The whipping for this week

I have been sent a whip for this week which tells me I have to be present in Parliament until 10.30pm on Monday, to  7.30pm on   Tuesday,  7.30pm on Wednesday and  6pm on Thursday  – all three line whips. I was planning to be there anyway.Attendance at Questions, non Bill committees and other meetings at other times of day are  not whipped.

The whip does not tell me how they wish me to vote on any of those days, nor what the government motions might be. Indeed, Wednesday’s business is down as a general debate on housing where no vote is likely, and Thursday is down as a general debate on NICE and rare diseases, again  where a vote would be unlikely.

If as I hear on the media Wednesday turns out to be a motion over exit from the EU without signing the Withdrawal Agreement, I expect a three line whip to tell me to vote to keep so called No deal on the table. If Thursday turns out to be a motion over delay, I expect a 3 line whip to tell me to vote against delay, in accordance with the PM’s often stated policy that we will leave on 29 March with or without a deal. I assume there will be a three line whip for me to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday, which I will be unable to accept. The Manifesto we stood on as Conservatives said very clearly they would negotiate the Future Partnership at the same time as the Withdrawal Agreement. They should have kept their word. Signing a Withdrawal Agreement making many concessions to the EU without signing a Partnership at the same time would be crazy. We would be paying far more than the advertised £39bn for nothing.

The government wants Leave voting MPs to fear that Parliament will take control and stop Brexit if we do not vote for the Withdrawal Agreement. There is no need for that to happen if we reject the Withdrawal Agreement. The government will have to offer leadership if that happens, by explaining why we must not take no deal off the table, and why delay brings  nothing but more  uncertainty and trouble. The government can stop Parliament voting to change the law if it wishes. It now has to assert itself and say it will battle to ensure we leave on 29 March with or without the Withdrawal Agreement as promised.

That is why I have set out what the whipping should be for this week in the absence of any clarity from Mrs May.


  1. Mark B
    March 11, 2019

    Good morning.

    And thank you to our kind host for this explanation of what goes on in parliament this week.

    I am no fan of the Whipping system but I do believe that political parties and MP’s must keep the promises to the electorate they make to get votes.

    As I keep saying, we are obliged to negotiate the WA, (it is mentioned in Art.50) but not obliged to sign it in order to Leave. And as such a document is so onerous and disadvantageous to us, infact I would even venture to say even threatening, I do not wish us to sign it.

    So a big Agincourt Salute to the WA !

    1. eeyore
      March 11, 2019

      A momentous week for the country, for Europe and for our host personally. All that he has fought and sacrificed for comes to a climax. Thanks, congratulations and best wishes to him and all honest MPs.

      1. piglet
        March 11, 2019


      2. Mitchel
        March 11, 2019

        It’s the Ides of March on the 15th.

      3. Andy
        March 11, 2019

        Indeed it is a big week for Brexiteers. But not in a good way.

        When you have campaigned to leave the EU for decades can you imagine the humiliation of realising that Mrs May’s deal is as good as it gets?

        It’a like spending your teens dreaming of a raunchy weekend away with the best looking woman in the world in a swanky Las Vegas hotel.

        And ending up with a minger in a cockroach infested B&B in Blackpool.

        Brexit is the Blackpool minger.

        1. Lindsay McDougall
          March 12, 2019

          May’s deal is not as good as it gets. We will pursue a hard Brexit all down the days. If that entails the end of the Conservative Party as we have known it, so be it. Who needs the Remoaners anyway?

    2. Merlin
      March 11, 2019

      Thank you for correcting me, everyone.

      I’ve now been informed that the leave-voting majority support No Deal.

      So if we go with No Deal, it’s sure to unite the country.

      Great to know, though do excuse me if I remain a mite sceptical.

      This isn’t going to end you know.

      1. Julian Flood
        March 11, 2019

        We’ve been running stalls i n West Suffolk to judge the mood. Just get on with it scores highly. Three moodbox polls give Leave a large lead over Remain — the last in Haverhill was nearly three to one for leave with no deal.

        More details on my page.

        1. Merlin
          March 11, 2019

          That might be the mood in West Suffolk….

      2. Merlin
        March 11, 2019

        Being slightly less facetious, my worry is that 44% of the country support No Deal (that’s a survey by Leave means Leave, so probably biased upwards but if you want to criticise Brexiteers’ data, I’d be the last to stop you).

        That means 54% are against No Deal. There appears to be a perception that these 54% will just roll over like patsies when the 44% try to force No Deal on them.

        Good luck with that. As a Remain voter, I didn’t get my way with 49%, so I don’t think 44% is going to cut the mustard. I repeat again. This will not end any time soon. There is no national majority for route out of this mess,

        1. Merlin
          March 11, 2019

          Oops 56%, before I get any poor maths gags.

          1. Lynn Atkinson
            March 11, 2019

            The 56% are divided between ‘Leave with May’s Deal’, Remain, and don’t know. In our area – Northumberland support for Remain now down to 30%.

          2. Jagman84
            March 11, 2019

            Or your 49% claim for the remain vote …

          3. Stephen Priest
            March 11, 2019

            No deal is better than Mrs May’s deal

            Agree 44%
            Disagree 30%
            Don’t know 25%

          4. Edward2
            March 11, 2019

            I think that total of 56% splits into the various options other than no deal, like remain, second referendum, WTO, Norway Canada plus, delays, etc
            Not sure what the options were.
            (And then there are don’t know votes)

          5. David Price
            March 11, 2019

            If one put any stock in polls then according to that Comres poll 44% responded that the UK should leave without a deal if teh EU refuses to make any more concessions whereas less 30% were against no-deal … far less than your 54%.

            You can check it yourself on page 160 covering fieldwork for 4th – 5th March.

          6. mancunius
            March 11, 2019

            It’s your logic that’s defective. If 44% support no deal, that does not mean 56% oppose it.

        2. Know-Dice
          March 11, 2019

          I don’t think it’s that simple 🙁

          If the 44% refers to this table (Table 2) here –

          Note the 55% of people who voted “Remain” wish to stop Brexit, now there is a surprise… why isn’t it 100%? Does that mean 45% of those that voted to Remain are now Leavers?

          Certainly the DWA + PD gets very little support.

          That’s polls for you, shows whatever you want it to show 🙁

        3. Denis Cooper
          March 11, 2019

          So you must regret that the eurocrats deliberately framed Article 50 TEU to guarantee that each member state would have a unilateral right of withdrawal, and you would prefer to stay in the EU with the treaties amended so that in the future the UK could only withdraw with the consent of the EU and the other member states.

          Or perhaps it is just that unlike those said eurocrats who drafted that article you don’t understood that this is what it would mean:

          I hope that if we do have that repeat referendum you will be telling people that this is what you want, the UK locked into the EU with no legal possibility of escape if we later changed our minds.

        4. agricola
          March 11, 2019

          If 44% support leaving with no deal and there are no figures for any other altenative we cannot assume that the other 56% have any other single point of view. There will be some who are content with the PMs WA, others who would remain in the EU , etc. Polls are not an exact science, so I would tend to look at trends.
          Whatever our electorate think, it is in the hands of 650 MPs many of whom don’t give a damn for what the electorate think. For sure they will not be forgiven if they defy the electorate.

        5. English Rebel
          March 11, 2019

          I’d be interested to know what deal was on the table at the time of the referendum, when Article 50 was triggered, and when the EU withdrawal bill was passed into law.

          As I recall, there was no deal agreed at any time, and the ballot paper didn’t say leave the EU subject to a deal.

        6. Peter
          March 11, 2019

          False logic. If 44% support something, it does not mean 56% oppose it. They may not have a view on it.

          Not that surveys mean anything. I suspect that there are more in favour of just leaving on WTO terms than the mainstream media acknowledge though.

        7. Neil
          March 11, 2019

          Wrong. Something like 25% don’t know. The opponents of WTO are a shrinking minority. That minority will continue to fuss, but that’s the nature of swivel-eyes.

      3. John Hatfield
        March 11, 2019

        So how does EU membership benefit you Merlin?

      4. Andy
        March 11, 2019

        It is not going to end – that is true. We will fight until it is undone and we rejoin.

        Most of us have 20 or 30 years on most of you. You can not win.

        1. Steve
          March 11, 2019

          Fact Free Andy

          “It is not going to end – that is true. We will fight until it is undone and we rejoin. Most of us have 20 or 30 years on most of you. You can not win.”

          Stupid boy.

    3. Richard
      March 11, 2019

      Paul Goodman, ConHome Editor today: “refuse to make such a forced choice at all. If pro-Remain MPs are prepared to defy the result of the biggest vote in the country’s history, let them take responsibility for it. If they are willing to smother the Brexit baby, pro-Leave ones should not be implicated in the act.”

      Martin Howe QC: “It is far better to risk extending Article 50 than to accept May’s bad deal … in this case…the ‘threat’ is manifestly more advantageous in every way than the thing the threatener wants the threatened to do (vote for the May deal). … There is no reason for MPs who oppose it to panic and change their position, and every reason why they should stand firm in the face of these Article 50 threats.

      1. Richard1
        March 11, 2019

        Martin Howe is a very sensible and rational voice. A pity he wasn’t involved from the beginning. Instead of people like David Davis.

    4. margaret howard
      March 11, 2019

      Mark B

      “So a big Agincourt Salute to the WA !”

      Not a very good example. After all it was just a battle in a war we lost.

      Do you think Brexit will go the same way?

      1. Steve
        March 11, 2019

        Margaret Howard

        “Not a very good example. After all it was just a battle in a war we lost.”

        What are you talking about Ms Howard? the French have never beaten us.

        1. margaret howard
          March 11, 2019


          “What are you talking about Ms Howard? the French have never beaten us.”

          Hundred Years War? Joan of Arc?

          1. Steve
            March 11, 2019

            M Howard

            Hundred years war….neither side is considered have ‘won’ though England lost most of her possessions in France.

            Joan of Arc……hmm. “Oh lord my bum’s on fire” Yes highly successful.

          2. Lindsay McDougall
            March 12, 2019

            Ever visited the Wolfe-Montcalm monument in Quebec? What was that all about?

        2. hefner
          March 11, 2019

          Typically English, remembering only the victories, and not even knowing about the defeats. In this particular case the Hundred-Years War was ended by the Battle of Castillon, 1453, after which a truce was settled between the English and the French even if a proper treaty was not signed.

    5. Dennis Zoff
      March 12, 2019

      This is not about the Backstop, that is just a red herring, to deflect people’s attention away from the real horrors contained within the body of the Withdrawal Agreement!

  2. Peter Wood
    March 11, 2019

    Good Morning Sir John,

    Question: If the WA is voted down, and Parliament votes against ‘no deal’ then surely Mrs. May will want an extension of Article 50, despite her promises against such an event?

    motive: it keeps her in office by kicking the can……….

    1. Dominic Johnson
      March 11, 2019

      Parliament can vote against no deal, but it can vote against the sun rising in the east if it so chooses.
      The actual real world implications of both are the same.

      The sun will continue to rise in the east and the UK will leave the EU

      1. Tad Davison
        March 11, 2019

        How’s this for cynicism…………Chancellor Hammond trying to bribe us with our own money – whatever next!

        Open Europe says this morning:

        ‘Chancellor to make extra £20bn available for public spending if Brexit deal passed

        The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is preparing to make up to £20bn in funds available for extra public spending if MPs pass the Brexit deal this week. The funds include £15bn in contingency funds for No Deal, with the remainder made up from a recent upturn in tax receipts. In an interview with the Financial Times, Hammond said that a negotiated Brexit with a transition would allow him to “share the proceeds of an accumulated insurance fund.” A treasury source told the Sunday Times that if the deal is passed, “We will be in a position to spend quite a lot of money this autumn. Austerity will be well and truly over.”

        Separately, the Sunday Telegraph reports that ministers are preparing to use new powers to impose price caps on medicines, after drug firms increased prices to “unwarranted levels” in preparation for a No Deal Brexit.’


    2. Richard
      March 11, 2019

      Legal barriers to delay:
      If Parliament seeks to usurp The Royal Prerogative, I have read that The Royal Prerogative has the power to defend itself by:
      1) “the sovereign may refuse royal assent on the advice of his or her ministers – Erskine May page 373, 2nd edition, 1851”
      2) The PM could advise Her Majesty the Queen to briefly prorogue Parliament
      3) Sir John: “It would need the government to back [the group of MPs] 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 courts are unlikely to uphold a case against Ministers over such a political issue which can only be resolved by Parliament.”

      Perhaps Mrs May, current trustee of The Royal Prerogative, might benefit from Lawyers for Britain /the ‘Star Chamber’ of lawyer MPs opining openly on the above legalities.

    3. Richard
      March 11, 2019

      Anne Marie Morris MP: “Mrs May has developed the catchy phrase – ‘it’s my deal, no deal or no Brexit’. She invented the no Brexit phrase.”

      As Christopher Howarth (lawyer & HoC researcher) pointed out in his excellent article:
      “the cause of Remain requires the Prime Minister to actively promote it or at least acquiesce in the face of Remain MPs and Ministers. If the Prime Minister wants to leave, we leave. There is no need for her to champion Remain, accept motions or give parliamentary time to Remainers – that is a political choice. It’s a choice that will have dramatic political consequences for the Conservative Party if the UK is still in the EU (or has BRINO) after 29th March.”

      i.e. one person, Mrs May has the power to nullify the votes of 17.4 million. But Mrs May only has this power while she is P.M.

  3. Richard1
    March 11, 2019

    Meanwhile it is reported that the EU – especially the French Govt – will demand punitive terms for any extension, including £billions of extra payments. A year would cost another £13.5bn (the UK’s fee with no rebate). And during that time the UK will have no voice, votes or veto on any new EU measures (maybe like tax harmonisation or a Transaction tax to damage the City?). I wonder how this is legal under EU law but maybe it is.

    I would say we may as well have the extension until Dec 20 as the WA, but should certainly not accept any more payments and should challenge any attempts to curtail the UK’s rights during this period. Then we need a new PM, back to square one and offer the EU a choice between a comprehensive FTA covering services also and WTO Brexit from Jan 21.

    1. Ian wragg
      March 11, 2019

      To me it is evident that the EU doesnt want a deal. By putting punitive terms on an extension if MPs agreed there really would be riots.
      Council Tax up 5% and reductions in services due to lack of funds but seemingly unlimited money for Brussels. Thats a vote winner.

      1. Richard1
        March 11, 2019

        I’m afraid I think the truth is more prosaic. The EU think mrs may will cave in at every stage and the remainers in Parliament will block a robust negotiating stance.

    2. Steve Pitts
      March 11, 2019

      Not only that but Blair is acting as an advisor to Macron according to the Telegraph telling the EU to make no concessions and we will have a long delay Article 50, have a second referendum which lead to Brexit being cancelled or give into Labour and have a permanent customs union. They are absolutely convinced there is no way we will leave with no deal. We should call their bluff. I also think it’s wrong for Blair to behave this way.

      1. Richard1
        March 11, 2019

        Indeed. It will be a hell of a laugh if we do and…not much happens. Imagine the boost to confidence in the UK – it becomes suddenly that we just dont have to listen to bien pensant crap – the boost will last for decades!

  4. oldtimer
    March 11, 2019

    This sounds characteristic of the May government. Yours not to reason why. Yours but to do as I (May) say, even while I attempt to blackmail you to vote for the WA and PD. The credibility of Ministers now appears to rest on the AGs assessment of the state of the negotiations, and on what rabbit is pulled out of the hat at the last minute. I would be wary of last minute declarations/clarifications/interpretations that my be offered if and when Tuesday’s vote goes against the government as currently predicted. Beware Chequers Mark 2.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 11, 2019

      Even if a rabbit was pulled out of the hat at the last minute it would be unable to answer the crucial question of what kind of long term arrangement could possibly supersede the supposedly temporary Irish ‘backstop’.

      It would, after all, only be a rabbit, cuddly perhaps but not particularly bright and certainly not versed in the nitty gritty of international politics.

      To get a reliable answer to that particular question one would do much better to turn to the Irish government, whose representatives in Brussels recently gave a very clear answer to the excellent Tory MP Marcus Fysh:

      “Michel Barnier hinted at it on Friday night, but the Irish delegation told me straight in Brussels on Thursday: they will never agree a subsequent agreement or variation to the Withdrawal Agreement which replaces the backstop that is not a customs union. Whether that is for the whole UK, or Northern Ireland on its own with a full customs border in the Irish Sea, is up to us, according to Barnier.”

  5. Peter
    March 11, 2019

    BBC are currently reporting Brexit talks are “deadlocked”. So the government have abandoned claims that the backstop element will be resolved.

    Mr. Gove seemingly wants Conservatives to show unity, hold their noses and vote for the deal. He now claims he never canvassed for ‘No deal’.

    The government were always going to delay revealing detail until the last minute. The mushroom theory of management – keep them in the dark as long as possible and then….

    1. Lifelogic
      March 11, 2019

      Gove is a serial traitor to the Brexit cause and the reason we suffer the appalling T May. He even wants to kill private schools now. He surely has gone rather mad.

      Gove seems happy for people to legally spend their money getting drunk, buying Ferraris, on the horses or even on prostitutes but not on educating their children to become doctors, scientists, mathematicians, engineers or architects who benefit society hugely. Anyone paying for private school is doing other tax payers a huge favour by paying three times over in taxes and fees and in raising the quality of education. The same for private healthcare (except four times over) with IPT insurance tax at 12% now thanks to Hammond too.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        March 12, 2019

        Messrs Gove and Fox are mesmerised by the arithmetic of the current parliament. But this parliament won’t last for ever. As soon as Mrs May leaves office, there can be a General Election. The fixed term parliament Act can be repealed.

    2. HardyB
      March 11, 2019

      Gove said two years ago that it would all work out OK provided we took the right decisions- a wise man – who wouldn’t have an expert about the place!

      1. Lifelogic
        March 11, 2019

        Michael Gove actually said – “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts, people from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

        No shortage of them on the BBC!

        The sorts of foolish “experts” who took us into the ERM like John Major and his experts and who advocated the EURO. Or indeed the sort of experts push idiotic, intermittent, uneconomic, renewables – using vast tax payer subsidies. Or importing wood for the UK to burn in power stations. Or telling us leaving the EU would be a catastrophe. Or those daft magic money tree economist “experts” endlessly on the BBC talking drivel.

        Or the experts who assured us that skiing in the alps would be finished several year before now!

    3. Steve
      March 11, 2019


      “Mr. Gove seemingly wants Conservatives to show unity, hold their noses and vote for the deal”

      Yes you have to be careful with him, he’s a right little rascal. Last I saw of him he was ripping Corbyn to shreds, but who knows which way he’ll go next. The answer is blowing in the wind where Michael Gove is concerned.

      Shame really, if he was firmly on no deal side and stick with it he’d be formidable.

  6. Lifelogic
    March 11, 2019

    Exactly as you say:- The government will have to offer leadership if that happens, by explaining why we must not take no deal off the table, and why delay brings nothing but more uncertainty and trouble.

    Well it is unlikely you will get any leadership from May. She has a broken compass and seems totally incapable of leadership or having any pro-Brexit vision. She managed to get to be leader by promising we were leaving properly (and thanks to Gove) but clearly she’s did not mean a word of it. Just as abandon ship Cameron was elected by pretending to be a low tax at heart Conservative and Cast Iron Eurosceptic. Neither were anything of the sort. They have both treated voters with complete contempt.

    Blair and Major have behaved even more appallingly. What dreadful, misguided PMs we have had in the whole my lifetime, with the only partial exception of Mrs Thatcher. From Socialist EUphile dope Heath who created this mess onwards.

    1. agricola
      March 11, 2019

      In fairness to Edward Heath, he had fought in the second World War and I assume was trying to stop it happening again. Laudable but his method was based on a lie. He had us believe we were joining a trading bloc knowing full well it was the begining of a united states of Europe. Even that was acceptable had it been established that political union would only happen if the people of the component parts gave their democratic assent. Politicians from the totalitarian background of WW2 could not be relied upon to know what democracy really was. Whether we are in or out this political juganaught has hit the buffers for many in Europe. A good idea dreadfully executed.

      1. Tad Davison
        March 11, 2019

        I would argue the politicians knew full well the people’s ‘assent’ would not be forthcoming, which is why Heath, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, Osborne and Co. tried to tie us in ever more closely by underhanded duplicity and chicanery.

        We must never fall into the trap of seeing them as committed democrats. They must always be viewed as stooges who were out to do the EU’s bidding against our own national will and interests.


      2. Lifelogic
        March 11, 2019

        But (rather like May & Hammond) Ted Heath got all his economics wrong too with daft prices and incomes policies, red tape, power cuts, three day weeks, government know best, high taxes, public spending at over 40% of GDP, load of government waste, daft vanity project like Concorde …..

        Just the same as May in fact except HS2 and Hinkley C….

  7. Ian wragg
    March 11, 2019

    The Wednesday and Thursday votes will be pulled and the WA presented again next week.

    1. Nicholas Murphy
      March 11, 2019

      I thing you’re right, Ian.

  8. Stephen Priest
    March 11, 2019

    If this blog is enough to get the one extra vote in Parliament to save Brexit, well done.

    I hear Hammond is planning to use taxpayer’s (OUR) money to bribe MPs to rule out “no deal”.

    Why have the British people got more backbone the MPs and the Media?

    Why are so many MPs who have had no qualms about sending British Troops into action since 2001 so “terrified” over “no deal”? Are they scared “no deal” will prove we don’t need teh EU?

    1. L Jones
      March 11, 2019

      ”…. why… no qualms about sending British Troops…”? Because it wasn’t THEIR lives on the line. And now their hopes for a cushy EU future are at risk – MUCH more terrifying for them.

    2. Al
      March 11, 2019

      “Why are so many MPs who have had no qualms about sending British Troops into action since 2001 so “terrified” over “no deal”?”

      Stephen, sadly I suspect the answer is personal interest, with many hoping to follow Kinnock’s footsteps after their retirement from UK politics. It would certainly explain why so many are Remain. Others may simply doubt their competence to manage the challenge or be being badly advised by civil servants.

      1. Rien Huizer
        March 11, 2019

        British troops are professional people who are paid to follow orders. If the government wants to send them into action and does so in a constitutionally correct way, that’s it. No deal will be hurting many people who did not submit to the sort of thing professional soldiers volunteer for.

      2. margaret howard
        March 11, 2019


        “with many hoping to follow Kinnock’s footsteps after their retirement from UK politics”

        They are far more likely hoping to be kicked upstairs into the (unelected) house of lords to while away their retirement years snoozing on the red benches while being given £300 a day ‘attendance’ allowance. No such perks available in Brussels alas.

        1. Edward2
          March 11, 2019

          No such perks in Brussels…
          Are you joking?
          Look up salaries and perks of the EU’s MEPs Councillors, Commissioners and administrators.
          Big salaries, great pensions, first class travel, limos, great hotels and endless expenses.
          Makes the House of Lords look like a very poor relation.

    3. Nicholas Murphy
      March 11, 2019

      I think the answer is that the membership of the Commons is largely made up of university graduates – particularly of the Arts persuasion. University environments are essentially left-wing environments, where students acquire political viewpoints at variance to that of the population at large (so they’re pro-immigration, pro-diversity and pro-internationalism). And arts graduates probably don’t have enough experience of problem-solving. I’ll now stand by for a (polite) blast from Dr Redwood. :}

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        March 11, 2019

        Speaking of teenagers I remember when I was studying A level politics in the early 80s. One topic that came up was the peril a prime minister incurs when he brings the politically inexperienced directly into the cabinet. The examples being John Davies with Ted Heath and Frank Cousins with Wilson. It cannot be a coincidence that we have such a crap government, when you have Bradley, Rudd and Williamson in the cabinet despite neither of them being an MP for even eight years.

        1. Richard Evans
          March 11, 2019

          JR _ “absence of any clarity from Mrs May.”Sums it up admirably but it is a deliberate ploy. The puppet MAY is following her instructions from the Establishment .
          In addition, the majority of MPs are CAREER politicians, with a FEW exceptions, and they follow like sheep. Personal gain before Country.

          If and when MAY steps down, the population need to very careful of Sajiv Javid, he is a Sleeper cell without a doubt. DO NOT FORGET, the establishment DECIDES who will be leader.

    4. majorfrustration
      March 11, 2019

      Perhaps they realise that if we leave they don’t have the skill to run the country and therefore their time is up. No more easy jobs!

    5. Leslie Singleton
      March 11, 2019

      Dear Stephen–Was I alone in not understanding Hammond’s reported promised bribe to encourage signing this so-called “deal”? I rather thought the opposite viz that he should be planning to open the coffers in the case of “no deal”–to mitigate any short term disruption and hardship.

  9. Dominic
    March 11, 2019

    Such Parliamentary dissimulation shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that as followed this PM and how she conducts herself in politics.

    Her deceit, chicanery and downright treachery betrays all that is good and great about the UK and its people. She is a stain on the good character of all British people

    1. The Prangwizard
      March 11, 2019

      The time has come for her to experience a ‘Caesescu moment’.

  10. agricola
    March 11, 2019

    Only an idiot would follow this government into no mans land. More likely I would crawl over the parapet and sink into a shell hole. From this sedentary position I would fire, mostly at our leader, for arranging the premature death of so many of my fellow citizens.
    The game in the cabinet office is not how do we produce the best outcome for the UK, but how do we manipulate the system to produce the answer we want. Gadflies and shysters the lot of them, there because they are the only ones left.

  11. Fedupsoutherner
    March 11, 2019

    Well this week could prove to be the end of the Conservative party depending on how the vote goes and on what scale betrayal of the British people takes place. Thank goodness for people like yourself John. I hope there are others that can see the folly of May’s deal. MP’s have got to see the electorate have had enough.

  12. Bob Dixon
    March 11, 2019

    Coral’s odds for leaving without a deal before the 1st of April are 4/1. Get on.Fill your boots.Happy days.

    1. Know-Dice
      March 11, 2019

      What are their odds on Mrs May resigning before the end of next week?

  13. Roy Grainger
    March 11, 2019

    I see Grieve was over in France meeting Macron’s people telling them to only agree an A50 extension of a year or more so he could arrange his second referendum. One trusts the ERG have been meeting other friendly governments (Hungary ?) asking them to veto any extension.

    1. mancunius
      March 11, 2019

      Excellent point – we only need one EU country to veto an extension. The ERG could promise them a special bilateral deal in return.

  14. Iain Gill
    March 11, 2019

    The polls of what will happen if there is another election to the EU parliament make interesting reading.

  15. James
    March 11, 2019

    Trade is not the issue. Sovereignty is the issue. Sovereignty has always been the issue, and will always be the issue. It would be remarkable if even a single MP were to vote for a measure that is dishonourable to the UK. Mrs May’s WA is unquestionably dishonourable. Woe betide any one of them that fails to stand for freedom and independence.

    1. L Jones
      March 11, 2019

      You’re so right, James. All this fuss and kerfuffle and pretend fencing was only supposed to make us take our eyes off the main ball, ie sovereignty.

      Those of us who believe in our country would accept difficulties if difficulties there may be (due to the vindictiveness of the EU, one imagines, if they can get away with it) knowing they would be short term, and for the good of our country, if ONLY we can escape the poisonous tentacles of the EU.

  16. Dame Rita Webb
    March 11, 2019

    A billion a month extra, I am surprised the Germans have not asked for the withdrawal agreement to be signed on Luneberg Heath, just like they turned the tables around at Compiegne in 1940, as well. Mrs May flying out to see unelected civil servants, rather than them being summoned to No 10, makes us look like some crappy vassal state.

    1. Beecee
      March 11, 2019

      You are correct – a PM of the UK should summon them to No. 10

      The fact that she doesn’t says much about Mrs May and where she sees her place, and therefore the UK’s, in the scheme of things.

      It is an unfortunate character trait that she does not recognise that the EU sees her as an embarrassment, and treats her, and therefore the UK, accordingly.

  17. Newmania
    March 11, 2019

    There is no mandate for No Deal Brexit. Look at the polls ; it is the one thing about which there is almost unanimous agreement, no-one wants this and no-one voted for it.
    It is increasingly apparent that nothing but self interest motivates either main Party. The Conservative Party needs the UKIP votes and Labour actually want a catastrophe with someone else at the wheel.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      March 11, 2019

      Only a fool pays attention to opinion polls these days, just ask Mrs Theresa “20 points ahead” May.

      1. Newmania
        March 11, 2019

        As I understand it any knowledge of anything is now frowned upon, in the new nasty poor world you wish to create

        1. Edward2
          March 11, 2019

          Some polls show big numbers for no deal exit.
          Take your pick.

    2. Julian Flood
      March 11, 2019

      We have actually asked the voters of West Suffolk. Leave on WTO terms wins over Remain by 2 to 1. Who have you asked?


    3. Lynn Atkinson
      March 11, 2019

      No Deal Brexit was specified in the Referendum £9 million Government leaflet delivered to every house. That is what we voted for. And here is the latest:
      All but two constituencies want their MP to reject May’s Brexit deal
      The majority of voters in nearly all the 632 parliamentary constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales want their MPs to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to the most in-depth research into public opinion on the issue. The constituency-by-constituency analysis, based on YouGov polling of more than 25,000 voters shows that there are only two — Christchurch, in Dorset, and South Holland and the Deepings, in Lincolnshire — where more support the prime minister’s deal to withdraw from the EU than oppose it. This suggests that if any vote in parliament precisely reflected the “will of the people” then even May would have to vote against her own negotiated agreement: voters in the prime minister’s Maidenhead constituency oppose it by 54% to 46%. Not a single member of the cabinet represents a seat where voters want to see the deal passed, according to the research. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, comes closest: voters in his South Staffordshire seat are split 50-50 on May’s agreement.

    4. Denis Cooper
      March 11, 2019
    5. Tad Davison
      March 11, 2019

      Newmania wrote: ‘It is increasingly apparent that nothing but self interest motivates either main Party.’

      Reconstructed: It is increasingly apparent that nothing but self interest motivates either remain Party.

      Spot the difference.

    6. Dave Andrews
      March 11, 2019

      There is no mandate for anything. If I was asked, I would say I didn’t want to leave No Deal either, I would prefer to leave with a deal, not the WA which isn’t a deal, but with something like what David Davis was working on before it became apparent his efforts were being short-circuited by No.10.
      We aren’t going to get a deal now of course, because all the time has been squandered by the PM following the EU’s agenda and not taking the initiative herself.

    7. Jagman84
      March 11, 2019

      There certainly is! The House of Commons passed the EU (Withdrawal) Bill by 319 to 303, after the ‘meaningless votes’ were offered as a concession to the anti-democratic MPs in the chamber. It is now UK law and leaving without a deal is the default position. But I expect that you knew that already. I think that you simply enjoy being argumentative and obtuse.

    8. Richard1
      March 11, 2019

      What is astonishing is no deal now has 44% support despite the constant barrage of hysteria from almost every quarter as to what an utter catastrophe it will be.

      Is there not a tiny part of you which would like to see whether this is really right? Wouldn’t it be magnificent to see the whole political and business establishment, minus a few Mavericks, proven wrong – again (remember the erm, the euro, thatchers 1981 budget and subsequent reforms etc etc)?

    9. Anonymous
      March 11, 2019

      The most literal interpretation of “Leave the EU” has not been prepared for.

      THAT is what is likely to make us poorer.

      Far from lacking knowledge we know have far more knowledge of the Tory party than we did before.

      Get your house on the market, Newmania. Corbyn is coming.

      From now on your enlightened Remain students get to dictate who leads the country.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    March 11, 2019

    Indeed. The only time the people of this country got a look in was when the manifesto was written. Stick to it, or you invoke the wrath of the people who trusted you.

  19. L Jones
    March 11, 2019

    I know nothing at all about Parliamentary procedures – but this ”in the absence of any clarity from Mrs May” sounds baffling, even dubious. Would you actually expect ”lack of clarity” from your Leader at such an important time?

    1. mancunius
      March 11, 2019

      I bet she won’t even decide until after she’s returned from Strasbourg in the early hours whether she’ll allow the vote in the Commons tomorrow.

  20. Freeborn John
    March 11, 2019

    Stand firm. I see that a plurality (44% to 30%) of the electorate now want to leave the EU without a deal if the EU will not make concessions. The public are behind you in all but two constituencies in the country.

  21. Nicholas Murphy
    March 11, 2019

    I respect your stand, Sir John. And we now know that delaying departure will cost us £1 bn/month. The EU has shown that it has no interest in having us as a friend; it just seeks us as their vassal.

  22. matthu
    March 11, 2019

    The EU is intent on demanding a billion euros for every month delay in Brexit. Effectively making a WTO outcome more likely. Why?

    Anyone remember PM Brown slinking off in secret to sign the Lisbon Treaty?

    It would not surprise me if the hidden agenda here is to engineer a no deal departure – simply to pacify the Brexiteers – followed almost immediately by the PM surreptitiously slinking off to sign various treaties with the EU which effectively put us right back to square one.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      March 11, 2019

      Anyone remember Doug Henderson? He signed the Lisbon Treaty for the U.K.! Great man in his own household no doubt.

    2. mancunius
      March 11, 2019

      Would need parliamentary approval.

    3. Rien Huizer
      March 11, 2019

      @ math

      And do you think the PM would get the result through Parliament? If that were possible she would have done this a long time ago.

      If there is no deal (and no payments etc) there will be zero interest on the part of the EU to make life easy for any UK politician.

  23. nshgp
    March 11, 2019

    How can you vote for any deal when the costs are not laid out?

    It’s not your money to pay the EU, and you certainly don’t have my consent to use my money, my wealth to pay Junker for his pension incompetence

  24. Everhopeful
    March 11, 2019

    Off topic.
    Will the EU internet legislation ( ACTA2 I think) have any effect on a blog like this one?
    No more posting links for example?
    Wonder if it will apply if we do escape?

  25. Bryan Harris
    March 11, 2019

    So, this is the week that defines our future ….

    We’ve waited for this month for a very long time… Not just since the referendum, because many of us have been EU watchers for some years, despairing at it’s inequity and wrong-headedness, wondering how we could ever be free of the dictators in Brussels.

    There is only one wish at this time as Parliament prepares to vote, and that is that rationality, and our hopes, will prevail

  26. Denis Cooper
    March 11, 2019

    “May and Juncker speak on phone ahead of Brexit vote”

    I expect that he gave her some more good advice, like when he advised her to hold a snap general election and get herself a more substantial majority.

    1. Rien Huizer
      March 11, 2019

      @ Denis Cooper

      The advice was probably to stop calling.

  27. Adam
    March 11, 2019

    The ERG is a unit of work that has its most productive effectiveness this week.

    1. mancunius
      March 11, 2019

      Nice one! 🙂

  28. Denis Cooper
    March 11, 2019

    An interesting article here:

    “Poll finds a shocking proportion of voters think MPs put the EU’s interests ahead of Britain’s”

    And they are right, as we will once again have demonstrated this week.

  29. William
    March 11, 2019

    Sir John, if what you expect to happen does not happen, and instead the government backs an extension on the grounds that they think they could get a better deal with a few extra months, will you continue to support the PM? If not, what options are there for getting rid of May ASAP and restarting this Brexit process right from the beginning? As far as I can see, that is the only way to get out of this appalling mess that the Conservatives have got the country in to.

    1. Rien Huizer
      March 11, 2019


      Where have you been ? Mr Redwood is not supporting the PM as he has said many times. He might as well belong to a different party.

  30. HardyB
    March 11, 2019

    It doesn’t matter any more about whipping or not whipping, the EU has lost all interest for the moment and have decided to let government and parliament get on with it. For them the next important thing is the EU elections coming up in May. Very likely they will wait now until after these elections before revisiting the UK WA – They know, and we know, that nothing can be agreed into the future without first of all fixing the past and signing off on the WA. So then following the EU elections will come the Summer months, and I suppose it will be September October before talks can resume again.

    1. mancunius
      March 11, 2019

      Completely wrong on two counts.
      1) Article 50 makes clear (as does the French preparatory text that preceded the draft) that a Withdrawal Agreement is not necessary for an EU member to leave the EU. After we have left (on 29 March, or a month later) there is no WA – that is treaty law.
      2) If (via an Art. 50 extension) the post-29 March extension period were to last until September or October, the UK must by EU law arrange in April for its own MEP elections in May.

    2. Mark B
      March 11, 2019

      By then we will be out of the EU and will no longer need to negotiate let a lone sign the WA.

      Read Art.50. Either a WA or the end of the term, 2 years and we are FREE.

  31. ukretired123
    March 11, 2019

    Keeping your head when all are losing theirs ….
    Thank you Sir John for reminding your fellow MPs not to lose the plot as we will witness much knashing of teeth come le crunch!
    Time for everyone step up to the plate and do the right thing for the country sans posturing and virtue signalling.
    The Electorate spoke to leave sans fudge, Belgian chocolates nor any other bribes.
    Good luck and thanks for your illuminating insights during these pitiful debates to witness.

  32. javelin
    March 11, 2019

    The WA anthem

    Fool Britannia, Britannia beneath the waves.
    Britain always, always, always will be slaves.

    1. Tad Davison
      March 11, 2019

      I know this was just a bit of satire javelin, and I took it as such, but I take our possible slavery very seriously.

      Unless there is a mechanism by which we can remove from office, those who make laws that affect us, the possibility of slavery and subjugation is omnipresent. And with respect to the citizens of the United Kingdom, that ratchet has been tightening ever since we joined the EU 1973 to the extent that it is now extremely difficult to break free – something we were never able to vote on until the 2016 referendum.

      Yet unless a person has been an assiduous student of the incremental changes in UK and EU law throughout that period, there is the very real risk of failure to recognise what is really going on.

      Being generous, that is probably the case with remainers who cannot possibly comprehend the very principles of democracy, whilst simultaneously supporting the European Union because the two positions are diametrically opposed. So are we on the leave side, so very wrong for wanting to extricate ourselves from its grasp?

      I am proud to be a true patriot!


      1. Anonymous
        March 11, 2019

        I fear that the EU and the push towards political correctness and woke-ness will lead to gulags.

    2. L Jones
      March 11, 2019

      Don’t be a naysayer, Javelin.
      This is not the time to begin crying into your beer.

  33. John Lewis
    March 11, 2019

    I often read your articles but this is the first time I have added a comment. I would just like to thank you for your detailed explanations of the current political situation and hope to follow you for many months to come. Your reports are a breathe of fresh air in the murky Westminster saga and I sometimes despair as to how we got where we are. I do not trust Mrs May one bit and would much rather a No Deal became the outcome rather than this mess she has produced. The woman should get off her bloody knees and stop being a national embarrassment.

  34. formula57
    March 11, 2019

    I have written afresh to my M.P. to urge no deal and no delay.

    O/T but relevant – Your 4, March letter to Attorney General Cox appears to be unanswered as yet. He does know does he that the last correspondence-challenged minister (now resigned) incurred the lasting displeasure of us Redwoodistas by failing to reply to a letter you issued?

    1. Beecee
      March 11, 2019

      Mr Cox is only in Brussels to provide the sticking plaster.

      Remain hero Robbins is the one doing the ‘dealing’ as our chief negotiator.

      Shows the sell-out is still on course!

  35. NigelE
    March 11, 2019

    Great expectations, Sir John. I think you’ll be disappointed/frustrated, however. There’s even talk that Mrs May will cancel the Tuesday vote on the WA, so presumably the subsequent votes will not be needed.

    What a way to run a country.

  36. Edwardm
    March 11, 2019

    If our government were to do the right thing it’d be simple, as you suggest.
    The EU are trying to make it very simple too, by offering us such a bad WA and making it expensive to delay, the obvious decision is no deal and leave on 29th.

  37. agricola
    March 11, 2019

    Skye are debating when the PM should resign. One year after Brexit or before the next election are muted.
    I would suggest that the 30th March is the day she should go.
    The thought that such a useless team of negative thinking shysters should have anything to do with the future of a sovereign UK is apalling. Over and over again they have proved themselves utterly useless.
    Is there any way of black balling any future accolade at the PMs behest for the Robins. For him to get a tray of washers would be an insult to the people of the UK.

    1. Dominic
      March 11, 2019

      They’re not useless they are complicit, and working with the EU (Merkel) in the deliberate circumvention of the EU referendum result of 2016.

      I wish people would stop portraying this PM and her government as useless. Her policy is clever, contrived and deceitful. I wouldn’t described May as useless but proficient in her political abilities to undermine her enemies. She is in effect all that is wrong with contemporary politics and this process of degradation started in 1990 when the odious Major deposed MT with the descent rapidly accelerating under that unmentionable PM that infected No.10 from 1997

      1. agricola
        March 11, 2019

        You must look at her Home Office legacy to realise how useless she was.

      2. Denis Cooper
        March 11, 2019

        It’s difficult to say how much is stupid and how much is devilishly clever.

        Let’s recall that it all started to go wrong some time in the summer of 2017, after our general election, and with the new Irish government adopting an absurd extreme and intransigent position over the border in an attempt to keep the UK under the economic thumb of the EU.

        Which only became clear to me on November 24th 2017 when I saw this on Sky News:

        but was no doubt apparent to the UK government long before then.

        In an understandable attempt to protect the economy of the Republic from the effects of Brexit – potentially as much as an 8% loss of GDP, according to the recent Ifo study:

        the Irish government decided to construct an apparently insurmountable mountain out a molehill on the land border; and instead of dismissing that as the load of tripe it was and is Theresa May then decided to use that as a pretext to give the CBI what it wants.

        That is how she has got us into this mess, by trying to be clever but perhaps so clever that it became stupid …

      3. Brian Tomkinson
        March 11, 2019


    2. James
      March 11, 2019

      Beneath all the shenanigans, it is still not entirely easy to discern whether our PM is an absolute genius in running the clock down in order to engineer a clean WTO deal. Or has she all along been well intentioned but simply totally out of her depth and a thoroughgoing idiot of the first order. Whichever, due to the chaos that has been engendered from start to finish under her less than inspiring leadership, she should have the decency to tender her resignation at 11.01 pm on 29 March.

    3. Ian Pennell
      March 11, 2019

      @ agricola

      Theresa May needs removing ASAP and some-one who believes in Brexit put in charge before it is irrevocably reversed. We need some-one with the guts to face down Remainers, prorogue Parliament to stop them derailing Brexit and have a fresh General Election fought on a popular WTO “No Deal” platform. Only that is going to restore a Brexit Conservative Majority Government.

      Perhaps our excellent host would be an ideal candidate to be Chancellor of the Exchequer working alongside Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. This country needs popular pro- growth policies.

  38. rose
    March 11, 2019

    Faultless reasoning, as ever.

  39. Rien Huizer
    March 11, 2019

    Mr Redwood,

    No surprises here. What I wonder about, as a foreigner with only superficial knowledge about the UK constitutional law and practices (extra difficult to understand given the lack of a single constitutional document) is the peculiar ways in which the duopoly parties function internally. The influence and autonomy of local units (by whatever name), barriers to entry, slection methods, ways to expel members, ways to discipline elected representatives who disagree with the executive if their party is in power.

    Apparently the government lacks effective ways (you mention a three line whip, which should imply dire consequences for members disobeying) to make dissenters in their own party vote for government proposals. How can that be reconciled with party-based government? And a second question, beyond brexit, would be: is this a precursor to a US style parliamentary practice, where party (organization) discipline over members is quite weak and members tend to vote in parocial ways (pork) due to the need to survive primaries. But the US has a strict formal division of power, often resulting in the executive having access to only a minority of representative and in constant need to assemble coalitions around legislative proposals.

    Maybe you could take a look at this once brexit is out of the way (for a while or forever).

  40. iain
    March 11, 2019

    At Chequers Mrs May gave her Ministers very little time to read and digest her ” Agreement” before voting on it. The same will happen now with MPs given an hour to read her “backstop agreement” agreed with Barnier before a vote. For her it is a proven strategy.

  41. matthu
    March 11, 2019

    Is the Malthouse compromise dead in the water?

    If not, how may it be resurrected?

    1. Rien Huizer
      March 11, 2019

      @ math

      Whoever invented that silly thing must have been under a happier influence than brexit.

  42. They Work for Us?
    March 11, 2019

    Thank you for standing fast, explaining things as they and representing proper Conservatism when many MPs including my own won’t.
    A previous poster has rightfully pointed out that if we get a clean exit we must beware Mrs May then signing away all the advantages in secret little deals with the EU. We must have a tough pro Brexit and pro UK interests PM to represent us. We must not worry about being liked, no one else does.

  43. BR
    March 11, 2019

    The impression I get from reading this is that you receive a letter that is rather unclear and then sit and await further instructions.

    There appears to be no mechanism whereby you ask for clarification; no option to input your views other than to write a blog and hope that the PM/whips read it.

    It would be interesting to hear what options are open to you to have your view taken into consideration (can you go via Brady, can you contact the whips’ office)?

    It seems a rather poor show that you are seen as simply a unit awaiting orders.

    Reply Yes of course I talk to the whips. Parliament is a continuous conversation about what to do, how to vote, what motions to table etc

    1. L Jones
      March 11, 2019

      Yet you mention ”lack of clarity” from the PM. Is this to be expected? Is this normal behaviour in a party leader? If so, why?

    2. BR
      March 11, 2019

      Ok, good to hear, so when you asked the whips about this and had the conversations you mentioned… what did they say to clarify and assuage the concerns you mentioned in the original post?

  44. Steve fenn
    March 11, 2019

    Tell them to shove their whip up their ass John. Gather all the Brexiteers under one banner and bring the Government down tomorrow when her deal collapses. Let us have a GE and drain the swamp

  45. Lynn Atkinson
    March 11, 2019

    Good News at Last! We need the Surrender Deal defeated by more than 200 again to remove HOPE of getting it through!
    Please confirm that the Tuesday and Wednesday shipping is as you expect and not the reverse – which would be perverse even for May’s ‘government’ – we are all on tenterhooks.

  46. Den
    March 11, 2019

    Before making any vote on the subject of extending Art 50, MPs should ask the PM about this new revelation from the Brussels cabal. Who do these people think they are? Worse, who do they think WE are? Weaklings and sycophants? Leave means leave means to depart from PERMANENTLY!

  47. ChrisS
    March 11, 2019

    The public are, as usual, braver and more sensible than the majority of Parliamentarians who are Remainers.

    It’s been obvious ever since the referendum that Brussels was never willing to negotiate any kind of deal that would leave us properly independent. I’ve said here frequently that we should apply a “USA Test” to every part of the deal. In other words, we should refuse to agree to any restrictions that a US President, even an Obama, would not accept.

    The Withdrawal agreement certainly fails to pass that test !

    The problem is that the majority of MPS are spineless, have no confidence in their own Country and won’t vote for a WTO exit. They are perfectly happy, would even prefer, for us to remain tied to the EU indefinitely. That is not Brexit that any Leaver would recognise.

    The key vote this week is not on May’s deal, that is dead, it just won’t lie down. The crucial one is on the option of a WTO exit. That should be passed as it seems to now have the support of a large percentage of the population, certainly it is acceptable to those that support Leaving. A WTO exit on the 29th March holds no fear for Leavers and is certainly my preferred option.

    But what if that too is rejected by MPs ? The only option, and a poor one at that, would be some modified form of May’s deal. It would provide some certainty that we will eventually be outside the EU, even though it will be extremely difficult to resolve.

    If MPs reject a WTO exit, Brussels will be even less inclined to offer any concessions because we will have no cards left to play. They are likely to sit on their hands and wait for Remainers to take over and hold another referendum.

    How, Sir John, to you and your colleagues going to prevent that from happening ????

  48. ChrisS
    March 11, 2019

    If we don’t leave the EU on 29th March, May should resign on the 30th.

  49. Sue Doughty
    March 11, 2019

    Happy Commonwealth Day for today! Remember that worldwide group tomorrow

  50. Nigl
    March 11, 2019

    In the absence of any clarity from Mrs May. Her perfect political epitaph.

  51. javelin
    March 11, 2019

    Some commentators are saying Hammond and May are shooting themselves in the feet, I think a better characterization is shooting the majority of UK voters in the back.

  52. hardlymatters
    March 11, 2019

    The world looks on aghast as England dances on the head of a pin

  53. Ian
    March 11, 2019

    All we ask of any Government ,is stick to your Manifesto and give us Democricy ?

    So how are these terrible people doing then ?

    I thought so, bring it on we have waited 50 years to be free, something we forget is that millions gave there very lives that we should be Free.

    Do not let them down again

  54. Andy
    March 11, 2019

    I have some advice for Brexiteers.

    If you want Brexit to endure you need to make sure it is a success. If it is not a success then it will inevitably be undone. You will not be able to stop this.

    So how do you guarantee Brexit is a success?

    Well, basically you do the exact opposite of everything you have done for the last 3 years.

    Firstly – you listen. People have very genuine concerns. You have a duty to understand them and engage constructively. Dismissing it all as rubbish or Project Fear is pathetic. It is people’s lives and livelihoods – it is reasonable for people to be concerned.

    Secondly – you pause. It took us EIGHT years to go fully into the EEC. It is not unreasonable to take the same time to get out. If you rush you will fail.

    Thirdly – you compromise. The Brexit you promised is undeliverable. What is deliverable is rubbish. If you want any sort of Brexit to work you have to accept you will not have it all your own way. There is another side involved.

    Fourthly – you grow up. You have mostly spent the last three years behaving like petulant toddlers. Mark Francois, Steve Baker, Andrew Bridgen, Nadine Dorries, Farage are among those who have no credibility left. You have (a few) sensible Brexiteers left. Get them on the TV and radio instead of the ranty loons.

    Finally – look like Britain. Our country is not only old white men. Visible Brexiteers mostly are. It is not a good look.

    I expect you to ignore me. I also expect you to fail. Do not say you were not warned.

  55. Denis Cooper
    March 11, 2019

    I saw Yvette Cooper making part of her speech, in which she said:

    “Brexit involves major constitutional change.”

    Funny that, for more than half a century we were assured that the EEC/EC/EU project was really just about trade and had only minor constitutional implications, but now we must understand that leaving it involves major constitutional change.

    It’s like those people who told us that we were quite mistaken, the EU had very little effect on our laws, until we vote to leave when they discover that we are so deeply entangled that it will be extremely difficult and time-consuming to extricate ourselves.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      March 11, 2019

      Spot on! The Remainers are having to reveal their lies! The British don’t like liars!

  56. mancunius
    March 11, 2019

    Exactly right, Sir John – hold your nerve and urge your colleagues to as well!!

    Nobody I know wants this so-called ‘Withdrawal Agreement’. And everyone I know now wants us to just leave, now, while we still can. No extension, no more excuses. Just Leave, we’ve been waiting long enough.

    As long as we all keep our nerve, as the Ozzies say: ‘She’ll be right’.

  57. a-tracy
    March 11, 2019

    The Headlines read “Airlines not majority-owned by EU nationals or companies risk losing the ability to fly within bloc” is this going to be a reciprocal thing, that Airlines not majority-owned by UK nationals can’t fly within the UK? What about gas, electric companies just how far is this sort of thing going to go. The Irish are such hypocrites when they wanted their independence from the UK they kept all of their previous free movements and voting rights and other terms.

  58. margaret
    March 11, 2019

    Hey you can’t stand down as you are part of the brickworks. You need to stand you ground and stay. It looks like that London flat will be getting a lot of use.

  59. The Prangwizard
    March 11, 2019

    Sir John, do you believe Mrs May is a fit, proper and fully rational and trustworthy person to be and remain as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom?

  60. Alan Joyce
    March 11, 2019

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Is there any chance that Government Ministers could be whipped three times, or as many as necessary, to stop them saying “MP’s who want to take No-Deal off the table should vote for the Prime Minister’s Deal.” Crap though it is!

    Perhaps the whipping should also be extended to Ministers who do not give straightforward answers to backbench MP’s questions in the House. The Prime Minister is an acknowledged expert on giving answers containing no helpful information whatsoever. As is Stephen Barclay. So too is Robin Walker who at the despatch box only a short while ago gave an entirely unrevealing performance in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s urgent question on the Brexit progress talks.

    They are so frightened of saying something ‘incriminating’ that their determination to say absolutely nothing has become an artform amongst some of our politicians.

    1. Steve
      March 11, 2019

      Alan Joyce

      “Perhaps the whipping should also be extended to Ministers who do not give straightforward answers”

      Perhaps the whipping could be ‘real’ whipping ?

  61. Ian wragg
    March 11, 2019

    John Guido is reporting that Calais is installing a smart border to smooth traffic. This is based on Trusted Traders, ANPR cameras and bar coding.
    Good enough for £billions passing through there but not good enough for the miniscule amount of trade between the Irish border. Perhaps you could bring this to the attention of the HoC.

    1. hefner
      March 11, 2019

      The only difference being that in Calais one has to deal with the Channel Tunnel and the ferry port, so only two locations, similarly in Dover/Folkestone on the English side.
      Do you think feasible to restrict the crossings between NI and the RoI to only two locations for that “minuscule amount of trade”?

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      March 11, 2019

      No! We don’t want the excuse (the Irish Border) to be resolved! We want OUT lock, stock and barrel on any pretext!

  62. rose
    March 11, 2019

    It looks as if the PM, true to form, is to try and ambush the Commons, as she usually does the Cabinet, and without the Cabinet having met. I hope this base behaviour will only reinforce MPs’ determination to do the right thing. Whatever emergency cosmetic surgery is performed on the Backstop tonight, the DWA is choc full of treachery and must be voted down. Just on defence alone, see what Sir Richard Dearlove reminds us of, over on Brexit Central.

  63. Steve
    March 11, 2019

    Now May has suddenly jetted off to Strasbourg, no one knows why, not even anyone in the HoC—–nobody has any idea.

    This has always been one of Theresa May’s sneaky tactics.

    It is absolutely unacceptable behaviour. The woman is clearly a risk to national security and should be apprehended, then locked up until after the 29th.

    We cannot have her galavanting off to her European friends like that.

  64. Chris
    March 11, 2019

    The usual choreography is in play with May andd the eurocrats, with the “high drama” which is so dull as it is so predictable. Cue Brexiters to step in line, May assumes.

    If the Brexiters do not show what they stand for at this most crucial point, where the pressures on them are at their greatest, then the Cons will suffer the consequences, and they will be seismic, I believe. The WA with tweaks to the backstop is NOT leaving. The WA represents a vassal state UK. We want none of it, Sir John.

  65. Simon Coleman
    March 11, 2019

    I think we know how you’re going to vote. We don’t need all that waffle. Interestingly, the Daily Telegraph business section reports that a trillion pounds of City of London assets have been lost since the referendum – to Dublin and other European financial centres. ‘And it’s not Project Fear, it’s already happened’, says the DT. And more departures to come. What have you got to say to that?

  66. Martin
    March 11, 2019

    The best of it is this is just a transition agreement.

    I expect if Mrs May’s deal gets through it will another two years of the same carry on of kicking cans down the road.

    Assuming its no deal what is your policy on the Corn Laws? Will it be total free trade or a fudge?

  67. Chris
    March 11, 2019

    Now the latest in the drama is that May has apparently got legally binding assurances with regard to the backstop from the eurocrats. When will the penny drop with Tory MPs? The WA with PD do not represent Brexit, and a little tweaking to the backstop (without the WA being opened again and revised completely) is meaningless. No, Mrs May, this is not Brexit.

  68. Ian Pennell
    March 11, 2019

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    My fears are that the Remainers, who not only have a Majority in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but that the Civil Service and our top Judges are Remainers too.

    What is the possibility that even if Theresa May were to ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament (to stop the Remainer plots and manoeuvres) that the Speaker would collude with his Remainer advisers and the High Court to stop Theresa May proroguing Parliament on the grounds that “in a Democracy Parliament should be Sovereign”?? Do not under-estimate the Remainer Deep State!

    Not that Theresa May seems to be willing to prorogue Parliament to safeguard Brexit anyway! She needs removing from her position as Prime Minister ASAP- with Conservatives coalescing around a Brexit- supporter to lead the country. Then we need a General Election fought on a WTO “No Deal” Platform with other popular pro- growth policies like tax cuts, massive investment in housing and more money for the Police and other vital services. Slashing Foreign Aid, ending EU payments and axing HS2 would help fund such policies- which would help the economy grow and ensure a Brexit- supporting Majority is returned with a mandate to deliver what 17.4 million folk voted for in 2016.

    Theresa May should indeed whip against taking “No Deal” off the table and against extending Article 50; she should also prorogue Parliament with a view to safeguarding Brexit and (failing that) push for a new General Election fought with popular policies. Unfortunately, she has not got it in herself to do any of that (and I would not trust her leading the Conservatives in another Election after the 2017 disaster). You must, with your Conservative colleagues, move firmly to ensure that she is deposed; the times in which we live require a strong no- nonsense leader to run this country.

  69. Pominoz
    March 11, 2019

    Just heard that May has achieved concessions on the WA from the EU.

    Hope that sufficient MPs remain convinced that the WA itself, and not just the backstop, is a disastrous surrender document and must be opposed. WTO exit really is the only way forward.

    Sir John, Do hope that you will share your views on this in your next post.

  70. Lindsay McDougall
    March 12, 2019

    This evening’s Government announcement was that the UK could go to international arbitration if it felt that the EU failed to use its best endeavours to replace the Irish backstop with alternative arrangements. I have three questions:
    – Who would appoint the arbiters?
    – How long would the process take?
    – Would the standard of proof required be that for a criminal offence or a civil matter?

    Lots more money for lawyers and a big bill for tax payers.

    As expected, we will be asked to swallow a load of fudge. The Attourney General’s harrumphing will come tomorrow.

  71. ian
    March 12, 2019

    You now have an improved worst withdrawal agreement on Tuesday then you had on Sunday.

  72. Big John
    March 12, 2019

    Mays latest rubbish, doesn’t actually change the backstop. They just require negotiations on changes to the backstop but only after we have already signed up to it.

    All the EU have to do is keep saying no to any suggested change and we then remain locked in with no escape.

    Either May is stupid or more likely, May is hoping our MPs are stupid enough to sign up to this empty promise.

    Clean exit (WTO) is the only viable option now.

  73. Dennis
    March 12, 2019

    I will be happy to live on baked beans for a while for the sake of implementing a clean and proper No Deal Brexit. Obviously under a No Deal scenario deals will properly be made. And the awful WA will be binned as one of history’s sad political mistakes. If the WA gets through it seems we’ll then need Nigel’s Brexit party to do the job properly.

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