Sterling strengthens

Parliament votes down the Withdrawal Agreement and sterling strengthens a little against the dollar and the Euro. I have often said I do not think sterling is mainly driven by views on Brexit, but it has been noticeable the absence of comments from the usual suspects. They are doubtless disappointed that sterling has edged up at a time when the only deal on offer has just been voted down.

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  1. Richard1
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Yes although the commentary suggests brexit is now doubtful at all and at the very least WTO brexit is off the table. I suspect the main reason is the chances of a Marxist govt under Corbyn / McDonnell have receded.

    • Peter
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Hammond’s leaked phone transcript to big business states WTO exit will be taken off the table. That would mean Brexit in Name Only. Remain win.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Not many British companies were there. “Scottish” Power (Spanish owned), Siemens (German) et You could not really expect to hear anything else

      • jerry
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        If true….

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        They will lose in the end.

        Unless we get a real Brexit the Tories are done for. It is the people who are sovereign in the end. Not the dopes (in the main) in Parliament.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      The Daily Telegraph today devotes the whole of pages 2 and 3 to a transcript of a conference call between Hammond, Clark and Barclay with business leaders. They are, quite reasonably, clamouring for certainty – something not provided by May’s now defeated WA which kicked the can down the road. It was evident that Clark was irritated by the delay to the WA vote and also that he was utterly against a no deal outcome. Much (too much?) hope was being placed by business leaders on Monday’s motion for parliament to have the authority to rescind the Article 50 notice. Hammond pointed out that could only be mandated by government. He also said that the government had not taken a position on it. If it supports it, I think it would be toxic for the government.

      From the observations of overseas commentators it is clear that the UK parliament is in danger of becoming a laughing stock (if it has not already become one). Mrs May must take prime responsibility for this state of affairs. How much longer with the powers that be in Conservative party tolerate her?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        While they did not see it as perfect business leaders – or rather some of the more vociferous leaders of some of the roughly 6% of UK companies which export about 12% of UK GDP to the EU – quite liked the ‘deal’ Theresa May had negotiated, mainly on their behalf, and they wanted or even expected MPs to just fall in line and approve it. From August:

        “The Chequers deal is proof that the government has listened – it is as close to what we asked for as we were ever likely to get – and the Prime Minister has shown considerable fortitude in squaring the circles needed to deliver it. The rest of the government and all of Parliament now need to get behind it.”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Tory leaders over my lifetime have been generally appalling lefty, pro EU dopes. Heath, Major, Cameron and May all appalling but May perhaps worst of all. Even Mrs Thatcher made huge and very predictable & obvious errors.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily.
      I actually don’t blame Corbyn for refusing to talk to her. She hasn’t consulted with anyone else for 2 years, so why should they speak to her now? She’ll only take their ideas as her own and still make a mess of them. She should just go now.

      • Richard1
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Corbyns position is humbug. Mts May’s deal isn’t actually much different from what he’s been asking for – permanent customs union, more or less single market but no freedom of movement (eventually). The only difference is Corbyn wants to rule out WTO Brexit. Obviously that’s a foolish thing to do in a negotiation, and coming from him it is also humbug since he’s favoured withdrawal for years (which would have meant WTO terms).

        Humbug and sophistry from the Marxists.

      • Mactheknife
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        The offer to engage in talks has been on the table to Corbyn for two years, yet he still flips, flops and plays politics. The reason is he is against Europe and everyone knows it but his party has him boxed in. So this ‘take no deal off’ is yet another delay in him having to come out and make a decision on where he stands. Pathetic.

    • Norman
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Once again, I am going to take delight in seeing all the pundits proved wrong.
      1. None of them has the temerity to opt for no deal – its just too radical to be respectable – and they are afraid of the perceived outcome. That is why the PM had to take the route she did, which many in the country believe was a sincere and hugely difficult effort for which she deserves much credit, albeit it was rightly voted down. (I admire the good grace she’s shown hitherto, nonetheless).
      2. The EU pundits are gutted – for one thing, there’s the 39 billion…! And what future their trade surplus with the UK – not to mention ongoing contributions? On the eve of new tax and defence integration, it’s a threat to their whole project.
      3. Parliamentary pundits cannot see their way round the 17.4 million voters, whose number may grow if they are foolish enough to go for a second referendum. Many MPs must fear the consequences of an election, if they do not deliver. Corbyn and Co. could be in for a nasty shock!
      5,. The media pundits, with their progressive liberal globalist leanings, are setting themselves up for yet another humiliation.
      If, by default, the Government is pushed over the line to a ‘No Deal’ Brexit – in effect, if Mrs may HONOURS HER WORD NOT TO RULE OUT ‘NO DEAL’, and to stick to our 29 MARCH EXIT (however reluctantly), she will in the end be accounted the hero of the hour after all.

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

        But May never seems to honours her word. She is a socialist, remainer, big government dope. One who still retains her equally appalling tax to death Chancellor despite his hugely damaging statements the other day. I suspect she is about to bury the Tories again for many terms by kicking Brexit voters and destroying any confidence in UK democracy.

        • NickC
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Lifelogic, That’s right. If Mrs May was really as wonderful as Norman (above) makes out she would not have surrounded herself with Remains like Hammond and Rudd. And Mrs May has sufficient form to doubt every assurance she gives.

  2. Mick
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    And it will get better the nearer we get to the 29th of March
    I wouldn’t offer him anything he wants to keep us in the dreaded Eu, this country would go to the wall if we had a labour/snp/lib dem /Plaid Cymru/greens government, the sooner he’s gone along with the rest of his like the better for politics

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    They could argue that the defeat of May’s deal make a softer/no Brexit more likely given the current configuration of the HoC which will do all it can to stop a WTO exit, hence the pound strengthening. It is a reasonable view. May should just come out for WTO and hold a general election on that basis.

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

      If after triggering Art 50 the UK had used the 2 years to prepare for Leaving, we would have been geared in readiness. The EU, in needing to maintain its higher level of sales to us, would have been inclined to offer attractive trading terms.

      The ‘transition period’ of 2 years would have been used for its intended purpose, with our being poised for smooth progress. Indeed, UK preparation should have begun well before Art 50. Inclining early by only a 2 degree adjustment is so much easier than that needed when near the destination. Reaching a distant height late from only one step away involves near-impossible vertical ascent.

      Business leaders who did not prepare early, yet knew the UK could have & did (/italics> vote to Leave, are unfit for purpose.

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

      Mr Corbyn says no No Deal, full-stop. Mr Hammond says the House won’t wear No Deal. Some backbenchers are planning a Bill to ban No Deal, other a Bill to revoke A50 and abandoning Brexit.

      How do they feel on the other side of the Channel? President Macron says No Deal is “scary for everybody”. M. Barnier says the “risk” has never seemed so high. He is right. The EU is collapsing into recession. No Deal could crash it altogether.

      In other words, the one trump card Mrs May’s appalling negotiating skills have left us with may be thrown out by our own MPs without ever being played. What are they thinking of? Are they mad?

    • NickC
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Roy Grainger, Theresa May has no authority and less credibility. That’s why Philip Hammond can step into the vacuum, grovelling to the corporates about eliminating the WTO deal and even that Art50 could be rescinded. Such are the depths to which the UK has sunk that probity and the rule of law can be arbitrarily trashed by no less than the Chancellor.

  4. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Or because they believe the the remainer dominated House of Commons will eventually prevail and deliver the stab in the back BRINO

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Her deal was a stab in the back BRINO.

      I am always amazed how any fluctuation in market is always described as due to this or due to that. Last week somebody said the pound would soar once Mays’ deal was voted through.

      It as if these journalists have the amazing ability to the minds of every single person to make any kind of a transaction if these markets.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        If they actually knew they could make a fortune on the markets and would probably not be journalists.

  5. Ronald Olden
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the Sterling Market is buoyed up by the knowledge that we will now be Remaining in the EU indefinitely or entering into an agreement which will make us an EU Vassal State

    At the very least postponement of the Leaving date is now near certain.

    Thanks to the vote on January 15th and the successful Votes of Confidence both by Tory MPs in Mrs May, and in the Government by the House, we will NOT now Leave the EU on March 29th.

    I voted ‘Leave’, so I’m not happy with that. But that’s life.

    Reply Staying in the EU would be bad for sterling, given the adverse impact it has on our balance of payments. The pound fell a lot whilst we were in the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      So who is going to change the law and prevent us leaving the EU on March 29th?

  6. Javelin
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    If house has no confidence in the Withdrawal Agreement but confidence in the PM then the political conclusion is that Olly Robbins needs to resign or be sacked.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      But Robbins enjoys the confidence of the PM. Or why else would she put more capital into him then her own party colleagues and Cabinet Members ?

    • formula57
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      @ Javelin – Surely it does not have confidence in the PM, just a lack of stomach for risking Corbyn as replacement.

      T. May has now undertaken her chief task, of taking the blame for her proposed Brexit deal. She is wholly surplus to requirement.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Spot on.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      From November 7th 2018:

      “Whether or not it was a deliberate plan Theresa May and Olly Robbins have got us into a complete pickle over Brexit, but of course of the two it is Theresa May who is notionally in charge and who must therefore bear the greatest responsibility.

      To recall one of many letters I have sent to the Maidenhead Advertiser on this subject over the past year, one published on May 10 2018 under the heading:

      “Solution to Irish issue and customs union”

      “I was staggered to read this in a Sunday newspaper, referring to Theresa May’s preferred plan for a crazy “customs partnership” with the EU:

      “Mrs May’s No 10 Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, has told her that the ‘partnership’ is the only idea which will allow the UK to cut new trade deals while avoiding the need for a hard border in Ireland …”

      I suggest Mrs May should get herself a new Brexit adviser who will not talk such nonsense … ”

      “Here is a simple alternative idea, which unlike Mrs May’s preferred scheme would not require years for its complex implementation … ”

      And when Theresa May had her confab with leading SNP MPs last night she could have asked them to remind her about that “simple alternative idea”, in case she has forgotten the succinct explanations that I have already offered both indirectly and directly, because they have long been well aware of it:

      “… the technical term for that kind of arrangement is “parallel marketability” … Characteristically the SNP are well aware of it but see it as a possible route to what they want rather than to what the majority of UK voters want, paragraph 152 here:

      “The laws of the European Single Market would apply only to those goods and services traded between Scotland and the rest of the European Single Market … In essence, this involves applying the principle of “parallel marketability” … ”

      Which could equally well be applied to the trickle of goods carried from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic across the land border, comprising about 0.1% of UK GDP, or to all exports from the north to the south by all routes, or it could even be applied to all goods exports from the UK to the EU.

    • David Price
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Though he was given a performance bonus so he can’t be fired for cause.

      The most appropriate treatment is to make his role redundant, after all the EU have refused to renegotiate his deal, and only pay statutory redundancy pay with no gratuitous payments.

  7. hans christian ivers
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    This really shows you do not understand the currency markets.

    The rumour in the market is that now there is an bigger chance of an even softer Brexit or other softer solution and that is the reason Sterling has risen.

    Reply I disagree. The only fact that has changed is that the only deal on offer has been voted down by a huge margin. How does that make tearing up the Withdrawal Act more likely?

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink


      The greater opportunity of a no Brexit was the reason for Sterling rising according to the FT this morning. So I think I will stick with my reasoning

      • acorn
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        My European number crunching group is telling me that the money is now on the UK remaining in the EU.

        The Euro issuing ECB, has the power to keep the Pound Sterling at a high enough level to allow UK citizens to keep importing EU goods and services; and hence, keep a lot of EU employees in work.

        If the EU is happy to keep selling us them BMWs, in exchange for some Pounds Sterling bits of papper, where’s the problem?

      • Mactheknife
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Well they would say that…..the FT has been against Brexit from day 1.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink


      Oh dear a bit pompous from you , seeing as you have zero experience of currency trading

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink


        You have no idea and here it is like teaching children to suck eggs

        • NickC
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Hans, Thank you for confirming Libertarian’s view that you are pompous . . . .

    • Steve
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Hans Christian Ivers

      “This really shows you [JR] do not understand the currency markets”

      Hans, I’d bet he has more knowledge of those markets than you imply.

      Let’s see ;

      Graduated Magdalen Oxford.
      Former Chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
      Former Director, NM Rothschild Merchant Bank.
      FCSI qualification

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


        As you have no idea about my qualifications and I am just quoting the financial press . I will leave you in you in your lack of knowledge

        • Edward2
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          The FT is a leading anti Brexit newspaper.
          You might as well quote the Guardian and refer too it as popular opinion.

        • Steve
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


          you can do better than that, surely ?

  8. Dominic
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Sterling strengthened for one reason. The currency market too the view and still takes the view that a soft Brexit was now and still is a distinct possibility. And as we all know a soft Brexit is no Brexit at all.

    May’s plan is simple. It is to deceive the British public into believing the UK is taking back sovereign control and regaining its independence.

    Insincerity drips from her every pore.

    She knows Tory Eurosceptic MPs won’t bring down her government and can’t persuade enough Tory MPs to depose her. That translates into one eventual conclusion. The UK will remain in stasis

    There’s something quite unnerving about the duopoly arrangement between the two main political parties in the Commons. It’s led to political arrogance on both sides and a diminution of our ability influence the behaviour of both parties when in government. It will also lead to the UK never being able to exit the appalling strait jacket that is the EU

    • Dominic
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      ‘took the view’

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Too late now but it is clear the ERG confidence vote came too soon, they should have waited till May’s deal was voted down. Now they can’t try again for a year and she is shameless enough to continue.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Dominic. I think you are right. We will get a very soft Brexit which is no Brexit at all. We have been completely shafted by this government. I was listening to a video yesterday from Peta Credlin, chief of staff to the former prime minister Tony Abbot.

      The rest of the world cannot see how something so simple has been made into such a fiasco. It is down to an anti Brexit leader and we need change. We are the laughing stock of the world. They can all see democracy is dead in our parliamentary system. What a joke. Our Mp’s keep going on about a compromise solution. This was not on the referendum leaflet. Nor were all these so called negotiations led by the EU.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      An extend-and-pretend Brexit to go with our extend-and-pretend financial system.

      Let’s hope the Day of Judgement for both doesn’t come simultaneously-we’ll be back in the Iron Age.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink


      And that view would cause sterling to strengthen why?

    • Simon Oliver
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      You are so right about May’s insincerity. What did she mean when she said, “My Government will continue its work to increase our prosperity, guarantee our security and to strengthen our union.”

      For ‘Security’ read ‘EU Defence/Military Union.

      Military unification has been at the forefront of the European Union’s policy agenda for decades. Since the Bratislava Summit of September 2016 there has been pressure to accelerate the process. The European Council set the date of December 2016 to formalize an implementation plan.

      I quote one commentator, “European Union Defence plans are associated with the eventual formation of a European Federal state. Under the current system of unaccountable governance, this means they will be run by an unelected oligarchy. A nation state that contracts out its defence has ceased to be.”

  9. Dylan
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The Sterling Market has been VERY sensitive to whether or not the UK is going to Leave the EU and on what terms.

    In fact it’s been just about the only Financial Market that has been.

    Prior to the Referendum sterling rose sharply when it thought we were going to vote Remain. When we voted Leave it crashed.

    But that’s no bad thing. It gave the UK a startling improved competitive advantage both in exporting, import substitution, and in attracting investment.

    It also hit net inward migration because low skilled people weren’t so incentivised to come here to take low paid jobs and claim in work benefits to send back home.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Look at the charts, Sterling fell from late 15 when all the polls pointed to a Remain victory.

      Surely the main risk by far to jobs, prosperity, sterling etc in the Uk is the threat of a Marxist govt. the BBC broadcast a programme about the catastrophe of Venezuela yesterday. It rather pulled its punches as to why Chavez/Maduro have been such a disaster – socialism – but did make clear that Corbyn was a long term supporter of Chavez’s brutal And incompetent socialist regime. That is what we are in for in the UK if labour get in under this leadership. It will result in the same thing- the destruction of markets, shortages, poverty, lawlessness and maybe even hunger.

  10. agrictola
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    The exchanges are casinos largely working in their own interest. Their purpose is to make profit by taking advantage of any situation and in the past at least manipulating any situation to their advantage.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      I agree.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Correct Agricola. The big money men and the banks have controlled this Brexit vote from the start and our puppet politicians have allowed it.

  11. Aardvark
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    May’s deal failed for 3 reasons.
    1 We pay money upfront, before we have a trade deal.
    2 The trade deal is only an outline.
    3 The backstop kicks in if we fail to negotiate a trade deal.

    The cause of these issues is the early decision to accept the EUs sequencing of the talks, which were designed to put us in a bad position. We want to negotiate the full trade deal NOW, and then sign the withdrawal agreement AND the future trade deal simultaneously! Therefore eliminating all 3 of the above problems. Once the trade deal is agreed the backstop is unnecessary.

    The cross party consensus should be to pressure the EU to enter full trade talks, and agree the trade deal in full before we leave.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Agreed, and I would suggest that the way to do that is keep “no deal” on the table.

      Article 50 does say future relationship should be alongside the withdrawal agreement. Even though we hear the very childish rhetoric of “you can’t negotiate a trade agreement until you are a third party”… what rot…

      The EU must believe that the UK is willing to walk, Mr Corbyn et al couldn’t negotiate themselves out of a paper bag…

      And why this fixation on a customs union? My understanding is that you can’t have this without the ‘”four freedoms” and large payments to the EU…

  12. BCL
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    So Mr Corbyn says he won’t talk to Mrs May unless no deal is “off the table”. What a wonderful negotiating strategy. He wants to send Mrs May to Brussels saying “I need to renegotiate with you because I cannot get the WA through the HoC but I want you to know, before we start, that whatever you suggest, even if it’s worse than what we have now, in the end I will accept it because I cannot go with no deal”.

    I wish I’d had Jeremy on the other side in some of the deals I’ve had to negotiate!

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      But, in a sense, this has been Mrs May’s failure ever since. Instead of making it plain from the outset that we were prepared to leave without a deal and making no secret of active planning for that event she, in spite of her ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ she played down no deal all the way. This enable Barnier and co. to control the whole negotiation.
      No-one should give away their trump card for nothing like that.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink



      Corbyn is just a protest student who has never grown up, never had a proper commercial job, protested about everything all his life, but never actually created anything of much consequence, other than problems for other people.

      Some Labour Mp’s are now finding this out to their cost.
      The Great British Public sussed him out a long time ago.

      Excellent speech by Gove in Parliament yesterday which shredded him.

      • Steve
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Alan Jutson

        “Excellent speech by Gove in Parliament yesterday which shredded him.”

        Indeed. I’ve never seen him going at it like that.

        Credit where it is due; well done Mr Gove. You did us proud.

      • Steve
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Alan Jutson

        “protested about everything all his life, but never actually created anything of much consequence, other than problems for other people.”

        Alan, you appear to also be describing the typical remainer.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I read into the change that the markets felt leaving had become more unlikely. What other metrics were in play at that time?

  14. Jon Davies
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Whilst I agree with your sentiments, I wonder how much impact Philip Hammond’s conference call with business leaders on Tuesday night had on sterling’s short term performance? He seemed to be supporting/guaranteeing a parliamentary move taking no-deal off the table, contrary to today’s cabinet policy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      It would not only be contrary to today’s UK cabinet policy, at least as that policy is stated to be, it would be also contrary to the intention of those who drafted Article 50(3) TEU, at least as that intention was stated to be in the “travaux préparatoires” of the time, which treaty article including paragraph 3 was then later approved by our government and by an Act of Parliament.

      “However a recent Lords committee report goes back to the records of the preparatory work:

      “21. The second option is stark: if no agreement is reached within two years, the effect is exactly the same as if a withdrawal agreement had been agreed and entered into force: the EU “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” (Article 50(3) TEU). The second option allows, therefore, for the most disorderly of withdrawals. The travaux préparatoires explain that the two-year cut-off was inserted to ensure that the right of a Member State to withdraw from the EU was unilateral, rather than dependent on the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Indeed, the drafters of Article 50 foresaw the two-year period being extended:

      “The Praesidium considers that, since many hold that the right of withdrawal exists even in the absence of an explicit provision to that effect, withdrawal of a Member State from the Union cannot be made conditional upon the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Hence the provision that withdrawal will take effect in any event two years after notification. However, in order to encourage a withdrawal agreement between the Union and the State which is withdrawing, Article I-57 [now I-60] provides for the possibility of extending this period by common accord between the European Council and the Member State concerned.””

      In effect those who are now saying “Take ‘no deal’ off the table” want the UK to tell that the EU that it wishes to waive its treaty right to leave without any agreement; meaning that the EU could not only dictate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, the more obvious consequence, but also keep the UK in the EU forever.

      It is not actually necessary to believe that the result of the 2016 referendum must be implemented as the voters were expressly promised, and therefore the UK must now leave the EU, to believe that in any case the UK must have the unilateral right to withdraw from the EU if it so chooses; therefore as stated in the above excerpt the withdrawal of the UK or indeed any other country “cannot be made conditional upon the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement”.

      It is astounding that so many MPs believe that the UK government should cede to the EU and the other member states the effective right to decide whether the UK can withdraw – because if it seemed that the UK was willing to accept an offer, the EU could simply revise the terms so that it became unacceptable.

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Probably not contrary to Theresa May’s policy. She and Hammond seem hand in glove, judging by past actions.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile property prices fall, especially in London and the BBC blame in on Brexit. The main reason is clearly Hammond’s stamp duty rates at up to 15%, the threat of Corbyn and the absurd taxation of ‘profits’ not actually made on landlords. In short economic illiterates and electoral liabilities as chancellor and PM does not inspire confidence. Especially with the even worse Corbyn in the wings.

    It seems the Today Programme are to have Blair on again today. The BBC seems to have an endless stream of remainers who want to kill Brexit and defy the referendum result.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Needless to say Blair advocates an extension to the leave date and another referendum. Thus treating the 17.2 million voters (and UK democracy) with complete and utter contempt. Can Tony please not just go away and repent for his appalling & counterproductive wars on a lie.

      “No deal is a problem for them and a catastrophe for us” he says. Complete drivel from the man as they export far more to us than we do to them and anyway trade will continue. Just like the absurd claim that not joining the ERM or EURO would be a Catastrophe. Another referendum would surely give an even bigger leave vote. Unless they stitch up the options and slant the pitch as they probably will. They did last time after all but still lost.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Today the BBC think falling property prices in London are a bad thing. On the other hand when property prices rise they think that’s a bad thing too (prices out new buyers). Really there is no pleasing them.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      L/L. Instead of Blair who wants us to stay in against all the odds, we need someone who can clearly tell the public that there is a way and another plan to leave the EU and be prosperous. Let’s have more people on with a positive attitude and one that inspires the people of this country to do well and leave the rest behind.

    • Adam
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      ‘Blaming’ Brexit might now fit truth, as well as the BBC’s distorted attitude.

      Many people have suspended selling, awaiting what will happen. Whereas property scarcity normally increases demand & values, many purchasers are similarly waiting & wondering what others might do.

      If someone on a street sees everyone else rushing in a specific direction, they tend to join in before they know why. A group of 4 lone runners would have minimal effect, but each follower triggers more toward a tipping point affecting the whole market.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Perhaps ultra-wealthy foreigners are buying elsewhere instead.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      House prices falling bad news ???

      Those Remain voting millennials should be thanking us.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      So is Hammond going to be fired for his appalling and idiotic comments to business people. He apparently told a group of Britain’s business leaders that within days a no-deal Brexit could be taken off the table through the actions of backbenchers, and Article 50 even “rescinded”.

      No deal is a default position unless we are offered a better deal. Preparing for it is vital in case we need it and it is also vital to our negotiation position.

      Anyway the man is an appalling tax to death chancellor and should be fired just for that.

      • Chris
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, he should never have been appointed in the first place, and the fact that he was gave the clearest indication of exactly what course May was going to follow. However, her Brexiter MPs trusted her when anyone with any common sense knew exactly what was going to happen.

    • Steve
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


      “Meanwhile property prices fall, especially in London and the BBC blame in on Brexit. The main reason is clearly Hammond’s stamp duty rates…”

      I find myself very much angered by the latest baloney in the media, especially the BBC. According to them fuel prices have been falling.

      They must think we’re stupid.

  16. ColinD.
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I heard that sterling had edged up because the markets understood that the risk of a ‘no deal’ (a WTO exit) was diminishing. And who can blame them? – so many politicians are saying that ‘no deal’ simply cannot be allowed to happen and the media are happily broadcasting this all the time.
    Those politicians who support a no deal need somehow to get air- time to push all the advantages and to get a chance to confront those who say that ‘no deal’ cannot be contemplated.
    As it stands, the sensible WTO outcome is doomed because the few voices supporting it are being drowned out.

  17. jerry
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Sterling strengthens, indeed, but because the usual suspects are talking up the prospect of not leaving without a deal or even not leaving.

    Reply But the only deal on offer has just been voted down comprehensively!

    • jerry
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      @JR reply; One would not think so reading/listening to the MSM! 🙁

      There doesn’t need to be a ‘deal’ to remain in, just a weak, rudderless, govt. (never mind a failed PM putting her career before country) kowtowing to pressure to rescind their A50 letter…

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath today is right as usual today. Anything else will probably destroy the Tory part and give us a Corbyn disaster. As he puts it:-

    Tory Remainers have a duty not to destroy their party and let in Corbyn. The rebels must now see sense, put democracy 
first and begin planning for a constructive no-deal.

    • Gary C
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      On the 16th we were asked ‘What next?’ That’s a very good question with many of us wondering that especially after being pushed away from politics by the many perfidious politicians determined to undermine the electorate, many of us are now are politically homeless. . . . . . ‘What now?’ is a very good question.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Next the appalling, disingenuous, socialist dope Appeaser May is going to betray the 17.2 voters and destroy the Tory party I suspect. We shall see but she has got everything wrong so far after all.

        So she will surely get this wrong too.

    • MPC
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I agree. Also I’m not sure the Labour leadership understand what they’re talking about when they say they want a customs union but honour the referendum result. The demand to ‘take no deal off the table’ before speaking to Mrs May also makes no sense as they voted for the Withdrawal Act.

      If only the govt had used the last 12-24 months for contingency planning for no agreement with the EU as well as negotiating with the EU. I thought that’s what Dexu was set up to do – establish a Brexit programme management team adopting good practice principles such as effective risk management planning and communications. To include well thought out No-Agreement risk mitigations summarised and communicated regularly via press conferences. That would have encouraged the EC to be sensible and would have made those Remain MPs talking endlessly about ‘cliff edges’ and ‘cataclysms’ (Mr Grieve) look silly.

      A truncated form of the above could still take place and be persuasive, but with this PM I doubt it.

      • Steve
        Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink


        “I’m not sure the Labour leadership understand what they’re talking about when they say they want a customs union but honour the referendum result”

        Exactly. Both together are not possible.

        Corbyn is talking out of his lower regions to suggest the country should be in and out at the same time. But to be fair Theresa May’s WA amounted to the much the same foolishness, and look what happened to that.

        The only way forward without further contempt for democracy is to leave on ‘no deal’ and is the only way to avoid sheer anger exploding in this country.

        If Corbyn and the rest of them think they’ll get away with BRINO or revoking A50, they’re very wrong, and will quickly find themselves having to run for the hills.

  19. Mark B
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning – again

    Sterling and all other currencies rise and fall according to a range of factors. To associate one particular event and / or item in the global economy shows economic ignorance. Not that such things prevent the usual talking heads.

  20. Woody
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I listen with shock and dismay at the childish approach taken by certain MP’s .. and particularly by corbyn’s team … about how they insist we negotiate with the eu starting by taking all possible matters of negotiating strength off the table .. no deal cannot be allowed, we must remain in the customs union, we must all freedom of movement … basically that we must stay in the eu … despite voting to leave. Even my grandchildren are better at negotiating than these so called grown ups.

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Grandchildren are some of the best, Woody!

  21. Don
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Just your old spin John- it’s much more likely that the markets see some light in the tunnel

  22. They Work for Us?
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Theresa May must not be allowed to take “No Deal” off the table and yield to the ratchet response of the remainers, diluters and wishy washy Socialists masquerading as conservatives. She should just ignore them and press on with no deal.

    We pin our hopes on you and the ERG to save England and the UK from the rest of them.
    If it takes joining a vote of no confidence please consider doing do so. We could have a GE in which the Labour Party would be forced to get off the fence and declare its Brexit policy (a splitting choice for them) and we would get a chance to deselect or oppose the “so called Conservative” remainers who are betraying the electors.

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      They have just had a vote of no confidence and voted to keep May. Whatever the reasoning for supporting her, the stark truth is that she stays as a result of their action.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted January 18, 2019 at 3:52 am | Permalink

        There should have been a vote of No Competence.

  23. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The only option now is leaving on WTO terms (which is what people voted for in 2016 as the £9 million Government leaflet specified that in terms) or Parliament kicking the nation in the teeth and revoking their OWN Withdrawal Act and Article 50.
    How they will face the next election I cannot imagine! But I can tell you that whosoever stands against those MPs who vote Remain through will win – then we will go through the process again – but Parliament will have done itself and the country serious harm.

  24. Adam
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Values go up and down depending on what people guess others might or might not do.
    Those who see the effect of what others did based on what they thought they would do, might do the same, do nothing, or do the reverse.

    Causes & effects are often known only after events.

  25. am
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Actually if Brexit does not happen or happens in name only the pound will appreciate. This will make UK exports more expensive and reduce UK exports. Jobs will be in danger if not lost. How will that be explained by remainers.

  26. Mockbeggar
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    But, in a sense, this has been Mrs May’s failure ever since the start. Instead of making it plain from the outset that we were prepared to leave without a deal and making no secret of active planning for that event she, in spite of her ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’, played down ‘no deal’ all the way. This enabled Barnier and co. to control the whole negotiation.
    No-one should give away their trump card for nothing.

  27. The Prangwizard
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    It’s as clear as day to me that they are betting on our staying even closer to the EU and I’m convinced that traitor May will make more concessions. Brexit will be sold out, without doubt. She has hoped and planned for it and now she has the opportunity to put her knife into the heart of Brexit for good. Nothing has changed.

    How can anyone who believes in an independent and sovereign UK be loyal to that kind of leader and leadership.

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      It defies belief, Prangwizard. It is very clear to those outside the Westminster bubble what should have been done/what should be done, but still they persist in supporting her and hoping for better. There is a label for those who persist in this behaviour of repeating the same behaviour in the belief that the outcome will be different. The result for them is failure.

  28. MikeP
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I’m just waiting for those same usual suspects to organise supermarket raids to empty shelves once we’ve left, to prove they were right all along. And amazingly the shelves will all be filmed as it happens.
    “Come on Tarquin daahling, 45 packets of buckwheat pasta is more than enough”

  29. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Brexit’s effects on sterling and shares has been totally misunderstood – It is the biggest thing happening to the fifth largest economy, and that counts for a lot.

    I predict that when March 29 comes around – IF we have left cleanly, then the Pound and shares will start to boom, and that boom will continue, and lift us very high.

  30. Everhopeful
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    As I understood it the pound rose because the rejection of “The Deal” makes Brexit far less likely. It has now been leaked that Hammond has assured business leaders he will try to take “No Deal” completely off the table.
    What are we to make of this?

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Firstly that Hammond is treacherous and determined to prevent Brexit, and to destroy democracy in the process. What a legacy.

  31. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    You must be joking! Sterling reverted to the path it has had for a while after a (rather predictable) moment of illiquidity where the usual suspects may have had a go at creating a short term market disturbance. One liquidity returns, the market goes from simply one sided back to a reasonable bid-offered spread and then the equilibrium on the screens shows a reversion or, in your words, “strengthening”. BTW the key exxchange rate for the UK is the EUR/GBP cross. Even now, Sterling movements are dominated by USD/EUR ones.
    The prospects for Sterling are (at least in the short term) driven by uncertainty: no one wants to be caught with his pants down if the unimaginable no-deal actually happens.

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Rein, It is your Eu that won’t negotiate a trade deal before we leave the EU treaties. So your EU wants a “No-deal” at least first off. So hardly “unimaginable”.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 18, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink


        “LONDON (Reuters) – The pound weakened on Friday as investors took profits after a stellar rally that set the currency up for its biggest weekly gain against the euro in more than a year on growing confidence that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided.”

  32. margaret howard
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The pound regains 0.05 after 8% drop after Brexit.

    Hurrah, huge success for Brexit.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Remainers like you margaret were all predicting chaos in the markets if May’s WA was voted down.

      So yet another project fear prediction falls flat on its face.

    • Penny
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      In case it slipped your notice, Brexit hasn’t happened.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Big victory for remainer Carney though. Its been Bank of England policy since 2008 (as it has for other central banks with their currencies too) to debauch the value of the pound. A desperate attempt inflate away all that debt and try and grab a bigger share of world trade with cheaper British exports.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      margaret howard

      You left off sick man of Europe and begging to join from your post

      Please report for reprogramming

  33. mika
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    The consequence of voting the Withdrawal Agreement down is that the UK will not be leaving the EU on March 29th, and if and when we eventually do Leave, we will do so with a deal more satisfactory to Remainers.

    So it’s not surprising the Pound has risen. It shot up immediately the vote took place.

    The currency markets are not stupid, even some politicians are.

  34. a-tracy
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Caroline Flint Lab. “Part of that failure is a mixture of Government incompetence, but also, we have hard hardline Brexiteers who don’t want any deal at all, and hardline Remainers who want to overturn the referendum result. We have to be honest here.”

    John, if you are considered a hardline Brexiteer can I respectfully suggest your group inform Caroline Flint (and everyone else including the EU which seem oblivious) what the deal is that you want because she’s under the impression you don’t want any deal.

    Labour are being disingenuous saying they want to stay in the Customs Union like Angela Rayner explained on C4News but the EU have said no deal to that because we want the ability to strike worldwide deals too, so how does Labour square that circle the news people never ask them that, and the EU have been clear No, Non, Nein? Can someone please challenge Labour over this.

  35. percy openshaw
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, isn’t the sad – indeed scandalous fact – that we are about to see a fully fledged establishment stitch up, in which the parties gang up on the electorate?The roughly one hundred and twenty committed democrats (also called Brexiteers) currently in Parliament will be defeated by an effective “National Government”, to which the speaker will play the role of eager midwife. Whether or not the public will accept this is doubtful, but I fear that inertia will stand oppression’s friend – as so often: a bitter, pitiful, disgusting state of affairs.

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Percy, I agree entirely. Remains don’t appear to think beyond next week. What do they suppose will happen if they win? – that we’ll all settle down and enjoy our EU serfdom?

  36. Merlin
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I’m not mad on these statements. I am delighted sterling has risen. I voted remain.

    Just because I don’t support no deal, it doesn’t mean I dislike my country, or indeed people who voted Brexit.

    Is there not more that unites us than divides us?

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Merlin, I doubt it. I want my country to be as independent of the EU as New Zealand, India, Japan, etc, – which is perfectly achievable. You want the UK to be broken up into provinces of the EU empire. That’s a funny kind of liking on your part.

  37. Helen Smith
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, I’m really upset ATM. Can you reassure me that all and sundry cannot present legislation to the HOC and have it voted on to become law. Mr Boles, against the ref result, his constituents wishes and the manifesto on which he stood wants us to stay in the SM and CU and seems to be bringing a bill before the house to force his wishes on the electorate even though only 15% voted for such an outcome.

  38. Bellboy
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    With the WA out of the way that only leaves Norway Plus or maybe rescind A50 as real possibilities. I don’t think leaving with a no deal is going to fly as the great majority of mp’s are against it. Yes, so I can see why Sterling would strengthen, even the markets are starting to perk up but a pity about the shops on the high street.

  39. Ian
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I am confused,
    So the PM who threw away the Manifesto that got her the job ,

    She spends the last two and a half years kicking over her sacred Red lines and coming up with The polar opposite of what was right, which would have enslaved us to the bitter block for ever more.

    Tusk has told us that the Canada +++ was on the table from the beginning ?

    Why the hell did she think was wrong with that solution ?

    After what we have witnessed ,in these last two and a half years , Democricy here is in shreds, all she has set out to do , with the total backing of The Deep State, is drag us deeper into the EU.

    Last night she survived the vote Of Confidence !

    This is the worst Government in living memory!

    Yet it seems those Brexiteers in the party are unable to kick out those who are responsible for this dissgrace, Parliament is nearly no use at all.

    Now I am a little Right Wing , but how much worse would the Labour idiots be , we might have expected this behaviour from them.

    The solution is extreamly simple.

    We just tell the EU , We are Leaving 29/3/19 @ 11am.

    We will still trade with you, and you can trade with us, we will be a Sovereign Nation again called Great Britain otherwise know as The U.K.

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:34 pm | Permalink


      “We will be a Sovereign Nation again called Great Britain otherwise know as The U.K.”

      No we won’t! It will be a rump England with Wales tagged on the side.

      Northern Ireland and Scotland voted overwhelmingly Remain and will surely leave the union to become independent EU members.

      Hundreds of years of blood and tears all sacrificed on the altar of nationalism.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 18, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        There is no enthusiasm in Northern Ireland for either option.
        In Scotland the last referendum for independence failed and polls still show no majority to leave the UK
        The people understand how many billions travel from London to Belfast and Edinburgh every year.

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


          “In Scotland the last referendum for independence failed”

          You fail to mention that that was before the EU referendum.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 19, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            Polls still show no majority for independence in Scotland.

  40. Steve P
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Don’t just read and listen to UK/EU media which is biased against no deal and WTO. The media some of us expats get in far off unbiased lands suggests that no deal is more likely than ever. The clock is ticking down and the only deal on the table is the default no deal voted through parliament 2 years ago. To reverse Article 50 vote politicians will have to publicly admit they lied during that vote as they never had the intention of the part that specifically stated “if after 2 years there is no agreement we leave without a deal”. It was also in the manifesto’s of 80% of MP’s elected. Perhaps someone should present a motion that force’s MP’s to admit they lied during Article 50 vote and their manifesto’s – or they didn’t lie and we leave with no deal as already agreed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      As elaborated in an earlier comment, at present still in moderation, during the work to draft the EU Constitution it was thought best not to argue against the widely held view that EU member states already had a unilateral right to leave the EU but rather make it explicit as part of EU law that a country did not need the agreement of the other countries to leave the EU. Those who now say we should take ‘no deal’ off the table want to tell the EU that we wish to waive that unilateral right of withdrawal, effectively a monumental, unprecedented, and irreversible transfer of sovereign power away from the UK to the EU. It beggars belief that they can urge the government to do that without first asking the people in a referendum whether they wished to renounce their unilateral right of withdrawal.

    • Chris
      Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      The manifesto said apparently:

      The days of Britain making vast annual contributions to the European Union will end.

      We continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK.

      We will make sure that we will have certainty and clarity over our future, and control our own laws.

      As we leave the European Union we will no longer be members of the single market or the customs union.

      We will enact a Great Repeal Bill. Our laws will be made in London, Edinburgh Cardiff and Belfast and interpreted by judges in the United Kingdom, not in Luxembourg.

      Controlled, sustainable migration, with net migration down to the tens of thousands.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, for interest at some point, on page 6 of the CityAM newspaper here:

    “EU car sales skid to a halt amid stricter emissions testing rules”

  42. Andrew S
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Tory remainer MPs have no where else to go than vote tory. Tory remainer electorate similarly has no where else to go than Conservative party.
    Leave Tory MPs on the other hand, as we have seen, can vote against May. Leave voters who voted conservative, have plenty of other places to go if the Brexit betraying May and Conservative parliamentary party do not deliver a true brexit. This will be due punishment for remainer MPs/electorate. Leave won the referendum. Remain lost.

  43. Galois
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that we are headed inevitably to either a general election or 2nd referendum. With the support of the Speaker, it must be a very high probability (95%?) that the House rules out ‘No deal’. The government will then have to extend the 29th March deadline to attempt another deal, or risk losing a vote of confidence as Remainers rebel. So they will extend, and the Brexiteers will have to decide if they in their turn want to force a general election. If another deal is brought before the House, given the EU has no incentive to offer anything better than the current deal (as ‘no deal’ will have been ruled out whereas it was previously a theoretical possibility), Labour will still be focused on winning a general election and it will be easy to fault it, it also is likely to fail (say 75% probability). So then the only options left are either a second referendum, or a general election. Or am I missing something?

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Today the FT front page headline runs:

    “May starts search for Brexit ideas after narrow confidence vote win”

    It’s deja vu all over again, as they say, because on May 10th 2018 the FT ran this:

    “Land of fairytale castles offers Brexit inspiration”

    with the sub-heading:

    “UK looks to Liechtenstein in search of creative solutions to EU trade conundrum”

    “Britain is exploring its system of “parallel marketability”, a legal fix agreed by the EU in 1995 that allowed Liechtenstein to straddle two distinct economic spaces with conflicting standards on goods.

    One senior Whitehall official described it as “a very interesting idea”, with relevance to the effort to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border. “It is a good answer in theory,” said the official. “We need to look at how it would work in practice.””

    But I don’t suppose the “senior Whitehall official” was Olly Robbins, instead he came up with a potty “customs partnership” scheme, which mutated into the Chequers proposals and then evolved into the equally potty ‘deal’ that Theresa May agreed.

  45. Noel
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Gordon Browne thinks the A50 can be extended for one more year so that the people can consult with their political representatives? He must think it can be done as an ‘a la carte’measure as if the EU is going to standby and pause all business while we take another twelve mònths of navel gazing- remember him Gordon, a real bright spark

  46. Simon Coleman
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Pathetic attempt at point-scoring. Don’t you think we’re past that stage? You’ve got nothing to contribute because you just want the clock to run down to No deal exit. Why don’t you go on holiday or something and wait for the great day? You’ve proved again and again that you’re anti-business. Boris Johnson said ‘_ _ _ _ business’. Your language may be different but that’s pretty much where you are as well. You’ve managed to make Corbyn look more pro-business than the Tory Brexiteers – some achievement!

    • Edward2
      Posted January 18, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      It is funny how left wing remainers are suddenly all concerned about multi nationals and big business.
      Having seen them as the enemy for decades.

      It is about independence, sovereignty, freedom to make our own laws, freedom to set our own taxes, freedom to make our own trade deals and decide our own immigration policy.

  47. Mark
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Now that it is clear that there is no way to take leaving without signing an agreement off the table the pound seems to have strengthened still further. The odds of doing so must now be greater than before that was confirmed. So the issue is now whether parliament wants to betray the manifestos of both the main parties through contriving to remain in the EU, or betray the country by signing up to the deal it has so overwhelmingly rejected, or whether there will finally be some shift in the EU’s position. Overwhelmingly, the best option is to leave and restart negotiations with no gun to our heads – preferably with a change in cast on both sides.

    Meantime, the Chancellor ought to resign for promoting the rescinding of Article 50 notice, which is precisely the opposite of government policy. If he cannot uphold policy, he has no business being in government. If the opposition were sharp witted enough, they would table a motion of censure against him. and if May were, she would sack him.

  48. Chris
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    This is beyond belief: Ministers receive a briefing on how to “rebuild political trust”.
    See Guido.

    ‘ “A briefing paper has been snapped outside Number 10, setting out how Ministers and officials can go about rebuilding political trust.

    “This paper… recommends a strategy for building trust and improving the effectiveness of our communication activity in the future.”

    They certainly need it…’

    • NickC
      Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Chris, Yes, I saw that. Typical Westminster bubble. They seem to have no idea of the contempt in which they are held. Nor that such illusory “strategy” verbiage is exactly what increases the contempt. What they need is truth and honour, of course. If I didn’t laugh at the fools, I’d weep.

  • 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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