Letter to Geoffrey Cox about the draft Withdrawal Agreement

Dear Geoffrey,

I am glad you are seeking to replace the unacceptable Irish backstop which is written into the Withdrawal Agreement which was vetoed in the recent Commons vote.

There are other features of the Withdrawal Agreement which I and other MPs cannot accept which also need attention in the national interest.

Under the draft Withdrawal Agreement the EU will enjoy of period of at least 21 months, and up to 45 months, when it can legislate for the UK under the wide ranging competencies it  has from the Treaty. This would permit the EU to enact laws and regulations banning or requiring changes to the way we do business, control the environment, treat people, offer business support and organise trade which could be against our national interest.  It could  require the transfer of business into the Eurozone at our expense. We will no longer have the power to veto or to create blocking minorities to prevent  measures that are damaging.

What action are you taking to prevent abuse of these wide ranging powers and  to ensure we are indeed taking back control of our laws?

The EU is moving to impose and alter more taxes by qualified majority with a view to increasing the range and incidence of EU taxes. As we will have lost our veto over tax anyway, what powers are you seeking to avoid the imposition of new taxes and additional taxation on us via the Withdrawal Agreement?

It is most important no additional tax can be imposed without UK consent.

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out under a  general heading where it reserves to the EU the right to send us big bills in the future. The £39 bn cost of the Withdrawal Agreement is a low estimate of what it might mean compiled by the UK Treasury. It is not an EU accepted cash limit. What safeguards are you seeking to ensure the bills do not escalate and to ensure the UK can refuse to pay unreasonable bills submitted under the  general powers of the EU? Spending our own money on our own priorities was a big part of the reason to leave.

I will make these questions public as they are of considerable national interest, and look forward to your reply. I assume  you are pursuing these matters as part of seeking  a fair deal, and in order to reassure the many MPs who cannot currently support the Withdrawal Agreement.

Yours ever

John Redwood

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  1. Excalibur
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    …….”.that need attention in the national interest”.

    The points you make are vital for our sovereignty. Thank you, JR, for delineating them. A pity a few more in the House do not have your vision and patriotism.

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      An excellent letter that should be read by all MPs. The WA is an extraordinary document that sets out term for a vassal state. Whatever the AG comes back with, the HoC should reject it.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        How long before Geoffrey Cox flies to Brussels to negotiate something scribbled on a post it note?

        Mrs May: “We’ve worked hard on this compromise. We can’t read what it says because the handwriting is so bad and it’s written in Belgian.

        However let me be clear, I can assure the House it’s exactly what people voted for.”

        • Hope
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Do not forget it was the same Geoffrey Cox who gave said legal advice the backstop would endure indefinitely and wanted everyone to vote for it! This is before all the other disgraceful points throughout May’s servitude plan. Like his bluster in parliament in trying to prevent his advice becoming known he is all hot air. From this episode he simply is not to be trusted. He did not fool parliament and he will not fool the public.

          He does not fill me with any confidence whatsoever.

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Not just by all MPs. The BBC and Sky present the DWA as a harmless “deal”. They never tell people what is in it, as Sir John does. The other day Sky pretended to explain the Backstab, but they didn’t tell us anything about it, other than that it was a device for keeping the border open. It was all made to sound so innocuous, with clever “optics” in the background..

      • Merlin
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        I think there is a lot of misapprehension that us leaving the E.U will end this debate.

        I think leave won the referendum, but it has merely started a debate which may well run for much of my lifetime. There may be answers. There may not be. I do not know where we will end up, back in or staying out.

        • NickC
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          Merlin, Where have you been for the last 47 years? There has been an ongoing debate for all that time – you could have joined in a decade ago if you’re 30. The EU, in terms of what it offers us, is not as important, and certainly not as omnipotent, as Remains like to pretend. Most of the world is not in it – we can be out as well, and prosper perfectly well.

          • Merlin
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            I categorically disagree. We were not discussing the E.U like this before the referendum.

            Now it’s all anybody seems to talk about.

            The E.U was a minor issue in every national poll in 2015 until parliament forced it on the people.

          • NickC
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            Merlin, I categorically disagree. We were discussing the EU like this many years before the referendum; for example Mrs Thatcher’s Bruges speech, 1988. I first pointed out: “the only options, as always, are to accept a federal EU superstate or get out of the EU into the world. There is no third way.” in a letter in 2003. I wasn’t the only one. And it was why UKIP – perceived as a one issue party – topped the MEP count in 2014.

            The fact that you, the BBC, and a large number of Remains who emerged after 24 June 2016, have only just become interested rather proves the point that the establishment took no notice of the rampant dissatisfaction with our status as a province of the EU empire.

          • a-tracy
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            Merlin – did you not hear of Goldsmith’s Referendum party, a single issue party, its ideology was Euroscepticism and existed between 1994 and 1997, it gained 811,827 votes, but was said to have cost the Tories between four and sixteen parliamentary seats. In 1996, both the Conservative and Labour Parties committed to the idea that they would require a referendum on any proposed economic and monetary union with the EU; the Liberal Democrats had already committed to this idea. In the 2001 general election, much of the support that had previously gone to the Referendum Party went not to UKIP but to the Conservatives, whose leader William Hague had employed Eurosceptic rhetoric throughout his campaign.

    • James
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Well done JR.

    • Hope
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      JR’ suggest you and other leave ministers read Martin Howe’s article in conservative home. Better to have an extension than May’s servitude plan- i.e. to remain in another name by treaty forever. I would also add, It also gives you time to get rid of her.

      IDS is correct in his article yesterday, May’s servitude plan is a deceit.

      • Helen Smith
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, I read it this morning and am now firmly of the belief that WTO deal is best but that even an ext of Art 50 is preferable to signing the WA.

        Surely if the WA is as to be hoped, voted down a second time even May would get the message and resign.

        • L Taylor
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

          What would be the point of extending Art. 50? Is it likely that the EU would have a change of heart? I seriously doubt it. Extension is merely kicking the can down the road. We need to as they say in Scotland and “grasp the thistle”

      • hefner
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Why do you think staying in the EU as part of an extension to Dec’21 (Martin Howe QC’s proposal) is so different from remaining? That’s another 33 months with payment to the EU, isn’t it? How can this gentleman think that the EU27 would accept that? Does he not follow the German news that a Brexit extension could draw a legal challenge from any of the EU27? or Macron’s 28/02 statement that he would block such an extension unless it has a “clear objective” based on a “new choice” (ie, unlikely to come from TM or the ERG)? Is he one of the oh-so-clever British persons who thinks that whatever UK proposes will be accepted by the world-at-large? Grow up, man, the Empire is 70 years behind you.
        And anyway, that’s not what the 17.4 m want …

        • Hope
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          You seem to forget it depends on the length of extension. Any PM by now should have resigned for failing to deliver a major policy issue with the biggest defeat in history. Not bring it back again without the promised legal changes! And she is about to do it again. Barnier moots 21 months not three months stints. May trying to make it sound better for breaking her promise says a Couple of months. No one would be stupid to believe her.

      • Leaver
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        Martin Howe wants us to stay in the EU until 2020. How many leavers are actually really closet remainers? Howe is

      • Richard
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Agreed – Important forensic analysis by Martin Howe QC: https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/03/martin-howe-it-is-far-better-to-risk-extending-article-50-than-to-accept-mays-bad-deal.html
        An extension would be a blatant betrayal that May & co-conspirators would have to repeatedly justify (if it happens); but the awful May-Robbins WA would be far far worse.

        And Thank you Sir John for asking the AG very pertinent questions today.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Excalibur, Indeed it is a pity a few more in the House fail on both vision and patriotism. They also fail on negotiation tactics.

      When the UK agreed to the Art50 route and sought trade, the EU in exchange wanted our independence. That was entirely predictable, and predicted.

    • Tweeter_L
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Hear, hear, Excalibur.
      And one would think the “journalists” at the BBC, Sky etc would possess minds that were enquiring enough to want to delve into this Withdrawal Agreement with a forensic approach, to enlighten their viewers/listeners as to the implications for our country. Instead we get BBC radio 4’s laughable “Your Brexit” day, when the most serious issue addressed seemed to be whether people’s hols might be affected this summer. Pathetic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        The BBC are just appalling just endless pro-remain propaganda . About 4 remainers to 1 average on all political discussion programmes. This so the Brexit person can hardly get a word in edgeways with interruptions from the other 4 or 5 with the chair. From thought for the day, the god slot through news programmes, political programs, comedy programs even gardening and science programmes get it in!

    • Lorna
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Thank you .Excellent

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning, and thank you Sir John.

    I, (Insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

    As a Queens Council (QC) and Attorney General, Sir Geoffrey Cox MP is obviously well versed in the law. So I wonder what he makes of the fact that, in the Withdrawal Agreement no EU official can be prosecuted in a UK Court for criminal behaviour. These are not Ambassadors of Consular officials. How is it that someone from the legal profession can effectively ignore the cornerstone of English Common Law, and that is, all persons are said to be equal under it ? In short, this WA makes a mockery of British Justice and, undermines our parliament. It was the desire of the British people to put our law and our parliament over and above that of a foreign power. This WA does not respect the referendum result or our legal system, therefore, I think Sir Geoffrey Cox MP and all the other MP’s who believe in this WA are at odds with their oaths of office, hence why I highlight it.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink
      • agricola
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        This is a sales pitch for the Spectator. I choose if I wish to pay for the opinion of others and it is very rare that I do.

        • rose
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think it is. Many on here will already have paid, but not necessarily have that article at the forefront of their minds.

      • Captain Peacock
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        To save Brexit, Theresa May must resign as Prime Minister.
        To save the Conservative party, Theresa May must resign as Prime Minister.
        To save Britain, Theresa May must resign as Prime Minister.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Indeed why on earth did 200 “Conservative” MPs have confidence in her a few weeks back? It shows just how dire some so called Tory MPs are.

          It is not just on Brexit she is wrong on almost everything else too especially on the size of the state, PC drivel, tax levels, choice of Chancellor and Carney, identity politics, the gig economy, employment laws, endless other red tape lunacy and her green crap energy agenda.

      • Hope
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        We read Cox is not going to ask/negotiate a time limit or unilateral right to leave. He is aiming much lower according to DT. Quite appalling. Martin Howe points out again just how bad May’s servitude plan is, how it ties the UK to ECJ, pay vast amounts of billions for indefinite period of time.

        May stated in commons last week she always keeps her commitments when announcing a vote extension and a vote to take no deal off the table! Hammond should have nudged her to say people were watching and her words being recorded! You cannot believe anything she says. This time there was not even a time,delay of a few days.

      • old salt
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Mark B
        Spectator re-published your “top-40-horrors” on 30 Dec 2018 with no registration need to access.


  3. Butties
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you for publishing your letter. If only more MP’s did the same the charade woud be shown clearly for what it is.

  4. Steve
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    It’s got to be voted out of existence, JR.

    Very well written and informative letter.


    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      But exactly the same WA is to be presented to Parliament on the 12th and will possibly be voted through.
      Cox is no longer trying to get rid of the Backstop or even a time limit.
      Brussels has absolutely no incentive to negotiate as we will be trapped in the Brussels vice forever.
      If those voting it through think that they have a future in politics they should get some stronger medications
      Even Brady and his side kick are going to vote for it.

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Brady only said “if”. Trying to show good manners to his party leader. The “if” has never looked as if it would transpire.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        I would point out that last Wednesday evening MPs came shockingly close to saying they would be willing for the UK to relinquish its unilateral right of withdrawal from the EU:


        Which starkly illustrates the unpatriotic anti-democratic character of the present House of Commons, which Theresa May could no doubt easily exploit to do what that bloke outside Parliament keeps on shouting and what she also really wants – “Stop Brexit”.

  5. Peter
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Fair questions but don’t expect a reply.

    Cox is May’s PR man and will have seen how she avoids giving an answer.

    • Stred
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Cox is a lawyer and he will serve his employer, the government under Mrs May. His job is to get the dodgy deal through the court of the House of Commons. His oath to the. queen means nothing in practice.

    • Adam
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      The Withdrawal Agreement was, & remains, full of gaping faults.
      The notion of Theresa May regarding it as an ‘Agreement’ was crazy.
      It stinks. Splashing Brut all over the skunk adds nothing to its allure.
      We shall be better of rid of EU nonsense & leaving with a clean fresh break.
      The EU can then impose its foul restrictions on itself.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        It makes you wonder if May ever read the Withdrawal Agreement.

        • Steve
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          John Hatfield

          “It makes you wonder if May ever read the Withdrawal Agreement.”

          Well she was only a co – author.

    • rose
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Cox was sent there to avoid her and Ollie visibly failing themselves. If there had been any chance of success, do you think she would have allowed someone else to “win” it?

  6. Mick
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Its seems to me and others I talk to that yourself and the ERG are moving the goalposts, we were under the impression that the only thing Parliament were objecting to was the backstop , now your saying you want other changes, no wonder the Eu are confused with Westminster, i think it’s about time that yourself and your fellow leavers came clean that you truly want to leave because to myself it’s looking abit suspicious that you want to

    Reply See my previous posts. I have always said its more than the backstop

    • Mick
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      That might be so Sir John but you and the rest are seriously putting at risk of us staying in the Eu for good by the withdrawal of article 50 and that the people will never get a chance like this again for a long long long time again to leave, so you had better dig deep into your soul want you really want

      • Richard1
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Brino is worse than remain

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Not true.
        Even revoking article 50 isn’t a permanent thing. We just need a competent Brexit government to do this thing properly and leave, even if it takes 3 or 4 more years for the democratic will to be respected.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          ‘Even revoking article 50 isn’t a permanent thing. We just need a competent Brexit government to do this thing properly and leave, even if it takes 3 or 4 more years for the democratic will to be respected.’

          – Well said. Only about 15% / 20% of the population are strongly for Brexit right now (the rest who voted Brexit are lukewarm-ish).

          But a strong majority of the country would strongly support Brexit if ‘things were done properly’ including a proper plan etc / not rushed.

          It’s just good old COMMON BRITISH SENSE.

          Whether, you’re a plumber, a farmer, or a builder, you always plan properly what you’re going to do. Same if you’re in business planning the launch of a big brand, or in science planning a big project like landing a man on the moon, or a big military operation like landing an army on the Normandy beaches.

          Strategy / tactics / planning is just as important as the goal. The goal itself is NOT enough for success.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            I’m quietly confident Brexit will succeed properly in the long-term if people remain patient, calm, plan properly, and try and win people over to their position instead of insult people who don’t hold the same position.

            I’m quietly confident Brexit will fail if people don’t act with patience, calmness, plan properly, and good will towards others even if, at the moment, they’re in disagreement.

            This doesn’t take any kind of genius wisdom, it’s just common sense, based on common human experience.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        There are 2 Remain options, Mrs May’s with no possibility of ever leaving or Remain with the hope of exercising Article 50 again (if they don’t withdraw it).
        Parliament must be seen to thwart the people – we want the names of the MPs who do this so they can be sacked!
        We may have no option over the Zills, but we can say who rides in them!

        • Steve
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          Lynn Atkinson

          “Parliament must be seen to thwart the people – we want the names of the MPs who do this so they can be sacked!”

          Oh there’s lists, you can be sure, and all the traitors are on them.

          Sacking will be the least of their worries.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Keep up with play Mick. No deal better than a bad deal. John and others in the ERG have consistently said the backstop is not the only problem.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          I think we need to get out of the EU completely however this approach will only work if we plan for it properly / the conditions are more right than now (and once we’re out of the EU to continue to have strong relations with the EU so that we can have a strong trade agreement as well as close relations over culture and security).

          It takes years and years to plan and build up a successful, big brand in business. It doesn’t just happen over night. And besides planning, you need strong leadership, finance behind you, a strong economy, and so on. And you need a positive brand message! It’s not enough to say the competition are just evil or whatever.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            I might be wrong, however. But I don’t think so.

      • Ian wragg
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        The WA is staying in the EU without representation. It’s called Vassal Status.

      • Peter
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        No he is not.

        See Martín Howe’s article in Conservative Home on the reasons the Withdrawal Agreement must be voted down – even if there is an extension.

        Accepting the Withdrawal Agreement would destroy this country.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Indeed an excellent piece of work Martin Howe QC. How on earth could anyone ever support May’s deal after reading this (or it)?

          • Leaver
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Howe wants us to stay in the EU!!

      • Jagman84
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        If the PM and her lackeys attempt to cancel ‘Brexit’ then the only way that I can see of fighting back may be to collapse the UK by voting for England to leave it. I am sure that Ms Sturgeon will support this move. She gets Scottish independence by default.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink


        The Draft Withdrawal Agreement is so bad that it HAS to be REJECTED, regardless if it means delay and maybe even not leaving the EU 🙁 – It REALLY is that bad and will tie the UK’s hands for years…

        And it is not just the “Backstop” that is a problem.

        Have you actually read it?



      • Timaction
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Please read the agreement and the small print. It is deliberately worse than membership and many believe a softener to take us back in in the next budget round. We have traitors afoot and Parliament are not representing us.

    • Javelin
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      John has consistently laid out these objections to the WA agreement since it was announced. It appears you are just taking the mick, Mick.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink


    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Cox has given up on securing anything on the backstop too…. we are required to submit totally, head on the block!

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Mick, Leave means leaving the EU treaties. Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement effectively signs us back up to the EU under treaty (since the WA is destined to be a treaty). The WA is worse than we have now because it is just the same with added lock-ins. And we know that being out of the EU is perfectly possible because most of the planet is.

    • matthu
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      “we were under the impression that the only thing Parliament were objecting to was the backstop”

      Yes, very clever of the PM and her advisors, wasn’t it? That is exactly what they wanted you to focus on, in addition to hoping that you would get so bored with the whole process in general that you would overlook every other shortcoming in the agreement.

      That’s also why the BBC and other broadcasters keep interviewing selected members of the public and suggesting things like “you just want the whole thing over and done with, don’t you?”

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        That is exactly what the BBC are doing. They are appalling and wrong as usual.

  7. geoffrey
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Dear John, if you want us to retain control over EU laws and taxes, you should have voted for us to remain in the EU. To think we can leave and still have a say is, with respect, foolish.
    Yours, Geoffrey

    Reply Geoffrey is not stupid. I want to disapply all new EU laws by leaving!

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I hope this isn’t the real Geoffrey.

      If so God help us.

    • Christine
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Keep up Geoffrey. Member states are losing their veto on tax. In the future decisions will be made by QMV. Do you understand what that means? If the EU want to impose a financial tax on transactions by the City of London we can’t do anything to stop them. We then become uncompetitive and they have destroyed one of our greatest assets. Never trust the EU and never sign anything.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Useful piece by Martin Howe on ConHome today about the advantages of extension. I am against extension but it seems much less bad than WA. With JR’s permission:


      Indeed, human wisdom has yet to discover anything worse than WA. When Mrs May declared no deal is better than a bad deal, we should have paid more attention to the ambiguity.

    • Snaitton
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      You want to disapply EU rules but you are very happy to sign over power to the UNELECTED WTO. Totally muddled thinking. If we want to be a free country there is no case for bending the knee to the WTO

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        The WTO is an association. The EU is a federation. The two are not comparable.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Snaitton, Are you serious? You want to bend the knee to the EU but object to the WTO. The difference is the EU makes new law. All the time. Thousands of pages of new law every year. That is totally unlike the WTO which aims only to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers, acting as a forum for states to make their own agreements between each other.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        The choice is initially default WTO, then optimize WTO to fit in with UK trading and manufacturing profiles, then FTAs.

        But in any case all under UK control…and not paying 80% of CET to the EU…

      • L Jones
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Snaitton – what an odd thing to say. No wonder we’re confused as to where you remainders are coming from – not to mention puzzled as to where you get your ”information”.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      We do not want the laws and taxes of the US applied to the UK. But we do want a close relationship with the US, including a comprehensive FTA. To achieve these two aims we do not need to apply to become the 51st state of the US.

    • Andy
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      What about all old EU laws? We know the Tories want to scrap existing Human Rights laws. We can be pretty sure workers rights, consumer rights and environmental protections will untimely go too.

      But what about chlorinated chicken? Do you support the idea of a trade deal with the US which willl require parts of our NHS to be sold off and for our shops to be flooded with Frankenstein foods?

      Do you want chlorinated chicken to be available in the UK. Yes or no.

      • Andy
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        So you want ‘Workers Rights’ to be those set out by the EU ???
        Obviously you favour REDUCING workers rights because those in UK Law far exceed those in EU Law and actually in very many EU States. But of course the UK is always wrong, always backward etc.

        • Andy
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Wooahh – change your name dude. People are going to think I’ve turned into one of you lot.

          • NickC
            Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Typical Andy the Remain. No questioning who was first, just the assumption and the arrogance. As far as I recall Andy the Leave was here first. So wooahh, dude, you change your name.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Please can you identify yourselves as:

          Andy-R for Remainer Andy
          Andy-L for Leaver Andy

          It’s all to confusing to work out which is which 🙁

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

          You might consider renaming yourselves Nice Andy and Angry Andy to avoid confusing your readers

      • eeyore
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Chlorinated chicken: Yes. Tap water is chlorinated. We have all drunk it all our lives and eaten food washed in it.

      • matthu
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        The point is: who should be making those decisions affecting our imports?

        If we need a decision whether or not suppliers should be allowed to mix horse meat (or even dog meat) in with our beef, and how they should be required to label it if they do mix it in, who should be making that decision for us: the EU? or the UK government?

        It’s really rather straightforward once you pause to think.

      • Beecee
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        So Andy! You never drink tap water nor go swimming in a swimming pool, have never eaten chicken on a visit to the USA, etc.etc.?

        Grow up!

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Water companies in the UK put chlorine in the mains drinking water to protect us from disease. Chickens are often cooled by rinsing in mains water – with chlorine in it. The only difference is, with a slightly higher concentration, the higher USA standard protects the consumer better through fewer infections.

        As an independent country we do not have to accept those higher standards if we don’t want to. That’s the advantage of not being ruled by the USA. Or the EU. So we do not even have to make the choice between chlorinated chickens and independence.

        • RichardM
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          These are our higher standards you are talking about. The UK has Animal Welfare standards that are above the EU minimum, standards driven by the UK that we choose to exceed. America has no such National standards, State welfare standards for poultry range from zero to very low. If we want to buy US chicken, we will have to accept their much lower standards.
          This is the very definition of loss of sovereignty, and what you will get in other trade deals because we will have less to bargain with.
          Is this what Brexiters want ?

          • NickC
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            RichardM, No, you can clearly see that independent of both the USA and EU, the UK can set and keep its own standards. Remain logic is that whatever the EU does is best, and we should fully comply, so out of the window goes our higher standards. Is that what Remains want?

      • Richard1
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        What a silly list of continuity remain shroud waving. Haven’t you got any good arguments? No wonder remain lost!

      • EU FANATIC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you the Andy of the Left-Liberal Extremity. The British Trade Union Movement allied to the Labour Movement achieved nothing and continues to achieve nothing, over one hundred and more years. Keir Hardie and the Tolpuddle Martyrs would have been better employed working for a future EU from 1906 when Keir was leader of the LP. Instead there have been WWI and WWII. He FAILED!

      • Ignoramus
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        Presumably you do not eat salads which have been washed in chlorinated water?

        Your other assumptions are you private opinion. For example proposed UK environmental standards will be MUCH BETTER than EU ones. For example animal health and handling and protection of birds.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink


        I would prefer to eat two chlorinated chickens in one sitting than spend five minutes in your company. Ugh!

    • Woody
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Dear geoffrey … where did you get this idea that we had any control over eu laws while being a member .. we were one of 28, and about 20 of those were net recipients of the eurocrats largess .. where do you really think their interests lie. Not with the uk, even though we paid for much of that largess.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Geoffrey, We don’t want “control over EU laws and taxes”, and we don’t want the EU to control UK laws and taxes. We want independence. That’s why we voted Leave. We want to leave the EU treaties. It’s not hard to understand, even for Remains.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Re comment from ”geoffrey”:

      You can always tell a remainer, but you can’t tell ’em much.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        It is a religion to them just like climate alarmism. You cannot reason with them they just ‘believe’ in all things EU. Perhaps because they had a nice holiday in Tuscany or Ravello or a fling in Berlin once or something.

        Listen to that ……….. on LBC Mr James O’Brien for a perfect example of this ‘non thinking’ gendre.

      • Chris S
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        I thought that was Brummies and most of them voted to leave !

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Remaining in the EU doesn’t allow us to retain control over our EU laws and taxes, especially with the increasing use of QMV, further EU expansion and the removal of all vetos.

      A majority voted to leave because they wanted to retain some control though the ballot box by being able to elect and remove those who make these decisions.

      And did so despite severe warnings of economic ruin.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        So what do you suggest should happen to the democratic right of the people of Scotland and NIreland who voted overwhelmingly to Remain? Are their democratic rights to be ignored?

        After hundreds of years of imposing our laws on them they will not oblige this time.

        The break up of the union will be inevitable with a rump England being about as important in world affairs as Liechtenstein.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          They are part of the United Kingdom like Wales who voted to leave.
          They can leave the UK and become independent if they wish.

          But recent polls show no majority for this.

          England has 85% of the population and wealth of the UK
          An independent England free from costly subsidies paid to Wales N Ireland and Scotland would be even more wealthy.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


            “But recent polls show no majority for this.”

            Those polls came before the Brexit referendum which changed everything.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            Recent polls came after the result of the referendum.
            That’s why I used the word recent.

        • NickC
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, Your only alternative is that Leave voting England (about 6 x the size of Scotland) should have its democratic rights ignored. And what about the Kingdom of Strathclyde? And of Northumbria which stretched to the Forth? If Scotland wants to be a province of the corrupt undemocratic EU empire then let them. There is no reason for England to be.

        • Cerberus
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          It was a UK-wide vote. That’s how democracy works although the Scottish have a disproportionate number of MPs in the English parliament.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    It is as you suggest totally unacceptable even without the backstop. Only a fool or a traitor would vote for this vastly expensive UK straight jacket. But is the sane wing able to stop May and replace her with a Conservative?

    Oliver Letwin talked about the time when the misguided……l. EUphile, lefty John Major buried the party for many terms as if it were the ERG who were in danger of doing this. No, no, no you dope it is people like Hime who are in danger of burying the Conservatives. He need to talk to the grass roots and get out of the London bubble.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Just to add to LL post .
      On Sat at our Conservative branch AGM we were addressed by our MP .
      She spoke about Brexit , pushing the Government line, she is on the payroll , answered questions then asked for a show of hands .
      First those for May’s deal
      Result 2

      Next those for leaving on 29 March on WTO terms
      Result everyone else – about 30

      Plenty to ponder there for her.
      Actually I have had a twice weekly exchange of views by email and she has usually replied in a timely manner .
      My line has been that there is an enormous disconnect between us voters and activists and the government line . And that it would be in her best interests at the next election to have voted against the WA .

      I think my point was proved to be true .

      Reply Not many at the AGM. We had a lot more than that on Friday at the Wokingham one.

      • Mark B
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        Well if his MP was a BREXITIER then they would have something to turn up to 🙂

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink


      • Man of Kent
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply
        This was Branch level not Association and I was elected Chairman !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      According the the Telegraph today Mr Cox has now dropped the ‘hard limit’ demands 
on the Irish backstop! Great let’s just leave.

      A great shame Cameron, May and their governments have, in an act of gross negligence, failed (for about three years) to to prepare properly for this eventuality but we will be just fine. Just leave on 29th and negotiate without May’s idiotic straight jacket on. With a new PM of course, one who is competent at negotiation, a real small government, low tax Conservative and a leaver.

      • Beecee
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        What was it Mr Trump said at the weekend? Sometimes when negotiating, you have to be prepared to walk away!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      So Nick Timothy says May saw Brexit as “a damage limitation exercise”. In doing so she has done massive damage to the country and to the Conservative party. Hopefully even at this late stage we can still leave properly on 29th, replace her and still avoid Communist Corbyn.

      The socialist visionless incompetents tax to death Hammond and regulate to death May are quite bad enough thank you.

  9. Nigl
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Good letter but irrelevant. The EU knows it just has to refuse any more negotiation to keep us locked in ad infinitum supported by quisling MOs who will not support no deal and ensure the leave date is extended.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      We Leave on the 29th March 2019. Deal or no deal ! That is UK and EU Law.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        Mark B, There is provision with the the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 for a Minister to amend exit day from the 29 March to another date. And you can be sure with this government it will be later, if an amendment is made. 29 march is only provisional law. Unfortunately.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          But also requires the other 27 countries to approve, which will more than likely be forthcoming. Except Spain will probably want to fiddle with the Gibraltar arrangements as a consideration…

    • Hope
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Why would the EU negotiate anything with traitor MPs doing its bidding from within. Moreover, could anyone honestly say May’s plan was negotiated or was it an act of collusion? No right minded person could agree to this with the legal advice she was given let alone put it before parliament. Hence why she tried to bounce it without proper scrutiny and hide the legal advice like a Chequers before. It is her MO.

  10. agricola
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Yes right in all respects. Barnier set out to punish the UK in all respects for having the temerity to leave their ghastly decaying club. Daniel Hannan did a very good piece in his blog on the deficiencies of the EU. The WA is so glaringly bad that charitably you wonder how Robins and his team could be so stupid as to even contemplate it.My conclusion is that they were …….lcomplicit in this WA plot to humiliate the electorate for voting leave. As to May she provided the metronome smoke skreen for public
    consumption on the mushroom growing principal until it overflowed at Chequers. An act for which she should be vilified. No more sycophantic drivel from members of the HoC on how she has beavered away for the good of the UK, she hasn’t prefering the role of duplicitous mole.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Agricola, An exact summary of the Remain establishment.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. She serves foreign leaders and the EU above the British people. Worst and most deceitful Prime Minister ever, who has effectively destroyed her own party with her shenanigans!

    • Ignoramus
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget Robins was President of an Oxford society which wanted a federal Europe. His beliefs have not changed.

  11. Javelin
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    If you have half’s brain you realise remainers are dragging out leaving the EU because they want to stay in the EU. This is simply a wait of attrition.

    Ask your self this question – if leaving the EU was going to pick up a winning lottery ticket or lunch with the Queen or curing cancer then the remainers couldn’t be there soon enough.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Leavin is the winning lottery ticket, but for the many not the few! Remainers are the ones who have stolen the proceeds of the lottery and dread the winner presenting the ticket – and depriving them of their sinecure!

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      The EU doesn’t want a sudden release for us. It would be catastrophic for them if our economy went *pop* so they would have to give us a lot more of what we wanted.

      It *was* our strongest card.

      The EU wants to leech our businesses away before we go so our economy deflates safely (for them) over a long time.

      To Andy: No. May’s is not “Leave the EU” as written on the ballot paper and as described by the Remain campaign during the referendum. This is NOT Brexit.

      She was a useless Home Secretary (the explosion in knife crime is hers), a useless negotiator (the rip off that is Hinkley) and she is now a useless Prime Minister – unless your intention is to sabotage Brexit and then gloat afterwards.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


        “The EU wants to leech our businesses away before we go so our economy deflates safely (for them) over a long time.”

        I see you are getting ready to blame the EU now in case (when) Brexit goes belly up.

        Even the dreadful knife murders are now blamed on Mrs May rather than an obvious malaise in the country. Imagine the fun you Brexiteers would have if this breakdown of law and order happened in an EU member country.

        • NickC
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, We are part of the EU at the moment! We already had our fishing industry and our aviation industry stolen from us by our “friends”.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            The fishermen chose to sell their allocations for a quick profit. Nobody stole anything from them. As for the aviation industry – nobody can take away a successful industry only one that was failing.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            You have had this explained several times before Margaret
            The CFP imposed such a dreadful quota system on UK fishing industry that survival for most was impossible.
            Selling their uneconomic quotas by some was the only way to get a small sum of money and leave the industry and stave off financial ruin.
            What would you have done?
            And you need to research the politics behind the European aviation industry and its effect on the UK before showing yourself to be wrong yet again.

          • NickC
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, Don’t be ridiculous. Prior to 1 Jan 1973 British fishermen had the sole right to fish anywhere in the UK EEZ; afterwards they didn’t. In 2015 EU boats took 683,000 tonnes from UK waters, but UK boats only 111,000t. That was due to the EU controlling our fish, and the allocations the EU made.

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    John: What makes you think Cox is seeking to replace the backstop ? That seems very unlikely. My guess as to what he’s doing is he’s trying to find some form of weasel words to make the backstop acceptable to a few ERG and a few Labour MPs with no changes to the WA at all.

  13. Richard1
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The deal is clearly terrible. Good interview with former ambassador Sir Robin Renwick in the Sunday times. A remainer. But he says May’s deal is the worst of all worlds, negotiations could not have been handled more incompetently and Mr Robbins should have been fired after his ridiculous leak of May’s (Dreadful) strategy in a Brussels bar. Like many of us, Sir Robin is clearly shocked by how badly the country has been served by the govt and by the civil service.

    May joins a long and ignoble line of politicians who when in office say one thing and do another. The result is always electoral disaster. Notwithstanding the one year limit on another challenge, Conservative MPs need to find a way to get rid of her.

    • old salt
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink


      “Mr Robbins should have been fired after his ridiculous leak of May’s (Dreadful) strategy in a Brussels bar.”

      Dare I suggest it was accidentally done on purpose?

      • Richard1
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Even if it was its a Mickey Mouse way of behaving in such a matter.

  14. Dominic
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink


    You and the ERG have to fight this and use the nuclear option if possible. This PM cannot be allowed to surrender the future of our nation and its interests to a bureaucracy that will work tirelessly to render the UK impotent. And they will render us impotent

    Why, oh why is this vile PM determined to destroy what we are and who we are?

    She must be deposed or else she will reek havoc on our constitution

    • villaking
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink


      The 2016 referendum question was: “Should the UK remain a member of the EU or leave the EU”. The electorate chose “Leave the EU”. The WA fulfils that simple mandate. The UK will no longer be a member of the EU. Did it not occur to you or your other far right leave supporters that you were voting for something vague and unknown and that in so doing you were taking an enormous risk. Us remainers feel we have been sold down the river by you guys and yet you are the ones complaining the loudest. I think referendums are a foolish way to decide complex issues, but we ended up having one and sensible people should have taken a few moments to consider the enormous risks being taken by voting to leave. This is your mess, not ours.

      Reply We voted to leave, to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders. The WA does not do that.

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        This was not a complex issue. The only people who say it is are those who want to overthrow the referendum. It was a very simple choice which anyone in the world can understand: Independence or Foreign Rule?

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Villaking, Leave means leaving the EU treaties – even Art50 says so! The purpose of leaving the EU treaties was so that we were no longer bound by EU law within the UK. Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement binds us to EU law. Therefore the WA is Remain.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Yes! Mass resignation and a Real Conservative Party please!

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

        With Farage at the helm?

        • Timaction
          Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

          Why not. He has more conservative values than the current Tory Party!

    • Martin Bowden
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Hear hear.
      Well said.

    • Nigl
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Indeed. Not my initial preferred option but looks to be no alternative. I presume she is calculating no one will ‘pull the trigger’ as evidenced by the pathetic posturing of the Pizza 5.

      I hope the ERG has more tactics at its disposal. ‘David and Goliath’

      IDS got it right this weekend. We have been lied to from before the start of our membership and that continues now.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      She believes she’ll get her reward of a place in Brussels. That is why she aims to sell us down the river.

      • rose
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        How do we know she knows what she is doing? She has always done what a small coterie around her has advised. To being with, this was led by a Brexiteer; since the election of 2017 it has comprised only Remainiacs.

  15. Javelin
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Piaget the psychologist said children go through a stage of egocentric concrete thinking before emerging into the stage of abstract thinking.

    How else are we supposed to describe the level of thinking of politicans other than concrete and egocentric when they cannot put themselves in the future position of seeing the Brexit Party in the polls eating away at their political be lead week after week, month after month, year after year.

    The public will be so disillusioned with the foot dragging, lying, back stabbing, self serving politicians that the Brexit Party will rise in the polls. Both the Conservative and Labour will be reduced to mud slinging and personal animus to stay in power.

    History will not be kind to the end of the once great Conservative and Labour Parties and those given the custodial responsibility over democracy.

  16. Nigel
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Please will you publish the response.

  17. Nicholas Odoni
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Best of luck with the letter, Sir John, and getting anything amounting to a meaningful answer. I myself do not put the chances of that much above zero, but I suppose you have to try.

    The draft WA is a wretched surrender document, being imposed upon us – they hope – by a group of pro-EU devotees working closely with Mrs May in No. 10 and in other parts of the HoC and Civil Service. Their immediate aim is to trap us in the EU, regardless of whether or not we have left in a technical or legal sense. Their longer term aim is that our status will be so bad and so weak under the WA that in due course we will feel compelled to re-join EU, and thence become fully entangled and subsumed within its structures and systems.

    Kenneth Clarke MP was stated that he looked forward to the day when, through our membership of the EU, the HoC had no more power or status than the chamber of a local council. I see nothing in the way the MP’s are behaving to prevent Clarke’s vision being prevented.

    • Nicholas Odoni
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Sorry, that last sentence should read, “I see nothing in the way that MP’s are behaving to prevent Clarke’s vision being realised.”

  18. agricola
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    That many areas lf the country need cash for infrastructure is obvious. However used as a sop to various Labour MPs only adds bribery to May’s disdain for the intelligence of the electorate.6

    • rose
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Nothing for the West Country as usual.

  19. David Price
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The international telecommunications networks work because of agreements over standards that involved our meticulous analysis and agreement on a line by line basis for standards agreements designed to foster cooperation and interoperability.

    I am disgusted that that our government representatives do not apply at least the same attention to detail especially for an agreement that is so one sided and punitive as the Withdrawal Agreement. This document is not designed for mutual benefit it is designed to punish and even removing the “backstop” leaves a document best destined for the sewer.

    Why has there been no line by line analysis and justification offered and are MPs really so lazy and stupid that they would sign up to such a document without getting such an assessment and proper advice, independent legal advice?

    • Simon
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      The entire interwebs and much of the computer hardware industry was / is run and built on common standards. That is why it all works.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Set by USA and UK in the main.

  20. Andy
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    I share your concerns but this deal is what Brexit means.

    Plus, we both know you will end up voting for it.

    Love Geoffrey

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Quite clearly “this deal” (the WA) is Remain – you only have to read it to see the UK is to be locked back into the EU via the WA treaty. Only leaving the EU treaties is Leave.

      Why do you hate young people in the UK so much you want them to experience the poverty and unemployment common in the EU? Why do you hate old people in the UK so much you want to see them die off?

  21. Kevin
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The most contemptuous reply to your letter that I can think of is: “We have no reason to believe that the EU would act in the manner that you suggest”.

    To this I would reply, you have no reason to take the risk, and a democratic instruction no to do so.

  22. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Cox has apparently even given up on securing some exit from the backstop! Thank God! We don’t want this surrender!
    Make Parliament choose between Explicitely overturning the Referendum or WTO.
    Please don’t leave 17.5 million with nobody but Farage to vote for in protest against all the Remain Parties!
    We MUST have a Leave Party!

  23. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Thank you John for making this public. I wish more MP’s were so diligent in seeking to make sure we get a better deal or leave without one which in my opinion would be better than the dogs breakfast in front of us now. I don’t understand how any responsible mp that loves his country and wants the best for it can consider this deal. Keep up the pressure please and I hope the media pick it up.

    • old salt
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink


      “Keep up the pressure please and I hope the media pick it up.”

      No chance – most of the so-called ‘media’ are for Remain.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    It would appear that Geoffrey Cox’s answers to all your questions is “nothing”.
    This has been a cynical charade since Gove knifed Boris Johnson and Mrs May became PM. There has never been a real intention of leaving the EU. Mrs May is working hand in glove with the EU with the intention of doing what the EU always does when it loses a referendum which is to ignore the result and overturn it by one means or another. Our democracy is being destroyed before our eyes which will further please the EU to whom it is an anathema.

  25. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I could weep when I think of what MP’s are trying to do to this great country. It cannot be allowed to happen. We cannot be signed over to the EU masters to become their lackeys.

    • Chris
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      In wholehearted agreement, FS.

  26. Woody
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It’s clear that the remain side won the referendum .. largely by disregarding the actual result and agreeing through the WA to bend over even further to the eu bureaucracy.

  27. Shieldsman
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink


    Exactly, it is live to fight the battle tomorrow with greater determination and undiminished strength.

    Gina Miller challenged the Governments right to pass the Withdrawal Agreement and won.
    Can ‘Joe Bloggs’ challenge the Governments right to water down and not fully implement the referendum result as promised?

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Shieldsman, No, Gina Miller et al challenged the government’s right to invoke Art50 by prerogative. The resultant 9 month delay was entirely unnecessary because the government could, and should, have had a vote in the HoC (as it was forced to do by the courts anyway) immediately in July 2016.

  28. William
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It would be better to extend article 50 and risk a second referendum than to accept this awful deal.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      William, Indeed. I think we would win a second referendum anyway, provided the question was fair.

  29. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Could you also ask Geoffrey Cox whether amounts paid to the EU can be massaged in the accounts, so as not to be evident to the general public and hence become a severe embarrassment to the Government?

  30. David Price
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    John – do you have any comment on Martin Howe’s article on Article 50 extension in Conservative Home?

    Reply I don’t want an extension

    • David Price
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the reply, I agree. Martin Howe’s article seemed to come from left-field so I wondered if I was missing something.

  31. John Sheridan
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Sadly John, I think the answers (if you ever get them) would be he, under instruction from number ten, is doing nothing to address these points.

    Please recall that Mrs May thinks the WA is the best deal available. She gave it her blessing when she signed the document. She appears to want the UK to be in such an invidious position after Brexit that the UK applies to rejoin the Eu in a few years time.

  32. Michael Wood
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I am concerned about how many MPs have actually read and understood the Withdrawal Agreement. To my mind the decision to leave the decision to MPs is a bad idea when the
    WA will badly affect every member of society.

    At the very least all MPs should have to take a written exam on the Withdrawal Agreement
    and if they cannot pass with 100% shouldn’t be allowed to vote!

    • Mark B
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:59 am | Permalink

      I have tried, but it is wrapped in legalise. So I have stuck to abridge versions. If what they say is true, then we are royally screwed if we sign it.

  33. majorfrustration
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    All good points but these should have been hammered home months ago – given the embracing legal framework that the WA establishes and based upon the economic prospects of certain EU countries I presume we would also be forced to be part of any bailout process.

    What on earth are these Parliamentarians thinking of -it beggars belief that a sane person could vote for this verbal prison.

  34. Edwardm
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you for raising these vital points that make the WA totally unacceptable.
    These points are all one-sided in the EU’s favour, are against the referendum result, are totally unnecessary for us going forward and they demean our country.
    Rejection of the long-winded WA is the only safe and acceptable outcome.

    Mrs May and a host of MPs are acting in extreme bad faith in supporting such a deal.
    And why are they so ready to send huge amounts of money to the EU ?
    Clearly they are not on our side and some day I hope they face the consequences of their disloyalty.

  35. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you yet again for attempting to achieve some level of sanity in Parliament.

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Firstly I would reiterate that even if the Irish backstop really is intended to be temporary that begs the question of what would supersede it, and for me it is perfectly obvious that once the Irish government had got the UK in those economic shackles – with the collusion of the UK government – then they would never, repeat never, willingly agree to release us.

    • acorn
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      I bet you a united Ireland would release Great Britain from the EU. Europe wants it; the USA wants it. It will be high on the list for a future CETA+ type agreement with either or both of them.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, Thus the bossy arrogant nature of Remain is laid bare. It is wholly up to the people of Northern Ireland whether they want to leave the Union (ie the UK), not you. That is both international law (of self-determination) and the policy of the UK government. Until then the EU, and the USA, and you, can go whistle.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Wrong, acorn, because the Irish government’s manufactured concern about the border is above all a ruse to keep the UK under EU economic control and protect the Irish economy. Which Theresa May could have pointed out, if it were not for the fact that she too wishes to use it as a pretext to keep us under the economic thumb of the EU as far as she possibly can. So once the border has served that purpose, and the Irish and UK governments have colluded to get the UK bound into a treaty arrangement which cannot be amended except with the consent of both – the UK as one party, Ireland as one of the counterparties, an EU member state, each of which with a veto – it will no longer matter whether the border is still there or not.

    • Linmy
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Do you realise the Irish lobby in the US will slaughter the UK if we do not accept the backstop. We have left ourselves exposed. Brexit is mad

  37. LiamB
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    For the very reasons outlined in JRs diary today there is no chance, no chance in hell the WA can be, or will be allowed to be reopened. What you see is what you get- take it or leave it

    But my guess is that most of the so-called hardliner ERG type politicians have already sold out

    Big business interests and the establishment behind the establishment has decided that Britains best interests, according to their own assessments and interests, UKs best interests now lie with being an associate member, if not a full member, of the EU. That is nothing much will change, except we will remain half in half out but with little say at the table. Could be the worst of all scenarios- but big business has decided

    So if anyone thinksthe votes of a few million or more retired and semi retired Poor living in the midlands and North East of England is going to best the interests of big business then they are sadly mistaken. Democracy? democracy? what’s democracy got to do with it

    • Mark B
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      Harsh, but true. And the only solution is, to vote for a government that will deliver.

  38. mary
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I really think all this hoo ha about the Backstop etc is smoke and mirrors to divert attention away from basic essential issues. The EU is the engine being used to further the marxist-globalist agenda, which regards western civilisation, ie us, as an obstacle to be destroyed. Someone said rightly Brexit is really all about totalitarianism and immigration. Why do they perpetuate the lie that we must have free movement in order to trade?

    I can’t accept Jacob Rees Mogg’ s excuse for caving in over the WA any more than I can accept “no brexit at all,” simply because” that’s the only choice on offer” . He has not convinced us that he WA is “better than no brexit at all” so why bother to vote on it? It is merely playing May’s game and colluding in a very cheap cynical sophistic con trick.

    • Andy
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      The EU is a Marxist globalist organisation?

      What – the EU is run by the centre right. Did you miss that bit!

      It has embraced the idea of a single market which was the brainchild of that well known Commie Margaret Thatcher..

      It has stood up for people by protecting their rights. And it has encouraged businesses to behave responsibly – targeting only those which don’t.

      It has made the European people among the richest and freest on the planet.

      The EU is not totalitarian- indeed its entire structure is based on the premise that there will always be opposition.

      Brexiteers are the totalitarians. Those of us who think Brexit is bad are routine called traitors or collaborators. The language of Germany in the 30s has resurfaced in Britain 80 years on.

    • rose
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I think he is just showing himself to be willing and flexible because the PM is trying to pin the blame for her betrayal of the country on the ERG – with the help of the MSM. It doesn’t mean they will vote for it on the day.

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      It was western civilisation gave birth to the marxist-globalist agenda!!Where was Marx born,where was he active?Have you ever come across the term Whig-bolshevism?And it was Roosevelt,looking beyond the end of WWII,who concluded that the “old order could only be defeated by the new order…which is the New Deal universally extended and applied.”

      If anyone has ever read the diaries of Ivan Maisky,the Soviet Ambassador to the UK during WWII,it is clear much of the British Establishment was convinced of the inevitability of socialism-it wasn’t the socialism that the Establishment disliked it was the fact that the historic arch-opponent,Russia,was running the show.The cold war was more a traditional geopolitical struggle rather than the ideological one it was/is presented as.

      The whole postwar order needs unwinding(if the powerful challenge from China and Russia doesn’t cause it to collapse first!).

  39. BOF
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The worst deal ever devised, clearly the route back in and not the route out of the EU.

    I note Sir John, that you have not yet even mentioned the control they would exercise over our armed forces and security. I hope you will do so soon.

    • rose
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Hasn’t she signed away our armed forces and security separately from this treaty?

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      BOF, It is surpassingly strange that the major commitments Theresa May has signed us up to – diplomatic, security and military subservience to the EU – should remain so unexamined. What is going on in our establishment? Is it total appeasement? I fear it is.

  40. Martyn G
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    No taxation without representation. Only if we stay in and join in the EU elections shall we have representation – not that that has ever meant much in the past. Reminds me of what kick-started the US was of independence…..

    • Andy
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      But America’s Founding Fathers had ideas and well thought out plans.

      Brexiteers have a grudge.

      This is why they succeeded and you will not.

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Andy, False. The founding fathers of the USA were a minority, did not initially have a full plan, and when they got one, trade with the UK was very much secondary to their independence and their constitution. As our independence should have precedence over mere trade with the EU. Funny how you’re okay with independence before trade for the USA, but rabidly against it for the UK.

        • Mitchel
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          Indeed,for it’s first c100 years of independent existence,the USA was on much friendlier terms with Russia than the UK;I believe Russia was the first major country they signed a preferred trade agreement with,seeing it as a counterbalance to the British Empire.

  41. Noneoftheabove
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    All the HoC has to do is prevent the repeal (the whole or any part of) the Withdrawal Act.
    Then we will be safe from further interfeerence and can negotiate a future, cooperative relationship with the EU.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Secondly, JR, I would say that patriotic Tory MPs like you – sadly a rather small minority among your party’s MPs – have some extremely difficult decisions to make.

    Personally I would take very seriously the mounting threats from ………. May that unless you swallow her rubbish deal then she will find ways to stop Brexit altogether, because I believe that is what she has always really wanted to do and you should not provide her with an opportunity and a pretext to do it.

    A great cartoon in the Telegraph today:


    So you could pretend that Geoffrey Cox had now done enough to allay your concerns and vote for her deal, or you could persist with public criticisms of the deal but either vote for it with loud protests or abstain more quietly, making it perfectly clear that you are acting under duress and that Theresa May will never be forgiven for what she has done.

    And you could either walk out of the vile party which could only find somebody like her to carry out the will of the people, against all her inclinations, or you could stay in the Tory party and attempt to reform it, or alternatively destroy it, from within.

    Personally, again, I would now vote to give her what she wants, under loud and public protest, and then once we were out of the EU proceed to the next stage of trying to free us from the continuing EU control upon which she is insisting, and not only get rid of her but seek to get rid of all those treacherous Tory MPs who think like her and who supported her to succeed David Cameron as party leader.

    But that is only what I think as somebody who has never been in the Tory party, and perhaps you are still too loyal to the party to be willing to contemplate its destruction, however well deserved you know that destruction would be.

    • Chris
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I have the feeling from something that Sir John has written on this site, that they never would go back on an agreement, once formally signed and sealed as a Treaty. That is just not the British way. Correct me if I am wrong, Sir John.

      Thus, proceeding with the situation that they have voted for May’s WA and it becomes part of a Treaty, a later Conservative government is highly unlikely to dispense with it, but instead tell us to “move on and make the best of where we are now”. Now if the Brexit Party were to make huge strides in an election on the basis of a promise to reopen the Treaty and Leave the EU properly, then there may be a slim chance, but I do not think it will be a Conservative government that does it. It would go against the grain of many tory MPs, including Sir John, I think.

    • acorn
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Good tactic Denis. The DUP and the ERG have got to start getting their excuses in early and loud. They need to be able to deflect the blame onto the EU should they get a “no-deal” exit which will inevitably go bad.

      They must claim that they wanted a deal; but, the intransigent EU wouldn’t give them an itsy bitsy concession in the WA, that would have had them willingly voting for Mrs May’s deal. The last thing the DUP+ERG want is any sort of deal whatsoever.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Just like the EU

      • NickC
        Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Acorn, Why should WTO trade “go bad” when its perfectly okay for New Zealand. And the EU? And no, the absence of a few minor RTAs and MRAs don’t turn WTO trade into a disaster.

        Our campaign to avoid buying EU products must be hurting!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        The ERG and the DUP have already been far too late pointing out the many errors committed by Theresa May right from the start. Except of course they could only be classed as “errors” on the assumption that she really was striving to get the best deal for what was supposed to be her side, our side, the UK, rather than working for the other side, which is her real side. She long ago entered what would traditionally have been impeachment territory.

        Reply The ERG and I advised her not to make the errors in each case before she did.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, Whilst I sympathise with your frustration at the conniving establishment, voting for the WA is suicide for this nation. The WA is not Leave; you know it, and I know it. The WA is a revolving door Remain – out of the EU treaties one minute, bound back into the EU the next.

      Even if you think we can ultimately free ourselves from the WA some years down the line, that makes the WA only the latest and greatest can-kicking in a line of Theresa May’s can-kicking. And the risk is that we will never escape.

      In the meantime this country earns far more from the world by having a sound reputation for the rule of English law, stability, and democracy, than ever we do by being in the EU’s single market. Yet our leaders have very nearly squandered that reputation, apparently without even being aware they are doing so.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        Let’s not over-dramatise the situation. Theresa May has negotiated a rotten deal for the country as a whole, largely because she has been seeking to placate the likes of the CBI and the 6% of UK businesses exporting 12% of GDP to the rest of the EU, but accepting her deal will no more be national suicide than accepting the Treaty of Rome and all the later EU treaties. And as I point out above in reply to Chris that 1957 treaty did not have any exit clause, yet the reality was that we could leave if we wanted. I am looking down the line a few years to when we have left the EU – we will no longer be a party to the EU treaties, we will have left – but this Heath Mark II has left us with treaty arrangements which are so bad that they cannot be allowed to stand in the long term. If getting out of them has to be over the dead body of the Tory party, well, so be it, who can care about a party which when called upon to produce somebody to lead us out of the EU can only come up with such a liar, cheat, hypocrite and traitor as Theresa May.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Well, as I would have pointed out to Chris if that comment had not been vaporised.

  43. acorn
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    “Taking back control” appears to be specifically for the Downing Street Dictatorship, as evidenced by the Fox post Brexit Trade Bill (HoL), Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now said recently:

    “Liam Fox’s plans for signing post-Brexit trade deals with countries like the USA are an insult to parliament and the public. They give our MPs significantly less power over trade deals than our MEPs currently enjoy over European trade deals. They don’t allow parliament the ability to properly scrutinise, guide, or stop trade deals. Far from befitting a minister in a democratic country, the powers which Fox’s plans would give him would be more appropriate for a monarch 300 years ago. “There is a massive democratic black hole at the heart of Brexit …”

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, The Remain cheek that keeps on giving . . . . .

  44. ukretired123
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    The EU perceive us like Mr Bean to treat us as light-weights whilst enjoying the limelight TV appearances.
    The UK needs to give them a jolt and it would be great to see Sir John negotiate with them and face them down with a true Brit with true grit.

  45. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent points – JR – Look forward to seeing the reply, but I fear we will all be disappointed.

    I suspect Cox will get nowhere with any improvements to the deal, as we hear today that the EU have rejected any idea that they will allow a cut off date for the backstop – I fear this is more smoke and mirrors from our side.

    • Chris
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Choreography by May. That is presumably why she was reported as quick to put down Cox’s comments about the backstop changes being dropped. She apparently wanted to make it look as though real negotiations would go ahead with Cox, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. The EU has always been quite clear on what it will budge on and what it won’t. It has only been Theresa May, in my mind, that has concocted all sorts of stories to mask what has really been going on in order to woo this group of MPs or that. She has treated her Brexiteer MPs like putty in her hand, or rather they seem to have allowed her to do that.

  46. formula57
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    To assist a busy Attorney General Cox, I provide below a draft reply: –

    “Dear John

    You assume I am pursuing the matters you enumerate as part of seeking a fair deal but I have not been asked to do that, only to construct some device to allow Government to pretend notice has been taken of the Brady Amendment.

    Once I have done that (and note “form over substance” is permitted), the Government plan is to announce it as a triumphant break-through that allows the rest of the deal to go through on the nod so do not be surprised that all of your sound points fall by the wayside.

    Yours in servitude for evermore


  47. AndyC
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Here’s my prediction. As happened with Cameron in 2016, Cox will come back from meeting his masters in Brussels with less than nothing. There will be a few paper ‘concessions’ which on inspection will turn out to increase, not reduce, the power of the ECJ over the UK. Again, as in 2016, the government will be reduced to issuing hysterical warnings about the impending apocalypse, rather than doing the job to which they were elected. And our inadequate parliament of cringing, hand-wringing nincompoops will then vote to abandon leaving the EU. At that point the PM will finally have to decide whch way she intends to jump.

  48. Chris S
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Your letter reinforces the imperative that we now leave under WTO terms.

    The news today that Brussels has rejected any alteration whatsoever to the backstop and is not even prepared to agree to independent arbitration of any kind, really should bring “negotiations” to an end. In reality, they have been nothing of the kind.

    The problem we now face is that your Remainer colleagues are implacably determined that WTO should not be an option and have been very vocal about it. This has encouraged Barnier to offer nothing.

    In that respect they have done everything possible to undermine our negotiating position since day one.The current situation is a direct result of their action and the totally inept handling of the A50 process by May and Robbins.

  49. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Are any Tory MPs intending to show their opposition to May and her traitorous plan and corrupt and authoritarian actions to get her WA by staying away from the HoC in PM’s questions? Or will you turn up as usual and give her encouragement knowing in the end she can rely on members putting party before principle?

  50. Martin
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I am surprised there has been so little fuss about the £39 Billion.

    Have you asked Mrs May for a breakdown – or is it all Mr Farage’s pension?

    The trouble with Mrs May was that she appears to have asked nobody what they wanted from a deal. She painted herself into red lined corners. Did she ask parliament how much it would be willing to vote for transition costs prior to triggering article 50? Instead of red lines she ought to have prioritised items. For many Brexit voters the biggest issue was immigration. Mrs May has form on this letting non-EU immigration soar. Indeed it the last time I looked it was still very high. The Prime Minister should have sorted the overall policy and then could have negotiated a one in one out type agreement with the EU-27.

    Mrs May’s approach has given here the worst Commons defeat (for a head of government) since King Charles 1 lost his head!

    Looking at the USA’s opening trade negotiations document that looks like vassalage for the UK. Any adjustments to the value of the Pound, by interest rates or whatever, could be vetoed by the USA as giving the UK an advantage!


    Additionally the “Buy America” policy would still apply to state and local government!

    • Andy
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      You’re right about immigration – it was the biggest issue for many (I’d argue most) leave voters.

      So why not just deal with immigration then?

      Precisely what is wrong with the Northern Ireland border now? Are you concerned that trucks currently pass frictions free through Dover? Do you object to free mobile roaming? Do you object to the EHIC card or consumer rights or environmental protections? Do you like the fact that you (and your children) are currently totally free to go and live in Spain or Italy if you choose? Do you like the idea of Galileo, shared medicine regulation to speed up approval and reduce costs and cooperation in security?

      If your answer to all these things is yes – and it should be because what’s not to like – then Brexit was the wrong answer to your immigration problem.

      Literally none of the arguments for Brexit stand up to any scrutiny. And Immigration is the only one which comes close. So fix immigration- which you can do while in the EU – and then we can make this farce go away.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        You start with a false statement and then use it to build your strawman argument.
        It is about the UK being a free independent nation like all the other 160 nations not in the EU.
        Free to have Parliament and our courts supreme.
        Free to make our own laws control our own money and taxes and budgets.
        We see where the former Common Market is going and we dont want their United States of Europe.

        The reason Remain lost was they made it all about trade with their negative Project Fear campaign.
        Now like you they now think it is all about immigration.
        Wrong again.

        • Simon
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Our Parliament has already shown itself as utterly unequal to the task or indeed to any task of substance. That has been the most interesting side effect of Brexit.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            We haven’t left yet.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Martin, Yes, but would the majority of our new national laws be made in Washington, as they are currently made in Brussels?

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Its clear that the front bench of both main parties are lying through their teeth.

    This is going to blow up one way or another, the voters will simply not put up with it.

    And no amount of deplatforming our social media accounts will stop it.

  52. ian
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Mrs T May WA deal isn’t meant to be passed by the commons, that is the whole point of her WA deal.
    MPs in the commons are left with three choices, vote for tension to the WA, vote against the WA and leave without it or revoke it.

  53. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Dear John,

    Thank you for your letter dated 4th March 2019 about the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

    It has been impossible to persuade the EU to re-open the Withdrawal Agreement let alone replace or agree legal changes to the backstop agreement. Nor will they accept any form of codicil or appendix. There is a possibility of an enhanced arbitration scheme that could be triggered by either side but on this the EU is, of course, insisting that the ECJ has jurisdiction. I’m afraid, the die was cast long ago. The withdrawal agreement was not a negotiation, it was a document to bind the UK to the EU in perpetuity. The Prime Minister agreed to everything in it.

    As for the other undesirable features you mention as needing attention, I am afraid that this is not even in my brief from the Prime Minister.

    It is a desperately sad state of affairs for our Country. The People deserve better than the imposters who purport to represent them. There are notable exceptions of course.

    I believe our mutual colleague, Sir Graham Brady, identified the principal impediment to a successful Brexit when he characterised the Brexit negotiations as ‘Lions led by Donkeys’. To this I would merely add that the Prime Minister’s words never did match her actions.


    Geoffrey Cox

  54. formula57
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Somewhat O/T – Sir John, are there things we individuals might usefully do now? (Perhaps a future diary might recommend some?)

    I have been educating my own M.P. (a May supporter!), including through sending him some of your diary postings.

    Reply Just keep the pressure up for exit on March 29 without the WA, and explain why there is no cliff edge or catastrophe around the exit corner.

  55. Colin Hart
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Dear John Redwood,
    Your views are very interesting but I need to remind you that you are not my client. My client is very clear (as always) as to what she wants. My brief is to spend a few days in Brussels talking to the other side so I can come back to London and advise the government that the withdrawal agreement is now quite acceptable. That is what I am doing and I will not be deflected or distracted from that mission.
    Yours respectfully,

  56. mancunius
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Far from extending his discussions to the vital matters JR has raised, Geoffrey Cox has so far made no headway at all on the limited question of the Irish backstop. Barnier claims “It’s an insurance. We don’t want to make use of it. And this is also the case when you insure your house.” But as we know well, there are some people who over-insure a house with the very purpose of burning it down and claiming on it. Some even go so far as to insure the lives of their nearest and dearest, with even darker intentions.
    Sabine Weyand has already explained the Commission’s backstop strategy: it is not intended by Brussels to be replaced in a future agreement, but to be used as a lever for forcing the UK into a permanent future customs union with the EU as the very minimum basis of any future agreement. The EU can continually stall trade talks until the UK agrees – it would have little choice, stuck humiliatingly in the backstop position. The humiliation is part of the intention, of course.
    And of course Brussels refuses to give any firm ‘insurance’ of its own that it will pursue trade talks in good faith. And his ‘assurances’ are worthless.

    We simply must exit on March 29th without an agreement.

  57. Arthur Kay
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    You don’t mention defence or fisheries. Surely these deserve attention. Defence of the Realm is surely the first duty of any government.

  58. Den
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    If Mrs May gets away with this, the Conservative Party will go the same way as the Whigs before it. If the above copy letter from G Cox is valid, it would appear that even the words of the Attorney General have fallen on her cloth ears. She is acting more as a Communist Dictator than as a British Prime Minister and I suspect both dear Winston and Mrs Thatcher are turning in their graves. Oh that they cannot return to save OUR Country.
    If we 17.4 Millions plus the democratic Remainers are disobeyed there shall be repercussions throughout the Country and across the Western World while Mrs May will be rightly treated as an inferior subservient but drag down this country down with her to the status of “EU Plaything”! I trust she is proud of her megalomaniac self!!
    Why did we bother fighting those wars?

  59. John Hatfield
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Clearly the “Withdrawal Agreement” needs to be voted out of existence. It is hard to understand how any Prime Minister could attempt to impose this on the British people.
    Total subjugation to a foreign power.
    Well done John.

  60. mary
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    In the EU Brexit select Committee examining Barclay and Olly Robinson Jacob Rees Mogg aske some months ago:
    “Were they aware that in the case of the withdrawal agreement and particularly speaking about the implementation period and backstop; there could occur increased or new tariff impositions? and if so for us to accede to them then we would be breaking the law?” since “It is illegal to increase/impose taxation where there is no representation”
    Is Jacob Rees Mogg no longer concerned about this?

    • Richard
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      3 Dec 2018 – JRM: “if EU sets tariffs this is taxation without representation, a fundamental constitutional principle given away in the backstop”
      Barclay: “i don’t accept that – at all”
      JRM: “you don’t seem to know about it – which is a bit of a problem”

    • Simon
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      A tariff is not taxation. Typical Rees Mogg.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        It is a different word, but the effect is exactly the same.
        It adds extra cost onto the price of goods and both are imposed by the state.

        • Simon
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Trade tariffs are a matter for the Government under the
          pre rogative. Representation is neither here nor there. Tariffs do not fall directly on identifiable individuals. It is supercillious nonsense from JRM – too clever by half.

          Reply Tariffs are taxes on goods ultimately paid by the consumer

  61. Alasdair Macleod
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I fully expect the Eu to emasculate the City with a Tobin tax while we are powerless. I think it is time to make this point very strongly as well.

  62. Ignoramus
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    The worst Prime Minister since Lord North?

    • eeyore
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      Lord North was actually pretty capable but King George insisted on being his own PM. All that was left to the hapless Minister was the misery of being subject to one with stronger will but weaker judgement than his own.

      Politicians of our own time may well sympathise.

  63. Whaddyasay
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Letter to Geoffrey Cox should instead be addressed to the PM..just wondering what is the point in having backbench MP representation when our politicians don’t seem to have a clue where the power lies..Cox is only the agent doing a job but under orders.

    Can’t imagine the point in your writing such a letter so late in the day as if it will change anything one bit..as someone else said recently ‘the fix is in’, some are involved and taking part, others because of TM’S treats are going to turn a blind eye..this is the way of British politics, always was, always will be. Just how do you think the English forged the union with Scotland in 1707 or with Ireland in 1800, it wasn’t done by fair and above board means but by corruption coercion bribery and downright dishonesty..so that is how the UK was formed..the common people were certainly not consulted..and then some people today think things should be so different ..but no no! the same people with the same stupid genes in place..its all corruption lies deceit bribery and old spin topped off with the modern phenomena a good dollop of Tory fake news

    Reply Mrs May and her advisers know my views as published. Mr Cox will draft or sign off his own legal advice which will be important in the forthcoming debate and vote on the draft Agreement.

  64. mary
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    “What action are you taking to prevent abuse of these wide ranging powers and to ensure we are indeed taking back control of our laws?” Well asked Sir John.
    I am very worried how this would pan out re UN Global compact for Migration which the Government signed last December.
    The government claim that this is not binding, but for so long as we are subject to the EU, the ECJ and the EU criminal injustice (sic) system, it certainly is binding. The government claim that the compact gives sovereign states the power to decide how far they are going to comply eg the number of migrants and their families, they will take, house and give full rights to per year. But the sovereign state deciding this will not be UK but the EU

  65. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    You only have to vote for it, JR.

    You don’t have to pretend that it’s OK, as some may, and you would be free to carry on attacking it, and its despicable originators, long after we have left the EU.

    But I think it’s now seven months since Theresa May first hinted that if she didn’t get her way then she would contrive to stop Brexit altogether.

    From July 15th 2018:


    “Theresa May: there could be ‘no Brexit at all'”

    Since then her threats have grown louder each time her rubbish deal has been rejected, and the mood of the House of Commons has also swung in that direction.

    So what would you say if it ended up with us still stuck in the EU?

    At least once we are out it will be much more difficult to reverse that stage in the process of liberation, and if we can then manage to get ourselves a patriotic government it would have the chance to plan ahead on how to finally free us from EU control.

    • NickC
      Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, You know that Theresa may’s dWA is not Leave. Once signed up to it there would be an unholy ongoing shambles for years. Nothing would be clear. We would lose all the benefits of being independent like New Zealand. And the risk is plain that it could be reversed more easily than a clean Leave.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Of course it is Leave. We will no longer be a party to the EU treaties, we will no longer be in that frying pan. Nor will we be in the fire; our new position could perhaps be best described as having been dropped on the floor. Which is what sometimes happens to pancakes, when incompetently tossed …

        Reply Signing the Withdrawal Agreement and Political declaration locks us into two new Treaties, the opposite of leaving.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          We will inevitably be locked into new treaties with the EU, but even if there is no key available a lock can be picked or burst or smashed or even blown off … Did you ever accept that we were irreversibly locked into the EEC/EC/EU during the 37 years that we were in it before the Lisbon Treaty came into force and Article 50 became available?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      @ Denis Cooper

      You are on the right track. My guess is that once the UK is out with a WA, the next government will negotiate something much more to brexiteers’ tastes especially if respect for the WA continues to weaken in the UK. And of course, that government could abandon those negotiations too if for instance the US came up with something better than their opening bid, which they might to create a nuisance for the EU. Not easy though but the only reason I can imagine someone like Fox is still in the government.

      Oh, you might wonder, what about the backstop? Since EU officials have stopped trusting anything that comes out of the UK, the backstop will not be a problem. Mayhem in NI will be perhaps but that would be the case also with “no deal”.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        New Project Fear word…Mayhem.
        Add it to catastrophe disaster chaos cliff edge and abyss.

  66. Prigger
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    If Remainer MPs and Mr Speaker have not created disorder in our country then, Parliament better collect up its toys, put them in a box and go to bed.

    Every day, disorder in The House, disorder with MPs speaking( outside The House proper,) directly to flag wavers directly to those shouting in the street and, all via MSM.

    Not obeying the Order of a democratic vote which should have created ORDER.

    Three long years of promoting lack of respect for Order and broadcasting that “legitimate” disorder all day long.

    Plus the Labour Party and extremists creating street demonstrations violating their own votes in The House and calling lack of respect for order as order.

    Mr Speaker shouting “ORDER, ORDER,ORDER and not managing to achieve it repeatedly and the only order he seems good at is making the Home Secretary and The Leader of the House to be in ORDER.

    Well, if that lack of order at the very top, everyday, all days, every hour, has not helped create disorder on our streets then MPs are not leaders. Their bad influence has no real influence and that being so then how do they claim to be a good influence or any influence, why are they there?

    Knife crime. lock them up, no not an amnesty for the knives, they do what they are supposed to do, what they are designed to do. Lock up long-time the users. Forget more funds for table tennis tables and Youth Clubs, there they meet fellow stabbers.

    MPs know why we now have a culture of badness. They imported it. Time to admit the mistake though good intentioned and deal with the lack of order which governments imported.
    It’s probably too late.

  67. Max Taylor
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    When I read a letter like this, I think thank goodness we have MPs like Mr Redwood – if we didn’t then I believe things would be much worse. It would be helpful for an ordinary voter like me if I could know of non-party organisations endorsed by Mr Redwood I could support by donation to fund their work. I could never donate to the current Conservative Party, but if there are organisations not controlled by the Conservative party that Mr Redwood endorses, I would donate to help fund those.

  68. Caterpillar
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    What are the options once the WA passes through HoC?

  69. ChrisS
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been reconsidering the options over recent days – as we all have over recent months.

    Nothing that could possibly get through the House of Commons is remotely palatable.
    I can only conclude that your Brexiteer colleagues vote for the deal, get it through and immediately move to depose May.

    She must be replaced with a Brexiteer and he ( and it will be a he ) should then appoint a Brexiteer Cabinet. No fudging or messing about, the new Cabinet must ber 100% intent on delivering a proper Brexit.

    Whatever the EU throws at us, no matter how obstructive they become, and they will be, the Government must keep a running commentary about the negotiations, pointing out every obstruction and each issue over which they are intransigent.

    We need to become the awkward squad, taking a leaf out of the book by Tam Dalyell.

  70. Den
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Is a quorum required in any Parliamentary vote to validate it?

  71. Gordon Hetherington
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


    Did we not fight a long and bloody Civil War to establish that Parliament, and Parliament alone, had the right to set UK Taxes?

    Yours etc.

  72. Stephen Palethorpe
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Nicely done.
    You have my Respect Sir.

    What is it that prevents so many in the House, not alone the “Government”, acceding to the will of the electorate and giving us the clean, unadulterated withdrawal from that poisoned organisation, that we voted for in such number ?

    Surely these senior “negotiators” (Mrs May included) must have some inkling that the public EU exit supporters are vehemently against such supplication?

    I would never have expected to miss the determination of the late Baroness Thatcher when she was Prime Minister, but by God, “Maggie” wouldn’t have put up with this contempt from these “jumped up” little Brussels characters.

    “Weak” “Feeble” – terms she used to describe THEM are now equally appropriate to this timid and fearful Parliament.


    LEAVE -then talk.
    Britain will surely be willing to help the European Union out of its self created quagmire.
    should it ask.

    But on Britain’s terms, NOT THEIRS.

  73. ian
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    If any MP in parliament is thinking about passing Mrs T May WA, they should think again.

    Why it not that it worst deal ever which it is, it because of the trade talks with other talks that start in Oct 2019, if you think these talks so far have been bad just wait to the talks start on trade and other things.

    One. you do not have any good trade negotiators worth their salt to deal with the EU and they have seasoned negotiators who been doing it years and actively know what they want and keep to a plan within their laws.

    Two. The trade talks will go on for years, well over time set out for them, that EU procedure.

    Three. As Mrs T May says, parliament will be voting on each part of the talks as they go along, as you can see from the WA, you will lucky if get past the first part of the talks.

    Your only options are to leave without the WA or Revoke Article 50 and if you decide on a ref, it would have to be about things that are already on the table in parliament, which are leave without a WA and no talks or revoke the WA and article 50.

    I do see how MPs in parliament think they can pick the terms of a new ref, it must be what on the table now in parliament.

  74. BR
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, at least that covers 2 of the 147 issues with the WA as seen here:


    Voting down the WA seems the best bet for the UK. A delay could give us the chance to get rid of May, bringing us closer to election time when MPs get twitchy (at least, the ones who haven’t got plum jobs lined up with their business cronies at the Cleggbook et al).

  75. Richard
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Martin Howe’s ConHome article today points out that an extension would give May-Robbins major practical problems.

  76. Anthony Lovell
    Posted March 4, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. Serious points u make. Can u add the Political Declaration which comes into effect if this unnecessary WA comes into force, to your list please. It seems to remove immediately all benefits of Brexit once the WA is signed. Little has been made of this. Ditto the SUBJUGATION of our military and intelligence services if any deal is signed. Ditto the exoneration of past prime minister’s under the treason act.

  77. Simon
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Sir Geoffrey Cox QC clearly has a limited defined remit from the PM.

    The only purpose Sir John has is in getting more publicity for his objections to the WA. But those matters have nothing to do with the Attorney General but are in fact the policy of Her Majesty’s (Conservative) Government and the Cabinet thereof.

    Reply They have everything to do with AG who has to write an opinion of the Withdrawal Agreement which will be influential in the debate that follows.

    • Simon
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes. But on the express matter of the longevity or otherwise of the backstop. None of the other matters you raise are in his remit nor indeed in the Brady Amendment.

  78. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    What you will actually get from Geoffrey Cox is a load of fudge and a lot of harrumphing. He really is the most dreadful ham actor. We remember the last time when he gave sound advice to the PM in private, but spun it when he was asked to.

    I hope that you will be able to convince Conservative backbenchers that the draft Withdrawal Agreement is still dreadful, even if the Irish backstop is removed or time limited. The European Commission and the Republic of Ireland are guilty of deliberate deceit on a large scale.

  • About John Redwood

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

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