customs union. How can being in the EU’s customs union be a worse position than being in the EU customs union? The purpose was to leave the customs union and all the other EU treaties paraphernalia. That Theresa May lied and cheated is no reflection on the ERG and like minded MPs from both main parties.

      • Claudia Norman
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Your comment is surprising considering that the MPs you mention all propose leaving the EU on WTO tariffs or free trade. That is not forcing Britain into a customs union.

      • mrsdwills
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        How so? And why blame the Brexiteers for the actions of a Remainer Prime Minster who has filled her Cabinet with fellow Remainers?

        • Know-Dice
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          And listening to David Davis today, he had the rug pulled by Number 10 (as was suspected)…

          Former Brexit secretary David Davis says there were “strategic errors of negotiation” made by the government while negotiating with the EU, the outcome of which resulted in the deal being rejected by MPs yesterday.

          He says sequencing was a key aspect, as this meant less progress was made than could have been; and it meant he was unable to tie elements of the divorce payment to the future relationship as he would have liked.

          The government conceded on this way too quickly, he says, which was “the first big mistake”.

          The concession was made by No.10, he says, during the 2017 general election.

          “When I returned from the election it was done.”

          Asked whether officials were “given too much string” during the negotiations, Mr Davis says, “it’s hardly a secret to say the majority of Whitehall was not exactly enthusiastically pro-Leave”.

          “You don’t have to accuse them of being anti-patriotic to say that they weren’t enthusiastic about these things.”

          He says his approach was “more aggressive, or more forward”, whereas Whitehall’s approach was “more risk minimising”, which No.10 supported the more concerned they became about progress. This resulted in “a Remainer’s Brexit”.

      • Tony Sharp
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        What I find strange is the lengths RemaINers will go to misrepresent the LeavEU position and also the non-existent benefits of the EU.

      • jasg
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Its rather more ironic that the remainer establishment decision to legally force parliament to vote on any deal will more effectively mean no deal. Without that May would have not needed to convince anyone.

    • L Jones
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      ”Anyone with understanding of the matter….” That obviously doesn’t include YOU, then. Never mind – there are sharper brains and more knowledgeable people here (besides our host) who will educate you in ”the matter”, I’ve no doubt.

    • Andy
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood you have still failed to explain the contradiction in your plan.

      Canada and Japan have free trade deals with the EU – that is correct.

      But free trade is not frictionless trade.

      There are few tariffs on goods from Canada and Japan.

      But there is bureaucracy and there are customs checks.

      You have not explained how you do this without a border.

      You have not explained how you take back control of a border without a border.

      These should be easy as you claim to have all the answer.

      You actually have none.

      • L Jones
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        And YOU have ”all the answer” (sic), then, Andy? Perhaps you should go and share your encyclopaedic knowledge with those in great need, ie MPs. You couldn’t do worse than many of them at the moment.
        You may even provide a spot of light entertainment, as you do here.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I find myself looking for Andy’s posts for a good laugh. They are truly entertaining and worthy of CBB’s.

          • Cerbey
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

            I’m sure he’s a parody account.

      • davies
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        He has on many occasions. Exports are pre registered with a small percentage checked.

        Canada – not in force
        Japan – there is still work to do

        Stop trying to create problems out of solutions and either check the media or even google, Im sure you can manage that

      • jerry
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        @Andy; “But free trade is not frictionless trade.”

        Indeed it is not, as anyone stuck on the M20 during the many times “Operation Stack” has had to be in place during French fishing, or other dispute that shut down much of the channel crossings knows all to well. On the other hand container ports on the south, west and east coast of the UK carried on landing trade from the RotW…

        As for customs checks, for god sake stop talking utter bilge, go read up on international conventions such as the “Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets” (more commonly known by the TIR abbreviation).

        • Edward2
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Totally agree Jerry.
          It is electronic manifests done before goods leave.
          There is little extra work in trading outside the EU

      • libertarian
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink


        The fact that you believe theres no bureaucracy or indeed sometimes customs checks between countries trading within the EU shows you up to be totally ignorant of the thing you support

        Dear oh dear , you do continually make yourself look silly

    • libertarian
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink


      And do you know of anyone with understanding of the matter? As you clearly dont

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Malleson, The draft Withdrawal Agreement is not a (draft) trade treaty. As Charles 1 was reputed to have said about another matter “they are clean different things”. The EU has stated it will not enter into trade deal negotiations until we have left. Do keep up.

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      The outline of an FTA/MFN exists and the EU proposed it – it was May and Hammond with the Treasury and Robbins who opposed it because it would mean a clean break from the EU and what they want is as stated in the Proposed Withdrawal Agreement “for the UK to remain as closely aligned to the Customs Union and Single Market ” ie BRINO. May’s PWA has No Deal written into it – No Deal will even be discussed until the UK Leaves.

      Even if it takes years then that is OK , we LeavEU without the PWA No Deal and start talks on .. No Deal.

      Indeed the non-issue of the non-border of Ireland had nothing at all to do with ‘Peace in Northern Ireland’ but as the PWA text states “to mainain the integrity of the Single Market in the republic of Ireland2.

      If you reject the backstop there is no point to the PWA and you can have a simple Trade Deal.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Reply to the JR reply.

      I suspect that, for Mrs May, accepting the Leavers FTA solution would be like trying to swallow barbed wire because it would vindicate resignations over Chequers.

      I also suspect that she is complicit with the EU which is why she has presented the WA, complete with backstop. The EU says it will not alter the WA or remove the backstop. Why would they? They think they have the UK over a barrel, locking us into Hotel California. May can then say she will only consider alterations that are “negotiable”, setting up her very own Catch 22 situation, meaning the backstop will have to stay in any new deal because it is not “negotiable”. By this means she will seek successive votes on her deal, hoping to wear down the opposition until she wins it.

      Under this scenario the denouement will only be apparent either if she wins a vote (though that itself will then require legislation that would be fiercely opposed), or we leave on WTO terms (to which she says she is opposed) or she moves to delay the departure date (to allow more time for negotiations which seems likely to cause uproar within the Conservative party) or she loses a confidence vote leading to a GE (because she finally loses the support of the DUP and possibly some of her own party).

    • Richard
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      If the EU want a deal, it will be difficult to quibble a Comprehensive FTA based entirely on the EU’s own precedents. David Davis in December

  2. oldtimer
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    As you point out, there is a Plan B available in FTA proposals already worked up by Conservative Leave MPs. This is the obvious basis going forward. The question is whether Mrs May is capable of adopting it, can be trusted to adopt it and is willing to adopt it without screwing it up. I have my doubts but understand that this is probably the only practical way forward in the time available.

    • eeyore
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      A great and historic day. Congratulations to Sir John and all who worked so hard for it. This is their victory. Now all efforts must be made to frustrate moves to extend or revoke A50. Just 42 working Commons days left before March 29 and freedom.

    • jerry
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      @oldtimer; “The question is whether Mrs May is capable of adopting it

      No, the real question is whether the EC/EU27 is capable accepting it, it matters not one jot in such circumstances what May (or her successor) does if the EC/EU27 refuse to adopt it. Do we know for sure that the EC have not already done so?

      • oldtimer
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        If they have already rejected it I would have expected the PM to say so if only to rule it out as an option. On the contrary the EU frequently stated, before Chequers, they wanted to know the government’s position. Before Chequers I was puzzled what they were talking about. Post Chequers it was all too clear what they were talking about – was a FTA promoted by Davis or the May/Robbins convoluted deal. IIRC Mr Tusk said they were open to FTA.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Since posting this comment I have seen Paul Goodman’s (I think brilliant) analysis of what May really meant in her prepared statement to the HoC after her historic defeat. It is here: https://www.conservativehome.com/thetorydiary/2019/01/mays-statement-what-she-said-and-what-she-meant.html
      If correct my doubts are confirmed.

      • Penny
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I thought that hit the nail on the head. You really can’t make it up.

        • jerry
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

          @Penny; “You really can’t make it up.”

          Except he did, or is he a mind reader too?!. Perhaps, Penny, for his next trick he could tell us what you are really thinking…

      • Chris
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        It is indeed a very shrewd analysis of our PM’s intentions, oldtimer. I think it is highly significant that Paul Goodman of Conservative Home views the PM as dishonest, and by implication that she is has no intention of delivering Brexit, but simply her WA (which could not be further from what Brexit actually means, and from what was made abundantly clear in the referendum campaign. Project fear was in full flow right from the word go, and the CU and SM were key to their arguments).

  3. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    What we don’t want is another referendum especially one that doesn’t include leave as an option. We need competent and committed Brexiteers to form the next plan and leave. If the eu want to help in us leaving which is beneficial to both sides then fine. If not then just go. We are all sick of the fiasco and being made a laughing stock for the rest of the world, half of which we have given independence for.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, Indeed. It’s pretty basic stuff: we voted to Leave the EU treaties. That’s what we should do. When are the majority of MPs going to listen?

  4. Steve Pitts
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Mrs May apparently wants to hold talks with Labour MPs but not Corbyn to see what they would agree but many in the Cabinet do not want that. But this proposal of yours Sir John is best because if she approaches Labour MPs Mrs May could get Labour support to be de facto Labour leader on this issue but not gain Conservative or DUP votes. I also hope no Conservatives vote against in the confidence vote. We don’t really want a General Election.

  5. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Theresa May has wasted over a year since it should have become obvious to her that the new Irish government under Leo Varadkar was not prepared to co-operate in finding solutions to the largely fabricated problem of the land border which did not involve at least Northern Ireland, and preferably the whole of the UK, remaining under swathes of EU laws in order to protect the Irish economy. That would have been before it became obvious to me just as an interested member of the general public through statements which were appearing in the media. This is from November 26th 2017:


    “On the TV this morning it was stated that the UK government is “desperate” to move on to trade talks, but this would be vetoed by the Irish government unless the UK government committed to keeping the UK in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.”

    “So we should now say that rather than kowtow to the stupid destructive intransigence of the EU we will fall back on WTO trade rules and only seek agreements on the practical or technical aspects of continuing trade.”

    And I also note these prophetic paragraphs:

    “Whatever delusions the Irish government may entertain there is no political possibility of the UK remaining in either the Single Market or the Customs Union after leaving the EU, so there is now clearly no point in the UK even trying to negotiate any “special and deep” trade deal with the EU. And of course there was never any justification for paying the EU a bribe just to get trade talks started.

    That would do us some economic harm, although nowhere near as much as portrayed by the Remoaners, and it would do the other countries more economic harm, albeit it would be spread around among them, but on most projections the country which would suffer by far the greatest economic damage would in fact be Ireland.”

    I don’t have time to check what the Irish media are saying.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Oh, and I wouldn’t bother with a free trade deal for the moment, it would not be worth as much as some think and could be put off until later:


      “… on a simple pro rata basis if CETA boosts Canada’s exports to the EU by the equivalent of 0.18% to 0.36 % of its GDP, as the EU Commission projects, then for the UK the same kind of special trade deal with the EU might be worth 0.7% to 1.4% of UK GDP.”

      That maximum GDP gain of 1.4% would be in the same ballpark as:

      a) the UK’s gross gain from the EU Single Market, about 1% of GDP; and

      b) the long term loss the UK might experience by defaulting to the WTO treaties, according to the German government, about 1.7% of GDP … “

      • Mark B
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Oh, and I wouldn’t bother with a free trade deal for the moment, it would not be worth as much as some think and could be put off until later:

        On that I very much agree. Let them come to us and make us an offer we can refuse. Or, tell them how many billions it will cost them to access our UK internal market.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, This is all excellent stuff; and very rational. And quite beyond the capacity of the likes of May, Soubry, Grieve, Clark, et al, to comprehend.

  6. Dominic
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    May will try and delay Brexit and offer a second referendum. It’s what any deceitful PM would do in her position. If she’s prepared to sanction the breakup of the UK by sacrificing Northern Ireland on the altar of the UK’s membership of the EU then she’s capable of absolutely anything

    We all know May isn’t a Tory. She leads our party simply because she’s a Europhile. To a point Thatcher was pro-EU. Since Heath we’ve never had a Eurosceptic leader. It is time for that to change.

    We need to understand that we must elect a leader to confront not only the EU but Marxist Labour in the north and indeed across the UK.

    • Derek
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      We need to understand that we must elect a leader to confront not only the EU but Marxist Labour in the north and indeed across the UK.

      When do we ever get decent PMs? By now everyone should know decent politicians like Redwood or Davies will never be PM, only the compromised globalist sell outs promoted via the MSM. We need to get the bottom of why this keeps happening.

  7. Helena
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Just as the UK has said no free movement, no payments, and no role for the ECJ, the EU has said the Irish border must stay open – it is a red line. The EU has made it very clear it will accept a Canada-deal, but it has also made clear there must be an Irish backstop. So why are making a suggestion that is 100% unacceptable to the EU? At least Mrs May is trying to find a compromise, you are just stonewalling

    • Mark
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Varadkar is ignoring the fact that if we leave without signing the capitulation agreement there is no backstop. He is also ignoring the fact that once Ireland is no longer useful to the EU’s plans, it will find that the EU will be more interested in ending its tax haven status, and treating it like the other peripheral EU countries. With no Danegeld from the WA, the EU will find it hard to prioritise additional aid to Ireland. With no WA, Varadkar has admitted there will be no hard border. So much for the EU’s red line: it isn’t real.

      • LukeM
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Veradkar hasn’t got the last say on things in Ireland. There may also be things he knows but won’t speak about at the moment for political reasons. One thing for sure is if UK leaves with a crash there will be a border of sorts or border checks across the country, otherwise called a hard border- the EU will insist. If there is a hard border in Ireland then there will certainly also be a hard border right along the whole of the French Belgium and Dutch coast. Ireland does not need Eu Danegeld, we are doing quite ok just by ourselves and whatever the fallout we will adjust- we have survived much worse in past

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:25 pm | Permalink


          “we are doing quite ok just by ourselves and whatever the fallout we will adjust- we have survived much worse in past”

          Makes you wonder why we begged to join in the first place. That decision turned out to be the wisest we ever made because membership turned us from the ‘sick man of Europe’ into the world’s 5th largest economy, since Brexit alas already dropped to 7th place.

          All about to be thrown away.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

            margaret howard

            Have you no shame?

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        Mark, That’s sorted out Helena’s little Remain whinge; thank you.

      • Gordon Lee
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Untrue. Varadkar has said that without a WA he does not want a hard border. And I am sure he doesnt. But there certainly will be one. WTO and EU law requires it

  8. Mark B
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Whatever one may say about this shambles, one cannot argue against the number of precedents this is creating, the first being the Referendum itself.

    The pity is, that she wants to go back to the EU. It’s like watching a dog returning to its sick in the hope of a better outcome. Pitiful !

    We should, by now, just be getting on with it. Our kind host is right. Offer them WTO BREXIT or, a FTA BREXIT.

  9. Newmania
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    As Parliament will not support any deal that is obtainable from the EU the only Brexit option is ” No Deal”. Parliament, however, will not support No Deal or ” Staying in the EU” . The only answer is to go back to the people, offering a choice between the real alternatives ; A Cancel Brexit; B Leave with no deal
    If it is the determination of the UK to leave the EU at any cost , ” No Deal” will win and those of us who think it is bonkers with crunchy topping and nuts will have to live with it or emigrate.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      “A Cancel Brexit; B Leave with no deal”

      More or less what was asked the first time around but your lot keep telling us it wasn’t.

      • Newmania
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Daniel Hannan: “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market.” arf arf
        There is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal.” 20 July 2017, Liam Fox arf arf arf

        And ….

        Nigel Farage warned that a 52-48 Remain victory would be “unfinished business by a long way”. …hmmmm good point
        David Davis declared in 2012: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”…..yes quite profound

        There is no democratic principle at stake, Parliament is unable to process a referendum because the only result we can really say the 52% were for is absolutely impossible .

        We now have 2 competing realities . Lets decide ….or are we frit ?

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          I disagree with Nigel Farage. The others were saying so based on the presumption that we would have a hard nosed person in charge of the country.

          We did not vote for further negotiations. David Cameron tried that and came back and said “What do you think ?”

          Here’s a reality for you. You get Remain AND Corbyn.

          Planned for that ?

          I believe that pomposity such as yours caused Brexit, btw. You are about to find out what happens when ordinary people stop voting and leave it to the students and the fringes.

          NB, Brexit voters are NOT on the fringe – like Euroscepticism across the EU it is well and truly mainstream and that indicates there is a big problem.

          The EU’s answer to it seems to be to replace the voters.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink


          I think you need to have a rethink there. The question we were asked was stay or leave. You are proposing the same 2 questions. In support of your argument you then tell us there are multiple possibilities .

          So what are your referendum questions?

          1) Stay

          2) Stay and join the federation and the Euro

          3) Stay in EEA/EFTA only

          4) Leave

          5) Leave but stay in a customs union

          6) Leave but only if we can get an FTA that guarantees cheese supplies

          7)leave a little bit by cherry picking

          • Newmania
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            I agree, a plebiscite is a stupid way of deciding anything . In countries where they are ‘embedded’ the setting of the question is indeed a complex process in which the voters have more the position of a Jury . Had such a process been undertaken we would not of course be where we are today ; but we are
            I have tried to be fair. No Deal provides all the many wondrous advantages of Global Britain unchained on the high seas happy in its ethnic purity and blue passports. It is loved by the true believers and , as we are told , without any economic or other disadvantages in fact we can pocket £39 billion we found down the back of the sofa ( or something )
            Importantly it is the real Brexit option by default the only alternative being a BINO ( soi disant ) due to Parliaments unfortunate tendency to roughly reflect opinion in the country .
            Lastly , it is the most popular Brexit alternative

            Latest Polls asking out of three options which do you choose
            Remain 41%
            May Deal 22%
            No Deal 30%

            There is barring utterly swivel eyed denial , NO MANDATE for NO DEAL for which no-one voted and the existence of which as a possibility was absolutely denied
            Remain is only 8% ahead in the polls, who knows you might win , nothing would surprise me now.

            Britain would be cleansed…yummy …. Not tempted ?

            Reply Many Leave voters voted for no deal. We certainly did not vote to be bound back into the EU with a Withdrawal Treaty

          • Edward2
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            So no answer to the question put to you as to what question you want any second referendum to have printed on the ballot paper.

            By your own figures leave has a majority of 22% plus 30% which equals a total of 52%
            Versus just 41% in favour of remaining in the EU
            Considering the tidal wave of remain project fear 2.0 propaganda in recent months I find that result reassuring.

    • Penny
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Err … isn’t that more or less what we voted on back in June 2016?

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, As Anon 3:44 said. No condition was attached to Leave which requires us to have a “deal” before exiting the EU treaties.

      Either a second referendum is a Remain/revolving-door-Remain fix, or it is just a repeat of 2016. The first would destroy democracy and the rule of law in the UK, and the second you would lose.

  10. David Price
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    As part of the “What Now?” question, did the Speaker’s unprecedented rule making with the Grieve amendment apply to the voted Question?

    I can only see John Barron’s amendment on UK unilaterally terminating the protocol listed in the votes & proceedings record.

    • David Price
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Apologies, this question was answered in The Prime Minister’s statement which emphasised the lack of legal standing of the Grieve amendment but that it expressed “the will of the house” so will present an amendable motion on Monday.

      It’s never a good idea to reward bad behaviour in children.

  11. Peter
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    The one huge positive from all this was that the Withdrawal Agreement was so comprehensively rejected. Imagine if it had been voted through. That was a huge worry. It is interesting to read that even Mr. Redwood, a well informed member of her own party, had no idea what Mrs. May was thinking.

    ‘What now’ indeed. I suspect a Remain majority in Parliament will connive to somehow thwart Brexit but I don’t know that for sure. It was interesting yesterday to see in the media reaction how often WTO deal was dismissed even though as people such as Jacob Rees Mogg pointed out it is legally agreed that in the absence of agreement we leave at the end of March anyway.

    I also suspect that she will survive the confidence vote. She is completely without shame and would happily argue that black is white if it became necessary. It does not reflect at all well on Conservative MPs that they are allowing her to get away with this. The electorate will not forget this and – when the dust settles – there will be a price to pay.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      They got a giant like Margaret Thatcher out within hours of a ‘powerful speech’ by ‘political heavyweight’ Howe.

      You’re telling me they couldn’t shift a gonk like May if they really wanted to ?

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      If Tory MPs cannot see what damage retaining Mrs May is doing to the Conservative party, then they do need to be voted out of office. Which is precisely what will happen if they carry on in such a selfish tribal way.

  12. Excalibur
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    If, as is widely predicted, Theresa May survives today’s no-confidence vote, she still has the opportunity to achieve greatness. She could grasp the nettle, and act on her dictum ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’, and take us out of the EU summarily, on 29th March. Sadly I do not think she has the temperament for such a bold stratagem.

    • John C.
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      It’s not a question of temperament, it’s just that she doesn’t want to leave, and, assisted by the H of C, she will do all she can to prevent it.
      Your comment about her achieving greatness made me re-read for irony, but no, you seem to consider it possible. Heavens above.

  13. Dominic
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    May must be stopped or else Brexit will not happen. She, the malfeasance Grieve, the ludicrous Bercow and all the other Parliamentarian manipulators who are working feverishly to try and thwart Brexit by using the legislative vessel that is Parliament.

    Again, the decision to leave the EU is a decision for the British people expressed in 2016. It is not a decision for the PM to make. It is not a decision for the British Parliament to make. It certainly is not a decision for the EU, Juncker and Merkel to make.

    We, the British people have decided. The politician only as a say insofar as they are a private voter.

    The PM’s job is simple. To carry out and implement the decision made in 2016.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The MPs in favour of staying in the EU are continuing to say the red lines must go.

    Without the red lines we do not leave. We can not give further ground so your solution above is the way forward but a comprehensive draft needs to be put into the public domain for debate.

  15. Al
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    So the plan that united Remainers and Leavers across the country united Remain and Leave in parliament. This is not a shock. She already has alternatives as Plan Bs, offered from Davis/Raab/Foster, draft advice from others including our host, and yet I suspect she will ignore all of them.

    I do have to ask why May is putting all this through in one package. A series of smaller bills resolving specific popular issues could have been passed by now without galvanising cross-party opposition (e.g. “After date X we will not charge VAT on heath/sanitary products”, “We will not implement Article11 or 13”) which would create a basis for greater agreements going forward.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Al, That is very true. Some of the dWA could be split off into separate minor agreements and passed, so enabling businesses to implement some of the plans they have already drawn up. It was the political content of the dWA that was so appalling.

  16. margaret
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    79 days… Is there time?

  17. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    If May wanted to show via a vote that the EU’s deal was totally unacceptable then she wouldn’t have cancelled the vote before Xmas. There must be another reason. Probably she just wanted to induce the ERG to hold their no confidence vote too early (which they did) so she can continue in No. 10, it’s all about personal survival for her.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger, The Tory vote of no confidence in Theresa May was held too late, not too early. And any normal politician would have resigned after the 230 vote defeat of her dWA.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    This is where our system of government is unreal. Outside the public sector this woman would be sent packing. You should vote against this government today unless it changes leader and changes course.

    It’s time for your no deal is better than a bad deal with Mme May.

  19. James bertram
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Yes, couldn’t agree more.

    However, what Leave also needs to do now is allay the fears of the Remain side. Remain fears a lowering of standards if we leave; they wrongly link the maintenance of these standards with staying in the EU. These two arguments need to be separated. We can maintain (and improve) these standards, but still leave the EU to gain all the benefits of an independent and competitive nation.

    The Prime Minister now needs to offer Labour and the Greens a Charter which protects fundamental established rights – workers rights, environmental standards, and animal welfare. The opposition parties would take a large part in drawing up this charter. The charter would be passed as simultaneous legislation with our exit from the EU. Any items on the charter could only be amended by Parliament with a 75% majority. Anything aspirational would not be included in the charter; these would then have to be fought for and legislated by the British Parliament in a now independent country (rather than sneaking through legislation via the undemocratic lobbying of unelected officials in Brussels). This would be a much more open and democratic approach.

    So, yes, let’s leave with a bold and positive outlook; but too, be kind to the fearful Remainers and attempt to allay their worries through a Charter of Established Rights (something some fearful Leavers may appreciate too).

    Hopefully this proposal will break the current impasse in Parliament.

  20. John Miller
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    “that the best Agreement on offer from the EU was completely unacceptable to Parliament and a clear majority of the people Parliament represents.”

    Jo Johnson did not represent me, nor the other 66% of his constituents.

    Gordon Brown went to court, and won, about whether parties should carry out their manifesto policies when they come to power. JJ has shown that MPs can disregard their constituents’ wishes. What use are MPs? Let’s save money and effort and just pick 27 people to decide everything. Oh, now I get it…

  21. Sakara Gold
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I think the ball is now in the EU’s court. Parliament has rightly called a halt to Barnier and Junker’s bullying; bullies hate anyone standing up to them.

    We now have an opportunity to tell the Gang of Four exactly what we want, we can dangle an offer of a few billion in return.

    For once I was impressed at our democratic parliamentary process in action. By my arithmetic, if only 3 conservatives abstain in the no-confidence vote there has to be a general election. Which would really throw a cat among the pigeons!

  22. BCL
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, that sounds like the way forward to me and I wish you were PM to carry it through. Having said that, if you were PM we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. My fear is that some MP are determined to thwart brexit or have a second referendum or sign us up to a Norway style arrangement. What confidence can we have that they can be stopped?

  23. David in Kent
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister could get back on the front foot and bring a majority of the country with her by returning to Brussels and saying ‘ My parliament has rejected the best you have to offer, now let us minimise the cost of leaving by concluding the agreements to ensure a smooth transition’ and then returning home without more talk.
    If the EU then came back and asked for an FTA, they would be the supplicants for a change.

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    It was indeed predictable, after all only 200 Tories had confidence in Theresa May. It was always hard to see how she would get more than a few votes more than that. She got just two more I should places more political bets.

    It is indeed difficult to fathom why she carried on with it. But she does get almost everything wrong after all. As you say it wasn’t a deal at all. It was a very expensive invitation to more prolonged talks about a possible deal.

    It was amusing to hear so many remainers say “the people did not vote to be made poorer”. Odd as is the favorite activity of lefty politicians is to make people poorer – this by over taxing and regulating them to death and then pissing most of the money down the drain on various lunacies, white elephants and pathetic virtue signalling.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      But how could May and these 201 others ever think her appalling deal was acceptable or had any chance? It shows appalling judgement on their part.

      The Conservatives urgently need to do is to re-establish themselves as a party that cuts taxes and over regulation. Not one that gives us the highest most complex taxes for 40 years and endlessly increases red tape (and energy costs) too.

      It is hard to see how they can do this with a misguided dopes May and Hammond at 10 and 11. Give people the freedom and choice as to how they spend or invest their own money. Allow them to move homes and rent homes without absurd penal taxes. Tax a fair share of profits only and at sensible rates.

      May will surely now extend the leaving date. She simply cannot be trusted.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Get some real competition in the inefficient, expensive, inflexible and over regulated bank lending too.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Yes I found it ironic hearing Labour MPs say that when they wish to pursue economic policies that would devastate the employment market. I also find it a bit rich hearing it from EU supporters , when the EU has made it their policy to hollow out our industrial base and move jobs out of Britain to other EU countries. I am surprised no EU sceptic MPs haven’t pointed this out, and embarrassed Remainers on it, instead we get a never ending mantra on it that isn’t challenged.

      • John C.
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        There may have been lots of comments made in various arenas about the destructive effect of the EU, but one can only rely on the various media to report them. Alas, since nearly all the media are now in the EU camp, one just doesn’t know what is said.
        It’s a great uphill struggle. I feel sure that, in an era of accurate and balanced reporting, we would have been out well and truly.

    • Robert
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      On the contrary we did vote to make ourselves poorer, the world and his wife told us during the referendum campaign just how much worse off we would be should we vote to leave.

    • JoolsB
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      What’s even more amazing is that over 200 Tory MPs decided to back her rotten deal. Obviously as deluded as she is.

      Reply Most of them have government or party jobs which require them to support.

    • Nig l
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Indeed. What I continue to be totally baffled about is that she never addressed the specific concerns of the ERG group nor could explain why totally loyal and ambitious MPs, especially Raab who was closer than most, saw nothing of benefit why she continued to parrot that it was a good deal whilst never explaining what specifically was good.

      She told us we would be able to negotiate trade deals and leave the realm of the EC court, neither apparently true yet never attempted to give any counter arguments.

      Even her Attorney General acknowledged that potentially we could be enmeshed in the fog of negotiation for who knows how long.

      The EU of course knew the deal would to all intents and purposes keep us locked to them and that either we would succumb to negotiation fatigue or a general election might change our outlook.

      Personally I believe that she liked the ‘difficult woman’ handle and backing off would compromise that as a sign of weakness.

      Her tenure as PM has been a disaster, lost her majority at the outset, gave away 39 billion for nothing, wasted two years of negotiation and planning, potentially split the Tory party and suffered the biggest defeat in history.

      What will it take to get through to her?

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement was bad law, never mind that it is Remain as well. We voted to Leave the EU treaties, not to have another renegotiation (Cameron’s being the first), not to Remain, not for Mrs May’s revolving-door Remain, and not to Remain half-in/half-out.

      The only option that complies with the electorate’s explicit wish on this one issue is to leave using the WTO system to trade globally (as we already do for near 60% of our exports) at least initially; plus making numerous minor separate technical agreements using existing international (ie non-EU) treaties, agreements and institutions.

    • Merlin
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      You are assuming all Remainers are of the left.

      Many One Nation Tories, such as myself, regard the E.U as a necessary evil.

      It is generally the Salisbury wing who favour the Full English Brexit.

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Merlin, The EU is not just a group of neighbouring nations cooperating (inefficiently) together, it is a political ideology of conquest (yes, it is – see Declaration 17 in the Lisbon treaty). So it’s not a question of being “a necessary evil” it’s a question of a foreign takeover of our country. No “one nation” Tory could stomach that unless s/he regarded the one nation as the EU.

      • Jagman84
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        One Nation Tories now means something completely different to what it used to. Mostly secret Socialists who wouldn’t have a hope in hell of getting elected under the Conservative banner if they admitted their true motivations. That’s how you end up with a (mostly) Remainer party and a (mostly) Brexit membership.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink


        Yes ALL remainers are of the left including the stuck in the past “One Nation Tories” Anyone supporting multiple layers of big government , top down design and central planning is of the left whether you recognise it or not

    • McBryde
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      “It was a very expensive invitation to more prolonged talks about a possible deal. “

      That’s how a remainer PM gets us to stay in the EU, whilst looking like she’s trying lots of ways to get us out.

      It’s called kicking the can down the road. I’m sure there are ‘what-if’ think tanks full of smart people with creative devious brains dreaming up strategies. And it looks like the best way to keep the direction the establishment has been steering whilst appearing to be a democracy.
      String it out till we get another referendum, or get a lobour govt with a ‘nice’ leader.

      Her loss of face – pretending to be stupid on the world stage – will be well rewarded for her.

  25. Humourless
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    If, the people in Parliament and their supporters were and could be miraculously transferred in body and mind to a normal gathering of people of mixed political opinions in the street, as it were, they would not be humoured longer than a drown-your-sorrows- at- losing- night in the local pub.They should think hard and short, on it

    • Adam
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      There might be enough proper Leave Conservatives in safe seats willing to prompt a General Election in the No Confidence Vote.
      In that election, the Leave constituencies’ majority in the country would flush out anti-democratic Remainers in parliament, but rather too late for present purposes.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      None of the EU supporters outside Parliament seemed to be aware that May’s deal was a BRINO, designed to sneak us back in a point convenient to the political classes.

      Their celebrations remind me of football fans who celebrate a goal when the ball hits the side netting.

  26. Richard1
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    We certainly do seem to be at the point where the best thing would be withdrawal to trade on WTO terms with temporary arrangements – such as using article 24 to avoid tariffs – to smooth over the interim period. The EU seems to have a problem in principle with negotiating an FTA with one of its own members, so we need to get out and then negotiate. Having said , mrs may doesn’t seem even to have tried to get a comprehensive Canada style FTA. Let’s remember that if we do this – crash over the cliff that is, in BBC-speak – and there is little or no effect, there will be a huge boost to confidence as people realise project fear 2.0 had no more legs than its predecessor.

  27. Zorro
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    A lot of unnecessary time has been wasted, and I really can’t fathom out why either….

    However, the legal position is clear. After due deliberation, consideration, committee hearings, and a vote by MPs, the EU Withdrawal Act was voted through and clearly states that we leave on 31/03/2019 with or without a ‘deal’ (which the Withdrawal Agreement was not). EU law is transferred into UK law to ensure continuity of process until or unless the UK Parliament decides to change anything. We have continuity enshrined in law. Other side agreements can be enacted between both sides to gease the wheels of trade/business activity so to speak.

    There will be no time to extend Article 50, arrange a second referendum, or consider the other options which go directly against the expessed will of the people in the 2016 referendum without proper Parliamentary discussion/legislation. It is in the EU’s interests to act sensibly. Let’s see….


  28. Original Richard
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    “It is difficult to fathom why she carried on with it”

    It is hard not to come to the conclusion that Mrs. May is not in charge but just following orders.

    The Withdrawal Agreement was simply the EU demanding a large payment for leaving and stating trade talks, which, with the backstop clause, would be never-ending until every rEU country had exacted their pound of flesh.

    It would have provided absolutely no certainty for business as we would have no trade deal with the EU and would not be allowed to strike trade deals elsewhere, as well as leaving the UK accepting new laws without representation, possibly for ever.

    We should leave on the 29th of March all the EU institutions on WTO trade terms, and, being completely compliant with all EU directives, rules and regulations, continue as we are sorting out all other details over a defined transition period.

    The sky will not fall down if we leave without an “EU” deal.

  29. nhsgp
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Given the mess, its easiest to walk away. Then you need to start a negotiation on a very clear basis.

    The UK will sign win-win deals, and deals to avoid lose-lose scenarios with the EU. The deals will be such that either side can walk away if the deal becomes a lose scenario for them.

    Make the moral case that win-lose or lose-win is unacceptable.

    Next, if the EU decides to punish the UK, then the UK will respond in a tit-for-tat measure. The UK is more than capable of doing things that the EU would really hate, such as refusing to subsidize EU migrants, or allowing the banks to help EU nationals protect their wealth against confiscation.

    Point out that the EU demands protection militarily, against terrorism. That comes with a cost to the UK.

    Then point out that the EU demands 100 bn for its pension incompetence. The UK won’t sack nurses to pay off the EU for their mess. Suggest that EU nationals ring their politicians and ask them why they suffer cuts to pay

  30. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Kudos to the European leaders for their coordinated response to this situation. United they stand to maintain control.

    How much could our fractured lawmakers learn from this approach. We are divided and browbeaten. Parliament must show a United front and be prepared to leave with no deal. Otherwise we continue to give away our leverage.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Agreed, it is also important that the EU believe that the UK is willing to leave on WTO terms.

      For some time now the rhetoric from the EU has been that they expect the UK to remain in the EU, time to prove them wrong.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Most European countries use some form of PR for their elections. They get representative parliaments and their politicians are used to having to work together in coalitions, to co-operate, to compromise, to get to agreement.

      In contrast, the UK political system, defended by many, especially in the Conservative party, is set up in a way which creates and maintains division. It is adversarial in nature, government and opposition, us and them, and what we see is the consequence of that.

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Peter Parsons, We cannot be “in” the EU, and out of it, all at the same time. Some decisions are like that. The UK must be either in the EU – with however many opt-outs; or we must leave the EU treaties entirely. In or Out. Even Parliament recognised that in 2015 when we were offered the choice of Remain OR Leave (only).

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The only thing the vast majority in Parliament agree on is RemaIN EU.

      In 2016 62.8% of the constituencies – 405 out of 650 – Voted LeavEU; 75% of UK MPs ‘representing those constituencies’ Voted RemaIN EU.
      There is the Democratic Deficit of the EU that has infected the UK.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        The Democratic Deficit in the UK is the FPTP system where 68% of the votes count for nothing.

      • Andy
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        A spurious point as the referendum was not carried out on a constituency basis.

        In 2016 the country was essentially split down the middle – particularly as large numbers of overwhelmingly remain backing groups were disenfranchised.

        This notion that there is an overwhelmingly majority of the populace which backs the hardest of hard Brexits is not actually borne out by any evidence.

        • Penny
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          “Large numbers of overwhelmingly remain backing groups were disenfranchised”

          How so?

          • Jagman84
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

            He is having a hissy fit because they did not allow brainwashed 16-18’s to to vote in the referendum. He thinks that all of them would have voted to remain and thwarted the ‘evil Brexit pensioners’ or something like that. If the majority of constituencies had voted to remain but leave had still won, ‘Andy’ would have been shouting it from the rooftops of Beaconsfield.

          • Andy
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            3 million EU citizens here were denied a vote on an issue which directly affects them more than it will ever affect you.

            Many of the one million British citizens in the EU were also disenfranchised.

            A late June date disenfranchises the maximum number of students as it is just around the time universities break up – meaning many are in the wrong place to vote.

            Teens were denied any say in a decision which will affect them more than it will affect any of the pensioners who inflicted it on them.

            And, of course, Vote Leave lied, cheated and overspent. Other than that…

          • libertarian
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink


            55 million English people were denied a vote on Scottish independence , this directly affects us. Lets rerun that one first shall we?

        • John C.
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          By that striking phrase, “the hardest of hard Brexits”, I assume you mean Leave, as on the voting paper? If that is the case, I have evidence. 52% of the voters wished for it. I agree this is not overwhelming, but who says it is?

          • NickC
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

            JohnC, Andy is too irrational to see that however much he reduces the Leave vote, Remain still got even less. He also doesn’t want to admit that the Leave we were offered by Parliament was leaving the EU treaties. Andy only fools himself by inventing new names for Leave.

          • Andy
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            You go to dinner at your neighbour’s house.

            At the end you thank them, give them a kiss goodbye and part as friends.

            Alternately you storm out mid supper screaming when they serve you something you find unpalatable.

            Under both of these scenarios you have left – but they are clearly not the same thing.

            Brexit is no different.

            You lot voted to storm out screaming – most people probably did not.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          You agreed to the pass mark when you placed your ‘X’.

          Only since you lost have you deemed it not good enough.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

            Andy you sound like a football fam moaning about the decisions a referee mafe in a match you lost.
            Its now now.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            Whats with this predictive text.
            You type correctly and press post and some words instantly get translated…

  31. agrictola
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    You should have a better insight into how best to achieve a FTA than most of us so I will go along with what you say.
    Are the necessary agreements for an orderly transit at present sitting in the WA. I assume this is what you are referring to.
    Our withdrawal from the EU is incumbent upon carrying all the Conservative party in the H o C plus the DUP with it. The flow of information and proposals between government the party and DUP must be constant until such time as all are agreed. Only when it is capable of getting through the Commons can it be presented to the EU as a definitive offer. Call it our WA.
    No money should be paid until our WA is accepted and then only half of the agreed amount. The second half being dependent on the completion of an FTA.
    If the EU cannot accept this then the UK should unilaterally declare which aspects of their WA they intend to operate within and go for a WTO arrangement on trade, invoking Art 24. This would mean that free trade would continue until such time as an FTA with the EU is agreed.
    The combination of May and Robbins have conclusively proved their incompetence at negotiation so they should be replaced by a team of leavers who understand what is required.

  32. Kevin
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “There is no point in going back to the EU to try to fix the Withdrawal Agreement.”

    That is right, but it is not what Boris Johnson appeared to be saying on BBC last night. Mr. Johnson is also prepared to give the EU at least £19.5 billion. Is there any recent applicant for the Conservative Party leadership that represents the actual referendum result? I am also appalled that close to a third of MPs voted for Theresa May’s proposal.

    Thank you to those MPs who continue to honour the People’s Vote.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      ” give the EU at least £19.5 billion ” – – while also throwing billions away in so-called Foreign aid, handing out free lives to whoever rows up to our shores and at the same time, having Police numbers and council services cut to help pay for it all. Third World status here we come.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      As far as I am concerned, May’s surrender agreement is dead. As is the £39bn for theEU. I think that Boris forgot to put his brain in gear yet again.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Most of those MPs would have been Government ministers or PPSs etc. who weren’t prepared to resign their jobs.

    • Chris
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Boris Johnson did not do himself any favours with that interview last night. Jacob Rees Mogg was clear, calm and reassuring. He inspired confidence.

      It is reported today that Andrea Leadsom has stated that Article 50 will not be extended. The problem is whether to believe her as many MPs, including the PM, have abused our trust for so long and in spectacular fashion. The number of Tory MPs who have earned my respect is limited, but Sir John is one of those.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        I remember Michael Gove MP saying that the, Meaningful Vote, will go ahead as planned. This after the PM had told the EU that it wasn’t. So expect an Article 50 extension.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Kevin, It’s probably worse than you think. I suspect that 300+ of those 432 MPs who voted against were doing so purely for party political advantage. Anyway most MPs now think we are suddenly too thick to choose Remain/Leave, even though Parliament believed we could shoulder that responsibility in 2015.

  33. sm
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister has failed everyone, whatever opinion one holds about Brexit.

    Seeking to attribute her failure to incompetence, an overweening desire to please everyone or downright dishonesty is pointless, and probably will not be clear until State papers are released (if ever) in 30yrs time.

    Mrs May must be ‘persuaded’ to resign; whether the Party decides to select a confirmed Leaver or Remainer (I do fear the Chancellor stepping up) as Leader, it should be done as soon as possible or the country will be on the brink of anarchy.

    • Christine
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Agree completely that Mrs May must resign. She has suffered a humiliating defeat and if she ever did have any credibility at all before she became PM (which is questionable), she has none whatsoever now. She is totally discredited and cannot possibly lead this country any longer. As far as replacements are concerned, the only ones who will be acceptable are those who voted against the WA, those who have come up with a sensible solution to the current situation (that rules out Boris Johnson) and those in whom the public can place some trust (you, JRM and possibly Raab).

    • Adam
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink


      The 118 Conservative MPs voting against the May deal could be very persuasive via selective non-cooperation with her. Whereas the PM has the right to hold office, doing so against the passivity of so many of her ‘followers’ could not sustain her tolerance. A fresh, better leader could then take over.

    • Andy
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Oh it wasn’t ‘incompetence’ nor a desire to ‘please everyone’. She has deliberately created this mess and it is all about staying in the EU or rejoining before you can say ‘knife’. She is a Remainer as was Robbins who did the so called negotiating for her – working for her and her alone. And if you look back on how she has behaved over the last two and a half years as she has if this wasn’t the plot. She is a thoroughly dishonest and dishonourable woman.

  34. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    I voted for the Conservatives because I was told they would provide a strong and stable government.
    Luckily the Labour are even worse under their dreadful leadership.

    • Chris
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I don’t think I ever want to hear that meaningless May mantra again. She has made a mockery of the truth, in my mind,

  35. Anonymous
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Sick of the sight of May.

    To think. All this could have been avoided had the EU adjusted a little bit.

    The big picture is that the EU is fatally fractured both here and on the Continent because of its own intransigence.

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      In a negotiation, to get something, you have to also be prepared to give something.

      For the EU to adjust, the UK will have to be prepared to adjust as well.

      • Mark
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        It is not a negotiation when the terms are dictated by one side with no discussion. That is merely an opening gambit – and one that has failed.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, although one has to ask if you are referring to the EU’s position or Theresa May’s various red lines?

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Peter Parsons

        We are net contributors to the EU in money and deed and net spenders to the EU as well.

        We certainly *were* giving “something” already.

      • NickC
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Peter Parsons said: “In a negotiation, to get something, you have to also be prepared to give something”. Very true. Which is why I said walk away, rather than try for a major trade or withdrawal “deal”.

        However for some agreements, such as mutual recognition of driving licences, we could recognise theirs and they could recognise ours. That complies with the rule of negotiations. But what the EU want is our independence for their trade. That is not acceptable. It should be our trade for their trade. Only.

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink


      “The big picture is that the EU is fatally fractured both here and on the Continent”

      Where exactly? Or just wishful thinking?

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        The mainstream popularity of radical nationalists such as Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, the Sweden Democrats, Pegida and AfD in Germany and varieties of organised xenophobes in central Europe. Each of them with a very real shot at government – unlike here.

        Macron’s France aflame every weekend and the financial crisis in Italy.

        I could go on. This is all indicative of the widespread dissatisfaction with the EU throughout Europe.

        If Lehman Bros could bring the global economy to the precipice London going *pop* will certainly tank Peter van Leeuwen’s Holland too.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          The EU’s only response is MORE EU !

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          The Greens had more vote than the AfD in the last German elections – not much of a success.

          Macron’s France aflame every weekend? Last weekend fewer than 60 ooo turned out nationwide.

          Italy is ALWAYS in some financial crisis or other but is otherwise thriving – I have relatives there.

          As far as dissatisfaction is concerned there always is when you have over 500m people to please.

          Most however think we are nuts.

          • NickC
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, Without the UK, the population of the EU is less than 450m, not “over 500m”. We are no more nuts to wish for our independence than India, New Zealand, or Brazil.

          • Jagman84
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            “Most however think we are nuts.”

            If they take you as a typical British citizen, I fully understand why!

          • Anonymous
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            I went off range a bit at the the end there, Margaret.


          • Anonymous
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            To my 7.25

            There was a response to Margaret which has not appeared.

            That comment at 7.25 (posted in addition to it) is now completely out of context.

            Italy is the 3rd largest economy in the EU and the AfD result is like our BNP taking 88 seats in the HoC. There were other responses too.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        margaret howard

        You really need to pay attention

        Germany, France and Italy are in technical recession, France doesn’t meet the EU budget requirements. The Euro is causing grief to the southern countries and there are riots every weekend in France Holland and Belgium.

        Fewer than 60,000 French people turned out to face French paramilitary Police with automatic weapons and stun grenades .

        Wake up and smell the coffee

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


          Germany, France and Italy are the world’s 4th, 5th and 8th largest economies.

          The euro has replaced the £ as the world’s largest reserve currency after the US$

          And Holland and Belgium are among the North European countries that consistently top the world development index. The best places on earth in terms of governance, for women and children, caring states.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Good governance !
            It cant even sort out a government due to the two halves of its divided nation

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Anon, Agreed the EU could have accepted the inevitable and conducted itself in good faith. I never thought the EU would though. The EU, on past performance, was always going to be difficult – hence why I’ve said for years we should repeal the ECA first and just leave. But much of this current crisis is down to Theresa May and the British civil service being largely in the EU’s pocket.

      • Andy
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        The EU has acted in perfectly good faith. It has told you its red lines and it has stuck to them. You have all known this for years – and you have refused to accept it.

        The problem is – and always has been – all of you. The EU is an organisation based on compromise for the greater good.

        Brexiteers – like toddlers – do not understand compromise. You want the blue cup and you will stamp your feet and scream until you get the blue cup.

        Like all good parents know bowing to petulant behaviour, like this, breeds more of it. Eurosceptics have been bullies in Parliament and in the count he for years. The EU is not putting up with your childish behaviour because it does not have to.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

          Brexiteers have been very patient and careful.

          We got our referendum through the ballot box. Won it through the ballot box.

          We don’t want the EU to have to put up with us but it seems that you do.

        • NickC
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Andy, There is nothing wrong in negotiating a trade deal on a trade give-and-take basis. What’s wrong with the EU is it demands that we give up our independence for its trade. That is bad faith.

          Given the persistent torrent of abuse and vilification of Leaves by Remains, including by you, it is Remains who are behaving like spoiled children. Told you can no longer have your EU comfort blanket your tantrums are a spectacle to behold.

        • Steve
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink


          “The problem is – and always has been – all of you.”

          No, the problem is ‘people’ like you.

          “Brexiteers – like toddlers – do not understand compromise. You want the blue cup and you will stamp your feet and scream until you get the blue cup.”

          No. The toddlers in this are the remainers like you, whinging and moaning like little spoilt brats because you didn’t get your way. Diddums, did the nasty old pensioners win ?

          “Eurosceptics have been bullies”

          Aww diddums, them nasty old bullies, aww poor little thing.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink


          So what you are saying is that petulant children should listen to their parents? Hmmm

          How’s your mum these days ?

  36. DaveM
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I have a suggestion for “what next “. Persuade the PM to actually talk to her parliamentarians, come up with a plan, then direct the civil servants what to do to make it happen. That’s how all other govt depts work.

    And ignore the dissenters that are working against the manifesto.

  37. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Quite honestly John Mrs May will now be treated as a joke by the EU.

    She never ever told them what she actually wanted (just like Cameron) so failure and a bad deal were inevitable.

    She was a push over during all of the talks in the last 2 years, eventually made her own agreement (just like Cameron) with the EU that she could get it passed by Parliament, but was not able to deliver it, because she misread the mood of her own Party, Parliament and the People.
    In short she has wasted everyones time.

    She has proved to have been so completely out of her depth and out of touch, it has been embarressing.
    The only sensible thing to do now, is for her to resign, a defeat of this magnitude has no sensible recovery position.
    She does not believe in Brexit, her heart and passion is simply not in it, she is not a strategist or leader but a micro manager of detail.

    Time is now running out because of these wasted years, a fully committed Brexitier with commercial as well as political experience must now take charge, at least until all details are settled and agreed.

    No point in a general election ( it would be a disaster with May still leader), but the Conservatives do need a new leader and so the Party should tell her to go.

    I wonder if any of the 200 who voted to keep her a couple of weeks ago are also feeling embarrassed this morning after such a catastrophic defeat.

  38. Caterpillar
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    As well as the FTA plan B route, I think the Govt would do well to

    A) to publish in one place and publicise the last two years’ preparations and arrangements for no deal, including the preparations made by other EU countries. What no deal looks like (including changed tariffs) needs to be clear, it itself would be transitional to a future of different international arrangements. (Mitigate/plan, leave, trade, negotiate/deals).
    B) explain that both a win/lose narrative and ‘an agreement we can all get behind’ are inappropriate. One does not eat olives with ice-cream, wear red and green …it is a binary choice informed by the wisdom of crowds (the referendum) – PM Cameron seemed to understand this during the referendum, unfortunately he did a runner thereafter.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Ai) also find out and publicise the “winding down” parts of the rejected WA that would get a majority in the HoC.

  39. Jingleballix
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    All of this mess has been caused by remainers……..the PM and the faceless bureaucrats in Whitehall who have prepared the script that May has so very obviously been operating from for the last year. Who knows, perhaps last night’s defeat was part of it – I am convinced that Whitehall and Brussels have been colluding to keep Britain tied to the EU, so that we drift back in somewhere down the line.

    I don’t know what is worse, the WA or May’s insistence that it represents Brexit. Does she take us for fools? Or has the WA just been a ruse? Given the PM’s lack integrity it might be, but then again, her startling lack of talent and leadership she could just as easily have stuffed things up.

    All I know is that I insist on a clean break with the EU, and Ibthink we will get one – maybe not in 2019 – parliament may scupper it – but the brazen dishonesty and refusal to accept the referendum result of remainers has guaranteed that the people will unite against them…….

    ………we just need someone to establish a credible new ‘Clean Nrexit Party’.

  40. Cerbey
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The fix is in:

    “Yvette Cooper MP (Lab)”

    “Mr Speaker, will you advise the House on what we might be able to do to urge the Prime Minister, for the sake of businesses, jobs and people throughout the country, to seek an immediate extension of article 50 so that this can be sorted out?”

    “Mr Speaker (John Bercow MP)”

    “…She will be aware of the presentation of a Bill that took place in the name of another Member, who I believe also has views on these matters. Those matters will, I am sure, be discussed in the days ahead, not merely in private meetings but, I feel certain, on the Floor of the House. Of one thing I am sure: that which Members wish to debate and which they determine shall be subject to a vote will be debated and voted upon. That seems to me to be so blindingly obvious that no sensible person would disagree with the proposition. If MPs want to debate and vote on a matter, that opportunity will, I am sure, unfold in the period ahead.”

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      This was the plan all along. Kick article 50 into the long grass. This will paralyse the UK, Hammond and the treasury have frozen spending, government business has been frozen dealing with May’s Remainer deal that all the Remainers voted for because it was an ‘in without any say’ deal just what the likes of Ken Clarke and new pro-EU supporters have always enjoyed.
      Our MEPs in minority groups so they can’t overturn anything, gold plating rules that other Countries ignore, leaking our capital and worth out into Europe and impoverishing England, capitulating PMs that lied about treaties, we’re not overruled they said; now it’s we’re in too deep to get out cleanly.
      May needs to hold her horses, not run off to Europe they’ve already said that’s the only deal and say, you contact us when you want to broker a deal or we leave. We need to stand strong or it really is over for the UK. You can’t say you want to divorce someone then cling on without any trust or expectation of mistreatment.
      The Leave MPs need to get together now and pull the plug to give the population a chance to elect MPs for their area from detailed pledges at the election.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      The EU will not agree to an A50 extension simply because UK has asks for one. They will demand to know what exactly is the specific plan for the extension period, what specific goal UK is aiming for at the end of the period, and will specify the cost of them agreeing. Cooper can’t provide any of those answers. Even so some (France ?) may still veto it.

    • Sue Doughty
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      There is no point in an extension. Brussels doesn’t negotiate. They never do.

    • Ian Pennell
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


      Indeed The Fix to Stop Brexit, with a Very Remainer Speaker and a Remainer Majority want to Stop the Only Brexit That Means Brexit. Which is sadly why our good host, Mr John Redwood is never going to be able to get Theresa May to tell the EU “Good bye….Come back to us when you agree this sensible Trade Deal!”.

      The only way I can see a proper Brexit happening is if Brexiteer Conservatives and the DUP side with Labour in Today’s “Vote of No Confidence in the Government”, the Tories unite to depose Theresa May whilst preventing Jeremy Corbyn forming a minority Government- then getting a pro Brexit leader to fight the resulting General Election on a popular, pro- growth WTO “No Deal” Platform so that a new Pro- Brexit Majority is the result. In the Election, the Conservatives would have a pro- Brexit candidate stand against the Speaker John Bercow in his Buckingham Constituency.

      That’s the only way I can now see Britain getting a proper Brexit. It’s just a shame that our host, Sir John Redwood will not (nor any other ERG MPs nor the DUP MPs) intend to vote to bring down Theresa May and her incompetent Government to help make sure Brexit actually happens in more than just name!

      At the very least, after Theresa May’s monumental defeat last night (by a Majority exceeding a third of the House of Commons) Cabinet Ministers should be going to Theresa May one by one telling her “In the Name of God, Go!”.

  41. Iain Moore
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Parliament is stuffed with Brussels little helpers who will undermine any British Government position which isn’t putting us back in the EU. Any chance of us facing down the EU to get a reasonable deal will always come up against them, for they will always be popping over the Brussels to get their instructions from Barnier, which is probably why he can issue such a forthright statement this morning.

  42. RAF
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Sir John, your party is trapped within a never ending loop of failure. The solution is obvious but nobody within your party appears to have the strength of character to tell Mrs May to resign and slip quietly into the obscurity she so deserves. The UK deserves better, much better.

  43. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Mrs May is so bad, the opportunity to get rid was rejected by 200 last month, she could not negotiate herself out of a wet paper bag, the only solution is regretfully a second referendum Leave WTO or Remain.

    The alternative is the destruction of CP, parliamentary chaos and a likely Corbyn/SNP Government which will see the sort of agreement May has just lost agreed. Further the N.Irish situation could become dire with Corbyn in charge.

  44. am
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Cable said this is the beginning of the end for Brexit. He and many in parliament have been campaigning for that since the referendum. They may win but they will suffer electorally in the future.

    • Cerbey
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, Cable is never right.

  45. Javelin
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Watching May speak last night she said all the right things about democracy. Except the EU didn’t give her what she needed.

    It now depends on what concessions the EU offer. May needs to make it clear to the EU what concessions will get the vote through the commons.

    The EU concessions will either favour the Leavers or the Remainers.

    Looking at the makeup of the vote in the commons it appears the only way to get the vote through is to favour the Leavers or the Labour remainers.

    Favouring the remainers will go against what May said in the commons.

    May should not ask or take any offer to extend Art 50. Dragging out Art 50 will only mean another round of more concessions.

    Once Labour lose the confidence vote I can see their next move is to switch to keeping the UK in the EU. If only to split the Conservatives. So I think the next big move is whether the EU offer concessions to Leavers or Remainers.

  46. MickN
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Having Mrs May negotiate leaving the EU was like having a colleague negotiate your annual pay rise on your behalf when deep down they don’t think you should have one.
    Ridiculous and an utterly predictable outcome.

  47. Shieldsman
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    JR’s final sentence sums up the EU’s WE document precisely.
    “It was a very expensive invitation to more prolonged talks about a possible deal”.

  48. Chris S
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Once again, at the very end of the Today programme this morning Nick Robinson demonstrated why he was head and shoulders ahead of anyone as BBC Political Editor.

    He explained that when he was at Chequers to interview Mrs May, the atmosphere was relaxed and he even watched TV with Mr Msy. Yet, off camera there was not one word from Mrs May about her deal. She made no attempt to personally pursuade Nick of its merits. He said she is the only politician he has met not to try andbring journalists on side. He tbinks she lacks the ability to build concensus.

    That goes a long way towards explaining an unprecedented defeat of 230 votes.

    We need to leave the EU on 29th March and she needs to be replaced so that Dominic Rabb or David Davis can negotiate a trade deal from a position of strength.

  49. billR
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Bunch of amateurs couldn’t organise the proverbial in a brewery led by a real dunce Theresa May and with two years wasted not only of our valuable time but also valuable EU time- with the EU elections coming in May there won’t be time now for an extension of A50 so the only thing to do is leave 29 March to save further embarrassment and then later to pick up the pieces

  50. Anthony
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    I hope you’re right about this john.

    Brexit May just die because we (the brexiteers) overplay our hand. The Commons is going to throw the kitchen sink at stopping no deal. I’m sure you have insights into the relative power of the government, the ERG and the Commons as a whole that I don’t have, but with a compliant speaker, the Commons and the kitchen sink might be enough to kill Brexit.

    That really would be a betrayal, but by Brexit zealotry over compromise. I really, really hope you’re right.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Anthony, If, by “Brexit zealotry” you mean actually leaving the EU treaties then you are wrong. Don’t fall for Remain re-naming Leave as something horrid, that’s just their propaganda. We voted to Leave and that’s what we meant.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      “Brexit may just die because we (the brexiteers) overplay our hand”.
      Overplay our hand? True Brexiteers have not been allowed a seat at the card table to play it! Even with David Davis as Minister for Exiting the EU , the real negotiations were carried on behind his back, resulting in the WA.

  51. Adam
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Supporting a leader who wanders naively down cul de sacs serves no useful purpose. The ERG has enough collective power to nullify Mrs May’s will to cling on to leading & should use its ability efficiently.

  52. John Downes
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    What we have to do now is to ensure that A50 is not delayed.
    When the Gov’t wanted to invoke Article 50 the courts were involved. Somebody brought an action compelling to get the thing approved in Parliament first.
    Well, Parliament approved it, Artical 50 was invoked and if the Gov’t wants to change its mind then the Courts should be asked whether they should be allowed to.

  53. Everhopeful
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    From the very moment Leave won the Referendum many warned that the result would not be honoured. For a short while I disbelieved them.
    Increasingly the whole nightmarish scenario appears to be scripted and it is hard to tell who is actually “in on” the charade.
    Meaningful vote last night should have seamlessly taken us to “ No Deal is better than a bad deal.” Yet now there is talk of more negotiation..second referendum and so on!
    So sick of feeling relieved ( appalling deal voted down) and then being plunged back into worry because actually nothing is resolved.
    We are being played for mugs…as ever….
    They don’t even have the guts to inform us that we are now officially “post democratic”.

  54. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The best we can hope for is that through her discussions with the various groups May has earmarked to work out an acceptable ‘compromise’ with, that the discussions go on until the March 29 deadline approaches, and we leave by default..
    We have to pursue this possibility, and may must be convinced to let it happen.

  55. Lifelogic
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Andrea Leadsom on TV just now still saying the “deal” just needs some amending! What planet are these 202 May deal supporters on?

    Carney saying sterling rebounded after the vote, due to an expectation the leave date may be extended and a real Brexit less likely! Carney is as misguided as May and Hammond.

    What would really make is rise is a real Brexit, tax cuts, regulation cuts, cheap energy and a sensible real conservative with leadership abilities in charge …… one that can ensure we do not get ever have to suffer Corbyn/McDonnall.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      @ Lifelogic

      Carney’s views are identical to what most market analyts say about this. Nothing
      unusual. Currency investors and other users of FX tend to put a value on the status quo when they believe the status quo will strengthen the currency, as appears to be the case with the UK. No serious economist claims a hard brexit is good for Sterling. Of course there should be a bottom somewhere and it is entirely possible that, once an unfriendly brexit actually happens, the currency is considered to have overshot on the downside. But to call an eminent economist and successful central banker (he did an excellent job in Canada) misguided is a bit rich. Where did you get your PhD in economics?

      Reply Pound rose yesterday and today – because of Brexit?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Would these be the serious economists who wanted the ERM and the EURO? After a bit of adjustment we will be far better of out. We might even get a sensible PM and Chancellor.

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Margaret Thatcher was a chemist yet steered this country from bust to boom.

        Show me a rich economist and I’ll listen to them.

    • Penny
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      To coin a phrase,”Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

  56. Alan Joyce
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    The DUP and Boris Johnson claim that the government defeat gives May a huge mandate to renegotiate Brexit but is the party really going to allow her to carry on leading the negotiation?

    Having lost amendments, and motions, her party majority in the 2017 general election and faced a party leadership vote, she cannot now be allowed to have anything other than a ‘ceremonial role’ if the government wins the no-confidence vote. And that goes for her entire current Brexit team.

    Customs unions and single market deals, deep and special partnerships or other contrived arrangements will invite rejection all over again. In any event there is insufficient time for renegotiation.

    Cross-party talks or consulting with opposition MP’s will merely reinforce the logjam. Labour would say we want a bespoke customs union – what then? Opinions are so diametrically opposed that compromise is impossible.

    The document put together by Steve Baker,’ A Better Deal and A Better Future’ should be the way forward now which I presume you would support?

    Conservative-voting Remainers are the problem now to a resolution to all of this. They always were.

  57. acorn
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The Brexit saga has proved that the UK’s two centuries out of date democracy, just can’t handle anything difficult. Punch and Judy politics does not work in the 21st century.

    This parliament has more Snake and Ladder conventions on meaningful votes and unamendable motions than you can shake a stick at. After days of Brexit debating – at circa £300,000 per sitting hour – it is difficult to access how much value-added occurred from all that hot air. It would be worth MPs having a read of Barnier’s Dundalk speech at
    https://ec.europa.eu/ireland/news/michel-barnier-addresses-all-island-civic-dialogue-in-dundalk_en also the Brexit tab on that page.

    And the voting is a joke! It takes 20 minutes in the HoC, the EU parliament takes less than twenty seconds. This ain’t no system for running a no-deal Brexit “Global Britain”.

  58. Fed up
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    There is much talk by MPs about the EU which shows they do not really know the facts. For example the suggestion that Article 50 can be extended so that negotiation s can continue past March 29. However the ECJ will only allow article 50 extension if a deal Has been agreed and more time is needed to implement the legislation or for a general election or another referendum. In some TV interviews MPs can make factual errors because the interviewer also does not know the facts. One interviewer who is fully informed is Andrew Neil.

    Today newspapers talk about Mrs May being humiliated. That is an impossibility.

    • Mark
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      There is no need to extend our membership of the EU to allow for further negotiations. Article 50 tells us we have the right to leave first if the EU fails to offer arrangements we can agree on in time, and it obligates them to continue to pursue agreement until it is achieved. By leaving first and negotiating afterwards the whole dynamic of the negotiation changes: there is no longer any deadline we face – only the reality of being outside the EU and free to do as we wish, and there is no question of obligation to make payments that the EU tried to get us to sign up to because otherwise they are not obligations.

  59. rose
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    It would be pleasanter to think she took this fateful course intending to “show” the EU; or to “run down the clock” and then just leave; but I fear it may have been that she had a contempt for the Brexiteers and the DUP and thought, along with her spads, that she could instead form a Merkel-style coalition with the Blairite socialists, including for the long term. In the end, she didn’t even land Frank Field! She just wants to be PM for ever and to hell with everyone else.

  60. Toffeeboy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    What I don’t understand is that on the one hand you claim we can trade on WTO just fine and on the other you seem rather keen for the EU to offer us a trade deal. Which is it?

    Reply Both are true. We don’t need a trade deal to trade but a trade deal could add a little to perfectly satisfactory trading under WTO terms

  61. iain
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The EU hierarchy must be well pleased with the result. Bearing in mind their track record they will now be expecting us to hold a second referendum to achieve the ” correct ” result which their wish for us to remain and will no doubt assist and encourage this by all means at their disposal. As regards “project fear” we aint seen nothing yet.

  62. Bob
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Parliament debated the petition – “Leave the EU now”

  63. David Magauran
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    This mess is a classic example of the Peter Principle in action. As I have stated before, she will take the Tory Party down with her.

  64. Chris
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    This 4 minute clip of Greg Hands (Remainer) in H of C explaining why he was voting against the WA is very significant in my mind, and the highlighting that the WA means that we would be staying in and not leaving the Customs Union was hugely important.


  65. Turboterrier
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Parliament wants to take a very long hard look at itself because it is not coming out of this with any credibility and the peoples patience is all wearing a bit thin with all the posturing. Nearly all of them have there own petty secret agendas. If they want to destroy parliament just have a second referendum without leave totally on the ballot paper. The people will rise up and be on the streets with their yellow vests on. Parliament will be totally discredited and not trusted for anything which is virtually is how the perception of the people is today. We have too few honourable, trustworthy, respected, knowledgeable politicians in the parliament and we can only blame ourselves.

  66. Stred
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The proposal written by Steve Baker and backed by most Leaver MPs is sensible and an obvious way forward. The EU had also published a set of provisions in the event of WTO trading.

    Will May take any notice? Of course not, because she is in on the fix. It will be extension of A50 leave date, as conveniently offered by the European Court, then change the law to allow a second fixed referendum. The BBC will suppress any ideas for making WTO practical. The no 10 office for Project Fear II will feed lies to the media. Even in her speech she lied about the need for her backstop. It should be called a Leavestop.

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Stred, Agreed. Well said.

  67. formula57
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    So “What now?” includes continuing with a failed prime minister whose leadership has led us to this sorry mess?

    T. May lost the unnecessary last election on her bad policies and poor campaigning and has now squandered two and a half years of Brexit negotiation in much the same fashion. Third time lucky then eh?

  68. Martin Conboy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    IMHO, what happens next is that the remainers within the HoC will table one or more wrecking amendments to whatever motion Theresa May comes back with. By far the most likely one is an amendment to say “Irrespective of outcome, No Deal will not be allowed”. This is a wrecker because it pulls the ground out from under government’s negotiating position. They’re compelled to accept whatever King Richard III the EU deigns to lay before them, and of course the EU will oblige and lay a stinker before them saying, smugly, “well you don’t have to leave you know”.
    Other possible wrecking amendments are ones that change the direction of travel, such as an amendment to remove the March 29 departure date from the front of the Withdrawal Act of 2017, say there will be another referendum, or an amendment to say we will stay in “a Customs Union” whatever happens.
    However we have a very unstable House of Commons with a minority government that is disliked by a large chunk of its own backbenchers, and a leader of the Opposition who is drooling for a General Election. It would not take much of a push to topple it. The ERG or the DUP is quite capable of supplying that push, and the time to do it is when a wrecking amendment is passed but before it becomes law. Yes, when the remainers are out in the open, eyes blazing with hate and daggers drawn above the body of Brexit, that is the time to make them face the country. Prepare for a snap General Election methinks.

  69. Christine
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    She was obliged to put her WA forward for a vote, it was the only deal she had. She knew it would be defeated but I doubt she anticipated the scale of it. She expected to get a few tweaks from the EU and then get it through. We must now come together to back leaving on WTO rules and developing a FTA.

    John, you and your colleagues need to get behind the campaigns set up by Facts4EU and Leave Means Leave. Already dark forces are gathering with the help of The Speaker to extend and then cancel Article 50. Democracy must win otherwise our country is no better than a tin pot dictatorship.

  70. agrictola
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    1. Do all those conservative MPs who voted remain now accept the referendum result and avow to achieve an effective leave.
    2. Has May taken steps to discuss with all conservative MPs and the DUP what they like and do not like about the WA.
    3. Has May indicated that she will evolve a WA position that is acceptable to her own party and the DUP.
    4. Is May prepared to present such a WA to Brussels as the Uk position that will get through Parliament.
    5. Is May prepared to use the £39 billion as a part payment bargaining tool. Half payment on acceptance of this new WA and the other half on completion of an FTA.
    6. On failure of the above is May prepared to work to our new WA irrespective of any manufactured problems by the EU.
    7. Is May prepared to state that any hard border in Ireland will be one that the EU create.
    8. Does May understand that trading on WTO terms and invoking Art 24 enables the UK to continue trading on existing terms until a FTA is in place.
    9. Is May prepared to say that there will be no payment of £39 billion if the EU cannot agree to our WA or will not negotiate on trade.

    I think it is time that all of you in the conservative parliamentary party who ardently wish leave ask yourselves whether a to date failed PM and civil service team are who you want negotiating the end game.

    • Kendo
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Exit on WTO terms precludes Art 24

    • Edward2
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      The answer to all nine questions you have posed is No.

  71. NickC
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The basic problem is that there is no majority in this Parliament to leave the EU treaties. The electorate’s mandate in the Referendum has been overturned by Remain MPs who were elected on a party (tribal) basis because the MPs stood on a platform of honouring the Leave vote.

    The only way forward for the Conservative party is to ditch Theresa May now, and appoint someone like Boris Johnson. As PM he could put forward a Leave policy which may not go as far as I want (full independence) but which has a better chance than Mrs May’s sell-out. And if Parliament does not support him then he could go to the country and win a majority.

    If the Tories won’t do that, then UKIP will. And even if UKIP fail, it will hit Conservatives very hard. If the Tories persist with Remain I will surprised if they top 200 MPs at the next election.

  72. libertarian
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Sorry JR but all of this omnishambles is a fix. The establishment has engineered this dogs breakfast so that they can pretend the only answer is to remain in the EU.

    The problem for them is that they are so far out of touch that they dont realise that the majority of the people has got them sussed and won’t tolerate it.

    When all of this is over there will be a mass clearout

    • L Jones
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes. For the PM and her sidekicks effectively to tell us ”it’s all about trade” is quite outrageous. We truly are being treated as ignorant and ill-informed simpletons. Do they really think we’ll be persauded that we misread the words on the ballot paper:
      ”Leave the European Union – only if a trade deal can be achieved”?

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      “Wars begin when governments tell people who the enemy is.
      Revolutions begin when people figure it out for themselves.”

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink


      You are getting carried away with your lecturing style again, with know actual evidence for your forecast or predictions, but considering all the other nonsense on industry not building up stocks and Ford not shedding any labour in the UK, there is not surprise in your predictions

      • Edward2
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        I agree with Lib’s post above.
        I’m not sure how you can provide actual evidence for a prediction of the future.
        And I cannot recall Liberatrian predicting no job losses at Ford ( which has little to do with brexit anyway) nor saying companies will not build stocks up prior to March 29th 2019.
        It isn’t necessary but most company directors will mitigate any possible risk on a just in case basis.

  73. Andy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Brexiteers – free trade is not frictionless trade. Learn the difference.

    Japan has a free trade deal with the EU.

    But trade between Japan and the EU is not frictionless.

    Ditto Canada.

    You are adding pointless bureaucracy into the process.

    The will of the people in 2016 was for less red tape – you are making more.

    The result of more bureaucracy is extra cost and poorer consumers.

    The will of the people was to be richer.

    You promised £350m a week for the NHS.

    Instead you will give billions and billions to the EU.

    Your vision of Brexit is not the will of the people.

    It is the will of a few dozen economically illiterate ideologues on the Tory right.

    NONE of whom can even answer the basics. You have humiliated our country.

    • Mark
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Andy – at present our trade with the EU is far from frictionless. There is a mass of regulation to abide by, and endless reporting to the authorities. Frictionless trade would allow goods to be sold on their merits without having to adhere to those regulations about bendy bananas and the wattage of vacuum cleaners, nor would it care whether some of the parts for a vehicle were made outside the EU.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink


        You live in a world of illusions

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


      Brexiteers – free trade is not frictionless trade. Learn the difference.
      Trade is not “frictionless” in the EU either.

      Japan has a free trade deal with the EU.
      Date of entry into force: 01-Feb-2019; non-operational.

      But trade between Japan and the EU is not frictionless.
      Who said it was?

      Ditto Canada.

      You are adding pointless bureaucracy into the process.
      Only 1 in 10 UK businesses export to the EU. Leave means removing unnecessary EU bureaucracy from the other 90% (note: not standards).

      The will of the people in 2016 was for less red tape – you are making more.
      No, the will of the people in the Referendum was to Leave the EU treaties.

      The result of more bureaucracy is extra cost and poorer consumers.
      Hence why we want to Leave the EU treaties.

      The will of the people was to be richer.
      No, the will of the people in the Referendum was to Leave the EU treaties. We will be richer as a result of leaving.

      You promised £350m a week for the NHS.
      No, there was no “promise”, and no specific amount stated.

      Instead you will give billions and billions to the EU.
      No, you want to carry on giving the EU £billions by remaining locked in; JR and every Leave commenter on here won’t.

      Your vision of Brexit is not the will of the people.
      Your vision of Brexit is not the will of the people (which was to Leave the EU treaties).

      It is the will of a few dozen economically illiterate ideologues on the Tory right.
      Actually it is the will of a few dozen economically illiterate ideologues in continuity Remain. NONE of whom can even answer the basics. You have humiliated our country.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink


        but the 1 in 10 who do export to the Eu are the biggest around , so it does make a difference

        • NickC
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          Hans, Hardly – only 12.4% of UK GDP consists of exports to the EU.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Talking of basics
      The Japan deal is not yet finalised although trade carries merrily on as it has done since the 1970s.

      Frictionless trade is a meaningless concept.

      If you buy and sell then you do have some friction.
      There are regulations, standards and warranties required.
      There are taxes like VAT to be sorted and import taxes.
      There is lots of paperwork needed by transporting companies:- manifests, description of goods and certificates.
      Businesses which deal with exporters and importers have sorted these minor problems out for decades quiteceasily..
      Dealing with the EU is little different to buying or selling into China or Chile.

      I think because you have never actually been involved in trading outside the UK you have fallen for the project fear now clouding this area.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        Edward 2

        Coming from you wo do not even understand the basics of most of the economies of Europe and how they are performing or not performing those are quite steep statements, but that never seems to stop you any way , so keep up the nonsense

        • Edward2
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Prove what you say or stop posting rubbish hans.
          Your cheap slurs are not welcome.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      So which EU party do you align with and what do you like about it ?

      Answer the basics !

    • Steve
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink


      “NONE of whom can even answer the basics.”

      Pot, kettle, black. When challenged to substantiate any of your ridiculous claims you never respond with so much as the merest example of factual evidence.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink


      Yesterday I bought some stuff from the USA, last week I sold some stuff in Australia, it was frictionless. You’re welcome

    • Edward2
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

      Far too many paragraphs andy

  74. acorn
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I like Tom Clark’s idea, now would be a good time for Labour to motion a repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, as listed in the Conservative manifesto. Conservatives couldn’t vote against a manifesto commitment and Labour would have to vote for it to get nearer to a General Election. Simples.

    • Penny
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Get rid of the FTPA and also reform our voting system. First past the post is no longer fit for purpose.

      • Mark
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        The problem is not with FPTP. It is with the narrow cliques that select the parliamentary candidates for the major parties, denying real choice to constituencies. Sadly, it is also with the integrity of many who put themselves forward, claiming one thing to get elected, and then voting and speaking against it afterwards (quite unlike our host, who has always been consistent and straightforward). That too is the result of close central party control over selections. Think Cameron A list and May’s subsequent control of CCHQ and the Brexit negotiation, and Momentum.

        Guido reports another aspect of centralised control today:


        • acorn
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          Until the UK has Open Primary Elections, nothing will change. Alas, the last thing the Westminster career elite want is anything that will upset their cosy little incestuous club!

    • NickC
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, Agreed.

  75. mrsdwills
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Why would our Prime Minister want to take the easy route? It is not in her DNA. Einstein he say “Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result”. Mrs May does this and her latest fiasco should have been foreseen when the result was going to be blindingly obvious, even to the man in the Street. Not so Mrs May who recycled ‘Chequers’ expecting a different result. I believe she suffers from a form of autism because of her fixation on HER dreams, her difficulty in social interaction and communication and by her restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behaviour.
    Such an ailment is not good for her, mentally and is certain to damage the Health of the Nation.
    She should save herself and the Country by stepping aside ASAP after the no confidence vote. There is no shame in resigning with honour.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


  76. Chewy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    What now? It’s a bit like being 1-0 up in a footy match away from home. There’s going to be a lot of pressure from Remainers possibly extra time and a dodgy manager. Can we hold out?

  77. Gareth Warren
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The vote was the correct result, however most politicians voted for differing reasons.

    The central fallacy is still clung to by so many that the EU will offer us a reasonable deal. The fact is such a deal would be a threat to the EU’s very existence.

    So we can offer a reasonable deal that will protect German and French jobs, and rely on their governments pressuring the EU. Or accept facts and prepare for a WTO deal, anything else either is a fantasy or a betrayal of the voter.

  78. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    You are dreaming Sir John if you think your disasterous leader is capable of change. It is clear today that she will not abandon her attempts to keep us hostage to the EU hoping to get support from Labour to counter the opponents in your party. She continues with her traitorous plan. Her double talk continues. Nothing has changed.

  79. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    A “standard” FTA (Japan, Canada, Singapore for instance) would leave the problem of having an external EU border in Ireland which would be similar in status to that between, for instance, the EU and Ukraine. How could that be arranged to the satisfaction of all parties involved and especially the Irish border population on both sides?

    Reply Both sides have said they do not need a hard border.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      Ireland is obliged to perform her duties as an EU member and ensure an adequate external land border exists between her and any neighbouring third country. The only exceptions are arrangements for border traffic. It may be easier to cancel the GFA, which would please the DUP even more. I reckon that Ireland would veto any WA proposal that would force her to have a proper border, maybe to the level of the Polish-Kaliningrad one or at least the Germany-Switzerland version.

      However, I think a combination of a real border (with a border traffic agreement between Ireland and the UK that would identify many sites (I hear there are over 300 crossing points now) as border traffic only and perhaps a handful of comprehensive sites. Likely to be part of any compromise. SF would support this apparently.

      • Steve
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Rien Huizer

        “Ireland is obliged to perform her duties as an EU member”

        And is also obliged to keep it’s nose out of our business.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        If either the EU or the Republic of Ireland want to build a border then they are perfectly within their rights to do so.
        The UK has said they do not want a hard physical border.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          That is why Ireland would veto any arrangement that would make such a border necessary. The only thing they cannot veto of course, would be a hosile separation initiated by the UK.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

            So you agree.
            Neither the UK nor the Republic of Ireland want a hard border.
            That leaves the EU with it’s new army to invade and build one for us.
            Or if they veto any EU/UK deal then we leave on a no deal scenario.
            Suits me.

  80. Edwardm
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Clearly the next steps ahead are what they should always have been, prepare for WTO whilst offering an FTA in services and goods to the EU, and not restricting our freedom to make similar agreements with other friendly countries.
    Mrs May with the backing of 200 MPs has created a mess and so wasted many months, despite numerous warnings and resignations, and in doing so they have all shown bad judgement and have lost credibility. Mrs May in particular has demonstrated too many bad traits that in normal business one wouldn’t wish to deal with her.
    She now wants to ask opposition MPs what to do rather than just take the ERG’s advice to deliver a good Brexit and unite her own party. So mess after mess, on she goes, with the confidence of 200 Conservative MPs – just inexplicable.

  81. Helen Smith
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The DUP will support the Tory party all the while they appear to be honouring the referendum.

    To lose a vote of no confidence a large number of Remain Tory MPs would have to vote with Labour, they would then be unable to stand as Tory candidates at the forthcoming GE or to vote for a replacement leader for May, leaving the way for a Brexit supporter to win back support for the party.

    If the Tories tried to supplant May with, say, Rudd, or May went down the second ref route the DUP or Tory Brexiteers could pull the plug, would be hard to deselect them for complying with their party’s manifesto commitments.

    Whatever motions are put before the house and voted on by Labour etc., they would not become law.

    Whilst I don’t underestimate the duplicity of the HOC which has never supported leaving things are not now entirely bleak.

  82. Iain Gill
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Boris for PM

  83. HarveyG
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    What now? is for Mrs May to get cross part support for something that’s going to be broadly acceptable to the people and to the EU. To do this some red lines are going to have to be dropped. It’s long past time now for playing party politics..too much is at stake for our children’s sake.

  84. Claudia Norman
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The only way for Britain to leave the EU is, and it has always been, to leave without a withdrawal agreement and trade under WTO or indeed open free trade. May should’ve realised that a long time ago. The EU disclosed its punitive stance from the start – for them Brexit is an existential problem, and they were never going into the negotiations in good faith. A future trade deal based on the withdrawal agreement (see Sabine Wayand’s comments well publicised in the press) is unattainable, because the terms on offer will continue to be punitive. However, once Britain is legally bound by the WA, she is trapped into it, and sooner or later will have to leave NI behind to free herself from the shackles.

    Furthermore, there is no point having years of wrangling with Spain over Gibraltar. Spain can veto a trade agreement and it doesn’t recognise the waters given to Gibraltar by an international organisation let alone the right to self-determination. We are taking about a country that sends the troops to contain a vote taken by peaceful means in Catalonia. May going back to Brussels is a huge mistake. The EU has given Britain an unacceptable WA. The answer from Britain is ‘no thank you’ as demonstrated last night in Parliament. If the EU wants to make a different offer, it should come to Britain not the other way around. If it doesn’t, Britain will leave by default on 29/3/19. Brexit has always been a matter for EU law under Art 50(3) TEU. Parliament can’t change that because it can’t amend EU law.

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


      ” We are taking about a country that sends the troops to contain a vote taken by peaceful means in Catalonia”

      And what exactly did we do in Northern Ireland not so many years ago?

      • Claudia Norman
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Hmmm… I though Britain was fighting terrorism (IRA) that is why there were troops in NI. Is that the same in your opinion as sending troops to stop people from voting peacefully?

  85. davies
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    You and your colleagues are somehow going to have to persuade the PM to step down ASAP. It seems she appears to be severely lacking in vision and purpose simply taking on what her officials have fed her and trying to dress things up. A mark of a good leader is being able to get the right people around you making the right calls which she has failed to do from the outset. She was accused of this type of approach by many when Home Secretary.

    Whether this has been a deliberate ploy to mess things up or not I’m sure those of us still here in 30 years will find out when the parliamnetary papers are released.

    It would help if there was more transparency with regards to how ready we really are fior BREXIT, we have seen some anonymously written articles in the Telegraph but nothing official from government other than stupid scare stories.

    If the important BREXIT projects are or will be complete by March we should just leave in then, if not extend the Art 50 deadline for another 6 to 12 months which takes us to 2020 which I always felt should have been the date we left anyway for a: to give the Civil Service the time in needs and b: to coincide with the end of the EU’s 7 year budget cycle.

    Time will tell, get out the crystal ball – it is difficult to predict who now has what tricks up their sleeves in the mother of all parliaments.

  86. Sue Doughty
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I suppose she did take it to the House of Commons for the world to watch. For Brussels to watch.
    They say that Brussels set aside everything else and watched TV all day. Meanwhile Bloomberg is interviewing poeple who speak of the EU in the past tense, it has had its day. Bad government is destroying their economies, mass unemployment and unrest. Security lapsed, leaders not listening to their people. Spending power is reduced, the size of the market there is shrinking and will to invest flacid.
    Brussels is incapable of negotiating on anything at all and has no interest in doing so, the whole world knows this. Many countries and organisations have tried, they don’t negotiate and only respond if pushed hard several times.
    We leave with no deal and then have a trade deal set up and running as you say.

  87. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Dreadful proposal! I see the number of people now in favour of a second Referendum is 8%. Most people were terrified May would force this bad deal down MPS throats and wanted to power to kick it out.
    Thank God it’s dead. The Second Referendum is dead.
    You advice to the PM is excellent, let’s hope she has ears to hear!

  88. Ian
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Well done our Host and others like him.
    People are still talking about changing The Deal ?
    It is dead , we want out ideally on WTO , or maybe the Canada +++ which Tusk said was on the table from the word Go ??
    Over two years have gone for nothing, because the PM got voted in on an excellent Manifesto, then proceeded to kick that into long grass, offering something that would have kept us in the EU for ever.

    Our Host has gone to great trouble to explaine all the scare stories are just that, and we can do this.
    We must do it, millions died that we should be Free, it is a very precious thing, easily lost.

  89. Beecee
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Time to deselect the Speaker

    • Mark B
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink


  90. James
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Well thank goodness that enough MPs managed to recognise that Mrs May’s draft Agreement was too bad to be supported. Hopefully, enough of the electorate will remember at the next election the names of the MPs who thought it was good enough to be supported.

  91. A different Simon
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s time for leavers to take the gloves off and go toe to toe on the cobbles to get this over the line .

    Once we are independent everything possible must be done to diverge from the EU ASAP to make it nigh on impossible for a future govt to take us back in – a la scorched earth policy .

    The best time to kick a man is when he is down . Forget “unifying” the country , it is sadly absolutely necessary to grind the remainers into the ground .

    They must be made to go into a deep depression for the next 20 years and feel grief like a bereavement for their beloved EU in the same way they imposed on patriotic Britons over the past 20 years .

    • Steve
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      A different Simon

      Well said.

      “it is sadly absolutely necessary to grind the remainers into the ground .”

      Regardless of whether or not we leave the EU, these people will have to keep one eye over their shoulders. What they’ve done or attempted to do is not going to be forgotten for a long time.

      Trouble ahead, Simon, and it’s the remainers own doing.

  92. hans christian ivers
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    Thank you for your contribution and overview.

    Who were the 60 Eurosceptics, who provided the well researched input for the withdrawal negotiations. The ERG group or somebody else?

  93. John Francis
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I have just read through Hansard’s report of yesterdays Parliamentary debate on the various Petitions about leaving or staying in the EU.
    The standard of debate from all contributors was very high which lifted my spirits and restored some of my faith in Parliament’s MP’s.
    Of particular interest concerning a second referendum was the following:
    5.35 pm Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) Conservative
    “Over the weekend, I was thinking about today and I suddenly remembered, in the depths of my memory, that the House had actually considered this matter. On 20 December 2017, when the House was debating and voting on the withdrawal Act, an amendment was tabled calling for a second referendum on the deal. I do not know how many Hon. Members remember that. Do you know, Mr Hanson, how many Members of Parliament voted for that amendment? I was quite astounded. Having listened to some of the voices from across the House, I thought it would be hundreds. It was 23.
    When the House had the opportunity to express its view on a second referendum, a whole 23 Members of Parliament—good on them, virtually all the Lib Dems voted for it, so at least they have been consistent—voted for one. That amendment was resoundingly defeated.
    As we had the opportunity to vote for a second referendum only a year ago, I find it quite difficult to accept that so many Members of this House are now calling for one.
    I am not sure what has gone on during that year, but clearly something has.
    My line is quite simple: the House had the opportunity to vote for a second referendum, the amendment was resoundingly defeated and we should put the matter to bed. Continuing to call for a second referendum after not having voted for one at that time shows a lack of credibility.”

  94. Anonymous
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    How is May still in office after the most disastrous defeat of Government ever ?

    It only took one boring speech to get rid of the giant Margaret Thatcher.

    Clearly May is a plant and the Tories want her to fluff Brexit.

    • Derek
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Clearly May is a plant and the Tories want her to fluff Brexit

      yes of course she is a plant I could have told you that while she was still HS.

    • Chris
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      It can be understood in the context of “It’s all carefully choreographed” with May apparently the willing puppet.

  95. Mark
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    The vote is not merely a defeat for May and her co-conspirator on the WA, Olly Robbins, but for the key EU architects of the capitulation demands: Barnier, Selamyr, Weyand, Juncker, Tusk, Macron, Merkel and Varadkar.

    Fortunately, we are nearly at the end of the Juncker Commission (October), and Tusk (November), and we are about to see some interesting Europarl elections, not to mention the internal difficulties of Macron and Merkel – and soon too Varadkar. It will make much more sense to reopen negotiations with the new cast – and with a change of cast on the UK side too. Giving the EU the opportunity to debate as a reality how they will live without the UK’s contribution would also be an advantage.

  96. oldwulf
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mrs May

    This mess is your fault. You gave the losing side of the Referendum a sense of entitlement and it has gone to their heads.

    It is clear that the EU will not offer the UK a better deal than “no deal”. History shows that the UK has dealt with far, far bigger issues than leaving the EU with no deal.

    Please, please walk away now and the democratic majority will back you. After all you will be giving them what they voted for.

  97. Dominic
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    May is still PM.

    Hammond is still Chancellor.

    With these two ardent Europhile Blairites at the helm I predict Brexit will be cancelled

    There’s only one remedy to ensure Brexit. Depose May NOW

    Every Tory MP that supports this PM in effect supporting a political culture that elevates political expediency above the sanctity of popular democracy.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      My MP (CON) supported May. I shall not vote for him again.
      Government of the people can only work well if supported by the people, which those in office today seem to be unaware, living in their own little bubbles. Government of the people, for the people, by the people (Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg address)…..

  98. Monza 71
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    We’ve just seen Michael Gove’s pitch to replace Mrs May as Prime Minister.
    His rousing closing speech to the Confidence debate was a devastating critique of Jeremy Corbyn as potential Prime Minister.

    We need to leave the EU on the 29th March under WTO terms and see a smooth, quick agreed handover to a Brexiteer Prime Minister to negotiate a trade agreement with the EU from a position of strength.

    After Mrs May, almost any Brexiteer would be an improvement. I would rule out Boris Johnson but I would support Dominic Rabb, Michael Gove or David Davis.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      Or our host john

    • mancunius
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:56 am | Permalink

      Michael Gove is not a Brexiteer. He may have been, or at least said he was, until he was recruited to the May government. He then supported Chequers, but only with opportunistically fear-based arguments, and sneered at those who resigned in June after the Chequers meeting. He supports the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement, lock, stock and barrel, attacking those who want a more reasonable deal with personal insults.

      You can’t claim to want Brexit and support the EU’s diktats.

      • David Price
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, Gove is not a Brexiteer and has never been. Gove is pro-Gove first, last, only and always.

  99. Martyn G
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it is time, now, to replicate the events of 1381 and trigger another Peasants revolt? That arose from repressive treatment of ordinary folk by unelected bureaucrats (though not known as such at that time) enforcing the poll tax. In a way, that sum of monies being demanded or offered to the EU as a sop to its overweening ambitions to create the US of EU financially dominated by Germany. etc were…..

  100. Steve
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink


    “You [TM] gave the losing side of the Referendum a sense of entitlement and it has gone to their heads.”

    Yes they do think it’s all about them.

  101. Steve
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    What I want to know is;

    What did they put in Michael Gove’s tea ?

  102. Eh?
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    There are four people in one room of a house who enter that room each week year on year.
    One said ” We should meet and talk”
    Second said:” Oh I don’t know about that”
    Third said: “Why should I?”
    Fourth said: ” Is there a point to it?”
    Parliament made Idiot.

  103. Mike of Wokingham
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps now is the time to seek consensus and compromise.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Good grief Mike, further compromise.

      Any more compromises and it is pointless even thinking of leaving the EU, but then perhaps that’s been May’s plan all along.

      What are you suggesting we should compromise on.

      The real Problem is that we now have Parliament against the people !

  104. Hacktor
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Mr Gove obviously recently seen a comic Operetta of Gilbert and Sullivan managed with aplomb in transposing it seemlessly into Parliament. Yet was dead-pan. Bravo! His peers,largely, are equally talented thespians.
    The Public however are of ill-humour and do not appreciate even good acting the goat

    • Steve
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:48 pm | Permalink


      I think you’re being a little unfair to Mr Gove on this occasion. I was impressed, he really went for Jeremy Corbyn.

      He was up for a scrap tonight, there’s no doubt about that.

      Wonders never cease, as they say. Lets just hope there’s more where that came
      from, and if there is would he consider taking it to Brussels.

      It’d be reassuring to have someone go at Barnier, Tusk and Juncker with that calibre of ferocity.

  105. Migrant Agent
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Remainer MPs still haven’t sent their families to a safe haven abroad where they can eat, be safe, have medicines. Soon, they will not be able to afford a plane ticket or indeed find a single plane able to land and pick them up. Such irresponsible people,Remainers.

  106. Ian Pennell
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    If the truth be known, I feel angry that you and your ERG colleagues who really believe in Brexit did not vote with Labour to have Theresa May toppled.

    Catharsis is sometimes the right thing to administer. Theresa May and her incompetent ministers -and Remain- supporting Tory MPs like Anna Soubry and Nick Boles not only represent a threat to Brexit but also it would safeguard the well-being of the Conservative Party in the longer term.

    Instead Sir, we have a weak Prime Minister who will (no doubt) bend to the will of the Remainer Majority in Parliament (or she is pushed into it when Remainers, with the help of the Speaker) take control of the Brexit process. Either way we are looking at an extension to Article 50, a re-negotiation but without Britain having any hand to persuade the EU to offer anything good (“No Deal” Brexit will be ruled out)- thus we will get Single Market/ Customs Union or a Second Referendum in the summer whereby the electorate, so fed up with the entire Brexit process, just vote “Remain”. The Conservative Party would then be 20% behind in the polls and facing a 1997- style defeat.

    Are you, Sir just going to remain passive and let this sorry state of affairs unfold, a state of affairs that could split your Party and lead to 15 years of a hard- left Government? Or will you, with your Brexit- supporting colleagues take control of the situation as best you can? Theresa May MUST GO, having lost a central piece of legislation by 230 votes she is bereft of all authority- her weakness will lead to the effective end of Brexit- and eventual evisceration of the Conservative Party.

  107. mancunius
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Who on earth knows why Mrs May does anything she does? Let alone what she is thinking? She gives the impression of someone who keeps her own counsel, but neither informs herself about what she is planning, nor takes any advice she gives herself in the matter; possibly she does not even know at any given moment what her own motives or intentions are.
    I’d say her clear intention so far has been to run down the clock. First of all, in negotiating so as to leave minimal time for the HoC vote. Secondly, by postponing it. Thirdly, by pretending now that the WA still ‘has a chance’. This procrastination (assuming it rational and not a mere neurosis) might have two alternative aims
    a) to impress the EU (it won’t – they’ll just respond with more legally invalid ‘assurances’ about ‘best endeavours’ or do nothing at all for now) or they’ll wait until the eleventh hour and try to blind the government and MPs into accepting what will look like an EU concession – but won’t be legally binding.
    b) to wind up the HoC – particularly her less aware or remoaner colleagues who have scared themselves into a blue funk about Brexit (no pun intended) so they vote for her application for an Art. 50 extension. She knows already that the EU will demand restrictive conditions for such an extension – e.g. another referendum without a leave option. That will then allow her to say she tried, but didn’t succeed, and while still fearmongering about a ‘cliff edge’, will have another go in the meantime at passing the appalling WA as a least bad option’

    Rather than consulting ‘senior Opposition members’ (who will simply tell her to capitulate further to the EU), Mrs May should stop passively aiding the fearmongering remainers. She could announce tomorrow that many economists, including Economists for Free Trade, Minford, Bootle etc, saw only advantages in a clean break and WTO terms, and that she is preparing all government departments for a friction-free WTO exit on 29 March.

    And Bercow must be warned that he is skaing on thin ice.

  108. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    What a sorry lot we are. We’ll all go to the election and put our little crossed next to a party and believe everything we are told. What utter tosh. What’s the point in voting in the same old dress? We need change but who’s going to give us that? What a depressing start to the day. Thatcher was sacked for so much less. I give up and cant see me bothering to vote again.

  109. Chewy
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Just read transcript of call involving Hammond and Gauke in DT. Looks like we’re going to be let down sooner rather than later. Still glad you and fellow Eurosceptics shot down that awful deal. To quote Churchill in a slightly graver crisis in 1940 “Empires that go down fighting rise again”. Although it’s a bit rich calling Euroscepticism an empire the point still holds, horribly outnumbered in a pro EU Parliament but representing a huge swage of sentiment in the country.

  110. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    A good feature of the decisive defeat of Mrs May’s deal is that the votes of the 202 MPs who voted for it are now in play. Also, the Whips of the two main parties have lost much of their authority. There is every reason to try to persuade a majority of the Commons that No Deal is the best deal. Conservative EuroSceptics should confer with MPs from other parties. How could a pro No Deal majority be made up?

    – 110 of the Conservative MPs who voted against Mrs May’s deal
    – 170 of the 202 Conservatives who voted for Mrs May’s deal
    – 10 DUP MPs
    – 30 Labour MPs

    Right now, that’s optimistic. However, the Prime Minister has survived and is opposed to a Customs Union, extending Article 50 and a second referendum. Parliament cannot usurp the Executive in negotiating with foreign Governments and it is doubtful if it will be given an opportunity to amend the existing Withdrawal Act. Parliament can pass all the anti-Brexit motions it likes, but these will not have force in law. It is perfectly possible that we achieve No Deal by default, simply because nothing else will fly. The hope is that, as other options fall away, No Deal will acquire steadily more support.

    Working with other MPs will have another advantage. Should it be necessary to contest the next General Election under a Brexiteers or Leave means Leave banner, production of a Brexiteers’ manifesto should be possible.

  111. The stink
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Sir JR
    In retrospect I guess you regret titling today’s page “What now?”
    What daily next? “What now II ” What nowIII” What nowIV but unable quite to type What now V
    Not interesting times,but interesting days.Purply Prune Juice days.
    When will this farce be over?
    Meanwhile contrary to our media,I haven’t heard a word said about Brexit or politics in general from people on my dog-walk. Nothing. No anger,sadness,just nothing.It’s as scary as hell.
    I feel it here in my locale like a pan boiled dry and still on the burner. Aluminium smell,for I cannot afford Chinese steel

  112. a-tracy
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    “The Prime Minister invited senior members of opposition parties to Number 10 for further talks to break through the Brexit political deadlock.

    But Mr Corbyn refused the invitation on the basis he would only agree to talk to Mrs May if she took the option of a no deal outcome off the table” Express

    Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic and he should be challenged over this, he is not a petulant child. Labour blame the Tories for not involving them (Keir Starmer) then when you’re leader asked to attend an urgent meeting he spat his dummy out preferring an early night at home.

  • 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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