Coalitions in the Commons?

To win a majority and sustain a government you need to be able to count.
A majority in the Commons is 321 supporting MPs, when allowing for the Speaker and Sinn Fein who do not vote.
The natural majority is therefore Conservative 317 plus DUP 10, giving 327.
The Conservatives could also form a majority with the SNP or Lib Dems on numbers, but there is clearly no wish on either side to do so, and huge differences of policy and attitude over Scottish independence, second referendum on the EU and other matters.
Labour would only form a majority coalition if it consolidated every party bar the Conservatives, which is also a political impossibility given the attitude of Labour to Northern Ireland and the DUP.

Some say as parties are split there could be a new coalition of the willing to put through a second referendum, or a Norway solution, or to cancel Brexit altogether. There simply are not the numbers to do that, all the time the two main parties oppose a second referendum and say we must leave.

We now know there are 71 Labour MPs willing to defy Mr Corbyn to speak out for a second referendum. With 35 SNP MPs and 12 Liberal democrats, also wanting a second vote, that makes a total of 118. In the unlikely event of Mrs May changing her mind over the desirability of a second vote, there would still be no majority for it, as at least the 110 Conservative anti Agreement MPs and the DUP would oppose it, a more numerous force than the 118 on the opposition benches. Mrs May does not want a second referendum. She presumably does not want to split the Conservative party on the issue. She must understand on current numbers a second referendum cannot pass. It is also very likely more than 110 Conservative MPs would defy any suggestion they voted for one.

We cannot be sure how many MPs want the so called Norway option. It is not official Labour policy and seems to have fewer Labour supporters than a second referendum, so similar considerations apply as with the second referendum. It has a couple of additional major problems. It would require the consent of the EU to a delay in Brexit, which would probably leave the EU saying the UK would still have to accept the Withdrawal Agreement and use the 21 month negotiating period in that to set it up if possible. It would also require the consent of existing EFTA members, and EU consent which would come if at all at a price. It would need the government to adopt that to carry out the negotiations.

There is then the official Labour policy, somewhat vaguely and erratically expressed, of staying in a customs union. This is sometimes linked with also being able to negotiate our own trade agreements, which would be incompatible with customs union membership. It is difficult to see how a majority would coalesce around this unless the government also made it official Conservative policy, which would detach more than 110 Conservative MPs from supporting the government and make much of the Department of International Trade redundant. It is unlikely the EU would ever consent to the UK being in the customs union, having its own different trade arrangements with others, and not having to observe the laws and freedoms of the single market and make financial contributions at the same time.


  1. Trader
    January 19, 2019

    There is a huge majority against no deal, so one of The May deal, Norway deal , Election or 2nd referendum is certain . We just dont know which yet

    1. Dominic Johnson
      January 19, 2019

      The “huge majority” against no deal, voted to make a clean Brexit the preferred outcome.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        January 19, 2019

        Exactly! And we will fight for it!

        1. Hope
          January 20, 2019

          May is responsible for this situation after hijacking neogotiations from Davis and Dexu. If any option other than leave comes about those MPs must be ousted from parliament by whatever means to make sure they never hold office again.

      2. Simon Coleman
        January 19, 2019

        No, they voted the leave date into law, not to make a clean Brexit the preferred option. No preferred option has ever been voted on – by MPs or the electorate – except May’s deal.

        1. Edward2
          January 20, 2019

          Read the leaflet.
          And listen to Cameron who on many occasions in the referendum campaign said what leaving the EU included.
          A deal would be nice.
          But the EU have no desire to give the UK a deal.
          So we must simply just leave.

        2. Mary Hastings
          January 20, 2019

          If we leave on the date that they voted into law, and do not /cannot agree on a deal, prior to that date…. then we have a clean Brexit by default.

    2. jerry
      January 19, 2019

      @Trader; “There is a huge majority against no deal”

      No there is not, as the default WTO exit has already been written into Statute, by 494 to 122 on its Third Reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 in the HoC.

      It matters not one jot what MPs think now, the law states that the UK leave the EU at 23:00hrs GMT 29th March, with or without additional agreement(s) with the EC, what is more the EU’s own treaty also states that in A50 Paragraph 3.

      1. Steve
        January 19, 2019


        Unfortunately we have seen those in power going against laws that do not suit their agenda.

        However, it is down to the people to insist that 29th March and on ‘no deal’ / WTO is something MP’s dare not change.

      2. John O'Leary
        January 19, 2019


        I think @Trader meant a Parliamentary majority against no deal.

      3. NickC
        January 19, 2019

        Jerry, The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 simply allowed the Prime Minister to notify the EU that the UK intends to leave the EU. It does not contain a leaving date.

        The Act that you quote as specifying exit day is actually the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. That Act uses the term “exit day” and then under section 20 subsection (1) defines “exit day” (the day the EU treaties cease to apply) as 11pm 29 March 2019.

        However section 20(4) provides for a Minister to amend that date. So you are wrong, unfortunately: exit day is not set in stone as 29 March. With the current crisis I believe there is at least an 80% probability of the Art50 process being extended and the 2018 Act date amended to suit.

        Reply Under the EU Treaty we leave two years from delivery of the letter in international law

        1. NickC
          January 21, 2019

          Reply to reply: Unfortunately not so. The two year period is written into Art50(3) as a nominal maximum, true; but it can be further extended by agreement with the European Council. And of course what Theresa May means by “Leave” is not actually leaving the EU treaties for good.

          1. jerry
            January 21, 2019

            @NickC; You now appear to be arguing against yourself!

            The FACTS are, it is the Treaty of Lisbon via Article 50 that lays down the rules on how the UK leave, not any Act of the UK parliament. Nor does A50.4 allow the UK PM to unilaterally alter the date, it has to be agreed between the EC27 and the UK, what is more there needs to be unanimity – in other words, not one objection.

            The only way the UK could legally circumvent A50 would be to enact clauses within the UN Treaty on Fundamental Rights, citing the right of self determination, but I suspect we would have to show that the EU was preventing us from leaving in a legal and orderly way. Anything else would not a good way to go out into the world, wishing to sign legally binding trade agreements…

    3. Peter R
      January 19, 2019

      Of course there is a huge majority against no deal. As Dianne Abbot would confirm 16 trillion people voted to remain and only 52 voted to leave.

    4. Kevin
      January 19, 2019

      This week’s no-confidence motion seems to indicate that there is also a parliamentary majority against a Labour government, and yet I assume that MPs would honour the outcome of the next general election if it returned one. (What would Labour voters say if they did not?)

    5. Peter
      January 19, 2019

      There is certainly a significant number of Conservative ministers and MPs opposed to No Deal.

      Whether they have the numbers to successfully remove the option is the key question.

      At the moment it will automatically happen at the end of March unless there are further actions which stop it. This article helpfully outlines the estimated numbers for particular options.

      Sharp practice and the actions of the speaker are not discussed. I just have a feeling that Remain will connive to defeat WTO exit. I don’t know the mechanism for this to happen though.

      1. Peter
        January 19, 2019

        The Grieve Amendment, outlined on Guido Fawkes, is claimed to give an opportunity for a minority to control the parliamentary legislative agenda.

        The plan would then be to prevent leave under WTO terms.

        I don’t know the likelihood of this working.

        1. Ian Pennell
          January 19, 2019

          @ Peter.

          Sadly, I think there is a 90% likelihood that Dominic Grieve, Nick Boles, Yvette Cooper, etc. will succeed in getting Parliament to take over the legislature to stop a “No Deal” Brexit. I read the other day that they are even planning legislation to make a “No Deal” Brexit illegal!

          Given the Remainer Majority in the House of Commons- and the even stronger Remainer Majority in the House of Lords I cannot see how this won’t become statute. Parliament should be Prorogued to stop the Remainers, but (unfortunately) I cannot see Theresa May doing this!

    6. Denis Cooper
      January 19, 2019

      Trader says: “There is a huge majority against no deal”.

      Which means there is a huge majority of MPs who still wish to transfer more power to the EU even now after the people have voted to leave the EU altogether largely because they believe too much power has been transferred to the EU … I am very grateful to NickC for his cogent reply to my comment yesterday:

      “Denis, Your letter makes a very worthwhile point. Waiving the right to leave unilaterally is a new transfer of power to the EU. So it also changes our rights and obligations. That must be specifically voted for in Parliament (Miller), unless we have a referendum as David Cameron envisaged.”

      So, JR, please will the ERG:

      a) Point this out; and

      b) Prepare to go to court to prevent the government doing it.

    7. acorn
      January 19, 2019

      If we had a second referendum, how many years do you think it would take for our Punch & Judy parliament, to decide how to ask the question?

    8. libertarian
      January 19, 2019


      Er no there isn’t. The latest poll shows 63% in favour of WTO

      1. Remi Lessore
        January 20, 2019

        What polls? Reference?

    9. David Price
      January 19, 2019

      Gosh, how was this “huge” majority determined?

      The May “deal” was rejected by Parliament last week and Parliament voted against a second referendum December 2017.

      There is no Norway “deal”, if you are referring to EFTA then that is not leaving the EU treaties or their control so doesn’t meet the mandate of the 2016 referendum.

      1. Stephen Priest
        January 19, 2019

        They voted down May’s first Brino dea.

        The “Norway” deal that’s mentioend is very similar to May’s Brino deal and is not the deal the country of Norway has with the EU.

        1. David Price
          January 20, 2019

          The Norway plus deal (EFTA + EEA + CU) that’s mentioned binds us in to EU control even more than Norway and is in no way Leave.

    10. NickC
      January 19, 2019

      Trader, Very unfortunately I believe you are right, though I would add another possibility. From JR’s figures there are 317 elected Tory MPs plus 10 DUP MPs making a majority in the HoC. But a majority for what? Certainly not for leaving the EU treaties.

      If 10 “Tory” MPs side with Dominic Grieve’s amendment then we have de facto a new government. It would consist of all Labour, LibDems, SNP, PC, Gr, Ind plus the 10 ex-Tories making 325, a majority over the Tory rump + DUP of 317. More Remain Tory MPs would move over upon the promise of ministerial posts.

      I would expect a clear 30 – 40 majority for the new coalition government specifically to overturn Brexit, within 3 weeks then. In the national interest, of course.

    11. Den
      January 19, 2019

      Where? In the HoC or in the back streets of Britain? Where the people live.

    12. Den
      January 19, 2019

      Huge majority against a No Deal? Where? In the HoC or in the back streets of Britain where THE people live? There is a difference.

    13. Barbara
      January 20, 2019

      there might be a majority in Parliament but amongst the voters there is a growing understanding that there isnt a deal to be had and that leaving with no agreement is the way forward.

  2. sm
    January 19, 2019

    John, I don’t know how you find the time or indeed energy to write such clear and informative pieces, but I very much appreciate them.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 19, 2019

      Indeed let us hope May can count. If she showed some leadership qualities, was not a total electoral liability and actually had working compass (rather than one invariably 180 degrees out) the position might be less dire.

  3. Mark B
    January 19, 2019

    Good morning.

    And many thanks to our kind host. Thanks, because he points out what I have been saying for a while now, and that we need a ‘Peoples General Election’ so that we can get the parliament that we want. A Leave means Leave parliament. The one that we were promised in 2017.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      January 19, 2019

      Dear Mark–Only trouble is that elections produce rubbish results, having precious little to do with the judgement or intelligence of the candidates and only indirectly with what the relative voters want. Representative democracy is bunk. I often amuse myself asking strangers why we still use it and the best I have heard (pathetic really) is, “That’s the way we do it”. Once there was no choice: why we still do it is beyond me.

      1. Mark B
        January 19, 2019

        Representative democracy is bunk.

        Agreed. That is why I believe in Direct Democracy.

        1. Richard
          January 19, 2019

          Interesting idea. Switzerland’s Direct Democracy: “The electorate has a veto-right on laws: If anybody is able to find 50,000 citizens [c 1.2%] signing a form demanding for a referendum within 3 months, a referendum must be held. … Referendums on constitutional changes are mandatory.”

          Two vital safeguards, protecting Swiss democracy against the usual political tricks:

        2. Leslie Singleton
          January 19, 2019

          Dear Mark–Have written here many times in favour of the Swiss system–They don’t just get by, but rather their income per caput is one of the, if not the, highest in the world. Who cares what some of these turkeys in the Commons think or don’t think?

      2. Mitchel
        January 19, 2019

        “Representative democracy is bunk”

        Exactly.Great political philosophers like Lenin and Bakunin told us that back in the 19th century-it leads to oligarchy.

        Whilst the country had the benefit of empire and a leading position in industrialisation there was enough wealth generation to keep the plebs at bay.When that period came to an end a fake wealth financial economy was invented in an attempt to do the same-that too is now coming to an end.Are there any tricks left in the conjurors bag?

    2. jerry
      January 19, 2019

      @Mark B; We had a ‘Peoples General Election’ in 2017, UKIP (for instance) stood 378 candidates in that election, so OK not a full house but enough to alter UK Brexit policy had they even half been elected, remind me how many got elected, how many even saved their deposit?…

      A GE also trumps a Referendum result, bringing new or renewed mandate, nor can future governments be bound by the decisions of a previous, if that was the case then Thatcher would have been bound by Wilson era trade union laws, stuck with nationalised industries etc. and more recently Cameron would have still been bound by the 1975 referendum result!

      We also had a referendum back in 2011 on a change to PR voting system, result was a 2/3rds majority to keep FPTP.

      1. peter anderson
        January 20, 2019

        re another election,
        be careful what you wish for:
        Candidates standing as Independents in pro Brexit constituencies with present Remain MP.
        Independent MP candidate would promise to be a one term MP and to vote for Brexit in Parliament.
        That would split the vote

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      January 19, 2019

      We can only do that if we have candidates committed to the U.K. as an independant country. The British Declaration attempted to identify those for the public 20 years ago, foreseeing this schism between parliamentary parties and the electorate. But nobody including Farage would support it – not invented here syndrome. For20 years many constituencies have Hobson’s Choice – a Remainer in blue or a Remainer in red

    4. Peter Parsons
      January 19, 2019

      We can only get the parliament we want if FPTP is scrapped and replaced a system that is actually representative of the people.

      1. libertarian
        January 19, 2019

        Peter Parsons

        Nothing wrong with FPTP its the system that it supports thats wrong and no form of PR will fix that

        We need one person one vote to directly elect our PM

      2. Mark
        January 19, 2019

        Do you think that changing the voting system without changing the candidates would make any worthwhile difference? The experience on the Continent of various forms of PR is paralysis, and marginalisation of parties whom the establishment disagree with. Across Europe, politicians refuse to engage with other parties they dislike, seeking to exclude them from government even when they are the largest party.

        It is the party system which grants control over candidates to a narrow clique that needs reform – not the voting system for general elections.

    5. Chris
      January 19, 2019

      A significant number of us simply have not got a Party to vote for.

      1. JoolsB
        January 19, 2019

        Certainly not a Conservative one anyway. Currently the only choice is a Marxist one or a Socialist one.

      2. libertarian
        January 19, 2019


        Amen to that

      3. David Price
        January 20, 2019


  4. Brigham
    January 19, 2019

    Right after the referendum I said to my wife. “We should just leave immediately and let the EU ask us for deals.” I still think we should do it!

    1. Gary C
      January 19, 2019

      @ Brigham

      That was the obvious thing to do but unfortunately the Conservative party put a remainer in charge and propagated a revolt against democracy, if we don’t get a proper Brexit the country will be in a mess for decades to come.

    2. Helen Smith
      January 19, 2019

      That is exactly what I wanted because I KNEW the EU would never come to a sensible arrangement.

      1. Remi Lessore
        January 20, 2019

        I wonder whether the EU is the problem here.
        They wanted to give us a Canada deal. JRM and Farage liked it. Don’t remember whether JR did.
        It’s DisMay that didn’t want it.
        Lions led by Centipedes.

  5. eeyore
    January 19, 2019

    Mrs May is consulting with other parties on a way forward. She will return to the House in due course and, in all likelihood, announce there is no majority for any policy, including leaving without a deal.

    She will then say there is no alternative but to delay leaving. Accordingly an SI will be laid before the House deferring Brexit to December, or to 2020, or whenever.

    Leaving aside the gross breach of trust, there will be costs to such a policy and they will be enormous. The £39bn may be dwarfed. MPs with the public interest at heart must make sure politicians and public are fully informed on told just how vast they will be.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 19, 2019

      May will probably do that, she gets almost everything wrong after all. It will hugely damage possibly destroy the Tory party and would surely lead to a Corbyn/SNP Venezuelan economy.

      A massive betrayal to the 17.2 million, from Brexit means sweet F.A. May.

      1. Remi Lessore
        January 20, 2019

        You’ve heard of Disraeli.
        What about DisMay?

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 19, 2019

      I expect the editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser will eventually tire of my letters, but that has not happened so far and here is the one I sent yesterday:

      “Dear Sir

      Now MPs have rejected her EU ‘deal’ Prime Minister Theresa May has invited opposition parties to suggest ways forward.

      This prompted me to wonder whether she asked the SNP contingent to brief her on the principle of “parallel marketability”, which their party mooted as a possible route to maintaining Scotland’s free trade with both the EU and the rest of the UK.

      From paragraph 152 in the Scottish government document “Scotland’s Place in Europe”:

      “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. For instance, a manufacturer based in Scotland with customers throughout the remainder of the UK would continue to be able to trade freely … If the manufacturer also conducts business within the European Single Market they would be required to continue to demonstrate that their products complied with the requirements of relevant EU Directives and Regulations. In essence, this involves applying the principle of “parallel marketability” whereby goods and services originating in Scotland may be legally marketed in both the UK and the EEA.”

      This suggested sauce for the Scottish goose could equally well serve as sauce for the Northern Irish gander, making it possible to keep the Irish land border as open as now even if there were different product standards on either side.

      And in practice rather than theory, as pointed out in past letters including some copied to the Prime Minister, this is how the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland can be kept open for free movement of goods – a case which UK officials were said to be studying as long ago as last May.

      Yours etc”

      With appropriate references, as I prefer not to make unsubstantiated and often demonstrably false assertions, the stock in trade of EU supporters.

    3. Helen Smith
      January 19, 2019

      If she did that the ERG would have nothing to lose by voting with Corbyn against her. The party would be destroyed, so they might as well jump ship.

    4. JoolsB
      January 19, 2019

      Trouble is all the parties she is consulting with are remainers.

      1. Barbara
        January 20, 2019

        true and this is why this cross party malarkey is a complete joke. WE KNOW the outcome of cross party talks. Its remain. She should just prorogue Parliament now before any more damage is done to democracy. I hope the parliamentary bastrads in question suffer heavily in the future from the voters disdain.

  6. Andy
    January 19, 2019

    I have never liked the idea of a second referendum. The Leavers lied and cheated last time and undoubtedly would again – making all sorts of outrageous promises they could not keep.

    The best way to break the deadlock is simple. It is for Remianers in the Commons to tell the Brextremists to go for it. You have your hardest of hard Brexit and you have precisely 10 years to make it work. We will set predefined goals – and if you reach or exceed those goals then your Brexit is secure.

    If you fail then Brexit will be automatically undone. The UK will rejoin the EU, adopt the Euro, join Schengen – and the Brexiteers will personally be punished, having their assets seized and facing prison sentences.

    This to me seems more than fair. They get a demonstrable and reasonable chance to prove they are right. We get a guaranteed solution – and, crucially, guaranteed punishment for them when they are wrong. Let’s see how brave they all are. I suspect not very.

    There is nothing for anyone to object to in my plan. You will get your Brexit. I am fully confident you will all fail. You are all confident you will not. So come on then it is time for you all to stop your continual whinging and deliver on your promises. We will be chortling along as you fail. We will keep the cells warm.

    1. Gordon Smith
      January 19, 2019

      No. The Brexiters have had their chance already – two and a half years to produce a deal of frictionless trade with the EU, a mass of trade deals with the rest of the world, etc. All false. And this week, offered the chance to vote for a deal that would guarantee Brexit on 29 March, they voted against it! No, it is time for Remainers in Parliament to put the 50 or so wreckers from the ERG back in their box, and start deciding what the nation needs – the softest possible Brexit or no Brexit

      1. Original Richard
        January 19, 2019

        Except that the Brexiters haven’t had a chance yet!

        The negotiations have been carried out by a Remainer PM and she has even sacked two Secretaries of State for Exiting the EU because they were Brexiters who could not agree with her policies and the (non)- Withdrawal Agreement which does not respect the referendum result.

        Because we have a Remain PM and because of Parliament demanding that “no deal” (WTO terms until another trade agreement is agreed) is not an option, the EU have, as predicted/planned, decided not to negotiate (it is always the “UK who must come up with a proposal”) and to set such hard withdrawal terms that even Remainers in Parliament (the majority) couldn’t vote for an agreement which was obviously very damaging to the UK’s interests.

        1. JoolsB
          January 19, 2019

          Exactly. Dopey May has deliberately kept Brexiteers out of the loop. If they had been in charge, Brexit would have been delivered by now instead of the disgraceful surrender document she and her cronies presented us with.

        2. Marta
          January 19, 2019

          Davis, Fox, Raab, Boris had their chance, offered nothing. Brexiters exposed as false prophets. I admire M Gove, who is taking responsibility and trying to avoid the very worst of a hard cliff edge Brexit

          1. Original Richard
            January 20, 2019

            They haven’t “had their chance”, they were sacked by our Remainer PM.

            There is no such thing as a “hard cliff edge Brexit” unless you really believe that the EU will introduce sanctions against the UK when we leave.

            It is as much a myth as the pro-EU predictions of msssive economic decline if we did not join the Euro.

        3. Barbara
          January 20, 2019

          absolutely correct , remainer PM parachuted , in a remainer cabinet chosen and the’token’ Brexiteers in the cabinet secretly sidelined. What utter treachery.

        4. Alison
          January 20, 2019

          I remain perplexed, concerned and worried about Mr Rees-Mogg’s position and decisions. He has been too dutiful to the PM. I heard him say to Andrew Neil that he would not vote against the Conservative Party in a vote of no confidence against the government. Last two days I’ve seen Tweets apparently quoting him as saying that if there is to be no deal, then he would prefer the Withdrawal Agreement to remaining.

      2. Pud
        January 19, 2019

        If we’d reached our current position after the process of leaving the EU was completely in the hands of Leavers then I’d agree with some of what you say (although the Withdrawal Agreement is not leaving the EU). Instead, we’ve had a Remainer cabinet led by a Remainer PM who went behind the back of the department supposedly dealing with leaving and then presented the Chequers plan as a fair accompli.

    2. Anonymous
      January 19, 2019

      Well. We’ve had pure obstructionism from Remain so far and it is they you need to be talking to Andy, not us.

    3. Kenneth
      January 19, 2019

      Although your tongue is in your cheek (I assume), I’ll take your cue and say that first we need to surcharge those who agreed to regularly send £billions of taxpayers’ money abroad to Brussels. A colossal sum that is lost forever.

    4. Richard1
      January 19, 2019

      What a sensible and mature post for a middle aged man. Anyone who disagrees with me should go to prison. Grow up.

    5. matthu
      January 19, 2019

      But the Remainers didn’t lie, did they?

    6. matthu
      January 19, 2019

      ” … and you have precisely 10 years to make it work”

      The Remainers had 40 years to make it work, and still failed. We were promised the 2016 People’s Vote would be a once in a generation affair … or was that another lie?

    7. Dominic
      January 19, 2019

      You worry me.

      1. James
        January 19, 2019


        Is there something wrong with you today? You are in the UK, not Nazi Germany, we don’t send people to jail for having the ‘wrong’ opinions.

    8. matthu
      January 19, 2019

      How do you think we can convince voters that voting matters, Andy?

      1. oldwulf
        January 19, 2019

        Hi matthu

        To quote Mark Twain – “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

    9. jerry
      January 19, 2019

      @Andy; It has been the Pro EU campaigns that have lied, since 1975, whilst Heath made it clear in 1972 that the EEC would eventually lead to political and fiscal union there was no mention of that by the Pro EEC camping in 1975, just the trading block…

      “You have your hardest of hard Brexit and you have precisely 10 years to make it work.”

      Why, when EEC/EU fanatics have had 47 years? If we do end up leaving on WTO rules we will have how ever long parliament via the people want.

      What is more who says that in 10 to 20 years time even if the people do decide that Brexit has failed, that the UK should become part of a larger Supranational union again who says the people would opt for the EU (by then almost certainly fully federated), we might choose to seek entry as the 51st state, rather than the 27th, after all the UK is far closer [1] to the USA in culture, language, legal and commerce than we are the EU27.

      [1] and getting ever closer by the week it seems, and no I’m not talking just about politics, look at TV, look at how we shop, were we shop etc.

    10. Edward2
      January 19, 2019

      Sounds like the way Chairman Mao ran China with his plans and his deadly purges.
      Would you have the same system for remaining in the EU andy?
      Let’s see you predict the next ten years of EU membership.

    11. L Jones
      January 19, 2019

      You really are disloyal to your country, Andy, if only in words. You wish failure upon it simply so that you can crow. Very dishonourable and unattractive.
      As for ”lying and cheating” (and we believe Remain has done just that) perhaps you haven’t noticed, but we’ve all had the same information to assimilate. You reached your conclusion, we reached ours.
      But I’m damned sure that if Remain had won, we wouldn’t be hoping for our country to suffer just so that we could say ”I told you so”.

      1. Steve
        January 19, 2019

        L Jones

        “You really are disloyal to your country, Andy, if only in words.”

        There’s more to it than words;

        He’s got a massive chip on his shoulder, maybe anti – ‘the country’ because it won’t give him what he wants free, and resents the state because he doesn’t see why he should have to work for the things everyone else has had to work for.

        Hence the deep resentment of pensioners, whom he sees as having robbed him.

    12. Steve
      January 19, 2019


      “There is nothing for anyone to object to in my plan”

      Yeah there is; You have no right to insist laws on brexit are changed, you lost the referendum. You represent the MINORITY. Now do be quiet there’s a good chap.

      Perhaps you should take platform at Speaker’s Corner, Andy. (let us know when)

      1. margaret howard
        January 19, 2019

        16m against 17m is not a minority, especially since over 30m citizens could not or did not vote.

        In addition is is now estimated that oldie Brexit voters now dead have been overtaken by young Remainers who have now reached voting age. It is their future that is being ruined.

        EXIT BREXIT.

        1. cornishstu
          January 19, 2019

          I suggest you look up the definition of minority and majority and as for your 30m citizens who could not or did not vote can you please provide evidence had they, to their voting intentions. Likewise with those who who are now eligible to vote

        2. libertarian
          January 19, 2019

          margaret howard

          Just how dumb are you? You dont think

          a) remain voters die too

          b) as voters age they tend to change opinion based on experience

          c) there is no evidence that supports the new cohort of voters all being remain

          d) any idea how many of the “30 million” who did not vote thinking there was no chance may vote leave this time

          Interesting reading the Students for Brexit website today , might scare you a bit to find out that generation Z are a bit more savvy than you think

        3. M Davis
          January 19, 2019

          According to your ‘logic’, you could turn everything on its’ head ad infinitum and still nobody would be satisfied with the result. The Country voted to Leave the EU, not Remain in the EU. You are a bad loser!

        4. Anonymous
          January 19, 2019

          Remain + Corbyn don’t forget.

          You EXIT BREXIT and a good proportion of sensible voters will never vote again.

    13. Original Richard
      January 19, 2019


      It is your wish as a representative of the EU to punish “Brexiteers” (not defined) and their families (“assets seized”) for implementing a decision the country made as a whole through a referendum, where the losers set the definition of “failure”, amply demonstrates one of the main reasons why many people voted leave.

    14. oldwulf
      January 19, 2019

      Hi Andy

      We have already had the second referendum. We had the first peoples vote in 1975. The second peoples vote was, of course, in 2016. So …….. the third peoples vote should be in 2057.

      Sounds fair to me.

    15. Roy Grainger
      January 19, 2019

      Not sure why Andy is giving us ten years to make it work, he’s already told us we’ll all be dead by then.

      1. Steve
        January 19, 2019


        It’s so he can say; “see I told you that you couldn’t make it work”

        I’ll also be dead by 2057. But hopefully turn into a nasty pensioner before then.

      2. Andy
        January 19, 2019

        Today we know is crossover day.

        If nobody changes their vote the UK now backs Remain as Leavers have died and teen Remainers can now vote.

        Of course many people have changed their mind mostly in favour of remain and we all know Brexit would not win again. This is why you are all frit.

        And I would never advocate anyone go to prison for disagreeing. Disagreeing is part of the process.

        I would advocate they go to prison for lying, cheating and for deliberately ignoring the advice of experts, with entirely predictable consequences.

        Deliver Brexit as you promised you would and there is no punishment. But after years of dismissing evidence and slandering experts, Brexiteers should be held to account if you fail. Which you will.

        1. Richard1
          January 19, 2019

          Are you an advocate of prison for those who assured us there would be a recession and an 800k increase in unemployment on the back of a vote to leave? Or the fools who advocated the ERM and insisted interest rates were hiked in accordance with the rules, ruining businesses and forcing people from their homes? Or the nincompoops who advocated joining the euro, insulting opponents as “little Englanders at best, xenophones at worst” in the words of one FT journalist? Or perhaps those near criminal liars of the EU-inspired green blob who forced diesel upon us to reduce CO2 for fear of global warming, killing children and old people? We’d need an awful lot of new prisons for you and your lot if we follow your recommendation, before any Brexiteers got sent down.

        2. Glenn Vaughan
          January 19, 2019



        3. Anonymous
          January 19, 2019

          Well here’s one Remain voter who won’t be making old bones because of the acid in his bile.

          You need to see a doctor, Andy.

        4. A.Sedgwick
          January 20, 2019

          I presume you are proud of the EU in allowing live animal export for slaughter?

    16. fedupsoutherner
      January 19, 2019

      Andy, if only we could leave. It’s your lot preventing it so stop going on in your usual childish fashion. Mind you, your posts do amuse me and I would miss the entertainment.

    17. bigneil
      January 19, 2019

      ” rejoin the EU, adopt the Euro, join Schengen ” – -AND – – see our shores flooded with economic ( no intention of working at all, doctors, surgeons, scientists and engineers ) and our daily “contribution to the EU” sky-rocket.

      1. Andy
        January 19, 2019

        Migrants contribute more to the economy than many (if not most) Brexit voters.

        And your personal contribution to the EU is pretty close to zero. My personal contribution to your collective old age benefits is huge.

        1. libertarian
          January 19, 2019


          Give it up, you contribute nothing, you exploit East European workers and make money speculating on asset bubbles whilst denying the young of whom you are so fond a home

          Your twitter feed is a laugh

        2. Steve
          January 19, 2019


          “Migrants contribute more to the economy than many (if not most) Brexit voters.”

          Depends which migrants you’re talking about, I suspect you don’t know.

          “And your [bigneil] personal contribution to the EU is pretty close to zero.

          How would you know ? are you an authority on the subject? No you are not.

          “My personal contribution to your collective old age benefits is huge.”

          Doubtful. The only things huge about you are the size of that chip on your shoulders, and your evident contempt for those in retirement.

          There is a difference between vitriol and discussion worthy opinion, and I’d say your contempt for pensioners is bordering on hatred.

    18. Mike Wilson
      January 19, 2019

      The Leavers lied and cheated last time and undoubtedly would again – making all sorts of outrageous promises they could not keep.

      Oh, grow up, do! What outrageous promises did REMAIN make? A punishment budget! An instant recession! The immediate loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs! Armageddon! Catastrophe! All lies! They CHEATED and LIED to try to scare people into voting remain. If being in the EU is so self-evidently fantastic, why did they have to LIE and CHEAT to try to SCARE people into voting Remain? Answer that if you can.

      The best way to break the deadlock is simple.

      Yes, indeed it is.

      1) We leave now – with no deal and trade on WTO terms.

      2) If the EU want a free trade deal, we do a free trade deal with them.

      3) You, and your ilk, apply to join the EU and put whatever deal you can negotiate to the people in a referendum. After all, since being in the EU is, according to the likes of you, a ‘no brainer’, you’ll win a landslide in that referendum.

      That is the only democratic way out of this situation. Or for people like you to shut up and accept the result of the referendum. WE VOTED TO LEAVE THE EU! Accept it!

    19. Al
      January 19, 2019

      I take it then, Andy would have no problem with similar punishments being levelled against Remainers to recompense those whose business were destroyed by the EU over the last ten years?

    20. Helen Smith
      January 19, 2019

      Leaving aside Remain lied rather than Leave I like your idea! Leaving on WTO will be a terrific success.

      I would say two years would be sufficient to prove the point.

    21. libertarian
      January 19, 2019


      How are you going to jail 17.4 million even after you’ve euthanised anyone over 80 . You are priceless , loving your twitter rants too

    22. Mark
      January 19, 2019

      Simpler – just leave. If it appears to the electorate in future that rejoining on Article 49 terms is attractive, that will happen, subject to the EU’s added impositions that it adopts at the time. If ou;re right we could be back in in well under ten years.

    23. Everhopeful
      January 19, 2019

      As far as I am aware Remainers have at least 45 years of history to draw on regarding how well being in the EU works. Look around at this does not work! So how do you dish out punishment for a lost half century??

    24. NickC
      January 19, 2019

      Andy, Still indoctrinating your children with your hatred of Brexit, pensioners, UKIPers and Tories? When it comes down to it, you are just one more sad, hate-filled Remain peddling your Remain lies, out of a dwindling bunch of EU ideology fanatics.

    25. M Davis
      January 19, 2019

      Andy, you are just a bad loser which, is not very British!

    26. Original Richard
      January 19, 2019


      What about punishing all those MPs who fraudulently deceive their electorate by pretending they are Eurosceptics to gdt elected and then vote for pro-EU legislation when in Parliament ?

      Or those who do not follow their manifesto ?

  7. oldtimer
    January 19, 2019

    There are also the numbers outside parliament. Numbers that count people and money. It is evident that the Remainers outside parliament are well organised and well funded. They appeared to have a stage and sound system erected outside or near the parliament earlier in the week when the key votes were held. Presumably this would require someone’s permission. Is it clear who is funding them? Is it known how much funding comes from outside the UK? ………..has in the past been a donor to Remain interests. Does the law require such interests to be declared? For example if ( X)succeeds in drumming up financial support for the Remain cause does he, or they, have to declare it? Remain activity will remain intense over the next ten weeks as it seeks to delay, stop and reverse Brexit.

    1. L Jones
      January 19, 2019

      It seems that there was a plan in place very soon after Leave won the referendum. Whereas we Leavers sat back and simply expected our Government to get on with implementing the decision of the majority (ie expected honour and integrity and good old-fashioned morality from our MPs) – the Remain camp went into action with a campaign to frustrate Brexit.
      So now we’re playing catch-up, disorganised because we didn’t EXPECT to have to fight our own Government on this. It seems to have taken a long time for it to dawn on us that our Government, and especially our PM, is not on the side of the majority and its democratic decision, that the EU’s requirements trump those of the UK in just about everything so far as our MPs are concerned.

    2. Mark B
      January 19, 2019

      Late last year whilst Christmas Shopping I noticed a woman with a small stall with EU pamphlets and regalia. I would have stopped to speak to her to ask the many questions you raised but, had to be somewhere in a hurry. Curses ! But if I ever see them again then I shall make enquiries.

  8. steadyeddie
    January 19, 2019

    Excellent assessment of the state of play however it does not really move us forward. I have to say that I thought the job of government is to govern and the largest party forms that government. At the next election, whenever that is, do I vote for the conservative party of Sir John Redwood or the Conservative party of Theresa May.
    Confused of Wokingham

    1. Alan Jutson
      January 19, 2019


      The conundrum of who to vote for in Wokingham is one I will also struggle with.

      JR is an excellent constituency Mp who will answer communication with speed.
      He has also been completely up front about most of his political thoughts, and certainly Brexit in particular.
      The fact that he also communicates his thoughts in this excellent daily blog and opens it up to comment is also to be praised.
      Thus on a personal level he absolutely deserves my vote, and he has had it for many years.

      The problem is with the Conservative Party he represents, the present leader in particular, and the views, policies, and compitancy of that Leader and her Chancellor.

      I then look at the alternatives !

      Is there really any other sensible choice at the moment.

    2. Graham Wood
      January 19, 2019

      Try voting for the only party fully committed to taking the UK cleanly out of the EU and all its institutions, namely UKIP. There is no alternative.

      1. Mike Wilson
        January 19, 2019

        Try voting for the only party fully committed to taking the UK cleanly out of the EU and all its institutions, namely UKIP. There is no alternative.

        Not in a million years. Not in its current incarnation with its current leader and its courting of people that would cause most people to not support it. UKIP will never get 4 million votes again – not while it is in the state it is in.

        No, support the new party Sir Nigel is going to start. I just hope that this time he keeps unpleasant people out of the party and doesn’t say daft things himself. In one of the debates in the referendum he started going on about how many foreigners the NHS treats! For heaven’s sake – talk about reducing an argument to trivia.

      2. margaret howard
        January 19, 2019

        UKIP? Does that still exist? I thought even Farage its former leader is now looking for a new party, no doubt having realised too late that his foolish actions are about to deprive him of his generous MEP salary.

        Talk about cutting off the hand that feeds you.

        1. NickC
          January 19, 2019

          Margaret Howard, Yes, that’s your measure: you would betray your country to a foreign power for the 40 pieces of EU silver that an MEP gets.

          1. margaret howard
            January 19, 2019

            Eh? I was talking about Farage.

          2. NickC
            January 21, 2019

            Margaret Howard, Eh? I was comparing you to Farage. He is willing to give up his MEP salary; you think it should be an adequate bribe.

        2. Adam
          January 19, 2019

          margaret howard:

          Apparently margaret, you hadn’t realised that Nigel Farage’s intent is to remove EU interference from the UK. His actions there have been fully to bring MEP’s jobs to an end, irrespective of the less important outcome of his not receiving the corresponding salary. His long-used description is that of being one of the turkeys voting for Christmas; good for the UK, opposite of foolish.

          In that the UK is a net contributor to EU funds, it is you & we who hand the money over to feed him, which he blasts out with magnificent effect.

      3. steadyeddie
        January 19, 2019

        They caused all the trouble in the first place. Fartage most duplicitous man in history.

        1. NickC
          January 19, 2019

          Steadyeddie, You’re just frightened of change.

        2. L Jones
          January 19, 2019

          Margaret H and Eddie – perhaps you could start a Mutual Admiration Society and your own blog! Now THAT would be worth reading! Lots of insults and not much substance – just the ticket for committed remainders!

        3. fedupsoutherner
          January 19, 2019

          Steadeddie, You just don’t like hearing the truth because Farage is good at that. He tells it as it is with no frills. He sees it in the EU parliament from the front row. He knows how they work. I rather like someone like him keeping an eye on the crooks.

      4. Adam
        January 19, 2019

        Graham Wood:

        UKIP may be the only clean-break party available, yet voting for UKIP might result in splitting the total of Brexit-intending folk within each constituency.

        UKIP or any other Brexit-favouring party or candidate should focus only on targets where no high performance Brexit candidate stands. By those means, they may avoid weakening each Brexit prospect of victory locally, as well as being able to focus more resources where they are most needed.

        Gerard Batten presents strong, well-reasoned communications for Brexit. He stepped in as a reluctant short-term leader to remedy factions within. In many ways he may be improving the party, but his good work is contrasted with what appears extreme, appropriately draining support away from otherwise-loyal members & supporters.

        There may be potential for a new UKIP-type party, created by Nigel Farage with Aaron Banks’ financial backing, which could scoop a vast number of people seeking solid Brexit support & other sensible policy intentions. The pair are bound to have evaluated the prospect, & choosing their time carefully. Even so, each Brexit group risks competing against its like-minded alternative, assisting their own opposition.

        To that extent, Graham, there is no alternative.

        1. NickC
          January 19, 2019

          Adam, I have voted Tory in the past in order to secure Brexit. In what way was that any alternative?

          1. Adam
            January 19, 2019

            NickC: Voting Tory has not secured Brexit, yet; & might never. Within each constituency, if all the intending Brexit voters fully liaised & agreed to vote in unison solely for the strongest Brexit proponent candidate irrespective of party, that may cause effect in parliament. Such a force is unlikely to be organised, yet its mechanics are more practicable now with internet communications than at any earlier time.

      5. Steve
        January 19, 2019

        Graham Wood

        “Try voting for the only party fully committed to taking the UK cleanly out of the EU and all its institutions, namely UKIP.”

        And, er…..where are UKIP right now?

        I will not be voting UKIP, I don’t like duplicity and I don’t like cowardice.

  9. Richard1
    January 19, 2019

    Of all the options, the mis-named ‘Norway plus’ is the most absurd. Being in the single market and the customs union clearly destroys any possible point or advantage of brexit, and must therefore be inferior to remain. It’s also a negation of the vote to leave. Odd that intelligent people like Nick Boles MP can’t see that.

    Looks like the best thing is WTO brexit, making temporary arrangements, and then agreeing a comprehensive FTA with the EU afterwards in parallel with other FTAs. It should be remembered that once the cliff edge is seen to be a foot high, all the existing EU third party FTAs have been novated, and discussions are underway intensively with other countries such as the US, there will be a complete change in mood music. Project Fear 2.0 will have been shown to be tosh like v1.0, and all the sneering nonsense from Continuity Remain on the impossibility and un-desirability of any non-EU trade deals shown to be false. Combined with the right tax and spending policies the boost to confidence will be huge. Needs a new PM though.

  10. Tabulazero
    January 19, 2019

    So how are the WTO trade agreements you promised us would be signed by March 2019 coming along, your Lordship ?

    1. sm
      January 19, 2019

      I’m sort of assuming from your moniker that you aren’t British, Tabulazero, so will therefore excuse you for not knowing the difference between a Knight and a Baron.

      1. margaret howard
        January 19, 2019


        No doubt Tabulazero lives in a modern society that has no truck with such silly medieval titles. What is however more sinister is that they are still being used by us to reward for services rendered and to appeal to the vanity of people.

        Still, JR is in good company with Dame Twiggy.

      2. Tabulazero
        January 19, 2019

        Do not.

        I fully know the difference but when someone (even if it is the PM) extends to you what is obviously a bribe ahead of a crucial vote, the honourable thing is to refuse it altogether.

        Isn’t honour supposed to be one of the knightly virtues ?

        1. NickC
          January 19, 2019

          Tabulazero, If the award of the title does not itself change your views, intentions or vote, where is the dishonour?

          1. Tabulazero
            January 19, 2019

            By accepting, you are participating in bribery scheme whether you chose or not to do what you are being paid for.

          2. Edward2
            January 20, 2019

            There is no logic in your views.

            If you accept an honour, for example, being a hard working MP who has helped many thousands of local electors over decades with their problems and you think that because some few others get honours for less deserving reasons or alter their loyalties then the whole honours system is a “bribery scheme”

    2. Richard1
      January 19, 2019

      Was it not clear to you – it certainly was to most of us – that while a member of the EU you can’t sign, or even negotiate, any third party trade agreements? It’s one of the arguments for brexit.

    3. Billy Marlene
      January 19, 2019

      Good heavens! Has Sir John been elevated to the Peerage?


    4. fedupsoutherner
      January 19, 2019

      Tab, do go away and do some research. We can’t sign trade deals until we leave and if people like you don’t let us leave then it’s not going to happen. Comprende??

      1. Marta
        January 19, 2019

        But you can negotiate them. The UK has negotiated none. That is zero, squat

    5. libertarian
      January 19, 2019


      Oh my word after all this time and STILL they can’t get it through their tiny minds that you can’t sign trade deals until we’ve left. Its a rule of the organisation you voted for . smh

      If you would like to know who the DoIT has ben lining up and has agreements ready to sign then follow their twitter account they are all announced there , note though there are quite a lot now so you may have to scroll back a long way to see them all

  11. rick hamilton
    January 19, 2019

    The audience at Question Time in Derby roared with approval when No Deal was proposed. Derby being the home of Rolls-Royce aero engines and with Toyota close by, there seems to be no fear that the local economy would collapse, or be affected at all. With QT panellists being majority Remain the BBC must be wondering how to spin this event so as to appear the opposite of what it was.

    It’s a very small sample, but could it be that MPs in their Westminster bunker are the only ones who really are scared by WTO and ‘ordinary people’ (aka taxpayers) are just totally fed up with being told what to think ?

    1. Iain Moore
      January 19, 2019

      It’s a case of the British people having faith in our country, and ambitions for it, while the British establishment doesn’t. It was the British establishment’s loss of faith in our country that made them push us into the EEC, as it was said at the time they wanted to ‘manage our decline’ and nothing has changed in the intervening 44 years. The British establishment still has no faith in our country or its people.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 19, 2019

      Perhaps next time they will go for 6 remainers and 0 Brexit supporters rather than 5:1. So they audience have no one to chear. Well done to the excellent Isabel Oakeshott – despite the endless interruptions.

  12. Lifelogic
    January 19, 2019

    We should surely leave with no deal, unless we are offered a deal that is better than no deal. May’s deal was massively worse than no deal and an appalling vassal state trap. Surely this is obvious to all sensible people? Not alas to 202 nearly all Tory MPs.

    If May does cave in to a delay, or to a second referendum she will destroy the Conservative party and give us Corbyn. Surely this is fairly clear too.

    I suspect from her record May will get it wrong yet again.

    Much talk on the BBC of car insurance prices going up “thanks to Brexit”. Well Hammond put up Insurance Tax by 20%, then we have lots of fake whiplash and other claims due to a poor legal system that encourages fraud. Also new cars are designed to be expensive (profitable) to repair with proximity detectors, cameras and lots of other electrical complexities in the body work, wing mirrors and the likes.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 19, 2019

      Yet another back door tax from HMRC, with the ‘making tax digital’ agenda. So we need new software at a cost of about £20 per month per company (4) to file our VAT so £960 PA plus staff time. Thus reducing profits, creating lots extra pointless work, damaging productivity and reducing the corporation tax take significantly.

      Well done year again to the economic illiterate HalfwitHammond!

      1. Lifelogic
        January 19, 2019

        Yet another new tax according to the Sun today – ‘Motorists face £1,000-a-year charge to park at work as greedy councils launch ‘Workplace Parking Levies’. Do the government actually want people to work? Will people working from home be taxed on parking in their own drives?

        1. Pud
          January 19, 2019

          Don’t give them ideas, councils are too good at screwing money out of motorists without your help.

          1. Lifelogic
            January 19, 2019

            I think they have the idea already.

          2. Edward2
            January 19, 2019

            Operating in Nottingham already.
            Going to be rolled out in many other local authority areas soon.
            Could be twenty pounds per week per parking space.
            On top of any daily congestion charge and the low emmission zone charges many big cities are introducing.
            Then they wonder why high streets are struggling.

        2. bigneil
          January 19, 2019

          Or you can just stick bad signs on a bus lane and fine nearly a 1000 people a day – just like Manchester has done. I’m sure this “onvites” people to come and visit Manchester and spend their money, that is of course, what they have left after the fine.

  13. Tabulazero
    January 19, 2019

    How can you seriously help inflict the biggest loss on a Conservative government in recorded history and vote in its favour less than 48hrs later in the confidence vote and not call that taking voters for idiots ?

    Do you simply expect voters not to notice that the Conservatives are willing to do absolutely everything to postpone an election ?

    Only a general election can sort this ugly mess.

    Reply I do not think a General election now would be a good idea which is why I voted against Mr Corbyns attempt to hold one

    1. Richard1
      January 19, 2019

      How would a general election solve anything? What would Labour’s policy on Brexit be?!

      1. Lifelogic
        January 20, 2019

        Labour’s policy is to be and promise all things to all voters using money from their magic money tree.

    2. Iain Moore
      January 19, 2019

      No a general election won’t sort out the problem of a Remainer Parliament that doesn’t represent the country. We need to have recall and by elections to clear the Remainer MPs squatting in Brexit seats. To use the Remainer jargon, now that we have more information about the true views of these MPs, no longer hidden behind part manifestos that they won’t abide by, we need to have an informed peoples by election votes to see if people want to confirm them as their MP. Oh and by elections would be a lot cheaper than an election.

      1. Adam
        January 19, 2019

        Iain Moore:

        In that a manifesto is a form of contract, those MPs who are elected & blatantly breach it should be rightly held to account without undue delay. In financial markets, a customer who makes a contribution to a service has recourse to rapid remedy in the event of deceptive descriptions or non-delivery.

        The notion of waiting up to 5 years for the mere prospect of change, & accepting the absence of punishment for serious wrongdoing is crazy. De-selection should be enacted.

        A vote for a lawmaker is more valuable & precious than the purchase of a consumer product, yet is grossly remiss in terms of quality, reliability, delivery & compensation for loss.

        1. jerry
          January 20, 2019

          @Adam; There is nothing for which MPs can be held to account for.

          Indeed we voted to Leave, but that is all, if you want the people to tell MPs how the UK should leave then the people need to be asked – best we hold that second referendum, this time asking those How and When questions…

          The real reason now is a bad time for a GE is because Corbyn’s Labour party would likely be elected with a 1945 style majority!

          1. Adam
            January 20, 2019

            jerry: Prompt de-selection, if enacted, would enable the local constituency to expel those MPs who falsely campaigned to Brexit but voted against when elected, & vice versa. Often, there would be a fine line of mitigation, but the people specifically affected could decide that locally. That would be simpler, faster, better-targeted & fairer than the so-called ‘People’s Vote’ of a second Referendum nationally.

          2. NickC
            January 21, 2019

            Jerry, By telling our MPs that we wanted to Leave, we told them we wanted to leave the EU treaties. That’s the end result we must get. The How? and When? questions were answered, by the government and both campaigns before the vote, as How? = Article 50; and When? = after two years (the Art50 specified time).

          3. jerry
            January 21, 2019

            @NickC; No that is what you think or wish to project onto others. None of the How or When questions were asked or answered. People who voted Leave because they agreed with say [1] the Flexcit group’s manifesto obviously were/are happy to leave the political EU but remain in the Single Market.

            [1] to pick one out of the 28 Leave groups

    3. Jagman84
      January 19, 2019

      In more normal times, the party of Government would gauge support from their MPs for their legislation, before presenting it to the house. However, due to the PM and Chancellor being more concerned with the wishes of the EU than the electorate, that common sense approach appears to have been ditched. Hence, the disastrous result on Tuesday. It’s likely that Mrs May will not learn any lessons from this and return to the house with some equally unpalatable offering.

    4. fedupsoutherner
      January 19, 2019

      Tab, stupid comment again. We don’t even know what Corbyn’s policy is on Brexit let alone if he would get a majority to pass it. In the meantime we can be sure he will trash the economy like Labour always do.

    5. Tabulazero
      January 19, 2019

      You are basically happy with the level of incompetence displayed by the current government which you voted to support.

    6. libertarian
      January 19, 2019


      You really haven’t got a clue have you

      In a general election either

      a) tories win …. no change , still a mess

      b) labour win… Brexit on no deal happens, why? BECAUSE Corbyns a leaver & wants to nationalise industries

      c) Its hung and whilst the parties are fighting amongst themselves its suddenly March 29th

  14. jerry
    January 19, 2019

    “We now know there are 71 Labour MPs willing to defy Mr Corbyn to speak out for a second referendum. With 35 SNP MPs and 12 Liberal democrats, also wanting a second vote, that makes a total of 108.”

    108, plus 4 (or 5) now IND ex Labour, plus 1 Green, plus 4 PC Total = 117

    “a more numerous force than the 108 on the opposition benches.”

    Sorry Sir John, one of us appears to have miscounted, what am I missing?

    “It is also very likely more than 110 Conservative MPs would defy any suggestion they voted for one.”

    Unless TM changes her mind and makes the issue a matter of confidence of course, such is the stalemate the last two options are either a referendum or GE, and indeed the EU have said that a new referendum or GE is one of the few circumstances that would bring an extension to the A50 process.

    I wish I shared your confidence…

    1. L Jones
      January 19, 2019

      That’s quite something to ponder, isn’t it? ”..the EU have said that a new referendum or GE……” as if our internal politics are to be monitored or approved by them. If remainers get their way and we stay shackled, what’s to stop the EU telling us how and when we might arrange a GE, a referendum, etc, in the future?
      It’s all about control with the EU, because they’ll decide what works for their Project.

      1. Andy
        January 19, 2019

        The EU is not interfering at all.

        It has made clear that Brexit will go ahead – without a transition – on March 29 unless the British change their minds.

        The EU has put some contingencies in place to ease the disruption to its members and citizens.

        But it is waiting for the clueless ranting Tory buffoons to figure out how to fix the incoherence and inconsistencies at the heart of their Brexit debacle.

        All the Brexiteers have to do is actually deliver on their undeliverable lies.

        1. James
          January 19, 2019

          It is probably indisputable that Nigel Farage more than any other single person was responsible for the referendum being offered. Why has a knighthood not been offered to him?

          1. jerry
            January 20, 2019

            @James; Nonsense in stilts, stop trying to rewrite history!

            There is no way Mr Farage (nor UKIP) could have been responsible for the referendum being obtained, he has never sat as an MP [1], it was on the floor of the HoC were the pressure and votes had to be, the same sorts of pressures that now face TM over actual Brexit – being unable to get key policy through without the support of enough MPs. Gordon Brown & Ed Miliband both did more for Brexit than Farage and UKIP ever did.

            [1] even the two UKIP MPs who did (eventually) sit in the HoC made little if any impact as UKIP members, by 2014 the referendum having already been offered and legislated for by Cameron.

          2. Edward2
            January 20, 2019

            I do think the 4 million votes UKIP got worried Cameron that traditional Tory voters were leaking away.
            He and others thought a referendum would stop that trend continuing.
            Actually he was right.
            Post referendum UKIP’s vote has fallen greatly.
            It was just the result of the referendum which shocked Cameron.
            He never thought he would lose.

            Reply No. Mr Cameron and his Eurosceptic Conservative critics never thought UKIP wouod win seats in a UK General Election. It was fear of a Conservative leadership election that led to granting us the referendum

          3. Edward2
            January 20, 2019

            Very interesting.
            I wasnt thinking UKIP would gain any significant number of seats in Parliament just that it might affect the Conservatives success in future elections.
            But I stand corrected.
            Thank you for you reply.

    2. Helen Smith
      January 19, 2019

      You certainly forgot to count 6 Labour leavers plus Caroline Flint’s group.

    3. Mark
      January 19, 2019

      Add in the DUP.

  15. Anonymous
    January 19, 2019
  16. Lifelogic
    January 19, 2019

    It seems some working class students at Somerville College Oxford just cannot cope with a starter of Octopus Terrine. The Labour Barroness Royall said Somerville needs to be “welcoming to all”. Get these poor snowflakes a pint of whelks some malt vinegar and white pepper, followed by tripe and onions, Bury black pudding and a pint of best, some goat curry or tandoori chicken to make them all feel welcome. Beer can be passed to the left or the right I understand so that will save any potential embarrassment for them too. No wonder so many come out with such worthless degrees will lefty dopes like this in charge.

  17. mika
    January 19, 2019

    The problem in the House of Commons is that certain Tories are bitterly opposed to ‘forming a coalition’ amongst themselves but are quite content to form one off voting coalitions with the opposition as they see fit.

    Earlier this week John Redwood was telling us how MPs on all sides had ‘united’ against the Government.

    A sizeable cohort amongst Tory ranks are completely unwilling to vote together on any alternative to do with Brexit, to acknowledge that anyone apart from themself has a legitimate point of view nor even accept the logic of arithmetic.

    The fact that any Party SAYS that it opposes a Second Referendum or anything else, does not mean that its’ MPs will not vote for one at some point in the future.

    It won’t be Mrs May that splits the Tory Party in the Commons in any such votes. The Tory Party IS ALREADY split, as, when any votes come, Labour will also be.

    In the next very few weeks the Remainer majority in the Commons will form a ‘coalition’ fto offer the necessary votes to back a Government move to postpone the UK Leaving the EU on March 29th.

    Even if they don’t, there’s nothing to stop the Government or any temporary administration which replaces it following a defeat in Confidence Vote, requesting that the EU agrees to postponement of Leaving, or even, to cancel Brexit without any vote at all.

    If they did, it would then be left to No Deal Brexiters to see if they can persuade the Court (as Gina Miller did) that legislation is required.

    They would lose. First the Court, in its’ own interests’ will look for the solution which places the ball back into the hands of politicians. And it will be able to think up several plausible legal grounds for doing so.

    It could, for example say that the Brexit Act itself offers legal guidance. The Act provides for the Government to change the Brexit Date without further legislation.

    The separate Article 5o Act empowers the Government to invoke Article 50. It didn’t OBLIGE it to so so, nor does it oblige it keep it invoked, nor to Leave on any given date.

    In terms of UK Law at least, the Article 50 letter is devoid of any legal purpose because no formal LEGAL ‘decision’ to Leave has yet been taken. We are only leaving, because as things stand Article 5o, says we are. If we don’t do anything before March 29th we will Leave by default.

    The ECJ however has ruled that the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 and if our courts (which they will), say the Government can do so, or postpone the Leaving date without legislation, or even a vote in Parliament, then revoked it will be be.

    Article 50 is ‘descriptive’ rather than ‘normative’. It provides for the UK to do something under our own Constitutional Arrangements. It does not limit the options the UK would have had, if Article 50 had not existed. and we’d relied on the Vienna Conventions instead.

    The Lisbon Treaty makes us members of the EU. We remain members of the EU until the Treaty lapses. The Crown, if it so chooses can stop it lapsing.

    This is what SOVEREIGNTY means, the Crown in Parliament is Sovereign and it can do whatever it likes unless UK law stops it There is no law preventing it from either withdrawing the Article 50 letter or asking for the departure date to be postponed.

    Lack of both recognition and confidence in this ABSOLUTE source of UK SOVEREIGNTY is THE underlying feature of John Redwood’s posts He repeatedly tells us that ‘Sovereignty’ lays here, or lays there, or has to be ‘recovered’.

    Yesterday he was telling is that comments from German businessmen, not one of us had ever heard of, were interfering with our ‘democracy’.

    John Redwood is correct. The postponement or cancellation of Brexit, will come at a price and the eventual outcome will be much worse than the existing May Deal.

    There might of course be no ‘eventual outcome’ at all for years yet to come. Leaving can be postponed indefinitely.

    1. Edward2
      January 20, 2019

      I think you are wrong about Article 50.
      It has passed into law.
      So only another act can repeal it.
      Only Governments can propose new law.
      They say they have no intention of repealing Article 50.
      Therefore only a coup by rebel MPs backed by the Speaker who manage to wrestle control could leaving on March 29th be stopped.

  18. Bryan Harris
    January 19, 2019

    The numbers are still working with May to help her progress her surrender – What has happened with the discussions she was having with different parties – Will we learn fully of any capitulation?
    The key things now are to make sure there are no real attempts to thwart a no-deal exit, but to let the chat and discussion simply carry on without resolution until March 29, and leave by default without a deal.

    1. Alan Jutson
      January 19, 2019


      I wish someone would actually stand up in Parliament and tell Mp’s that they voted 494 to 192 to enact Article 50, which means we left the EU within two years from that date. (time fixed within article 50)

      I wish someone would get up in Parliament and say we actually took 9 months to think about enacting article 50, so it was not a spur of the moment decision.

      I wish someone would get up in Parliament and say we voted to have WTO Terms as our backstop position if a good deal could not be done.

      Thus all of the votes by majority in Parliament have already happened.

      Unless of course politicians say they did not know what they were voting for at the time, and if that is the case then how do we know they know what they are voting for now, and in the future !

      Difficult to make it all up really, only in the UK, only in the UK.

      1. Alan Jutson
        January 19, 2019

        OOps should read 494 to 122

      2. Bryan Harris
        January 19, 2019

        Alan – yes – wouldn’t it be nice… But I fear most MP’s no longer listen to the debates given by their colleagues.

  19. Dominic
    January 19, 2019

    The decision to leave the EU was made in 2016. Parliament decided that the decision to leave was one for the British people and they therefore duly offered the plebs a referenda. Unfortunately we voted the wrong way and this PM and her lackeys in Parliament have spent the last two years trying to wrestle back leverage from the electorate and back under political control in the Commons were outcomes are more easily managed and contrived with all sorts of inducements and persuasions

    I now know why governments despise referenda. Their control over the outcome of them is almost zero.

    Political control is everything today. We live in an quasi authoritarian nation. The media is managed. Politics is faux, contrived and false. Politicians are muzzled. TV is filtered through the liberal left prism. Newspaper editors are replaced under political pressure. And along comes the referenda. The government pours a billion into trying to persuade us to vote Remain and erm, we vote leave.

    You cannot manage individual human beings like cattle on a farm to be prodded, poked and cajoled in a particular direction with idiotic propaganda.

    The more this PM and other Remain zealots try and again confront British democracy the more we will resent and despise them.

    Remain MPs must embrace democracy. Mandelson’s vision of a post-democratic age will not happen. If it does you will see turbulence. We will not stand idly by and watch our heritage and our nation be ripped apart by a bunch of spineless public officials who’ve decided that a foreign political body should assert control over our lives.

    We want absolute accountability over the actions of those who pass laws against us and extract taxes from us.

    Direct democracy must be brought back from the brink before politicians destroy accountability and insulate themselves from our demands

  20. Mike Stallard
    January 19, 2019

    The clean break on WTO terms: how dire will it prove to be by July?
    The EU is quite definite: read the advice to stakeholders. Now, apparently, the Spanish and Germans are getting worried about it too. But they are not the Commission, Martin Selmayr and Sabine Weyand are EU officials first and Germans second. For the EU it is going to be made as hard as it can possibly be. And they are in no way ready either.
    The British are in a total muddle.
    “Project Fear” did not help either.

    Going back in by cancelling Article 50? Just you try it!

    Mrs Mays Diktat? Nie Danke.

    1. Roy Grainger
      January 19, 2019

      Yes that has been a problem in the negotiations. An elected politician on our side negotiating with a bunch of unelected unaccountable bureaucrats on the other side who personally are entirely unaffected by the outcome whatever it is. We had one too in Ollie of course.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 19, 2019

      I don’t suppose you noticed my comment yesterday:

      “As we are on the topic of Germany, here is a letter which the editor of the Maidenhead Advertiser has been kind enough to publish this week under the heading:

      “Evidence shows paltry economic gain in being part of the EU”

      Which refers to pertinent information in this article from June 2017:

      “Germany: Even worst-case Brexit will be bearable for EU”


      “In the scenario where the U.K. and the EU fail to strike a trade deal and fall back on World Trade Organization rules, the study predicts the U.K. economy would lose 1.7 percent of economic output over the long-term, while German and EU GDP would be 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent below their previous pre-Brexit trajectories, respectively.”

      And so forth, with the text of the letter.

      There is a difficulty in that this and other studies try to look at the long term impact of the UK defaulting to the WTO treaties, while assuming there will be measures to mitigate any short term adverse effects.

      That is why I have argued that we should talk about “no special trade deal” rather than just “no deal” meaning potentially no new agreement at all on anything, not even on whether Jack in customs at Dover is allowed to ring up Jacques in Calais and confer about some consignment which looks a bit dodgy.

      Even if it was not intrinsically nonsensical it is a bit late now for people to start talking about having a “managed no deal”, they should have been talking about having no special trade agreement with the EU but still having numerous small agreements on running our trade on WTO terms plus many other issues.

      I repeat that there is little overall value for either side in most special trade deals like that between the EU and Canada, and we should be prepared to put that off until after we have left the EU on the trade terms of the existing WTO treaties and the dust has had a chance to settle:

      “3. Compared to the baseline position of the WTO treaties a free trade agreement like that between Canada and the EU would not actually be worth much … 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 … “

      1. Den
        January 19, 2019

        What is odd about these predictions is that no attention is given to the FACT that Britain has a massive £80 Billions per year Trade Deficit with the EU. That WILL ensure that Britain actually benefits by the higher WTO tariffs. Just imagine OUR profit on a levy of 10% on German Car imports!

    3. Mark
      January 19, 2019

      It is interesting that the EU parliament overwhelmingly voted to call for the resignation of Martin Selmayr – a call which he has ignored. However, he may find that if his stance is proving inimical to EU27 countries, he will come under pressure from other quarters. Remember that the Juncker Commission is drawing to a close.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    January 19, 2019

    The primary reason there will not be a second referendum is it would flush out every MP into openly declaring their vote. First time round it was not a problem with probably illegal Government support for Remain, all Remainers felt smug and politically safe.

    Among May’s many sound bites, all e.g. Brexit means…, nothing is agreed…, a no deal is better….., she has never committed personally to Leave. It would be highly damaging for her to have to take her colours off the fence.

    Corby and Labour are in a worse dilemma, he is a long term Leaver and many Labour MPs are in strong Leave constituencies.

    1. jerry
      January 19, 2019

      @A.Sedgwick; “The primary reason there will not be a second referendum is it would flush out every MP into openly declaring their vote.”

      Unfortunately it would do no such thing, unlike a Free Vote in the HoC would, the referendum voting booth is private and there would be nothing to stop MPs simply letting the (un)official camping groups ‘get on with it’ – sure, such MPs would be noticeable by their absence but that would tell us nothing of their voting intentions.

    2. Mark B
      January 19, 2019

      Very good points. Well said, sir.

  22. Brian Tomkinson
    January 19, 2019

    Another good assessment of this shambolic Parliament. The majority of MPs are determined to overturn the referendum result. MPs elected to implement and uphold our democracy are undermining it. Do they ever consider the damage they are doing? Do they care? If they succeed and keep us in the EU they will have handed a double victory to their masters in Brussels having kept us under their control and destroyed our democracy in the process.

    1. Iain Moore
      January 19, 2019

      EU supporters never cared that much for our Parliamentary Democracy. The EU project by its essence leads to the destruction of it. Ken Clarke after all boasted that he looks forward to the day our parliament was no more than a council in the EU, which makes his current professed concern about Parliament pretty hard to swallow.

  23. Adam
    January 19, 2019

    If opposing MP groups each self-nullify action, its absence causes ‘No Deal’ to take effect on 29 March.

  24. Nigl
    January 19, 2019

    The DT this morning reports she has not changed her demands one jot. What the hell is going on?

  25. JoolsB
    January 19, 2019


    You chose not to show my comments the other day re. the way England alone is being ignored re. Brexit (and yet you purport to speak for England!!!) I will try again and if yet again my comment remains in moderation, then I will not comment on your site again.

    I find it insulting that May is in talks with the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Lib Dums and the Greens over Brexit, all of whom wish to stay in the EU and I find it doubly insulting that she has also had numerous talks with the devolved First Ministers over Brexit. Meanwhile as usual England as in everything else is totally ignored in these talks. Who is there to represent the concerns and the wishes of the majority of English men and women over Brexit? No one that’s who.

    Yet it was England that predominately voted leave in 2016, it being the only chance it had to be heard thanks to an establishment/UK Government that ignores it’s very existence at every turn and it being the only part of the UK denied a voice or self representation. It is England where 95% of all immigrants settle yet it is England’s services which are being slashed to the bone whilst Hammond can miraculously find extra billions in each budget for the devolved nations on top of their over generous block grants. It is no wonder that in a recent BBC poll 62% of English people now identify as being English rather than British and a similar number want their own parliament. And yet still the establishment ignore them.

    You talk of coalitions. Well England has voted Tory (more fool them) since 2001 and yet since then, we have had Labour Government foist on us who thanks to their Scottish MPs forced tuition fees on our kids that did not apply to their own or we have had to put up with coalition Governments because unlike the rest of the dis-UK, England alone gets the government of the UK’s choosing, not it’s own.

    Surely if you and your colleagues did the democratic thing and gave England the same as the rest of the UK has enjoyed for over two decades now, England would at least have someone fighting it’s corner in these Brexit talks unlike now. I know an English Parliament would mean a huge cull in the number of UK MPs John which is why they so vehemently oppose one but if our treacherous MPs get way with their betrayal, once again England will see that it has no place in this so called union except as a ca$h cow for the benefit of the rest of the UK.

    May and MPs talk about ‘the precious union’ whilst continuing to ignore England at every turn. If they are betrayed on Brexit, I suggest the ‘union’ will be in the greatest danger it has ever been in it’s history yet our self serving Euo loving MPs are too stupid to realise this. After all it’s only England!!

    1. Sayagain
      January 19, 2019

      JoolsB..Mrs May knows what’s best for England..she only has to look into her heart..look into my eyes and trust me

    2. Den
      January 19, 2019

      Many of us are sometimes in the same position, when we take time to compile and write our comments, only to find them moderated out. I think JR takes them too personally when he should be practising the real 2019 democratic right of ‘freedom of speech’ but only if they are within the bounds of the law and are not overly verbose.
      That they might offend some should not be a reason to cut them out, else he shall offend true ‘Britishness’, which appears to be the ultimate aim of PC this century. Something that has become a pandemic disease to this Britan of ours.

    3. Mark B
      January 19, 2019

      . . . then I will not comment on your site again.

      And this site will be the poorer for it.


      I too get moderated. I might put a few words up early in the morning and sometimes not see them put up until the next day. No names, links, rude words etc. Just the truth as I see it. But I keep going. Why ? Because it needs to be said. And when our kind host does not put up my posts, I tend to post again demanding why he does not.

      The SNP in the 70’s and 80’s were no where. But come the 90’s and some serious rebranding, detoxification and a Labour government they achieved power and a referendum on independence. UKIP the same. The point is, you can never give up because you don’t know when the dam will break eg BREXIT, or when your luck will change.

      You mention that more people are identifying as English. Well, I suggest that whenever we are asked on forms what nationality we are, we should put other. Why ? Because then the question is, which nationality is that ? ENGLISH ! These small acts of resistance have an effect.

      1. JoolsB
        January 20, 2019

        Thank you Mark B. You are right. I am just so sick and tired of 650 self serving MPs ignoring England and the rotten deal it gets.

    4. Anonymous
      January 20, 2019

      It’s very simple regards moderation. Sir John is busy and this is an amateur site, run voluntarily.

      As for England ?

      Of course Scotland voted Remain. Free tuition, elderly care and prescription charges must make EU membership feel like a lovely status quo to be in. Being English I have been shafted both with tuition and elderly care. I am about £200k down on the deal and was not well off to begin with.

      1. Mark B
        January 21, 2019

        The money comes from the UK Government via the English taxpayer, not the EU. Yes, Scotland and others get grants from the EU but, the UK is a net contributor so its our money again.

  26. formula57
    January 19, 2019

    Achieving Brexit is more vital than keeping (pro tem) Scotland in the Union so tempt the SNP into a Coalition on the understanding that immediately post-Brexit and reliant only upon primary legislation (so no local referendum), Scotland will exit the Union. QED – quite easily done.

    1. Sam Duncan
      January 19, 2019

      And sell out the majority of Scots who voted to remain part of the UK? The Tories are undergoing a revival in Scotland based entirely on their opposition to the SNP. Such a move would kill the Scottish party’s chances for (another) generation – not that, I suppose, you care – and risks plunging Scotland into the sort of chaos seen in Ireland over the last century. I don’t exaggerate. Even the nationalists themselves don’t understand the fire they’re playing with.

      But in fact, contrary to their rhetoric and the way the 2016 vote went up here, my belief is that Brexit is vital to keeping Scotland in the Union. The EU’s dilution of national sovereignty has been one of the primary drivers of seperatism. The SNP’s official policy is not independence; it’s statehood within the EU. They know perfectly well that their policy until the late 1980s of genuine independence – outside the (then) EEC, outside NATO – never got them anywhere. Instead, they’re asking us to be part of a Union ten times larger than the one in which they say we have no voice.

      While Britain itself is part of that Union, that position can be presented – duplicitly, but plausibly – as “independence in Europe”, “full membership”, “taking our place at the table”. But Brexit can only make it clearer that it is, in fact, a choice between two Unions, and I’m convinced that when it’s put like that most Scots will choose the UK.

      1. formula57
        January 19, 2019

        @ Sam Duncan – thank you for your illuminating, thoughtful response.

  27. Original Richard
    January 19, 2019

    The country as a whole voted to leave.

    Leave won 64:36 by constituency.

    Parliament has voted to trigger Article 50 and to leave the EU.

    So if the “only deal possible” offered by the EU is not acceptable to Parliament because it is highly damaging to UK interests and not even leaving the EU, then Parliament has no option but to vote to leave without a deal on WTO terms until another trade deal can be negotiated.

    Anything else does not respect the referendum result.

  28. Iago
    January 19, 2019

    Quite remarkable what the media, as one man, do not report, for instance the continuing rebellion in France and the blinding inflicted on the gilets jaunes.

  29. rose
    January 19, 2019

    It seems to me that this string of options they keep talking about is designed to put off Brexit, not to choose one of the options. By the time they have gone through the list, they think they will be out of the wood. They don’t actually want any of them.

    1. Margam
      January 19, 2019

      Not at all. Give the NHS 350 million, then we agree to Brexit. Its the Brexiters that have wrecked Brexit

  30. agrictola
    January 19, 2019

    Conservative MPs plus the DUP are a majority. You need to forensically extract that which is acceptable to this majority and what is not from the WA. TheEU have been constantly asking what the UK wants, well this should be the answer. It should be accompanied by the reallity that we will leave on 29th March this year and apply to the WTO to invoke Art 24 on our relationship which effectively allows current trading arrangemdnts to continue until a new trading agreement is reached.
    You need to do this without further delay because current indulgent behaviour is putting our democracy along with tbe H o C into disrepute.

    1. John O'Leary
      January 19, 2019


      Article 50 TEU overrides WTO Article 24 by the internationally accepted legal principle of Lex specialis derogat legi general. Trading arrangement will not continue as now, far from it, chaos will ensue.

      1. agrictola
        January 19, 2019

        Mouthing spurious latin phraseology by an obvious remainer carries little weight. If you have an arguement that an article of EU treaty law is superior to one of world trade law you need to lay out your arguement in very precise english detail.

  31. Mike Wilson
    January 19, 2019

    Well, I see Sir Nigel (sorry, if it’s good enough for Mr. Redwood, it’s definitely good enough for Mr. Farage) is talking about launching a new political party.

    I, for one, will support the new party with money.

    I wonder how many of the 17.4 million will vote for it.

    “They didn’t listen last time, TELL THEM AGAIN”.

    This could be the end of the Labour and Tory Parties forming alternating governments. At last.

    1. JoolsB
      January 20, 2019

      Me too Mike. I’ve voted Tory all my life but no more. May has put an end to that so I am so pleased to hear Farage is coming back to front line politics. The party masquerading as Conservatives are finished. John, JRM. Johnson, Raab, McVey and the minority of MPs in the party that are actually Conservatives should form a new party with Mr. Farage. I would certainly vote for them.

  32. Dominic
    January 19, 2019

    There is only one way to stop this treachery and sedition by these reprobates and that is to bring down this PM and this government. Elect a Eurosceptic as the leader of our party. Call a GE. And then campaign on a Leave-EU ticket especially in the north targeting Labour-Leave areas

  33. Den
    January 19, 2019

    Surely, the Norway Option does not satisfy the Referendum decision to Leave the EU? Norway still pays money to Brussels and has to relinquish control of their borders – just for being in the wretched Single Market. Unlike the USA, Canada China et al. Why?
    Who else, in the the big world outside of Europe, actually pays a supplier Nation to buy their products?
    It is a crazy concept. What all those with a net Trade Deficit in Europe are doing, is handing over tax payers money to a ‘middleman’ to do the deal and shuffle paper. Absolutely pointless and costly, when we are better suited to doing it ourselves.
    Leave means Leave and taking back control.

  34. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    January 19, 2019

    It’s time for an accurate ‘Situation Report’ on the true status of an WTO Exit.

    Planning has gone on…but May is deliberately keeping quiet about it, while she plays her political games.

    We are getting close now. No more playing games…let’s have the true status. Flights, ports, medicines…

    The ERG and other MPs must pressurise Zömbie May, to tell us what mitigation (the side deals etc) is really happening.

    We need that information now…not just “Project Fear on Stilts”!

    1. Original Richard
      January 20, 2019

      The reason for so little Government planning/preparation for a “no deal”/WTO terms exit is because there simply is no “cliff edge” as we are completely compliant with all EU laws, directives and regulations.

      Most changes will occur gradually as we slowly develop differentlt to the EU over time.

      This is why there is no problem with the Irish border, which BTW already exists for excise duty, VAT, currency, taxation etc..

  35. Dominic
    January 19, 2019

    I believe May, the British Civil Service, CBI, Remain MPs and influential Remain backers like Blair etal are all coordinating their activities to ensure that all and any possible opposition to the UK staying in the EU will be thwarted at every turn and if that means nobbling the Commons and neutralising popular democracy then that is exactly what they will do

    Grieve is a danger to my country’s democratic heritage. This person along with May are a disgrace to all that we stand for

    By supporting this government and this PM Tory Eurosceptics are inadvertently supporting the eventual destruction of Brexit, British sovereignty and UK independence

    You can’t have it both ways John. Either bring down this PM and this government or wave goodbye to Brexit

  36. Dominic
    January 19, 2019

    Alex Wickham has scooped the Sundays by getting hold of Grieve’s Proposed Amendment to let a minority take control of the parliamentary legislative agenda:


    As an Amendment to the Motion tabled for the purposes of section 13(6) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2017
    Leave out from “House” to end and insert “believes that [INSERT DECLARATORY WORDS RELATING TO NEED TO PREVENT NO DEAL BREXIT), and orders accordingly that — (1) On [DATE OF SUBSEQUENT SITTING DAY TO BE INSERTED] —

    (a) Standing Order No. 14(1) (which provides that government business shall have precedence at every sitting sa. as provided in that order) shall (subject to paragraph (e)) not apply;
    (b) a Motion in connection with the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union in the name of at least 300 Members of the House elected to the House as members of at least five parties and including at least 10 Members elected to the House as members of the party in Government shall stand as the first item of business;
    (c) that motion may be proceeded with at any hour though opposed, shall not be interrupted at the moment of interruption, and, if under discussion when business is postponed under the provisions of any standing order, may be returned, though opposed, after the interruption of business; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) will not apply;
    (d) at the conclusion of debate on that motion, the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on that motion (including for the purposes of Standing Order No. 36(2) (questions to be put following closure of debate)) shall include the questions on any amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; and
    (e) but if no motion which meets the requirements of paragraph (b) is tabled by 6.00 pm on [DATE PRIOR TO INTENDED DATE OF DEBATE), the provisions of paragraphs (a) to (d) shall not apply”

    If his amendment passes a minority of 300 MPs across five parties – with only 10 Tories needed – would be able to control the parliamentary agenda. Effectively creating a minority opposition controlled legislature.

    It is possible that this draft might be a ruse, so that it looks more like a reasonable compromise when they go for a straight majority in parliament taking control of legislative agenda from government. This is all designed to stop Brexit happening on March 29th without a deal in place. It is a coup against the expressed will of the people…

    Guido source

    1. Alan Jutson
      January 19, 2019


      I thought only Government could propose legislation. The only alternative being a Private members bill.

      Does the Government need to legislate further to leave on a WTO deal ?

      Surely if this is an amendment it has to be attached to something relevant that will be going through Parliament.

      Any legislation that needs to go through that this could be attached to JR ?

  37. Captain Peacock
    January 19, 2019

    May wants to destroy Brexit no matter if it destroys her party in the process.
    Lots of nice well paid speaking engagements after she leaves politics that’s how these traitors get their reward.

  38. Ken Hutchinson
    January 19, 2019

    Would you agree it is odd for the SNP to support a second referendum. Wouldn’t it mean that any Scottish referendum voting for independence would certainly have to be repeated once any deal with the UK had been agreed?

  39. Steve
    January 19, 2019

    The government really has stymied itself hasn’t it. Failure to show strength both to the ungrateful EU, and the lefty fifth columnists.

    The logical and only available course to take is to sustain pressure on Corbyn and if necessary change laws to thwart him at every turn – play the remainers at their own game.
    Replace Bercow.

    Launch a media campaign to fully expose the collusion and self interests of those MP’s engaged in betrayal of our sovereignty and democratic vote.

    Theresa may needs to stick by her guns, and not remove ‘no deal’ under any circumstances.

    Get us to 29th March.

    Off topic; according to press, but not featured by the BBC, Theresa May has / is to block John Bercow’s peerage. Apparently because of his “appallingly biased behaviour”

    Highly amusing, I wonder if he’s still sporting that horrible ugly smug expression ?

    Not so smug now are you Bercow !

  40. ChrisS
    January 19, 2019

    The only way Mrs May’s deal can be salvaged is if the 27 agree to withdraw the backstop or accept that it will have a fixed time limit – five years has been mentioned. I suspect that it would then pass successfully through the House.

    This should be tested with Brussels and if it is rejected, as I suspect it will be, there really is only one other practical outcome and that is to leave on WTO terms which is what will happen without further intervention.

    Mrs May should face down her cabinet colleagues over this and make it clear that sh will replace anyone wishing to resign with someone prepared to support a WTO exit.
    That would include Rudd and Hammond.

    You never know, we might see Sir John Redwood back in the cabinet.

    1. ChrisS
      January 19, 2019

      PS If we do leave on 29th March, it will be essential for May to take a step back and leave negotiations on a future trade deal to Brexiteers with experience of dealing with the EU.

      Personally, I would give the job to Nigel Farage but that isn’t going to happen.

    2. Steve
      January 19, 2019


      “The only way Mrs May’s deal can be salvaged….”

      It’s dead Chris.

      “Personally, I would give the job to Nigel Farage but that isn’t going to happen.”

      Correct, it won’t happen. He’s run away from the fight.

      Much as I abhor self serving traitors, I also don’t like those who are not by my side in a fight, especially a fight they in part facilitated.

      1. Original Richard
        January 20, 2019


        If you’re going to call Mr. Farage a traitor, what about Mr. Dominic Grieve, receiver of the Legion d’honneur from France in November 2016, and now working hard to thwart the referendum result, including the use of a potential Parliamentary coup d’etat ?

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    January 19, 2019

    The big danger is that this rotten parliament will seek to defer the Article 50 deadline without knowing why, or at least having no common purpose in doing so. The EU has said that they would only be willing to defer Article 50 if the UK parliament has a definite Plan B; we shall see.

    There are some suggestions that I have made that you and your colleagues have not yet taken up. The first is that the next General Election should be fought by a broad church of Brexiteers versus the rest. Such a political force will need organisation and a manifesto. With a whiff of betrayal by Remoaners in the air, there is no time to lose. You need to talk to other parties and politicians – DUP, UKIP, Nigel Farage, Kate Hoey.

    The second is that we have our own Project Fear propaganda to get out there but we have scarcely bothered. It is the inexorable progress of the EU towards a Federal European SuperState. There is all the history – the Treaty of Rome, the Euro, EU Law and Directives, the ECJ, progressively more QMV in each treaty etc. Then there are the current and future plans – the Lisbon Treaty, the Five Presidents’ Report and plans for a European army. Do not imagine that it will need a new treaty before a European army can be assembled. The Lisbon Treaty already authorises military co-operation, both bilateral and multilateral, between Member States. The EU already tries to impose a common immigration policy (Mrs Merkel’s) and it will only be a matter of time before Franco-German jackboots try to impose it.

  42. Rien Huizer
    January 19, 2019

    Mr Redwood,

    Many of the EU27 governments are preparing for a UK exit without a proper withdrawal agreement. Some (unofficially) actually believe that is the most likely outcome now.

    If we run through the consequences for the EU of such an exit, there are a few things to keep in mind in developing a scenario.
    – Ireland will have to install a minimum of border infrastructure and procedures (maybe not immediately but certainly if there is still no agreement in the summer (of course there can be border traffic arrangements in most of the existing 300+ crossing points, but I reckon there must be at least 4 regular crossing points with customs and immigration officers and some security. I would call that a hard border.

    – once that hard border is in place and UK and EU are still talking (not necessarily in a friendly mood, to say the least), there is little that could prevent the UK from making an offer to leave the border as is (then) and given that then the major obstacle to a conventional FTA will have been removed, apply for a Canada +++ version, al;so offering the EU nice treatment of EU nationals, a commitment to stay close to EU standards (but not so that a US FTA becomes impracticable) and maybe settlement of a porttion of the 39bn that the EUshould get in any event with, or without a deal (say, 12 bn over two years.
    – No transition which would offer a small chance to agree with the Trump administration an FTA (unlikely to be ratified by Congress , but who cares).

    There is only one little problem: before the UKEUFTA enters into force (ratification by all 27 and under the circumstances, reluctance to speed up the process on the EU side), the lack of transitional arrangements (except the temporary ones offered by the EU already plus the few bilateral deals under negotiation) will certainly uncover all of the potential for initial disturbances associated with a hard brexit, but probably softened (through the UKEUFTA) long before the next general election.

    Is that perhaps the scenario you and your fellow ERG members have in mind?

    Reply We have set out how you have a soft b order with the Republic of Ireland and the UK should not seek to impose a hard border. The EU and the Republic will decide their border.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 19, 2019

      Frankly, thinking that waking up on 30/3/2019 without air or light is probably not going to happen. Trains will run, cars will move, people will go to work. The internet will work. Telephones will work. People will talk and do business. Flights will operate. Goods will be manufactured and sold.

      Any politician holding their hands up and shouting “stop that ferry”, sorry 500 lorries a day, “you will have to turn back from Calais or Dover”, is going to have to think again.

      The force of commerce and trade is greater than the force of petty bureaucracy.
      All we need to know from this government is the tariff schedule, if any. If not, all is imported tariff-free, paperwork free. No problem. Caveat emptor.

    2. Rien Huizer
      January 20, 2019

      Reply to reply,

      Thanks for your very limited reply. The Eu will have no choice as you know (but can limit as above) neither will Ireland if it wants to stay. It can veto an FTA of course. I am not sure solidarity will go extremely far, not to the extent latting Ireland have a border that Poland is not allowed to with its neighbors.

      1. Edward2
        January 20, 2019

        If the EU or the Republic of Ireland want a border then they can build one.
        Bit like Trump and his wall.
        But being a free independent nation on March 30th 2019 you cannot force us to build one on our side.

  43. Den
    January 19, 2019

    It’s time the Leave Campaign released certifiable figures of the Net Gain to this Country, in the event of a a No Deal occurring, using the WTO tariffs agreed by the Rest of the World, who currently export to the EU. The UK, as their best customer, currently carries an £80 Billions per year Trade Deficit with the EU.
    The surplus would be more than sufficient to compensate our own exporters to the EU who will also be affected by the tariffs. Also we pay no more fees and no £39 B sweeteners will be required. That has to be worth £50 Billions in British money and best of all, we immediately regain National Sovereignty.
    What’s not to like about that?

  44. TedC
    January 19, 2019

    One outcome being put about is that we leave with no deal and then we shadow them on the same rules so that we can trade, up until we get these new deals set up with our new trading partners

  45. Chris
    January 19, 2019

    I hope the Conservative Party and ALL Tory MPs are listening. Many have seemed utterly deaf to date. Perhaps this situation, highlighted in the D Telegraph online this afternoon will finally make them see sense. It refers to the letters from grassroots Conservatives to Brandon Lewis:
    Rage of the Tory grassroots and why Brexit betrayal will consign party to oblivion

    I sincerely believe that the Party will indeed be consigned to oblivion if the government goes ahead with the WA or a slightly tweaked version, thanks to the disgraceful betrayal of the electorate by MPs, particularly Conservative MPs who had promised otherwise. It is NOT enough to just remove the backstop from the WA. The whole agreement should be consigned to the dustbin, and the agreement that David Davis had been working on and apparently virtually finished, should be resurrected with the WTO option in the background.

  46. Chewy
    January 19, 2019

    Sir John Redwood, I think there’s an election coming. Despite your analysis Remainers will move heaven and earth to hamper our exit or sabotage the country should we succeed, a regular 5th column. Talk that TM threatening to put her Deal at the centre of the manifesto but I doubt that she or her ministers would contemplate handing the keys of Downing Street to Mr Corbyn.
    Here’s how it could work in my opinion.
    Vast majority of Con MPs voted for the deal or against, in the latter case because they are Leavers who believe this deal does not honour the referendum result. Most Con voters, members are Eurosceptic and most members of the public believe the referendum result should be honoured.
    Have the deal at the centre of the manifesto but with no Irish backstop and a unilateral ability to withdraw and if the EU fails to accept this leaving on WTO terms. Could unify everyone other than the recalcitrant Remainers. What would Corbyn offer other than more confusion and chaos on the issue as well as a hard left government? Also the tired Remainer arguement about people not knowing what they voted for and a WTO Brexit not being democratic is history. The EU gets to decide whether to accept our over generous offer or see us leave with no deal with a clear democratic mandate behind it which if it comes to it should help make Parliament more cooperative if we then leave on WTO.
    Just a thought.

  47. VotedOut
    January 19, 2019

    There is talk of conservative associations acting to deselect rouge MPs.

    If those MPs quote Edmond Burke’s letter to the electors of Bristol they should consider one important fact. They gave up their right to decide for their electorate on EU membership by voting for the 2016 referendum (by 6 to 1). The decision has been made by the electorate – we leave.

    If we are faced with a General election – where the choice is Mrs May’s no Brexit deal vs Mr Corbyn’s customs union (i.e staying in the EU) the electorate will rightly regard this as a betrayal.

    Some MP’s have clearly decided that they will seize power “in the name of parliament”. This sounds remarkably similar to how all dictatorships start.

    Those same MP’s are not listening to anyone. There will come a point when they will have to be removed. April 20th 1653 all over again… I do hope not, but we do have some MPs with small ideas but big consequences.

  48. Chris
    January 19, 2019

    No MPs seem to have seen the latest proposal by the Commission (voted on and passed by the European Parliament on Thursday) to impose financial sanctions on those member states who do not espouse the “progressive agenda” aka “European values” as determined by the eurocrats. Breitbart states:

    “Members of the European Parliament have voted in favour of introducing financial sanctions as punishment for patriotic countries that reject the bloc’s progressive “European values…….

    MEPs voted Thursday in Strasbourg, France, to back the European Commission’s proposal to cut EU budgetary disbursements to member states deemed to have broken the so-called “rule of law,” with 397 MEPs voting in favour and 158 against (69 abstaining), reports Politico……

    The proposal was widely seen as formalising another mechanism to punish Hungary and Poland for their perceived infringement on the Brussels rule of law and rejection of “European values,” with both nations being net beneficiaries of EU funds….”

    This Marxist EU is not what I want to belong, hence me voting to Leave. Our MPs must honour the referendum result, and save us from this tyranny and corruption. An undemocratic, strongly politically motivated organisation which cannot even withstand basic financial scrutiny does not deserve to hold the future of Europe in its hands.

  49. Peter Martin
    January 20, 2019
  50. Simon Coleman
    January 20, 2019

    There is no single step to any of the alternatives. But if Article 50 is extended, then the outcome becomes very uncertain and No deal recedes considerably. The break-up of the Conservative Party remains a distinct possibility…and if that happens before Brexit is delivered, then you won’t get any meaningful Brexit. Labour cannot deliver Brexit. That ought to worry you, with the DUP apparently thinking about a Customs Union.

  51. hefner
    January 20, 2019

    “Tories need to show their right wing the exit” Matthew Parris, Sunday Times, 20/01/2019.
    I look forward to it.

  52. a-tracy
    January 22, 2019

    Talking about coalitions in the Commons, if an MP is on long term sick or on maternity leave doesn’t that absent MP have to provide a replacement cover to do their constituency work and vote in their absence? Wouldn’t this be a good way of training and testing prospective MPs. In business, if we have a sick or maternity/paternity leave employee we have to pay the sick/maternity/paternity pay to the employee plus employ another person to do their work or does the MP just draw a full salary even though they aren’t able to work.

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