Parliament and the Executive

For the Tuesday debate in accordance with the EU Withdrawal Act the government has tabled a neutral motion on our exit from the EU. The motion simply says Parliament has considered the matter of our withdrawal.  Parliament after all has debated little else for the entire last two and a half years. It has also legislated twice to leave the EU on 29 March 2019. As I made clear to the Commons when we passed the EU Withdrawal Notification Act, that was the decision point. Parliament’s wish to send the Article 50 letter should have been the end to the debate on the principle of leaving.

Some in Parliament have now decided they would like to move amendments to the government motion to undermine  the legislation Parliament has put through to allow us to leave. It is true that passing a motion next week cannot of itself change the law, so unless the law is amended we will still leave. Some hope that if Parliament expresses a strong view that it has changed its mind it might get the government to think again. That would  be unwise given the solemn promise made by Parliament and government that we would implement the decision of the referendum.

Some opponents of Brexit have therefore decided they wish to rewrite Parliamentary rules to try to legislate to stop Brexit against the wishes of the government. It has long been the practice agreed by all  parties in government that government has three advantages over any other group in the House in order to allow it to govern. The first is that government leads over the choice of business in the Commons to allow it to get its legislative programme through. It still of course needs  a majority for each proposal and may have to allow extensive debate and disagreement, often resulting in compromises. It would not be easy or orderly for any group of MPs to propose a Bill and then to try to get it through against other groups competing for time and support. All governments have readily made time available for private members bills and for Opposition debates as part of the deal over cross party working.

The second is anything that requires taxes to be raised and public money to be spent should need Parliamentary consent based on a resolution put to the House by a Minister. The government has to take responsibility for the whole budget and needs to keep control of spending as best it can.

The third is where a power to be exercised is a so called prerogative or Crown power the PM and the government act for the Crown or seek the Crown’s assent. Other groups of MPs  cannot claim to act in the name of the Crown nor exercise any such powers. Government Ministers negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the UK.

The wish of some to legislate to delay or prevent our exit from the EU comes up against all of these issues. The Cooper and Grieve amendments wish to alter the idea of government business motions, asserting that their proposed bills would take precedence over anything the government might wish to do, with guaranteed Parliamentary time. They argue wrongly that their bills do not have any financial implications so they do not need a Money resolution. They ignore the involvement of prerogative powers in negotiating and signing international treaties.

The government’s strongest case in pushing back on these revolutionary constitutional proposals is that clearly any decision to extend our membership of the EU has substantial financial implications. Under the EU Withdrawal Act our payments to the EU cease on March 29 2019. The government has no power to authorise payments for contributions and programmes after that date. The so called £39bn of the Withdrawal Agreement would need  new legislation to authorise it. All payments up to 29 March are legal under the European Communities Act, but this Act ceases to be on our Statute book after March 29th. Staying in for longer would doubtless be expensive and should need a government motion to approve the spending, with  Treasury consent that it is affordable within the revised budget.

The government would also be right to warn that moving over to a new system of choosing how to spend Parliamentary time could make government very difficult. If a government cannot be sure of enough time to try to get its programme through it cannot govern effectively. Any government with a small majority will be especially at a disadvantage. Were this to be established as a new precedent then the next government with a decent majority would presumably legislate to stop Parliament having such extensive rights, and might make things less flexible and friendly to backbenchers and opposition than they are today under a settlement that has lasted for many years.

The government can also point out the EU has not offered us a few months delay on Article 50 and that would require negotiation with the EU over the terms. The EU would wish to negotiate with the government, not with a temporary alliance of MPs.


  1. Kenneth
    January 25, 2019

    The campaigns to delay or stop Brexit and the moves to subvert democracy are increasingly out of step with the People’s wishes.

    This is a potentially dangerous situation for our country.

    Remain politicians and the Prime Minister need to step back from their extreme and rebellious ideas and consider the importance of holding up democracy.

    1. oldtimer
      January 25, 2019

      I think your view that this is a potentially dangerous situation is correct. Attempts to engineer a constitutional revolution inside Parliament run the risk of spilling outside Parliament. That would have unforseen and uncontrollable consequences.

      1. ian wragg
        January 25, 2019

        The last time Parliament went against the people resulted in a bloody civil war.
        The very same could happen again.

        1. Stephen Priest
          January 25, 2019

          Would it be possible to submit an amendment to stop Dominic Grieve submitting any further amendments?

          1. Hope
            January 26, 2019

            Amendment, Remain in the EU in any form for any duration must be taken off the table as it is against the will of the people and against representative democracy.

            Those MPs who are trying to delay or thwart leaving the EU in any guise must be subject to immediate deselection or right to recall so the public has the ability to remove them forthwith. This will focus Mays dishonest mind.

    2. Len Grinds
      January 25, 2019

      Every claim made by the Brexiters has been proved false, most recently Liam Fox’s shamefaced admission that there’s going to be no rolling over of the 100s of deals the EU has with the wider world. And we know Leave committed criminal acts. It is high time Parliament put an end to the Brexit fiasco

      1. Mike Stallard
        January 25, 2019

        We face three choices, all of them dictated by the EU. M.Barnier has won the negotiations.
        1. Remain by cancelling (permanently?) Article 50. This was craftily allowed by the ECJ. It is now the best option economically.
        2. The Diktat. Who will be on the Joint Committee? There are rumours that Martin Selmayr will be the Ambassador to Britain on 30th March. I suspect that M. Barnier and M. Juncker will have a hand in choosing people who are no friends to our country.
        3. Clean Brexit. It will lead to mass unemployment. Why? Well, you see, they have demanded that all firms have their head offices in Europe! This was clearly stated in the Advice to Stakeholders which nobody has bothered with.

        Goodnight Britain! Great history. No future!

        1. Mark B
          January 25, 2019


          Perhaps if you provided some of us with a link to said, Advice to Stakeholders we might be able to read it. But the trouble is, as Denis has pointed out, you come on here and do not debate. You are a ‘Hit and Run’ poster. Which asks the question, why am I writing this in the cloody knowledge you won’t read it ? But there again, the point is, you won’t read it and that is why, upon not providing evidence to your claims, why no one takes you seriously. You are the same, bit opposite, of those Remainers that post here.

        2. Edward2
          January 25, 2019

          Did you get all worried about the Millenium Bug as well Mike?

          1. Al
            January 25, 2019

            There is one difference with the Millenium Bug: everyone saw it coming and spent the two years leading up to it preparing and making sure they had fallbacks.

            In this case we have had May and her government spending two years doing really not very much at all. Fortunately most businesses have already made their preparations, so it is likely to just be government that is a mess – and after the last few months we’re getting used to that anyway.

          2. Edward2
            January 25, 2019

            Do you think?
            The Millenium Bug had years of project fear running up to the date.
            We were told everything would stop working.
            The MSM were obsessed with predictions of doom.
            Businesses have also had over two years to prepare for leaving the EU.
            I know a few SME companies and all have done their planning, risk assessments including finding good alternative customers and good alternative suppliers should the EU play us up.

        3. John Hatfield
          January 25, 2019

          Mike I dispute your assertion that remaining in the EU the best option economically. Since joining the Single Market UK GNP has declined.
          Also countries trading from outside the EU do better than those within it.

      2. L Jones
        January 25, 2019

        Perhaps you’d like to educate us as to the benefits of remaining with the failing and sinister dystopia that is the EU.
        You may have voted ‘remain’ in 2016, but you were voting for the status quo. No such thing with the EU fiasco, as can be seen if you read anything at all.
        As for ‘lies’ and ‘every claim made’, let alone ‘criminal acts’ – again, perhaps you’d like to educate us with just a few example as to what ‘lies’, ‘claims’ and ‘acts’ exactly.
        We can think of plenty from the ‘remain’ camp.

      3. matthu
        January 25, 2019

        How do the claims of the Remainers stack up?

      4. Dominic
        January 25, 2019

        Are you seriously suggesting that Parliamentary MPS should challenge the result of the referendum that they themselves voted for?

        Do you understand the implications of that? Do you?

        Have you any idea the damage wrought on our democracy by a section of Parliament that has chosen to behave like authoritarian thugs?

        Do you also understand the fundamental role of democracy in restraining the actions of those who pass laws against us in Parliament?

        Some MPs have chosen to IGNORE DEMOCRACY. Does that compute?

        Democracy is under direct attack from a cabal of reprobates lodged in Parliament

        I have a wonderful idea. Let’s suspend democracy and let Parliament behave without accountability.

        Beyond reason and lost to the world of narrative

        1. John Hatfield
          January 25, 2019

          Or as some have suggested, suspend parliament until March 30th.

      5. mickc
        January 25, 2019

        The reason people voted to leave was to recover their power to dismiss those who make laws. Having voted to do so, and thus peacefully given power back to Parliament, it would be extremely unwise for Parliament again to give that power away. The next recovery of power would almost certainly not be peaceful.

      6. libertarian
        January 25, 2019

        Len Grinds

        Every claim made by remain has proved false, lies and mistruths

        NOT one criminal act has been committed , why lie?

        Everyone with a braincell is fully aware that we can’t negotiate anything or sign anything or roll over anything UNTIL WE HAVE LEFT

        You might want to read the news feed from the Department of Trade about the deals that are ready to sign in March

        You’re not really on the ball are you Len?

      7. Bill Potter
        January 25, 2019

        I think you have miss typed your comment as you have said Brexiters rather than Remainers.

      8. Know-Dice
        January 25, 2019

        The EU has 35 trade agreements in place and 47 partly in place.

        Len Grinds, you don’t do your credibility any favours with this type of fake posting.

      9. Anonymous
        January 25, 2019

        Len Grinds

        “Every claim made by Brexiters being proved false” flows from obstructionism by Remainers in Parliament and the establishment.

        Here’s a lie “We will honour the result of the referendum.”

        Had I known that your side wouldn’t then I would not have voted.

        As for Leave committing “criminal acts” where are the prisoners then ? Don’t you believe in innocent until proven guilty ?

        Remain’s campaign expenditure amounted to many times Leave’s in any case. A nine million pounds leaflet campaign that they didn’t have to pay for and a PotUS visit with a No 10 scripted speech that had one Remain columnist writing “Take that, Vote Leave. Airforce 1 has just landed right on top of your campaign !” Remain didn’t have to pay a penny towards the security for that support act either.

        “To the back of the queue” turned out to be as false as the 500,000 unemployed after referendum day.

        This was a David and Goliath moment.

        But truly. I can now see how countries fall into civil war. I am very concerned. And it happens to have been a Remainer to be the first to threaten internment of those who think the wrong way and violence against those who vote the wrong way. Andy should be disqualified from this site for that.

      10. Stred
        January 25, 2019

        The People’s Vote campaign keeps repeating that Leave committed criminal acts. The Electoral Commission did accuse them of transferring money between groups, while ignoring Remain spending, but this was thrown out by the court, as Leave was following advice given by the EC. Two EC leading members have resigned and the board, who are Remainers, have declared that they are not able to decide whether the transfer is criminal and have handed over to the police. No prosecution has been forthcoming so far. Who has committed a criminal act? Is not conspiring with an adversary against one’s nation and asking for the worst possible deal a criminal act?

      11. dame rita webb
        January 25, 2019

        Lenny the only people who benefit from the UKs membership in the EU are currently living it up in Davos. If you are still working, I hope you are aware there is no such thing as a EU proof job. The Cadburys workers in Bristol and the LG workers in Hartlepool who saw their jobs moved off to Eastern Europe will tell you voting to remain in the EU is a vote to make yourself poorer

      12. John Hatfield
        January 25, 2019

        ‘And we know Leave committed criminal acts.’
        Just trying to work out who ‘Leave’ is, Len.

      13. Jagman84
        January 25, 2019

        If you believe that a crime has been committed then why not report it, rather than whining about it on this forum? Someone disagreeing with your views is hardly a crime. It is a patriotic duty to do so.

      14. John Downes
        January 26, 2019

        You have clearly escaped from Peter Simple’s Way of the World column.
        “Len Grinds” indeed. Well done!

    3. Andy
      January 25, 2019

      On the contrary. The majority now release Brexit was a huge mistake.

      Which is why you are all scared of another referendum.

      In the words of Dennis Skinner – you’re frit.

      1. formula57
        January 25, 2019

        @ Andy – surely it was M. Thatcher herself who introduced the word “frit” to the British political lexicon. That D. Skinner followed her lead I do not doubt.

        1. Beecee
          January 25, 2019


          Andy knows sod all!

      2. formula57
        January 25, 2019

        “Some opponents of Brexit have therefore decided they wish to rewrite Parliamentary rules to try to legislate to stop Brexit against the wishes of the government” – should not these wreckers of the constitution rather than be in parliament be in prison?

      3. Merlin
        January 25, 2019

        Not so sure.

        I believe we should stay in the E.U. But the first referendum was a horrible mistake, let’s not do it all over again. Let parliament do its job and let the people vote the rascals out. It’s a great system.

        1. David Price
          January 26, 2019

          The first referendum kept us in the CM/EEC which became the EU. We had no choice in the matter for 40 years.

          They are making up the rules to suit themselves, it is clearly not a great system if MP’s lie through their teeth to get elected then turn round and do the opposite while slandering the section of the electorate they apparently no longer agree with.

      4. Edward2
        January 25, 2019

        Same question as the last referendum?
        If remain win by a similar margin would you then refuse to accept the result again?

        1. Steve
          January 25, 2019


          “If remain win by a similar margin would you then refuse to accept the result again?”

          If remain won, (highly unlikely) then leave would be entitled to;

          Moan like hell
          Simply change any laws that get in their way
          Hire the BBC
          Stamp their feet like spoilt brats
          Insist that democracy works by minority rule

      5. Anonymous
        January 25, 2019

        I am not frit, Andy.

        For the disgusting things you’ve said here you do not deserve a second referendum. In fact I’m surprised you’re still allowed to post.

        1. Andy
          January 25, 2019

          I have never argued for a second referendum. I am merely pointing out that Brexiteers are frightened of one.

          It has long been my view that it is best to have the hard Brexit Mr Redwood and others crave. They get what they want.

          I also get what I want – because it will be a disaster, it will very quickly be undone, it will split the Tory party, permanently kill off the hard right and end up with a fair few of them in prison. So bring on hard Brexit.

          1. Original Richard
            January 26, 2019

            “Yes”, Leavers do fear another referendum especially if it takes place before they have had a chance to elect a new Parliament with MPs who represent their views on the EU.

            Many MPs have lied to the electorate pretending to be Eurosceptic when they have in fact been deeply pro-EU.

            Firstly because they fear a second one will be rigged by the Establishment who are in charge.

            Secondly because they have everything to lose. If Leave won again, then Parliament would simply ignore the result for a second time, having done so the first time.

            And if they lost then Parliament would take it as a mandate for total EU integration with the adoption of the Euro and Schengen, the harmonisation of VAT to include food, the handing over of our military to EU control and the push for further EU expansion to the east as outlined by Mr. Cameron in his Kazakhstan “Atlantic to the Urals” speech in July 2013.

            A vote for remaining in the EU would be the last meaningful vote the voters in this country would ever have.

            They will have lost their last chance to be able to be able to influence their laws and taxes through the ballot box as these would then be decided by people they did not know, did not elect and cannot remove.

          2. NickC
            January 26, 2019

            Andy, We are not “frightened” of a second referendum. It is righteous anger at being betrayed. There is just no good reason why the result of the “first” should be arbitrarily discarded. And discarding the first undermines the legitimacy of the second, and all subsequent voting. A second referendum with the same question as the first is irrational and anti-democratic. A second referendum with a different question (eg Remain vs Partial Remain) on the same topic as the first is a fix.

        2. Steve
          January 25, 2019


          “I am not frit, Andy.
          For the disgusting things you’ve said here you do not deserve a second referendum. In fact I’m surprised you’re still allowed to post.”

          Agreed, well said.

      6. Jagman84
        January 25, 2019

        The UK will never join the Euro currency, Schengen or a Federal Europe, as stated by David Cameron, at the time of the referendum. Therefore, we will have to leave the EU before the formation of such an entity. Better sooner, rather than later, for everyone concerned. Especially the EU.

    4. Merlin
      January 25, 2019

      Truthfully I’m now torn over this whole thing.

      Half of me wants a no-deal Brexit just to end this for once and all. That way the Brexiteers will actually have to show their cards and we will see if this works. My prediction is it will be a complete disaster and No Deal is the surest way to end up returning to the E.U.

      However, the consequences of No Deal are severe enough that I think badly of myself for thinking this, and that much as I hate May’s Deal, it respects this terrible decision without damaging the country so badly. However, it risks us not returning to the E.U so quickly so the long-term effect would also be damaging.

      Remain would not be respecting the vote, so I’m not keen on that either.

      It’s becoming like the last general election. I normally take pride in voting, but choosing between the Loony left, Rabid right and the snowflake liberals was not a happy experience for me. I miss boring old politics as usual.

      1. NickC
        January 26, 2019

        Merlin said: “Brexiteers will actually have to show their cards and we will see if this works”.

        Of course it works . . . . most of the world is not in the EU.

    5. Iain Moore
      January 25, 2019

      To use the Remainer language, crashing our democracy will have much more far reaching and serious consequences than anything else.

      Listening to the vox pops and the likes of Question Time, it would appear to me that people’s attitudes are hardening against the EU, project fear looks like it is having as much success as it did last time , in addition there is almost unanimous disgust at what is going on in Parliament.

      1. Merlin
        January 25, 2019

        I agree. I think it’s the referendum all over again.

        If you voted remain, you think the E.U is useful, so No Deal seems apocalyptic.
        If you voted leave, you think the E.U isn’t useful, so No Deal seems like no problem.

        1. libertarian
          January 25, 2019


          What about if like a few on here you’ve actually been selling overseas to non EU countries for years and your know that WTO isn’t a problem of any kind?

        2. Steve
          January 26, 2019


          Indeed the country is polarised over this, and I can see anger breaking out on the streets. Should that happen it is clear that ‘leave’ will win the scrap and we’ll be out of the EU.

          However – that would certainly not be the preferred way to go about things and it will be ugly. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but the remain side need to think carefully about what they might unleash.

          This could easily go sectarian, and probably will do if we do not leave on 29th March.

    6. margaret howard
      January 25, 2019

      Which means taking into consideration the nearly equal number of people who voted Remain.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        January 25, 2019

        The winner wins. If the Country had voted to remain by 1 vote, we would be in the E.U. unto death! You Remainers MUST accept democracy, it is a cvery sophisticated thing, for every person, before a vote is cast, tomaccept that te will of the majority will hold sway. That contract has provided peace in the U.K. break it and we are in real trouble, it will be the rule of the jungle in its stead.

        1. Edward2
          January 25, 2019

          Very well said Lynn.
          In the world of sport it is similar to the how competing teams accept the umpire or the referee’s decision.

      2. MickN
        January 25, 2019

        Have you ever been to a cup final at Wembley stadium Margaret?
        Well if you take that capacity crowd and multiply it by 15 you would see how ridiculous your “nearly equal number of people “statement really is.

      3. Dennisa
        January 25, 2019

        There was a 0.3% majority for a Welsh Assembly. We have a Welsh Assembly, although many of us wish we didn’t.

      4. Den
        January 25, 2019

        You are wrong. In any democracy, the majority always wins. It was not so long ago in Parliament that the Remainers actually won a vote. They won by 6 votes, was it? A much smaller a percentage than the outcome of the referendum. So why were the leave losers not taken into consideration then?
        Do not not see the problems with your particular type of Democracy?
        Check out General Election results, where the winner gained the Seat in Parliament by a just a ‘handful’ of votes after several recounts? What would you do then? Have a second General Election? And get the same result? Then what?
        The kicker here is that ALL Parties told us that they would honour the result whatever it may be. And remember, you count for nothing when Party machines are in control. If you do not like the result. Tough.
        I never wanted Britain to join the EU but because of previous Leaders reneging on the promises to hold a referendum, we, the people were denied a second referendum on what THEY decided was best for us and our offspring.
        Now, after 2016, we have had our vote, those very same people are now trying to undermine it. They all disgust me.
        And you don’t have a problem with this?
        Just whose side are you on? The British people or those Unelected and Unaccountable Kings of the EU? In which case, why? Why would we be better off under the jackboots of the unelected and unaccountable Brussels mafia? Always remember – Freedom is priceless.

        1. Steve
          January 26, 2019


          “Always remember – Freedom is priceless.”

          It’s to die for.

      5. Jagman84
        January 25, 2019

        If we were to foolishly remain in the EU, it will mean the Euro, the end of our rebate, Schengen, an EU army and membership of a full Federal Europe after 2022. Our current membership terms would be ripped up as the price for being allowed to stay in. When we voted to leave in 2016, we burnt all of our bridges with the EU. The only possible path to prosperity is a full and complete severance from the EU.

      6. Steve
        January 26, 2019

        Margaret Howard

        “Which means taking into consideration the nearly equal number of people who voted Remain.”

        Why ? They lost the vote and are therefore the minority. They have no voice until the next general election.

        1. a-tracy
          January 29, 2019

          They had a general election in 2017 Steve, they could have voted Lib Dem they could have voted Green but they didn’t.

  2. Stephen Priest
    January 25, 2019

    I see the “People’s Vote” have withdrawn their amendment.

    Do MPs really want to be seen overturning the biggest democratic vote in history by trying to extending (cancel) Article 50 ? Somebody should ask them in public. The BBC never will.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      January 25, 2019

      You could only laugh when listening to the “Today” program yesterday and Roland Rudd announcing the (rich) peoples vote capitulation live from Davos.

  3. Peter
    January 25, 2019

    An informative article on imminent Parliamentary amendments. Certainly situations that are without precedent.

    I thought the government would not be legally bound by such amendments and could effectively ignore them. The other response was to shut down Parliament and deny time for them to be effective.

    1. eeyore
      January 25, 2019

      When the Cooper amendment is debated I hope some on the Brexit side will be able to tell the House the actual cost of delay. I understand it to be in the high tens of billions of pounds, on top of the £39bn already committed under the WA.

      I think the public will be alarmed when they learn how much of other people’s money purist Remainers are willing to give away to secure their personal objectives.

      1. Dennisa
        January 25, 2019

        Her husband cost us plenty, is she trying to emulate him?

    2. Anonymous
      January 25, 2019

      The worst possible outcome (for them) would be the Brexit oiks proven right.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        January 25, 2019


  4. Mark B
    January 25, 2019

    Good morning.

    I would like to thank our kind host on this summary.

    At the moment it looks to me like either, the WA or BREXIT proper. I have never been a fan of BREXIT proper and all the other options are now too late. Unlike Mike, I can move on 😉

    What the people and business need is certainty. Currently this is not happening. It is clear form what Acorn published yesterday, and what I highlighted also, is that the UK government has not been negotiating for and on the behalf of the British people and their decision to Leave the EU. I will post again the link and highlight what was said by Mr. Barnier.

    In order to implement this joint commitment, we have therefore agreed on an insurance mechanism in the treaty, the ‘backstop’ arrangement, which provides that:

    The United Kingdom and the EU would form a single customs territory, at the specific, insistent request of the United Kingdom. We have aligned ourselves with this UK idea, which was not in our blueprint for the backstop;

    1. oldtimer
      January 25, 2019

      Thank you for the link to the Barnier speech which I have now read. The part you quoted is very revealing. It confirms that the WA is a May/Robbins construct aided and abetted by Hammond and others. It’s rejection by the HoC means that time has been wasted, political capital expended and the UK government turned into a laughing stock.

      I imagine the EU will wish to negotiate an alternative to May’s “single customs territory” asap. The alternative is a FTA. The bones of such a deal exist. Coupled with the non contentious elements of the WA (such as citizens rights) there are good reasons for both sides to complete a revised agreement asap not least, as JR noted above, the government will require new legislation to approve any financial settlement agreed on withdrawal.

    2. Mark B
      January 25, 2019

      Oh, sorry, I forgot. Many thanks to, Acorn for providing the original link.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      January 25, 2019

      Brexit ‘proper’ is WTO Brexit. We would trade with the E.U. in the same way a we trade with the other 160 countries around the world. What’s wrong with that? btW the E.U. refuses to allow us to sign any trade treaties before we leave, which is why they are lined up to be signed but are not signed and will not be until 30th March!

      1. Mark B
        January 25, 2019

        We cannot even negotiate let a lone sign FTA’s. Anyone who says different is either a liar or fool.

        1. Stephen Priest
          January 25, 2019

          “We” can do anything.

          A Remain Government headed by May and Hammond have ensured Britain’s complet humilitation.

      2. Butties
        January 25, 2019

        Not only that Lyn but WTO allows us to continue trade with the EU exactly as we do now via Article 24 (see if it is the intention to create a FTA in the longer term. In fact WTO Article 24 allows such an arrangement to continue for as long as 10 years!. No cliff edge, no disaster etc etc but a smooth progression from membership of the EU to free trade agreement with the EU and anyone else we choose to.

        1. John Hatfield
          January 25, 2019

          Butties, it’s not about trade. It’s about the EU federation which some of our globalist aspiring parliamentarians want to be part of.

  5. St Quentin
    January 25, 2019

    You did make clear to the Commons when it passed the EU Withdrawal Notification Act that in your view Parliament’s wish to send the Article 50 letter should have been the end to the debate on the principle of leaving. I noticed the looks of puzzlement on several of your colleagues’ faces. Do you imagine that Parliament is not allowed to change its mind? If that is what you think, you are ignorant of the only and only rule of the UK’s constitution! Kindly respect our traditions and practice in future

    1. Roy Grainger
      January 25, 2019

      When the Prime Minister writes to us all and says “We will implement what you decide” then no, Parliament is not allowed to “change its mind”.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 25, 2019

        JR does not like me saying this, but from the very first draft of the referendum Bill produced while the Tories were still in opposition it was pointed out that it said nothing about what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU. And that was repeatedly pointed out but ignored by the Tory leadership. So was that an accident? Or was it deliberate, David Cameron making sure that Parliament could claim wriggle room on what to do, giving more scope to eurofederalists like him to overturn the result if the vote went the wrong way?

        1. Denis Cooper
          January 25, 2019

          From July 6th 2013:

          “I think what Cameron said in that interview may have got warped in translation from English to Spanish and back again.

          But people are entitled to be suspicious when the Bill he supports fails to say what must happen in the event of an “out” vote.

          It could lay down that the government must immediately notify the EU that the UK intends to withdraw under Article 50 TEU, but it doesn’t.”

        2. Lynn Atkinson
          January 25, 2019

          The Cameron Governments £9 million leaflet sent to every house specified exactly what would happen if we voted to Leave. Read it – out of the Single Market, Customs Union and ECJ. In other words WTO Brexit. That is what we voted for in spite of false threats from Nissan etc.
          Accept it – we voted to Leave irrespective of all else! No ‘wriggle room’ and May’s ‘deal’ is in fact not a deal but a surrender – I feel sorry for the E.U., we could have nothing worse to them than blight them with Cameron and May!

          1. Denis Cooper
            January 25, 2019

            But that leaflet was issued by the government and it said the government would implement the decision. MPs had at least one opportunity to object and tell the government not to include that promise, except they were too damn lazy and inattentive to do that until after the referendum, as detailed here in October 2016:


            “These MPs who are complaining now could have urgently demanded to know what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU and how they would be involved. They had an opportunity as late as April 11th when there was a debate on the leaflet”

            “A number of MPs, including Kenneth Clarke, had a number of things to say about that leaflet, but not one of them thought to ask:

            “When the leaflet says ““This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”, are people to take that literally, or would it be Parliament that decided how to respond to a vote to leave the EU?””

          2. John Hatfield
            January 25, 2019

            Lynn, not sure that what you say what was in the leaflet is correct but Cameron’s promise given in the House with full attendance was “The very next day after 23rd June I will sign Article 50 , taking us OUT of the EU and OUT of the Single Market”.
            Instead he fled.

        3. eeyore
          January 25, 2019

          I think everyone accepted that the decision in principle would be taken by the voters, but detailed implementation was down to government. How else could it be?

          Perhaps we were naive to imagine that when Parliament and government gave us their word, they meant it. Naive too to think either body would handle the business in good faith. We’ll know better next time.

          Constitutional experts, including Lord Hennessy, have opined that we are in a great struggle between old-style representative democracy and a new brand of plebiscitary democracy. I agree, but it is still disappointing to see how many Hon and Rt Hon members of the Honourable House of Commons feel no shame whatever in welshing on their promises.

          1. John Hatfield
            January 25, 2019

            But does detailed implementation include doing all you can to distort the referendum result, à la Therêse.

    2. Dominic Johnson
      January 25, 2019

      Parliament is free to change its mind, however it is not free to change others minds, or command the tides not to change, or to change history.

      The house is subservient to EU law and EU law says we are out in March
      No whining from the Remoaners can change that

    3. L Jones
      January 25, 2019

      Obviously a remainder. Never a comment without an insult, either overt or implied.

    4. mickc
      January 25, 2019

      There is a tradition and practice that parties comply with their manifestos. All MPs ran and were elected on manifestos which stated they would comply with the result of the Referendum.
      Indeed Parliament may change its mind; but MPs cannot blatantly disregard the basis on which they were elected. The Divine Right of Kings was abolished, not passed on the MPs. Many seem not to understand that.

    5. Denis Cooper
      January 25, 2019

      “Kindly respect our traditions and practice in future”

      Another hypocrite.

    6. Anonymous
      January 25, 2019

      Not when we had a referendum and then an election on which Leave was promised.

    7. Bob
      January 25, 2019

      @St Quentin

      “Do you imagine that Parliament is not allowed to change its mind? “

      Parliament has had over 40 years to make up it’s mind, and could not do so. That’s why the matter was referred to the British voters with a solemn pledge to respect their decision.

      The question now is, are we living in a democracy or a banana republic?

    8. David Price
      January 25, 2019

      The remainers in parliament are not showing respect for traditions, practice or the people they are supposed to represent.

      In any case, which constitution are your refering to and does it inclde the back of Bercows mind?

      1. Mark B
        January 25, 2019

        And neither is Mr.Speaker by all accounts.

  6. Dominic
    January 25, 2019

    It’s taken this entire saga to finally expose the contempt that some Parliamentary MPs have for the views and the democratic voting preferences of the people that these self same MPs are elected to represent

    We can now see in fine detail the identities of those MPs who choose to challenge democracy itself. Their authoritarian, elitist instincts are a sight to behold, offensive in the extreme and deserving of absolute democratic retribution and revenge at the next GE

    These self same MPs voted for legislation that afforded the British people a referendum and now they challenge its conclusions. Cake and eat it politics

    I don’t believe I have ever seen this degree of shamelessness, arrogance and absolute contempt shown before by elected MPs for the process and consequences of a democratic vote.

    Grieve and Cooper are reprehensible. If I was a wealthy man I would campaign specifically against any MP who behaved in this manner but these two MPs are beyond the pale. The sheer temerity that they should conspire with the EU and no doubt the leaders of both parties to undermine the result of the EU referendum

    I still believe that this PM is working with Remain MPs to circumvent the referenda result and keep us tied into the EU. May has shown herself to be utterly without honour and morality.

    Her ‘No deal Brexit’ promise is in effect a threat to Remain. May knows that any UK-EU deal will keep us tied into the EU in some form or another. I want to see WTO and full sovereignty. May doesn’t.

    It is now the solemn duty of all Brexit MPs to challenge and defeat in whatever way they can muster this threat to Brexit from those who refuse to accept our democratically expressed wishes. Failure to do so would have disastrous consequences for public confidence in our democratic institutions.

    I hope that at the next GE those MPs that chose to confront the veracity of the referendum result will be voted out Parliament by their constituents and sent packing into obscurity and irrelevance

    1. L Jones
      January 25, 2019

      Thanks, Dominic. You’ve said what many of us are thinking. The word ”infuriated” springs to mind.

    2. Alan Jutson
      January 25, 2019


      I agree.

      The farce is the EU will not actually discuss any future agreement until we leave, and have signed a legally binding contract about how we leave.

      All this argument about how we leave, nothing yet about trade and all of the so called co-operation agreements, because the EU refuse to talk about them.

      Thus the original so called statement “nothing is agreed until all is agreed” was a fake promise by both the EU and the UK.

      For goodness sake just walk away and set down our own terms of business for the future. Terms which should have been put in place at the outset, so everyone knew in advance our backstop position..

      Talks, about talks, about talks, just causes more delay, more confusion, and extends the uncertainty for everyone involved, no wonder businesses are complaining.

    3. David
      January 25, 2019

      Well said Dominic; your views are shared by many of us.

      1. James bertram
        January 25, 2019

        Yes, Dominic, emailed much of that comment to my Remainer Conservative MP, Anne Milton. (Too, emailed her MarkB’s comments on the Barnier speech – i.e. clear evidence that May has not been negotiating for the UK, in reality, to leave the EU.)
        With my comment that I couldn’t agree more with what you said.

    4. Amanda
      January 25, 2019

      A very good post, my thoughts entirely.

      I will also say thank you to John Redwood for this excellent analysis of the situation. Whilst the febrile media is rubbing its hands in glee at the thought of revolution, this is the type of calm thought and analysis we need to show we are not becoming a ‘banana republic’ – more of it please from more of the sensible and grounded MPs that are in the House.

      People of integrity in Government help to create more certainty for the rest of us to live our lives and run our businesses.

      I will also add, that I too am of the view that Mrs May (or her no 10 operation) must be in cahoots with the anti-democratic element of the House. Otherwise, why is she not acting more quickly to quash the rebellion in the light of the above. If you let a fire take hold, it will only burn more and last longer. Such terrible leadership !!

    5. CvM
      January 25, 2019

      “I hope that at the next GE those MPs that chose to confront the veracity of the referendum result will be voted out Parliament by their constituents and sent packing into obscurity and irrelevance”

      Though perhaps not if their constituents backed remain or with some sort of Brexit done find they have more pressing concerns around the cost of living for example

      1. L Jones
        January 25, 2019

        Which may well, of course, fall. Then they’ll be too busy celebrating and making a feast of their words.

    6. ian wragg
      January 25, 2019

      Well spoken. My sentiments entirely.

    7. Tagalong
      January 25, 2019

      Thank you, D!
      For the record:
      In order to implement this joint commitment, we have therefore agreed on an insurance mechanism in the treaty, the ‘backstop’ arrangement, which provides that:

      The United Kingdom and the EU would form a single customs territory, at the specific, insistent request of the United Kingdom. We have aligned ourselves with this UK idea, which was not in our blueprint for the backstop;

  7. Excalibur
    January 25, 2019

    Thank you, JR. Your grasp of constitutional and Parliamentary law are notable, as is your ability to present it lucidly and straightforwardly, so that it can be understood by dummies like me. We cannot allow the treachery of Remainers and the Speaker of the House to prevail.

  8. Adam
    January 25, 2019

    Much of what Dominic Grieve intends is against the interests of the Conservative Party & lacks support of UK citizens who regard his antics as hostile. Those who act against the decisions & interests of the majority because the correct path doesn’t suit their personal preferences are unsuitable as members. Joining with opposition members may, in itself be sensible in pursuing a cause for good, yet DG’s cause is not. In many ways, Parliament would be better without those who cause nuisance solely to obstruct the will of the nation’s people. DG might be more usefully counter-employed in a legal book shop.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    January 25, 2019

    Rather than bemoaning others for putting their (misguided) means of moving forward in front of the media and Parliament, get the draft free trade agreement published and move the debate to the merits of walking away.

    Now is the time to control the narrative with meaningful solutions rather than vague promises and reassurances.

    The public can see what staying in looks like (even though the status quo is not really available). We need project fact and project tangibly positive to win hearts and minds.

  10. Raj
    January 25, 2019

    Shutting down the government will be seen as an act of incredible foolishness by the general public and totally undemocratic. It could be argued that it would be worse than no-brexit by the public and even pro-brexit members of the public (unless they are on the extreme-side of politics) will no longer be willing to support brexit. If these amendments go through, there has to be a general election. These amendments demonstrate how proremain the conservative and Labour MPs in Leave areas really are, and therefore how out of touch they are with their party supporters. There will, again, be a vote of no-confidence in Mrs May. If these amendments go through, who can say they have confidence in her when she will no longer be able to govern. Also the public really needs to know that the cost to the public of appeasing the remainers by extending Article 50 is a multi-billion pound contribution to the EU, on top of the 39billion Mr Hammond is insisting we pay regardless of how we leave the EU.

    1. Mark B
      January 25, 2019

      It is not shutting down the government, it is shutting down the Legislature until after the point we have left the EU. This to stop MP’s putting in bills to stop BREXIT.

  11. Lifelogic
    January 25, 2019

    Indeed. The remainers and project fear is doing huge damage in destroying the UKs negotiation position and trying to subvert the will of the people.

    I see that the BBC have used a few of the Queen’s word at a WI meeting to claim she supports remain. Nonsense, just the usual platitudes about new challenges, everyone trying to get on and respecting each other’s views. I can’t see much merit in respecting idiotic, wrong headed or profoundly evil views myself. Surely the view are worth of respect or not worth of respect?

    He people attacking Dyson last night on Questiontime, what idiotic people they choose for the panel. The man has done a very great deal for the UK, has rightly has done what he thinks is best for his business and is sound on Brexit. Good luck to him and his businesses. Even if his hand dryers are a bit too noisy and his vacuums are rather pricey for me.

  12. Javelin
    January 25, 2019

    It has been interesting that Nietzsche has been rehabilitated in Germany by the philosopher Wolfgang Müller-Lauter who through “careful and thorough analysis and rigour” has reinterpreted Nietzsche.

    He has won Germany’s top prize in philosophy. The Friedrich Nietzsche Prize for €15,000 in 1996.

    Perhaps most worrying is the Neo-Nietzschian still see chaos as lying in the people and the need to be ruled by the aristocracy. This time the technocracy of the EU.

    In the book by Muller-Lauter (1999, Über Freiheit und Chaos: Nietzsche-Interpretationen II). He writes that chaos is the key to be controlled.

    Interestingly that word crops up again in a highly significant statement of intention by Merkel who also seems to think chaos is the enemy. Words matter. Intention matters. Intentions reveal the underlying source.

    The times writes “Angela Merkel has hailed Germany’s new pact with France as a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe into an era of chaos”.

    And just like a previous German leader she needs force to replace chaos with order.

    As Nietzsche wrote in the Genealogy of Morals (III 10):

    The contrary is the case when we come to the aristocrat’s system of values: it acts and grows spontaneously, it merely seeks its antithesis in order to pronounce a more grateful and exultant ‘yes’ to its own self;- its negative conception, ‘low,’ ‘vulgar,’ ‘bad,’ is merely a pale born foil in comparison with its positive and fundamental conception (saturated as it is with life and passion), of ‘we aristocrats, we good ones, we beautiful ones, we happy ones.’

    1. agricola
      January 25, 2019

      Chaos in a political sense occurs when the incumbent politicians fail to respond in a positive fashion to the causes of chaos. The potential for chaos in Brexit is that the establishment are failing to respond to the decision of the majority of the electorate. The establishment showered the pool with groundbait but the leave fish went off downstream choosing freedom rather than becoming salmon en croute for the establishment. An unforgivable sin in the minds of those who expect to rule irrespective of elections or referendums.

    2. Mitchel
      January 26, 2019

      The reasons why variations on Tsarism have almost always been to the fore in Russia is that the absolute power of the Tsar,the Little Father of the people, keeps the aristocracy/boyars/oligarchs in check.

  13. Julie
    January 25, 2019

    Parliament should be prorogue if certain set of rebellious MPs think they have the right to abuse the PMB system to overrule the Government and stop Brexit. Suggest these parliamentarians who have exposed their intentions to resign, Parliament doesn’t need another Cromwell enactment

  14. Denis Cooper
    January 25, 2019

    I am unwavering in my support for our national Parliament as an institution, while holding most of the present incumbents in the same contempt as they hold the people.

    1. forthurst
      January 25, 2019

      What we are seeing is what happens to cabinet collective responsibility when a governing party has been elected under the anachronistic and unfair FPTP electoral system with many of its MPs, having been selected by a malicious globalist clique, being parachuted into English constituencies who are then given the choice of voting for them or an equally unpatriotic alternative. They may be able to agree to bomb the globalists’ enemy de jour and turn their country into a dangerous and disagreeable place but when it comes to sovereignty, the minority of ‘patriots’ will never agree with the globalist sponsored majority. JR approves this system.

  15. Javelin
    January 25, 2019

    If the rebels wish to use a constitutional loop hole then simply push them back through another constitutional loop hole from whence they came.

  16. ian
    January 25, 2019

    The penny has now dropped in the UK parliament and in Europe that the UK is leaving the EU on 29th of March this year.

  17. A.Sedgwick
    January 25, 2019

    Thank you for this summary.

    My opinion of Grieve is beyond contempt. He should know better as a senior lawyer. There is an attitude of Heath about him – a politician scorned. A strong leader would withdraw the Whip and tell his local association to select another for the next election, which is rumoured he will not contest.

    I hope your conclusions are correct but May continues to worry. She is accepting the current AG view that we are liable for payment after supposed exit.

    A vice president of BAE said yesterday the Government had encouraged them to forecast Project Fear Mk27.

    Then there is Gideon at it again – another politician scorned.

  18. Kevin
    January 25, 2019

    “The wish of some to legislate to delay or prevent our exit from the EU…”

    Do we need a thirty-day filibuster to save democracy?

  19. Anthony
    January 25, 2019

    Thanks John, very informative

  20. BOF
    January 25, 2019

    There seems little chance of any other outcome other than WTO Brexit or May’s deal.

    That means either full sovereignty for the United Kingdom or vassal statehood for many years to come, with or without the Irish backstop. Should Parliament choose the latter then MP’s themselves will be responsible for the complete loss of trust that will result.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    January 25, 2019

    The assault on our democracy by MPs who have contempt for the wishes of the people has no bounds. Not satisfied with overturning the referendum result they are determined to totally destroy our democratic process. If they are allowed to succeed with this coup there will be no point in future voting for a party to form a government as it will be subverted by the loser parties. We know democracy is anathema to the EU and clearly it is also to its disciples in Westminster. The way MPs, elected and unelected, past and present have trooped over to Brussels to subvert the negotiations is disgraceful and in other times would have been regarded as an act of treason. Whenever the next election comes, many in the main parties will be in for a shock. Many people I know who aren’t as interested in politics as I am have told me they are so disgusted with politicians they can see little point in voting in future. No doubt the Remainers would be pleased and take solace from this, as would the EU.

  22. Know-Dice
    January 25, 2019

    I see in the news today that the EU is being pressurised by some member countries to give the UK more favourable “no deal” arrangements.

    That is better landing rights and hauliers the right to operate within the EU (cabotage).

    Of course we should mention that 85%? of ROI’s exports transit through the UK and Ryan Air has a very large customer base in the UK, so it is in the EU’s interest to have a softer line on these rather than their current “head in the sand” attitude.

    Also, maybe somebody from the ERG should have a quiet word in Amber Rudd’s ear and bring her up to speed on how “no deal” is not a cliff edge…hint hint…

    1. lb
      January 25, 2019

      Remember, if they want to fly to the USA, they pretty much have to fly through UK controlled airspace.

      If you want to play air space games and landing rights, it works both ways.

      1. margaret howard
        January 25, 2019

        I don’t think Brexiteers in general would be very pleased with that. After all if, say the Spanish retaliated, how would they get their two weeks annual holiday in Benidorm or Ibiza?

        1. Original Richard
          January 26, 2019

          Since there have been anti-tourist demonstrations in Spain over the last couple of years I would suggest that UK holidaymakers go elsewhere for their holidays.

        2. NickC
          January 26, 2019

          Margaret Howard, The premise was that the EU (at the behest of Remains like yourself?) would have already refused to accept planes from the UK. So no holidays in the first place. You can’t threaten to stop something already stopped – that would be babyish.

          If you want to stop UK planes flying to the EU you will have have a word with the ICAO, not the EU. Then again, why do you think flying planes is a pissing contest?

  23. Lynn Atkinson
    January 25, 2019

    The Government has very urgent business to get through the Commons preparing for our independent status. They have left it late, but now that business MUST take precidence. Cooper and Grieve must understand that you can’t legislate for parties to agree – the E.U. has been stating its case for 5 years – to Cameron, to May even now they are saying simply that they are not minded to alter the E.U. and you are either in or out. What words can’t our politicians understand?
    The people understand exactly and chose to be OUT!

  24. FranzB
    January 25, 2019

    I don’t know what to say- I think you’re all mad

    1. Mark B
      January 25, 2019

      Thank you, and welcome to the Tea Party. Please pull up a chair. Nurse will be along in a minute to see to you.

  25. Alastair Harris
    January 25, 2019

    Particularly interested in your views of the role of speaker in these manoeuvreings.

  26. Denis Cooper
    January 25, 2019

    Off-topic, JR, I wonder whether you have seen this:

    “EU Cornered as Backstop Sham Starts to Unravel”

    After more than a year now I’m sick of pointing out the bleeding obvious, and I wonder just how thick some MPs must be not to grasp this – that the integrity of the EU Single Market could only be undermined by goods which were actually taken across the Irish land border into the Irish Republic, not by goods which stayed in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK, and therefore the EU should be satisfied if the UK imposed and enforced legal controls on those exports, comprising about 0.1% of UK GDP.

    1. Know-Dice
      January 25, 2019

      Thanks Denis, keep it up, great information as usual 🙂

    2. L Jones
      January 25, 2019

      Of course they ”grasp it”, Denis. They just choose to believe that we’re all ill-informed, poorly-educated nitwits whom they can patronise with impunity. So they carry on regardless, because we’re the ”little people” to them.

    3. Otto
      January 25, 2019

      “the EU should be satisfied if the UK imposed and enforced legal controls on those exports, comprising about 0.1% of UK GDP.”

      Oh yes I see by a manned border on more that 300 crossing points.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 26, 2019

        Of course not, Otto, try not to be so damn silly. As for any other offence it could be enforced by punishing those who transgress; for commercial hauliers in particular by the cancellation of their haulage permits, without which they could not legally continue in that business in the UK. The UK Parliament has even passed a new law about haulage permits, so that is there as a start.

  27. Shieldsman
    January 25, 2019

    Why are we here, with Parliament at sixes and sevens. Parliament so far has honoured the referendum with the withdrawal Act The real problem has been the wording of Article 50, whereby the EU Commission had the overriding right to compose the Withdrawal Agreement (with its backstop) and present it to HM Government within the two year period for signature. Only by accepting it can we move on to a transition period and under its terms negotiate our trade terms and future relationship. The backstop could make this period indefinite unless we remain in a Customs Union.

    The Labour Leader in seeking a Customs Union, cannot negotiate it without first accepting the withdrawal Agreement.

  28. mika
    January 25, 2019

    It’s no good moaning about all this now.

    John Redwood’s played into the Remainers hands.

    1. Edward2
      January 25, 2019

      There were hundreds of MPs who refused to support the withdrawal agreement.

    2. Den
      January 25, 2019

      How so? The topic is current. I did not detect any “moaning”, although there is plenty pof reason to do so, it was completely informative . Perhaps, before you comment, you should actually read what is written rather than jump in with your own conclusions.

    3. David Price
      January 26, 2019

      Now? You mean people should have been commenting on government machinations before – while they were keeping them secret from the public and government ministers?

  29. acorn
    January 25, 2019

    The so called “mother of all parliaments” has been shown to be the Dodo of all parliaments; two centuries out of date. Former Lord Chancellor Hailsham, described the UK has having an “elective dictatorship” (also called executive dominance in A level political science).

    ” Elective Dictatorship”, as the Parliament still has some effectiveness in scrutinising the executive, however as Britain is falling more into a Prime-ministerial style government there is possibility that Britain can become an “Elective Dictatorship.” (A level Politics)

    Until we get the Executive out of the Legislature and get it written down in a proper Constitution that can’t be easily amended by successive governments with small or no majority, we will forever have a Punch & Judy parliament.

    BTW. The UK has far too many MP. Each represents circa 100,000 population. A US Congressman represents circa 700,000; an EU MEP 660,000.

    1. Edward2
      January 25, 2019

      Currently it seems to reflect the wide variety of voters opinions.
      We have had a few close election results.
      After the Blair Brown years I’m not surprised we don’t seem to want one party with a big majority.
      In nations with written constitutions government can still be complex and argumentative.
      Current USA for example.
      I think we have it about right with 100,000 voters per MP.
      The more the number the less representation we the people have.

    2. Mark B
      January 25, 2019

      I agree with all your points.

    3. David Price
      January 26, 2019

      In recent years I have pondered whether we should have a written constitution. From my non-lawyer perspective I would plump for one that restricts government along the lines of the US model but the turkeys would never go for that. The civil servants and the lawyers that infest parliament would instead press for the EU approach where we are only allowed to do what they tell us which would be no solution at all.

      I don’t agree with changing the number of MPs arbitrarily, as long as they act properly, effectively and for our benefit.

  30. NHSGP
    January 25, 2019

    The second is anything that requires taxes to be raised and public money to be spent should need Parliamentary consent based on a resolution put to the House by a Minister.


    How many billions have to be paid to the EU?

    The deal is depends on the bung to the EU. That means taxes and austerity in the UK.

    So they can’t force it through unless they say how it is going to be funded.

    Not that MPs really care about the public having consent, we are just ordered around. Given that MPs don’t like the public telling them what to do, whats amazing is they haven’t joined the dots up.

  31. agricola
    January 25, 2019

    For the EU it is a lesson in democray both good and bad, which is possibly why they only pay lip service to it as a method of governance.
    I find the bleatings of big business very dubious indeed. They are familiar with doing business with the EU and on WTO terms with the rest of the World. While David Bamford of JCB has said that trading on WTO causes him no qualms because his compny already does it. We then have the two heads of Airbus saying how terrible it would be to revert to WTO trading. Think about it, the bulk of Airbus UK’s trading is with Airbus France. They are not selling Airbus wings all over the EU or all over the World. Add to this the zero tariff imposed on aviation parts under WTO rules and I begin to smell a politically motivated briefing on behalf of the remain contingent in cabinet. I would ask for a disclosure of contact between the head of Airbus and anyone in and around government.
    Then again selected retired military and members of the security services only yesterday gave a chorus recital in pro remain support. Any strength in European security is centered around GCHQ, MI5, MI6, the CIA, and Mossad. The level of terrorist activity in the EU suggests to me that they do not have a grip on security and that they are much more dependent on our, the US and Israeli input than we on theirs. Another remain put up job.
    Demonising James Dyson for moving his corporate HQ to Singapore is yet another example of remain black ops. I believe the truth is that a mere two people of the thousands he employs in the UK have gone to Singapore. I presume this to be a first step to building his business in the Far East where growth is possible when it is limited in the EU. He may have looked at the tax regime in the UK and decided that it was too onerous compared with alternatives. It is what you get with a socialist chancellor in a trojan horse socialist UK government.
    We know in his own words the punative attitude to the WA agreement and any future agreement on trade from the mouth of Barnier in 2016. Why May went along with it for two years is anyones guess. All I know now is that departure on WTO rules on 29 March is the only sensible response. If the EU don’t like it let them crawl.

  32. Lifelogic
    January 25, 2019

    Queen calls for end to Brexit feud says the Times. She did no such think of course but the only way to end it (and also not to destroy the Tory party and get Corbyn) is to deliver a real Brexit in March and they show how the remaoaner profits of doom were completely wrong as they are consistently.

    More bureaucratic red tape on food labelling laws I see, totally misguided. Once again damaging productivity and pushing up costs for cafes and restaurants. All restaurant will end up selling second rate pre-labelled and prepared industrial food from factories in the end.

  33. Lifelogic
    January 25, 2019

    Hammond talking complete and utter drivel a Davos as usual. Why is he still in post. He is an economic illiterate and a tax to death dope anyway. He looked very cold!

  34. Ian Pennell
    January 25, 2019

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    There is a way to stop all of the Remainer shenanigans in their tracks- all the motions, amendments, Parliamentary “Bills”, etc. It would be for the Prime Minister, Theresa May to ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament until 30th March. This is constitutionally possible and it means that there is a guarantee that Britain leaves the European Union on WTO “No Deal” terms on 29th March.

    Unfortunately, neither Theresa May nor many in her Cabinet are willing to do this; they don’t want “No Deal” and Philip Hammond has gone on record this morning saying that he will resign should Theresa May seriously consider trying for a WTO “No Deal” Brexit.

    The only real hope for a proper Brexit, and a bright independent future for Britain has to be Theresa May being made to resign (through great pressure) and for a new General Election fought on a popular (pro- growth) WTO “No Deal” Brexit Platform with a Brexiteer as Conservative Leader- so that a Brexit- supporting majority Conservative Government results: That now looks as if that is the only way a true Brexit is going to actually happen!

    As one who voted “Leave”, for Britain to be independent on 23rd June 2016, I am sad and deflated that the Independence of Britain, that I really thought would happen when I saw the Referendum Result on the morning of 24th June 2016- now looks most unlikely to actually happen! I am sure millions must feel the same.

    Ian Pennell

    1. Al
      January 25, 2019

      If Theresa May going for a no-deal Brexit gets rid of Hammond as Chancellor, isn’t that win-win? From the point of view of one small business, I really don’t see a downside…

  35. Denis Cooper
    January 25, 2019

    According to the Telegraph Leo Varadkar is now threatening to deploy troops at the border, no doubt at the suggestion of the liar, cheat, hypocrite and traitor Theresa May who will try anything to get MPs to accept her plan to keep us under the thumb of the EU.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 25, 2019

      “In a worst-case scenario, a hard border could “involve people in uniform and it may involve the need, for example, for cameras, physical infrastructure, possibly a police presence, or an army presence to back it up,” Mr Varadkar told …”

      Hang on, is this the same Mr Varadkar as this one here in November 2017?

      From 30 seconds in, robotically intoning:

      “No hard border, no physical infrastructure on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

      And then with his sidekick Helen McEntee at 3 minutes 3 seconds in propounding their absurd, extreme and intransigent doctrine:

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

      Which is now backfiring on them, with help from Theresa May.

      1. Know-Dice
        January 25, 2019

        Denis, now we know what the EU army is for, i.e. keep rouge EU states in check.

        Surely Mr Varadkar has backed the wrong horse here and is now realising what an exposed position the ROI is in.

        1. Know-Dice
          January 25, 2019

          “rouge” states, oh dear 🙁

          “rogue” states…

          1. A.Sedgwick
            January 26, 2019

            Both are right !

      2. acorn
        January 25, 2019

        Varadkar won’t have much say on the border, assuming he wants Ireland to remain in the EU.

        As I have said before on this site, an NI border with Ireland will be land border number 41 on the list of EU land borders. It will undergo the same risk assessment procedure as the other 40 EU land borders. It is totally irrelevant how much GDP crosses that border. The bottom line is the EU27 will deploy the appropriate hardware and software to that border, just like it does on its other 40 land borders.

        The blindingly obvious solution is to keep NI in the EU customs union and single market, as an “EU Frontier Territory” under WTO Article 24 (as
        Michel Barnier intended). This does not cede sovereignty over NI. That will require rubbing out some of May’s idiotic, prematurely announced, red lines, that have boxed her into a corner since day one.

        1. Edward2
          January 25, 2019

          However the UK say they don’t want to have a hard border.
          The Republic of Ireland has said it doesn’t want a hard border.
          So are you saying the EU will invade Ireland and build one?

        2. margaret howard
          January 25, 2019


          Seeing that NIreland along with Scotland voted overwhelmingly Remain they will not doubt have another referendum and become independent EU members leaving a rump England with Wales tagged on.

          Hundreds of years of sweat,blood and toil, thrown away.

          1. Edward2
            January 26, 2019

            I doubt either would vote to leave the UK.
            They get far too much money out of Westminster.

            The EU have also said the chance of Scotland joining the EU was very low had they voted for independence in their recent referendum.
            The SNP thought it would be easy until the EU reminded them of the budget deficit requirements Scotland would have to meet and that they would have to use the Euro.
            Some “rump England” with over 85% of the wealth, tax revenues, commerce and population.

          2. A.Sedgwick
            January 26, 2019

            How about the UK nations agree to a WTO Brexit with the proviso Scotland and N.I. have subsequent referenda on staying in the UK.

            England cannot forever be the whipping boy and be run by 59 sinecure Scotland MPs. The West Lothian question remains.

          3. Denis Cooper
            January 26, 2019

            Some rump, as he might have said …

          4. Original Richard
            January 26, 2019

            As an Englishman I think that N.I. and Scotland becoming independent EU countries would be a good idea.

        3. Denis Cooper
          January 26, 2019

          You have said it before, acorn; but you do not explain the basis for your assumption that if the EU applies the same risk assessment procedure to all of its external borders – as indeed it should, under WTO principles as well as its own stated principles – then it will inevitably conclude that the level of risk is identical for all of them and so all must be treated in exactly the same way. If the EU actually wants one of its member states, the Irish Republic, to share a land border with an unnecessarily hostile and uncooperative neighbour rather than a friendly and collaborative power then it is certainly going the right way about getting that, so I suppose justifying some perverse desire to fortify that border.

          1. acorn
            January 27, 2019

            The risk assessment may show people smuggling is likely should customs install CO2 sniffers for containers from certain origins known for trafficking. Under vehicle inspection equipment to spot bodies and suspension system that have been jacked so the vehicle can be overloaded with tax dodging booze.

          2. Denis Cooper
            January 27, 2019

            This is to do with controls on goods, not people.

        4. Denis Cooper
          January 26, 2019

          “It is totally irrelevant how much GDP crosses that border.”

          So if zero percent of UK GDP crossed the border into the Republic you would still want it to be intercepted and inspected as it crossed the line, and you would still want manned customs posts and barriers and to protect those you would want the Irish army on the spot … and people like you claim that people like me are mad …

          1. acorn
            January 27, 2019

            Illegal Booze, tobacco and cannabis tend not to travel across borders with the correct documents. Ask the Norwegians how much Booze they catch at their borders

          2. Denis Cooper
            January 27, 2019

            The UK and Irish customs already co-operate very closely, and successfully, to counter smuggling. The point is that by passing the UK law I suggest it would become smuggling to carry across goods which did not comply with EU requirements. It would not be the case that anybody could take anything across even if the EU and therefore the Irish Republic did not want it taken across into the EU Single Market, we would be good neighbours and do our best to stop that happening but without changing anything at the border.

  36. The Prangwizard
    January 25, 2019

    As for government responsibilities on Brexit preparations, has the list of tariffs been published yet?

  37. Den
    January 25, 2019

    To put the above in simple terms, the die-hard remainers wish to distort and to corrupt the existing parliamentary procedures to enable them to further undermine our democracy.
    Why are such anti-British Independence people allowed in our Parliament, the very seat of OUR democracy?
    Surely such talk and devious tactics will give rise to charges of treachery? Had this happened in the 1940s, several arrests would have been made for they are akin to the principles of Lord Haw Haw.

  38. BR
    January 25, 2019

    The article is 100% correct. However, thin on detail as to how to prevent it.

    If a money resolution is really required then the government, if it looses, could simply say (after doing nothing for a few weeks):

    ‘We did what was possible within the money that was available for this course of action’.

    Since no money was allocated, we could do very little.

    Effectively this is: ‘With £0 available, I could not afford a flight to Brussels nor, in fact, a telephone call to talk to good old Michel about extending A.50 or anything else’.

    If they can play fast and loose with the rules, so can the government. Telling them this as late as possible (after doing nothing for a while) instead of in advance has a clear advantage: tick, tick, tick.

  39. Karl
    January 25, 2019

    Yes just leave 29th..take a few days out and look around..wait for the reports to come for the fallout..yes there will be plenty to do after 29th

  40. MPC
    January 25, 2019

    I wish the likes of Mr Grieve and Ms Cooper, and the Remain media, could be reminded regularly that all existing EU law is to become UK law under the Withdrawal Act. That’s a pretty strong concession to those who voted Remain and undermines the ‘crashing out’ hysteria.

    Of course it’s too much to expect journalists at the BBC and Sky News to ask those interviewees who talk about cataclysms and cliff edges to justify these claims. The only hint of justification I hear is referring to other people or interest groups who parrot the same thing without evidence.

    1. Dennis
      January 26, 2019

      MPC – Of course it’s too much to expect journalists at the BBC and Sky News to ask those interviewees who talk about cataclysms and cliff edges to justify these claims. The only hint of justification I hear is referring to other people or interest groups who parrot the same thing without evidence.

      Quite right – you are the first person in my knowledge to have mentioned this. I keep shouting at these interviewers to ask , ‘what’s your evidence?’

  41. Alan Joyce
    January 25, 2019

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Greg Hands MP sums up in one sentence the absurdity of some senior conservative MP’s.

    He says ‘Apparently, some members of the conservative government are threatening to resign if they can’t vote away the government’s power to govern to a Labour-led cross party group of MP’s’.

  42. mancunius
    January 25, 2019

    Sir John, I agree with everything you write in this post.
    Do please maintain pressure on the government about WTO schedules, novation of existing trade agreements, and MRAs.
    The extension agreement is simply postponing every genuine decision to a future date. Let us leave on 29th March, no more ifs or buts. Anyone reading the WA can see it is as carefully constructed as a pair of handcuffs. The backstop is only one of its poison pills. Regulatory alignment and ECJ dependency is equally baleful.
    Away with it.

  43. Ronald Olden
    January 25, 2019

    This interview with Andrea Leadsom I’ve just been reading about is interesting.

    She appears to believe that we can remain in the EU ‘for a few extra weeks’ without asking for Article 50 to be extended.

    She’s right.

    The relevant Clause in Article 50 does NOT state that in the event of ‘No Deal’ within two years, (i.e. March 29th), we leave automatically without one.

    Article 50 states:-

    ”The Treaties shall cease to apply (i.e. we Leave automatically) from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement OR, failing that, two years after the notification, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period”.

    ‘Entry into force of the withdrawal agreement’ can be AFTER two years have elapsed from the date of invoking Article 50.

    We can therefore stay in the EU beyond March 29th without making an application to do so, or bringing the terms Withdrawal Agreement themselves into effect. We will Leave (if ever) when the terms of a Withdrawal Agreement ‘enter into force’.

    The date in the Brexit Act can be altered by a vote in the House. So that will be easy.
    So what does does this new revelation all mean?

    Andrea Leadsom says it merely means few weeks delay to cross the t’s and dot the i’s is whatever is agreed in principle.

    But let’s wait and see?

    A crucial feature of all this is that neither Article 50, nor UK law defines what a ‘withdrawal agreement’ actually is and at what stage it qualifies to be treated as such for the purposes of Article 50 .

    We will not be Leaving the EU on March 29th.

    1. mancunius
      January 25, 2019

      It’s not a ‘new revelation’. It’s only your eccentric misreading of a perfectly clear English sentence. If no agreement is ratified by the end of the two-year period (‘failing that’) we leave exactly two years after the notification.
      The idea that if there is no Withdrawal Agreement the treaties still operate after the stipulated two-year term is made nonsense by the clear contextual meaning of ‘failing that’, i.e. if no such agreement is concluded prior to the deadline, the treaties cease their validity for the member state two years after notification.

      The EU has repeatedly stated – as has the UK government – that we leave at midnight (CET) i.e. at 11pm GMT on 29th March, with or without an agreement. So M. Barnier may not be too impressed by your ‘revelation’.

    2. Mike Wilson
      January 26, 2019

      The extract you have quoted from Article 50 makes it clear you leave on the date of the Withdrawal Agreement or failing that two years after notice is served. It does not allow for taking, for example, twenty years to agree Withdrawal Agreement.

  44. Yorkie
    January 25, 2019

    Cooper MP, how long the people of Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton,etc traditional Labour voters are prepared to remain locked-in to Labour Party support is unknowable.
    They voted as a community to Leave. She violates daily every value of that community.

    Certainly I have spoken one-to-one in school and in my workand in their homes to far more people than she has done in her entire life.
    They, generally, do not trust the Tory Party. Labour has always been the much lesser of the “two” evils.
    She is on the road to dismantling that historic Labour Party link. She is utterly out of keeping and may end up, for all we know, retiring into political obscurity. And hated! Loathed! Even by devout Labour members.

  45. margaret howard
    January 25, 2019

    In a video message, Mr Enders (Senior executive of Airbus) said: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that ‘because we have huge plants here we will not move and we will always be here’. They are wrong.”

    But Mark Francois, a Tory MP and vice chairman of the pro-Leave European Research Group, hit back in a live interview on BBC News, tearing up Mr Enders’ words and saying:

    “My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German and neither will his son.”

    What nice company for a Tory MP to keep!

    1. Adam
      January 25, 2019

      Mark Francois is a stalwart proponent for what is best for the UK. We need more of his calibre & to remove the dead wood drifters in parliament, who do little of value or just obstruct.

    2. Edward2
      January 25, 2019

      Check how much money the European based company Airbus gets from the EU .

      1. hefner
        January 25, 2019

        Did you get that “original thought” from the Lexington Institute?

        1. Edward2
          January 26, 2019

          No I read it online from several different sources.
          It is useful to illustrate where their loyalties might lie.

        2. David Price
          January 26, 2019

          so how much is it?

    3. mancunius
      January 25, 2019

      Tom Enders is a party political friend of Merkel, an ex-German Defence Ministry civil servant. Airbus gets massive amounts of subsidy from the EU, and they (and Merkel) frequently call in favours from him. (Hammond has also encouraged Enders to intervene, as he has so far done so ad nauseam.)

      If only Enders, and others who are resident in a foreign jurisdiction would stop pretending that they have some right to interfere in our domestic affairs. It looks so desperate, apart from the arrogance of it.

      1. margaret howard
        January 25, 2019

        As chief executive of a company that employs over 10 000 people in the UK it is his duty to warn about the consequences of Brexit.

        Pity you didn’t see fit to criticise the contemptible outburst by a Tory MP like Mark Francois.

        1. On the Beach
          January 26, 2019

          He can say what he wants but we surely know exactly why he is saying it, to keep on side with the EU and other EU countries. Even before we joined the EU we had plenty of joint aircraft design collaborations.

          Many collaboration were an absurd waste of tax payers money. The Anglo/French Concord being a prime example of total economic lunacy.

          Anglo/US collaboration would probably make rather more sense anyway going forwards.

        2. Original Richard
          January 26, 2019

          Airbus has no special loyalty to the UK, it is an EU company.

          It would move its UK operations if it were commercially advantageous to do so whether we were in or out of the EU.

          If they’re happy to build planes, or parts of planes, in China, why not the UK ?

  46. Good Ship Lollipop
    January 25, 2019

    Odd moaners in Parliament have gone over night from being in absolute favour of a 2nd Referendum to being deathly afraid of it. Figures. For once they have tasted the mood in our country.
    So let’s have a 2nd referendum but let the moaners force the issue.

    Ex-Liberal leader Steele spoke of “Breaking the mould of British politics”. It’s happening. The Labour Party fielded candidates at the last Election based on an acceptance of Leave. They had to.
    It may be a different matter for “the mould” remaining intact this time around. Instability of course with voters searching desperately for a new home as it were. But healthy in the long term.
    This virus debilitating notion of Socialism has reached its death toll worldwide. No reason to go on perpetuating the Death-Myth here any longer. It’s over!

  47. Peter D Gardner
    January 25, 2019

    The phrases in the EU Withdrawal Act, such as ‘a motion in neutral terms’, have very particular meanings in terms of parliamentary procedures. My understanding of the law, from limited experience in court cases, is that the meaning of words must be taken to be the meaning at the time the law (or contract or whatever is relevant to the case) was made. Perhaps we need another court case to show that if Bercow arbitrarily changes the meanings of words in the EU Withdrawal Act the action he then approves is not in accordance with the Act and therefore null and void and the resulting motion or bill can be struck down. There appears to be no authority to whom the Speaker is accountable.

  48. Mike Wilson
    January 26, 2019

    I almost hope it is May’s deal or no brexit. In either case UK politics will be broken. A new party will be formed for the 17.4 million to vote for. The Labour and Tory parties hold the 17.4 million in contempt.

    1. On the Beach
      January 26, 2019

      Except that in the first past the post electoral system that party needs to take over the Conservative Party. UKIP was the largest party in vote terms in the EU elections but still struggled to get anywhere at all in Parliament. They have even more problems now and even Farage has abandonned them.

      There are lots of ‘always have and always will vote Tory’ people voters and they are needed.

  49. Good Ship Lollipop
    January 26, 2019

    “Hammond threatens to resign on a No Deal Brexit”
    Now Hear This: All men to the cannon, powder up, all musketeers on deck, lock and load, helmsman do your duty, ram the U-Fool for No Deal!!!!!

    1. A Barnes
      January 26, 2019

      What a great incentive for a WTA real Brexit in March. A win, win, win for us all. Replace the totally misguided Philip Hammond with someone who actually believes in Brexit and far lower and far simpler taxes.

  50. Alex
    January 26, 2019

    A consistent characteristic amongst socialists of all varieties is that they think that all you have to do get something, is persuade ‘the people’ to vote for it, and it will miraculously arrive.

    The Greeks think ‘austerity’ will go away if you vote it out of existence, and John Redwood assumed that the UK would Leave the EU if the public, on one occasion, voted by a narrow majority, to advise the Government to Leave. Conservatives however don’t live under such illusions.

    In the 13th Century the Pope ‘sold’ the Crown of Sicily, and therefore Sicily itself, to England’s Henry III.

    All Henry then had to do was raise a vast amount of money to hire a huge army, cross Europe, and occupy and conquer it.

    When the Pope had previously tried to sell Sicily to various other potential mugs (who didn’t fall for it), one of them, the Duke of Cornwall retorted:-

    ‘You may well say I will sell you the moon. Now climb up and take it’.

    So far John Redwood hasn’t got off the rocket pad, in recovering his moon, and during the course of trying to do so, and despite being warned repeatedly what would happen if he carried on the way he was, he’s blown up the rocket itself.

    The Referendum result and the subsequent votes in Parliament gave Eurosceptics among us a great chance get some, but not all, of what we wanted. John Redwood’s thrown it all away, and handed it back to the Remainers and the EU on a plate.

    Perhaps with leadership like this, we’re safer being governed by Brussels after all.

    1. Edward2
      January 26, 2019

      Read the leaflet Alex.
      “This is your decision The Government will implement what you decide”

      We voted to leave
      The Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal and it is plainly remaining in the EU.
      Several hundred MPs refused to vote for the deal not just one.

    2. David Price
      January 26, 2019

      Chequers and the Withdrawal Agreement are not “Leaving” and grinning Ollie has apparently cooked up 9 more scenarios to try out with an EU that has stated it will not change it’s position anyway..

      One cause of Brexit is our politicians and civil servants never fought hard enough for our benefit inside the EU and now you are attempting to demonise those who are fighting to ensure we do get what we wanted.

      Government by Brussels is not the safe option, it never has been, but is the lazy, defeatist option.

  51. A Barnes
    January 26, 2019

    J Powell, Blair’s chief of staff on radio 4 just now talking complete and utter ‘BBC think’, remainer drivel about the Irish border. An endless back stop in perpetuity is an appalling prospect totally unacceptable. Even one for 5 years or five minutes is unaceptable.

    We just leave and if the south and the EU want to put an expensive and pointless border in place that is a matter for them.

  52. les unsworth
    February 1, 2019

    All the extra money for the NHS?
    We are by all accounts heading for a recession post Brexit so there will be less- a lot less!

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