Votes next week

Another Groundhog week looms, when Remain MPs who cannot accept the verdict of the Peoples Vote have another go at derailing Brexit.

We know that the first vote will be a reprise of the Withdrawal Agreement. Unless there is a great breakthrough in negotiations with the EU this week-end with the removal of the backstop provision, the government is likely to find plenty of rebels against its three line whip and the proposal will be defeated once again.

The government has not yet offered  Conservative MPs guidance on how to vote should there be subsequent votes next week about keeping no deal on the table, and a possible delay to exit. Maybe   they hope that by creating uncertainty about their intentions they will maximise pressure to vote for the Agreement. I do not see this working.

The government should whip its MPs to vote against taking no deal off the table. As the Prime Minister has regularly explained, you can only take no deal away by agreeing a deal. As others have explained, the right to leave without signing an Agreement is the main pressure point we have on the EU to try to get a better agreement.

The government  should also whip its MPs to oppose any attempt to delay Brexit. The Prime Minister has told us all many times that we are leaving the EU on 29 March. She also told us at the election and for many months thereafter that no deal is better than a bad deal, showing she was prepared to leave without a deal if necessary.

Some think the government could lose both of these votes. Both are clearly winnable if the government puts the effort in. There are Labour MPs who would be very reluctant to vote for a delay given the strength of feeling in their constituencies pro Leave, and given the promises Labour made in their Manifesto to back Brexit. It would be perverse if Parliament voted for delay given the pledges made by most MPs in the election, and given the support of the government with their DUP allies.  It would place Parliament at loggerheads with the 17.4 m majority in the referendum and leave many MPs trying to explain why they had switched from their pro Leave position to get elected . If they now said that they wanted to delay it probably with a view to a second referendum or for a long delay in the hope that people would change their minds, they would need to agree delay with the EU and change our legislation.

Were Parliament to vote against no deal and against the Agreement it would have voted a contradiction. In that circumstance the government should proceed to exit in accordance with the legislation Parliament has already passed. The legislation takes precedence over a subsequent motion.

If a group of MPs try to legislate for delay they will find it difficult. It would need the government to back them to give it  a serious chance of success.The issue would be enforceabilty without government agreement. Parliament could legislate to say it must not rain tomorrow, but it would have no meaning and would be unenforceable. Delay requires the agreement of the EU as well as of the UK government. If the UK government is against delay they could claim they could not  negotiate one sensibly.  The only way to ensure delay would be to bring the government down and replace it with one that does want delay. The courts are unlikely  to uphold a case against Ministers over such a political issue which can only be resolved by Parliament.

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  1. Peter
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    If May wanted she could leave without delay on WTO terms. Any parliamentary vote could be ignored. Parliament could be prorogued if necessary.

    The trouble is May does not want WTO terms and the whole world know that.

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

      Of course she does not want WTO terms. There’s not a single country on earth that trades on WTO terms, because WTO terms are dreadfully bad. Why do you think every country spends pots of money trying to do trade deals instead? Every serious trade expert and economist has said WTO terms is calamitous, and Mrs May is quite rightly determined to avoid that

      Reply There are no standard WTO tariffs, each country chooses its own schedule under the rules

      • L Jones
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        ”…. spends pots of money….” A bit like our country having spent ”pots of money” on the EU, you mean?

        • Hope
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          JR, you answered your own question and showed, again, the lies and deceit in May’s speech yesterday to try to force half wit MPs to accept her servitude plan for the third time! May could ignore any vote for delay or take no deal off the table. She is determined to remain as planned with the EU.

          May was requested to replace the backstop after historic defeat, she ignored parliament to slightly change it and it transpires Cox has not tried to replace or change but sought to tweak the arbitration! This is contempt of parliament by both clearly demonstrating her determination to remain in the EU.

          May has tried to herd MPs towards which remain option they would prefer rather than leave. It became clear she was in collusion with the EU in December 2017 and confirmed with her underhand dishonest behaviour presenting her alternative Chequers plan written behind ministers backs but given to Merkel and EU before cabinet and parliament. The actions of a traitor.

          MPs Voted for the withdrawal act which clearly stated leave on WTO terms. May failed to get a trade deal and never even tried to get one as part of her/EU plan to last it out for years in discussion to change our minds to remain.

          May continually uses the phrase ‘the deal’ to deceive when ‘the deal’ for £39 billion was for a trade deal Not her withdraw servitude plan. She repeatedly said nothing agreed until everything agreed which was clearly u derstood to mean £39 billion for a trade deal, trade deal was written clearly in her manifesto. Who would pay £39 billion to talk about trade for years plans add on for tns of billions more! Again, dishonest.

          May brings her servitude plan back to parliament for the third time withoutmamtrade deal. First time pulled with promises of legal changes, not delivered. Second time historicmdefeat becaus she failed to get legal changes. This time may bring sit back, to date, without replacing the backstop directed by parliament, without legal changes but more threats the UK will not leave unless her servitude plan is voted for. What a tirant! In her speech yesterday trying to blame for others for,her failings and treachery. When all she had to say was if my serviude plan is voted down the law remains the UK will leave on WTO terms on 29/03/2019 as voted for by the public and parliament.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        “Every serious trade expert and economist has said WTO terms is calamitous”, that’s apart from those who have said that they would be sub-optimal but only marginally so for the UK.

        Bear in mind here that the long term trend growth rate of the UK economy is 2.5% a year, so even if these putative losses of a few percent of GDP were to materialise they would soon be recovered.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        The economists who have been proven right on all the major issues over the years – Thatcher’s supply side reforms, the ERM, the euro, the bank bailouts, ‘austerity’, etc, such as Roger Bootle, Patrick Minford etc, explain quite clearly why WTO terms will be fine, & certainly preferable to the vassalage proposed by Mrs May and the EU. Minford in particular explains how an FTA is nice to have if we can get it, but the really important thing is to be able to lower tariffs without permission from the EU. Looking at countries which have liberalised trade dramatically, like Australia, NZ, Singapore, Hong Kong, it’s very difficult to see any fault in this argument.

        • Andy
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          The fault with the argument is simple – you focus on tariffs. And tariffs are rarely the issue.

          The biggest threat to trade is non tariffs barriers.

          And through Margaret Thatcher’s single market the EU has done more to remove non tariff barriers than any organisation ever.

          Your Brexit was a vote to reintroduce these non tariff barriers. Let’s see how that ultimately works out for your wallet.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:27 am | Permalink

            Non tariff barriers are not allowed under WTO rules.

            Free world trade Andy.
            Why are you so afraid.

          • Richard1
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

            Your argument is nonsense. There is no reason for such non tariff barriers. The UK should just recognise EU standards unilaterally and challenge the EU to do the same. Plenty of the countries which have declared unilateral zero tariffs have also negotiated FTAs to ensure no non tariff barriers. You don’t know how I voted.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

            No, Andy, it’s your side – the EU’s side – which focuses on tariffs, until you’re proved wrong about that and have to fall back on a new argument about non-tariff barriers.

            Which effects no doubt the German ifo institute had taken into account when they told the German government that over the long term it could cost the UK just 1.7% of GDP. or more recently just 2.8% of GDP, to default to trading with the EU on WTO terms:


            Odd, isn’t it, that the pro-EU UK government always comes up with such vastly exaggerated numbers for the economic impact of EU membership and for the economic damage we would suffer by leaving, with or without a deal, compared to the estimates of the pro-EU German government.

            Could that be because the pro-EU German government has never felt the same need to lie to its population?

      • Mark B
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Why do you think every country spends pots of money trying to do trade deals instead?

        A bit like spending pots of money to be a member of the EU. Thing is, once the ‘pots of money’ have been spent and a FTA signed, there is no need to keep sending them ever increasing ‘pots of money’. Or do you disagree ?

      • Kendo
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        O my god, after all this time you STILL dont get it is all about non tariff barriers not tariffs

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          See my reply to Andy above, the same applies to you.

        • David Price
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Countries within the EU have operated NTB’s against the UK and others as a matter of policy. Preferential purchasing by the public sector is one example where the UK purchasing policies has been far more liberal than France and Germany.

          In those areas of “trade” we won’t be any worse off outside of the EU, in fact we will be better off as we can then take reciprocal/appropriate action independent of the biased ECJ.

      • BR
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        You mean that trades SOLELY on WTO terms, because EVERY country trades with some other countries on WTO terms – they don’t have any problems, or they would agree Preferential Trade Agreements as necessary.

        And actually there is at least one country that trades solely on WTO.

        • Andy
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          It’s Mauritania isn’t it? Is that what you are aiming for the Mauritania model?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:28 am | Permalink

            Stop heckling Andy.
            World growth is better outside the protectionist bloc of the EU

      • Fedz
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        The WTO oversees a system of trade rules for its 164 member countries, which together account for no less than 98 PER CENT OF GLOBAL TRADE
        Under the WTO General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the GATT), tariffs on most manufactured goods between the UK and the EU would stay quite low, averaging around 3 per cent.

        The WTO has already agreed to Broker a 2 year trade arrangement with the UK and the EU, to ease the transition for both Britain and the EU.

      • English Rebel
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Actually, a number of agreements have already been concluded, so we won’t be leaving on purely WTO terms.

      • G Wilson
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Nonsense. We trade extensively under WTO rules, including with our largest trading partner, the USA. The EU, after decades of dithering, has failed to make a free trade with the USA, even though it could be very beneficial for us. That’s one more reason to get out, so we can start building the relationships we need.

        WTO terms are not ‘dreadfully bad’. They enable trade across the world. That’s why we helped formulate them in the 1940’s and since.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

          Indeed, so says the EU Commission itself, in direct contradiction of its fifth column supporters in the UK. As pointed out before:

          “The European Commission says otherwise.

          “Who is trading with the UK on WTO rules?”

          “24 WTO rules countries”

          “Source: European Commission”

          The country which is our top export market, the USA, being one of them.

          OK, so:

          “Even with those 24, the EU has a variety of arrangements which make trade easier. For example, there is an agreement between the EU and the US about the language which can be used by wine exporters on their bottles.”

          but those arrangements to facilitate trade are just minor agreements among a huge number of such minor agreements on a extensive range of topics made between the nations of the world and distinct from full-blown special or preferential trade treaties. I don’t think it will be hard to arrange for the US and UK to continue with the same agreement on the language that wine exporters can use on their bottles, even if only on a provisional basis.”

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:10 am | Permalink

        It is true that most (or all) members of WTO have a preferential trade agreement with one or more other countries. It is also true that there is not a single country in the world that does all its trade through preferential agreements. Most trade is conducted under WTO rules without preferential agreements. All preferential agreements are under WTO rules. WTO is not an alternative to the EU because the EU trades under WTO rules by which it is not allowed to discriminate against an independent UK.
        The EU’s share of world trade is in long term decline.
        In UK’s case most of its trade is outside the EU although some of that is with countries with which the EU has trade deals (In Japan’s case not even fully implemented). EU trade deals are not optimised for UK – by definition.
        There is no reason why UK cannot make its own preferential agreements outside the EU and that these cannot be better suited to UK’s needs than EU deals.

      • Alison
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Furthermore, the trade statistics show that the UK trades successfully under WTO. See Michael Burrage’s work, It’s Quite OK to Walk Away, and quoted by Phil Radford in his BrexitCentral article – approx 73% of the UK’s non-EU goods trade in 2015 was on WTO terms. Radford shows that UK non-EU trade has been growing on average per annum 3.3% in the last 20 years, compared with 0.2% p.a. with the EU over the last 20 years (after adjustment for inflation).

    • oldtimer
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      JR’s last paragraph refers to the need for a change of government to force a delay. That may indeed be in the minds of Tory Ministers and MPs utterly opposed to and determined to frustrate Brexit. Hammond, Rudd, Ellwood are names that spring instantly to mind when contemplating who might be at the heart of a coup to topple May to delay and then reverse Brexit. I imagine it would split the Tory party, lead to a no confidence vote and a general election. Whether such a course of events actually is feasible in the time available is another matter and one I am unable to judge.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Indeed everyone knows this and she is also undercut by the many remoaner MPs in parliament and her cabinet (encourage by her) she has no bargaining position at all. If she manages to put the UK into her idiotic W/A straightjacket it becomes far worse still. It is entirely her fault, she is not a leader she is a socialist, dishonest, a remainer and very foolish with it – she might make an average geography teacher perhaps.

      Nearly three years of this appalling PM now. Surely she must go very soon but we must avoid the even more appalling Corbyn/McDonnall/SNP.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–I think Sir John takes too much account of what this PM and government might do–Seems to me that not very many care two figs what she or they might or might not do.

        Replywhat government does matters as they could lead this Parliament to delay Brexit

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Dear Sir John–But not this government–Extension of Article 50 surely inevitable now?? Least appalling option

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        Good point LL,

        May constructed her cabinet as she saw fit and decided to surround herself with remainers, so I wonder why anyone should, or even could be surprised they are now such a thorn in her flesh?

        Put garbage in, and you get garbage out. There is a wealth of pro-Brexit talent she could have chosen in their stead who would have seen the UK’s exit across the line. Yet still there are those blinkered people who believe every word she says as if she was some kind of paragon of truth and virtue. Sorry, but that myth is all-but destroyed as far as thinking people are concerned.

        If the likes of Hammond, Rudd, and Clarke walk, we must think of it as a blessing and an opportunity to get better people in and raise the overall capability of the government as well as its ethical standards. As for the public, they must now insist – no more of these ‘duds’ and career politicians!


    • Andy
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Nor do the British people. They voted for a deal – as outlined by Vote Leave in 2016 – and when Mrs May offered a harder Brexit to voters in the 2017 general election, she lost.

      Our sovereign Parliament does not want no deal – and polls repeatedly show very low levels of support for no deal among the public. Despite Iain Duncan Smith going on TV and literally making up a claim otherwise.

      So – you literally have no mandate to leave without a deal. None. Nada. Nil. What part of democracy do you not understand?

      Reply Vote Leave offered no deal and always said we could leave with or without one.

      • L Jones
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        ”… have no mandate to leave without a deal”
        Ah yes, Andy. I remember now. Those telling words on the referendum ballot paper:

        Remain in the EU
        Leave the EU but only if they will give us a good trade deal and will allow them to rule over us for ever and take a lot more of our money.

        That mandate, do you mean?

        • margaret howard
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink


          “That mandate, do you mean?

          It’s absurd to say that the 16 million + who voted Remain should no longer have a voice in parliament and have lost their right to be represented.

          Against 17 m + mostly disgruntled elderly people many of whom will not live long enough to suffer the disaster they helped create.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          The minority seem to have the biggest voice in Parliament so your post is pointless.

          And your ageist remarks are in poor taste.
          It amazes me how the left instantly shout out against any non PC remarks and any discriminatory remarks over sexuality or gender or disability or religion yet find it acceptable to make dreadful comments about people who happen to be older than they are.
          Shame on you and andy.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        The Government’s own £9 million leaflet specified that ‘Leave’ meant WTO – OUT of Single Market, OUT of Customs Union, OUT of ECJ – we voted Leave with NO DEAL!

        • Andy
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          The government leaflet did not the customs union or the WTO.

          It is still available to read online. I’d recommend it. It turns out it was actually very good.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

            I’m not surprised you like it.
            It was written by remainers like you andy

          • hefner
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            Again Edward2′ I’m sorry to be nitpicking but that was not Andy’s point.

      • graham1946
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        ‘They voted for a deal’

        Where was that on the ballot paper? – didn’t see it on mine, just leave or stay.

        2017 Election – the true EU Party, the Lib Dems got slaughtered – you never mention that. The two parties who said they would honour Brexit got 80 percent of the vote – not good enough for you of course.

        You’ve got a nerve accusing IDS of making stuff up. All your stuff if made up and never do you produce even one fact or a positive argument for staying in. Another classic entry from Fact Free Andy.

        • Andy
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          I don’t have to provide a positive argument for staying in the EU – because we are leaving.

          Instead my job is to expose the flaws in your argument and to ridicule you all for it. You make it easy.

          You say ‘a deal was not on the ballot paper’. You are correct it was not. Nor was no deal. It said leave or remain – but it did not say how to leave. Incidentally it also said European Union – it did not mention on the ballot paper leaving the single market or customs union.

          And at the 2017 election Labour was the party of soft Brexit. Its manifesto called for the UK to retain the exact sameness benefits of the single market and customs union. Soft and no Brexit parties won 57% of the vote. What part of democracy do you not understand?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:32 am | Permalink

            The PM and Chancellor said many times during the referendum campaign what leaving the EU entailed.
            You have selective amnesia Andy.

          • graham1946
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

            At last – an admission that you actually cannot think of one and do not know what you are talking about. What a reply – that you don’t need to defend your argument!

            I understand about democracy that in the biggest vote for anything in history there was a clear majority in favour of leaving the EU. It is you and your ilk who have tried to betray democracy at every turn and have managed to get us the worst possible deal a Remainer could get. Congratulations. With a united front and proper negotiators we had all the cards. You gave them away to your beloved EU.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        The deal was on the Remain side, Leave did not have a deal and we were told no other deal was or would be possible by Cameron and also Juncker himself the day before the referendum:

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t vote for a party called Vote Leave.

        The referendum wasn’t an election and a wide range of views were expressed.

    • John Sheridan
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      This is the long and the short of it, Mrs May will not countenance a WTO exit. Her entire approach has been to convey weakness to the EU in her desperation for any deal.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        That is about it. Total incompetence and a lack of vision. No understanding of duty, negotiation, honesty, logic, economics or game theory. Please just go dear.

        Another death tax on top of the IHT £1 threshold promise ratting by tax to death grim reaper Hammond and the huge increase in the probate taxes. We now have the death certificate tax going up by 19% to £11. Quite likely that you need several of these original certificates – for each bank account, insurance company and similar. A sheet of A4 does not cost that much does it? Plus vast increases in parking charges by councils to kill the few remaining shops one assumes.

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

      I’m starting to get a little annoyed by this will of the people stuff.

      The way I see it, the conservative party has been obsessed with this issue since 1974, maybe before. It nearly derailed the conservative government under major.

      While all this was going on, the E.U ranked about 8th in people’s priorities.

      Then they forced this referendum on the people, which the people never asked for, and now have everyone at each other’ throats.

      Oh, and the conservative party remain as split as they have ever been, while dividing the whole country as well.

      A fine old business. Oh, and there’s no going back now, either…

      • forthurst
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        17.4 million people to leave the EU and I strongly suspect if everyone were equally appraised of the facts, the percentage would have been substantially higher. That is not to say some nations and people have not benefited from the EU, they have, but they have only done so at somebody else’s expense: hence the French and the Irish have benefited from replacing our indigenous farm produce through the highly manipulative CAP, the Germans and French have benefited from the replacement of our manufacturing industry, and the French, Dutch and Spanish have benefited from the outright theft of our marine resources.

        Furthermore, the proponents of the EU have attempted to keep the people in the dark concerning the direction of travel of the EU and the inevitable end game as people wake up too late to the total loss of national autonomy and their rule by faceless bureaucrats in the EU commission no doubt nominally presided over by one or more insane Dutch ‘presidents’ in a recreation of the Bolshevik empire. Do you remember which lying politician denied the imminence of an EU army at the time of the Referendum?

      • David Price
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        How do you know it only ranked 8th. We have never been asked once since 1975 until the referendum in 2016.

        Polls are not an accurate or complete representation of views, they cannot be trusted. The media is not an accurate analyser or predictor of people’s intentions or views, they make stuff up and seek to sway opinion, just like polls.

        The only way to find out what someone thinks is to ask them.

        So perhaps the situation is the other way round to your complaint, perhaps the people have become very annoyed by the willfulness of the politicians

      • acorn
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Merlin, I have said times before on this site, with references to Star Trek story lines about the M-5 multitronic super computer system, when it pronounced, as things were going tits up, that:


        Mrs May’s prime directive at this time is to keep the Conservative Party together and functioning like the Borg Collective. She is the Borg Queen, the central nexus for the Conservative Party Collective. The UK socio-economic system of 66 million lesser “carbon units” will be managed as required at the least expense.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Might I suggest it is probably due to the success of those stalwart Brexiteers finally making the people see that their country is about to be subsumed by the undemocratic EU, and their nation state lost for ever by the subterfuge and the trickery of the remainers. That understandably tends to get patriotic British subject’s backs up.

        As for de-railing the Major government, he and they deserved it. Except for a few, they were all a part of the pro-EU plot!

    • Mark B
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      To be fair, and our kind host has mentioned it here, most MP’s are for Remaining in the EU. How that could possibly be given the manifesto pledges made by both main parties is beyond me, but !

    • jane4brexit
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      There is a petition:

      The Prime Minister should advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament.

      The Prime Minister should advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament suspending the current parliamentary session until 2nd April 2019 to prevent any attempts by parliamentarians to thwart Brexit on 29th March 2019. Preparations for no-deal/WTO will continue.
      The Prime Minister’s deal has been rejected. No further deal is available from the EU. Remaining in the EU is not an option. Extension or revocation of Article 50 is not an option. I believe the British people voted to leave with no mention of a deal and that WTO rules, to which Britain will default on 29th March 2019, are in Britain’s best interests. We may get a better deal after, but not until, we have left.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Sorry I forgot number, it is 237487.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink
        • acorn
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, removed the prerogative power of the Queen, on the advice of the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament and trigger a general election. Also, there is now no requirement to “prorogue” parliament before it is “dissolved” for a general election.

          If I were the Prime Minister and I could get parliament prorogued that easily, I would prorogue this Punch & Judy parliament, all the way to the next fixed term General Election and run the show from Downing Street.

    • William Simpson
      Posted March 11, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink


      I keep reading the same thing, that the vote to have “no deal” off the table, and that MPs voting for an extension of Article 50 are only motions, and not legislation. Redwood is saying exactly the same thing. So, is it not reasonable to assume that these 2 motions, following the likely defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday, can not only be ignored, they also are meaningless against an Act of Parliament, the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. In order to overturn that, (and the departure of UK from the EU on 29 March 2019), surely there has to be another piece of legislation? If that is the case, it is surely unlikely that piece of legislation could be enacted before 29 March. Ergo, UK leaves the EU without a “deal”, (which more correctly is without a withdrawal agreement).

      Reply What the government does is crucial. They could propose amending the date in the Withdrawal Act to delay and could enact that with Labour support if that was available. However, they would need to explain why the delay, agree it with the EU and then enact anything that the EU wanted by way of return payment. Labour might not then go along with the legislation needed.

  2. Mark B
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    As my post from yesterday is still in moderation, let us hope that this missive makes it through ?

    The government should also whip its MPs . . .

    Question for our kind host. Does he believe that it should be a Three Line Whip ?

    Reply Yes

    • Mark B
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Thank you.

      As some here may or may not know, for any MP to defy a ‘Three Line Whip’ risks having the Whip removed and possibly being expelled from the party.

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Well, this is my (perhaps too difficult to grasp) letter in the local paper this week:

    “Last week 288 MPs showed that they would willingly give up the UK’s unilateral right of withdrawal from the EU.

    Because that was the significance of voting for an amendment which stated that the House …

    “… is determined not to leave the European Union without a withdrawal agreement and future framework under any circumstances, and regardless of any exit date.”

    Only 36 more MPs, 324 in total, voted against that proposition, which would have meant we could never leave the EU without its consent.

    Surely it is obvious that if the EU chose not to consent to the withdrawal of the UK it could refuse to make any withdrawal agreement, or only offer an agreement designed to be totally unacceptable to the UK?

    Of course even if the amendment had been passed that in itself would have had no effect upon Article 50 in the EU treaties, which was created in 2003 specifically because top eurocrats were concerned that the EU was beginning to look like a prison.

    In retrospect it seems they need not have worried too much about that, given that even the notoriously “eurosceptic” UK has now reached a point where nearly half of elected MPs would be perfectly happy for it to become a prison.

    Perhaps some of your pro-EU correspondents would care to comment on this, and in particular tell us whether getting the UK inescapably locked into the EU, whatever circumstances may arise in the future, formed part of whatever sketchy plan they may have had for after they had won the referendum.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      A House of Lords select committee report highlighted the thinking behind the original drafting of the exit clause which became Article 50 TEU:

      “21. The second option is stark: if no agreement is reached within two years, the effect is exactly the same as if a withdrawal agreement had been agreed and entered into force: the EU “Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question” (Article 50(3) TEU). The second option allows, therefore, for the most disorderly of withdrawals. The travaux préparatoires explain that the two-year cut-off was inserted to ensure that the right of a Member State to withdraw from the EU was unilateral, rather than dependent on the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Indeed, the drafters of Article 50 foresaw the two-year period being extended:

      “The Praesidium considers that, since many hold that the right of withdrawal exists even in the absence of an explicit provision to that effect, withdrawal of a Member State from the Union cannot be made conditional upon the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement. Hence the provision that withdrawal will take effect in any event two years after notification … “”

      Nearly half of our MPs apparently have so little commitment to our national sovereignty and democracy that they would have preferred the Praesidium (of the 2002 – 2003 Convention on the Future of Europe) to have written the clause so that the UK could only leave with the permission of the EU, and presumably they would have willingly voted to approve the EU Constitution and/or the subsequent Lisbon Treaty even with such a provision.

      • Mitchel
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        They actually use the term “Praesidium” ….with all it’s Soviet overtones?!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      And here is an example of an offer which the EU knows will be unacceptable:

      “The package of assurances includes the option for the UK to leave the single customs union “unilaterally”, provided other elements of the backstop still apply to Northern Ireland.”

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink


        What’s the betting she ultimately gives in?

        I thought Major was bad. His brand of pro-EU politics consigned the Tory party to the wilderness for years. The actions of this Prime Minister could see the Tory party disintegrate altogether. But I have to say, boils need to be lanced to get rid of all the puss, not left to fester, because cowardice and a reluctance to get rid of these poisonous remainers once and for all will inevitably kill the patient in the end.

        The choice is theirs – get rid, or get gone!


    • James
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      This has not escaped the notice of many of the 17.4 million, who will relish retribution at the next election.

  4. Stephen Priest
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    I see a new bogey man has appeared in the Telegraph: “Leaked memo reveals ministers warned of Brexit plot to keep UK in permanent customs union with EU”

    In other words “Vote for Theresa May’s Permanent Customs Union with the EU or else you’ll be in a Permanent Customs Union with the EU”

    • John Sheridan
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      That is precisely how I read the leaked details. It’s not a threat with any teeth.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink


    • Lazlo
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Exactly she’s going to screw you..she’s on a personal crusade to tear the house down and then whens shes finished she’ll call a GE and hand it to Corbyn

      And why you might ask? because she’s been listening to that anti EU whinge from the ERG types mixed with loadsa misogynistic tittle tattle for forty years .. and she’s had enough and now she’s going to rub your noses in it. Idiots

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Indeed that is the best way to proceed, but May and Hammond will doubtless fail to do this. May has after all, got nearly every single thing wrong so far. She is clearly a socialist, red tape pushing, tax to death, big government remainer to her core. Cameron, May and the state sector in general have, in an act of gross negligence, totally failed to prepare properly for a clean no deal leave on 29th March. This despite having nearly three years to prepare.

    This failure and the undermining of the negotiations by remoaners is the reason that May is in this position. That her broken compass, her lack of vision and the fact that she threw an election with her idiotic punishment manifesto & gross robotic incompetence are the reasons we are in this mess.

    Why on earth did 200 Tory MP still have confidence in her recently?

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

      In answer to your last sentence, they didn’t, they were just terrefied of any alternative.

    • John Sheridan
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Why did 200 Tory MPs have confidence in Mrs May, because they are remainers and fear a Brexiteer being elected as leader.

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink


        And a Brexiteer that would have electoral appeal, with a proven record of winning elections in a normally Labour metropolis, and who played a major part in winning the referendum.

        Worst of all the Brexiteer might actually believe in free markets and might make the odd unPC gaffe (that most people would agree with) without the need to make a grovelling apology.

        • Anonymous
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Coloured people or people of colour ?

          It’s becoming a minefield. Even in a week when a girl guide was killed there’s nothing more to make a Minister of the Crown jump.

          • agricola
            Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            Why do people have to be categorised by colour, it tells you nothing about them. The UK has got itself into a PC bind, thinking the perfect solution tells all. In fact it tells you nothing. I prefer the Aussie definition of people into Good Bastards and Rotten Bastards. I says all you need to know.

  6. Anon (East Midlands)
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I am a Tory backbencher and I will have no difficulty explaining why I am voting for the longest possible extension. I will tell – I am telling – my constituents that the country has been betrayed by a bunch of far right zealots whose every prediction (about how we hold all the cards, how we will get frictionless trade with the EU and how the rest of the world will be falling over itself to offer us trade deals over a cup of coffee) has been proved false. Time to go back to the people and ask them what they think, now the harsh reality of a friendless Brexit has been exposed

    • BCL
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I think we did hold a great many if not quite all the cards. The problem is that we didn’t use them. In the first place, for example, we let the EU set the agenda for the negotiations. Goodness knows why. David Davis opposed that but was overruled, I believe.
      You have, in my opinion, a curious view of democracy.

      • bigneil
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Anon’s view of democracy is from above, looking down on us. Like most, but not all, people who want to get into powerful positions, they want to do what is
        seen as beneficial for themselves, not the people who voted them in.

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

      If any of that is remotely true then you should be ashamed of yourself.
      Why do you think people voted to leave?
      Because life under the thrall of the EU has become an utter misery.
      If we had been happy we would have voted in droves to remain!!

    • Edward2
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      The people voted to leave the EU
      Read the leaflet.
      “This is your decision. We will implement what you decide”.
      The “Far right zealots ” you describe are those MPs who are democratically carrying out that decision.

    • agricola
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      I am of the opinion that you are a rank amateur in a professional situation. You cannot blame the RWZs , they are among the few who have been honest enough to support the will of the people. You will shortly have to stand on your Town Hall steps and explain why you hold the electorate in contempt.

    • eeyore
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      I hope your constituents ask you what sort of deal can be expected when your fellow Remainers in high places constantly trot off to Brussels to give aid and comfort to the enemy, not to mention tactical advice on how to defeat the democratic will of this country, humiliate it before the world and hold it to ransom.

      That’s not all. You, sir or madam, are a public figure and have no right to hide behind a pseudonym. Willing to wound but afraid to strike, it seems. For shame.

    • They Work for Us?
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Please resign your seat since you are not prepared to follow the instructions of your employers, the electorate who are the ultimate democratic authority. You have no divine right to rule, begone!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Time for you to consider why you wish to overturn the democratic will of the people. Why should we vote or take any notice of what you do henceforth if you’re acting like dictators under a false cloak of democracy?

    • RichardM
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Well said Anon. You have the support of the majority of the country, yet another fact which these zealots and their small minority of followers on here appear unable to comprehend.

      • L Jones
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        The words ”land”, ”cloud” and ”cuckoo” spring to mind.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        RichardM. Strange, I thought the majority of the country voted out or was that a dream?

    • Amanda
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      What a terrible MP you are then. Your language is interperate, and you talk in ‘media sound=bites’ – there are no considered arguments made in your post, let alone any well made. How can anything be proved false, that has not been proved at all because it hasn’t happened? Why are people with different views ‘zealots’? Maybe you’re the intolerant ‘zealot’, have you considered that possibility?

      All that aside, you were told, by us, your employers, the people who are sovereign in the UK to leave the EU. You stood on a manifesto to leave the EU. Now, get on with it or be proved a liar and turfed out of Parliamaent.

    • Duyfken
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Anon: You describe yourself as “a Tory backbencher”; I describe you as a disgrace.

    • Stred
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      You won’t be anon at the next election when welcher
      MPs are wiped out and the Treason Act is reinstated.

      • Andy
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        The Treason Act of 1351 is still Law. The only thing that has changed is Blair removed sentence of death from it.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Voting a different way to you andy is not treason.

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

          Thanks for that info. Only hanging to be reinststed then.

    • StephenJ
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Clearly Anon (East Midlands) is not proud to be taking this position, otherwise it would stand up and be a representative of its east midlands constituency.

      The zealots and phobics are those that would rather hang on to nurse, not the leavers, who see a great future for a newly independent nation.

    • Al
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      And when one of them asks you where you were when EUVAT was destroying their business, or what you will do to prevent Article 11&13 doing the same thing, will your answer be, as my MP’s was that non-VAT registered businesses don’t matter? Or that there are ‘bigger’ issues than the 9M affected people’s livelihoods?

      Having seen you receive your pay rise for the year despite poor performance, people (writers, content creators, videographers, and artists) in the digital sector facing loss of livelihoods due to the EU for a second time are not currently well disposed towards MPs.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      If as you say you are a Tory backbencher then you sir are a disgrace.
      We voted OUT and you were elected on such a manifesto. It is the likes of you that has highjacked Brexit to try and thwart it.
      Resign and force a byelection and let the constituency decide.

    • Noneoftheabove
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      You Will be making a foolish mistake.

    • Chris Dark
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Was your constituency a remain-voting one? If not, you probably won’t have your seat for much longer. You clearly don’t understand that a country-wide democratic vote to leave means leave; the country voted to discard the European Union membership and set back out on the road of independence and a new future….as it was before the EU was ever formulated. Life did actually exist before it, you know. It’s MPs who are making a “friendless Brexit”….not the population. It is MPs who are ducking and diving to stay on the gravy train. You are driving your country towards becoming a nationless EU region, because that is the ultimate goal of the EU…..all one country; no nation-states. You are doing all you can to undermine democracy. There will be a price to pay.

      • bigneil
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        ” to stay on the gravy train.” Question – does the gravy train cost more than the HS2 is going to cost us?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Such strong convictions hiding behind the cloak of anonymity! We had the vote, it was to Leave and just because Mrs May has not produced an acceptable “deal”, deliberately in my opinion, doesn’t mean we need to be asked again (in typical EU fashion) it means only that Parliament should now enact the instruction of the people which Parliament itself legislated for. Leaving on 29th March on WTO terms and keeping £39bn to spend in the UK is fine by me.

    • Noneoftheabove
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      So, an MP who sits in a parliament that voted to submit Art 50 and enact The European Withdrawal Act, supports a PM who consistently asserted that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ and that ‘we are leaving the EU on 29th March’, knows how to negotiate, is enthusiastic about our future prospects and confident about negotiating new trading arrangements is a right wing zealot.
      You do your Constituents and your Country a great disservice.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I am a Troll . . .

      There, fixed it for ya !


    • sm
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      There are Labour MPs and many Labour voters who are in favour of Brexit – are they also Far-Right zealots, Anon East Midlands Not Really An MP?

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      There is nothing “far right” about John Redwood.

      “Far right” used to mean BNP.

      Since the liberals took over the Conservative Party they have managed to cut off millions of ordinary voters and bring in socialist policies.

      Which ever way we voted we got socialism (Blairism.) The EU was blamed.

      YOU caused Brexit.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Anon, I wonder if you have any understanding of the future direction of the EU, either you do and in which case please explain what function Parliament will have in the future?

      Or, you don’t in which case you should probably educate yourself and a good place to start is the “Five President’s Report” Goggle will help you find it.

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        I read it. It is about the Eurozone. So it is irrelevant to the UK. What is your point?

        • Know-Dice
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          There is no such thing as “Status Quo” in the EU, if the UK were to remain in the EU there are already scheduled further diluting of the UK voting power via extension of Qualified Majority Voting, loss of Mrs Thatchers rebate. In addition the enlargement of the EU and how many of those countries will be net recipients of EU funds?.

          Long term it is inevitable that the UK would get dragged in to these proposals.

    • Chris
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Anon (East Midlands) I can only conclude from your comment that you must be a hoax. If in fact you are the real thing then my view is that you do not deserve the title Right Honourable.
      The result of the Referendum must be upheld as it was a written promise to the electorate, but even more importantly because to deny the result would be acting against democracy itself. That has tremendously serious implications for this country to call for a denial of democracy.

      Those MPs who are acting to honour the promise made with regard to the referendum result, who are striving to effect the Referendum result, and to uphold democracy are the honourable MPs. To call them “far right zealots” is outrageous, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I suggest if you are real, come out into the open and do not hide in this cowardly fashion. Make yourself and your actions known so that you can be held accountable.

    • Richard1
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Are you really an MP? Sir John presumably can see. I agree Vote Leave were far too blasé about the ease of a deal with the EU, with figures such as David Davis particularly at fault. But surely you have briefed yourself sufficiently to know that trade deals with other countries can’t be signed, or even negotiated until the UK has left the EU? Given the WA threatens permanent membership of the customs union, that will also preclude any meaningful FTA negotiations around the world until that issue is clear. One reason why all MPs, whatever they voted in the referendum, should vote down the WA.

      • zorro
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        The operative word was ‘SHOULD’ be easy because of the facts on the ground. However, it was clear to all who wanted to see that the EU would not make it easy. I have not commented much for fear of repetition, but as Parliament legislated we can happily leave on 29/03. Reasonably adequate preparations have been made to mitigate any potential issues. A tariff schedule has been prepared but not yet officially disclosed which will mitigate any threats from the EU.

        We will be able, on exit, to prepare tactical solutions which will allow us to grow our economy. Now is the time for a steely calm in the face of empty threats.


    • Pud
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Having a good hand of cards is of little use if you don’t play them or you show them to your opponent before playing them.

    • Timaction
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Where have you been when your leader conspired with foreign leaders, the EU and civil serpents behind the back of Mr Davis then Mr Rabbit to come up with her Brexit betrayal known as Chequers! BRINO. £39 Billion plus £65 billion in assets for…. nothing. The whole negotiation has been handled by a Remained Prime Minister and civil serpents on the same side of the table as Barnier. We are going to get our sovereignty back despite you remainiacs. How do you imagine you will fair personally and as a Party if you defy your employer s, the electorate at the election? The sole for you and your party and the Brexit Party will emerge to take back control from you Federalist traitors.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      When posting anything, I use my own name – and I’m just an ordinary member of the public. I’m not afraid of scrutiny. Surely someone in public office should not be scared to do the same and reveal their true identity to us?

      Why hide beneath a cloak of anonymity especially at a time when people need to know who stands for what?

      That is very important, because the only way your fellow remainers were able to con the public into accepting small virtually imperceptible creeping steps towards full EU matriculation, was by not declaring their true intent in the first place – so I now challenge you to come out into the open and tell me I am wrong!

      Tad Davison


  7. Iain Gill
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    keep going john

    good luck

  8. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    “The legislation takes precedence over a subsequent motion.”

    It does, but Theresa May could follow her heart and arrange for the legislation to be amended in the light of the subsequent motion.

  9. James
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    It seems quite evident that the government does want a delay. Why else would the PM offer the vote on it? Given this, how feasible would it be to legislate for this before the 29th assuming the EU agrees?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Perfectly feasible, see above.

  10. /IKH
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Is the vote to take ‘No Deal’ off the table just a motion that is non-binding on the govt? Is that also true of the motion for delay? I some how think that one or both of these motions will pass, what ever the whipping.

    To me, the key question is what will the PM do in the event that she can not get her deal through Parliament. Will she chose ‘No Deal’ or not leave? Your thoughts would be appreciated. Like you, I would very strongly prefer ‘No Deal’


    • Steve Pitts
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      She will choose neither but let the House decide on a free vote probably. She would say she will accept the will of the House.

    • Steve
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink


      I wouldn’t be surprised that she would try and go for extension.

      May Hammond et al will have to be defenestrated if we are to get a no deal exit.

      Or, as Steve Pitts suggests she could move it to a free vote, thereby using the old excuse; ” it wasn’t me, don’t blame me it was them”

  11. eeyore
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for this masterly summary of a very confused situation. Let’s hope it works out as you say.

    • Norman
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      A masterly analysis, indeed.
      “Parliament could legislate to say it must not rain tomorrow, but it would have no meaning and would be unenforceable.”
      However, it seems to me, that’s almost what’s been happening – and not only on this issue. I say this, knowing the immense responsibility that rests on Parliament, and her Majesty’s Government in particular.
      But shall we ever see sanity return? I suspect it will indeed rain, and play be stopped.

  12. agricola
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    MPs have got themselves into this predicament by thinking they know better than the electoate by ignoring the referendum result. In so doing they render themselves unelectable, just as if they had been found with their fingers in the till. Frankly John they disgust me.

    I would add that in arriving at such a position of conflict they play into the hands of a malevelant EU, demonstrating that they could not negotiate themselves from a wet paper bag. That the PM and her civil service team have deliberarely orchestrated the situation is doubly damning. It will cause a political upheaval not previously experienced. You and a large number of MPs will have to decide between party and country. In previous history party and country were synonamous among conservatives, sadly no longer.

  13. Everhopeful
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    JR’s logical and knowledgeable explanations are always a million miles away from msm’s spiteful, alarming interpretations with their transparent attempts at fear provoking.

    Thank goodness we have someone who is prepared to take the time to explain all this procedural stuff.

    We will NOT be dining on rats!!!

  14. Charles Crane
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I was at a constituency AGM last night where i asked Jo Churchill who, correct me if I am wrong, is a government whip, what whip lines would be applied to the votes next week.

    She said that it hadn’t been decided yet. In view of your comments above she would appear to be either (a) incompetent (b) lying.

    Can you shed any light on this?

    reply She said what she was told to say. Mrs May and her colleagues refuse to give us the whipping for the Wednesday and Thursday possible votes.We are in the unusual position of many of us asking for a 3 line whip to enforce stated government policy and they decline to do so so far

    • Mark B
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      That’s damning !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      May is absolutely appalling just get rid of her some how.

    • Charles Crane
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      As a follow up, when I pressed her and asked her to justify the 39 billion plus 10 billion a year during transition plus 8 billion a year on import duties we hand over to Brussels as part of the customs union and pointed out that for a one nation party caring for the less well off and disadvantaged, charging evey living person in the country £1,200 a head for nothing in return was a bit hypocritical, I was told to leave the meeting.

      God if only I could go back twelve years. I wish I’d never left Winnersh !

      • Tad Davison
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        That’s how these people work and has its own commentary!

        Duplicitous? Underhanded? Unscrupulous? Dishonest? Snow-job?


      • BR
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:48 am | Permalink

        I assume you refused.

        And that you will follow up with a complaint, preferably supported by witnesses.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    This morning Sky News told us that whether or not we face a no deal cliff edge there is no doubt that we are standing on the edge of a precipice, and so Nadine Mann in Cornwall has been stockpiling food for months. Because a no deal Brexit could mean increased checks on goods coming in from the EU at ports like Dover. Little has been done to allay such fears, it was said, and clearly Sky News has no more intention of doing anything to allay such fears than Theresa May – in fact it is the exact opposite, both Sky News and Theresa May are intent on deliberately stoking up such groundless fears. As far as the former is concerned, it is free to follow whatever editorial policy it chooses, but as far as the latter is concerned she has been entrusted with a public office and has a duty to the public which she is choosing to disregard.

  16. Amanda
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Dear John

    Thank you for your constant clear analysis of the situation – you are my first, and often my only read of the day on the subject. I, like many others, cannot abide the reporting of the constant twising and turning of a Government and Remain Establishment hell bent on reversing the referendum result. Even friends and relatives who voted Remain want the Government to get on with leaving now – much to my surprise in some cases.

    It has been clear for a long time that Theresa May has no intention of ‘leading’ us out of the EU: with any luck she’ll fall over her own ‘tricksy’ shoes. Here’s hoping her incompetence falls in favour of the people of the UK this time.

    It is however, a bad wind that blows in no good; at least this whole charade has exposed our feeble democracy, and hardened many a resolve in working to improve it. Whatever does happen on 29th March, there is no going back to where we were. The UK voted to leave the EU, and we will; even if it is later rather than sooner. The genie will not now go back in the lamp.

  17. acorn
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    “UK realising EU is dominant power in Europe and Brexit will be on its terms. UK will be accommodated but never prioritised above collective interest of EU”. (Google it). A sobering read for Brexiteers in the Irish Times. Downing Street has always known that Brexit was not going to be a negotiation between equal parties. It was always going to be a damage limitation exercise for both sides.

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

      The EU is only dominant if you are frightened of leaving without a deal.
      The truth is that the EU and the R of I are frightened of competing with us on a level playing field.
      We have nothing to fear except fear itself!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I get the impression that many people, including some that voted Remain in the referendum, are so fed up with the whole thing that their backs are now well and truly up. They just want to leave. Every Question Time audience in the last year or so – even given one normally has the impression they are largely Labour / Remain supporters – has clapped enthusiastically when anyone says ‘we just need to get on with it and leave’.

      The world is not going to stop spinning on its axis.
      There will be a bit of upheaval and adjustment.
      Then, as the British always do when their backs are to the wall, we’ll knuckle down and make a success of it.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Post BREXIT we will be a Third Country and, like all other Third Countries we will be equals, even to that of the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Of course.

      Hence there is little in the way of triumphalism in the UK.

      The referendum should have been held at the time of the Maastricht Treaty but Major rammed us in.

    • anon
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      EU manages its ineptitude and stagnation, only whilst the UK supports it.

      There is nothing to fear except fear itself.

      • acorn
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Can you lot get something right for once. “… Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address.

        • Jagman84
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          We were waiting for you to get something right for the first time, instead of your usual drivel. It’s only good manners….

    • Lucas
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink’ve got it in one

      UK will be accommodated but never prioritised and I might add accepted by the EU again, ever, even for future generations..the reason being, too much trouble. And yes, Downing street knows, and has known for a long time that UK will never be accepted in talks with them as equal partners, not now and not in the future. But as some would say we voted to leave so what does it matter?

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        And your point is?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 10, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Ah, the Irish Times …

  18. Dominic
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The decision to leave should and indeed was a democratic one until democracy delivered the wrong result. As in the west today, when democracy delivers the wrong result then other avenues are then explored to circumvent.

    As with Trump in the US and as with Brexit in the UK. Each event’s been exposed to non-democratic pressures to alter its nature. Deep-state intervention and propaganda to force impeachment. Or pursuing the issue through the courts of law. Or constitutional jiggery pokery. Or maybe downright slander to undermine the political enemy

    Why is democracy in the west being exposed to these types of non-democratic pressures when we should be embracing the result and taking pride in its deliverance?

    The western state’s quite obviously been infected by people who are shall we say, find democracy far too cumbersome to their needs. They abhor the involvement of the common man in the political process. The common man didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge. He is a mere taxpaying extension of the state. The common man is too be told what to do, what to say and legislated into silence

    And May. What have we done to deserve this politician?

    With May as PM Brexit will not happen no matter what happens next week

    • Everhopeful
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      My fave hobby horse!
      I reckon that we never have had “democracy” as it is commonly interpreted.
      We were handed a sop in 1832 which the powers-that-be called “ democracy” simply to save their necks from the waves of revolution sweeping across Europe.
      It appeared to work OK when we all seemed to be travelling in the same direction…all embracing patriotism,nationalism,monarchy etc. All tools of course to get us to dig canals, work in factories, go down mines, fight wars, accept hardship and so on.
      We believed in the two party system. We believed that party A would put right the wrongs of party B if they were given a few years in govt.
      Until of course they silently and stealthily changed the agenda. Suddenly patriotism, nationalism, the Union Jack, even coal became virtually illegal. Not to mention our much vaunted “democratic will”.
      How do you break it to a people that it has all, always been an illusion?

  19. Tweeter_L
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, this is the text of the reply I sent the other day to my MP. I won’t quote the MP’s email to me out of respect for confidentiality, but the gist of various remarks can probably be gleaned from bits I quote and comment upon.

    “Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to email me and set out your views on the current situation in Parliament regarding Brexit.

    You say that Parliament will soon have to make up its mind. In my opinion the cause of a lot of the trouble has been the fact that Parliament (including the PM) HAD made up its mind quite a while ago that it was never going to permit a full, clean break from the EU.

    In June 2016 we had a referendum, the result of which the then PM David Cameron told us would be implemented. “Leave” won, against the wishes and expectations of the majority of MPs and ever since then they have tried every way they can to thwart the expressed will of the People, starting with the confected difference between “Hard” and “Soft” Brexit so that they could say we didn’t know “what sort of Brexit we were voting for.” You were one of the majority of MPs who voted to trigger Article 50, with a leaving date of 29th March 2019. Did you MPs know what “sort of Brexit” you were voting for back then?

    Mrs May stated early on that “No Deal is better than a bad deal.” With hindsight, it unfortunately it turns out that she and her advisors did not actually believe this, but that doesn’t excuse the many Members of Parliament on all sides who have undermined the UK’s negotiating position by declaring that Parliament would never permit “no deal.” If there was “foolishness and self-indulgence” around I think the House of Commons was where it was on display– the EU negotiators must have been unable to believe their luck!

    “No deal is better than a bad deal” is the position our “negotiators” should have adopted in the first place, with the full backing of a Parliament that was committed to implementing the result of the referendum. If they had, we might by now be in a position of having sorted out all the areas where we wish to co-operate with our near neighbours, but on terms that are favourable to us. Unlike the UK’s half-hearted representatives who have gone cap-in-hand, the EU knows how to negotiate and they have understandably taken full advantage of us.

    Now MPs are faced with the implications of their A50 vote.The alternatives are Mrs May’s terrible Withdrawal Agreement, which in effect keeps us tied into the EU without any voice or influence (even if the Irish “Backstop” problems were to be resolved) or the default position of the UK leaving unilaterally without signing anything. You will have gathered that I don’t agree with you that the WA provides a sensible basis for our long-term relationship with the EU! It is not “Leaving the European Union” by any stretch of the imagination. It should be voted down and we should just leave on March 29th. However I doubt that Parliament will “allow” this to happen and there will be an extension. My prediction is that there will then be a General Election and I think you will find that because ALL 3 main parties have tried, in your phrase to “scupper Brexit” they will ALL be severely punished by voters. It would indeed be better to extend our membership of the EU for the time being than to accept this half-in, half-out WA proposition. Then bring on some committed pro-Brexit politicians who will get it right on a second attempt.

    And… by the way… I am not “angry”! I have a life outside Brexit…. but I am concerned and I’m trying to make my voice heard, rather than just sitting back and complaining.

    You, after all, represent a constituency that voted “Leave.”

    With best wishes”

  20. HardyB
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Here you seem to be saying you agree with others that we should leave without a deal and in this way we have advantage to negotiate a better deal – but we did not vote for a better deal – we voted to leave. Full stop

  21. Arthur Wrightiss
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The French are on strike in the port of Calais and 15 klm queues and long delays are being reported. Are all the companies, car plants etc operating on “just in time” now closed down for lack of parts ?
    I haven’t heard any news about this on the BBC.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Not an issue. I get the impression from the media that all car manufacturing in this country has already stopped and been moved to countries outside the EU with cheaper labour costs.

    • L Jones
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      It seems when you don’t hear news of certain things on the BBC it is because the BBC is having trouble blaming them on Brexit.
      You can assume that if the BBC’s news programmes put Brexit items at the very end, or don’t mention it at all, then it’s because it’s good news (for Brexiteers, that is).

    • Richard1
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed this question should be pressed. Is there still food in the supermarkets, are there medicines enough, have JIT systems seized up? And most of all how can it be this happens whilst we are actually in the EU? If this is going to happen anyway we may as well be out!

    • James
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The Biased Broadcasting Corporation is living on borrowed time. The simple measure to require them to compete by making their services the subject of subscription is overdue. There may have been an argument for people to pay a licence fee to a single broadcasting organisation. There is absolutely no argument for forcing people to pay a licence fee when we have a thousand such channels. May the best broadcasters win, but none of them should be financed by the picking of taxpayers pockets.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Hear! Hear!

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      And not for the first time… whilst in the EU.

    • anon
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      How can that be queues at Dover?

      We are currently in the EUtopia frictionless trade etc

      Looks like they jumped the gun.

      It complicates the propaganda you know!

      Do we charge for parking?

    • Chris
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      They are waiting till 29 March and then they can report it and blame it on Brexit.

    • TomTomTom
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      The M20 hasn’t turned into a giant lorry park either.

    • Lucas
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Well somebody wrote yesterday that ‘hubs’ for goods and parts bound for UK are located in UK only so according to that commentator, and if this is true, we should have nothing to be concerned about . So nothing for the BBC to report.

    • Beecee
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Nor have you heard that there also seems to be a problem with French air traffic control with UK Eastbound flights now re-routing over Belgium.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        A well worn routine, I should think, due to the number of strikes by French ATC.

    • Sue Doughty
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Good point.

    • Jagman84
      Posted March 10, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Other ports are available, apparently..

  22. Dave Andrews
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    When all these events in Parliament have followed their likely outcomes and the Government has to petition the EU for an Article 50 extension, I wonder if the EU countries don’t unanimously agree it as they need to.
    In that event, I am thinking that perhaps Parliament will be given the binary choice to either leave with no withdrawal agreement (careful not to call it a deal) or rescind Article 50.
    What will Parliament do then?

  23. Caterpillar
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I think a delay until the end of 2020 to align with EU budget cycle could just about be acceptable if

    A) UK gets to vote in European elections to have representation during this period
    B) UK gets a PM and cabinet that sees and works for upside of leaving so that come end of 2020 we are ready for a sovereign clean Brexit.

  24. A.Sedgwick
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    May is so incompetent and indecisive that she has created a dodgy dossier with dire consequences for the UK. We shall see if if too many dummy MPs swallow it as with Iraq.

    She is following the job’s worth line of I have done my job, got a deal that ticks all the boxes, I can do no more, vote it down at your peril, now speaking of no Brexit as the outcome.

    From Brexit means Brexit to No Brexit in two years!

    Whatever the outcome this month she really has to go. She is so bad, to describe her as the worst post war PM is a compliment, more probably in our history..

  25. Mike Wilson
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    May said something like ‘vote for my deal or we may never leave the EU at all’. Hmmm. I wonder if she realises that if we move into ‘never leaving the EU at all’ territory, we – the people – will vote in a government that will take us out of the EU – once and for all with no messing about.

    It shows how detached people in Westminster politics are from reality. She really thinks she can bluff this out? That parliament votes to take No Deal off the table and we move into some weird, permanent limbo? How will that work? Forget the £39 billion and just keep paying our £11 billion a year and carry on as if nothing had happened? Send MEPs to Europe in May – again, as if nothing had happened.

    It is hard to conceive of a bigger ****-up than this. Truly, mind-blowing incompetence – right from the start. Why the Tory Party let a Remainer take over as Prime Minister is anyone’s guess. Wanted to kick the can down the road, I guess. Well done. You have kicked the can magnificently. Unfortunately, for you, it will be the biggest act of political self-harm in history. The Tory Party will not survive this intact.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Well Said!

      I recall Gerald Kaufman’s words following the publication of the Labour manifesto under the leadership of Michael Foot; ‘The longest suicide note in history”.

      There is a parallel here somewhere.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      The Tory party always thought of itself as the ‘natural party of government’. I dare say it could be, but not with this present shower! With one or two exclusions, I cannot think of a more contemptible loathsome lot of con-artists and back-stabbers. I doubt if even the Labour benches can match these Tories for duplicity and ineptitude, but unless we let them know how we feel, they are unlikely ever to change.


  26. Steve
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    To be honest, you get a better government from Hells Angels.

    If they had a candidate here I’d vote for them.

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

      LOL STEVE 🙂

  27. Alan Joyce
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    I understand that Hammond, Rudd, Gauke and Hancock have threatened to resign if they are forced to vote for No Deal. Hurrah!

    I am probably completely wrong but I see a general election coming.

    • Alan Joyce
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      I seem to recall that after winning the no-confidence vote the Prime Minister accepted that she would not be able to lead the party into the next general election.

      This might be sooner than we think. What else is going to sort out the potential conflict between Parliament and the Executive? We cannot have groups of MP’s thinking they can propose and pass legislation as the Letwin / Cooper / Boles bill would allow. Who do these MP’s think they are? What do they think they are doing? This is constitutional madness.

      I suggest the Conservative Party gets ready for a streamlined leadership election immediately. If it keeps Theresa May as leader then its chances of forming the next government will be destroyed.

      • miami.mode
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        AJ, if Conservatives are to seek a new leader who is a Brexiteer, then they need to learn a few lessons from the Lefties playbook.

        A group such as the ERG have to sort out a single candidate first and simply put one name forward. If, as last time, a few eurosceptics all have a go then they will gradually be voted down and out.

        Undoubtedly a eurosceptic would be voted in by the party membership.

  28. miami.mode
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    If MPs think a delay to Article 50 will come without conditions they are probably living in cloud cuckoo land.

    Spain will talk Gibraltar, France will talk fishing…….

  29. Paul
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    What looks likely is that the WA will be voted down, No Deal will be rejected, and the government will support an extension to Article 50 – probably advocating asking for a short extension rather than a 21-month one.

    It also looks likely that if the ERG can’t be brought on board now, the government will end up seeking cross-party support for what would be a softer Brexit. Staying in the Single Market and some kind of customs union seem the favoured softening options.

    Those wanting to stop Brexit will be reinvigorated and may end up succeeding.

    • Steve
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink


      “Those wanting to stop Brexit will be reinvigorated and may end up succeeding.”

      Not quite. The British public will be enraged like never before.

  30. Original Richard
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    This Brexit situation has been caused by the 200 or so Conservative MPs who decided to thwart Brexit by electing and supporting a hardened Remainer as PM and then “negotiating” a terrible deal with no exit clause in order to offer this against remain in a second referendum.

    This is despite the Parliamentary constituencies voting 64:36 to leave.

    Mrs. May’s/the EU’s WA will not be popular with the electorate as the EU’s directives, laws, rules, regulations, tax harmonisations and policies would continue to affect our lives and all without our having any representation or veto or means of exit.

    Furthermore the WA does not bring certainty to business as the trading relationship has yet to be discussed.

    Neither will remaining in the EU be popular for exactly the same reasons as the anti-democratic structure of the EU means that what little influence we have is lost within 27 (soon to be 34 or more) countries and with its intention to destroy the nation states.

    Unless these 200 or so Conservative Party MPs respect the result of the referendum and their party’s GE 2017 election manifesto pledges to leave the EU on time and also that “no deal is better than a bad deal”(P38), then we will have a recipe for social, political and constitutional instability for which the Conservative Party will carry the blame.

    • Steve
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard

      “….then we will have a recipe for social, political and constitutional instability for which the Conservative Party will carry the blame.”

      I believe it will go beyond that, Richard. Potentially anyone who advocated remain will find themselves in an undesirable position.

      If remainers think the public will let them get away with selling the country down the river, they really do need to think again.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      @ Original Richard,

      May I ask what is the source of your “soon to be 34 or more”? The driving porce behind EU (eastward) expansion has been the UK (with the US in the background). The 27 are absolutely not united in any desire to get more members from increasingly needy countries. Turkey? Ukraine? etc. Serbia, maybe. And I would expect that we will see a few more dropouts. They will not be missed…

      • Edward2
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        You pro EU fans are in denial Rien.
        First you tell us there is no ambition for an EU armed force.
        Then the EU tells us that is their ambition.
        Then you tell us there is no ambition for more than 28 member nations when the EU say they want several more nations to join.
        This denial has been a feature of the last 40 years.
        I remember when EU fans denied the ambition for an EU currency EU bank EU anthem EU ambassador EU embassies EU passports.
        Now I’m not that bothered what the EU decides to do but the continued denial of their obvious ambitions to the people of Europe over the years, makes me think these empire builders have something to hide.

  31. hans christian ivers
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    I will avoid commenting on the first sentence” remain MPs, who cannot accept the people’s verdict “as it is too simple to be worth commenting on.

    Your explanations about the constitutional aspects of parliament voting for a delay are interesting but not very persuasive. Does the government have to support a motion for a delay for it to enforceable and for it to remain? This is an interesting hypothesis, but I am not sure your interpretation of such a situation is correct and it would not necessarily lead to a government which would support a delay.
    Bringing in the discussion of the courts in this context makes absolutely no sense.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Remainers involved the courts in week one after we voted.

      • hefner
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        And thanks to Gina Miller whose actions and those of the judges put back the ball in Parliament’s court when the usual mob pleasers were screaming “Enemies of the People”.
        Have you already forgotten or is that the result of a “filtering mind”?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          I do remember remain’s successful court case thanks hefner.
          It may well come back to bite them.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Edward 2,

        This is a different aspect, so stop mixing apples and pears, even if I know it is difficult for you

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

          You spoke of our host “discussing the courts in this issue”
          I related it to you remain supporters using the courts to sabotage the result of the referendum with many attempts right from week one.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink


            I am not even a remain supporter

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Like my local MP who has voted for every remain amendment and loves the WA but says I want to leave the EU.

  32. J Bush
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    “The courts are unlikely to uphold a case against Ministers over such a political issue which can only be resolved by Parliament.”

    Funny you should mention that. Jessica Simor QC tried to seek a judicial review on the validity of the referendum. This was thrown by the Courts.

    Not content with that she then lodged an appeal using 8 counts to justify why Britain should not leave the EU. It was thrown out again.

    The interesting part is Lord Justice Hickinbottom’s deliberation. In summary, “Ms Simor’s difficulties do not end there…continuing failure to respond to the developing evidence of illegality in the EU referendum…the Applicants clearly oppose the UK leaving the EU; and hold strong views to that effect…Judicial review is not, and should not be regarded as, politics by another means.”

    When I read this, it was also clear the remainiacs don’t just want Britain to remain in the EU, they also don’t want the reason for ignoring the democratic result to be laid at their door. Second referendum – the people have spoken would be the excuse for ignoring the first, assuming there was a leave option on the ballot paper anyway. No Deal and/or extending the leave date – would be ‘parliamentary democracy’. May whipping to vote for her surrender document, but not for the others which stop us leaving – she is using others to get what she wants.

    Well one thing appears clear, the Courts are not prepared to be the scapegoat on this matter.

  33. villaking
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I agree with your assessment that the WA will not receive enough support next week. I am less certain about what will happen in the other two votes. Your own preference is absolutely clear and I understand that you would want to use this forum to offer encouragement to your supporters, but I wonder if I might ask what you actually believe is the most likely outcome? If you were to bet on this with your head and not your heart, where would your money go? This is not asked in a challenging way, I am genuinely interested to know what the inside word is.
    What an unholy mess this is, all because of a narrowly won referendum on an undefined question of leaving the EU with the Leave campaign having been found guilty of breaking electoral law. This is what is the real affront to democracy. Momentous actions of this kind require careful judgments and the decision should be for our better informed elected representatives.

    • M Davis
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      ” … narrowly won referendum … ”

      Yes, WON by Leavers and not Remainers.

      As they would say across the ‘pond’ – “Suck it up, you bad-losing Remainer!”

    • old salt
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      So you call 64 leave to 36 remain a “narrowly won referendum”! Almost 3 to 1!

      Where did I hear or read the Remain side outspent Leave 2 to 1 taking into consideration Remain had all the instruments of a Remain oriented state at their disposal and Leave still won decisively?

  34. Rien Huizer
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Your article suggests that is will be impossible to avoid a no-deal sitiuation and you are probably right.

    The brexit soap opera is in its final weeks and it would not surprise if the EU would call it quits after 29 March. No pointless extensions, no further negotiations on replacing agreements, only a handful of unilateral and temporary facilities to accommodate the transition to third country status. Assuming also no further payments by the UK, a certain lack of sympathy for fresh attempts by the UK (under a new and even less stable government) to negotiate something in areas where the UK needs cooperation.

    The attitudes displayed by both parties this week as well as the endless repetition of the same pointless script by the UK prime minister signal that bridges are being burned that will take a very long time to repair.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear
      How sad
      Never mind.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink


        when you feel you have to comment on everything , there is bound to be very little content

        • Edward2
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          I do get bored by your superior sarcastic attitude but I realise it is typical of both the EU leadership and their supporters.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink


            As long as you learn I have achieved something.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

            Life is a journey of learning hans.
            Since 1975 I have learned the Common Market I originally thought would be a free trade and enriching organisation for the people of Europe and the UK has been hijacked and turned into a dreadful austerity and unemployment creating centralised machine.

    • Chris
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      If that leads to a no deal, then thank goodness, RH. It may unintended consequences for the Remainers and T May, but it will be well deserved. Treachery has a habit of causing unexpected results.

  35. BR
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Good to hear your thoughts on this.

    We can only hope that there isn’t some deal already cooked up behind closed doors waiting to be unveiled at the 11th hour once no-deal is voted down.

    As you say, it will be interesting to see if the Govt whip their MPs to do what they have always said they would do.

    The other reason they may be delaying (in saying whether they will whip or allow a free vote) is due to concern over resignations of the cabinet remainers. If they don’t know that they will be whipped against no deal then they can’t/won’t resign prior to the vote on the WA. That’s if the whips believe that they would vote against the WA, if given the choice.

    I hope the WA will be voted down, no-deal will remain on the table and presumably, we should not need a vote on extension?

  36. nshgp
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Put down an amendment to state that parliament decrees the tide will not come it, when the remainers add their delaying tactic.

    Just to point out the absurdity of their position

  37. ukretired123
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    We’ve had 3 years of Fudge, Dither and Threats from the EU and it’s cohorts in both Parliaments plus the politicised EU Civil Service and turbocharged froth and propaganda from MSM spearheaded by the BBC.
    They were all in shock in 2016 at the electorate’s leaving decision after 40 years of being ignored and side-lined (aka taken for granted by the political class) and have been in permanent state of denial ever since.
    The real crunch test this month will be an earthquake moment for Parliament itself because if real Brexit does take place expect major change to be demanded by the electorate who are not as stupid as Remainers think. The EU has shown great disrespect to Britain – it’s contempt for our democracy and it’s love of our massive billions of contributions – the only reason it has been talking to us.
    Time for all MPs to get real and streetwise like a poker player. You all have to listen to the electorate and walk your talk with integrity. The only thing you need fear is the electorate if you fail your promise. We must walk for the EU to believe we are still British first and deadly serious and not all Mr Beans like they and many Remainers have erroneously perceived us.

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

      Why would MPs fear the electorate? Many of them, especially Conservative MPs, are defenders of the FPTP system which is designed to render most of the electorate irrelevant and electorally impotent. They like it that way and want to keep it that way.

      • hefner
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        PP, fully agreed.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        As did the voters.
        a) by rejecting even the mildest form of voting reform
        b) by not voting for Greens and Lib Dems in any increased numbers

        • hefner
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

          The problem is not the Greens or the LibDems, it is the different and differing on most topics factions within the Conservative and Labour parties.
          The proof that the voters are able to see the difference and are able to work within another voting system is the success of UKIP in more proportional elections.

        • hefner
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          And Edward2 you might also want to remember that without the UKIP’s success in the (proportional) European elections, you would never have had a vote for Brexit. So maybe a positive thing to say for PR.

    • M Davis
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

  38. ukretired123
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Error My previous post should say if Brexit does not take place expect major changes…

  39. ian
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    All going to plan, just waiting for no deal to be announced next week by the leader to the EU commission.

    When your top cat at the table you play for keeps.

    Of cos, it would be have been more difficult if no deal had been on the table for 6 months, but with two weeks to go next week, it makes no difference now if the whole Tory minister corp walks out, the leader has a mandate and they do not.

    Next week you find out whether you a real leader or not and how much lead the EU commission has in its pencil.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      My cat doesn’t play at any table. He’s only allowed on the floor.

  40. Peter Lloyd
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Next week we will also have a refrain of the chaos, cataclysm, and catastrophe if the UK was to leave on the 29th march without a deal already being in place.

    Surely it is an obligation of government to tell the country what their assessment is of the
    certainties and the risks were that eventuality to come into being.

    We deserve to hear specifics on what has been agreed, what is currently being negotiated, what remains outstanding, what might be temporary problems, what might be permanent problems but have provision for, what the main risks are and the associated contingencies.

    We don’t want wild scaremongering but we do appreciate that there are uncertainties, especially if the EU itself or governments hostile to us at present, like France, decide to make life as difficult as possible. It would suit their book to do so. The government should say how it would handle deliberately disruptive behaviour.

    Ultimately the UK would likely win legal battles over WTO issues if there is an attempt to block trade with us, but that will take time. But there is more risk that bureacratic and legalistic objections will create problems for companies and for citizens .

    We have a right to know what the government thinks about these issues and not just to hear that everything will be dreadful unless MPs back the May deal.

    So can I ask that Conservative backbenchers do everything they possibly can to persuade the government to be open with the people about the no deal scenario and to do so in the course of this coming week’s debates and votes when that perspective is going to be important for MPs weighing up the arguments about how they should vote.

  41. javelin
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    What does the Gov have up its sleeve?

    It appears it will lose the WA.

    The EU has told its bankers it wants a No deal.

    May is looking for the softest Brexit possible.

    May has not given notice to withdraw from the EEA

    So I’m guessing the EEA is up her sleeve.

    • Chris
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      She has no authority to impose anything now, javelin. She has tried to be too clever trying to juggle many different factions, simply to keep herself in power. They are unforgiving of her treachery and will show no mercy, I suspect.

  42. Den
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    It seems that our Prime Minister has succumbed to the deviant tactics of the EU. She has fallen into the traps set by Brussels like a novice and will not listen to her own party’s suggestions to bail her out. I can only conclude that it is ‘once a remainer always a remainer’ in her case. Conservative MPs had the chance to change course for the better of Britain in the loss of confidence vote but far too many had vested interest in Mrs May remaining as PM. She must have gone to Brussels for advice on those tactics as they also buy their supporters using taxpayers money.
    I feel that us Leavers can only now wish that we shall really leave the EU in 20 days from now and that ‘wishes’ are all we are left with because of the intransigence of Number 10.
    The May WA is nothing but a document carrying our unconditional surrender to the Brussels cabal, although it goes against the very decision of the people to Leave the EU. However Mrs May believes, incredibly, that her document will fulfill our requirement.
    Does anyone actually know what she is doing or planning to do? Does she?
    With just 15 Parliamentary working days to go to our new peacetime “VE” Day , we shall all know and soon.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Mrs May was converted to supra-nationalism in 2017 and committed Uk to the European Project in her speech in Florence that September. She returned to Uk to set up her back channel to Brussels via Olly Robbins in order to concoct her Chequers proposal, with which she bounced her Cabinet in July 2018. For the last 18 months she has worked tirelessly to ensure UK is bound to the EU in perpetuity.
      Mrs May’s entire Government is now a hoax, a front for the EU.

  43. Sue Doughty
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    If they vote to delay the enactment of our Brexit decision they will be bringing parliament into disrepute. Please remind them of that. The markets and economy have factored in a No Deal Brexit. Just get on with it

  44. Mick
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
    It’s pretty obvious what the Eu along with the French guy are trying to do is to try and devide the U.K. , well tough it’s not going to happen if there is no deal we just leave and spend the £39 billion in our country and if the remoaners don’t like that then they can pack there bags and go live in there beloved Europe

    • LukeM
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Mick…we can see the way it’s going..she’s going to kick it into the long grass- the EU is not going to budge..and later on they will pick up the pieces – we’re doing it all by ourselves..California hotel style

  45. Mr Rodney Clarke
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    We have already voted to leave., therefore if remainers finesse there is another referendum the question should be the deal being offered by the E.U. or to leave under WTO….

  46. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The electoral future of the Conservative Party could be at stake. During and apparently also increasingly since the last General Election Leave supporters have gravitated towards the Conservatives and Remain supporters have gravitated towards Labour (and other smaller Parties), even in many cases switching political habits to do so.
    If the Conservative Party does not act as the Party of Leave and ensure at minimum a rapid exit from the E.U., huge numbers of its supporters would abandon it (possibly despite the threat of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister).
    My own view is at minimum Britain must leave the E.U. before this July or Mrs. May must be replaced by a genuine Brexiteer as Conservative Leader or otherwise all Brexiteers from the Conservative Party, UKIP and Farage’s Brexit Party need to unite in a new electoral alliance to get Brexit through.

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    If parliament does vote to extend Article 50, it will need the acquiescence of the EU to make it happen. It will be for the Prime Minister or another member of Government to write the letter making the request. That gives her the opportunity to be subtle and write the sort of letter that makes the EU likely to turn down the request. I have a modest example here:

    Dear Mr Juncker,

    As you know, parliament has rejected the draft Withdrawal Agreement for a second time and has asked me to request an extention to the Article 50 period. The UK does not wish to contest the next European Parliamentary elections so the extension would only be for a few months. It is likely to prove futile. The UK parliament will not approve the draft Withdrawal Agreement unless the Irish Backstop is time limited, no later than the end of the transition period. The intransigence of the European Commission has brought about this situation. Even with a time limited Irish back stop, the agreement of parliament cannot be guaranteed. You may not believe this but some members of parliament are reluctant to hand over £39 billion of taxpayers’ money for nothing. I look forward to your response to this request. I am sorry to inconvenience you but the EC’s negotiating team has made its own bed and must now lie in it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Thresa May

  48. Norman
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    If the outcome of next week’s votes were the scheduled exit on 29 March with ‘No Deal’, the UK could do so in the knowledge that it had done its utmost to leave the EU on friendly and constructive terms. Whatever happens after that is legitimized by the Referendum. Ideally, subsequent relations will settle, and lead to a healthy regeneration of both parties, but sadly, I have my doubts. But then again, freedom always involved sacrifice and an element of risk. To continue in the other direction is now unthinkable.

  49. Den
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,
    Have you read this article? The points appear to be able to place her Majesty in an invidious position. What can you make of it? Is it that serious now?

  50. Steve P
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Using the Accelerated Passage Procedure, it takes minimum 10 days to pass a Bill through Parliament.

    The meaningful vote on the Withdrawal Bill is held on 12 March potentially followed by votes on 13 and 14 for no deal and delay. This means no new Bill amending existing Brexit legislation can be submitted for approval until 15th March which leaves 10 working days to submit and pass a Bill through Parliament. 10 days is the minimum required. It still requires 7 -10 days to get Royal Ascent after that.

    The 17 days from inception to Royal Ascent takes us to 7th April – but we leave on 29th March.

    May has miscalculated or run down the clock – Remoaners are out of time

  51. Andrew Barnby
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Since my 19th year I have lived in the Benelux and from 1972 until 2013 in The Netherlands, whence I returned to The Island. Happy years but then, I have always been dubious of the growing Empire in Brussels as has my Dutch wife. We now live happily on The Island, with five sons back in NL. How has the UK political thinking been watered down to this debacle, where are the statesmen we used to have? Why have we stooped so low as to send our ‘prime minister’, sic, to Brussels and beg for this and that. We (a majority, I also) voted to leave the EU. All our the called ‘establishment’ who are trying to negate this democratic decision should be ostracised by their parties. It’s not an ideal world, especially in UK politics, I agree but things need to change. parliament needs to clean out the dross, new HONERABLE members should be elected, in the line of our honorouble host who is a wonderful example of leadership and democracy… oh that he was my MP.
    Thank you Sir. Apologies to all for my rant… feeling better now.

  52. Chris
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    The WA is not a deal, it is a suicide note:
    “The WA is May and Barnier’s joint plan to place the UK into such a painful, debilitating and humiliating ghetto under EU control as to make it squeal to return to the status quo. There is no deal at the end of the ‘transition’ period”

  53. Helen Smith
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    The WA and PD equate to being in the EU with no voice and no vote. So we must vote it down and take our chances.

    Those MPs like Grieve who want to ignore the referendum will have to do so openly and take the consequences.

  54. James Bertram
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I think what is being overlooked is that Labour will table another ‘Vote of No Confidence’ in the Government. This might come on Tuesday night if May’s deal is again voted down on Tuesday, but most likely after the ‘no deal’ and ‘delay’ votes have taken place.

    This might explain why No.10 won’t advise on the 3-line whip until after Tuesday, as she doesn’t want to upset anyone further in her party if facing a ‘no confidence vote’ on Tuesday night.

    I believe what could happen is that if the ‘no-confidence vote’ does not come on Tuesday, then she will allow a free-vote on the Wednesday and Thursday votes (giving the decision to Parliament she’ll argue, but really so as to avoid blame), knowing that the ‘no-deal’ vote will lose and the ‘delay’ vote will win – as this is what she wants (after all, don’t forget that it’s strongly rumoured she works for the interests of Germany). She will then propose legislation for a 2 year delay (and 2nd Referendum) – and, if given the chance, the EU will readily agree to this.

    Then, on the Friday or Monday, with Theresa May having shown her treacherous hand, and with the Tory party in disarray, Labour will table a ‘no-confidence vote.’

    Brexiteers need to be prepared for this scenario NOW.
    They know that Country must be put before Party – and thus which way to vote.

  55. rose
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    It sounds from What the Papers Say as if she might be going to postpone the second and third votes, substituting instead “indicative votes”.

  56. Peter D Gardner
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    The most wonderful thing to happen next week would be Parliament voting for No Deal and rejecting other options. Failing that, since Parliament would otherwise not be acting in the interests of UK, the next most wonderful thing would be for it to be shut down until it learns its place. I do not know how that could be achieved.
    Local elections are coming up. It would be wonderful , absent any Brexit parties standing, a sufficient number of candidates lost their deposits as to leave many a council defunct..
    At the next general election, I would like to see every MP who votes for May’s Deal, or for delay to Brexit and every MP who votes against a WTO exit, lose their deposit.
    It won’t happen, I know. Next week UK will enter the post democracy age of technocratic supra-national government and the nation state, the only secure base for democracy, will be sentenced to extinction.
    The anti-democratic establishment now dominant in Westminster will crow over the corpse of democracy.
    Mrs May has two shots at getting her way: Her deal has only one escape route from vassalage, which is re-joining the EU in 2025 under its new treaties replacing Lisbon. That’s her Plan A. Second she can weave a path to remaining in the EU now via the votes to remove No Deal and delaying Brexit.
    There is one glimmer of hope. If Brexit is delayed, there would almost certainly be a collapse of the government and a general election. That would mean an early start ti draining the Westminster swamp.
    Is this really the best we democrats can hope to come out of next week?

  57. Ian
    Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Untill we bring back the Treason Act of 1351 , and reinstate the death penalty,( that Blair made useless to save his own neck)
    Then we will have Treason committed dayly in our Parliament, which is why we have the political class we now have.
    MPs like Gove, all pretending to be Brexiteers, much as this PM, have you not noticed she spends her time running to the other side of the channel, it is the only time she smiles !
    Just give us what Tusk offered nearly three years ago
    Canada ++

  • 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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