If you do not like the Withdrawal Agreement you won’t like the Political declaration either

Two  Treaties instead of one. That is Mrs May’s idea of leaving the EU! I have set out before the dangers of the Withdrawal Agreement, which would stop us taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders for at least another 21 months and quite possibly longer. The accompanying Political Declaration is the herald of an even worse Treaty to lock us into many features of the EU for all time, with  no exit clause.

Some parts of the Political Declaration are vague or contradictory. Does it mean a free trade deal with us free to follow our own trade policy, or does it mean effective membership of their customs union with limited scope to do better deals elsewhere? Does it mean respecting our own UK law codes, or does it in practice mean accepting EU laws and rules over many parts of our lives in order to meet their strong words that we must not compete unfairly and must observe a level playing field with them? Doesn’t a level playing field to them mean keeping taxes up, having the same regulations, and submitting ourselves to their laws?

Some of the text is detailed and finished. We must assume this would pass straight into any draft Treaty. Above all the EU has insisted on the same architecture for enforcing the Partnership Treaty as for the Withdrawal Agreement. They require a joint committee, where any matter raising EU law will be determined by the European Court of Justice!

That’s no Brexit. That is continued subservience to the EU and its powerful court. I did not vote leave to end up in 2 EU Treaties that recreate many of the features of our membership. The EU sees the Partnership treaty as a kind of EU Association Treaty. These are the devices they sign with countries like Turkey to gradually to  bring them in line with the EU as a prelude to possible membership. That is not what Leave means.

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  1. Pominoz
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    You sound totally frustrated and rather angry. Absolutely understandable and I join you in worrying about where we are heading.
    All the pro remain MPs in the HOC seem determined to thwart the Brexit referendum and keep us tied (either fully in or remotely attached) to the EU. The effect of this is to deny reclamation of our sovereignty and to continue to surrender further control of the UK to the unelected in Brussels.
    The gradual ratcheting-up of levels of control by the EU has been evident since its inception and we can therefore very reasonably assume it will continue. On that basis, what is there to prevent the EU, with its primacy of rules, laws and the ECJ, to decide at some stage that the absolute supremacy of those controlling the United States of Europe project might be hindered by the continued existence of the various Monarchies of some of the former nation states?
    It does not then take a leap of imagination to see moves to abolish Monarchies, particularly that of the UK – as we must clearly be seen to be punished. The US of E could then create King Jean-Claude the 1st (or whoever!) as Head of State!
    How would that scenario sit with those anti-Brexit MPs and how do they think the UK population at large would react?
    Remainer MPs, by their actions during the time since the referendum, have caused a breach of sovereignty, about which they are now aware, and failure to remedy that breach would be treasonous.
    Let us please have a proper Brexit on 29th March under WTO rules, save £39 billion, and re-establish full sovereignty. We could then decide for ourselves whether to extend the Tower of London to accommodate all MPs and journalists who continue to talk treason.

    • margaret
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      I agree. It as if they cannot see the dangers which await. I love visiting European Countries but what we have here is ours . It does not belong to Brussels.

      • Hope
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        JR, it is not the EU. The EU is acting in its best interest knowing traitor MPs are helping the foreign power to regain control over our country.May is the problem. She has the right to walk away. No one forced her to put her servitude plan before parliament twice! Before Lisbon treaty there was no article 50, countries would be expected toe exercise their international right to leave. Same could be done now. Two years was a limit not a target and certainly not extension. She could have walked at any time.

        You keep highlighting May’s failings yet keep in her office!

        Police were singled out among public services not to get a pay rise- May blocked it. MPs get 2.7 percent! May has been and is vindictive towards the police. The outcome is the public suffers!

        May implemented the Snoopers charter so local authorities, Food Standard agencies and many others can view our computers without any legal safeguard of a warrant. May introduced the European Arrest Warrant without any legal address here or safeguard to prevent a UK citizen being whisked off to some backwater like Romania, Criticised on the world stage for its criminal justice system, to be held in custody for years without evidence. May introduced changes to stop and search to prevent its use. Khan’s manifesto was to reduce stop and search! Then the idiot wants to talk about social justice!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The deal and the declaration are both appalling. How could anyone but a traitor to the UK advocate signing them? They do none of the things that May claims they do. They are not Brexit, they are even worse than remain.

      Alister Heath today:- It’s a complete myth that a no-deal Brexit would cripple the British economy.


      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Please JR can you do what to can to get Hammond to (resign preferably) but if not that at least to abandon the “making tax digital” lunacy.

        The Federation of Small Business estimates that the reforms will cost each business £2,770 per year. What a huge and pointless waste of money and a massive distraction from productive activity. A huge tax on business that raises no tax! This government shooting the economy in the foot as usual why do we have such idiots in control?

        • Know-Dice
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          LL, I know that I’m looking at this only for a single company VAT, but we are going to use a spreadsheet solution which costs about £10 to £20 per year for the four quarters.

          There is meant to be a free solution with direct connection to HMRC with a name similar to “Aloe vera” 🙂

          Mind you if you use the accounting package from the “herb” company then you are correct…

        • Al
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          The other issue with making tax digital is non-standard companies. We know of clients using custom excel sheets because software up to and including Sage is not suitable for their business area and type because of how it is structured. Disabled accessibility on the majority of this software, as well as cross-platform support, is also seriously lacking.

          Advising these customers on how to fulfil legal obligations is very difficult, and the overheads for small firms are uttely prohibitive.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

          Hammond does not work for the electorate. He is a big-business toadie.

      • Hope
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        May showed her Chequers plan to Merkel and the EU before Cabinet or parliament and prevented Merkel answering a question to prove exactly that.

        This speaks volumes that she is in collusion not negotiation with the EU. What right minded person could accept her servitude plan, try to hide the legal advice and bounce it through parliament without proper scrutiny and claim it is good! May failed to get a trade deal, this was “the deal”Not her servitude plan. That is why she repeatedly said nothing agreed until everything agreed. She wa being dishonest as she knew that when she said it she was not negotiating the trade deal offered by the EU or any other trade deal. Just broad terms for discussions without a time limit to enable the UK to slip fully back in the EU as her servitude plan would keep the UK closely aligned including non regression clauses and giving away security, intelligence and defence for nothing not to stop the EEU army ambitions.

    • Merlin
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I agree it’s a terrible deal, but we have to respect the will of the British people and leave.

      That means a deal that parliament can swallow, which seems to be May’s deal or the Norway option. Of the two, I think May’s deal better represents the people’s wishes.

      I say hold your nose and go for it!

      • Merlin
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Actually, I say remain, but that’s off the table.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Anything is better than May’s Deal! It’s suicide Naff Parliament has no locus in the matter! There will be civil war if this servitude is foisted on us!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        The usual assumption by its advocates that the “Norway option” would be a generally acceptable option automatically open to the UK is not only arrogant (because it would require the unanimous agreement of 31 other countries) but deeply misguided (as one of those other countries, the Irish Republic, has long ago dismissed out of hand the idea of even a so-called “light touch” customs border like that between Norway and Sweden).

      • cornishstu
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        What are you (thinking ed) Merlin or are you just being deliberately obtuse. The one thing May’s WA does not do is represent the peoples wishes, as in leave the EU. As for parliament they need to just get on and do as instructed by those they supposedly represent.

      • mary
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        I think you need to read more on this topic. May’s deal is the complete opposite of Brexit . It is a cheap cynical trick to fool people into thinking she was delivering Brexit. The Agreement is the work of Brussels who are no friends of ours

    • yossarion
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Though they could just have one decedent of Rollo as King or Queen of Europe, personally I would give the EU my last Rollo, in fact I would let them have every member of the Sax Coburg Gothas because the one at the Helm has not stepped in when She should have done. The 1688 Bill of Rights was put on statute to protect the English from the likes of Grieve and many of His new found chums, he said recently that He wanted to remove old laws from statute just like Blair did, makes you wonder which ones and why?

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Why would they abolish monarchies?-they would probably retain them as Germany did post unification?.Ruritanian princelings occupying theme park castles-which is more or less what they are at the moment.

      If Herr Juncker wanted a regal title he could always go for Emperor/Kaiser!

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Good Morning Sir John,

    The question is, are there enough MP’s to vote it down for a second time, and what happens then?
    If, as we hope the WA is rejected, then Parliament simply cannot leave the PM in office any longer; there must be a change at the top. Tory MP’s must vote against the government in a confidence call, or we’ll be living with this mess for who knows how much longer!

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Let us hope that MPs again vote down May’s WA and PD. It is not Brexit but Brino. The behaviour of those running
      government policy on this from No 10 provides, at times, a squalid spectacle of deception and misdirection. Not only do they not deserve to succeed, they deserve electoral oblivion – as do those who support their base endeavours.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        And we need to deliver that, sacking those who vote for this even if we have to replace them with more rubbish. They hate being sacked!

  3. Steve Pitts
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Looks like as well the EU has given nothing so let us hope we can leave with no deal. The EU still might offer something at the last minute if that really looks like it is going to happen of course.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      We should welcome the intransigence of the EU. It is our best possibility of a clean break.
      No doubt May will present the same WA and Cox will say everything is ok for us to sign up to. These are not Treaties as defined by the Geneva Conventions but indentures to slavery overseen entirely by the ECJ.
      It isn’t 1% leaving.

    • hefner
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      You know what, I doubt it. Nathalie Loiseau (French European Affairs minister) was not too optimistic this morning on R4 Today. The more realistic, I would hope, is for the UK to live with no deal on 29/03/2019, replace the PM by a top Brexiter, and see what they will be able to do. Can it be worse than the present situation?
      I guess that would also be the best for the EU27.

      • hefner
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        to live/to leave, interesting mistake, isn’t it?

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        You seriously believe that if a “top Brexiter” was in charge, things would be different? The EU, over 400 million people, 27 countries and the world’s most powerful trading bloc, would be handing out sweeties to the UK if only someone like Boris Johnson or Jacob rees Mogg were in charge? Or how about Dominic raab or David Davis (oh, they were in charge wen’t they)? You are horribly deluded

        • rose
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          We don’t want sweeties: we want our independence back. Remainers never understand that.

          • RichardM
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Rose, Remainders know we’ve already got it. You still havent grasped that.

          • rose
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

            How come our PM had to crawl round 27 foreign countries, begging permission for our Chancellor to alter our tax on our tampons? And he didn’t get permission, either.

        • hefner
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

          TiC, obviously not but I have to admit I am curious to see what all these has-beens (like Sir JC) and other busted flushes like Boris J, Jakob R-M, Owen P., DD, and others would be able to do. These right now are preparing to tell us, “not my fault, gov, that’s Theresa, that’s Juncker-Tusk-Barnier’s-Macron-Merkel- …’s fault”. They have precedence for this type of things: was desindustrialization not a bit related to Thatcher’s (and subsequent governments), no we have to accept it is only the EU’s fault, the transport infrastructure in the UK is rather poor, locally and nationally, that’s because of the EU, the UK is producing top-notch research but the industrial applications quickly leave the country, it must be the EU’s. There is a dearth of intelligent reasoning among the elites (and don’t tell me JR is not part of it) and there is such a crowd of half-dead followers only too happy everyday to swallow his (and his peers’) pronouncements that it is better to laugh all about it, and individually to take measures to avoid what is coming.

          • Hope
            Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            Hef, you continue to do yourself a disservice by looking down your nose at everyone with pompous rants without substance.

            Why not use/show us your ever so clever intellect to inform us better than above drivel. On occasion you have done it before.

            You did not make a typo with live and leave did you! Or do you have problems with homonyms? OMG.

        • cornishstu
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          A ‘top Brexiter’ would have us out by now on WTO terms if the EU did not wish to give us an FTA, instead of conspiring to keep us tied to the EU. I do believe the majority of leavers are quite realistic and would have accepted the EU’s position though the EU would be cutting off its own nose seeing how we have such a large trade deficit with them.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          You are right.
          The EU Commission has never wanted to do a deal with the UK.
          The almost total domination of our negotiations by pro EU people has led us into the current situation where we will end up not leaving the EU on any real sense of the word.

          • hefner
            Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            Edward2, let me play the devil’s advocate; please tell me: the UK voted to leave, the EU27 told us they regretted the fact but accepted it. As a group their main purpose is to safeguard their cohesion.
            The EU27 asked the UK what the UK wanted. It took time for the UK to provide anything concrete as neither VoteLeave nor LeaveEU had really prepared for the June’16 result or a proper exit plan. When finally it was provided by the Government (including top Leavers) the EU27 clearly said they would not/could not accept the UK’s demands and gave reasons for it.
            Then for more than a year the UK has made itself ridiculous (to most outside continental observers) by going back to Brussels again and again, (and still now going) asking for some “flexibility” that the EU27 had said from the start they cannot/are not willing to provide.

            You might consider the EU27 obdurate. You might also think the UK really really slow in understanding the actual framework of the discussions. This has been very strange to see in a country that prides itself in the acumen of its businesspeople.
            Could it be that its real businesspeople never lower themselves to become politicians?

    • graham1946
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      ‘No deal’ is about to be taken off the table, Brexit will be delayed, and the promise to pay 39 billion for nothing will be endorsed. We have nothing to barter with, thanks to these Remoaners so the EU will offer nothing. Stupidty, duplicity and acting against the voters is an art form in Parliament.
      Those MP’s complicit in the sell out must be punished at the next election.

  4. Mark B
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A very strongly worded piece from our kind host today.

    Slightly off topic.

    I have read elsewhere that the Bruge Group published, then took down, an information relating to a meeting between the PM and the German Chancellor. Apparently it has been agreed that, as some point, possibly 2020, the UK will rejoin the EU. If this is true then the word betrayal goes to a whole new level.

    Just who is Teresa May MP working for ? Because it sure is not the UK !

    Reply Maybe they could not stand up the story

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Mark B
      There is ref to it in Breitbart London ( Delingpole) with a link in the article to another website which has republished details.

      If there is any truth in it…….well…!!!

      Was going to mention it but thought it would consign me to eternal “ moderation” comme toujours. But seeing as you mentioned it….it must be OK.

      Reply The article has been withdrawn. There would need to be proof of such allegations.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      This article, which as Mark B says was pulled “to be reworked and updated”, claimed as few differences as possible have been made between UK and EU arrangements, with a view to rejoining after the next election.

      The implication was that Brexit is being deliberately wrecked by HMG, which will continue wrecking after the leaving date by agreement. Si non e vero e ben trovato.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      ” Just who is Teresa May MP working for? ” Herself. She wants a seat in Brussels to rub Cameron’s nose in it. She is willing to show how powerful she is by destroying a whole nation.

  5. Newmania
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Of course its worse than membership , there was no real life outcome that wasn’t. The fact that things are not as you imagined them privately in your head is..beyond my ability to comment on politely.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Just leave that is far better. Negotiate after leaving where is in our mutual interests, without putting May’s appalling straight jacket on.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      It clearly is worse than membership I agree. Indeed it would be better simply to remain in the EU for the 21 month period until Dec 21 instead of the period of vassalage now proposed by mrs may.

      But the clear alternative has always been a comprehensive FTA covering goods and services, perhaps like the Australia-NZ deal. what possible objection could the EU have to that? But of course to get it, given the EUs negotiation tactics, weaponising the (non-issue) of the Irish border etc, it is necessary to be prepared to go to WTO Brexit in the event of no agreement.

      The EU have negotiated skilfully against our own hapless nincompoops it is true. But they might have over-played their hand & we might indeed now end up with WTO Brexit, albeit after an extended membership.

      • Oxiana321
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I can’t agree with “hapless nincompoops”. This apparent failure of state craft has been completely orchestrated.

      • Andy
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        The EU would not have an objection to that – at least not the free trade in goods.

        But your problem is that you confuse free trade with frictionless trade. They are not the same.

        Free trade means no tariffs. Frictionless trade – which requires no customs checks – requires a customs union and shared regulations.

        Which leaves you exactly where you are now. The free trade agreement you want will require either a hard border or a border down the Irish Sea.

        You just need to pick which.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          There are long delays thos week as French workers protest
          And delays on the motorway network in France and UK
          Plenty of friction at the moment.
          There are customs checks all over Europe and UK
          Obviously you have never imported nor exported.

        • Richard1
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Not true, the large majority of our trade with non EU countries conducted under WTO rules is frictionless. Filings and electronic notifications are required and in some cases tariffs are payable. But all done in a seamless and frictionless way. And notifications and hold ups occur on intra-EU trade also. This afternoon, for example, people returning from Paris on Eurostar were held up for 3 hours by a strike by French customs officers.

          The plain fact is you do not need supra-national govt to have free, and free-flowing, trade, and all sorts of other cooperation. You might want it – fine & there is an argument for that, as was made in establishing the EEC as was in the 50s – but then we need an honest debate instead of a pretence that its all about making trade easier. M. macron has explained again very clearly in the last couple of days that the EU is a political project.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Remainer – never a comment without an insult to anyone who believes in our country. A shallow and insubstantial comment too. Pity you bothered.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      It wouldn’t have been, had it been done properly. With Remainers in charge it was always going to be a sell out and most of us said so as soon as May was appointed (not properly elected) Tory leader. It’s what the Tory Party, being the party of the EU wanted and was so engineered. It should have been cross party too. The fact that a few people at the top of a party with only 100,00 members could over rule the electorate is a fault line in our non-democratic system. How Remainers cannot see what is plain is only because of their blind bigotry.

  6. Ian Russell
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Is the PD within the scope of meaningful votes or should it be?

    Reply Yes PD goes with the Withdrawal Agreement as a package

  7. Keith Dent
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    You say you did not vote leave to end up in 2 EU Treaties that recreate many of the features of our membership, but you are mistaken. You voted leave, full stop. What happens next was never on the ballot paper. You have no mandate at all for your kamikaze Brexit. Back Mrs May, back the government.

    Reply I am sticking to the Conservative Manifesto which said No deal is better than a bad deal

    • Chris
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      What extraordinary reasoning/justification/claims, KD.

    • sm
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      KD – I’m getting so utterly sick and tired of that whinge “it wasn’t on the ballot paper”. It was made quite clear by Cameron and his government that Leave meant departing the Customs Union and the Single Market.

      When you place your tick on a ballot paper for a Member of Parliament or a councillor, that piece of paper just contains a list of names, not a detailed explanation of exactly how implementation of major policies will be carried out by every candidate and his/her Party.

  8. Dougal Hamer
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Mrs May obviously intends to offer you a straight choice in the last week of March – her deal, or an extension of membership probably to the end of 2020. Which will you choose?

    Reply I choose a WTO exit

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Like to reply: I also choose a sovereign Brexit.

    • Dougal Hamer
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      A WTO exit will not be on offer. It will be Mrs May’s deal or stay in the EU. She has run rings round you.

      Reply We have enacted WTO exit

    • villaking
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Sir John,

      As I have stated before, don’t you think it would have been advisable to have considered the many possible definitions of “leaving the EU” before encouraging a leave vote? I know your stock response and that of your supporters is that you voted to gain control of our laws, borders and money etc. but of course you did not. Such detail was not on the ballot paper and promises made about what leaving meant were speculative and made by people without the authority to make them. The WA fulfils the leave mandate in that we will have left the EU. Is Norway in the EU? No. Therefore a status similar to that of Norway would mean that we have left the EU. Your reckless gamble has now led to an absurd situation. I think it is probably uncontroversial to state that about half the electorate would still prefer us to remain in the EU. Of the other half, it would seem that a good proportion don’t like the form of leaving that has now emerged. Put that together and the conclusion is that we may be about to do something that a large majority of the population wishes we would not. Perhaps you could take some responsibility for this debacle having campaigned for it?

      Reply I campaigned to leave, not to bind us back in. Leaving will have all the benefits IO set out.

      • rose
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        When Norway and Switzerland voted not to be in the EU, their treacherous politicians and big businessmen put them in the Single Market and Schengen Area. But even they didn’t put them in the Customs Union.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        According to the Irish government if the UK adopted “a status similar to that of Norway”, with any kind of customs border with the Republic, no matter how “light touch” that border might be, then that could spark a resumption of terrorist violence.

        They have even gone this far, from October 18th 2018:


        “Taoiseach warns EU that hard border would threaten return to violence”

        “Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, Mr Varadkar said he wanted to make clear that the Irish Government was not exaggerating its concerns about the consequences of a no deal in Northern Ireland and the imposition of a new border.

        He described using Wednesday’s Irish Times, which carried a story on the bombing of a customs post in 1972 and which Mr Varadkar showed to European leaders at that evening’s dinner, as “a useful prop to demonstrate to all the European leaders the extent to which the concerns about the re-emergence of a hard border and the possibility of a return to violence are very real”.

        “I just wanted to make sure that there was no sense in the room that in any way anyone in the Irish Government was exaggerating the real risk of a return to violence in Ireland,” Mr Varadkar said.”

        I know from experience that you don’t like me referring to these implied threats of resumes terrorist violence, JR, but I hope that you will finally be ready to acknowledge that this has been a disgraceful part of the negotiating tactics of the Irish government which our government should have roundly condemned from the start.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          Why conceal what has been published in the Irish Times?

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    May has no intention of leaving the EU. I thought everyone knew that.

    • Bob
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I said this on this very blog back when she took over. It’s pretty obvious what her intention was given that she appointed a Cabinet overwhelmingly consisting of Remainers. It’s not rocket surgery.

      • cornishstu
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Or brain science for that matter!

  10. Larsen
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    So what you want is free trade with the EU like now, but a right to ignore all their rules. Would you like some unicorns and fairies to go with that, sir? As usual, you seem to imagine the UK can scream like a toddler and get everything it wants, well the real world does not work like that, Mr Redwood

    Reply I am not seeking unicorns. We can just become independent without needing EU permission

    • Dominic
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      We don’t trade with the EU, we trade with companies operating in the EU. The two are very different. You’re confusing politics with commerce

      • acorn
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        There is no commerce without politics. No international commerce without international politics. Philosopher Karl Polanyi said there is no such thing as a free market. There never has been, and there never can be. Have a read of an abstract of his book: The Great Transformation (book) – Wikipedia

        • Mitchel
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          On this I agree with you,acorn.Roosevelt envisaged such a system for the reconstructed world after WWII but the dream died with him;his more cynical successors wanted the single world system but as a vehicle for American global dominance/Empire and,also, the Soviet Union stood in the way of its achievement,hence the cold war.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Actually the real world does work like that. Those who scream loudest get most because liberals are terrified of being accused of “ unfairness” ( yuk how I hate that word).
      Eurosceptics took what they were OFFERED. A Referendum. And they won!!
      Those who lost just can’t come to terms with not getting their own way. Not grown up.
      See how Tony Benn coped in 1975…Remainers could learn a lot.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      No-one has ever proposed free trade but ignoring rules. Of course the EUs rules will apply for trade with the EU. But the EU requires power far beyond that – it wants to control all trade done by its member states anywhere (inc potential vassal states such as the UK). EU membership, or shadow membership as mrs may proposes, is quite unlike any other trade arrangement around the world. If you like the idea of supra-national govt it’s a great idea. Continuity Remain should be honest with people on this. The big Remain lie is the EU is all about trade. It isn’t, its political.

    • agricola
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Trading with anyone is a matter of providing what is required in quality at the right price and on time. If the customer wishes to impose conditions that are the concern of our Parliament outside international norms then it is an unacceptable intrusion on our sovereignty.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Typical tiresome remainer – comment/insult, comment/insult. So pointless. (See Andy below.)
      It’s not these people disagreeing with our host that is objectionable – it is their infantile attempt to give offence that is deeply distasteful.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Sir JR

      Full independence in an interdependent world of today is and remains a historic illusion

      • Ian wragg
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Try telling the 160plus countries that aren’t in the EU that.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Ian I do not have to they know

          • Edward2
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

            Do these 160 nations allow any other nation to make their laws…yes or no. ?

    • rose
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Lithuania managed to leave the Soviet Union without permission. We should be able to leave the EU using constitutional methods as explained by Sir John in the past.

    • Chris
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Larsen, so many countries in the “real world” are not in the EU. How on earth do you think they manage? You have somehow kidded yourself that we have to subject ourselves to the stifling bureaucracy of a superstate run by an unaccountable political elite, on communist principles, which has an outdated customs union model as its basis. It is a failed model. Time to move on and look towards the future and out to the wider world.

  11. Andy
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Everyone who is not a complete fool – and I accept that excludes many contributors here – understands that the EU effectively are the people who live next door. We still need to cooperate with them and work with them on multiple issues and in multiple ways.

    The question therefore is, after we leave, how do we do this – when you have all put down these multiple inane red lines everywhere which exclude every option.

    And before you say we just want to be an independent state (we are) and work with them like all independent states do, that misses the key point. The EU has a very different relationship with Norway (which is not in the EU), than it does with Switzerland (which is also not in the EU), and that is different to its relationship with Canada (which is also not in the EU) and all are very different to the EU’s relationship with North Korea (which is also not in the EU).

    The UK has a different relationship with Peru than it does with New Zealand and both are different to our relationship with Barbados. All of these have required choices over many years.

    So stop your epic 30+ year whine about what you don’t want – and start specifying what you do want. And then we will explain to you why you can’t have it and why whatever Brexit you choose you still face a series of highly unpalatable choices.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Ha, ha Andy. Your last paragraph sums you up and your inability to understand what you read. John has consistently said what he wants with explanations as to how we can achieve it. You, on the other hand never give any good reasons as to why John’s wishes can’t be achieved. I find it horrifying that as a country we can’t choose independence and find ourselves shackled by both feet to a failing entity.

      • Andy
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Incorrect. The Brexiteers have spent ages telling us what they don’t want. They have spent next to none telling us what they do want.

        Other than ‘wanting to be an independent country’ – which will already are, they tell us nothing.

        Do that want chlorinated chicken and Frankenstein foods, for example. We do not know because they will not say. But we know both are the price of a US trade deal.

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

          Andy, you have proved my point. You obviously don’t take in what you read. Your view of independence is very different from mine and judging by the comments here there is not much support for yours or Hans views.

        • Chris
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

          Andy, I would far rather have chlorinated chicken than chicken steeped in salmonella and other nasties. Ever day salad products supplied to us from for example the EU are shown to have pesticide residues from multiple treatments. Why do you think there is not a single greenfly in a prepared salad bag from the supermarket? Why do you think it keeps for so long? Why do you think there are (usually) no ecoli? We accept chlorination in other spheres for public health reasons e.g. in our swimming pools.

          The truth is that prepacked food, destined to keep safely, is treated. Most people are completely unaware of all the processes involving chemicals that the food goes through. Those with a particular agenda have made sure we all know about chlorinated US chickens. Itmay be wiser to find out about other treated food products from the EU first before making a judgement condemning the USA.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


        Your independence conversation is rather boring as full independence does no longer exist in a very interdependent, global world, this is how we are able to trade with the Eu and the rest of the world

        Reply WQe can trade with the EU as we do with the rest of the world once we have left. The WTO does not charge us money and pass laws for us.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      The differences are just two.
      We have to accept EU has supremacy of law making over us and pay many billions each year, whereas our relationships with non EU nations are based on mutually beneficial agreements underpinned by WTO rules and cost nothing.
      Do non EU nations like Canada or Japan pay billions each year or accept the EU can have legal supremacy over them?

      • Andy
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        No. But then they don’t have frictionless trade with the EU either.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          You have no idea what you mean by frictionless.
          It is a meaningless concept dreampt up by remain supporters like you.
          Try importing and exporting for decades.
          Little difference in complexity between the EU and the rest of the world.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      More abuse in place of argument from Andy – it is quite remarkable how angry and entitled the Remainiac middle-classes are when they don’t get their own way.

    • jerry
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “the EU effectively are the people who live next door. We still need to cooperate with them and work with them on multiple issues and in multiple ways.”

      Cooperation yes, jumping into each others beds, shearing our baths, giving our neighbours money, if not direct access to our bank accounts, then on top allow only the neighbours uncles & aunts to be the sole mediators in any disputes – NO!

      Both the USA and Canada get along, most of the time, just fine at both the trade and social levels, they have many commonalities where it makes sense, but they accept each other as sovereign states, with their own courts etc. they even have fairly easy freedom of travel between each others countries – all without having to share laws, share currency, share internal and external political policies and so on. If the EU was to be more like that, more like the old EEC, Brexit, Grexit, even perhaps Irexit would not exist, nor would the likes of Germany’s AfD, France’s FN, with their threats of a Gexit and Fexit…

      “So stop your epic 30+ year whine about what you don’t want – and start specifying what you do want.”

      Perhaps you should wash your ears out, eurosceptics across the EU have been stating what they do want, they can not be held responsible for eurocrats like you @Andy simply not wanting the hear, non so deaf as those who CHOOSE not to hear, but then were would the eurocrat be then, I’ll tell you, chucked off the gravy train that’s were!

      “whatever Brexit you choose you still face a series of highly unpalatable choices.”

      The UK has a history book full of having to take such unpalatable choices, coming through them (eventually) unscathed and being seen to have done the correct thing by the doubting-Thomas’s.

      How’s the weather today in Brussels @Andy?…

    • nshgp
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Migration policy
      1. No criminals. Deported and barred unlike now. ……….
      2. No discrimination. No special rules for Irish, EU, etc.
      3. Net contributors only – unlike now. It is after all an EU rule about no recourse to public funds.

      Trade Policy
      Free trade. Exporters to the EU accept EU rules. EU exporters to the UK accept UK rules.

      No payments to the EU. We expect no payments from them.

      In general, there is a set of principles to this.

      Where a deal is win-win, or for the avoidance of lose-lose, both sides agree to it because its in their interests. If that changes, either side can cancel the deal.

      Where its lose-win or win-lose, no deal is agreed.

      The problem currently is that the EU in particular wants to cherry pick and impose win-lose

      But we can always add consent in. If you are a remainer, you can consent to pay the EU. Leavers can’t be forced to pay for you wants.

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

        Define criminal.

        We all accept that murderers and terrorists should not be allowed in. Incidentally we can keep them out now.

        But should a 70 year old who committed a one off driving offences when they were 17 be kept out? Someone who got done for nicking a Mars bar 4 decades ago? What about someone who has an old conviction for not paying their bills? Someone who was once locked up in Eastern Europe for demonstrating against the government – at a time when the Soviets were in charge?

        As with no special rules for the Irish – I think your DUP friends would be upset because that would see the Irish reciprocate. And that would pretty quickly lead to a united Ireland.

        And your trade policy requires a hard border in Ireland or down the Irish Sea.

        Incidentally – as a Remainer I would happily pay to enjoy the benefits of EU membership. Perhaps we could pay to upgrade our passports from the useless blue ones to better burgundy ones. We could then enjoy the many advangates of EU membership and you could not. Indeed – I think a two rule country may be the best long term solution.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

          Define criminal….those convicted of criminal acts.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Andy, we are fined and taxed all the time for everything from untaxed prostitution and drug taking (how if we made an independent decision not to tax these activities?) to them fining Britain £642 million for poor accounting in 2015 – the irony the EU not exactly the bastion of good accounting can we fine them for their poor accounting? Why not if we’re independent? Brussels bean counters claimed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had failed to properly administer EU farm payments, they give us back some of our money we’re not the Country who take out more than we pay in. Why should taxpayers pay for cap errors and claims that we didn’t benefit from are the farms that were overpaid asked to repay these fines? 9 Mar 2018 – The European Commission fined Britain £2.4 billion yesterday on emissions, £2.4bn would go a long way to clearing up emissions in the UK if that money was ringfenced for that purpose and if the EU were serious about cutting emissions they would have forced that instead of filling their pockets.

    • English Rebel
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      A rather odd comment. All of those countries you mention are not in a political union with the EU.

      We are not an independent state. If we were, we could do our own free trade deals. We would have control over CAP and CFP.

      There’s no need for supranational government. The EU is a government looking for a country.

    • MikeP
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Sir John has already said above that, like many Brexit supporters, he and we others are quite happy for our relationship to be like the EU has with many other countries that don’t yet have an FTA, using WTO rules in the meantime. This will be in UK’s interest as a net importer and with a huge trade deficit with the EU. Were the EU to prefer an FTA to avoid the downsides they face of a WTO arrangement we’d probably opt for something along the lines of Canada’s or Japan’s but it must include Services. Our door will always be open to their suggestions once we’ve left.

    • sm
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Andy, I like your analogy to ‘the people next door’, as I live in a tiny community.

      We are close friends with many of the people ‘next door’ in our road – we baby-sit each others’ pets, help each other out with shopping or when someone is ill, we hold housekeys and set alarms when someone is on holiday, and we socialise frequently; we also provide a comfy shoulder to cry on and sometimes practical assistance, when something bad happens.

      But we don’t demand in return the right to judge others’ private behaviour, to tell them what services to use nor what should be paid for them, how many cars they should own, and nor do we expect anyone, plus their relatives, to be able to wander in and out of our properties without our explicit permission.

      So let’s try another analogy – let’s be friends with Europe, let’s even sometimes be lovers, but marriage is a really bad idea!

      • Andy
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Nobody has proposed marriage. France does not want to stop being France. Germany does not want to stop being Germany. Belgium does not want to stop being Belgium. It is only the little Englanders who think that being friends or lovers (your words) requires you to stop being yourself. Nobody else either thinks that or wants that.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Unfortunately the EU Commission has ambitions for the creation of The United States of Europe.
          Have you not read The Five Presidents Report Andy?

          • hefner
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            Must be the only thing you have ever read given the regularity with which you come back with this Five Presidents Report in your “arguments”. I would agree with Andy: when there are already huge differences between people in North and South of, say, Germany, Italy, Spain, France (and I guess other countries as well), to imagine that those internal differences and even less likely the intrinsic different characters of the various EU countries will be wiped out by “the EU” as told in The Five Presidents Report is bordering on insanity. Or it simply a case of Little Englishness? Did India become English? Did the US become English? And closer to home, did Scotland, NI, or Wales become English? (Fortunately, not).

          • rose
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            India was an empire, not a colony. She had an India Office and a Viceroy. She was never colonised. But North America, Australia, New Zealand, you don’t mention. We most definitely are being colonised.

            The Little Englanders were the wing of the Liberal Party who didn’t want to have an empire and didn’t want to wage the Boer War. What utterly ghastly and embarrassing little people they must have been, don’t you think?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

            Insanity is when you have a permanent refusal to accept reality Hefner.
            The EU have a progressive plan to expand their empire and their power over their member nations.
            It is written in the Five Presidents Report.
            Which plainly you have either not read or are refusing to accept.
            There is no status quo as far as the EU is concerned.

          • hefner
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            Following up from Rose’s comments, is the UK a colony of the EU empire? Is it really what you think? If it is the case, I leave you both to your visions of coming sunny uplands.
            I read The Five Presidents Report at the time of the referendum, and it must be what I got from my experiences in life (having lived in five different countries) I could not see anything particularly dangerous for the British people’s everyday life in it. A homogeneous tax system might give cramps to some here on this blog, but I’m not rich enough to be particularly affected. As for homogeneizing the characters of the varied EU people, I can only laugh at you if you believe such “threats”.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            Taxes controlled for the UK by the unelected Commission of the EU and you are relaxed about that Hefner.
            With the Lisbon treaty bringing in reduced rights of veto and increased scope of items included in this area in 2020.
            We would become a region of the United States of Europe.
            A colony, as rose quite correctly states.

          • hefner
            Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            Does Colorado, California, or any of the other American States consider themselves as a colony of Washington DC? Right now, the EU is neither a true federation nor confederation, but if properly managed it could become one, obviously without the UK.
            Could it be successful as such? I would not want to listen to most of what of the contributors here would have to say on the topics as they might be a teeny bit biased. One thing is certain, in the present situation, a USofE would have enough questions to settle without having to deal with a whingeing UK.

    • Beecee
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      ” And then we will explain to you why you can’t have it…..”

      Who we?

  12. Freeborn John
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the unique privilege of Irish citizens to work in Great Britain come to an end. This 100 year old privilege is now well past it’s sell by date. Irish workers are EU workers and should be treated identically after Brexit. Even the EU should want to harmonise the rights of their citizens in this respect.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Freeform John, I agree, this is worthy of consideration.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      As a start the right of Irish citizens to vote in UK General Elections should be removed (along with reciprocal rights for UK citizens in some Irish elections). Surprised the Irish government want to perpetuate this hang-over from the colonial era. Voting rights should be maintained for Commonwealth citizens only.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      That was another bit of leverage May gave up with out getting anything for it. Ireland has played an obstructionist role in these negotiations, yet we have gifted them everything they want. If we ever get past the Withdrawal Agreement May has got to go. We cannot allow her to negotiate our trade deal.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t agree it was suitable leverage, any more than it was suitable to use well-behaved EU citizens legally settled here as bargaining chips.

    • nshgp
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Correct. A migration policy is very simple.
      1. No criminals. Deported and barred unlike now. …………
      2. No discrimination. No special rules for Irish, EU, etc.
      3. Net contributors only – unlike now. It is after all an EU rule about no recourse to public funds.

    • jerry
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      @Freeborn John; That 100 year old privilege works both ways, quite a few UK Irish work in the republic, never mind UK mainland citizens, and just how would you police it when citizenship rules often allow duel passports (of course one could abandon them to but that might also affect commonwealth citizens too. Eurosceptics have been denning the need for a hard border for the last two and half years then you come along and suggest some ill though out idea that would make such a hard border a given!

      • Mark B
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        I’d settle for them not to be allowed to vote in our elections. There is no case for it in the modern day, as especially the RoI sees its future with the EU.

      • Freeborn John
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        I think it is pretty simple. If someone has dual citizenship then they are UK citizens and entitled to work in GB. If they are Irish citizens then they should be treated like any other EU citizen and lose that automatic right after Brexit. Policing is simple; employers already have to show that their employees are entitled to work in the UK and an Irish passport alone would not be enough.

        Obviously this type of right should be reciprocal. So if the Irish no longer have an automatic right to work in GB then Those who live in GB should not have such a right in an EU member state like Ireland. We should also end the right for Irish citizens to vote in UK general elections which has never been reciprocated.

        • BrianW
          Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Freeborn John..its called ‘ourselves alone’ or in Irish gaelic Sinn Fein..stupid stupid

    • Man of Kent
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I had a discussion with my taxi driver on the way to Dublin Airport on this very matter . He thought he would have to get a visa to fly to London to see Lion King on 23 April
      He hardly believed it was true that he was perfectly free to visit , work , vote in some elections in UK under bi-lateral agreements ; nothing to do with the EU , and open -ended ; nothing to do with Brexit .

      I agree the logical end to the Irish Brexit position is for them to abrogate the bi-lateral agreements , even if we do not .

      Oh ,yes – he does now know that the 23rd April is St Georges Day and Shakespeare’s birthday !

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Also the right to vote should be removed.
      They are not our friends.

      • BrianW
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Given a chance..i don’t think i’d care to vote in that basket case you call politics over there..friends? What friends? ..you have no friends

  13. Dominic
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Remain voters will take great pleasure in seeing democracy crushed and treated with contempt. Do these people believe democracy is of such little value that it can be treated in such a manner?

    We know Remain politicians like May despise popular democracy and we know she will crush Brexit using all the tools at her disposals. Our only hope are moral MPs who believe in truth and justice to vote down all her proposals at every opportunity

    We cannot replace her as Tory leader as they simply cannot garner the necessary support from Tory careerists in our Tory party

    A commons defeat of her democracy busting pro-EU proposals is our last hope. It this fails our nation becomes a shadow

    She must be defeated to save our democracy, national respect and our international reputation. If she wins and the UK is subjugated we will have to suffer the humiliation poured upon us by years of restrictive legislation from the ECJ and no doubt scorns of derision from EU leaders who will taunt us mercilessly

  14. Javelin
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Parties can’t buck Democracy.

    Local elections coming up in May.

    Conservative members won’t be knocking on doors and who can blame them when their local councillors are about to be wiped out anyway.

    • rose
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      When that happens Gavin Barwell will tell the PM it was because of Brexit. Cancel Brexit and the seats will return. This was what he told her about the loss of his own seat about the time the policy changed from Brexit to Brino..

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

    It seems to me now that all the “conspiracy” stories were true.
    Through some slip up the “wrong” answer was given in 2016.
    Were the votes even counted correctly..was the margin to Leave greater maybe?
    As I thought from the beginning it all has an air of pantomime. Literally.
    And we were expected to swallow it. ( Mind you historically we have form in the gullibility stakes).
    I do not pretend to understand political procedure etc but maybe now is the time for Brexiteer MPs to take off their gloves.
    Surely the country is more important than the Tory party?
    May’s deal is terrifying and so is the prospect of remaining.
    And how will the UK survive without trust in its government?
    If rumours regarding how the Agreement was drawn up are true there will never, ever be trust again.

  16. BCL
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I would like to see a WTO exit on the 29th March. I fear that will not happen because a majority of the HoC wants to thwart Brexit, either entirely or by delivering BRINO. In such circumstances I wonder if the only hope for those who want to leave or want to honour the referendum is an election with a real Brexiteer as tory leader. A risky strategy, particularly in light of what happened last time, but with antisemitism and the new independent group in the mix, perhaps this is the only way.
    Apart from offering the prospect of a real brexit it might put the prospect of a neo-marxist government off for 5 years (or put one into power immediately, of course)

  17. George Brooks
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The PM and the Remainers are pushing this country into a far worst position than before we voted to leave. Those MPs going down this route are either stupid in the extreme or totally dishonest.

  18. John Sheridan
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    It’s disappointing to hear some Brexiteer MPs (Brexit Delivery Group) suggesting that any deal is good enough as long as we leave the EU, even if it is leaving in name only.

    I hope that there are enough like-minded MPs to join you in preventing Mrs May’s WA and PD being passed by Parliament.

  19. Oliver
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I have read that one strapline being considered by Leave for any second referendum is “Tell them again!”.

    Not bad.

    But perhaps the reality is that now the question is “Who governs?”

  20. Gary C
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I said some time ago we are being sold down the river and unfortunately this is looking ever more likely.

    The electorate are furious and will show that clearly at the next GE, remainers may have got their victory now but when it comes to us voting they will regret their perfidy.

  21. Pete Else
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    No deal that May comes up will be anything other than Remain with worse conditions for Britain. Why do allegedly pro Brexit MPs continue to pretend that she is working for Brexit when every single thing she has done proves the opposite?

  22. RAF
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Sir John, how frustrating it must be for you to sit alongside so many MPs who clearly do not see, or do not want to see, where mendacious Mrs May’s dealings are leading them and their country?
    There is ample information in the public domain from the excellent Martin Howe QC, Steerpike in the Spectator, Sir Richard Dearlove et al. as well as your good self, that explains the horrors embedded both in the WA and the PD.
    It is beyond my comprehension that so many MPs elected to represent and govern the country appear to to be prepared to abdicate their responsibility and freely give their power and authority away to a foreign unelected and undemocratic cabal. A cabal that has no liking for the UK, and I am convinced, one that will do this country great harm if given the opportunity. It is imperative that the Leave tories are on side and defeat this awful PM’s plan to emasculate this country. If the WA is again rejected then May must be removed immediately so as to stop her plotting further damage.

    PS just heard Foreign Secretary Hunt on LBC hoping success for May’s plan in next week’s vote. Another one who must be thrown out on his neck when May falls and the HoC is cleansed.

  23. Iain Moore
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I am disgusted with what is going on in Parliament . Parliament has shamed and embarrassed our country . We are told that No Deal Brexit is going to effect world growth, Ireland would see an 8% drop in GDP, but there has been no movement from the EU, in a normal negotiation there would have been . The reason we aren’t seeing a normal negotiation is because the EU can rely on Brussels little helpers in Parliament , with the likes of Grieve today meeting Nathalie Loiseau. What the heck is that about? The likes of Grieve shouldn’t be in Parliament, they should be in the Tower.

  24. Stred
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The blackout of information on the WA pitfalls by the BBC and other TV news and the takeover of Brexit supporting newspapers has resulted in few people, except for the politically interested, knowing about it. I stayed in a pub with a few other travellers last weekend and the conversation turned to Brexit. It was surprising to hear that a Scottish developer and the landlord thought that Mrs May was doing a good job and only wanted to do what they had voted for. They had not read any of the legal analysis. Sometimes it seems as though most MPs have not read about it either.

  25. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Leave by Constituency – 406 Remain 242
    Leave votes by MP. – 248. Remain 400

    It’s the MPs who are the problem. Constituency Associations MUST be freed to select their candidate freely and not from the doctored Party List. This was the case until Heath bound us to secure an EU cow towing Parliament. He succeeded!

    We must reject May’s ‘Deal’ – hold a gun to the heads of the 400 and make them vote to revoke Brexit explicitly! And they must know that we will sack them because we will know their names!

  26. Monza 71
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    May allowed Robbins to “negotiate” her deal in secret without proper political supervision and as a direct result the deal is deeply flawed for all of the reasons our host has explained to us in recent months. She then bounced the Cabinet into agreeing to support it at her notorious Chequers meeting.

    Thanks to her ridiculous General Election campaign and the disloyalty of Remainer MPs, we don’t have the numbers to get a WTO exit through the House of Commons.

    Mrs May alone bears total responsibility for putting us between a rock and a hard place. She has achieved this through her own total ineptitude, aided and abetted by Remainer Cabinet Members who have wanted this to be the situation all along.

    I am at a loss to know where to go from here. If the deal is rejected, the overwhelming forces of Remain will again conspire to thwart Brexit altogether via a second referendum.
    Any chance of winning such a referendum will be severely hampered because they will conspire to ensure that the question will be May’s deal or Remain.

    How will MPs such as yourself campaign if that is the question? You will surely have little choice other than to adopt the difficult position of campaigning to support May’s deal, despite the thousands of words you have written here to the contrary. That is not a credible position for a campaign.

    If that is ultimately going to be the position that all Brexiteers are going to be put in, you might as well remove the uncertainty and vote for the deal next week.

    Reply Of course I would not campaign for May’s deal. I am against a second referendum, and the public would not stand for one based on two Remain options on the ballot paper!

    • Monza 71
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply :

      Because the first referendum decided the Leave/Remain question, a second referendum should really ask the public to decide on May’s Deal / No Deal. We could win on that question, despite a campaign dominated by a renewed Project Fear but Remainers will ensure that the question will never be asked.

      Similarly I can’t see Parliament, or the electoral Commission, agreeing to a two-stage referendum ballot paper with Leave/Remain followed by May’s Deal/No Deal.

      Given the massive forces that Remain can bring to bear in Parliament, the question would almost certainly be May’s deal or Remain.

      What do Brexiteers do in that situation ?

    • Mark B
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      There is little or no time for a second referendum. Legislation has to be passed and preparations made. This takes considerable time. We also have the situation of the Euro Elections. If Remain was on the ballot paper the UK would need to inform the EU who, would understandably be furious, as this would severely impact on said elections which start on the 23rd May 2019. That is too short a time.

      The only hope is to extend Art.50 but, that too comes with its own problems. BREXIT 29th March 2019 and is still UK and EU law. Ergo we are still on course, but we have to defeat, yet again, the WA.

      • Monza 71
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Time is not an issue : Remainers throughout the House of Commons, aided by the Speaker, will do their best to delay Brexit long enough for there to be another referendum. They could, for example, vote to end the current Article 50 process with a promise to start it again if a second Referendum results in another vote to Leave.

        Alternatively, we already know that the EU is prepared to extend A50 if there is a good reason to do so. A second referendum would be exactly the kind of reason they would welcome. After all, other Countries like France and Eire have insisted that their electorate vote again until they come up with the “Right Answer.”

        The only unfortunate complication for the Remain side is the European Elections. If A50 is extended past July or cancelled, we will have to vote in the European Elections. It would be a cast-iron certainty that Nigel Farage will put up candidates in all 73 European Election constituencies and will almost certainly win nearly every one of the 68 seats in England and Wales.

        That really would be embarrassing !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      So what would, what could, the public do about it?

      • Monza 71
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Nothing !

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I have long held the view that Mrs May’s serenity amongst all the chaos is because, far from worrying that things aren’t going how they should, they are going exactly to plan. My view was confirmed this week by an article on the Bruges Group website. That article was widely circulated and then suddenly removed. After some time they stated: “An article “Duplicitous Leaders” was initially published in draft form on our website. It has been removed from our website while it is being reworked and updated. We plan to publish the updated article as soon as it is ready.” Hopefully that will be this week!
    What we are facing is a Parliament, brimming with duplicitous, mendacious MPs, determined, in the true spirit of their masters in the EU, to ignore the referendum result and keep the UK in the EU one way or another. Democracy is being undermined by those meant to uphold and protect it. It is Parliament against the people.

  28. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It has been clear for quite a while that this remainer government was not only conniving with the EU, Merkel in particular, but also being less than honest about the way negotiations were conducted and what we have been told.
    This has been no less than a total sham – a fraud against the people of the UK, and unless, through no fault of her own, May is forced into a No-Deal, then we will remain a colony of the EU until they dismantle nation states – which isn’t that far off, once they have total control of taxes.
    With such a bleak future, it will be only a small satisfaction when the Tories are decimated at the ballot box.

  29. hefner
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I am sorry but if there are still so many open questions within “the Political Declaration” I guess it only reflects badly on the calibre of the Government, their successive Brexit Secretaries and in fine the originators of the Leave campaign. If after 43 years a real proper roadmap had not been defined it is to me a reflection of how amateurish the top Brexiters (including Sir JR) have always been. To paraphrase LL what can you expect from History, Geography, PPE graduates 😂 ?
    In that respect it is worth listening to Sir Ivan Rogers in his UCL presentation in January 2019 “Where did Brexit come from and where is it going to take the UK?”. (on YouTube, 1 hour).
    But do not worry too much for the top Brexiters they’ll be in clover. But it might not be the same for us.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Remainers are in charge.
      From Number 10 to the Cabinet to Parliament and their friends in the media.
      How can leave supporters create this roadmap you desire?

      • hefner
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Look at the top Brexiters. For me the only one not running like a headless chicken is Michael Gove.
        Draw your own conclusions, stop asking from people who might not be worth the initials they have after their names.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          Who has direct powers during the negotiation processes?
          Hardly anyone involved is a Leave supporter.
          If there were any two years ago, they have been sidelined or sacked or have resigned in despair.
          Rather predictably you find Gove competent.
          Both of you being remain supporting pro EU people.

  30. Kevin
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    117 Conservative MPs have voted that they have no confidence in Mrs. May’s leadership of the Conservative Party.

    306 non-Conservative MPs have voted that they have no confidence in Mrs. May’s government.

    That means Mrs. May’s leadership has been voted against by 423 out of 650 MPs.

  31. nshgp
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Put an amendment in any bill that the UK shall not be subject to any European courts.

    If the government doesn’t like it, its lying. If it passes, then the treaty is ultra vires

  32. Chewy
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Interesting but unsurprising. Clearly the Political Declaration is just meant to be a continuation of the awful Withdrawal Agreement with a future leadership limited in scope by a legally binding treaty. I can still remember the well placed sense of anti climax when Theresa May won the leadership. Unfortunately we are where we are.
    Parliamentary maths look like rejecting this agreement and then No Deal. So an extension will be requested but we have to say what for. I’d be curious to know if we were effectively stitched up by being stuck in a “permanent” in defiance of democratic (manifesto) commitments, could we break out with the right future leadership and a different Commons make up? I’m referring to the calls that there would be on Thersa May to cross the floor and arrange a permanent CU, although I still feel Jeremy Corbyn wont do a deal.
    Whatever I think it critical that MPs like John Redwood continue to vote against this Remain stitch up.

  33. agricola
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    John, the answer is to draft our own trade agreement and present it as a fait acompli in much the same way that the WA has been presented to us. Durisdiction of any disputes under it to be adjudicated by the WTO. OUR TERRITORIAL RIGHTS SHOULD IN NO WAY FORM A PART OF IT.

    Have you thoroughly investigated WTO rules and our ability to invoke Art. 24 of GATT. It could be a significant incentive for the EU to finalise an equible trade agreement.

    For absolute sure Robbins and May have done enough damage to the interests of the UK. He and his cabal of remainers must be replaced by professionals in international trade, by which I mean people whose whole life has been hands on internatioal trade. Civil servants are there to take orders not to decide policy.

  34. bigneil
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    On the local radio station this morning – a head of a school has to save £125k from his budget so had to let go six on the teaching side and a caretaker. It said that all had between 8 and 25 year service. Presumably all will now have less money to spend in shops etc, where some of that goes back to the govt. The govt also loses the tax from their wages, and makes those seven feel worthless. Seven people who have worked and contributed to this society.

    Meanwhile – does the £125k saved even come anywhere near to what the 40 Xmas Dover beach arrivals, plus the 27 M6 lorry passengers plus the other 34 in dinghies ( never mind any more that have been deliberately kept out of the news ) have already cost us – and will CONTINUE to cost us? Over 100 people who have no intention of ever contributing to our society.
    Our destruction is blatantly deliberate. Shame on all of those allowing/organizing it – As they emigrate from the 3rd world hell they created, I assume they feel their reward will cover their eternal shame and guilt.

    Reply 6 teachers and a caretaker would cost more than £125,000, so I struggle with your numbers. I am in favour of spending more on our schools and have set out how we can afford it.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I think they are TAs which are about minimum wage so the numbers are correct based on a 37 hour week.

      Reply You said experienced teachers – and you need to include employers NI and other overhead costs

      • Al
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply:”You need to include Employers NI and other overhead costs”

        If Employer’s NI is a factor putting people out of work, then it is time it was reconsidered. The cost to the state of someone on benefits is far higher than the money gained by enforcing it. Combining employer’s NI into either into corporation tax or a turnover tax is long overdue (doing the same with employees contributions and income tax would save a lot of admin overhead for both government and company – then calculate individuals’ benefits based on residency and tax paid).

  35. Anthony
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I agree with your analysis John, but what to do about it? What actually is the plan for achieving no deal rather than this deal or a softer deal?

    May’s premiership is only going to be about one thing: Brexit. She knows it. If she doesn’t get Brexit through, she will be the Prime Minister who failed to deliver Brexit or anything else. She will not let that happen. If Meaningful Vote II is lost (and maybe there’ll be one more punt at Meaningful Vote III) then her incentives are to get Brexit through at any cost, including a soft Brexit. She will turn to a softer Brexit because she will have proved conclusively she cannot get Brexit through any other way. She has demonstrated she is not prepared to go for No Deal.

    That is the way I see it. I don’t like the choices much, but it appears to be this Brexit, soft Brexit or a general election (with May in charge? …shudder) in which case there may well be no Brexit.

  36. William Long
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It is ever clearer that this Government backed by a majority in both Houses is determined to keep us shackled to the EU and now we read that Mrs may is preparing for yet another ‘Meaningful Vote’ on the assumption that next week’s one will result in another defeat. How close to 29 march do we have to get before time to avert WTO runs out, because that seems to be our only hope?

  37. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It is reported that your colleagues Boles and Letwin have met with Corbyn to plot their desired way forward. Conspiring with a man who, in my view, is unfit to be an MP let alone Leader of the Opposition is a disgrace and shows the depths that MPs will sink to get their own way and thwart the referendum result.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Personally I think all three fall into the category you describe. One stuffed government papers in a public waste bin.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but was subsequently given a knighthood!

  38. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Well the EU seem to be winding your leader up like a clock. Off we go again “Come back to us with a plan!”. She was stupid enough to take two years to work anything out, so not surprising they’re extracting the wee out of her now.

  39. Dominic
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The question is how do those who believe in democracy (Brexit) fight back against those who reject democracy (Remain)?

    How do British democrats counteract the almost ominpresent political establishment and their Remain lackeys as they go about their business of destroying the basis of our democracy and passing power and leverage to Merkel and the EU?

    We can’t fight against a Remain government, a Remain media (press, bbc, itv, ch4 etc). the London based Remain mafia have it all sewn up. Even the Electoral Commission and other quangos are anti-democratic, pro-Remain. Their rulings are partial and bias against Brexit. They are infected by pro-Remain lackeys

    Remain is given a free, frictionless ride and even when they do abuse they’re simply not held to account.

    We now look to Brexit MPs as the last opportunity to undermine this Remain attack on the UK and all it stands for

  40. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    We now learn from Steven Swinford of the Telegraph :”Dominic Grieve will tomorrow hold a meeting with senior members of Emmanuel Macron’s Govt to discuss extending A50 as path to 2nd referendum
    Nathalie Loiseau will attend meeting in Grieve’s parliamentary office with her advisers & officials”.
    On whose behalf is he acting in this way? The stench from a rotten but still rotting Parliament is unbearable.

  41. English Rebel
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The problem we have with parliament is that we can’t touch MPs for another 3 years and they know it. That’s why they’re acting in such a cavalier fashion. The same with May. She can’t be challenged for almost another year. If this was an election year it would be different.

    Parliament is hell-bent on shafting us.

  42. Rien Huizer
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I understand (with agreement) that EU membership of the UK is unsuitable for both parties. That has to do with culture, societal development and apparently deep seated ideas about the meaning of words like independence and sovereignty, especially in the Consetvative Party. However I do not undesrtand why the UK should be seeking alternatives to economic inttegration with Europe. China and India have demands, are not offering anything you would be able to get as a EU member. The US is a very problematic trade partner as Canada has learned. And Canada has no alternative, more or les (more imo) like the UK vs the EU. Of course the EU is self interested and difficult. So should the UK be. But that starts with explaining to the people what the UK’s self interests are (in economic terms, the rest is nice to have, but luxury).

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      You are obsessed with trade rien.
      It is about who rules the UK.
      Does Canada allow the USA to make its laws or vice versa.
      Does China allow Japan to make its laws or vice versa?
      Does Australia allow New Zealand to make its laws or vice versa?
      Of course total independence is impossible but it is about whether we are volunteers or conscripts.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink


        Are the Germans or French conscripts?

        • ChrisS
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          No, they are not conscripts. They have assumed the roll of officers in charge. This goes largely unchallenged by the rest of the 25.

          Our Government never made much fuss about all those bilateral meeting before each EU summit where France and Germany stitched up the outcome between them, it did they ?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          You tell me rien.
          My comment was to do with independence.
          Our relationships with other nations should be mutually beneficial ones done voluntarily.
          No membership fees and not having to accept other nations laws directives and regulations if we do not want to.
          You know rien like all the other major democratic nations not tied into the EU

  43. JPM
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good fight, Sir John!

    Despite the Prime Minister’s inability to recall the contents of the last Conservative Manifesto or remember the result of the referendum, it seems increasingly likely that we will shortly leave the EU on WTO terms, despite her attempts to collude with members of the Opposition, the EU and even some undemocratic MPs within her own party, who would all like to see the referendum result overturned or transformed into a form of remain.

    A pointless extension will change nothing, except to lengthen the road still remaining for can kicking.

    Thank God that this dreadful saga is coming to a close.

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    But, JR, I really don’t care that much how many new treaties WITH the EU there may have to be once we have left to replace the treaties which presently bind us INTO the EU. Which of course already number at least the TWO basic treaties – the Treaty on European Union, and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – plus I guess there are other EU-UK agreements floating around which could be classified as treaties.

    And nor am I as concerned as some people that there is no specific exit clause for the Irish ‘backstop’ in the Withdrawal Agreement. I repeat that until December 1st 2009 when the Lisbon Treaty finally came into force there was no withdrawal mechanism included in the EEC/EC/EU treaties, but you and others never doubted before then that if we wanted to leave then we could do so. Sure, it would be better to have a unilateral right of withdrawal expressly stated, but it is not essential.

    In any case as I have also reiterated ad nauseam even if everybody was fully reassured that the ‘backstop’ would only be temporary that would still leave unanswered the question of what would supersede it; the Irish government would have a veto on that new treaty, and we can be quite sure that they would never willingly agree to a new treaty which did not preserve the same or very similar legal effects as the ‘backstop’.

    Reply You underestimate the difficulty there would be with the UK establishment including the judges if we were trying to get out of something we had bound ourselves into by Treaty. We pressed hard for Article 50 in the EU Treaty for a good reason, and it should work.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      JR, I won’t be celebrating any anniversary but it is now coming up to twenty years since I joined in the UKIP campaign for the 1999 EU Parliament elections, and of course you were involved many years before that, so we have both seen the various twists and turns as supporters of the EEC/EC/EU project tried to pretend that our membership was irreversible but that eventually got corrected by the most senior judges. It seems to me that as a direct consequence there is no similar risk now with any treaty, including any new treaty with EU, which has required domestic approval by Act of Parliament before ratification on the international plane. In any such case provided that Parliament has made its revised intentions clear through express wording in a new Act then the judges will accept that. And as I recall you were not that keen to use Article 50 to leave the EU, and I only supported it on the basis that we had agreed to that being the withdrawal procedure and argued that the letter should make clear that we were invoking that article without prejudice to our right of unilateral withdrawal under wider international law.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        The point is we showed co-operation by leaving under a50, but that co-operation wasn’t reciprocated. It was at that juncture, nearly 2 years ago, that the tables should have been turned by us NOT to co-operate with any other EU MO but to look after ourselves.
        Enter failure PM T May.

  45. Original Richard
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Mrs. May is wanting us to replace the existing Lisbon Treaty containing Article 50, which enables us to leave the EU, with a new treaty or treaties (WA/PD) where there is no such exit clause and additionally leaves us totally exposed in the “Future Relationship” negotiations.

    How can Mrs. May claim this is in the national interest ?

    How is this respecting the referendum result to leave the EU ?

    • Chris
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Quite right, O R, but how can MPs actually support this? The implications of their support are mindblowing. I think many MPs are still ignorant of what the WA and PD entail, and have been bowled over by the relative speed that these various documents of May’s have been thrust upon them, with little time to read and inwardly digest. However, that is no excuse. With a matter of such vital importance to the survival of the UK, these MPs have got to do their duty and read the damn WA and PD and familiarise themselves with every giveaway of sovereignty and every commitment to vassal state status that May has written into said documents.

      I obviously do not refer to Sir John in my comments above.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      It is not correct to say that Article 50 “enables” us to leave the EU.

      We could have left at any time during the 37 years that we were in the EEC/EC/EU without the treaties having any provision for a member state to withdraw.

      Indeed going back to the 1975 referendum the government leaflet said:


      “Fact No. 3. The British Parliament in Westminster retains the final right to repeal the Act which took us into the Market on January 1, 1973. Thus our continued membership will depend on the continuing assent of Parliament.”

      And the same will be true of any new treaty that the UK makes with the EU which requires approval by the UK Parliament prior to final ratification.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Given the events of the last almost 3 years it is surely stretching credibility to expect anyone to take any cognisance of statements made in referenda documents or election manifestos for that matter, let alone that they will be upheld.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          But that Fact No 3 was a fact, as has been confirmed by the courts as well as by a variety of politicians. As an example of the latter, nearly three decades after that 1975 referendum, Jack Straw:


          “Because we are a sovereign nation, Parliament itself will have the final right to decide, at any stage, whether it wishes us to remain a member of this treaty-based organisation. ”

          Like others I was worried about a gradual judicial drift away from that position, but that drift has now ceased.

    • Original Richard
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Signing the WA would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        More like a pancake getting dropped on the floor by an incompetent chef.

      • BrianW
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes but there will be no FTA with them into the future until the WA is signed off

  46. FranzB
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    We were promised differently, we were promised an equal partnership deal with them where everything would go swimmingly, in fact it would be the easiest deal ever or words to that effect. But am afraid the whole thing is turning out to be not great. Even at this late stage the danger is now that the EU have decided to let us go without a deal, but ok for some as JR here would like. So then yes! lets do it that way and after we’re out with no deal say in a year or so we can always go back knocking and see what kind of a reception we get- hard to say, but I can guarantee it won’t be anything like equal partnership that will be on their minds. Let me explain, the EU fully understands that it’s dealing with a sizable UK delusional mindset here, am thinking Farage and ERG types, that cannot or will not be changed without some introspection and also while that mindset exists there will never be peace in the camp and so UK is destined for a spell outside as a third country to them with trade according to WTO rules, all just to blow the cobwebs off..otherwise nothing at the heart of British politics will ever change..as they see it!

    Reply I think they will want a Free Trade Agreement once we make clear their Withdrawal Agreement is not on offer or some variant of it.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      haha. Look at their GDP projections. Look at Ireland’s with WTO, and without the road bridge.
      They’ll be beating down our door.

  47. a-tracy
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    “Loiseau said Britain was clear on what it did not want, but had not explained what it did want. “At this stage we know what the UK does not want, and that’s a first phase, but it’s not necessarily enough. At the moment, we’re talking. We have not heard proposals, ideas or initiatives coming from the British government to overcome the current difficulties.”

    This just sounds ridiculous. Sir John, if May and her team have been so incompetent since 2016 not making themselves clear then it is time to change the people providing the dialogue. You, Boris, JRM, Frank Field, Graham Stringer, Kate Hoey; need to go to Brussels meet with Loiseau and ensure she knows what a proper Leave delegation wants, as they seem to listen to everyone else but you.

    If May is not virtuous over this and is unable to create harmony moving forward then the honourable thing to do is to get MPs to vote to ‘Leave with no deal’ or ‘cancel A50’, elect UK MEPs in May, take up our say and let the public choose a commissioner instead of the Prime Minister, give us a new general election date on the same day the European Elections will be done to save money and time and give people the opportunity to elect MPs that will deliver leave with the UK in mind.

    • Tory in Cumbria
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Loiseau was spot on. Britain has never said what it wants, only what it doesn’t want. Remember whne the host of this site said a few weeks ago that he was drafting a free trade agreement to table? Gone quiet on that hasn’t he!

      Reply I said others were drafting one. They did and it is available. The government still declines to table it with the EU.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      My answer to the EU would be. “What we want is to return to being that which we were BEFORE we joined. A sovereign independent nation.” Something that is not in your gift but is ours by right.

      • Steve
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Mark B

        Well put !

        Though to be honest, I’d address them in a slightly different way: ‘how dare you disrespect us when none of your countries would even exist if it wasn’t for the UK. And next time tanks roll across your borders – we won’t want to know. We’re not bailing you out or holding your empire together for you, and if our leaving results in the collapse of your little empire – so be it, we shall wet our trousers laughing. Oh and by the way, there is no point in the french owned Eurotunnel company having a swipe, we’ll be flooding the damn thing anyway.

  48. Jane
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    We are being cornered, voting no to PM May’s W.A. and voting no to No Deal will leave us hopefully falling out on the 29th March unless the deception is completed by extending Art. 50.
    To get out of this mess we must be brave and show the EU we are serious about leaving. The EU are playing a waiting game because of all those remainer MPs and I don’t expect anything else from them when we are playing into their lap. All those MPs will lose their seats in the next General Election. Perhaps they should be reminded of that fact because mine will lose her seat with her small majority in a vote leave constituency.

    • Steve
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink


      “To get out of this mess we must be brave and show the EU we are serious about leaving.”

      That is very true. Though I think we should just leave with no deal anyway, then when the EU wants our money and our trade we can say ‘NON’ just for old time’s sake.

  49. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I read on page 3 here:


    and also elsewhere that the EU is once again* calling for fresh ideas on how to solve the largely fabricated problem of the Irish land border.

    That apparently insurmountable mountain which the Irish government has cunningly built up out of a molehill on the border to try to protect the Republic’s economy**, with the approval and probably the collusion of our own government.

    The article says that EU officials would even be prepared to work over the weekend if new proposals were received by Friday.

    So what do you think, JR?

    Should I repeat the suggestion that I have been making for over a year now, the one based on a recognition that all that should really matter to the EU is what goods are allowed to cross the border into the Republic and so into the EU Single Market, not what goods are allowed to be in circulation within Northern Ireland or within the UK?


    “Brexit – time to mind our own business?”

    * This is not the first time that the eurocrats have called for creative thinking; but it turns out that can only be within the restrictions of current EU law, as according to Theresa May the EU has a problem with any derogations from that current EU law. They put in a new treaty article so that a member state can make an orderly withdrawal, but then they don’t want to make any legal changes to accommodate that process.

    ** Also in CityAM the editorial states that:

    “… a no-deal scenario would wallop Ireland particularly hard – with a staggering 8.16 per cent hit to their economy …”,

    so it could turn out that Leo Varadkar has overplayed his hand on this.

    • georgeP
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Denis..from what I hear the EU is ready to step in to soften the blow..probably will bring in some form of intervention again for beef and dairy products just like they had thirty years ago

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

        That is so.

    • Steve
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Dennis Cooper

      “… a no-deal scenario would wallop Ireland particularly hard…”

      Hard luck. They haven’t exactly been friendly to us.

      I’m of the view we should call in that massive loan we gave them not so long ago, and ban their trucks from our soil.

      I and lots of people I know have stopped buying Irish produce because of the insulting way Eire has behaved towards our country.

      No, sod ’em.

  50. Edwardm
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I’m grateful that there are at least some true MPs like yourself who are alert to what the government is conniving with the EU, and who are doing everything to support the result of the referendum.
    Our government seem intent on using every phase of talks to sell us out further.

  51. ian
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    If there is a deal I will be surprised. I just view it as all grandstanding by the con party to win back votes after the last election, at the end on the day the cabinet make the final decision and then Mrs T May has to sign it off to which she does not have to and of course the Queen will have to sign as well.

    Any votes in the common are only advisory.

    If for some reason you do not like the outcome you can always leave the country like millions of Brits before you and leave the migrants to pick up the bill.

  52. John Bethell
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    We are heading to a fork in the road left we leave the eu and be free, right stay in the eu and become a puppet state in the United states of Europe, I personally want to be free

  53. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I find your comments very interesting in that the EU sees the Partnership Agreement as a kind of EU Association Treaty designed to bring countries like Turkey in line with the EU as a prelude to possible membership. Especially so, when compared to the post of Mark B who brings to our attention the Bruges Group Report and its agreement between May and Merkel for the UK to rejoin the EU after 2020.

    A conspiracy theorist would have a field day! The scheduling of the talks, the eagerness to replicate most of the present EU relationship in the new WA and PD, the sidelining of two Brexit Secretaries, the role of the Civil Service and the PM’s willingness to sign up to the backstop as a means of thwarting a clean break. All designed to manoeuvre the UK into a relationship where it would be just a small step back to full membership when the time was right.

    Looking back at events it is perhaps hard not to conclude that there is an ‘establishment elite’ that was shocked to its core by the vote to leave and has moved, mostly skilfully and carefully, to keep the UK as close as possible to the EU and provide the means for its eventual re-entry.

    I think most here would agree that the Prime Minister is a part of that ‘establishment’.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Alan, many thanks for your contribution.

  54. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Next week should reveal more clearly what our elected politicians have managed to deliver on behalf of the British people following their instructions to leave the European Union.

    One does not need the predictive powers of Nostradamus to foresee that (a) The PM’s deal will be rejected, (b) No-Deal will be rejected and, (c) MP’s will demand an extension to Article 50.

    Quite what our MP’s expect negotiations to produce in a few more months that they have been unable to do so far is something that no prophet could foretell.

    Can we go on any longer with this purposeless government, led by its mendacious prime minister, supported by its divided and useless cabinet, backed by its spineless and cowardly MP’s* and opposed by Her Majesty’s ‘LOYAL’ Opposition?

    I don’t know how the vote to leave the EU would stand after a general election or how one could even come about. Would Brexit still be law? I do know that May’s deal is so terrible that it might be worth contemplating.

    Are there any budding clairvoyants out there?

    *There are some notable exceptions.

  55. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    The Prime Minister is reportedly considering making a major speech on Friday in which she will plead for MP’s for support for her deal.

    Helpfully, I would like to suggest instead that she returns to her theme of ‘burning injustices’. In particular the one that keeps her on as Prime Minister which the rest of us have to endure.

  56. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Well, JR, I don’t expect you take my advice and vote for Theresa May’s rubbish deal under loud protest before during and after the division, but when you have blocked it how will you stop her getting MPs to vote against leaving without a deal? And then how will you prevent her doing whatever it takes to stop Brexit altogether – general election, second referendum, anything she can contrive?

    Re[ly The Withdrawal Agreement is not Brexit. It is a trap to keep us in much of the EU paying huge and unspecified bills. I will fight each battle as it comes.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Would the UK still be a party to the EU treaties? No, the UK would no longer be a party to the EU treaties, and so would no longer be an EU member state. So it would be Brexit, but a corrupted form of Brexit, to new treaty arrangements which would be unsatisfactory and so would have to be changed subsequently when we had managed to cleanse the House of Commons of its present heavy eurofederalist contamination. Therefore the EU and its continuing member states should be given due warning that they should not regard the new treaty arrangements as establishing a permanent end condition, because the UK Parliament is sovereign and whatever has been approved can later be repealed.

      Reply The UK would be party to a comprehensive Withdrawal Treaty with no exit clause that meant we were effectively a member with no voice or vote!

      • Monza 71
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        What is the alternative to May’s flawed deal ?

        You know only too well that Remainer MPs are in a majority across the house and will take any actions necessary to stop us leaving under WTO terms. That option no longer exists.

        At least we will be officially out and under a new Brexiteer MP and Cabinet we must be able to achieve a way out of the Withdrawal Agreement.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Good to see you sticking to your principles for which I am grateful and thank you.

      • Chris
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, Brian T.

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

      JR wrote :

      “The Withdrawal Agreement is not Brexit. It is a trap to keep us in much of the EU paying huge and unspecified bills”

      I think it is even worse than that Mr Redwood. More likely the EU knows their little empire will collapse without the UK, so they would like to think they can keep us in so we save their backsides, again. More than just the money.

  57. rose
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    What are we to make of the PM’s helpers putting her trio of votes just before the Ides of March?

  58. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I am sorry to post off-topic today but seeing this made me see red.

    It is reported that Spain is in line to win a £1billion contract to build three new Royal Navy ships. Incredibly, this inspite of their constant provocative incursions into Gibraltar’s territorial waters. Apparently, these are not classed as warships so can be built overseas but they will still be powerful vessels designed to carry munitions for the Royal Navy. Only here in the UK would this even be contemplated. Only this dysfunctional government would consider such a plan.

    Clearly, it is not only the Left who hate Great Britain and what it stands for. Perhaps a mild disliking for our Country has infected the Conservative Party.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Tories have deliberately destroyed our shipbuilding industry along with many others. They think we are far too superior to get our hands dirty, we must keep our air clean for all the toffs in their country and coastal houses; it’s for foreigners to serve us. Colonial and imperial views still dominate in the ruling classes.

      • Steve
        Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:48 pm | Permalink


        “Colonial and imperial views still dominate in the ruling classes.”

        If they were, we wouldn’t be getting walked all over by the french led EU.

    • Steve
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Alan Joyce

      Spot on !

      No reason whatsoever why the contract should not have gone to Tyne or Clyde.

      Though after the way those yards have been treated by successive governments, I think the people there would be justified to tell the government to get stuffed.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    It is high time that EuroSceptics took the gloves off and stopped being merely reactive.

    The EU, led by the Commission, by France and by Germany, is determined to create a Federal European SuperState. The evidence is everywhere, most recently in the Lisbon Treaty (in reality a Constitution), in the Five Presidents’ Report, and in the recent Franco-German army proposals (one of several forms of military co-operation authorised by the Lisbon Treaty). Because of the nature of the Lisbon ‘Treaty’, the EU can evolve into a Federal State without need of further treaties.

    We have only to look across the pond to see what might lie in store for us. American Federal expenditure is 20% of GDP and US defence expenditure is in excess of 4%. To get to this point, the USA had to suffer a Civil War. To this day, the people in the five South Eastern States behave like defeated people. Since then, Federal power has increased apace. The last serious American politician to challenge this centralisation was Barry Goldwater, who stood on a States’ Rights platform 55 years ago.

    All of these big Federal States – the USA, Russia, China, India – are in their different ways a menace. They are polyglot (but only collectively) and multicultural and therefore lack natural internal cohesion. They generate internal cohesion by picking fights and interfering with their neighbours. And the EU wishes to create another of these monstrosities.

    Ever since the Maastricht Treaty was incorporated into EU law on 1st January 1993, the European Commission has interfered more and more with the operation of the Single Market through its laws and directives. Nigel Farage reckons that as a result 75% of UK laws are ‘made in Brussels’. Even conservative commentators put the figure at 60%. We will want to get rid of much of this dirigiste crap, so to Hell with a ‘level playing field’.

    Finally, if we have No Deal and therefore the draft Withdrawal Agreement dies a death, we should make the payment of the £39 billion bung conditional on being treated nicely by the EU. We can define being ‘treated nicely’ as broadly and deeply as we wish. We have the money and they don’t. The EC is desperate for that money, so we have them by the cojones. When you have your opponent by the cojones, you squeeze tight and DON’T LET GO.

  60. margaret howard
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink


    ” taking back control of our laws, our money and our borders”

    We never lost any of them.

    • Chris
      Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really want to be impolite, but what planet, mh?

      • hefner
        Posted March 8, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        I don’t really want to be impolite, but being “lucky” enough to have to travel often I am quite aware that the UK still has its pound sterling and not the euro, that either travelling by plane, ferry or Channel Tunnel, I always have to be controlled when re-entering the UK, and that if a number of laws of common sense are the same in England and on the continent, tax laws, parenting laws, inheritance laws, health systems, judicial laws, even road laws are different, sometimes widely, between the UK and various countries of continental Europe.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 8, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      More nonsense from you margaret.
      1 Our courts are not supreme the EUs courts are.
      EU laws regulations and directives become UK laws regulations and directives.
      2 Borders are open to citizens of countries that are in the EU who want to travel or live or work here.
      3 We have to give increasingly large membership fees to the EU and help bail out struggling nations and give our budget to the EU for scrutiny against their budgetary rules.
      I expect you would have wanted us to drop the pound and have the Euro which would have caused real austerity.
      You really need to read the treaties we have signed (and yes hefner), read the Five Presidents Report to see the level of control the EU already has and how much more control it wants over the UK in the future.

  61. Steve
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Another informative article JR.

    However, I have to wonder what side the PM is on.

  62. Chris
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    Is this tweet from Jacob Rees-Mogg supposed to be amusing? We are deadly serious, Mr R-M about having our vote honoured and leaving the EU.
    J R-M”If the Conservatives fail to deliver Brexit our supporters will understandably be disgruntled”.

    If the Conservatives fail to deliver Brexit our supporters will understandably be disgruntled.

  63. mary
    Posted March 7, 2019 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    I am horrified at the idea of Britain’s military and security being subsumed into the EU Defence Union. We must have Brexit for this reason alone.
    Disturbingly at the six EU council meetings over the last year, UK officials have agreed various aspects of the defence union. The UK as a full participating member state has a veto but hasn’t used it. It has been signatory to all these agreements. This shows that May has no intention of Brexit.

  64. mary
    Posted March 8, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    There are indications and circumstantial evidence that the misnamed “Withdrawal” agreement was written by Berlin, and that -with May’s full approval- its terms are deliberately so appalling that the British will prefer going back to being in the EU. For she never had any intention of letting us leave. In a May-Merkel meeting which May thought was private, she is reported to have agreed to leaving as many EU laws on UK statute books to facilitate re joining the EU soon. And she referred to appearing to appease “anti EU hysteria” (her words apparently )in UK. Everything May has done shows that she has every loyalty to Germany and none to Britain, and a desire to disempower her own nation. She has quietly been signing us up to various Security and Defence; why do that if we were really leaving?

  • 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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