Why a second referendum would be a disaster

Labour has adopted its new policy with all the enthusiasm of a group of naughty children  deciding how to tell their parents of their misconduct  because they have been rumbled. They successfully kept opposing the government on Brexit without having a clear position of their own. They implied this was somehow compatible with fighting the 2017  election on a pro Leave ticket. Under pressure they opted for the idea that it needed a General election to resolve matters, which served their own interests and kept them united for a bit. Once they lost a vote of no confidence the internal arguments forced a change of line.

I am spending time on their  views because their votes matter in the Commons in the next few weeks. They have said only the public can now decide because Parliament is unable to. This ignores the fact that Parliament despite their opposition has passed the EU Withdrawal Act which means we leave on 29 March without a deal unless Parliament changes its mind and repeals or amends the legislation. Labour’s proposed second referendum clearly cannot happen before we  leave, so it implies they now want to delay our exit  and wish to amend or repeal the legislation about our departure.

It also implies that they expect the EU to acquiesce in a delay to allow a referendum to take place. It would take most of the rest of this year to legislate for a referendum  if Parliament was willing and then to hold the vote. It would require the consent of all 27 member states to the delay. If they wanted to change the terms of our membership or relationship that would need further UK legislation. If the EU  were happy for us to continue our current membership then we would need to field candidates in the European elections, which no-one has proposed in any motion before the Commons.

If an opposition party wishes to show it is ready for government and wants to propose positive policies then it has to draft the relevant documents and propose the necessary motions. The absence of a Labour motion to fight the European elections brings their wish to delay into some doubt. The absence of draft legislation to handle the delay period with the EU also shows some sloppiness or hesitation. Even more surprising is their inability to tell us what question they would want the referendum to ask.

Mr Starmer seems to want a referendum for Remain voters. It would ask do you want to remain or to accept Mrs May’s Agreement. There would be  no option for the 17.4 m who want to Leave, as  most of us do not see the Withdrawal Agreement as being any kind of Leave.  Some  Leave voters willing to compromise might accept a vote on would you like to leave without a deal or accept Mrs May’s deal?  This is unlikely to assuage Remain campaigners for a second referendum. Some now say they want a three way, asking between No deal, the Withdrawal Agreement and Remain.

This three way has two fundamental objections. The first is it  is primarily a re run of the first referendum, so what is the point of it? People are likely to say the same again, with more probably voting to leave out of anger with the political classes for failing to do as promised the first time.  The second objection is the winning answer might only get 34% of the vote, with almost two thirds of the country unhappy with the outcome. That would be more divisive than the first referendum.

Some in Labour want to put their different approach to Brexit negotiations  on the ballot paper as an option. This is itself a bit vague but probably entails membership of the customs union with some kind of shadowing of the single market and acceptance of EU views on movement of people and citizens rights. There seem to be different versions of whether Labour accepts or wants to end freedom of movement, and whether  they want us  in effect under the ECJ for many of our laws to stay compliant with the single market.  There would need to a written down detailed version of this to be able to  ask people about it. More importantly it would need the EU to sign off in principle that they would agree to it, as otherwise we would be voting on a nonsense which was  not negotiable.

I think it unlikely there will be a Commons majority for a second referendum. It is a spectacularly bad idea, guaranteed to split the country more, frustrate good government for longer and undermine the UK’s stature and reputation abroad. Leave voters do not want a second referendum and see no need for one.  Were a second referendum to give a different answer why would that answer be better than the answer properly given to the first one?

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    How can anyone (as Starmer, Thornbury and other have) seriously suggest a second referendum with a choice between remain or May appalling (remain while pretending not to) deal. It would be hugely decisive and a massive affront to voters.

    Sir Graham Brady may it seems now accept May’s appalling deal with a backstop fudge but he should not do so.
    As Dan Hannan puts it today:- “No self-respecting country would accept this deal. MPs must vote it down”


    • Peter
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      The most pressing need is still to vote down May’s Withdrawal Agreement. There are worrying reports that some Leave MPs are softening their view about it.

      Delays and a further referendum can be addressed after the Wihdrawal Agreement fails to get through Parliament.

      • Hope
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Tony Abbot writes another good article in the Spectaror about the UK leaving the EU. Like Lords King and Lawson he too realised that the EU would never tie a good to leave it would be against the EU project and an incentive for others to leave.

        Dullard May ought to have known that. Australia is not in a customs union or single market with the EU yet trades with it! Elwood ought to take note and read the article it might educate him to realise what an idiot he currently sounds like.

        Those traitor MPs trying thwart Brexit are seen and will be seen formwhat they are. What is baffling me is where do themTory party think the 17.4 millions people will vote and why would anyone be stupid enough to campaign or raise funds for such liars?

        We read May supports Gyimah and Lewis still says no one will be deselected. Therefore we assume this behaviour by Rudd and co is with the support of May.

        I urge all Tory associations to withdraw support. Your Parliamentary party holds your views in contempt and have no regard for it whatsoever. You are only there to raise funds, deliver leaflets ad deliver a false message to get them elected. Otherwise you are not wanted nor are your views. As Cameron said you are the Turnip Taliban or swivel eyed loons.

        • Peter
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Gyimah was one of a selected group of prospective candidates offered to his constituency – part of Cameron’s drive to ‘improve’ the party’s image. Gyimah’s business acumen is not all it was cracked up to be, apart from any current misgivings around Brexit etc.

          • Hope
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            I note Fox and co already trying to distance their lying broken promises by saying Parliament will decide not the Betrayal of the Tory party! Unbelievable. Shocking he was an alleged leave MP.

            It is quite clear May is in collusion with the EU and her/their servitude plan aimed at keeping the UK in the EU and ridding our country of any advartages from leaving. An absolute traitor. All seen before with the Irish in 2013 over Lisbon Treaty.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

            Hope you are spot on with this?

        • Steve
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


          “Those traitor MPs trying thwart Brexit are seen and will be seen for what they are. What is baffling me is where do theTory party think the 17.4 millions people will vote and why would anyone be stupid enough to campaign or raise funds for such liars?”


          Though they also fail to understand that it might not be as simple as ballot box anger, if we don’t leave on 29th and on our terms, then I suspect a lot of the traitors will need enhanced security.

          If the capitulators in government and elsewhere think they can pull off the greatest betrayal in our island’s history, and get away unscathed…..they need to think again.

          It could turn very nasty indeed.

      • Richard
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Charles Moore is spot on: https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/03/ministers-have-been-allowed-to-condemn-no-deal/
        “One could smell a rat in the fact that so many ministers have recently been allowed publicly to break with government policy and condemn ‘no deal’ flat-out, and even threaten resignation… If you follow the sequence of how a variety of ministers emerged on this subject, you will see orchestration… the official line was to say how ‘troubling’ the behaviour of the ministers was. But you do not get three ministers to co-author an attack on stated government policy without government acquiescence. Gibb’s subliminal message was not ‘So they’ve got to come in line or go’ but ‘So we’ve got to give in to them’.”

        • Timaction
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. Her whole negotiating strategy behind the scenes to ambush her own Ministers at Chequers showing her to be a lying traitor.
          I read today that knife crime is significantly up in the Country with another 17.4 million about to be stabbed in the back as well!!

        • Hope
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          I expect parliament to vote down Maysmservitude plan again. If MPs vote for an extension or take no deal off the table so be it. Let us see the traitors for what they are and see how they survive in the future.

          This is part of May’s plan to force leave MPs to,accept her servitude plan to remain in. Politics need to stop saying EUs backstop, it was May who agreed to this anyone else would have said no and walked away not put it before hoping to,bounce it through without providing the full details including legal advice.

          Leave MPs should keep their principles and continue to vote down this deceit by May. The public and supporters are behind them. It is a triple lock to remaining on slightly different terms under treaty. She and her cohorts are dishonest and must be seen for what they are. To vote for,her servitude plan will be viewed as saving the Tory party at any cost to our country.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      I voted to leave. I did not vote for a deal. I voted in the knowledge that a future trading relationship would need to be agreed starting from the default WTO terms. The HoC voted to leave. It rejected the WA. The chances of altering it are low to non existent, not least because that would require the other party (EU Commission, EU Parliament and 27 member states) to agree. That other party would also have to agree any new initiative proposed by Labour, other Remainer advocates or the May government. The only practical way forward is to leave with no deal and to do what should have been done at the outset – negotiate a trading relationship.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Dan Hannan is right. Better a good deal in 2020 ( or even later if need be) than a bad one in 2019. Having us trapped for ever in the CU and thereby unable to run an independent trade policy negates most of the point of Brexit.

    • rose
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      On the last two occasions this Capitulation Agreement was brought to the House of Commons, we were assured that the Brexiteer MPs would fall in with Mrs May’s treason. The dramatic, unprecedented results on both those occasions, which didn’t just ensue from Brexiteers reading the DWA, told us otherwise. No-one manufacturing the news apologised for misleading us. Let us hope and pray nothing has changed.

      • Hope
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Maynhasmform for being underhand and bouncing her plans through without proper scrutiny. December 2017 Johnson claims in his article he was wilfully misled, it appears Gove thoughtmsimilar by his article. Chequers,was underhand, dishonest and against constitution and ministerial code. May betrayed the nation against what she originally told us in speeches and comments of the same. Then we have her latest servitude plan which she agreed. She wanted, again, to bounce it through without proper scrutiny. Lying to say it met manifesto and referendum result time and again. She knew it did not meet the twelve points of her Lancaster speech, or half in half out or remaining in part would not be leaving. Yet tried to claim otherwise. Most reasonable rational Tory MP would be asking why? Then having seen how bad it was they should have got rid of her post haste as she does not change her behaviour. It is inconceivable she I suppose notmbehind the latest Ministerial shenanigans.

        • Timaction
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          Of course she is orchestrating it, as no remainiacs are ever admonished or disciplined.
          Unfortunately for her and the Legacy parties is after 3 years of project fear NO ONE BELIEVES THEM ANYMORE!
          Their goose is well cooked at the next elections.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Dear Rose–What would be good is for the atrocious, hardly believable, Withdrawal (non) Deal to be thrown out by a majority even greater than last time…..and this ineffective, uninspiring apology of a prime minister with it. How long would it then be before the EU decided it would be a good idea to start on agreeing a win-win Trade Deal?

        • Steve
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          Leslie Singleton

          “How long would it then be before the EU decided it would be a good idea to start on agreeing a win-win Trade Deal?”

          Not long, though you assume we need to trade with Europe. We don’t.

          Neither do we need to defend it or bail it out.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

            Dear Steve–Not necessary to need something for it to be a good idea, which a trade agreement would unquestionably be.

      • Peter
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        Mogg is softening his stance, which is a worry.

        Nigel Farage claims that some Leave Conservative MPs are now caving in and putting Conservative party unity before country.

        So do not assume the Withdrawal Agreement will automatically be rejected. There still needs to be massive pressure to ensure Leave MPs do the right thing.

        May had long planned to use delay and fear tactics to get her capitulation deal through Parliament.

    • Merlin
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      I don’t agree it would be an affront to voters. I just don’t think it would achieve anything.

      I don’t think the first referendum was decisive. Indeed, it seems to have split the country down the middle.

      Having another referendum, whoever wins, is probably going to be equally divisive and equally close.

      We can keep having referendums with not a cigarette paper to separate either side, but it won’t solve the fundamental splits which are dividing this great country. It makes me very sad.

      I think everybody lost in the referendum and you can’t put the genie back in the bottle now.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s split the country down the middle. I do think it’s split The People from the Remain establishment though, a very different thing.

        • Merlin
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          I’m not quite clear how that is different.
          I believe the vote was darn close to 50:50.
          Seems down the middle to me.

          Also I am a househusband. I voted Remain. Would that make one of the Remain establishment then?

          Nigel Lawson, ex-chancellor, voted leave. So he isn’t a member of the establishment then.

          Moreover, as leave won, I believe the Brexiteers are now the establishment anyway.

          • L Jones
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Tell us, Merlin – how would you be feeling if the vote had been ”darn close” but in favour of remain? I’d like to bet your view would be very different now.

            You would have won! Why should anyone ask you to vote again?

            It strikes me again and again that remain voters are blinkered hypocrites.

          • Steve
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink


            “Also I am a househusband. I voted Remain.”

            What can one say ?😄

          • John Hatfield
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            I would suggest the Establishment consists of a Remain-dominated Parliament, large corporates with vested interests and a hostile media. All supported by the EU.

          • Merlin
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

            Mr L Jones, it’s this kind of divisive behaviour that I’m talking about.

            I don’t think Brexiteers are blinkered hypocrites. I think they are people who are doing what they think is best for this country and I absolutely respect that. This is a complex issue.

            Yes, if Remain had won, I would have been delighted because the country would not be at its throats like it is now. But, like I said, this genie is not going back in the bottle.

            You seem to be under some assumption that Leave have won the debate. They won the referendum. That is a different thing. I see no sign of people changing sides. I assure you the debate will run and run and run. This is very very far from over.

    • Chris
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Agreed Lifelogic.
      Furthermore, Iain Duncan Smith has no hesitation in stating this about May’s deal:
      “British governments have lied about the EU for decades. This deal is the final deceit” It is indeed.

      Mr Rees-Mogg and others softening their resistance to May’s deal would do well to heed IDS. Voters are not going to be deceived again, and they will punish brutally the Cons government and MPs for supporting the treachery of May and the betrayal of the Referendum result that the WA represents.

      • Steve
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        L. Jones

        “it strikes me again and again that remain voters are blinkered hypocrites.”

        Some are mindless automatons who don’t wear trousers, and vote the way the boss tells ’em to.

  2. Nigl
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Pots and kettles. It is your government trying to impose a shoddy agreement or now we read, force a delay. It is only the ERG plus a few like Kate Hoey who are acting honourably

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Exactly. I just hope the ERG don’t cave in and vote for Mays atrocious surrender documents as the media seem to think.

      Reply I have not changed my view on the Agreement

      • Ian wragg
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        You may not have but the other spineless bunch may have.
        Destruction of the parties is the only solution starting with the council elections.

      • Andy
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        The ERG will nearly all vote for Mrs May’s humiliating deal.

        It is Brexit. Reality Brexit.

        The ERG will own the blame.

        • Al
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          If the ERG vote for her deal, then they will deserve the blame.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        I do not claim to speak for all, but I think it is fair to say that we all know that. I am also not given over to sycophancy, as you well know, but I would much rather you be our PM that the current incumbent. Someone we can trust is sorely need right now.

        • Timaction
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          May has indeed lost the trust of the Country and the Tory Party as well.

          Who in their right mind would ever trust or vote for them again? Then there’s Corbyn.
          I think a new Brexit Party will do nicely in leave Constituencies up and down this land.

      • JoolsB
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Pleased to hear it John. Just hope the rest of the Brexiteers stick to their guns also. They are our only hope of seeing May’s humiliating Brino consigned to the dustbin and demanding a true Brexit.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Sir John I hope you are not the only one to stand firm! Others I am lobbying are on the brink of surrender!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Good for you, it is just appalling even without the backstop. It preventd negotiation from a positiion of strenght. It is a sraight jacket.

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    The Government & Parliament have run out of time for any meaning full agreements with Brussels. Fortunately The European Withdrawl Act was voted through along with Article 50.MP’s should have worked out what they wanted before they voted.
    The sensible action should now be directed at leaving on the 29th with our heads held high.We will be cashing in and grabbing every opportunity to prosper. We are leaving a rotting corpse. We are putting back The Great in Great Britain.

  4. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    The first thing to do is vote down the Withdrawal Agreement. Please make sure your Leave and Remain colleagues in Parliament know how bad this agreement is and don’t cave into some feeble assurances from Barnier.

    The Withdrawal Agreement is far worse than both the choices in the 2016 Referendum: Leave and Remain.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Very true. This may of course be deliberate, as part of the process of forcing us to change our minds. So badly and dishonestly has the leaving process been handled that no trick, however low, seems beneath HMG.

      Calling another referendum is a lengthy process in which the Electoral Commission has the task of ruling on the question.This is the body of high and austere impartiality which is our final guarantor of fair votes. Yes, the very body whose impartiality over Brexit is already in tatters.

      However, the last time a referendum was called government received the most terrible shock, from which it is still reeling. Is it seriously imaginable that another will be held unless the result is certain in advance? Wouldn’t that be just crazy?

    • Andy
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      The Withdrawal Agreement is Brexit. Most of the ERG members will vote for it. They have figured out it is the best Brexit they can get.

      You need to figure out that the people that sold you this dung are the ones responsible – and not the people who have tried to polish it to make it more palatable for you to swallow. Which you will have to.

      Congratulations, by the way, on voting to make our country worse.

      • mickc
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Governing ourselves is worse?

        Not to the USA, Ireland, India, the African countries, the East European countries, the countries of the former USSR, all of which sought and achieved self government and independence from what was seen as an oppressive ruling foreign nation.

        • Andy
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          We do govern ourselves.

          MPs make decisions on schools. Hospitals. Housing. Transport. Policing. Defence. You will notice all of these things are not going well right now because MPs are collectively not very good at their jobs at running our country.

          In contrast shared EU rules facilitate frictionless trade. Regulations on things like televisions make trade easier and make the goods you buy cheaper. They ensure the highest possible standards for foods and agriculture products – and put responsibility on manufacturers and producers for improving the standards and efficiency of their products.

          If you think flooding our country with Frankenstein foods and cheap tat will make your life better then go for it. I can guarantee it will not make your life better. But Brexit will make your schools and hospitals worse.

          • James
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

            Andy, you still don’t get it. It’s not all just about trade, it’s about sovereignty. We simply want to run our own country again, what is so difficult to grasp about that. We did it for hundreds of years. We want to be able to vote for and remove the people who pass our laws, and for the laws to be interpreted and enforced by our own courts. Only a small percentage of our companies export to the EU. EU companies export much more to us. Free of the EU protectionist racket we can take immediate advantage of world prices, resulting in huge savings and massive additional benefits.

          • mickc
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            Your response advocates better MPs, not abnegating self government.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Brexit is No Deal.

        That was exactly what was on the ballot slip. That was exactly what David Cameron and many on the Remain side told us it was.

        “Leave the EU”

        You lot have stopped it, Andy. You lot have delivered the dung heap.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          And May’s Surrender will wipe us all out. Direct Rule from Brussels, we will get all the ‘migrants’ Germany refuses to keep, will will get a few ‘Bale-in’ demands from Brussels – they need the money!
          Neither of these Parties will ever be forgiven. Everyone who votes for this deal will be sacked, but it will not save Britain. This really is the end-game. A great country extinguished with a whimper.

        • Andy
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

          Awww diddums. Blaming the people who told you Brexit would be naff for Brexit being naff.

          Whine to someone who cares.

          • Glenn Vaughan
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


            For the record I don’t care about you or your fantasies i.e. fictional family and business ownership.

            However, I will wish you good luck with your job search and perhaps your eventual departure from your parent’s home.

      • James
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        The draft WA is NOT Brexit. The ERG and a relatively few others in the HoC are the ones acting honourably. This truth may be somewhat obfuscated in the Westminster and Blatantly Biased Corporation bubble, but it is crystal clear elsewhere. I believe that many of the 17.4 million are incensed that their wishes have been and are being subjected to political shenanigans. Such dishonourable treatment will not be forgiven. It goes without saying that the correct course of action is the honourable one, namely to reject Mrs May’s absurd draft in its ambiguous totality, and replace it with an infinitely shorter note in plain English wishing the 27 the best of luck.

      • Jagman84
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Repeating bulls**t does not make it any more valid. Brexit is enshrined in UK law and is currently mandated to happen at 11pm on March 29th. It is not May’s WA. That is a draft memorandum of understanding between the UK and EU, for the basis of future talks, AFTER WE HAVE LEFT THE EU. I hope that this clears up your perpetual misunderstanding.

      • rose
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        No-one has tried to polish the DWA. It is an even more stinking capitulation than it was when it was first hinted at in the December Joint Report. It has been dropped on us by Remainiacs.

      • Steve
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:53 pm | Permalink


        “Congratulations, by the way, on voting to make our country worse.”

        What exactly do you mean by ‘our’ country ?

        As I recall you thoroughly despise England and have nothing but contempt for her people, especially pensioners who fought hard for YOUR freedoms, and anyone you perceive as better off than yourself.

        Suddenly it’s your country too ? I need a sick bucket.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Quite right. The Backstop has been used to distract from the other clauses which would continue to tie us to the EU – and most of the MPs don’t see it.

      • Martin R
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, it’s a red herring. The proposition is remove the silly Backstop piffle, everything in the garden will be lovely, and we’ll be leaving the EU. Sorry, no, you’ve been had if you’re stupid enough to believe that for an instant. Any MP’s who are fooled by this particular bit of transparent chicanery have to be so dim they shouldn’t ever have been allowed to stand for Parliament in the first place. Unfortunately they were.

  5. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    IMHO another referendum wouldn’t help your country.
    Maybe democracy is not really about winning debates or referendums and then expect everybody to fall in line. Maybe democracy could be about bridging divides, seeking solutions with very broad based support.

    It would require a wholesale change of political culture from adversarial to seeking consent. 51-48 or 48-51 simply means “very divided”. Bridging that divide is what is being called for. Bridging the economic divide also needs to be addressed, Britain has some of the poorest areas of Northern Europe.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Macron got 24% in the first round in France. He is French President.

      Merkel’s own party the CDU got 26% if the vote in Germany ( the Bavarian CSU is a different party) . She is German Chancellor.

      24% + 26% is less than Leaves 52%

      Leave got 52% of the vote despite an overwhelmingly hostile campaign against Leave by the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, SKY and ITV.

      What part of democracy do you not understand?

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Stephen Priest

        “What part of democracy do you not understand?”

        Both Scotland and NIreland voted overwhelmingly to remain.

        Is that what YOU understand by democracy?

        As for your comparisons with Macron and Merkel both their countries have PR systems with many parties getting votes rather than our own first past the post 2 party state.

        • Monza 71
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          It was a UK wide referendum, Margaret, as you know very well.

          Any one of the four legally constituted parts of the U.K. is free to hold a referendum on a motion to leave the UK, if opinion polls suggest such a referendum could be won. If citizens vote to leave the UK their Elected representatives can then choose to apply to become a totally subservient member of the EU within the Eurozone, or try and make a go as a tiny independent state.

          There are no other options.

          Currently there appears to be no majority in any of the four constituent parts to leave the UK, much to the annoyance of the SNP.

          As English taxpayers subsidise the other three to the tune of more than £20bn pa, we are not going to object should any one of the other three vote for impoverishment. Despite her ludicrous protestations over Brexit, Sturgeon knows this only too well.

          • Monza 71
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            PS The last thing naive little Leo wants is a vote for a United Ireland.
            His little Country can’t afford to take on the £10bn pa we currently pay to support NI, and I’m pretty sure he couldn’t persuade German taxpayers to cough up the cash either !

          • Whichever
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

            Monza 71..not so! Little leo must be six foot tall and is in fine shape and not a bit naive..he along with his sidekick Coveney have run rings around the EU brussels crowd ..punching well above their weight..so to also answer your other remark little Eire is not ready yet for the men with the bowler hats and rolled up umbrellas to march in Southern towns each summer.. this is solely an English invention to keep the natives in their place but alas interest is slowly fading away..also the DUP have not quite adjusted to this reality yet..but they soon will..yes 10B every year to support that small place of less than 2 million..sobering yes but it was always Uk choice..like the border itself

        • cerberus
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          It was a UK-wide referendum numbskull.

          • hefner
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Cerberus, Indeed it was a UK-wide referendum, it does not take anything out of the fact that Stephen adding percentages like he did (26% apples + 24% oranges< 52% leaves) is a mistake that any GCSE student is not supposed to being making. But that might be too advanced some mathematics for you.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

          Margaret. Your record seems to be stuck. You just keep going on about the same inconsequential rubbish all the time. How many times do you have to be told that this is the UK. Scotland and Ireland are part of the UK. They voted to stay in the UK and the referendum was a UK referendum. How much clearer does it have to be for you?

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink


            ” You just keep going on about the same inconsequential rubbish all the time.”

            I’m surprised you bother replying then.

            Incidentally, Scotland and Ireland had union membership forced on them at the point of a gun. And their vote to stay was before the Brexit referendum which changed everything.

        • yossarion
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

          The English have had no vote as a nation and have sat and abided by the results of referendums for devolution even one by the pretense of an elected London Mayor that usurped their own Capital City into an EU Region, renege on the result and democracy is dead and only an English Parliament will resolve the issue. the only question, will it take 600 hundred years like the Irish.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      PVL, this is an old and never resolved debate; find the consensus that makes everybody happy or accept the lowest common denominator – take your choice.

      The EU have said, you’re either in the EU, CU, ECJ, EU army and foreign policy and all the rest, or you’re outside. We agree, and we voted out. No halfway-house as the May government is seeking, and that is our mistake.

    • G Wilson
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      “Bridging divides” doesn’t mean abandoning the principle of democracy, and the liberty it enables.

      The divide in the UK today is between those of us who wish our nation to be governed democratically, and those who wish is to be governed undemocratically by the EU Commission.

      That’s a “divide” that cannot and should not be “bridged”. Those attempting to force us to stay in the EU, even though we have never consented to be members, simply need to desist.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        G Wilson

        ” even though we have never consented to be members, simply need to desist”

        1975 referendum?

        67.2% against 32.7%?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          That was a simple common market.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink


            “That was a simple common market.”

            No it wasn’t.

            Extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

            The aims of the Common Market are:

            Bring together the peoples of Europe

            Raise living standards and improve working conditions

            Promote growth and boost world trade

            Help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world

            Help maintain peace and freedom”

            That’s exactly what it delivered.

          • hefner
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, Was it not a “simple common market” for (most of) the simple people who had never read anything about the EC/EU from 1984 to at least 2009, if not the first months of 2016. The proof: Look at the UK results (participation) for the European elections before the emergence of UKIP.

    • rose
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Your prescription is to dispense with elections. What is the point of having them if the result is dishonoured in the name of bridging the natural divide that occurs each time we vote?

      • rose
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I don’t know what they are or were called in the Dutch Parliament but in ours they are called “Division Lobbies”, into which MPs go when they “divide”.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Yes, no elections then. Just take “soundings” from the great and good like Blair and Major and act on those. That’ll work.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink


      The simplistic view that 52-48 means very divided has been perpetuated by media and politicians alike. 52-48 indicates that individuals (regions, sectors) are affected by the EU in different ways, and value attributes/dimensions of the relationship differently. I suspect that there are many individuals who themselves were (are) internally divided (even EU officials admit that there are cons as well as pros to being a member, the no cherry picking argument confirms this). Consent to leave was given 2.5 years ago, many Remain voters are not 100% for the EU themselves, some very close to 50-50, it does seem that it is only ardent Remain MPs that are extremely divided from reality.

      I do agree with your economic divide point though. Once the UK leaves Govt needs to focus differently, and away from the London/ South East. Accelerating the delivery of HS2 (Old Oak.Common to Cuts in Street) + more dwelling construction in Bham, together with linking Leeds and Manchester are needed to achieve 3 rather than 1 “city” at scale to drive growth. An east-west rail link across from Cambridge would also help. The existing plan on reducing corporation tax could be brought forward and Sir John’s suggestion on reducing business rates (at least in some areas) is sensible. Encouraging and supporting private investment is needed, UK capital formation is too low; if we are truly destroying the combustion engine then we need to sort out energy policy and chemical/battery (/hydrogen?) industries. Liberalising food imports could bring prices down that have been held high by CU protectionism (whether tariffs or unscientific regulations) and this would certainly help the poor (with an aside that many intensive farming practices produce with lower greenhouse emissions). With control of borders and benefits a future debate on UBI rather than inefficiently administered transfer payments is possible.

      A more discursive democracy, whilst avoiding the Chinese approach of maintaining one party through many local conversations, needs an English parliament out of London, with the four UK members having similar powers to each other.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      In other words it is impossible to leave the EU.


      Well what ever democracy is it isn’t within the British government. I heard someone say recently “I have voted for the last time and filled out my last honest tax return.”

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        It is perfectly possible to leave the EU. But it is not possible to leave its influence, given that it is the pre-eminnet global rule-maker. We can stay in the EU and help shape the rules. Or we can leave the EU and choke down its rules. But what we have learned since 2016 is that we cannot leave the EU and claim freedom from it or control over it. Truth is, Brexit is about surrendering freedom and control.

        • Mark B
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          By your logic that means the USA, China, Russia and the RotW are all under EU influence. How bizarre !

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            Mark B

            “China, Russia”? I bet their people would give their eye teeth for it!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          And you think you are a Tory? 😂😂😂

        • Fairweather
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          That’s not true. We are not able to shape its rules. Only 1 commissioner and our vote in the Council of ministers is only worth 8%. We don’t have a veto anymore as the votes are QMV.
          The EU is bent on ever closer union including fiscal policy. They want control of our taxes .a lot of worrying things which some of them have already been agreed to in the WA. I.e adhering to state aid rules. Continuing to help fund EU projects. What will happen if we have to help with another bail out due to a failing euro……?
          Read the Lisbon Treaty

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink


            “What will happen if we have to help with another bail out due to a failing euro……?”

            Seeing that the pound has fallen 40% against the euro – 12% alone since Brexit- it’s more than likely that we shall soon need a bail out.

            Reply This year the pound is up against the Euro, and has had a history of up as well as down since the Euro was formed.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply:

            By how much? Less or more than about 40% since the arrival of the euro and less or more than 12% since the Brexit vote?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        @Anonymous: I do expect/want you to leave, that wasn’t my point.
        My point was that there is a far deeper problem in British society.

        Extremely adverserial instead of consent seeking – which then by the contributors above is interprated as doing away with elections (why????) – which just confirms to me how deeply ingrained this political culture is.

        I’ll try and not be offensive and stop here, but there are really more consensual ways to work in a multiparty system, in which politicians listen better to one another.

        • Al
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          “I’ll try and not be offensive and stop here, but there are really more consensual ways to work in a multiparty system, in which politicians listen better to one another.”

          Peter I think your comment sums up the problem: you think politicians should listen to each other. Most commentors on here think they should listen to the voters they represent. When the voters want one thing and other politicians want something else, the conflict isn’t going to be easily resolvable.

    • rose
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Peter, what wholesale change in culture could ever heal the division between the people and its parliament? Between the people and the establishment?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        @rose: It may indeed take ten years or more, but that is no reason not to go for it. Especially now that the British system of democracy appears to be in crisis, it would be an opportunity.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Leave won 64:36 by constituency and hence there should have been no problem in Parliament delivering Brexit.

      But a remain PM and Parliament is trying to undemocratically thwart the very clear decision made by the people when asked by Parliament to decide.

      Their current idea is to make a terrible “leaving” deal and then suggest a second referendum between this unacceptable deal and remain.

      The problem for remain supporters is to convince the UK public to give away their country.

      To remain in the EU is to lose our ability to control our laws, taxes and our military and our trade, immigration, environmental, economic and foreign policies.

      Reply MPs should be bound by their promises at the 2017 Election when most promised to get the UK out of the EU

    • Steve
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink


      “IMHO another referendum wouldn’t help your country.”

      You’d be absolutely right. In fact if they try that stunt it could turn things very nasty.

  6. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    The only options in a second referendum would be:

    Would you like to:

    a) Remain in the European Union

    b) Remain in the European Union

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Remain or Remain (but pretend not to). The later is even worse than the former.

    • acorn
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      This comment doesn’t normally get past moderation,but here goes.
      Two stage referendum of MP constituencies, NOT District Councils. Gives MPs less wriggle room in HoC.
      First vote May’s deal versus no-deal.
      Second vote, result of first vote versus Remain.

      • sm
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        That is an acute point, acorn, which I have never seen discussed before: why was the Referendum outcome assessed by District Council, rather than by Parliamentary Constituency, which might have been acutely painful for many MPs on either side……

        Perhaps Sir John or Denis Cooper can tell us?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          They were only convenient areas for counting votes, the result was decided by the total number of votes cast across all of them.


          “107. Paragraph 3 designates returning officers as counting officers for voting areas for the purposes of the referendum. In practice this means that in England, Scotland and Wales counting officers will be the same individuals who are returning officers for the local government elections. The counting officer for the Northern Ireland voting area is the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland. The paragraph also makes special provision for the City of London and Isles of Scilly. The counting officer for the Gibraltar voting area is the person who is the Clerk to the Gibraltar Parliament who by virtue of holding this post is the European electoral registration officer and local returning officer at European Parliamentary elections for Gibraltar.”


          “108. Paragraph 4 … sets out that the referendum area means the United Kingdom and Gibraltar.”

        • acorn
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          It is traditional that referenda (voting for things) is separated from elections (voting for people). Voting areas were specified in the 2015 EU Referendum Act and, probably the three previous connected Acts as well.

          The problem with constituency voting for a referendum is it becomes party political and you turn the MP into a delegate, rather than a representative of the people.

      • Jagman84
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Remain lost in the first round, coupled with May’s WA being heavily defeated in a Parliamentary vote, so negating the need for any further referenda. Just admit that you’re a sore loser and for once in your life, respect democracy when it doesn’t go your way.

  7. Mark B
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Even more surprising is their inability to tell us what question they would want the referendum to ask.

    In an interview on line that I saw between Lord Adonis and Nigel Farage, Lord Adonis was asked if he supported a second referendum. The answer he gave was yes. Then when asked what question he would like on the ballot paper, he refused to answer and, instead, deferred to the question to Nigel Farage. Clearly Lord Adonis did not want to give the game away but I immediately suspected that there would be a just two options available. Remain or accept the Withdrawal Agreement ie BRINO. I cannot express myself on here about this without being banned by our kind host. Truly, polite words fail me.

    I have, and I am glad more and more people are coming to the same conclusion, that we do not so much need a, People’s Referendum, but a People’s General Election. But rather than party political, let us have Remain vs Leave. Let MP’s say to their constituents what they truly believe. Of course, it will never happen but we did vote in 2017 on party manifestos that promised, at the very least, to respect the referendum result. How is it therefore that a second referendum can be said to achieve that ? It cannot !

    I have also said that this is about substandard MP’s not wanting to do the job we pay them because they will be very quickly found out and removed. Few now are doubting this. The UK is not so much facing a economic Cliff Edge but an administrative one and mascinations of the majority of MP’s clearly demonstrates this.

    The solution to parliament’s problem that it seems to have got itself and the nation in is simple. Just keep the promises that you made, both in the referendum and the subsequent general elections of 2017. It was OUR DECISION and YOU MUST IMPLEMENT IT !

    • Carter
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      But Mark, what was OUR DECISION? I voted to Leave and I wanted – and want – us to join the EEA: this is perfectly compatible with the ballot paper, which said nothing about how to leave. Mr Redwood wants no deal at all – this is perfectly compatible with the ballot paper, which said nothing about how to leave. Mr Farage has said he wants a deal like Swizerland’s – this is perfectly compatible with the ballot paper, which said nothing about how to leave. Mr Paterson and Mr Hannan insisted we most never leave the single market – this is perfectly compatible with the ballot paper, which said nothing about how to leave. So Mark, here’s the problem. There is no decision for Parliament to implement. Leave was not a Decision, it was lots of different clashing Decisions. We have to choose which model of leave to prefer, if any. We have to go back to the people with a clearer question

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        It was for the government to negotiate and come up with the best solution. It was in May’s gift on day 1 to choose between the options you cite and rally Parliament behind her. She didn’t do that. She is to blame and should never have been allowed to proceed thus far without having a clue as to a definite path.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I too wanted to stay in the EEA but, only saw it as part of a transitory phase until we agreed something better with the EU. Teresa May MP ruled that out right from day one of taking office.

        We were told that Leaving the EU meant Leaving the SM, the CU and the ECJ. So no one can say that they did not know this.

        The Withdrawal Agreement does not in any shape or form respect the referendum result – PERIOD !!

        You are either in the EU or out, there is no halfway house. Or have you not been paying attention to what the EU keep telling us, including our PM and other MP’s ?

        • Lenfg
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Of course you are in or you are out. But out covers a lot of differnt possibilities (Norway? Switz? Ukraine? Canada?), and the ballot paper in 2016 never reflected that. We need a real referendum, not a fantasy one

          • Mark B
            Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            Norway is in the EEA and EFTA and does most of its trade with the EU. The EU is obliged to consult with Norway on areas concerning the EEA.

            Switzerland has a FTA with the EU. It has to as most of its trade is with the EU.

            Canada has a FTA with the EU. But it mostly trades with the USA.

            All are politically independent of the EU and none are members of it.

            Ukraine has signed an Association Agreement with the EU. It was this that led to the civil war.

            The ballot paper was that which parliament agreed to. It was in the subsequent debates that the issues you raised were debated and I am sorry you missed them. But even so, it changes nothing, we are still scheduled to Leave the EU on 29th March 2019.

      • Original Richard
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Leave meant leaving the EU so that we could make our own decisions on trade, immigration, laws, taxes, etc..

        If we remain in the EU all these decisions are made for us.

        • Mark B
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Correct !

    • Peter
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I would welcome a General Election but that will also be delayed as long as possible. New parties might get large numbers of votes but I am not sure that will translate into large numbers of MPs.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        If The Brexit Party were to field candidates in a GE and were to target Lave-voting constituencies with Remain MPs (Rudd etc) they may win crucial seats and also alter the chemistry within the Conservative party. A GE called soon would also rid us of may so-called Independent Group MPs.

    • Merlin
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Implement what?

      There are quite a few opinions on what Brexit is.

      Some see a global Britain, striking trade deals around the world and being international and receiving immigration from around the world.

      Others see it as an immigration issue and getting immigrants down to the tens of thousands.

      Others see it as a green revolution and an opportunity to rebuild this country from square one.

      Others just want us to be independent of the E.U and nothing else to change.

      All of them seem to be saying ‘just do what the British people voted for’, which in fact appears to mean ‘do what I voted for.’

      • Edward2
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        The difference is that the future policy options you have listed Merlin, and any others that may be preferred, can be decided by us as an independent nation voting in elections and pressurising our local MPs after we leave.
        At the moment the EU commission controls much of our future.

        • hefner
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          “pressurizing our local MPs” … good luck, mine on some topics, which yesterday was announced to have the support of more than 70% of the UK population, has been voting against any change whatsoever for more than 20 years (and has never had the politeness or decency to send even one sentence explaining why, as my “representative”, he is so obdurate in his position. Must be his CoE upbringing or his shares in the pharmaceutical industry?).
          BTW, the topics is Dignity in Dying.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

            I have a remain MP in a leave majority constituency so I know how you feel.
            But the threat of deselection is looming as is voting out this MP at the next election.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Leave means Leaving the EU and no longer having to follow all the treaties we have signed with the EU. This is clearly stated in Art.50 when it says;

        3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification . . .

        This includes membership of the CU, the SM and the ECJ amongst other things.

        Before voting I made damned well sure I knew what I was voting for. If others did not, Leave or Remain, then that is unfortunate but, it changes nothing. As far as I, our kind host, the government, the civil service and the EU are concerned, we are Leaving on the 29th March 2019.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        ‘Our laws made here’ without foreign interference encompasses all those things.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I happened to catch a bit of the climate change debate the other day. Various people mainly women as it happens (with not the slightest grasp of energy reality or climate science) talking complete and utter drivel on the topic. Layla Moran wanted zero carbon emmisions so no breathing for any person or animal then. Clair Perry talked complete and utter drivel as usual, that pleasant but daft Brighton Green MP (an English graduate) similarly and then we had Zac Goldsmith telling us that last year over 30% of power came from renewables. I wonder how he came to that dodgy figure? He is, one assume, talking only of electric power and not all power and is probably including nuclear power and the absurdly moronic use of biofuels at places like Drax. Wind and solar produce more like 15% and require expensive and very inefficient back up from gas/coal plants too. They also need loads of non renewable energy to manufacture and maintain them and run the back up standby.

    In fact the amount of energy (used by mankind worldwide) that comes from renewables is less than half a percent. Perhaps he should do a little more homework. Rather than just regurgitating absurd propaganda like a BBC reporter.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      It seems he is misleadingly taking figures only for a summer quarter of the year and just for electric power. When of course far less electricity is used and most power used is not electrical power anyway.

      As Matt Ridley sensibly points out:-


      • anon
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Should really use current data.
        New turbines are now upto >=8mw (in production)
        Capacity factors can be upto or more than 60%.

        Onshore wind is cheaper than coal and gas depending on geography.

        Windfarms are now being built with little or no subsidies in latest auctions in Europe.

        Wind is quick and easy to deploy, compared to nuclear. Its fuel has certain advantages.


        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          I have no problem with renewables when they are competitive but they should not be subsidised, nor should the energy market be rigged as it is. Also they should get the market rate for an intermittent supply (which is far less than on demand power).

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

            Of course they SHOULD be subsidised!

            Burning carbon is dirty and stupid. You do realise the air quality in some of our cities is causing deaths.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

            Carbon might be dirty, carbon dioxide is not at all.

      • rose
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        A pity to see Zac in with that lot. He should concentrate on asking about the energy gap, especially now the last 4 PMs have presided over reckless neglect of this, while at the same time importing millions of extra people. Not enough extra people for Mrs Lucas, though.

        Also, since Sir Oliver has been panicking about the pipes being cut by the EU, panicking to the extent of destroying our democracy and our constitution, Zac should be asking about our energy security.

        I know Sir Oliver is Ukrainian by descent, and therefore maybe more sensitive about such Russian-style behaviour, but this isn’t really a good enough excuse for his moral collapse. Our Polish MP is not capitulating.

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Renewables might just about work on a windy (but not too windy) 21st June with no clouds in the sky from dawn till dusk.

      If renewables were actually renewable they would not need any subsidy. What evil, greedy capitalist wouldn’t want to jump on the chance of putting up a wind turbine to then charge people for energy that’s complete free for you, the evil, greedy capitalist to produce.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Possibly the most idiotic comment I have read on here.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    So the government are considering restricting student loans to students with 3Ds or better at A level. About time, but that is nearly half of them cut off. So will they close half the “universities” down or half of each university. Or will they be converted (back in many cases) to teaching brick laying, plumbing, hospitality and other more practical vocational skills?

    What was wrong with holding a job down and doing some night studying or day release studies?

  10. Everhopeful
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Labour have such great ideas!
    Let’s pick this one up and run with it.
    How about a rerun of the 1997 GE?
    And then we will reverse all Blair’s policies?
    There could be no end to this crazy game.

  11. Helena
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The three way is an excellent way forward to rescue the country from its current blockages. First, it would NOT be a re run of the first referendum. We know now that a lot of issues – such as the Irish border, the ease of doing trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world – were falsely presnted by Leave in 2016 (not to mention the illegalities recorded by the Electoral Commission), so it is time now for a more fully informed debate. Your objection that the winning answer might only get 34% of the vote suggests you have not been paying attention: the idea of the three way is that people vote by preferences, not for one option, so the least favoured of the three options drops out after round 1 and the votes for it are re-allocated to voters’ second preferences. As a result, the winning option is guaranteed to command a majority in the country. Simples!

    • graham1946
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The three way option splits the ‘Leave’ vote, which is obviously your intention.

      Another referendum means that ‘Leave’ has to win twice whereas ‘Remain’ only has to win once.

      Had the referendum produced a ‘Remain’ vote of 50 percent plus one vote, none of this would have been raised by the Remainers who would have declared that they won.

      Remainers really do not care much about democracy which sits perfectly with the EU, a totally undemocratic entity dressed to look like democracy.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:33 pm | Permalink


        “Had the referendum produced a ‘Remain’ vote of 50 percent plus one vote, none of this would have been raised by the Remainers who would have declared that they won.”

        Farage May 2016:

        “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it.”

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      “Simples! ?” – not the Russian Meerkat interfered with referendum story again?

    • Edward2
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I’m not surprised you favour that option helena.
      Spilt the remain vote in round one then have the second vote on soft remain or hard remain.
      These tactics of continuing to vote until you get your way to remain in the EU have been used before by EU member nations.
      Remain campaign was one of false Project Fear predictions backed up by huge media and establishment propaganda and still remain lost.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      The three way option would be as unfair as the two way option of May’s Brino or remain because it would split the leave vote. If it were a three way option then the number of votes cast for leave with no deal and May’s deal should be added together with the winner being whichever got the most votes in it’s own right.

    • Jagman84
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Like Acorn, ‘Andy’, Newmania, etc, you only like democracy when it produces a result that you approve of. You’d be better off accepting the result and argue for the sort of UK that you want after we leave the EU. If the majority is for Corbyn’s Venezuela-style of government, so be it. I wouldn’t be too happy about it but that’s democracy in action.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Remain shouldn’t be on the ballot paper as this option has already been defeated.

    • Al
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      If Leave is split on the ballot paper, then surely Remain should be as well. Remain is after all, two different views: whether the UK should limit itself to the current position, or whether we should work towards “ever closer union” explicitly including the armed forces etc.

  12. Mick
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Here is one reason the remoaners should be afraid of a second referendum, not only will the leavers win with a bigger majority but also all the Eu loving mps will have to come clean to there constituents , and also it should only have on the ballot paper if it happens is the same wording as the 2016 vote IN or OUT otherwise it would be a stitch up to confuse some people to the remoaners advantage, and also raise the age limit to 21 for it to be fair to the 2016 vote

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      It will be a stitch up Mick. They insult us with a choice between May’s rotten deal or remain, in other words no option for a true Brexit. The worry is many leavers have already said, mistakingly in my view, they would not bother to vote in a second referendum, Nigel Farage being one of them if those were the choices.

  13. John Bell
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Parliament is acting the tyrant and trying to deny the people what they voted for in the EU Referendum (really Leaving the EU). A deal-only referendum (Accept Deal and Leave [_] Reject Deal and Leave [_]) would: (1) be consistent with the referendum result, (2) make no-deal catastrophists argue their case, (3) put much needed democratic pressure on Parliament and the EU to offer us a good deal.

  14. agricola
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Everything you draw attention to is worrying. There is a dirth of clear thinking for an acceptable path to leaving the EU. Despite all the spoken and published support for the referendum result too many wish to finesse this to something that does not mean leaving in any meaningful sense. If such MP s lack conviction that the UK can stand alone in the World they should not be where they are.

    It is also acting as a smoke screen that hides other unacceptable decisions. It is reported in yesterdays DT that the forces of legal hypochracy are to be turned on soldiers from “Bloody Sunday ,” No support to incarcerate the well known terrorist murderers and their leaders of course. That would be seen to overturn a one sided form of fudged justice.

    Keep your eye on the happenings in the legal offices of prosecution in both NI and the UK. They are taking advantage of all the attention expended on Brexit.

  15. Dominic
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    What does this say about how far many politicians have fallen that they openly and shamelessly confront democracy and freedom?

    The UK electorate is literally yearning for a truthful, moral and sincere politician to lead the nation as our PM. Since the EU-Clarke-Major assassination of Margaret Thatcher the British people have had to suffer the indignity of leaders that represent all that is bad in the human character.

    Voters of all kinds are witnessing the hollowing out of our democracy by a type of politician that’s dispensed with the standards we expect from our politicians and have now embraced outright mendacity, propaganda, oppression and state control to get their way. That cannot be allowed to continue. This is country is heading in the wrong direction and that direction of travel is being governed by a leader and a leader of the opposition that both embrace the idea that freedom, liberty and morality are wrong. They have elevated political expediency and destroyed the nation’s moral framework

    The Tories, if they are able to depose this threat to our nation’s sovereignty and our freedoms, and replace her (May) with an ardent Eurosceptic(Mogg, Patel, Johnson and many others as well), that they can destroy Labour in the north and secure a massive majority in the Commons

  16. Pud
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Here’s a simple flowchart to be used in the event of a second or subsequent referendum:

    1. Ask voters if they wish to leave the EU or remain in the EU
    2. If majority answer leave go to 1 else go to 3.
    3. Accept the democratic will of the electorate.

  17. DICK R
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    It is an undeniable fact that those who now support a second referendum were the most vociferous against the first.

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The duplicity and mendacity of MPs (including cabinet ministers) abounds. They claim to speak for business which they pompously declare needs certainty and then proceed to create the very opposite circumstances. Most do not want the UK to leave the EU and, like true EUphiles, don’t care a jot for what the electorate wants. They are determined to overturn the 2016 referendum result and keep us under EU control. Most MPs it would seem are incapable of carrying out their functions as legislators without being given instructions from Brussels.

  19. G Wilson
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    In 1975 and 2016, holding a referendum had been included in a winning manifesto at a general election.

    Without such a mandate, it’s hard to see how a further referendum could have any democratic legitimacy.

    If Labour mean to force us to vote again, they should put the idea into their next election manifesto and gain the approval of the British people, if they can.

  20. rose
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Labour MPs should understand that the arguments of the Davos Party for overthrowing the referendum would apply much more convincingly to a Labour victory in a general election, once the precedent has been set. No good saying a Labour victory would only do five years’ worth of damage. We know from recent history it can go on a lot longer.

  21. Richard1
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I suppose you could have a three way referendum with a single transferable vote?

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Remain shouldn’t be on the ballot paper as this option has already been defeated.

  22. Sakara Gold
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I do not think that a second referendum would solve the Brexit problem either, it would make things worse – particularly in Ireland

    Much more concerning is that the Irish government has decided, in the past few days, to unilaterally impose a hard border between themselves and Ulster. Two NI registered fishing vessels have been seized – after they were observed by the Irish Navy fishing for shellfish in the exclusive 9.6km (6 mile) Irish territorial limit, the crews were detained.

    This has now caused an international incident. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described the impounding of two Northern Ireland-registered fishing boats seized in Dundalk Bay this week as a “really regrettable incident”.

    Speaking in Belfast on Friday evening, Mr Varadkar said the arrests on Tuesday of two fishermen, Jack Brown and Kevin Trainor, appeared to be “an accident waiting to happen” and has promised to introduce legislation ASAP to prevent a re-occurence.

    Perhaps he would also look into the statement by Simon Coveney, the Tánaiste, who has urged Irish people who hold a UK driving licence but who live in Ireland to quickly apply for an Irish licence.

    Speaking at the conclusion of the Dáil Second Stage debate on the Brexit Omnibus Bill, he said this is necessary “in case the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal on March 29”

    Clearly, the Irish are torn between subservience to the European Union and their desire for a close relationship with the United Kingdom. As I have blogged on here many times, the PM should build a better relationship with Eire, after all they supply about a quarter of our food.

    • Ignoramus
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Actually the figure is 11%, not about a quarter, but not insignificant.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        And no doubt a much higher percentage of their total exports. They seem intent on biting the hand that feeds them.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      SG –

      Yes of course we should have better relations with Ireland .
      Unfortunately the problems that exist have been concocted by the EU and Ireland to preserve the ‘ supply of about a quarter of our food ‘ in perpetuity .
      This market is crucial for their economy

      But just imagine the change in tone on March 29 when we leave under WTO rules .
      We will be free to import eg Brazilian Argie beef or excellent American chicken as well as First class Irish products in proportions and prices that suit us .

      The faux outrage would diminish and a sensible solution would be found .

      I am drafting this in the Redwood Ward of St Vincent’s Dublin .
      Quite appropriate!?

      • RichardM
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        Helena, excellent summary. The preferential vote is the way to go. There could even be multiple options, Canada++, Norway++ or whatever other rubbish plan leavers can come up with. Congratulations on getting the illegalities bit through the moderator ! Ive tried and failed more than once !
        Brexiters like Edward2 still in denial of documented facts. Broadcasting is regulated and independent. The predominantly British right wing press has been spitting out anti EU propaganda for the last 20 years or more. It’s amazing Remain got so close to winning first time round.

        • graham1946
          Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

          How could we have anything as complicated as that? The Remainers have told us endlessly that we Brexiteers were far too stupid to understand a simple ‘Yes’ ‘No’ vote, so your plan is certainly out.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          What documented facts am I in denial of, RichardM?

          Remain lost because of an overwhelmingly negative campaign of Project Fear, despite having all the rich elite establishment on their side and many millions more than Leave to spend on things like a £9 million pound leaflet campaign.

    • agricola
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Driving licences in the EU and for that matter the registration of vehicles only emphasises that the EU as a common market in it’s widest sense is an abject failure. My personal experience of living in Spain, which I dearly love, is that the UK registered LH drive vehicle you arrive in has to be re-registered as Spanish after six months. Nice little earner for Spain. My UK driving licence had to change to a Spanish one. YBoth are EU licences, they look the same, but again is another earner for Spain. When I asked my lawyer, who dealt with the change of driving licence, why it all took 11 months but at the same time changing my flying licence from a UK one to an EASA one took 14 days, her answer was illuminating. She said that here in Spain drivers are insignificant but pilots are gods.
      Amusing thought, I have never aspired to a deity, a dangerous concept if you fly aircraft.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Their produce will rot before we starve!

    • LiamB
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      The driving licence is one thing but what about the EHIC, EU health cover card? how are we to manage post 29 this month if we have to travel? will we need to take out private health insurance?

      • hefner
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Private health/travel insurance: That’s what the gov.uk website advises.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

        You’ve always really needed to take out health insurance. EHIC of course gives you treatment, but what if a catastrophe such as a bad road accident occurred and you needed to be brought home in a specialist plane with medical staff? EHIC was never designed for such a thing and you’d have to fund it yourself and be left with a bill which would involve selling your house. I’d never go abroad, even to the EU without comprehensive medical insurance, just to save a few quid.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      “Clearly, the Irish are torn between subservience to the European Union and their desire for a close relationship with the United Kingdom”.

      I can’t say I’ve noticed their desire for a close relationship with the UK.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      @ Sakara Gold

      From what my Irish contacts tell me, everyone who matters is aware that the Republic is required to install a compliant border (and I am not sure those fishing boats had the right to fish in the territorial waters of Ireland, they were apparently UK registered and had no Ireland quota, of course the crew was entitled to be in Ireland under the GFA) but the problem is that it is not certain that the UK will leave and on what date. So the border issues have been left out of the relevant contingency planning legislation but could of course be activated quickly. Ireland risks severe penalties if it does not provide a compliant border. Of course it would mean the end of the GFA and (especially in a no deal scenario) big trouble in NI.

  23. Kevin
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    If they reran the same People’s Vote, and we confirmed our decision to Leave, what have they done in the last two years and eight months to prepare to “implement what you decide”?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      @ Kevin,

      The electorate will be different but not a lot yet. The thing to look out for is the likely referendum on the future relationship, at the end of the (extendable) transition period). This assuming that the WA will be signed with some accompanying documentation (Mr Redwood’s post of today is not going to change that), so we will be looking at a “second” referendum in 2021/3 somewhere. Then the electorate will be very different and possibly there will be flanking refrenda in Scotland and certainly NI.

  24. David Webb
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Indeed … and if the result were again to Leave, then why would Government and Parliament implement it then when they wouldn’t first time?

    This is an epic failure of the political class.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    How did we end up with Parliament legislating to Leave at the end of March, with the 2 main parties also elected on that basis, only to find that many MPs have apparently changed their mind?

    Nothing material has changed. All we have had is propaganda and over-pessimistic forecasts.

    What made them change their minds, and why?

    If some never intended for us to leave at the end of March, why did they dupe us into electing them?

    • L Jones
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Our MP stated he was for ‘remain’ at the referendum. Since then he has been given a position relating to Brexit. I voted for him in 2017 because he appeared to be honouring the wishes of his constituency (overwhelmingly pro Brexit) despite his previous stance. I admired that.
      It seems he is now cutting his coat according to his cloth. He obviously doesn’t want to jeopardise his lucrative and comfortable career and is quite happy to let down his erstwhile supporters.
      The word ‘dupe’ is appropriate.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Sack him!

    • Timaction
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      The answer is obvious. May strung us and her Party along whilst conniving with the EU, foreign leaders and civil serpents to ambush her, not leaving, Cheers WA.
      She has lost the mandate to Govern and should call an election so we can clear the Westminster swamp of many remained!

      • Mark B
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear !

    • eeyore
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Lucky we know all our MPs and civil servants are incorruptible, especially since the EU admits corruption there is “endemic” and estimates the cost (very conservatively no doubt) at 120bn euros a year.

  26. MickN
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I always said that whilst I disagreed with everything Corbyn believed in and stood for I at least admired him for standing up for those things. I now believe that if he had written the withdrawal agreement himself he would still vote it down in an effort to topple the government. We need a Trump here and just maybe there is one standing in the wings.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      The problem is, Mick, that even if one WERE standing in the wings, I don’t think he/she would be ”allowed” to step up to the plate. ”They” would find ways of preventing it.
      I never used to be a conspiracy theorist, but just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
      They’re out to get us.

  27. Jason
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I agree, it is very unlikely there will be a second referendum, or peoples vote, the whole thing would be too bizarre, too divisive for British society and could even bring about civil unrest. So instead the can will be kicked down the road with the acquiescence of the EU chiefs for a year or two or three or four with UK in a kind of limbo, trading with the same EU rules and with the UK having a seat at the Council but with no voting rights for the moment, or until the matter is decided. Similarly we will have no MEPs in the EU parliament during this time..in effect we will have left but trade in goods and services will continue as we shadow the EU. We will have left, but not left, for this read hotel California. Could be we will take a whole EU parliamentary term out to be allowed reconsider.

    We have to recogonize there are some very great differences between now and June 2016 when the vote was taken, 1/ after nearly three years of constant debate the electorate is now much more aware of the consequences lus and minus for our economy and wellbeing of leaving without a deal..and 2/ a great number of the older people who would normally have been expected to vote leave will have already left the stage bringing onboard more and more younger people. So given time the EU Chiefs and the UK establishment will calculate there will very probably be no need for a second vote..time will deal with it..it will all go down in the history books..as ‘the blip’

    • L Jones
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      ”A seat at the Council but with no voting rights…”. But they’ll still take our money, gleaned from our population through taxes.
      Therefore ”taxation without representation” then?

      Now, where have we heard THAT before?

      • LiamB
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        LJones..Yes.. well lots of people pay taxes without representation from time to time, seafarers fishermen, business people abroad, people recently in institutions, I’m sure that during this interim period we will still have to pay something into the pot until things get sorted out-

        Was listening to Tony Blair on Andrew Marr this morning..must say he made a lot of sense to me in his analysis and in his grasp of the situation. You would hope that more politicians could talk straight the way he does- of course he’s not really a UK player anymore and that makes all the difference.

    • Oxiana321
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      This idea that there is a natural progression towards a remain vote as the older generation die-off is a complete fallacy and anyone with 1/2 oz of intelligence knows it. There is a lot of truth in the saying:
      “If you’re not a socialist before you’re twenty-five, you have no heart; if you are a socialist after twenty-five, you have no head.”
      People’s responsibilities and priorities change as they grow older, not least the task of bringing up a family, so it is to be expected that a more pragmatic and wiser view of the world is adopted by the older generation.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I disagree.

      You may be right that our establishment in connivance with the EU may try to keep us in some form of EU exit limbo where we obey all the rules, follow all the policies and pay all our taxes but without any representation or veto or means of exit (the WA ).

      But as time goes on and as the country finds itself swallowing unpopular laws, taxes, immigration, trade, environmental, energy and foreign/military policies all decided people they do not know, did not elect and cannot remove the more strong will become the desire to leave the EU.

  28. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    A second referendum would be a display of total incompetence by the government to do their job….
    The only good thing about the 3 questions is that the remainer vote would be split, giving a big win to no-deal – but those conniving for this referendum would surely ensure that the questions were limited to either stay in the EU, which we’ve already voted down, or approve May’s deal… which nobody in their right mind would vote for (Excluding some career politicians). If we had to have a new referendum, then the questions would have to be: 1 May’s deal or 2 No-Deal.
    Labour should be seen as irrelevant in all of this, and would be were it not for the left leaning MP’s in the Tory party.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      No it wouldn’t. With a three way referendum, there would in effect be two ‘Remain’ Questions’ and one ‘Leave’ question. There must be no second referendum until the first one is implemented: anything else is an affront to democracy and is playing the usual EU game of voting until the ‘right’ answer is given.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        I’m not suggesting there should be another referendum…. and taking JoolsB’s point, below, about so many MP’s believing that May’s deal is Brexit, The voting could be close if we did ever get another referendum….
        The only thing we have to do is to upstage the propaganda on May’s deal so that everyone knows it is not really leaving.

    • JoolsB
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Hope you’re right Bryan but to a lot of people May’s deal as leaving, even to over 200 dopey Tory MPs so it could also be seen as splitting the leave vote.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        You’re right on that point – haven’t the remoaners done a great job in pushing their lies?

  29. William
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The only way of having a second referendum that would make sense to me is if there were no option of Remain on the ballot paper. U.K. voted to leave and MPs said they’d respect that. It seems ridiculous that they need to come back to ask us how they should leave, considering MPs are highly paid intelligent people that are elected to make these kind of decisions for us, but if needs be they could see what the country’s view is on what form of Brexit we take.

  30. Adam
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Both Leave & Remain were in the balance.
    Pans on the Scales of Justice weighed & settled gently in favour of Brexit.
    The Losers were shaken up & stuck. Now they suspend time, lost in a cloud, afraid of crashing down. They remain hopeless in their pan, sloshing around in their own waste, up to their bottom lip.
    Our soft landing enables us to lighten our load on firm ground, & span the world, distributing our immense weight & capability.
    Taking back Control means we can help all our citizens.
    Those remaining MPs voting with symptoms of Post Traumatic Brexit Disorder can be helped with de-selection.

  31. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    A prediction.
    The motion to delay is only the first step of many. In these situations, I am confident of politicians’ capacity to kick the can down the road. Devices will continually be contrived to effect this. This will go on until the next general election. At that point, perhaps the electorate will finally realise that in order to leave the EU, they need to get the EU out of parliament.

    • agricola
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Driving licences in the EU and for that matter the registration of vehicles only emphasises that the EU as a common market in it’s widest sense is an abject failure. My personal experience of living in Spain, which I dearly love, is that the UK registered LH drive vehicle you arrive in has to be re-registered as Spanish after six months. Nice little earner for Spain. My UK driving licence had to change to a Spanish one. YBoth are EU licences, they look the same, but again is another earner for Spain. When I asked my lawyer, who dealt with the change of driving licence, why it all took 11 months but at the same time changing my flying licence from a UK one to an EASA one took 14 days, her answer was illuminating. She said that here in Spain drivers are insignificant but pilots are gods.
      Amusing thought, I have never aspired to a deity, a dangerous concept if you fly aircraft.

      You are correct if it happens by saying the EU must be removed from parliament. Who better to replace them than a party led by Nigel Farage, an ace swamp drainer.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Sadly Nigel, is not an ace swamp drainer which is why in spite of having an open goal for decades, he is yet to Score. He can’t provide a viable alternative government!
        We need the Leave MPs on the green benches yo resign n mass and bring don the Govt and provide Party for which the 17.5 million can vote!

      • RichardM
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Agricola that’s not really a criticism of the EU. That is how Spain chose to treat you. Do you not see the benefit in having a standard format credit sized card with codes recognised by all and ll having enhanced security ? Our vehicle categories are recognised in all other EU countries. This doesn’t mean they are are, or have to be the same. If that were to change, it would be by agreed consensus, which is how the EU works.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      . . . they need to get the EU out of parliament.

      See my post above.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      If the EU allows us to have a GE on our own terms. I wouldn’t put anything past the machinations of this ‘organisation’. It seems unthinkable – but is it? They’ve managed to get their tentacles into every other part of our systems – why not that one? It wouldn’t be considered sacrosanct to the EU.

    • Den
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      A nice line there and a true statement -“Get the EU out of Parliament”.

  32. L Jones
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    How can a second referendum even be considered when the result of the first hasn’t been implemented? What would be the point? Who doesn’t understand ”this is a once in a lifetime opportunity” – the concept that remainers ACCEPTED WITH ALACRITY when they thought they’d win a remain vote?

    In May 2016 Reuters reported Cameron as saying that that there would be ”no second referendum if the result is close”. Cameron said the “Out” campaign were losing. ”Britain will not hold a second referendum on its membership of the European Union if the result of a June 23 vote is close,” Prime Minister David Cameron said….

    ”I am absolutely clear a referendum is a referendum, it’s a once in a generation, once in a lifetime opportunity and the result determines the outcome … You can’t have neverendums, you have referendums.”

    Does anyone REALLY believe that any kind of future vote resulting in a requirement to escape from the EU would be either honoured by our own government or accepted by the Execrable Union? Of course not. The only result that would be ”allowed” would be one that ties us into this dystopia for ever and keeps us tethered as their milch cow.

    Do remainers honestly believe that their EU masters want to bind us close to them for our own good?

  33. MickN
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The following headline appears in the Mail on Sunday today.

    ‘Three tests’: Hardline Brexiteers present Theresa May with terms for backing her Brexit deal as ‘death cult’ is warned: Vote it down again and you’ll get customs union or second referendum

    I was still coming to terms with you being described as a lemming a few weeks back. Now it seems you are part of a death cult !!!

    What an absolute disgrace that rag has become.

  34. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I am petrified that Parliament will approve Mrs May’s Surrender. Having worked for Brexit almost full time for 35 years, free of charge, I want a referendum between her ‘deal’ and WTO – WTO was specified s the Leave option in that last referendum, and we will win again with a much increased majority.
    If Parliament approve Mrs May’s Humiliation – I will be Leaving the country, one for which I would lay down my life in a heartbeat like hundreds of generations before me.

    • Patriot
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      So if the UK parliament , our elected lawmakers, decides something, you will flee the country.
      Bye. Dont come back

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I will not don’t worry, I’m sick of living under fascists and gutless idiots! I will also take my money, enterprise and businesses with me. I’m NOT working to sustain the EU and the destruction of BRITAIN!

  35. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    52% to 48% in favour of Remain would be a disaster.

    Remainers would proclaim it a decisive win and it would be respected, unlike the Leave vote.

    Remain’s case is largely based on accusations that Leave voters are nasty and racist and so the whole left leaning Remain establishment would see its bias and dehumanisation of the 52% who voted in 2016 as virtuous.

    There’s is not through love of the EU but hatred of fellow countrymen.

    I saw not a single blue and yellow beret or blue and yellow lapel badge until after ‘the mob’ had the audacity to win the referendum.

    It has brought the real issues in this country to the fore. This is what the establishment have said to us in effect:

    “You’re getting mass immigration because we hate you and we want you bred out of existence.”

    There had to be consequences for that and here they are.

  36. Steve Pitts
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    A second referendum no deal or WA reminds me of the old eggs advert, how do you like your eggs fried or boiled? The man is the advert is shown to think or poached, scrambled, egg mayonnaise. He answers egg mayonnaise please. The landlady -I think it was – says what’s that fried or boiled ? But of course conveniently the advert also does not show other alternatives like he would prefer cereal to eggs and he is only given the option of fried or boiled. No deal or The WA as options is the same as asking how do you like your eggs fried or boiled? You are still going to eat eggs in one of two ways.

  37. Paul Cohen
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink


    The British electorate have had to endure a lot during the talks with the EU – from observing the sheer incompetence of our negotiators, rogue civil servants, a PM who firstly offers the prize of £39 billion and then asks (please) what will you offer in return? and MP’s whose aim seems to be to bring chaos to proceedings despite a clear mandate.
    We could all do with some respite from the above, so the message is “Get on with it”

    Mrs May has wasted much time, deferred decisions on a regular basis and will have a lot of questions to answer when the dust settles. We desperately need a leader who actually leads and more grown ups in the room if we expect an acceptable result.

  38. Lr2
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  39. Anonymous
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “I quite understand why people don’t fancy having Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister. But if this sort of Trotskyist cultural revolution carries on while the Tories are in office, I am not sure it will make all that much difference.”

    Peter Hitchens today.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Bit thick from Hitchens who promotes remaining the the ‘Single Market and Customs union’ And who refused to vote for Leave in the Referendum!

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        He refused to take part in the referendum at all, as he saw it as false.

        He was right !

        The biggest lie told was not on the side of a bus but that Leave was going to be granted at all.

  40. Dominic
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    The ERG by backing this Europhile government is not only betraying the nation, its people and popular democracy but their own

    The ERG sit and watch while a Tory PM conspires with Marxist Labour MPs to construct a Commons barrier to Brexit

    No more should we have to listen to the hogwash about Tory Brexiteers being elected as Tory MPs and therefore unable to vote down this Europhile government

    May was elected on a manifesto promise to deliver Brexit and yet she openly betrays the UK and our democracy. May’s no Tory and neither are many Tory MPs who in effect use the party as a mere conduit to a political career

    Only the ERG can destroy May’s betrayal and yet they refuse to do so

  41. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    A second referendum would be fiddled by the political class. We could expect votes for those who haven’t reached 18, votes for EU nationals and (even if not that) votes for the Irish, the Maltese and the Cypriots. So we must get out of the EU in March, or very soon afterwards. Any short extension must be a once-only arrangement, and the duration must be determined by precise project management – not determined by some malevolent Remainer, scribbling on the back of a fag packet. (Sir John : please ask to see the project plan.) And beyond that, the ERG must have a campaign plan ready for holding the government’s feet to the fire during the transition. I want to see a change of PM, a new Cabinet and a change of our Brussels team. They have all proved themselves to be useless,

    • Howdee dow
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Nicholas..sorry to disappoint but TM has already been around giving out the lollipops

  42. agricola
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Sorry finger trouble, the last para is irrelevant.

  43. Ian wragg
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Ironic that we have a referendum to leave the EU and Mays idea is to bind us closer and remove the means of ever leaving.

  44. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Mr. Richard Drax says he left the House of Commons last Wednesday night more disillusioned with politics and politicians than ever before. He goes on to say “the word ‘betrayal’ is a strong one, but that is what is being levelled at us by constituents. The Conservative Party, if it ever hopes to win the next election, must deliver Brexit in full, or face annihilation’.

    Sir Graham Brady denounces the government’s handling of the Brexit negotiations as “lions led by donkeys”.

    I wonder what the cabinet donkeys think about being labelled as such by one of their own MP’s? And not just any old MP either. I will excuse the Chancellor as he has been compared to an ass on occasions before.

    I wonder if the leader of the herd is aware of how strongly words such as ‘betrayal’ resonate with voters?

    There is a strong odour that now pervades the cabinet donkey pen but it is not what you think!

    It is the smell of duplicity and of decay. It is that of an administration way past its sell-by date.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      May doesn’t understand the meaning of the word betrayal in relation to the democratic will of the people of this country. However she will scheme against us lest she be accused by Rudd, Hammond and others in her government, and the EU of betraying it and her sellout plan to it. That’s the only betrayal she understands.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear.

  45. Simon
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Sir John ;
    Since when was it the task of the opposition to bring forward draft legislation with no civil service support and no legislation drafting legal capability ?

    Reply We did in opposition to show we were ready for government

  46. formula57
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    In any repeat referendum, we must insist that the same words are used as before, being: –

    “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide. ”

    Then we could congratulate ourselves on our British sense of humour.

  47. Julian Flood
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A series of ‘mood box’ polls in West Suffolk since Christmas showed no swing away from Leave, in fact the reverse.
    Bury St Edmunds had young people voting the same way as old codgers – about 2 to 1 Leave as opposed May’s deal.

    • RichardM
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Julian Flood ; Funny that. The recent Bury St Edmunds Brexitometer gives virtually no support for no deal or Mays deal. Remaining in EU and Peoples vote sharing the honours.
      Perhaps this “mood box’ was in The Corn Exchange Wetherspoons pub while Tim nice but Dim was on one of his fly by Leave means Leave visits. It manages to escape Google’s search capacity however so I suspect it’s just more made up Brexiter nonsense.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Your attempt to deny the result of any poll that doesn’t suit your views is typical of remainers like you who also still refuse to accept the referendum vote.

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    A second referendum is undesirable but if there is one, No Deal must be on the ballot paper. It is more popular than Mrs May’s deal (by 60% to 40% – a recent Ipsos Mori poll). It is the most popular of all the Leave options.

    The ballot paper must be designed hierarchically. At the top level must be Leave vs Remain, a rerun of the 2016 referendum. At the secondary level, there must be a choice between Leave options:
    – No Deal
    – Mrs May’s deal
    – The Norway option
    – Mr Corbyn’s Customs Union BRINO option

    In the analysis, responses to the secondary question will only be valid for people who vote Leave. We can’t have Remainers poisoning the well.

    It should go without saying that if the Leave vs Remain vote goes the other way to 2016, there will have to be a third referendum in order to determine best of three.

  49. Den
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    As a British patriot my worry is that the HoC will vote for an extension to Article 50 and prohibit a “No deal” exit.
    I calculate that there are just 20 Parliamentary working days remaining to the actual day Parliament voted to leave the EU within the terms of the Withdrawal Act 2018.

    JR, please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe in order for Parliament to modify the terms of that 2018 Act, there would have to be further Parliamentary debate after which a vote would be held to accept the new terms . They would then have to pass through the HoL for their approval before passing over to HM The Queen who signs it off into the Law book.
    Until the Queen signs it it could not be considered Statute and therefore would not affect the original Act.
    I am hoping that there will not be enough time remaining to alter the original terms of the Withdrawal Act 2018 and that with no agreement with Brussels by that date will ensure we do actually leave with no deal with the EU but adopt the WTO Deal already utilised by the Rest of the World. The “No Deal” option is the best option for Britain but not so good for the EU.
    Therefore it is they who should make the compromises not us Brits. I cannot understand why Number 10 has not grasped this.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      What you are missing is that the Withdrawal (Accession) Agreement is No 10’s Plan A. It means UK rejoins the Eu uber the treaties replacing Lisbon in 2025.
      Plan B is for UK to remain in the EU. The useful idiots demanding No Deal be taken off the table have let Mrs May off the hook. They have signalled Brussels not to bother with alternatives to the backstop. Mrs May just needs to pretend to negotiate. After Parliament deals and in all probability cancels Brexit, Mrs May will, tongue in cheek, blame these useful idiots.
      Either way Mrs May will have achieved her aim of keeping UK in the EU.

      • Den
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Mrs May’s latest is NOT in British Law though, is it? How can a separate document overrule one placed on the Statute Book?
        Surely the Constitution demands that any amendment to an Act signed by HM must also be signed by HM in order to make it an addition to the original Statute?

  50. Captain Peacock
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Its EU policy not to respect any votes that they don’t like, they want people to vote again and again till they get the result they want. The Irish ‘second referendum’ was a good example where that vote was rigged. The EU spent millions on a campaign of lies, all the media was in support of the new vote on the MassTrick Treaty. The churches the Bingo halls all the MPs big business all campaigned for a yes vote. Lets never forget that here in the UK the BBC get money from the EU which they try to hide.

    BBC has secretly obtained millions of pounds in grants from the European Union. Licence fee payers might assume that the Corporation would have been compelled to disclose the source of this money in its annual reports, but they bear no trace of it specifically. In the latest set of accounts, for example, these funds are simply referred to as ‘other grant income’.

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Captain Peacock

      “Lets never forget that here in the UK the BBC get money from the EU which they try to hide.”

      Not that old chestnut again!

      The BBC received £2m EU money in the last 3 years. It received the cash under the European Union framework programme, to fund its research and development arm which is working on projects such as 3D broadcasting and ultra-high definition filming.

      Barely enough to keep it in paper clips.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Would you be so relaxed if another TV company or newspaper received a few million from say Russia or Israel Margaret?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I’ve worked on “research” for the EU in the field of transport policy. Most of the Consultancy contracts which they let have the objective of ensuring back-up to the European Commission in their desire to control more transport projects and decisions.

        Just to give you a flavour of this, Consultants working for the EC can reclaim travel expenses for first class rail travel but not for car hire. I fell foul of this ruling when I hired a car to visit three businesses in Holland for interviews regarding their freight operations. One of the interviews was in Gronigen in northern Holland, so there were three journeys covering a fair distance. In spite of the fact that I had saved the EC a great deal of my time and transport costs, my claim for car hire was disallowed. I duly received a bollocking from the EC and from my employer.

        Moral; don’t behave rationally.

  51. ian
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Mrs Rudd the leader of the Tory Remainers going to mid-Sussex safe Tory seat with a 20,000 majority, as incumbent said he will stand down and retire from the Commons to make way for Mrs Rudd bid for the Tory leadership.

    Good luck with that, Tory leave voters, she real taskmaster and the bankers peddle and also for the EU through and through.

    Someone said last week that she had no chance of being the Tory leader with only a wafer-thin majority in her seat in Hastings. How things can change in politic in one week.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Will that Constituency association accept her as their candidate ?

  52. John S
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    As leaving without a deal seems a dead duck, there will most likely be a choice between remaining and May’s deal. Both are unpalatable and a gross betrayal of the British people. Of the two options, I believe remaining is the least terrible.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I agree!

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Remain cannot be on the ballot paper because we have already decided to leave. Only versions of leave can be on offer in a second referendum if the result of the first referendum is to be respected.

      “Of the two options, I believe remaining is the least terrible.”

      I don’t.

      Remaining will always be the worst option, particularly via a second referendum, as it would mean that we had given our consent to give away our country to be ruled by persons we do not elect and cannot remove.

      I believe that the EU will become increasingly unpopular everywhere as it continues to force through laws, taxes and policies for which it has no democratic mandate and if we still have it on the record that we voted leave and have technically left then we will always have a chance to climb out of the hole that Mrs. May and her 200 EU-supporting Conservative colleagues in Parliament have deliberately dug us into.

      Furthermore, this current Parliament cannot bind future Parliaments and thus we can extricate ourselves from any treaty Mrs. May and this Parliament signs, particularly as I believe that everlasting treaty agreements are not allowed under international law for obvious reasons.

      • Pominoz
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:16 am | Permalink

        Original Richard

        You say -“Furthermore, this current Parliament cannot bind future Parliaments and thus we can extricate ourselves from any treaty Mrs. May and this Parliament signs, particularly as I believe that everlasting treaty agreements are not allowed under international law for obvious reasons”

        My understanding is that the WA is, in fact, a treaty, for the specific reason that a treaty does bind future Governments.

        That is the whole frightening problem if the WA is foolishly given approval.

        • Original Richard
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          Even the Lisbon Treaty contained Article 50, not because the EU wanted it but because it is illegal under international law to have a treaty which does not have an exit clause.

          Treaties with no exit clauses are how wars start.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      They both achieve Mrs May’s aim of keeping UK in the EU.

  53. nhsgp
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    And longer. There will be court cases over it.
    Now, May elections for the EU. Do you think you can get through no UK MEPs? Massive court cases there. The EU would have to change its rules and that would include treaty changes.
    So any extension passed the May Election date means that the UK has to hold European elections. That means toast for Labour, Lib Dems and Tories. You won’t be electable if you are an anti democratic fascist.
    Does the EU want even more anti EU MEPs?

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the EU will say that after 29/03 we have left the EU and hence cannot take part in any MEP elections.

      But Mrs. May and her 200 pro-EU supporting Conservative colleagues will ensure that despite having technically left the EU we will still be in all the EU’s institutions, still making large payments to the EU, still ruled by ECJ judgements and still observing all the rules regarding immigration, the CAP and the CFP etc..

      The only difference being that we have no representation or veto – except that this is rapidly disappearing anyway with the introduction of QMV into almost all areas.

  54. Steve P
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    “This ignores the fact that Parliament despite their opposition has passed the EU Withdrawal Act which means we leave on 29 March without a deal unless Parliament changes its mind and repeals or amends the legislation.”

    We voted to leave – if parliament believes it can change our mind and we do nothing it should think again.

  55. rose
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    George Eustice does so well in his interviews – for example: “The Government has been taken hostage by Parliament so there is no point staying in it” and “We’re good to go if Parliament has the courage to go” etc – that it is doubly mystifying he keeps saying he is going to vote for the DWA.

    He clearly thinks we are all ready to go and to manage whatever needs to be managed. Therefore there is no need to sign the DWA.

    • Natalie Tallis
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I found this article by John Bingley an interesting read,

      If the awful WA is approved then we avoid an extension and second referendum.
      But those MPs thinking they can simply trample our constitutional position are blinded by arrogance. Perhaps those ERG members know a great deal can be done with that agreement.
      The WA will be an unenforceable “error” and we have left the EU

      • Pominoz
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:39 am | Permalink


        Thanks so much for that post.

        Perhaps this really is the salvation of all the hopes of Brexiteers!!!!

        I do hope that Sir John is totally aware of what it says and that it fully reflects the true situation.

  56. Original Richard
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The current Parliament has no mandate to propose a second referendum.

    There would need to be a GE first.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Brexit started to go wrong when the Tory MPs chose a Remainer as their new leader.


    However much Theresa May may pretend to have converted from Remain to Leave to respect the will of the people as expressed in the referendum the truth is that in her heart her primary loyalty still lies with the EU, and ever since she became Prime Minister she has in effect been covertly acting as the Remoaner-in-Chief.

    So she has made sure that there has never been any shortage of anti-Brexit propaganda material for others to use – she only has to ensure ample ammunition supplies, she need not fire the bullets herself – and having said early on that she would not be providing a running commentary she has clearly inhibited her ministers from quashing the rubbish which has been put into circulation even if they wished to do so.

    That showed up this morning when Sophy Ridge interviewed George Eustice and he said things that he should have been saying very loudly while he was still the DEFRA minister, instead of allowing anti-Brexit fabrications to go unchallenged:


    “”No, they’re wrong” – former DEFRA minister, George Eustice, dismisses concerns that no deal would be disastrous for farmers.”

    Nobody should be duped into thinking that Theresa May would be opposed to holding a second referendum, if only she can find a way to wangle it while blaming others.

    I see that Iain Duncan Smith has a new article headlined:

    “British governments have lied about the EU for decades. This deal is the final deceit.”

    and that is true; but if the alternative to Theresa May’s ‘deal’ was a second referendum then that would just provide her with another opportunity for more lies.

  58. mancunius
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    It is magnificent is that although a weak and cowardly British government and EU voices have – wheedling and threatening by turn – have done their best to subvert the majority will to leave, the UK has not – at least not yet – buckled to Brussels, as did other countries (France, Holland, RoI) where an anti-EU referendum was either ignored, with no consequences for the political class, or (in RoI for example) re-run with a fearmongering second referendum.
    I am greatly looking forward to our Independence Recovery Day, 30th March: “No Deal Day” – as it will doubtless be known to future generations. They will admire our courage – but only if we hold firm.

    • Chris S
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Problem is, it isn’t up to us.

      Our future is going to be decided by a bunch of cowardly MPs who have no concept of democracy and have no confidence in the Country and voters they are supposed to represent.

  59. Oliver
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    The most valuable contribution to all the twaddle about a “people’s vote” came from that German comedian on Question Time – he asked how many people would vote differently in a second referendum – five hands went up… and there will be quite a few people who voted Remain simply because [a] they didn’t think it was worth the fuss, and/or [b] wouldn’t trust the current minnows to negotiate anything – but now we’ve started, we might as well finish.

    Well worth watching on QT – about 15 minutes in.

  60. Helen Smith
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m torn on this.

    Part of me says vote for the WA provided May goes, she and Robbins cannot be allowed within a million miles of the next stage of negotiations. If necessary after a couple of years of fruitless talks tear the treaty up.

    Another part of me says reject the WA, let Rudd and Labour do their worst, see where that gets them come the GE after the public have seen how the EU treats penitents.

    It is about so much more than Brexit now, it is about whether people like me have a voice in this country at all.

    • mancunius
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      Helen, the WA is a treaty, and it has no exit clause. The British constitutional precept that no parliament can tie the hands of any successor does not apply to international treaty law. So no future government or parliament could legally rescind the WA. If we sign up to it, we are permanently trapped, chained to the EU.
      And it is an abusive, punitive treaty that makes Versailles look like the Entente Cordiale.
      As long as we do not ratify it, there is still hope. And it looks as if Parliament stands little chance of doing so, as MPs who want to remain in the EU need to vote it down in order to get to their childish vote against no-deal and for an Art. 50 extension.

      Both those votes are for goals that are legally unachievable by parliament. And the high cost each of the 27 EU countries will demand for their acquiescence will force them to backtrack.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Have you read a synopsis of the Withdrawal Agreement? Please read the top 40 things wrong with the Withdrawal Agreement article on the Spectatoor web site. It is horrifying.

  61. Chris S
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Everyone knows that the call for a second referendum is nothing more than a blatant attempt by arch-Remainers to reverse the result of the first. The very idea should be treated with the same degree of contempt as its proponents show towards those of us who voted so clearly to leave in the first plebiscite.

    The only way out of the current bind is for us to leave under WTO terms and pay over no money whatsoever until the EU negotiate a trade deal satisfactory to us. Even then, we should only pay whatever we are legally liable for. I believe the House of Lords’ legal advice was that after 29th March we will owe them nothing.

    So why on Earth did May agree to pay £39bn ?

  62. Pray for England
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    The problem is, in my opinion, the very mindset of almost all politicians. I really cannot see the difference between a big State politician and a religious extremist. The same laws they want to pass to nanny us are the same laws that destroy magna carta and all that we hold dear and we know how those laws will be used in the end. Heaven forbid we should one day discover the very people they wanted to protect us from was really them in disguise!

    It is the very nature of State and government that needs re-thinking.

    • margaret howard
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 11:05 pm | Permalink


      “The same laws they want to pass to nanny us are the same laws that destroy magna carta and all that we hold dear and we know how those laws will be used in the end.”

      Only three clauses are still valid –

      the one guaranteeing the liberties of the English Church;

      the clause confirming the privileges of the City of London and other towns;

      and the clause that states that no free man shall be imprisoned without the lawful judgement of his equals

      So which do you fear will be destroyed bearing in mind that ‘free men’ at the time excluded all peasants and was really just meant for the ruling classes.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        You plainly have little or no understanding of the importance of the Magna Carta Margaret as you keep cutting and pasting this nonsense.

        Try an internet search on “the legacy of the Magna Carta”
        Have a read and try to develop some proper knowledge and historical understanding.

  63. Pat
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s wory, the majority of MPs appear more concerned with signalling their virtue than in getting anything done- after all virtue signalling got them the positions that they clearly value.
    The Cornyn factor of the Labour party is serious about making a mess.
    The ERG appear serious about independence.
    The rest appear serious only about keeping their positions.
    Unfortunately they seem to think that the EU is virtuous, and pretend to respect the referendum and their manifesto promises simply in order to keep their seats.

  64. Neil Turrell
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    One of the points you make often is our ability to make good use of the £39B in the event of a brexit on WTO terms. I was reading on TCW, normally an accurate site, that the PM had persuaded the cabinet to pay the money even in the event of a no deal. Given the very disappointing conciliatory noises coming from the likes of JRM, I think the ERGs goose is cooked. I can’t tell you how depressed I feel at the sheer incompetence and mendacity of the Tory Party.

    • mancunius
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Let them pay it then – if that gets us out of the EU without signing the WA. We might subsequently surcharge each member of the cabinet for having given the taxpayer’s money so recklessly and needlessly away.

    • Chris
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      The ERG, and in particular J R-M, have now lost any credibility, as far as I am concerned. They were trying to be too clever, when the answer to the problems was relatively simple and blindingly obvious. I have said before that many commenters on here could write a punchy manifesto for a true Conservative Party (led by an utterly committed Leaver who has the honesty and integrity to uphold democracy and effect Brexit) which would virtually guarantee a landslide victory in an election. There would indeed need to be a draining of the swamp first, but the end result would completely refresh UK politics. I can think of just the sort of person to do it, but he is a bit busy on the other side of the pond.

  65. Peter D Gardner
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Nobody advocating a second referendum is saying what sort of Remain they would deliver if they won. Would UK lose its rebate? Almost certainly. Would UK have to accept migrant quotas? Almost certainly. Would UK have to join Schengen? Yes. Would UK have to join the Euro? Yes. Would UK have to submit to a single EU treasury? Yes. Would UK have to hand over it’s Armed Forces to EU control? Yes.
    Of course the Remainers would deny all this in the hope that the public don’t follow EU business and the five year plan including all this to be published in the next few months by the new EU Commission following the EU elections in May. It has already been published in reports and white papers. New treaties are intended to replace Lisbon by 2025.
    What can Remainers possibly offer in a second referendum with any certainty or authority? Nothing.

    • Pray for England
      Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Nobody advocating a second referendum is saying what sort of Remain they would deliver if they won. Would UK lose its rebate? Almost certainly. Would UK have to accept migrant quotas? Almost certainly. Would UK have to join Schengen? Yes. Would UK have to join the Euro? Yes. Would UK have to submit to a single EU treasury? Yes. Would UK have to hand over it’s Armed Forces to EU control? Yes.

      Very important point Peter, on that basis Remain could never win.

  66. Dunedin
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    It is frustrating that the MSM focus so much on the Irish backstop while ignoring the other problems with the WA (UK becoming a rule taker while contributing loads of cash) which you have highlighted so often on these pages. These issues need to get much more airtime – so I was surprised when Tony Blair mentioned these problems on Andrew Marr this morning. Strange times indeed when you find agreement with Tony Blair.

  67. Vernon Wright
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    If another plebiscite were held, the referendum itself would be the most important matter: one the Cameron administration completely failed to address.

    The referendum ought to be divided in to three parts (the Gauls would like that, I’m sure): (a) whether the voter would leave or remain; (b) what he would expect of the independent United Kingdom and her relationships with the E.U. and other countries in general; and (c) what effect he would expect our leaving to have on the matter of immigration. All voters, including those choosing in part (a) to remain, would have to consider the questions in parts (b) and (c). Part (c) is particularly important: intelligent voters that opted to leave nevertheless realize that immigrants, especially from E.U. countries, are vital to the U.K.’s economy and modern way of life and the subject ought to have been covered in the plebiscite and discussed explicitly and honestly by those campaigning on both sides.

    As to the conduct of the campaigns themselves: that of the 2016 plebiscite — in which £9-million of tax-payers’ money was wasted on promoting the government’s preferred option — would be entirely unacceptable. It’s bad enough that the campaigns were allowed to get away with anything from misleading statements to outright lies.

    (By the way: since he’s a celebrity and, I assume, capable of picking out at least three chords on a guitar, I think you ought to refer correctly to Sir Steer Korma.)

    P.S. Why not get this site written properly so that the tab indices work properly?!

  68. Wally
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I understand that we can continue to travel to EU countries with passport or ID card and without need for a visa up until the end of the transition period end of 2020..but what if there is no transition period? What if we leave with no deal.. will we need to then apply for visas at the various embasseys? Am confused and its getting serious now..half of my family are scattered throughout and I usually go to visit the grand children this time of the year..what a mess

  69. Chris
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    “Exclusive from Telegraph online tonight:

    “The Attorney General has abandoned attempts to secure a hard time-limit or unilateral exit mechanism from the Irish backstop, The Telegraph has been told.

    Ministers briefed on Geoffrey Cox’s approach said that those aims, which represent the central demands of Eurosceptics, are considered too “blunt” and have been rejected by the European Union……”


    How pathetic. This just adds to the contempt and anger that so many feel towards our government and team who are determined not to honour Brexit.

  70. Javelin
    Posted March 3, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Britain is not facing an economic crisis. It is confronting a deep political crisis. (Merv King)

    What follows will be a radical upheaval because the political class refuse to change with the times. 3..2..1..

  71. BR
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    I think it’s important to avoid using the term ‘no deal’ when we mean ‘no withdrawal agreement’.

    The two are very different.

    Also, Article 50 states that any WA must be based on the future arrangements (and Lord Kerr, who penned A.50, has said as much – just Google it) therefore by refusing to discuss the future arrangements the EU are in breach of their own treaty.

    A ‘deal’ would have the future arrangements agreed and that is not what is happening here, nor is it even on the horizon.

    Terminology, semantics… perhaps… but we must be clear on the MEANING when talking about these issues publicly or the other side steals the argument with clever wordings.

    • Whaddyasay
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      BR ..also the UK government is in breach if it rushes to leave without WA

  72. Londoner
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You leave out a vitally important point. A second Brexit referendum sets an awful precedent which undermines every other referendum. Any referendum loser can claim a second referendum quoting the Brexit referendum as a precedent. For example, Nicola Sturgeon will insist on a second referendum for Scottish independence.

    • BR
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The result of all other referendums in the UK have been implemented by the government.

      However technically/legally binding they may poor may not be, they are always seen as politically binding to use the terminology of Lord Woolfe et al in HoL Constitutional Committee’s report of 2009/10.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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