What answer should the Attorney have sent to my letter about the draft treaty?

When I sent my letter I was still hoping to persuade the government to announce it could not get its Withdrawal Agreement through and to process to the free trade WTO exit route. A good answer would have been along these lines:

Dear John

You are right that in order to try to get an Agreement with the EU the UK did make various compromises. It also asked for an extension to our membership for a 21 month or two year period which came at a price over money and powers.  The government thought this the best answer, but it is now clear people and Parliament do not agree.

We are therefore now looking at an expedited exit from the EU without signing the Withdrawal Agreement. We will be tabling a comprehensive free trade proposal, which the EU Commission has indicated it will consider.


Yours etc


I also thought I might get a whitewash brush off letter:


Dear John


Thank you for your letter. Whilst we do not agree with your interpretation of what might happen were we to sign the EU Withdrawal Treaty, I acknowledge as you mainly point out that in the transition period the UK will continue to make budgetary payments and observe EU laws. This seems to the government to be entirely fair and to give the UK more time to adjust to exit. I do not accept we will necessarily be in transition for almost four more years, nor accept that we will have to stay in the customs union indefinitely owing to the backstop provision. The powers and charges  that last beyond transition are proportionate and reasonable.

You need to accept that compromises have to be made and this was the best deal the UK government was able to negotiate.

Yours etc


The argument over which of two Ministers might reply indicates to me a certain unhappiness about having to deal with the individual points highlighted in the letter, and a recognition that the draft treaty does indeed keep the UK under the full control of the EU for at least 21 more months and maybe much longer depending on how things work out. It is on any reading a Stay in not a leave agreement. The argument is over how long it might last and what it does to any eventual leaving, given the way it removes many of the UK’s best bargaining levers. The backstop threatens permanent customs membership and other clauses have an impact well beyond the next 21 months. It does not unequivocally let us leave at any future date, and binds us in to more EU controls and bills without vote or voice to protest. Under it you can be sure we are locked in on bad terms for an unspecified period, with no easy way out and under huge pressure to sacrifice yet more to try to get out.

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  1. Pominoz
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    When you wrote your article dated 10th May, I thought at the time that it was a way of the Attorney General avoiding giving a full legal view of the various points you raised. The Brexit Secretary would claim he could not provide a formal legal response. In other word, a fudge, which, sadly is just about par for the course.

    May I put forward some thoughts and questions on a Conservative leadership change? (Still don’t want to mention her name!)

    1. Hope I’m not too optimistic, but it now seems likely – and quite soon.
    2. The new leader must be a Brexiteer and someone who has NEVER voted for the putrid WA at any time.
    3. Can the new leader simply tell the EU that the extension of the leaving date imposed by them is now being rejected and we are leaving on WTO terms immediately?
    4. Does such a decision in 3 above needed approval of Parliament or can we simply rely on the existing legal situation following approval of the Withdrawal Act?
    5. If a change of leadership occurs before 23rd May, can the Euro elections be halted and would this automatically result in us leaving?
    6. I note in your post of yesterday that you would prefer these elections to be cancelled, but does the timescale of appointing a new PM mean that you are effectively relying on the current PM, or a stand-in PM, to cancel?

    • Mark B
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      With respect sir I think you quite do not understand the problem. Teresa May MP was chosen by the parlimentry party not the membership. It is the MP’s and Parliament that is the problem. Replacing the PM even with a BREXITIER will not help as the Tories and Labour want to kill BREXIT.

      • Hope
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        We read in Guido that Greg Clarke is proposing essentially that the EU carries on determining our energy and construction prices once we leave the EU!

        May categorically stated that being half in and half out or remaining in part would not be leaving!

        Energy is central to being competing in a lot of industries.

        Good grief JR there is little hope for these EU fanatics in govt.

        Off topic:
        JR, you might like to read the DM it appears there is an attempt to smear you with the link to a Tory councillor that has defected to the Brexit Party. Your relationship has no bearing to her defection. Suggest you make a complaint. There is no need whatsoever for the Theresa Mail to bring your relationship with each other up.

        Reply My relationship with Nikki Page was well known at the time and was no secret. Nikki is now a Brexit party candidate, so what is the smear? The Telegraph reports it sensibly today.

      • NickC
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Mark B, It is true there is currently a Remain majority of MPs in the HoC, including Tory MPs. It is a problem. However, the real question is whether MPs are honourable, or not. Parliament asked us, the people, to decide, not MPs. For good or ill, depending on one’s viewpoint, Parliament must carry out the wishes of the voters – even though a majority of MPs dislike the result. That is what must happen at every general election as well. Otherwise democracy is dead and the HoC is pointless.

  2. J Bush
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    They want to keep us in the EU and the May’s document is a deviant way of doing this. Trouble is, the small print and not so small print of this document is heinous and so obvious. But none of them want the finger of blame pointed at them for trying to deceive the electorate.

    That is why they won’t release the legal opinion on it.

    I find it bizarre that May is trying to blame democracy and sovereignty supporting MP’s for us not leaving the EU. So pathetic and transparent.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      It’s the headline that counts, nothing else.

      “WA is a fair compromise and is leaving the EU.”

      Just as dishonest as…

      “Farage involved in hit and run accident.”

    • Robert Valence
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      I find it worse than bizarre! It’s pathetic, it’s a complete insult to our intelligence that we should believe/accept that this document “her deal”-which is not a deal at all but a replacement surrender treaty -that this represents in any shape or form what “Leave” means. Watching her, hearing her claim this causes steam to exit from my ears…..!!

    • Hope
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Sedwill, Robins and the dishonest civil servants involved in the KitKat policy need to be investigated. Why has there been no investigation by Sedwill only praise and support?

  3. Newmania
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    There is no mandate for No Deal , its a simple as that . The Brexit yahoos are so pleased that their appalling Party is gathering votes; fine.
    Lets make it simple. The referendum indicated that much of the country was unhappy with our existing deal. It did not specify any outcome, and we were relentlessly assured that we could have the “easiest negotiations ever”. We are now agreed that No Deal is the best deal available.
    Remain versus No Deal – Ask the people, and that will be the end of it.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      We’ve already eliminated Remain. That’s an end of that.

      • Newmania
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        In what sense is remain eliminated ?Remain may be less popular than any number of fictional and factual outcomes combined but it is vastly more popular than No Deal.
        If you want to stand on the wording of the referendum most of us would settle for leaving the EU but remaining in the customs union and single market. In fact this is the outcome to which the most object least ( so to speak)
        We could agree on that or we could have another referendum or you can continue with your delusion that half the country can risk the other halfs jobs and things will just kinda settle down.

        • L Jones
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Oh, THAT referendum wording! ”Leave the EU but remain in the customs union and single market”. Must have passed most of us by.

          And how many times do you think the people should be asked to vote? As many times as it takes till YOU and the EU masters are satisfied with the answer? And what if the same answer were achieved? And what if ‘remain’ won by the margin 52/48? Would THAT be acceptable after all? And things would kinda settle down then, would they?

        • Woody
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          Clearly you are trying to avoid the obvious… no deal is a negotiating position that is essential, and with that as a clear option then the eurocracy will be dragged kicking and hissing to agree a free trade agreement by the european businesses who have so much to lose by losing the uk export market. Simples really … to simple for the remain cabal who like “complicated”.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink


          If Brexit = Labour/Tory/DUP/UUP?/Brexit Party/UKIP

          and Remain = LibDem/Green/and the nationalists Plaid/SNP/Sinn Féin?CUK

          If Brexit votes are a majority
          Labour/Tory = May’s WA
          DUP/Brexit/UKIP = WTO Leave

          DUP/Brexit/UKIP won would that be WTO wins out? Leave no deal

        • NickC
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Newmania, The sense in which Remain is eliminated is the sense of the 2016 Referendum. The British people chose to leave the EU treaties unconditionally, and rejected remaining conditionally in the EU.

          Remaining in the EU’s customs union and single market is remaining in the EU. Which we rejected in 2016. You were told by both campaigns explicitly that a vote to Leave was a vote in favour of our own trade policy – hence leaving the EU’s CU, CCP, SM, etc.

          The Remain tactic you employ of pretending not to understand what the word Leave means is frankly getting tedious. Leave is what we voted for, and what we’ll get eventually. Grow up and accept it; no-one says you have to like it. Otherwise we might think you’re thick.

          • Newmania
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            Firstly I cannot imagine what” we ” you think you and I belong to , none I am aware of, but aside form that ever scrap of evidence shows your assumption is wrong.
            No Deal was polled by Coms Res on the 9th of May.38% strongly against , 21% against , 21% strongly favour and 20% weakly favour . you seem to know more about what people voted for than they do.
            You Gov on the 11th of April have 48% saying we were wrong to leave the EU and 40% sayi9ng we were right . Clearly many leave voters do not agree with you , as well as all remain voters .

            The Leave side promised an un altered trading relationship I can give you about twenty quotes form John Redwood`s Blog showing exactly that, as well as a deluge of similar material on the “easiest negotiation ever” lines
            You seem, to think that every risk accentuated on the leaflet is holy writ whereas the flood of leave lies has no place in the question. Sadly they did , so stop making your own history up.
            Many many things were made clear most of them on the Leave side were pure lies, 90% of Leave voters believed they would be richer fcs!!!!

            The reason we are stuck is that the Leave that was promised does not exist . That’s why a new vote is required and if you were not as certain as I am you would lose you would not be making such childish and ill informed arguments

          • Don Pay
            Posted May 14, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

            Nonsense, the Leave campaign promised that if we left, we would keep the exact same benefits of trade with the EU that we have now. And that unavoidably means staying in a customs union and single market

          • NickC
            Posted May 14, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Newmania, The “we” in context is the UK. Both you and I have in the past had to accept governments we don’t like and didn’t vote for. That happens in a democracy. Tough. Until the Referendum. Now Remains like you have decided you can and should blatantly overturn the result. That is at best absurd, at worst totalitarian (where only Remain is allowed).

            Citing polling with all its biases, from the questions asked to the extrapolation from a small sample, confirms your absurdity. More importantly, your attempt to discard a Referendum result you don’t like undermines every following democratic result, including even polling. If majorities don’t matter, they don’t matter.

            The Leave side absolutely did not “promised an unaltered trading relationship”. In fact they campaigned precisely for a change in our trading relationship. Neither did they “promise” anything at all. They were not in the position to do so. Neither campaign was a lucky-bag of goodies which would be handed out on the 24th June 2016. You are naive to think so. You cannot complain because you failed to grasp what was going on. And discarding our democracy results in discarding yours. Do you really want to go there?

            The Leave that was promised does exist – it is there for the taking. Almost every nation in the rest of the world trades with the EU without being a member. There is no reason why we should not be as independent as New Zealand; at least none that Remains have coughed up.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          You therefore need to revisit the Leaflet and listen to speeches by the Prime Minister during the referendum when it was clear that “leaving” meant leaving the main organs if the EU.

        • Steve
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink


          “If you want to stand on the wording of the referendum most of us would settle for leaving the EU but remaining in the customs union”

          Most of whom ?

          Most of the remain minority, perhaps ? Leave voters certainly don’t want a customs union.

          Oh guess what…..remain lost the referendum ! ….which in a democracy means you have to quit whingeing, accept the result and wait until the next general election if you have a problem with it.

          Same for all remainers, just STFU…you had your say in the referendum and you lost.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        That’s a bit like saying that the Tories should have been eliminated when they lost the 1997 election.

        But they weren’t. They had another go in 2001. And again in 2005.

        You see, in a democracy nothing is ever eliminated. Though, as we know, Brexiteers are doing all they can to eliminate democracy.

        • NickC
          Posted May 14, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Andy, Unless you are on a different timeline from the rest of us, the Tories were eliminated from government in 1997. Perhaps you could give examples of the policies the Tories implemented in government in 1998, 1999, 2000, ….. ? You are welcome to continue with your minority Remain views, no Leave can take that away from you. And maybe in 47 years time when you are 90 in your bathchair you can vote in another Leave/Remain referendum.

          • Newmania
            Posted May 14, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

            The people who hate Europe never accepted the first referendum and the only reason the were unable to force a new one was because hardly anyone was interested ,a circumstance that , as a matter of fact , did not change
            Democracy has not ended and this is not Brexit year zero. You with your ” Will of the People” attacks on the Judiciary, the civil service , the BBC( inevitably) the constitution and just about anyone with any knowledge that is inconvenient, you are the totalitarian. You talk about patriotism at least in the last war I can be pretty confident which side I would have been on . You .. …you smell a bit Vichy to me.

    • sm
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      “The Referendum did not specify any outcome”???????

      What could be more clear and specific than STAY or GO?

      How come all those bright-spark MPs (Clarke, Grieve, Starmer, Cooper, Liddington etc) who were in The House when the Referendum Bill legislation was discussed didn’t use their colossal brains and exceptionally superior knowledge to create a far tighter and more controlled Referendum? Why did they agree, when they apparently were in the majority, to a simply binary option? Why didn’t they build in a requirement for a larger majority?

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Given that, when asked, between 43% and 54% (studies vary) of Remainers admitted voting that way because they were worried about the potential economic consequences of voting Leave (remember Project Fear Mk 1?) — virtually none of which materialised, we all now know — I say bring it on.

      Without Project Fear, based on the lowest figure above that would have been something in the region of 70% for Leave to 30% for Remain.

      Fool me once…

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      The people have indeed been asked: ”Do you want to remain in the EU”? and ”Do you want to leave the EU?”
      Can you recall any qualification of these questions on the ballot paper?
      In other words: Remain versus Leave, with no mention of trade deals.
      Can you remember the majority answer?
      Can you recall the £9m leaflet before the referendum that was supposed to inform you? Did you not realise that no trade deal is needed in order to leave the EU?
      Did it ever occur to you that Brexit was never all about trade, but far far more?

      You are typical of a Europhile – firstly, you think we should vote till the people you appear to admire get the answer they want, and secondly you can’t make a comment without including at lease one insult.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      We were not electing Nigel Farage, Michael Gove nor Gisela Stuart.

      We heard both sides of a debate in which Remain were unequivocal that Leave meant leaving the Single Market and the government leaflet sent to every household made it clear that Leave meant leaving the Single Market.

      Three years later we are in the surreal position of – yet again – voting in EU elections. It’s like waking up and finding that one is still in Sixth Form and had never left. Our predicament is your fault.

      Don’t forget that a Remain result also comes with Corbyn.

      You always omit to mention this in your calculations about the economy and Anna Soubry has just shown us what a cliff edge looks like – she’s just jumped off one.

      CHUK 3% !!!!

    • Steve
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:30 pm | Permalink


      “There is no mandate for No Deal”

      Yeah there is, it’s the outcome we expected when we voted in 2016. Also, the PM herself proclaimed no deal was better than a bad deal. Sounds like enough of a mandate to me.

      “Remain versus No Deal – Ask the people, and that will be the end of it”

      We have already been asked, in 2016. We gave our answer.

    • Chris
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, I have to ask what planet are you on? Where have you been since the campaign days for the 2016 Referendum? The outcome was crystal clear. I cannot, just cannot, believe that you are so stupid.

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    The Times newspaper made an interesting comment, that Mr. May is now suggesting that the PM should work out a dignified exit. Too late one might say for any dignity but if so then that should seal it.
    Mrs. May was/is unsuited to the position of PM; she is not a natural politician nor executive, she is an administrator. On taking office she looked around for someone to give her instructions and the only body more ‘senior’ to her new office were the EU executive. She simply identified them as her boss and did as told.
    Lets hope she departs swiftly, before the EU elections.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

      Indeed she does not lead and has zero vision and gets virtually every decision wrong. She seems to obey her civil service and the EU. Pathetic and dishonest with it too. Someone asked if there was one sensible policy she has implemented.

      The only one I can find is opt out organ donation but even that is not implemented yet and the NHS already wastes organs through general incompetence, lack of staff and disorganisation.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        By ‘obey her civil servants’ you mean she listens to experts rather than ranting old men on the internet.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

          “Experts” in the interests of bureaucrats perhaps. Suffering from the usual establishment group think. Probably with degrees in PPE, law or geography.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            And all in favour or higher taxes, ever more government, more EU and more red tape everywhere.

        • agricola
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          How naive can you get.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          Andy……a better way of putting it is – – does she listen to ‘senior job protection civil servants’ or less able ‘job protection MPs’.
          A tough choice?

        • Ginty
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink


          Those *experts* are leading us to a Corbyn government.

          The achievement is utterly gobsmacking.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          Says ranting middle aged man on the internet.

          • L Jones
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            Or ranting middle-aged woman, of course. ”Andy”? Hmm.

        • NickC
          Posted May 14, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

          Andy, You mean the “experts” who are too stupid to know what Leave means? Those experts?

      • James1
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

        Opt out organ donation is not a ‘sensible ‘ policy. It is a transgression of freedom. The highest calling of the people we elect to represent us in governments is to protect our freedom

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          Just opt out then.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Just tick a box on your tax return or electoral roll or similar.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          James ….freedom to rot or burn after death, or small bits of us prolonging life for the unfortunate? I hope you are never faced with the decision over a loved one.

          • a-tracy
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            That is not the worry Fred, what happens to your body after death most of us are happy with our partner making that decision after they feel confident everything has been done to save you. Its who makes the decision on whether to save you or not or just decide you’re better off not having a life saving costly treatment and the NHS is better off carving you up into 10 – 20 pieces to get 10-20 people off the transplant register or dialysis and just cut off your mechanised air/coma protection whilst recovering.

        • Ginty
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Yeah. Who on earth would want Andy’s brain ?

          • Cliff. Wokingham
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

            Everyone, it’s never been used

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          You wouldn’t say that if you needed a transplant. Grow up and get in the real world. Saving someone’s life is the best thing you could ever do.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        Marr’s attempted hatchet job on Farage on Sunday was pathetic even by his dismal standards. The BBC bias is blatant. Endless questions on old irrelevant quotes taken totally out of context. We all know Marr is a lefty English graduate with little grasp of science, engineering, economics or logic and all the usual wrongheaded BBC biases but even by his standards it was sad & pathetic.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Farage came out on top by miles anyway.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

          I don’t watch Marr but I have seen the clips on Guido. I would have no problem with Marr’s level of questioning as long as all the other parties have every saying they have uttered interrogated in the same way, Marr does not do this. Actually, who is the equivalent of Nigel Farage in the other parties? Vince Cable has he been exemplary in every utterance out of his mouth for the past two decades, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Chuka Umunna, the part-time Carolyn Lucas, have they had every idea picked over with a fine tooth comb?

        • Mitchel
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          And a “Special Investigation” in Saturday’s Daily Mail.The “Get Nigel” memo has clearly gone out.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Indeed the Mail has gone totally potty under the new management.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

            They will treat Farage like they treat Trump. With contempt

    • mancunius
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Sir John, you and your valiant colleagues are absolutely right to continue to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement, and please, please continue to do so, ‘in season and out of season’ as St Paul puts it.

  5. Newmania
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    By the way the polls continue to show a Remain majority and Brexit Party or not, the latest polls seem to me to be entirely commensurate with that . 4,000,000 poor souls voted remain and Conservative ( Mr Redwood does not want their votes obviously ). The overwhelming majority of Labour voters are remain.
    I don`t see what the excitement is all about but as Farrage and Redwood are on the same page let their No Deal , be tested by the people. Put up or shut up basically

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      We did put up, voted Leave, but you didn’t shut up. Why not ?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink


      You are becoming increasingly shrill.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Disingenuous, disrespectful and ill-informed. Nothing new there, then, Newmania.

      Perhaps someone here should explain to you that Brexit is not all about trade – there are far more issues that you don’t seem to be able to get your head around. You seem to have become fixated on trade deals.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Soubry – 3%

      Gnnn. Gnnnnn….Bwah-ha-ha-ha-haaa !

    • NickC
      Posted May 14, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Newmania, But you said majorities are not important any more in our post-democratic Remain world. Your view is that whatever we voted for the outcome must be Remain.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Exactly. Given the deep hole that May’s dishonest government have dug themselves into then a WTO leave now and a new real Brexit PM is the best way to go for the country and the only way the Conservative party can even survive.

    Will they come forth, fifth or even sixth in the EU elections?

    Meanwhile despite the highest and most idiotic taxes for 70 years we have:- Compensation paid out for harm and deaths caused by NHS delays and blunders has doubled in five years, an investigation reveals.

    The “envy of the world” and greatest Labour achievement as Corbyn puts it. Or a dire take it or do without, state state virtual monopoly with poor outputs that can never work efficiently as currently structured. Hunt under Cameron endlessly apologised and made excuses for it but did nothing to sort it out for many years. May and Hancock likewise, all rather pathetic.

    People should accept limited levels of automatic compensation or take their own insurance. The sick joke of the NHS needs to be sorted. Freedom and choice please. The last thing we need is more lawyers and a diversion of fund to compensation and compensation admin.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Life logic
      Spot on.
      According to a late relative’s documents people were made to give up their insurances ( 1948) presumably to make the NHS work. Think Obamacare tried/did the same.
      Also provision was made in NHS hospitals for private beds to screw small private hospitals, which of course it did.
      NHS greedily subsumed all health professions.
      Probably go after beauty and hair care provision next.

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Our much-maligned NHS saved my life and helped me recover from a Grade 5 (there isn’t a Grade 6) brain haemorrhage / double aneurysm, at the tender age of 34. I should have been left a drooling vegetable — at best — and in many other countries I would have been. Every single day since then has been a gift and I have more reason than most to be eternally gratefully that I live in Britain.

      All that said, Lifelogic, I still have to agree with every single word you wrote.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy….Thats a pretty extreme and unsympathetic view of the dilemmas. It is very unusual to have more than 4 recipients of organ transplantation. However, even just one can make a tremendous difference. The life saving costly treatment you refer to is not as simple as you make it sound. And it isn’t the NHS who should bear your malice, it is the government who must balance all reasons on spending tax £s. Often the life saving (usually a matter of a few months at best, yet the patient still enduring a poor quality of life) has to take into account so many worthwhile causes for using the money. Further, it is normally the pharma companies who ultimately need to recover the investment they made to discover and test the treatments to receive NICE acceptance. The sums NHS are being asked to pay are the real costs it takes to develop these drugs that prolong, and rarely, cure a health situation. Your cheap mud throwing at such a serious and troubling dilemma facing budgetary spend, medical ethics, intervention for often very short-term gain, and the personnel directly dealing with people in possibly terminal situations does you no credit.

        • a-tracy
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          You may feel my view is extreme Fred perhaps it is I didn’t think so. I am very sympathetic to patients waiting for transplants and my family know my personal wishes to donate, however, this doesn’t completely remove my ethical concerns and concern for the poor patients in comas who may have the decision to continue treatment cut short by the budgetary committees. There are not just organs used in donation, there are stem cells, bone marrow, tissues, blood etc.

          I have read fantastic news of eight people that received transplants of ‘organs’ from one girl. However, once your body is the possession of the State who controls what is used in the donation and who looks after the donor’s families when they don’t even have to ask them anymore, can the clinicians take your ovaries/eggs for example?

          I had to look up ‘malice’ to make sure I understood your comment “the desire to harm someone; ill will.” I wish no one harm or ill will?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        There are indeed some excellent and diligent people working for it. But the system, management and the structure is appalling.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Free at the point of use NHS is fine so long as there is a *point* of use – of which, for many, there isn’t; just a waiting list followed by another waiting list, and another…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        Exactly and many die waiting.

  7. formula57
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Or you might have received a more candid and honest reply, like: –

    Dear John

    Your objections are germane and point to the damage we are doing and intend to visit upon our country. You have rumbled us in our efforts to deliver not even a Remoaner’s Brexit but rather a Quisling’s Brexit. (Please keep this admission confidential, especially from voters.)

    Our leader is unable to adapt and that makes things very difficult but we do not know at this stage what else to do. In looking for a way forward, I do not of course go so far as to suggest that at every turn “It is rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find, the moment the first balls are bowled, that their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain”.

    I close by confessing my shame at being so correspondence-challenged that you have had to wait so long for my reply.

    Yours etc.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      formula…..or even – – Dear John, Writing this from one of so many wonderful invitations from generous host in Europe, I can’t find time to give it any thought. I have been assured by the EU team, and their legal chaps/chapesses, that the WA is exactly what we all wish for. Regards, and missing you. (signed in absence).

  8. Mark B
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    I think the fact that you have, as yet, not received a reply suggests that they are stalling because the answers would be damaging to their cause. I suspect that the AG’s approach to you was to head of any criticism but I also think he is a good man and Parliamentarian and did this out of respect and courtesy to you.

    But in the end what we have and are continue to witness, is an abject lesson on how to NOT run a government. Time for root and branch change me thinks.

  9. Paul Gould
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    The EU Commission, and also all 27 Member states, have made it 100 per cent clear they will not talk about free trade deals unless and until the UK signs up to thw Withdrawal Agreement. This, in fact, was the first thing that David Davis agreed to in 2016 – past debts plus the Irish border must be settled BEFORE talks on the future relationship even begin. So why do you continue to mislead your readers?

    Reply I disagree

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Why do you disagree? It is a simple statement of fact.

      You have some explaining to do Mr Redwood.

      A free trade deal will not give us the frictionless trade with the EU we have now. Where will you put the border you need?

      Reply We already have the border we need as we trade on WTO terms with non EU countries today

      • Fred H
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Andy….’frictionless trade, my arse’. Have you no knowledge of the rules, rules, damn rules to follow to trade within the EU?

      • Ginty
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        ‘Frictionless trade’ puh-lease !

        It comes at immeasurable cost. Stop lying.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        Sir JR,

        Your reply to Andy is just not genuine, most trading arrangements comprise much more than just WTO arrangements (that China and US do not appear to wish to respect for the moment), as they also cover special bilateral arrangements between lots of different countries beyond the WTO frame-work.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes we know that hans.
          But these are things two nations decide to agree on as additional mutually beneficial items.
          Trade carries on for years and then, for example, the EU and USA agree what the wording on wine bottle labels should be.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            It is much more than that and since you have so much knowledge about trade you should know better

          • Edward2
            Posted May 14, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

            No shortage of Japanese goods for example, over previous decades in Europe or in the UK despite Japan only recently signing a trade agreement.

            Trade carries on hans, with willing buyers and sellers despite the unelected bureaucrats in the EU trying to create an isolated protectionist bloc.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Have you ever exported or imported goods Andy?
        I have.
        The term “frictionless” is a nonsensical word.
        If you import or export goods there is always some admin that goes with it.
        My experience is that it is only marginally easier to trade with EU nations than it is to trade with non EU nations.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 13, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink


          You mean everybody has to adhere to the same high standards before they can trade?

          Isn’t that insistence on quality the reason EU members created the most successful trading bloc in the world?

          Not for EU members the saying:

          “Buy Chinese, Buy Twice.”

          • Edward2
            Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            No that is not what I mean Margaret.
            You can choose to buy whatever products you like.
            Sometimes you want a cheaper products for use over a short time.
            Other times you want a product of the highest standard and cost for a long term ownership.
            It is up to you to choose.
            That is the wonderful nature of free trade and capitalism.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      Unless or until negotiations on the withdrawal agreement are complete.

      The EU will not compromise their current ascendancy (rightly so) but if we walk away they have indicated they will be pragmatic

      So we walk away and then talk.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Looks like a supplicant relationship. Not a negotiation. Exactly the problem. They really do nee to go whistle. Real negotiators need to represent the EU not that useless quisling Robbins.

    • Monza 71
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      The fundamental mistake was accepting Barnier’s insistence on phasing of the “negotiations”. Past evidence shows that the EU doesn’t do “negotiations”. It bullies and cajoles the other side into submission.

      Had they carried on insisting on phasing, the Government should have walked away from the talks and immediately commenced making intensive preparations for a WTO exit.

      I have no doubt that faced with the prospect of no money and no agreement on citizen’s rights, and tariffs on their vast trade surplus with us, Brussels would have backed down and agreed to sensible talks, or at least given a written commitment that they would reach a FTD without tariffs. That would have solved the Irish non-issue at a stroke.

      One May had given away the money and agreed the citizen’s rights, she was always going to be on the back foot.

      • Paul Gindy
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        So, just shout a bit louder and Johnny Foreigner will kowtow? That is your plan, is it?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Was A50 meant to work like this?
      The EU surely has subverted it by making endless extensions?
      The idea was that if no deal was reached we just left and then sorted out trade deals as and when.
      How can anyone deal with an entity that keeps changing the rules?
      Like Germany wouldn’t want to sell to us?? Even out of revenge!!
      No cars for you …you’ve left the EU.

    • Stred
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      The Verhofsdaft documentary producer revealed that the one thing that the EU wishes to avoid is the UK leaving on WTO terms. They have negotiated secretly with Robbin’s in charge to avoid this. When Raab put it to Barnier that, if we left on WTO the Irish border would be the EU’s problem, he was told that May had agreed that it was ours and that using our best card was not possible. He resigned. The EU then had us over a barrel or as a colony, as they had planned from the start. It’s on the film and is evidence that Robbins and May deliberately intended the UK to be colonial status and under EU control. If we left on WTO, they would have to agree to continue under the same tariffs and facilitate trade, very quickly. Alternatively lose their exports.

      But the answer to JR’s letter from 75% of Conservative MPs is ‘No one can point out any particular problem with the 600 pages of the agreement. Why could we when we haven’t read the articles by Briefings for Brexit, Lawyers for Britain, the Spectator, John Redwood and others. We believe our glorious truthful leader.’

  10. Ian wragg
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The WA is another treaty confering colonial status on the UK. Nothing more nothing less.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      They said that in the BBC4 documentary last week. That’s why May and her Government need to be destroyed.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      There is a very useful term in the Marxist-Leninist lexicon to describe a section of the middle class in this country that has been ever increasing since the end of WWII-“comprador-bourgeoisie”(as opposed to national-bourgeoisie) and it is a specific feature of a colonial society.

      Described as “made up predominantly of the native exploiting groups and classes that unconditionally submitted to foreign capital in both political and economic relations….often it functions as an intermediary between the peasants and artisans of it’s own country and foreign monopolies.The characteristic feature of comprador-bourgeoisie was it’s anti-national,pro-imperial position and it’s refusal to participate in the bourgeois nationalist,anticolonial movement.”

      (A more fulsome definition is available from the (online)Great Soviet Encyclopedia.)It’s so on the money,as it were,I’m a little surprised it doesn’t have greater currency.

  11. Nigl
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    And the whispers coming out of Brussels suggest how weak our negotiators were. Not weak of course, because our negotiators were doing it in name only. The back stop must have been manna from heaven meaning we would have to stay in the customs union.

    Obviously Mays objective all the time as she is trying to achieve it with Corbyn.

    Ps. Extraordinarily we seem to be in the middle of another expenses scandal, credit card abuse etc. More contempt by some MPs for the voters. Dishonest/inept I don’t care, if I had done it when working I would have been quickly down a disciplinary route. We truly need a clear out.

    • Andy
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Our negotiators were weak because they did not understand what they were negotiating.

      Even now politicians deceive you all about what Brexit actually means.

      You lap up the tough talk of Farage and the Tory Europhobes but none of you really understand even the basics.

      It really is embarrassing.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink


        A nicely baited fishing post, “none of you really understand even the basics”. I’ll bite – which basics?

      • Ginty
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Which MEP are you voting for and what EU party do they intend to belong to.

        Why do you like it ?

        (No googling now.)

  12. Dominic
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I admire your tenacity and resolve but it’s becoming evident and indeed obvious that your pursuit of answers on this most important issue is being used to mask your continued loyalty to the Parliamentary status quo.

    You know as well as the next man that with May as PM your attempts to force change by writing letters is pointless. Moreover, you know this to be the case. It’s become a Sisyphean task in itself.

    Only political action will change events and there’s the rub. The ERG is simply not prepared to do what is necessary to prevent May’s assault on our nation. Self preservation is a powerful human instinct and it appears that most ERG members have succumbed to it

    We’re passed the stage of virtue signalling. It seems only direct democratic intervention will prevent this most offensive PM from challenging and undermining the will of the British people

    If the ERG won’t do it then let someone who will. Time for the BP to step up and do what the ERG simply doesn’t have the inclination to do

    Reply The ERG is seeking to change both the policy and the leader, but we do not have a majority of the votes in the party

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I simply do not think you will get an itemised response at all.

    It will simply say, ( if you ever get a response) the Government does not agree with your interpretation as presented.

    The usual brush off from someone who wants to try and show some courtesy, without putting their own foot in it, by spreading the blame onto the wider sphere of Government.
    But lets hope I am wrong. !

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Polls show there is an overwhelming majority against Remain in England with the LibDems in low double-figures and the Independent Group nowhere. Maybe Remain supporters have been put off by the constant lies from their leaders, starting with the 500,000 job losses in the year following a referendum and continuing from there. Maybe they have been put off by thoroughly discredited figures like Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell and John Major leading their cause. Whatever reason their support has collapsed. Given this, to start healing the divide in the country, the Remain options should be comprehensively ruled out now – the Labour and Conservative leadership have already done this I know, but they need to say it more strongly.

  15. agricola
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    The AT is hoist on his own petard. Accept you analysis of the WA and everything falls apart like a house of cards. Reject it and we know he is just another political tool with no credability. The answer is to remove the woman from office pdq. The parliamentary party cannot be relied upon to choose an alternative, though the rules state they must choose two. Ultimately it must be the party at large that makes the decision. Things are so dire I would not trust the party to choose a leave EU candidate. You are beyond the tipping point and recovery is unlikely.

  16. billR
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    I was going to comment but it’s too late in the day for that- so I’m just going to sit back and watch things fizzle out

  17. Andy
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    The Prime Minister’s deal is Brexit.

    Rubbish, isn’t it?

    Still – you voted for it and you are not allowed to change your mind.

    Love, Geoff.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Perhaps Andy hasn’t done her/his research. Sir John didn’t vote for the ”deal”. Didn’t Andy mention being an ”embarrassment”? The words ‘foot’ and ‘shoot’ spring to mind.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        I meant Mr Redwood voted for Brexit in 2016.

        I don’t doubt all the Brexiteers in the Tory party will vote for the withdrawal deal in the end – though they may wait until there is an even less competent
        Prime minister in office. Which, judging by the candidates, is pretty much a given.

        Reply No I will not vote for it. Another lie.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      A Remainer’s version of Brexit. A right dog’s Brexit.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The Withdrawal Agreement is not a deal Andy.
      Even so, no one seems to want to vote for it.
      It cannot get through Parliament and it has a very low rating with voters according to various polls.

      • Andy
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – except it is Brexit. And it does not matter whether you like it or not. It is what you voted for in 2016, even though you did not realise it at the time. And you are now not allowed to change you mind. Hard luck.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 14, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

          It is the document the PM and her team have to offer Parliament andy, but it fails to pass.
          Therefore it isn’t Brexit.
          Only two things can now happen.
          Repeated delay or leaving as the Article 50 legislation states.

          PS I did not vote for it because the Withdrawal Agreement is not actually leaving the EU

  18. John Sheridan
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    “Under it [WA] you can be sure we are locked in on bad terms for an unspecified period, with no easy way out and under huge pressure to sacrifice yet more to try to get out.”

    Absolutely right. This is why I cannot understand why the Brexit Secretary is so keen to get the WA signed off. The full horrors of the new treaty will become apparent in the months following its signing. Opposition parties (especially the Brexit Party) will point to the mishandling of Brexit by the Conservatives and use it to great advantage.

    I would rather see A50 revoked and a general election called than to sign such a flawed treaty.

  19. GilesB
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    It must be emphasised that for the E.U. the backstop is a floor for any ‘negotiations’ on the future relationship. They would have zero incentive to accept anything less

    • Timaction
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      In the BBC documentary Barnier said words to the effect that the backstop is a negotiating strategy and/or tactic to gain more in the next phase. Only May and her division 6 team could not have worked that out. A total idiot with the worst negotiating team on the same side as the EU!!!

  20. William Simpson
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The Storyville “Brexit: Behind closed doors” programme showed the EU negotiators Verhofstadt & Barnier to be competent, (whatever I may have thought about them previously). They understood their quarry at the very beginning, and they were relentless in their pursuit of achieving it. Of course the programme is made by their side and from their point of view, but what seems obvious is that the UK side was completely ill-prepared and had no vision or strategy. No surprise that this approach failed. May has to accept and take full responsibility for this debacle. The decision to resign is long overdue.

    • matthu
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Of course the documentary was made by “their side”! (BBC wasn’t it?)

    • Stred
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      The documentary reveals that the EU side was expecting the capitulation agreed with Robbins to be put through Parliament and they were told that the vote would be fixed by persuasive means. They were very frustrated when MPs were not cooperative. They now expect May to cooperate with the opposition to put the capitulation through. Obviously they have been talking to Starmer and know that he will collaborate just as helpfully as May. Labour supporters will find out soon if their party backs the agreement. The Brexit Party has left wing candidates for Labour constituencies.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      She was offered expert, hard nosed, negotiators according to Frederick Forsyth but she declined them.

      • miami.mode
        Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Ginty, we wanted hard nosed, but ended up with toffee nosed who were unable or unwilling to say “No”.

  21. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The fact that the Attorney did not have the courtesy to send any reply speaks volumes about the contemptuous attitude of this rotten government.

  22. Julie Dyson
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The latest YouGov polls also have the Brexit Party on 34%, same as the others over the weekend, but show Labour significantly lower and Conservatists down to 5th… (changes since April 30):

    BREX: 34% (+4)
    LAB: 16% (-5)
    LDEM: 15% (+5)
    GRN: 11% (+2)
    CON: 10% (-3)
    CHUK: 5% (-4)

    At least they all agree on just how well TBP is doing. 🙂

    • Timaction
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      The new credible Government in waiting. The rest have been so dishonest and deserve to binned.

  23. Iain Gill
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Well knowing a lot about a few NHS complaints put forward to ministers by MP’s recently, it seems the non reply is now pretty common. It seems none of the ministers are prepared to defend the wild excess of NHS incompetence, and none of them are actively prepared to instruct their departments to do something about the goings on they must be aware of.

    Seems in many parts of life we simply have no government.

    On the other hand lots of announcements, of things that just are not being implemented.

  24. Fred H
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Your letter, clearly in the national interest , and rightly expecting our government to be open and honest, is being ignored simply because it is correct and the powers behind this EU disaster think it better to avoid the subject.

  25. James Bertram
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    ‘When I sent my letter I was still hoping to persuade the government to announce it could not get its Withdrawal Agreement through and to process to the free trade WTO exit route.’
    Sir John, the implication of this statement is that you have now given up hope on this sensible way forward whilst this current government is in power.
    By extension, it suggests that you have given up hope on this current government.
    Are you still hoping for new leadership of the Tory Party (and effectively some semblance of a new government); or has it yet come to the stage where you have given up hope for the Tory party outright, and will move your talents on elsewhere?

  26. Edwardm
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I suggest the reason you have had no answer is because Mrs May’s so-called WA is one of the lowest meanest subversions attempted on our country – and the government knows it.
    It terrible in how it restrictively binds us into the EU’s remit without any say, it allows the EU to extract further payments from us and it has no unilateral exit.
    The WA places a future government, if elected to Leave, in the bad position of having to break the treaty.
    Mrs May and her PCP supporters deserve utter condemnation and banishment by the electorate.

  27. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    An interesting way to prompt a reply, for sure the attorney must read this diary.

    Let’s face it though, people like him would be doing their best to cover their own backsides, while insisting May is right. I applaud your efforts JR to get answers, and it is very worthwhile to persevere…

    Clearly though, the attorney is having problems with the phrasing of the answers. Legally he has to be accurate, so the response is likely to be quite short – if you ever get one.

  28. Kevin
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    These are not the sorts of answers one would expect from a man who has honed his
    oratorical skills as a barrister. Surely he would never say in court, “I point out to
    my learned friend that I have heard his case and put it to him that I do not agree”. That
    more is required in an argument is clear. To the charge that the WA strengthens the
    yoke of Brussels rather than removing it, we need a better reply than, “No it doesn’t!”.

  29. RAF
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    What is driving May’s obsession with her (EU’s) WA? Roundly defeated three times in the Commons and exposed by legal and other experts as nothing less than a capitulation document, she refuses to try to renegotiate it – not that, in my opinion, she “negotiated” it in the first place.
    In failing to release the full legal advice and repeating ad nauseam, as Owen Paterson wrote in a Daily Telegraph article last week:

    …increasingly deluded aim of passing an Agreement which MPs have thrice told her in emphatic terms is a bad deal. Her response each time has been unmoved: “Pass my deal.” Her response to every Brexit question before the Liaison Committee last week amounted to: “pass my deal.” Her response to the local elections which saw 1,330 Conservative Councillors unseated and 44 Conservative Councils lost has been: “pass my deal.”

    what has she got to hide?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      What indeed is she hiding?

  30. Everhopeful
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Sorry I never got round to reading your letter.
    I expect it was full of your usual forensic attention to detail. Pernickety. Sort of thing we just don’t need any more really.
    Anyway old chap. Truth is the government has to marginalise the likes of you. You’re too clever by half .Terrifying. Good grief man, you could run the country standing on your head!
    Not needed. Can’t be doing with it. We’ve got the EU to do all that!
    My advice. Don’t bother your head. Votes not important any more.
    Toodle Pip etc

    • sm
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Ouch – nail, head, hit!

    • L Jones
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I do hope the AG reads that, Everhopeful! But then again, he probably takes himself far too seriously to imagine anyone could laugh at him!

  31. Alan Joyce
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    It may be that you do not receive a reply from either the Attorney General or the Brexit Secretary. The former will find it impossible to lie to you because of who he is whilst the latter is too close to the discussions to give you an objective reply.

    If you do receive a response at all, it could be from Mr. Lidington, A former Europe Minister and de-facto Deputy PM, he has all the skills necessary to tread a path between truth and lies and answer all of your points without telling you anything whatsoever.

  32. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    One thing is certain, they all wanted to send you a ‘Dear John’ letter … But as none are prepared to leave, they can’t!

  33. Martyn G
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    It seems that no minister or official these days is prepared to accept being responsible for their actions when things go wrong. So far as I can recall, the last one to do so was Lord Carrington, who as Foreign Secretary when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, held himself responsible for failing to see it coming and resigned office. It is hard to envisage that sort of acceptance of responsibility happening these days – ‘not my fault guv’ is the order of the day.

  34. margaret
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Now.,now be a good politician !

  35. Nickyroberts
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I was hoping you might make comment on the leaflet sent out from Central Office encouraging voters to lobby the Spartans of whom you are one, and encourage them to vote through the dreadful WA agreement ASAP. This is final confirmation that the Conservative Party are truly living on another planet. They seem to believe that we are angry because this ridiculous betarayal has been held up, we are angry that the damn thing is even in existence. It is not Brexit it is abject surrender. What on earth are they thinking?

    • Edwardm
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink


  36. BillM
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    So, there has been no response to your letter. How very surprising from a Government who is so open about their dealings. Hmm.
    We were all taught as children that “Honesty is always the best policy”. Mrs May has demonstrated, very clearly, that neither she nor those in her remainer Cabinet were privy to such advice.
    It must been a basic qualification for many other Politicians too, for there are an over abundance of liars and deniers within Parliament today. The Attorney General does nothing to contradict that suggestion.

  37. ian
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Any Treaty or law is only as good as the MPs people send to parliament if the MPs sent to parliament do not want a treaty anymore or want to vote out all treaty ever made, that is only one vote away at any time.

    That’s why it’s called the people’s parliament, you the people decide who sits in parliament by way of voting if only people understood how parliament works, it lucky for the elite and others that the people are so thick.

  38. ukretired123
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    It is obvious the clincher here is that the Govt are truly cornered.

    As SJR points out both possible Govt replies they are in denial or incompetent.
    They will prefer to pretend your questions to the AG on the WA are ‘lost in the post’ or unresolved or too embarrassing to answer truthfully and directly.

    Either way they are lost on this Govt who know SJR has them dumbstruck like rabbits in the headlights, frozen with fear.

  39. miami.mode
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    What we need is a “Dear John” from the EU.

  40. Doug Powell
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Off on a Tangent:

    There are 2 pieces of nonsense circulating in Westminster and the Press at the moment, which both require a dose of reality to expose them!

    First, there are reports that various disgruntled groups in the Conservative Party are willing to allow the incumbent of No 10 to name her departure date! What! Talk about the Stupid Party? That is like allowing a condemned person to name their execution date! – It will never happen! The removal of the PM has to be immediate, it would have been brutal in olden days, literally or figuratively! The longer she is in office the more opportunities she has to bugger things up even more! For the Country’s sake, act now!

    Second, there are EU election addresses that speak of bringing the country together! Again -what! It ought to be obvious to everyone that ‘Leaving’ and ‘Remaining’ are incompatible!

    If our country is worth living in, Democracy has to be respected. Leave won the referendum, therefore a meaningful Brexit has to happen – winners right! The remoaners then have to take it from there. Either accept the situation, or go forth and take up residence in the EU – 27 countries flowing with ‘milk and honey’ to choose from!

    If a meaningful Brexit does not happen, Democracy in this land will be dead! With this precedent, the Elite, who believe their votes are worth at least 2 of ours, can at any time trash decisions we take that they don’t like!

    If this is allowed to happen, the divisions in our country will only worsen dramatically – and who knows where they will end?

    For my part, I hate those bastards who are thwarting the implementation of the referendum result by being determined to bring about the destruction of our democratic heritage. And as time goes by, I’m sure I shall only hate them all the more! So, please, no more stupid talk about bringing the nation together with a no-Brexit!

  41. Ian
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    The only Tory Party worth your vote is of coarse

    The Brexit Party, the clue is in the name

    You will get nothing at all from The Anty Democracy Parties in Westmonster.

    Change will only come with change, and I do not mean any other Tory hopeful to replace May, sorry but this lot is dead to the core, you will not get Corbyn if you vote Farage, nor will you have any chance with the ghastly Vice Cable by voting for Farage

    Vote for Democricy, only Brexit Party promises that, that is all they want too !

  42. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Your posts around this letter indicate that you consider the WA worse than the status quo (ie continued membership). So why leave. What is so terribly important about some kind of archaic notion of national sovereignty?

    Reply Nothing archaic about wanting to take control of our money, our borders and our laws. We can do a better job and be better off when we leave

    • sm
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Rien, you’re not an undeclared Hapsburg are you, still yearning for the golden, olden days of Aachen or the Imperial Hofburg in Vienna? And perhaps you could have a word with the Scots Nationalists, and that nice Mr Varadkar, among others, about their archaic notions of national sovereignty?

  43. Paul
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    There was an interesting exchange in the Brexit documentary where the EU parliment Steering Group was having some wine to wrap up a meeting an toast themselves.
    There was a comments that they were going to be together for 2 years, which prompted another to add, plus 3 more years for the transition to which another added ‘at least’ and there was general laughter.
    What’s interesting was that this was before negotiations even started, sounds like the deal was done very early on

  44. Caterpillar
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Has Geoffrey Cox, if I recall correctly a politician reduced to tears when found in contempt of parliament, published the absolutely complete and full legal advice on the WA?

  45. margaret howard
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink


    Must be embarrassing to be ignored.

    Reply I am not being ignored as my last blog on this topic reminded you. Ministers are discussing how best to respond!

    • Edward2
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      The current people being ignored are the party who keep changing their name and currently poll at less than 3%
      Oh the joy of a secret ballot.

    • Ginty
      Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes it is, Margaret.

      17.5 million of us are feeling it.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 14, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Margaret….many of us are trying to ignore you.

  46. agricola
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    The establishment are running scared of Nigel Farage. Marr on Sunday tried to rubbish him with a stream of irrelevant questions unconnected to Brexit, the EU election, or the rise of the Brexit Party. It was followed by the thoughts of a number of totally irrelevant politician. The even dug out the Blair to emphasise their desperation. Expect more of it, but the bird has fled.z

  47. Steve
    Posted May 13, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink


    Clearly Mr Cox doesn’t want to answer your questions, presumably as doing so would expose the master plan.

    Don’t waste your time, he will be deservedly shamed and ruined when the time comes.

  • 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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