Reply from the Brexit Secretary and my response

I have received a reply from the Brexit Secretary following to my recent letter to the Attorney General. The letter is available to view here.

Here is my further response to the Secretary of State:

Dear Stephen

Thank you for your letter.

You say the Withdrawal Agreement takes us out of the EU, yet you also agree with me that we may well stay fully in without vote or voice under it until December 2022, and you cannot of course tell me what our eventual departure would be  like given how much would need to be negotiated over the so called future partnership. There would also need to be resolution of the alleged Irish border difficulties which so far have proved impossible to resolve despite lengthy talks.

I am glad we agree we could be fully under the control of the EU until December 2022 and would have to accept all new rules and laws. I do not accept that these will  be few in number and limited by our possible departure. The EU is a very active legislature, generating a large proportion of our laws over everything from the environment to trade and from migration to transport.

I am intrigued that you think £35-39 bn a small sum, and that the Treasury forecasts of our gross contributions now amount to an annual  £16.7bn. One of the main advantages of leaving as was clear in the referendum is the ability to spend our own money on our priorities, which we should  be able to do from now, 3 years after our decision to leave.

In a number of areas you point out that the continuing powers of the ECJ and the EU relate to events or commitments made during the transition period. I and many others object to this. Leaving means ending the authority of the EU, not allowing it to interpret past events and impose continuing obligations upon us.

You confirm we will not take control of our fishing grounds during the transition period of the Agreement, nor can you promise that the independence of our fishing industry thereafter might not be compromised in subsequent negotiations to get out of the EU in due course.

The splitting of the Withdrawal issues from the future partnership issues is against our Manifesto and full of negotiating danger. Why should we sign up to so many things they want, before we have agreed some of the things we might want? Why have we dropped the mantra of “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed?”. What exactly do we get for our £39bn (and the higher sums likely to result from the loose and general commitments of the Treaty) in this so called deal?


The Agreement is a very expensive invitation to talks about our possible exit. It does not give us either a clear date for leaving or the terms on which we might eventually be allowed out. It locks us into a binding Treaty to behave as a continuing member of the EU without vote or voice over what we have to obey whilst we try to negotiate our way out of the Irish backstop and the other restraints on us.

Yours ever


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  1. Pominoz
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    At least you have now got confirmation that the numerous concerns so clearly outlined in your letter are 100% justified.

    It really would be most useful to understand the motives of those MPs who feel that approval of the WA is such a good idea. They clearly do not have the sovereign interests of the UK to the fore. In fact, their attitudes appear treasonous.

    • Pominoz
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      The last paragraph of Barclay’s letter sounds rather like a threat to you, Sir John.

      No doubt your skin is thick enough after all these years. It seems that all those prepared to support May will do anything they can and repeat the lies to get the putrid WA through. They must not succeed. Many intelligent people who are not aligned to the EU have described it as a surrender document. I am prepared to believe them – and you.

      I gather the EU are proposing keeping the UK tied in until June 2020. I trust it will not be entirely at their option due to supremacy of EU law.

      • Hope
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I just read Robbins is asking the EU if Labour wins the 2022 election could the temporary customs union May’s is proposing to be made permanent!

        Newspapers reporting 100,000 people have become paid up members of the Brexit party. Conhome reports how people are now just not listening to the Tories last pleas etc because it has gone too far.

        Nigel Evans is spot on in his,article at ConHome. Alas the remain cabinet and 1922 committee are content to watch the destruction of your party! Delingpole suggests WTO now or face oblivion- I think he I should correct.

        Barclays is away with the fairies in the Westminster buble of denial.

        • Hope
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          May avoids Nigel Evan’s question about customs union. Why, if it is a red line promise? We read a cabal of Remain Rudd ministers colluding with Labour to get some to abstain!

          You need to oust her while Robbins is in the EU i.e. The next two days.

        • jerry
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          @Hope; “Newspapers reporting 100,000 people have become paid up members of the Brexit party.”

          Wow, so 100,000 join TBP, out of a adult population of circa 40m….

          Do not carry all your eggs in Mr Farage’s basket, he has form on dropping it, like he did in the final week of the referendum campaign due to ill-judged rhetoric.

          “Conhome reports how people are now just not listening to the Tories”

          But they stopped listening back in 2017, and nothing to do with Brexit, just tired and out of date polices.

          @Hope (follow-up); “May avoids Nigel Evan’s question”

          Whilst Farage avoids TV leaders debate, as asked for by Heidi Allen (CUK leader)….

          • Hope
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, keep up. Brexit party is record breaking for the amount of people joining in the such a short amount of time for any political party.

            Who would debate non entity Allen, one, you could not believe a word she says, two, she wants it for publicity as her socialist group is resoundingly failing. Why give give it the kiss of life, let it die. Like your comment really dull.

        • Adam
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Each candidate receives one vote, but each vote causes a difference of two.
          Some election leaflets malfunction, & voters can reply like politicians try.

          Tricky email to Labour Election Office:

          I acknowledge with thanks your reminder leaflet delivered via my letterbox about the election on 23 May. We recall Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit so we shall vote for the Party.

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      I have to agree, Pominoz, in that I don’t think there has been enough questioning of the motives of those wishing to sign us up to this. Sir John’s reply today does a good job of highlighting the main points of concern, none of which have been even slightly alleviated by ten pages of waffle.

      In particular, I feel that Mr Barclay’s attitude regarding the whole “£39b for nothing” is just a tad too blasé for my liking. It’s not mere numbers on a spreadsheet full of even bigger numbers, it’s our bloody hard-earned money! We’re paying for brand new motorways being built in Poland while we can’t even afford to fix our own pothole plague, never mind properly invest in our transportation infrastructure.

      He simply doesn’t get it — and that’s the problem with the government of today.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Julie Dyson

        Indeed. The Parliament bubble just does not get it. Even if you are a fresh MP (with business/real-life/subject-matter experience rather than simply a career Politician) you will have a mild lobotomy that clears out all your progressive views and reshapes them to fit into an archaic tribal Establishment that is very resistant to change.

        Radical political change is required and Brexit initiates that change, which scares those that most benefit from the status quo!

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


        “We’re paying for brand new motorways being built in Poland”

        Cost of UK EU membership per person per day – 37p.

        Benefit of UK EU membership per person per day – £3.35.

        You have to speculate to accumulate!

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          £80 billion direct benefit from being in the EU that we would not otherwise benefit from? 10% of GDP?

          That is outrageous even for project fear.

          Does your made up figure include costs of in work benefits paid to low paid Europeans? Does it include the financial toll on the NHS due to capacity? How much does it value a life cut short or disabled because hospital or doctors appointments are rationed? How does it account for increased housing costs paid across the population and how much has been deducted for schooling the massively increased number of children?

        • Hope
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          No benefit whatsoever, just hand outs, over regulation, no democracy. Start telling us of the factual benefits.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          margaret howard

          I don’t dispute your veracity, but can you please explain how you came to such a number of £3.35 per day?

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:53 pm | Permalink


            These figures come from my own records, these particular ones dated 2014

            The next entry from the same date states:

            “British contribution to the EU is less than our foreign aid budget. We certainly get much more in return.”

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

            margaret howard

            In other words, you made up the numbers from your own delusive personal records to fit your sciolistic narrative?

            Hardly erudite, or indeed a veracious account of factual evidence!

          • NickC
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, Your figures come from your own records??? You think that is believable? Get a grip. Your figures are arithmetically wrong, and your assumptions cannot be justified.

            The direct cost of the EU is nearer £1-70 per working person per day. There are massive additional indirect costs, not least because the EU controls our trade policy to our detriment.

            There are no benefits to being a province of the EU empire that non-members do not have. All the rest of the world trades with the EU without the costs. So can we when we’re out.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Your cut and paste figures have been demolished several times already margaret yet you still use them.

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink


            “Your cut and paste figures have been demolished several times”

            Where and when exactly?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            It is time you just admitted that you made up these silly figures Margaret.
            To answer your question every time you cut and paste these figures you get people pointing out the maths doesn’t work.
            Take Alan Jutson’s post just below.
            We are a large net contributor to the EU and gave been for every year except one year out of the 44 years we have been a member.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink


          Please provide proof of your figures.

          If it is costing us gross £16 Billion a year to be a member, are you really suggesting we are getting back £150 Billion a year in benefit.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          OMG…MARGARET….you do troll here with some outlandish nonsense.
          Membership 37p, benefit £3.35. Did you draw these out of a hat? Now, if you pulled them out intending the reverse I would say it might be credible, BUT your bias is breathtaking and rather pathetic. Perhaps you are what is known as a windup merchant? No other explanation makes any sense.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            She has repeated these figures many times over many months. Every time she has been challenged to provide sources. Every time she’s then gone quiet.
            Margaret, do you wonder that the Brexit Party is gaining such traction.
            Oh dear, oh dear, what a charade from you paranoid Remainers

        • Gareth Warren
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          The £3.35 multiplied by the population equals our entire trade with the EU.

          It doesn’t work like that, only bthe resultant profit means anything, and for companies that generally is 2-10%. If you work out the rough maths the cost of the EU consumes 50-100% of average profits from trade.

          And that is without counting wasted assets such as fishing grounds.

          The problem with too many remainer arguments is they were built on lies and falsehoods, that is why we simply do not believe you.

        • Zorro
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 2:24 am | Permalink

          Proof please


    • Hope
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      So Barclay confirms Nothing has changed and does not provide the legal advice do emanded by parliament to support May’s servitude plan.

      No details of how the alleged £39 billion is reached and no itemised list of alleged commitments. But Barclays thinks this proves he wants to leave more than you because it is a small amount compared to U.K. Spending! Despite highest taxation in forty years, austerity, telling people they have to sell their homes for adult care and students having a lifetime of debt.

      Trqde discussins could last years under the ruse of the Irish backstop with no way of getting out and the U.K. compelled to discuss trade in a customs union.

      Barclays just on TV reminding MPs of their manifesto commitments for the fourth vote! Tory party has resoundingly failed its manifesto commitments! Why does he think the Brexit party is storming ahead?

      Nigel Dodds quoted today saying nothing has changed therefore they will vote against it. This is your supply and confidence partners, yet May speaks to Corbyn! Steve Baker has pointed out what happens to your govt if it gets it servitude plan through against the DUP wishes, you have no administration of government.

      I suspect the fear factor will be used again of a drubbing at the EU elections.

      Refusing to accept the result of a vote and keep brininging it back whether to the public or MPs is the act of a despot and a banana republic.

      • Steve
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink


        “Refusing to accept the result of a vote and keep brininging it back whether to the public or MPs is the act of a despot and a banana republic.”

        If despot = May, why am I associating banana with Hammond ?

        Got it ; Phillip Hammond is in fact a banana.

    • L Jones
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Many of us believe that the country is indeed run by civil servants, in which case perhaps MPs’ approval of the WA is based on what their ‘servants’ tell them about it. It is so glaringly obvious that it is not Brexit in any meaningful way that one wonders how many have read it in detail for themselves. If they have, what hidden agenda is theirs, besides a desire to remain shackled to the EU, leaving the governance of our country to foreign powers?
      ”Yes, Minister” should be compulsory viewing for all MPs as a reminder of how they just might be manipulated.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink


      Please stop using words like treasonous, it sounds pathetic .

      The facts are that most of the Tory Party and indeed most of parliament and all the civil service want us to remain in the EU by however a tenuous connection.

      Meanwhile the voters by a majority want us to leave.

      Brexit has done us all a massive favour. Its exposed how our democracy is broken and how our politicians and civil servants are more in tune with their own bubble than the people they are supposed to represent. There no going back now the only 2 party system is done and dusted

      • Bill
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        What do you call collusion with a supranational political entity to undermine the democratic wish of the British people?

        • libertarian
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink


          I call it electoral suicide. What it isn’t is treason . Grow up

        • Zorro
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 2:31 am | Permalink



      • Richard1
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Agreed there is far too much use of silly words like treasonous. Its as prevalent as ‘racist’ and now also ‘fascist’. Words lose their meaning if they are not used in a proper context.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:54 pm | Permalink


          Thats exactly my point , thank you

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink


            “Treacherous May” is perhaps more appropriate in today’s more liberal language….

            However…..the citizens of the UK gave her their trust and she has betrayed us…..worse, she has colluded with a foreign power to thwart the will of the people!

            Another time and date in our rich history, she would be locked in the Tower with a label of Treason hanging over her head!

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Treason sums it up nicely. Working with a foreign country against your own.

      • NickC
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Libertarian, Britannica defines Treason as: “the crime of betraying a nation or a sovereign by acts considered dangerous to security. In English law, treason includes the levying of war against the government and the giving of aid and comfort to the monarch’s enemies“. Which seems to fit the bill to me. Why the preciousness in using solid English words? And did you mean “bathetic” not “pathetic”?

        • Bill
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          When I use a word, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.

          Re-defining our language, straight out of the cultural marxist handbook.

      • Steve
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I have to agree, Libertarian.

        It’s more than just about brexit now. If one good thing has come of ‘brexit’…’s the revelation of how this country has been had over time and time again by those we elected in good faith.

        Their game is up, thanks to brexit.

      • Pominoz
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:39 am | Permalink


        I always appreciate the opportunity to learn from the wise, so thank you for your comment.

        I used the word treasonous because, in my opinion, it was the most apt. Having given your comment thought, I am still of the same mind. You say I should not use words like treasonous. I didn’t, I used the word treasonous itself. Would it have helped if I had said ‘pathetically treasonous’?

        Richard1 suggests that ‘silly’ words such as treasonous are used far to often and lose their meaning. What makes treasonous a ‘silly’ word? I think it is anything but silly when used in such a serious context.

        If there is a suggestion that I personally have used it too frequently then in the future I shall consider using an alternative word, unless I consider ‘treasonous’ the most appropriate.

        It is good that our kind host allows so many of us to express our different views. So, my thanks to him and to Julie Dyson, Bill, Dennis Zoff and Fedupsoutherner for their input.

      • Zorro
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 2:30 am | Permalink

        Not all the Civil Service….


        • stred
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          The nice chaps in Verhofstdt’s office say they have put the UK into colonian status and that they always planned to. They have been negotiating this secretly with May’s choice civil servant, who supports a federal Europe and wrote about the achievements of the USSR. They hid this from Brexit ministers. May visited Merkel to agree the document before she sprung in on the cabinet. They signed over the army to EU control by KitKat. They agreed to use Chinese communications against the advice of security. If this isn’t ‘giving aid and security’ to the other side or ‘endangering security’ -What is?
          It’s treason alright. We need an enquiry with evidence under oath.

          • Stred
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            aid and comfort..

    • Chris Stubbs
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes the only real positive course of action is that offered by the Brexit Party. People are feeling frustrated and fed up with Parliament on so many levels not divorcing us from the EU.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Exactly, it would be insane for the UK to pay £billions for this putrid pair of handcuffs. Why would anyone sane be putting it forwards? Yet it seems the dire Theresa is to do so yet again. Will the party come fifth or even sixth in the EU elections I wonder? Where should I place my bets this time?

    The only hope for the country and the Conservative party is a new real Conservatives leader and some accomodation/deal with the Brexit Party.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Lots of the usual “equality” drivel on the BBC at the moment. They seem most concerned about statistic that show that people on low incomes have less good health and life expectancy.

      Well if you are in poor health or suffering from some addiction or similar is it not rather likely you will earn less due to these problems? The confusion or rather misrepresentation of cause and effect and statistics is endless on the BBC. I would far rather Bill and Melinda Gates had wealth than it was taken off them by some socialist government to waste and tip down the drain. They use (or invest) it it far more sensibly. They can hardly spend it on food, drink or Ferrari’s can they?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Yesterday I learned that (due to some insane greencrap red tape) if I move the position of a perfectly sound and fairly new gas boiler (as I wish to) then I have to scrap it and buy a new one for an extra £1000 or so. Which halfwits in government came up with this wasteful lunacy? If I do not move it it will be fine to use for many more years it seems.

      • John Downes
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Best to move it yourself then. It’s easier than you probably think.
        Have somebody qualified come round to check the gas connections later.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t you know…all appliances including wind turbines are made of moon dust and thistledown and welded together with rainbow breaths…at no ecological cost? Same with electricity!

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        it sounds like the sort of thing the Greens would promote….ie. prefer you to abandon central heating and wear lots of layers of clothing.

      • Steve
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Have it removed, serviced….and reinstalled as a reconditioned appliance. Perfectly legal.

    • Hope
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      JR, having read his response the stark omission is that the servitude plan literally gives the U.K. Nothing. I see lots about the EU and its continued dominance over the U.K., but what does I think actually give the U.K. that leaving in WTO terms would not?

      We note in te DT May demands another three months and Robbins is off to explore what customs union could be agreed!

      I trust the servitude plan will be voted down by historic numbers again to give a clear message that Brexit means Brexit? So all those Tory MPs hoping a career in politics better vote against it.

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, The reason why UK courts enjoin a witness to tell: “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is that it is possible to lie by omission. Stephen Barclay starts his reply with such a lie: “the Withdrawal Agreement does not . . . “stop us leaving the EU”. On the contrary, Article 50 of the . . . TEU provides that we will leave the EU and legally cease to be a member on the entry into force of the Agreement.”

      Theresa May’s WA exactly stops the UK leaving the EU because, whilst it is true that we leave the existing treaties (principally TEU and TFEU), we effectively re-join the EU via the WA treaty itself as a legal nonentity. The terms of our new membership may be slightly different, but the essence is we remain subject to the EU, to its law making, to its laws, to its trade policy, and to its court. As Mr Barclay later admits, we must continue to pay, obey, and give the EU our fish. That’s membership.

      Everything else in Mr Barclay’s response is falsified by his initial monumental lie.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


  3. agricola
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    It is all posturing. Our government have abdicated their right to govern via a catalogue of despicable behaviour. The majority in the HoC run around at the bottom of the wheat stack waiting for the ferrets to be dropped in. Ferret time is the EU elections in which it would appear there is no real will among the conservatives on the ground to get involved. I am sure that the conservative propagandists are already writing their excuses and expect to bumble on in office afterwards, resurecting WA mark four to occupy the Commons for a few hours.

    The longer you put off the removal of May and her replacement with a Leave PM and Cabinet, the greater you increase the chance that the party will cease to exist in any meaningful way.

  4. Paul Calvert
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Good response, yet there is still a majority of Conservative MP’s who back this train-wreck of a deal.
    What will it take for the Party to wake-up and smell the coffee? It’s standing with the electorate is on life-support yet it remains seemingly oblivious that Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s finger is moving ever closer to the off switch.
    The inability or unwillingness of the Party to act in its own interest is breathtaking.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Indeed can May even take the party to 6th place in the EU elections? She clearly is trying her best to.

    • Chris
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      The Party is now in a vacuum of its own making according to one pundit. I feel the Party has reached a dead end. It refused to take the steps needed to bring it back from the brink, and it just keeps repeating the same strategies, which are failing. A sign of madness. It deserves to go down and to take with it the majority of those MPs who are trying to destroy our democracy and to overturn Brexit.

      I have no qualms now about the loss of the Cons Party. They have abused our trust and shown contempt for us for far too long, and there seems to be noone of principle and integrity and courage from the Party who is actually willing to act swiftly and take the radical steps needed to save this country. That is the test, and none of the Tory MPs have stepped up to the mark.

      That is why The Brexit Party is growing fast and likely to win in the European elections because we have someone who is willing to do everything to save our country and to honour Brexit.

    • Timaction
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed. What possible reason is there to vote for the legacies ever again? A totally incompetent Tory Government, a Marxist alternative opposition or the new Brexit Party. A no brainer choice.

      • forthurst
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget the Liberal Democrats who want to remain in the illiberal undemocratic EU.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          Forthurst. I forgot them years ago.

        • Doug Powell
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

          That goes without saying!

          Whatever happened to the ‘Trades Description Act?’

        • NickC
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          Why should we accept the election of any LibDem ever again?

      • Iago
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Ukip under Gerard Batten? Surely the media giving Ukip as little publicity as possible should give pause for thought.

        • Julie Dyson
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps UKIP are being ignored because they’ve lost 90%+ of the support they enjoyed just a few years ago, and over 80% of their seats at the recent local elections (176 down to 31)?

          More to the point, to help achieve a proper, clean Brexit all of the tiny Leave parties need to suspend their own activities until after the next GE and throw their entire weight behind the Brexit Party — or risk being abandoned by many of their own supporters if they choose not to do so.

          We (the Leave side as a whole) will only get one shot at this, and TBP is clearly now the best and probably last hope we have. The alternative is likely to spend the rest of our lives under EU domination.

          • NickC
            Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            Julie Dyson, It was the Brexit party that split off from UKIP. Nigel Farage had no need to split; he could have walked back in as leader at any time. And if you think UKIP has lost “90%+ of the support they enjoyed just a few years ago”, I have a bridge to sell you, and the advice not to believe the BBC.

            Nor do I accept your analysis. There are many people swayed by MSM anti-UKIP propaganda who will vote TBP but would be too precious to vote UKIP. Consequently I believe the Leave vote will be increased by having TBP and UKIP separate, though with reduced numbers of MEPs.

  5. Everhopeful
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Really, over the years successive govts have just blatantly stolen this land ( and sea) from the people it belonged to.
    And not many saw the theft for what it was because creeping communism is always evil wrapped in the shiny pink cellophane of emotionalism.
    It is often called hypocrisy …like this business of preaching “fairness” when in practice there is zero even-handedness. But it isn’t is just that they have an agenda.
    Brexit is the same…we see irrationality but in reality it is just fanatical adherence to an agenda.
    We have been “fair” and “understanding” and FOOLED for too long.

    • Chris
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Everhopeful.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      The CBI’s agenda.

  6. Peter
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Well May is going to have a fourth attempt at getting her Withdrawal/Surrender Agreement through Parliament. Fear of ‘No Deal’ is what she is now pinning her hopes on.

    So no surprise that the Brexit Secretary would make all the usual claims again. More puzzling is that she May is allowed another attempt after all the fuss earlier about persisting in bringing the same bill before Parliament on a repeated basis.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      That’s probably why Robbins was in Brussels yesterday to get a small change to the “Political Declaration” such that the Speaker would allow Parliament to vote on this matter AGAIN…

  7. Dominic
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your efforts but Barclay’s a mere interlocutor, nothing more. His response is little more than regurgitation, repetition and rhetoric.

    His response is simply a reaffirmation of the Eurosceptic belief that this PM and her cowardly, treacherous alliance with Marxist Labour is designed to bury and ultimately destroy any possibility of the UK leaving the EU

    I am slowly warming to the idea that Tory Eurosceptics enjoy the process of rebelling against May but aren’t prepared to do anything substantive to achieve the primary objective. In that sense the term conservative is apt.

    The approach adopted by the ERG is to all intents and purposes, facile. It suggests rebellion but isn’t rebellion in the slightest and the ERG know it. I find that approach offensive. Far more dignified would be to admit that you have no intention of going the extra mile to secure our exit.

    Admit that you’ve decide to work within the agreed parameters set out by the Tory party rather than splitting the Tory party. It seems that it’s acceptable for May to behave in the most appalling fashion while betraying the nation but somehow wrong for the ERG to split the party. Well, May IS SPLITTING the party.

    There are other avenues to explore for all of us

    • Ian wragg
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I would suggest that Barclay had absolutely nothing to do with the response.
      This is usual Civil Service waffle where black is white etc.
      A real vote winner this agreement. Going to the country in 2022 still In the Implementation Period when nothing has been implemented
      Then we will be told there is a looming cliff edge so we must continue following EU rules. Don’t think that will fly.
      Thank the Lord for Farage and his Brexit Party.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink


        Barclay is the Patsy who will take the hit when it comes, because his name is on the bottom of the letter.

        Has he worked out he will be the fall guy, because all of the others have, that’s why they got him to sign it !
        Its a very old trick, surprised he fell for it, but then he is the 4th choice Brexit Secretary !

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        Ian….possibly the best and simple comment I’ve read here so far ( a long way to go yet). Barclay didn’t write a line of it… A group of usual civil serpents laboured over the clauses to present in pseudo legal jargon a poor and yet another interpretation of what is being said ( threatened). Why on earth should Sir John add/amend/correct one word of his statements. After all as Barclay says – it is legal interpretation. One man’s truth is another man’s lies, damn lies.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      My reluctant latest take on it all too!
      May seems to have awakened the Thatcher “fear of Nanny” in them all!

    • Timaction
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      …………..Well, May IS SPLITTING the Party.
      No she’s destroyed her Party and all trust and confidence in a competent, honest Government. Who ever would vote for them again?
      Einstein said that madness is doing the same again and expecting a different outcome.
      Brexiteer’s need to form their own Party or join the Brexit Party!

      • Doug Powell
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        …. Not only is May splitting the party, although I think HAS split the party is the correct tense, with a few honourable exceptions, the party is made up of Dummkopfs who are perfectly happy for her to go on doing so until total annihilation! The party and this government has become a ‘black Hole’ for Democracy, Decency, Integrity, Honesty, and all the things we once held dear!

        Who the hell will save us!

        • Doug Powell
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


          In the ‘World of the Turkey’ these Dummkopfs would be carrying placards proclaiming: “I’m Voting for Christmas!”

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    So the Attorney General has passed it on to someone else, so that their name is at the bottom of the letter, not his.

    Has the full legal advice to the Government been published yet ?

    Says it all really.

    No surprise.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      legal advice is simply that, you don’t need to follow it – legal advice!. Many years ago a very wise solicitor said to me ( intending to sue a builder) ‘ ah, but is he a man of straw? If he is worth nothing, you will win nothing.’ In the event we won in court.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink


        Agree you do not need to follow it, but since we have paid for it , it may be nice to know what it actually says.

        I wonder why they do not want to publish it. ?

        Perhaps because then someone may have to explain why they are going against it.

        Can you think of another reason ?

  9. Adam
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    The EU develops simple matters into complex entangled messes. Previous UK Govts were reckless in allowing our nation to be drawn into such worthless nonsense. Edward Heath was the main proponent & his legacy bears heavy responsibility.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Heath’s lies “There are some in this country who fear ….” were taken as absolute gospel by the public and presented as such by the press. His duplicity was not discovered until fairly recently.
      What is happening now is in plain sight yet despite the Referendum and the full knowledge of the lies May is still in place.
      Will those who allowed her to continue ever be forgotten? Or forgiven when we have a Corbyn govt.?
      We have seen every parliamentary rule broken except the ones pertaining to leadership.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      The broader trends that have got us where we are pre-date Mr Heath.Mark Mazower,Professor of History,Columbia University,wrote an extremely good book a few years back “Governing the World:The History of an Idea.”It’s a very good and illuminating read-he’s not a globalist,concluding:

      “The fundamental 19th century insight that effective internationalism rests on effective nationalism remains pertinent….and is in urgent need of renovation.”

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Well said John

    Keep saying it

    • Richard416
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Seconded, and thanks again for saying it.

    • James1
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      So Mr Barclay thinks that £35-39 billion is a relatively trifling and inconsequential sum as the governments annual expenditure is running at £800 billion. Wow. What an absolutely astounding mindset. Perhaps he should be reminded that this is taxpayers money. Just another appalling example of why Mrs May and her whole sorry team needs to be removed.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        probably from the same cabinet advice to buy 2 aircraft carriers, approx £4bn each for which we have no aircraft that can land on it, and it might be years and years before we will. All subject to whether the USA think it is worth their while to help us with aircraft. So, some miltary man wins the day pointing out 1 may be out of service so we need to buy 2. You couldn’t make it up.

        • Timaction
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          All part of the plan to have an EU military. They will say its cost effective to have Franco/German planes on them!

  11. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Well written Sir John.
    I quite often read important documents carefully, but, let me be honest, I do not think I can wade through my MP (Steve Barclay’s) efforts today.
    Meanwhile the Brexit Party is sweeping all before it…

  12. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    They’re turning the relatively simple matter of leaving into a drawn out episode.
    The more complex future relationship will take years to develop, if ever, under these constraints. There is no compulsion for the EU to agree anything about that. You’re correct – Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Sir Joe, You are perfectly correct, the government is overcomplicating leaving the EU. I’m quite sure that the USA’s founding fathers did not plead with King George for a withdrawal agreement and an implementation period; they just got on with it.

  13. Nigl
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    What utter rubbish. Three years negotiations culminate in a deal to do more negotiating and totally naive and unfit for office to rely on/believe in, good faith from the EU.

    Just goes to show the No Deal option under the WTA is the only way out. Bring on the Brexit party.

  14. javelin
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The tipping point come after the EU elections when the Conservatives get less than 10% of the votes. The comments sections will say “a vote for conservatives is a vote for Labour” and just like that all the votes will go to the Brexit Party.

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Javelin, I suspect that the looming Tory Euro election catastrophe will not sway Theresa May at all.

    • Bill
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Can’t wait.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      javelin. As I understand the D’Hondt system ‘explained’ here -

      Each region will go through the same vote counting process to elect MEPs. If Brexit party wins in round 1 they have the first MEP. Their vote is then halved to compete with the other parties’ votes which produces a 2nd MEP (it is possible that Brexit could win again maybe unlikely). This continues with the winner in each round having their votes halved.

      It is rather a bizarre PR style of electing MEPs.

  15. Stred
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    The reply relies upon the position of the UK after the transition and assumes that the backstop will be freely negotiated. This is the main point and the EU have now been filmed on record as claiming that the WA puts the UK into colonial status. The reply about the position of the joint committee is at odds with the opinions of Caroline Bell and Martin Howe. The committee will act in secret and Parliament will have no responsibility.
    Please forward the letter to these commentators and ask them for s qualified legal opinion before the majority of Conservative MPs get together with Labour to sell out their constituents.

  16. formula57
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Given “the Treasury forecasts of our gross contributions now amount to an annual £16.7bn” it must be clear that any renewal of sign-writing would require a longer bus!

    The Brexit Secretary writes (Page 6, re Article 127) “…the whole purpose of the implementation period is to create a phased winding down of our membership…”. Quite! And the whole purpose of voting “Leave” in the referendum was to leave: there was no third choice to reject offering a phased winding down taking years and years at enormous cost.

    I record that I am not displeased that Attorney General Cox has mitigated to a small extent his shameful correspondence-challenged status.

  17. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The Brexit Secretary at least has been well briefed by the civil service and seems to understand the implication you outline JR – but one wonders how he can sleep at night with such a prospect going forward.

    This alleged ‘DUTY OF FAITH’ mentioned in the reply is laughable – It puts no pressure on the EU at all, and they will carry on twisting our collective arm, while being as intransigent as they possibly can.
    It would appear that the Brexit secretary, along with May and many in the cabinet, is not working for the best interests of the UK – Far from it…!

  18. Stred
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The AG is obviously not going to provide his legal opinion and has passed the buck.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    “You say the Withdrawal Agreement takes us out of the EU, yet you also agree with me that we may well stay fully in without vote or voice under it until December 2022 … ”

    No, he clearly does NOT agree with you on that; he says that “… we will leave the EU and legally cease to be a member on the entry into force of the Agreement.”

    He also says is that during the implementation period “… we will be subject to existing and new EU rules as if we were members …”; obviously he would not have written “as if we were members” if he believed that we would actually still be a member.

    When Labour started to talk about an oxymoronic transition period during which nothing would actually change, as opposed to the usual kind of transitional arrangements during there is a process of gradual rather than abrupt change, it was open to the Tories to mock them for their silliness, but instead the government went along with it.

    There is nothing in this letter about the withdrawal Bill repealing the repeal of the ECA72, and hopefully we shall shortly be able to see it and check what it says.

    Reply Yes, we effectively stay in without vote and voice, as I said. Of course the Withdrawal Bill has to repeal the repeal of the 1972 Act for as long as the Withdrawal Treaty requires.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      No, we do not “effectively stay in”, we unambiguously leave but we remain subject to swathes of EU laws for some periods which could potentially be forever.

      As far as putative repeal of the repeal of the ECA72 is concerned that will not be part of the withdrawal Act, which will however save some specified, but not by no means all, of the legal effects of the ECA72.

      So for example only a minority of all EU laws are required for alignment with the EU Single Market, 21% according to this analysis:

      “… the EEA (and thus Norway) only has to adopt one in five of all EU laws … ”

      The rest of the body of EU laws are not relevant to that purpose and so their effects need not be saved for that purpose.

      “60. On exit day (29 March 2019) the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 will repeal the ECA. It will be necessary, however, to ensure that EU law continues to apply in the UK during the implementation period. This will be achieved by way of transitional provision, in which the Bill will amend the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 so that the effect of the ECA is saved for the time-limited implementation period … ”

      “61. The Bill will also modify the parts of the 1972 Act whose effect is saved to reflect the fact that the UK has left the EU, and that the UK’s relationship with EU law during this period is determined by the UK’s commitments in the Withdrawal Agreement, rather than as a Member State. The Bill will take a selective approach to saving the effect of the ECA … ”

      Reply – Yes, so youconfirm we will need to reverse the repeal of the 72 Act for an indeterminate period while we try to negotiate our way out!

      • NickC
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Denis Cooper, Yes we do “effectively stay in”. The English word “member” is not exclusive to the current EU treaties. If Theresa May succeeds, the UK will leave the existing treaties (TEU and TFEU) but re-join immediately via the WA treaty. Re-join as in being subject to almost all the obligations, but with fewer benefits (for the interim). That really is not leave.

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, You cite Stephen Barclay stating: “… we will be subject to existing and new EU rules as if we were members …”, as evidence that we would not be a member – in your opinion.

      Since Mr Barclay admits the UK will have to obey existing and new EU rules “as if we were members”; pay as if we were members; accept the CJEU’s rulings as if we were members; accept subjugation to the EU on military, diplomatic and security policies as if we were members; and hand over our fish as if we were members; I am at a loss as to understand what the difference is, in practice.

      You cannot even say that legally the UK would not be a member because the WA will be a treaty that binds us into the EU legally. True, we will not be a member in the sense employed by the TEU and TFEU, but we will be a member nonetheless – merely via a different treaty – a new style of second class member.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        The past subjunctive construction “as if we were a member” clearly means that we will not in fact be a member. So, to start at the most fundamental level, Her Majesty the Queen will no longer appear at the end of the list of the High Contracting Parties to the EU treaties:


        RESOLVED to mark a new stage in the process of European integration undertaken with the establishment of the European Communities ….

        … HAVE DECIDED to establish a European Union and to this end have designated as their Plenipotentiaries …

        … WHO, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows … ”

        I cannot understand why it should be so difficult to understand that it is quite possible for a country to be subject to all or some EU laws without actually being in the EU, and that in itself would be such an undesirable position that it is unnecessary to exaggerate by claiming that it would be equivalent to being in the EU.

        Reply Because it would be exactly like being in the Eu without vote or voice!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          Without vote or voice because of not actually being in the EU.

          Reply But accepting all its laws, rules, budget requirements etc. You are welcome back, but I regard this argument between us as closed. Readers will make their own decision.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          Good to have you back Denis 🙂

          Is your opinion still that Parliament should ratify the Draft Withdrawal Agreement such that we get a Brexit regardless?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I would certainly prefer to leave the EU on the basis of Theresa May’s rubbish withdrawal deal than have to live with her preferred alternative that we simply do not leave the EU, now or at any time in the future.

            I very much doubt that any UK government would even try to rejoin once we had left because that would entail accepting the euro as well as other undesirable things for which we presently have opt-outs; so the momentum could only be in the other direction, to finish the job that Theresa May has mucked up, whether or not intentionally.

            As a last resort we could unilaterally abrogate the new treaty, which is what some people seriously urged should be done as the first resort immediately after the referendum.

            I ask again what the Wilson government would have done in 1975 if they had lost the referendum, given that there was no exit clause in the Treaty of Rome.

            Indeed Article 50 only came in on December 1st 2009, yet it has been generally accepted that a member state could leave even in the absence of any exit clause.


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

            Reply We would be told by the UK establishment we could not abrogate this very damaging* Treaty once signed. It has no Article 50 way out

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 17, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

            Well, I point out again that the Treaty of Rome had no way out but I don’t recall anybody saying in 1975 that it was pointless to hold the referendum on whether or not to leave because there was no way that we could leave even if we voted to do so.

  20. Simeon
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The WA arguably entails leaving the EU. It just equally entails rejoining the EU on vastly inferior terms for a limited term, with an aspiration for the EU and UK to separate, subject to terms being satisfactory to both parties. The referendum has been honoured, for we leave the EU. Obviously, no one can predict the future, and so the UK immediately rejoining the EU is just one of those things. The key point is that the UK does indeed leave the EU, and democracy is served. The genius of all this is that this arrangement provides substantial succour to Remain voters. Who needs a ‘healing’ second referendum when this WA is in fact all things to all men?

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Simeon, You are correct if you mean that the WA entails leaving the existing EU treaties, and equally entails rejoining the EU on vastly inferior terms for a limited term via the new WA treaty. But no Leave voter would agree that such a subterfuge really constitutes leaving, because we would not actually leave. It is a legal sleight of hand, and bad faith.

  21. William1995
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much damage the upcoming elections will do to the Conservatives. Daniel Hannan thinks they are very important. Regardless, the Brexit Party might be a real long-term problem for the Conservatives. Unlike UKIP, for many Conservative members it isn’t just a protest vote to “send a message”. Farage is the only party leader at the moment who has talked about sensible policies both from an ideological and practical negotiating position stand point, many of which I am sure you’ll agree with. Namely:

    1) No deal is better than a bad deal (and he actually believes this)
    2) Farage is really a free market Conservative and wants the U.K. to be a low tax global free trading country
    3) Given the appaling negotiating position the Conservatives have got us into, the best option is now to leave on WTO terms and negotiate the Tusk-coined Canada+++ trade deal from outside the EU

    For the 6 years I have had a vote I have voted Conservative, and I was a liberal Conservative long before that. But I feel disenfranchised with the Conservative leadership and encouraged by the Brexit Party leadership. What kind of democracy would it be if I voted for the party I disagreed with?

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      William1995, Well said. Though Nigel Farage led UKIP with just the three points you have made in mind. And subsequently UKIP’s Gerard Batten has been unequivocal in advocating leaving immediately by repealing the ECA 1972, and trading globally within the WTO framework.

  22. formula57
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Re the EIB stake, the Brexit Secretary writes (Page 8, re Articles 144 and 150) “The EU will also pay the UK’s paid-in capital of the EIB (Article 150(4))” – and, as you have shown hitherto, what about the UK’s share of accumulated reserves @ c. £10 billion?

    Can the UK afford to give up that huge sum? After all, Mr. Grayling’s mistakes have to be paid for somehow.

  23. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The next Conservative PM needs to ditch the WA, if it has been put into effect.

  24. Newmania
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    How thrilling , why not send Redwood and Farrage over there to shout at everyone stomp off and drop us all in the sea. Bit less tedious
    In the real world , a place your retired fans may recall , the FCA confirmeda while ago that with or without any withdrawal agreement EEA domiciled security will be valid to write UK retail business . So now , they have our market we do not have theirs and ..this is the fun but , we are duplicating EEA functions at an astronomical cost of new civil servants the bill, for which has been hidden.
    So we are paying fortune to make everything worse !!!! Good work John…I cannot say how much we all admire you … really great job

    • graham1946
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      What you say might be true if Brexiteers had negotiated it, but it was people of your mindset who have no intention of implementing the referendum result that made this shambles. Don’t blame Sir John, look in the mirror. You should be pleased that your beloved EU is getting one over on the despised UK. Why complain when things seem to be going your way?

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, In the real world, of which you appear to have long since lost contact, all the rest of the globe’s independent nations (160+ of them) continue to trade with the EU. There is no reason to suppose any other independent nation could manage if you think the UK can’t. So the fundamental point is the UK really can be independent of the EU. And you have never been able to refute that.

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    ” The Implementation Period” was originally said to be necessary to allow for changes to be introduced to comply with the new arrangements. It became an extension of time during which by the Minister’s own words “we will be subject to existing and new EU rules as if we were members”. In fact it is no more than an extension to the negotiating period as the main talks about the future relationship have not yet begun. No doubt if those talks ever begin they may never conclude but if they did there would be clamour for another implementation period to do what the original one was said to be for.
    Mrs May’s idea of leaving the EU is to force through a new treaty with the EU with unacceptable provisions. She was a Remainer and still is.
    Mrs May has no credibility in the country. There is no trust in her, her government or Parliament. She should have been removed from office before now and your party has left it too late to save itself but could still do the right thing for the country and remove her without delay.

  26. hans christian ivers
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Interesting perspective and argument, which actually totally leaves out the advantages of staying in during the transition period and basically seems to blame the EU for the constraints in the construction our representatives have negotiated.

    If, I fundamentally believed in your WTO solution as the best way forward, there might be some merit in your argument, but the WTO solution to leva with out a deal, does not help British business nor does it help the working man nor our standing in the World.
    (The US and China do not respect or adhere to the rules of the WTO)

    • libertarian
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


      Oh my word, a lot of German companies dont seem to adhere to the rules of the EU either , so whats your point. If only trading firms traded , of course we can’t trade without the advice of civil servants and politicians who have never done anything to invent, develop, sell and market products.

      What is it with people who bad mouth quasi government organisations like WTO and suggest replacing them with ….. wait for it… other quasi government organisations. Its almost as if you are totally deluded

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:02 pm | Permalink


        hans christian ivers is not wholly deluded, but remarkably and naively out of touch with real-world international business dealings.

        German, French and Italian manufacturers, among others, have been severely tweaking the EU rules for the past 40+ years….

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink


          As have all other interest groups in the EU since the beginning, well said

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink


        I do not have the delusion from strangers , you inspire me to go looking for it with your unrealizable predictions

    • NickC
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Hans, There are no advantages to being a province of the EU empire, or subject to its sclerotic, anti-democratic control. Rights can only come from an independent national democracy which respects the rule of law. When the totalitarian EU takes away your rights don’t come crying to us this time.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        Nick C

        Wake up to reality and look up totalitarian, before you start using it

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Hans, Wake up to reality and look up totalitarian yourself, before you start using it. The EU is totalitarian – the EU seeks to politically subordinate all aspects of life to its authority without allowing an opposition. That’s what happens when you allow a bureaucracy to run an empire. It’s early days yet, so the censorship and police repression are only just starting up, but they’re on their way . . . .

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink


            What real nonsense

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink


        “Hans, There are no advantages to being a province of the EU empire,”

        Prefer 51st US state status?

        We already follow them into their illegal wars.

        Iran next? Weapons of mass destruction again?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Hans….well I agree that ‘ The US and China do not respect or adhere to the rules’. Who said we want more trade with them? They will of course!

    • Al
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink


      You say that “the WTO solution to leva with out a deal, does not help British business” but unfortunately it does. Micro- and small businesses in the UK have been adversely affected by the EU’s legislation in many ways, most recently in the digital sector. As many are blocked from selling to the EU by legislative barriers (see Digital VAT) removing the need to follow rules for a market they can’t sell to can only help.

      To be honest, simplifying regulation in general in the small business sector would help, but leaving the EU would be a very good start.

  27. John Sheridan
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Thank you for continuing to point out how bad the WA is for the UK.

    I wish Mrs May and her supporters would stop trying to tie the UK’s hands in future negotiations by promoting this deeply flawed WA.

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Very depressing reading

  29. Kevin
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The Withdrawal Agreement neverendum goes on, it seems. Whereas we have had
    only one people’s vote, and rightly so, rumour has it that Parliament will be
    made to have a fourth one in early June. Same game, different decision
    makers. Nigeria delays the vote, Istanbul re-runs it, and Benin excludes the opposition,
    yet jolly old Blighty gets to lecture them all on democracy.

  30. Barbara Castle
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I am climbing walls with frustration over the utter incompetence of our “leaders”, and I doubt I’m alone. They are amateurs who think the bluff and bluster of political rhetoric can be used to settle the most important matter of our time. It’s clear they’re totally out of their depth and frozen with fear of a “wrong” decision, when the truth is there is no such thing; merely different outcomes, and Parliament will hold the powers and authority to mitigate risks, anyway.

    It’s not movement on the Withdrawal Treaty that’s needed, it’s removal of the people who claim with bare-faced lies that it’s what this country needs. Why can’t they see that the EU is simply an outrageously expensive, incompetent and unnecessary Middleman, and doesn’t do anything we couldn’t do ourselves or with other carefully chosen and more suitable partners? Give me strength!!!

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Barbara Castle, Great comment.

  31. DICK R
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Still effectively in the EU until 2022 six long years after the referendum .

  32. Grahame ASH
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Excellent analysis.

    The big question is where do we go from here? You have made your views known, but I see you have not asked for the Brexit Secretary’s response to your letter.

    So what will happen next? Being a cynic I suspect your letter will be filed away in a Cabinet ………….. and that will be the end of the matter.

    May I suggest you circulate your letter to all the Conservative MPs so they are aware of the pitfalls of the WA. Hopefully they will vote against it.

    Perhaps send a copy to the MSM for them to give it further publicity

  33. Shieldsman
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Their are other opinions outside of Government, such as Institute for Government.
    The negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU will be much more complex and involve many more parts of government than the withdrawal negotiations that finished in November 2018.
    The Government wants to start negotiating this relationship as soon as the Withdrawal
    Agreement is ratified. But there are many things it needs to consider before it can start
    the detailed negotiations required to convert the Political Declaration into a treaty that
    will be thousands of pages long. Given the extension of the Article 50 period to
    October, and the European elections, it is unlikely that negotiations will start before
    November 2019.

    This relates to the ‘nitty gritty’ that will have to be negotiated – the unknown, could be a cliff edge it is meant to avoid. The path ahead is not clear.
    Read LSE BREXIT. Has any MP actually read the 147 paragraphs in the Political Declaration part of the UK-EU deal which outline the headings of what has to be negotiated between the EU and the UK if the Commons agrees to accept Mrs May’s deal?
    The briefest of reading reveal a Brexeternity of difficult, tetchy negotiations lies ahead as the UK and EU try and fashion a new modus vivendi. On almost every page can be seen future quarrels, the injection into the negotiations of special producer interests or NGOs demanding their demands are respected. The likelihood for big disagreements in the House of Commons as MPs have the pleasure of demanding that everything they dislike about Europe is now put into a final Treaty before it is ratified.

    • Butties
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Dear SMan,
      therein lays all the benefit of leaving on WTO terms. Under Art24 of WTO if (and its not a big if (as Mr Tusk has tabled it at least 1+) the EU confirm they would like to eneter into a Trade Agreement, then nothing changes. We continue with existing arrangements for at least 10 years. If the politicos cannot sort it out in that time God Help Us.
      For verification
      paras 5 (b) & (C) and the following Article XXIV:5 para 5.

  34. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I can almost see the drops of sweat on Barclays letter. He had to write a book trying to dissemble the facts he could not refute. Miles and miles of text, we the voters, real Sovereigns in this country, will give him our verdict on May’s ‘Deal’ and his letter shortly. It will be short and sharp.

    • Margaret Robinson
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Its a convoluted EU style letter. Use as many words as possible to make it easier to hide or exlude facts. Ambiguous obfuscation is the best pathway.

    • Julie Dyson
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      He was just polishing his credentials for a cushy new job in Brussels after his kind are booted from Parliament at the next GE… bless his little cotton socks.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      a lot of civil serpents might get promotion or a pay rise for working long hours to concoct such a hopeless bunch of legalese for Barclay.

  35. cynic
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    An interesting response.
    I can see what the EU get out of the W A but not what we get out of it.

  36. Yorkie
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    The verbiage surrounding the Withdrawal Agreement is clear. BBC Parliament’s debates were a farce and I, personally, enjoyed the word-play.
    Remainers know full well Mrs May has written a piece to keep us in the EU. Hopefully we will not see them in political life again after the next General Election.
    One in my neighbourhood who I’ve bumped into several times over the last few years has finally spoken about politics for five a whole minutes.
    We both knew what we thought anyway even though we have never mentioned anything to do with politics. “We voted Leave” he said, “I saw Farage on Question Time and they just kept on talking!!!!”
    ( tr. They just won’t accept we voted Leave and they think that if they continue speaking in word-play it will mean anything other than they are betraying us, they not doing as we told them. )
    I cannot put a face to this Stephen person. Really.
    We do not care who he is or what he has to say.
    It’s over!

    • Yorkie
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      btw. I typed my words in the correct order. When I clicked “Post Comment” one or two words re-arranged themselves as it were. This has happened before on this blog. Looks like it has started again.

  37. MPC
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should give Mr Barclay some credit for responding to your points rather than just sending a bland response. A number of aspects are striking: he is clearly worried about the influence of your writings, which is a good reason to continue with them. He holds a very optimistic interpretation of the WA, whereas more disinterested parties focused on the actual wording such as Martin Howe QC, do not.

    The reality is that the WA was drafted by the EC and is to be implemented by a binding treaty. Barnier has said that his aim all along was to give the UK a ‘deal’ so bad that we would end up staying in the EU. Sabine Weyland has said the UK is to become the EU’s first colony.

    All informed Leave and Remain voters hate the WA. A number of MPs, who most of us on this site used to respect, voted for it last time. Another Commons vote on it means we are perilously close to losing our democracy forever to the EU. These are frightening times indeed.

  38. Bob
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The EU is in the DNA of the Tory Party, which is why they’re trying to knock Brexit into the long grass. There is only one political party that has UK independence in it’s DNA and it has been campaigning for it over the last 25 years, during which time it has developed a rather impressive set of manifesto policies which fly in the face of Cultural Marxism, hence the virtual de-platforming by the MSM (or in LBC’s Iain Dale’s case, actually de-platforming).

    • NickC
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Bob, You are right.

  39. ukretired123
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Well said SJR!
    This is white flag by stealth by deep state status quo uncivil service and Oily Robbins.
    With 585 pages of legalise German translated into English without the English law equivalent of the vital keyword “Reasonableness” it is by definition totally Unreasonable .

    How pathetic has our government become, extremely sad really.
    Keep the spotlight on this weakness in this pay up and stay (through the nose) agreement s’il vous plait.

  40. Julie Williams
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Reading Barclay’s response to your queries it is obvious that the WA is not only very complex but far too open to interpretation.
    May appears to railroad this ambiguous document through when it should have been scrutinised line by line to pin down all the ambiguities to everyone’s satisfaction…she may have got it through taking that approach.
    I also note Barclay’s repeated reference to “good Faith” and “good intentions”, which seem like a very strange basis for an international treaty…”it’s not as bad as it seems and it will work out alright”: the cynic in me thinks this is incredibly naive.
    But as you say; this is an expensive (not just cash) offer to talk.Unfortunately, in her desperation to push it through, May is turning it into something worse, hints of Customs Unions and Confirmatory Referendum.

    • Stred
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      The Attorney General looked uneasy and to the roof when Mrs May answered Nigel Evans question today. She said that we would be able to negotiate trade agreements and control immigration etc. It was only the date which was untrue. Perhaps we will st some time in the future actually leave and be free to trade and control what we voted for.

  41. Andy
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The £39bn is your bill.

    It could go towards treating patients who are stuck in corridors.

    Or towards schools which can not afford text books.

    Or towards tackling crime.

    Instead is is going on a hard right Tory failed vanity project.

    Brexit is a policy for cowards.

    • Newmania
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Its astonishing how tricky they find it to retain this basic information but then if you answer is to” run away and hide” , we cannot expect an adult level of understanding .
      It just amazes me

      • Andy
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        You know, I get why people voted leave in 2016.

        The migrant crisis was in full flow, the economy had been bad for years – and Leave put forward something different. The huge benefits of being in the EU with none of responsibilities or costs. I get why that is attractive.

        But knowing all we know now I find it genuinely staggering that any sane person still thinks Brexit makes sense. Every argument for leave has collapsed under the weight of reality.

        There are no economic benefits to Brexit. And virtually nobody now pretends there is. We do not get the benefits of the single market. All of us lose rights. Despite hating all EU law no Brexiteer has come up with one they actually want to scrap. And now Parliament is expressing its sovereignty more than it has done for decades Brexiteers find they don’t like it.

        It is brave to admit you were wrong in 2016 as an ever increasing number of Leavers are. It is cowardly to pretend you were right when all of the evidence demonstrates you were not. Why are you all such cowards?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Still you peddle your own ideas why people voted to leave andy.
          And still you think it is all about economic reasons.
          It is not.
          I think most leave voters decided years before and waited patiently for a referendum to finally happen.
          It is the desire to be an independent free nation.
          To vote directly for people who are going to make important decisions in our Parliament.
          It is a bit like the feelings Scotland and Wales have.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            I also notice you repeat your ridiculous claim that no one has come up with a list of EU laws directives and regulations they want to repeal.
            Do you have a poor memory Andy or do you not read any replies you have got every previous time you have made this comment?

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink


            “Do you have a poor memory Andy or do you not read any replies you have got every previous time you have made this comment?”

            Well I don’t know about Andy but I certainly don’t recall any intelligent replies coming from you except the usual ones along the lines of “It is the desire to be an independent free nation.”

            All you can do is snipe from the sidelines.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          There were good arguments (and bad ones) on both sides of the referendum debate. The good ones on the Brexit side related to an ability to run an independent trade policy as opposed to being in a customs union – see an excellent recent article by Sir Lockwood Smith the NZ trade expert, to greater sovereignty over law-making, to control of immigration and to saving money. The good Remain argument would have been if it ain’t broke don’t mend it (the economy wasn’t doing badly in 2016, the Conservative led govt was well on the way to putting as back on an even keel after the disaster of the statist brown tax borrow and spend years). But remain decided to focus on the certainty of recession and the possibility of war if we voted to leave, which forecasts have of course proven to be rubbish.

          Meanwhile it is increasingly clear that the EU must and will engage on a process of much deeper political and fiscal integration to make the euro work. The real long term choice for the UK is whether we want to be part of that. So it is not as clear cut as you make out. There are loads of bad EU laws and regs which, if we do leave, we would be better without, as extensively set out on this site in the past.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

          Andy …your stamina in repeating such nonsense reminds me of our beloved Mrs M. Are you by any chance related?

        • Al
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

          “Despite hating all EU law no Brexiteer has come up with one they actually want to scrap.”

          You’ve said this before and been rebutted before:
          EU Digital VAT
          These are only in my area of work – an expert could give many more. Then there are those successfully fought like the “seed laws”, banning diabetics from driving, etc.

          There are also a significant number of policies that could do with being amended or changed – and at least if we’re out we can still have beanburgers as they’ve just tried to outlaw the name!

    • Edward2
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Odd logic andy, considering that £39 billion is money you have repeatedly told us is owed to the EU.
      So if we leave or if we remain that money would be paid across to the EU.
      Perhaps you should buy a bus and paint your claims on the side.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      According to you the 39bn is money we committed to pay the EU anyway if we were still members so what on earth are you whining about ? How could we spend it on the NHS if it is just money earmarked for the EU whether we stay or leave ? Or have you finally accepted that if we leave on WTO terms we owe the EU nothing ?

    • David Price
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Remainers have asserted that this was simply the amount owed by our existing obligations in which case it would not be available whether we stay or leave under the WA.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Andy & Newmania

      That would be the patients stuck in corridors the schools that can’t afford textbooks , the crime the austerity THAT HAVE ALL BEEN THERE 40 years while we’ve been in the EU….. Hmm its almost as if you are finding dealing with facts tricky

      • Andy
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Not true. They have been there when there’s have been Tory governments because they give money to their rich friends rather than paying for services for us.

        Between 2007 and 2009 I needed a lot of help from the NHS. It was brilliant. I suspect if I needed the same help today I would probably die. That’s what 10 years of Tories will do.

        Still the upside is that some billionaires have a bit more money.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Most unlikely, the NHS has more resources than ever before, treats more patients and achieves better outcomes. Not as good outcomes as some other more mixed systems with about the same resources, but better than 10 years ago. But don’t let the facts intrude.

        • NickC
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          Andy, A lot of help from the NHS? You? But you told us you contributed, but did not take. According to you, you are a lot richer than the rest of us. Or had you forgotten that? Oops! Wrong script!! Anyway why not use your riches for private health care, get a better outcome, and stop stealing healthcare from poorer people?

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


        “That would be the patients stuck in corridors the schools that can’t afford textbooks , the crime the austerity THAT HAVE ALL BEEN THERE 40 years while we’ve been in the EU…”

        How do those ‘facts’ compare to conditions in other EU countries?

  42. BOF
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Well that was hard going from Stephen Barcley. Fudge wrapped in a tissue of legalese, designed to confuse and open to interpretation by the political ECJ. Just what one should expect from the EU.

    Mrs May should never be allowed to bring this shameful and shameless surrender document back. But why is she still in office?

  43. mark leigh
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Nice reply.

  44. Brigham
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    If the Brexit secretary doesn’t understand all these things you have referred to in your letter, he is either stupid or is trying to keep us in this axis of evil. Either way he should be told to get out of office. I’m afraid that the custom of the HOC in being polite must go by the board, and all this pussyfooting language put aside and you should tell him as it is.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      “After typing in John Redwood’s Dowry. dairy and diary…”

      His diaries are a damn site more informative than what you write.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink


      “If the Brexit secretary doesn’t understand all these things you have referred to in your letter, he is either stupid or is trying to keep us in this axis of evil.”

      It’s both.

      He’s of a remain ideology, and stupid with it for not realising he’ll have to run like hell from the wrath of the people, come the reckoning.

      Same for the rest of ’em……just watch what happens when the conservative party has to close down for good, and Labour becomes a minor fringe party.

      The Liberals, however, do have a useful function ; they give something to laugh at.

  45. Know-Dice
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Why have we dropped the mantra of “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed?”

    I thought this was the EU’s position for their Article 50 ?

    Once again the EU saying something and then going in a different direction…

    And of course the UK agreeing to this “phased” negotiations was the first of many poor strategies that the UK failed to rail against.

  46. margaret
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    After typing in John Redwood’s Dowry. dairy and diary , I wonder which Countries make up the Independent tribunal.
    800 billion : 39 billion

  47. barry
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Wow! great to read John Barclays detailed letter where we can see that at least someone in authority lives in the real world-

    Reply Who is John Barclay? What letter did he write?

  48. JM
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Do you accept that the Secretary of State has accurately set out the effect of the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement that you commented on? We might not like what he says, but it would be interesting to know if we agree that what he says is at least accurate.

    Reply He has tried to spin away the many features where we remain under the control of the EU,but has had to accept most of my points

    • Richard1
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Mr Barclay has made no mention of the ability or otherwise to run an independent trade policy. to my mind, along with regulatory autonomy, this is much the biggest opportunity of Brexit. If we can’t run an independent trade policy – and obviously we can’t while we are in the CU and in regulatory alignment – then we may as well not leave.

  49. Caterpillar
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, I am impressed with your calm response. I found Mr Barclay’s letter both irritating and, due to the weltanschauung of the reply, worrying. ( It will be interesting to see whether Attorney General’s reply states a 100% agreement with Mr Barclay’s letter.)

    Irritating p1, ‘the Withdrawal Agreement does not, as you suggest, “stop us leaving the EU”.’
    What a strange comment, fundamentally UK could have left on 29th March if the Govt were not insisting on a no no-deal situation. Wanting the WA has already stopped the UK leaving.
    Irritating p3, ‘Frankly, you do not want to leave the EU as much as I do if you think this sum is a reason to justify not leaving when set against both the opportunities for the UK outside…’
    WT* – you were prepared to leave on the 29th March and get on with those opportunities. If Mr Barclay sees the opportunities as worthwhile as you do, why doesn’t he want to leave immediately (i.e. 3 years after decision)?

    Worrying: Pick a page, almost any page. Throughout Mr Barclay’s reply there appears to be an automatic acceptance that it is right to agree to extended commitments. The question remains which of the commitments had to be made or wanted to be made, i.e. would still exist if UK had just left on the 29th March? Making any other commitments sequences the negotiations as the EU want, not as one would hope, as the UK wants.
    Worrying p2 ‘legal commitments have been made by both parties to aim to replace the backstop’ whereas we know the earlier AG’s advice “the legal risk remains the same … no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol”. Also, has Mr Barclay completely forgotten Sabine Weyand’s leaked diplomatic note?

    Aside: (1) Has the EU anywhere agreed that the maximum future obligations is GBP 39bn? I am guessing UK doesn’t want arbitral tribunals going on forever. Why no bounds?(2) Given that Mr Barclay sees this amount as small it is absolutely shocking that a mere £20m (page 3) has been put into 3 groups to support negotiations with the joint working group on alternatives to the backstop, a group which does not exist until WA ratification. How about a plan and realistic budget to just get on with it?

    Sweet: Nice to see the OBR estimate of gross payments £16.7bn isn’t much below the figure on the bus at the time of the referendum. So much hoohah on this, yet it is the figure that people voted not to pay.

  50. libertarian
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    What I dont understand is why no one in parliament will stand up and tell it like it is

    PM you are doing this to try to keep us in the EU by stealth , the cabinet office are trying to keep us in by stealth and the civil service are trying to keep us in any how they can

    This charade has gone on long enough

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      It has been suggested by Chuka that Corbyn will instruct the Labour MPs to abstain from May’s WA fourth presentation to get it through – so that it becomes just the Tories bad brexit (like the poll tax) and he can hold his hands up when it all goes t***s up and say nothing to do with us. Well, I’m sorry but this really will not wash in Stoke and Manchester let alone the rest of the UK- allow this poor Withdrawal Agreement to go through Labour and your hands are full of it too. You MPs asked for the final say – you got the final say and they are thinking of abstaining – you couldn’t make this up.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


      “What I dont understand is why no one in parliament will stand up and tell it like it is”

      Two reasons;

      1) Bercow the all powerful would abuse his position to prevent anyone doing so, especially if the cameras were on.

      2) They’ve been having us over for decades, and still are.

  51. John Lewis
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sir John, for your efforts, a huge Thank You. Please keep up the good work. A fourth attempt at getting this straitjacket of a Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament, I despair. The woman should be in the Tower. I read your articles every day, but sadly do not comment every day. Stay with it please.

  52. Magna Carta
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I marvel at your persistence and commitment in the face of this blind ineptitude elsewhere within the Conservative Party, which seems to have committed itself to Dignitas.
    I would really like a constitutional expert, perhaps Sir Bill Cash, to secure an explanation of why Mrs. May and Parliament felt they had ANY right to second guess or interfere with the Referendum result, where an Act of Parliament specifically delegated that authority to the people.
    Thank you.

  53. Ian Thompson
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    So, what we know, as we always knew, is that Mrs. May’s “Leaving the EU” is not leaving the EU. If someone cannot call a spade – a spade, then I find it impossible to deal or even communicate with them. You do not know where you are. If a Prime Minister cannot communicate then she is in the wrong job. period.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Just seen her on PMQs. She STILL thinks here so-called deal is the answer. She is on another planet.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        DaveM…..another planet or ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest.’

  54. Gareth Warren
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I read through the very long response and your reply, he does a good job of deflecting and does diminish some fears, but does not show respect for the money spent.

    As Margaret Thatcher correct stated, the simple truth is that government has no money – all its monies are taken from the people.

    Here we have agreed in advance to be a member until 2020, likely 2022. We should never have done this, the EU had 3 years warnings to adjust its budgets yet didn’t.

    The various costs are ruinous politically since money leaving the country will not diminish for years, extra regulations do not help us, but the position of NI unacceptable. Ireland followed us into the EEC, when we leave it is their choice as a sovereign nation whether to follow us out or not – NI wishes to be part of the UK and must be treated as such.

    Better to get out on WTO terms today, honour our commitments and forge a simple free trade agreement (which trivialises the NI question).

    A future conservative PM will likely take this route, not just good for the country but for the conservative parties survival too.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


      “A future conservative PM will likely take this [WTO] route, not just good for the country but for the conservative parties survival too.”

      Don’t bet on it. More likely they’ll begrudgingly admit May’s unpopularity with voters, and play on that to flob us off with another remain quisling. Of course, we’ll be too thick to see the fudge and like the idiots they take us for we’ll accept the new PM and think everything’s rosy.

      There is no way the establishment in it’s current form will allow a leave minded PM to hold office. We have to pull the establishment down first and get the rats running for their lives.

      • Gareth Warren
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t doubt some in the conservative party think they can put another remainer PM in charge and it will all blow over.

        The EU elections will likely dispel that fallacy. Even a Boris or John Redwood as PM on form would likely crash at a GE without delivering brexit. I expect the conservative party will wake up and do the right thing, but if they do not then the brexit party gets my vote.

  55. BillM
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    This Minister’s interpretation tells us why there is such a mess.
    Do these “Negotiators” naively believe the EU would honour any unspecific utterances? Like the ambiguously termed “Duty of Good faith”? I can see the ECJ making mincemeat of that one if Britain ever tried to implement it.
    He also forgets that everything in this WA is subject to the ECJ jurisdiction and as has been made perfectly clear by our Rt Hon here, we shall be at their mercy until 2022 if not beyond.
    His reference to Article 50, which states we will Leave the EU, must be a secret joke amongst the Cabinet. How can we rely upon it when its terms have already been broken, along with the Prime Minister repeated promise to leave the EU by March 29th? Why does he think the Conservatives are taking a beating out there?
    Does he not grasp what the real intentions are? Or was it drafted by a pro-EU manadrin and he obediently signs it off?
    This diabolical agreement does not assure us that WE shall be free of the EU anytime soon. We voted to leave the EU in 2016 and expected to be out of it before the end of that year. If there were going to be problems we and the EU should have enacted Article 24 of the WTO rules and maintained the status quo for zero tariff trade for two years while going about our OWN Business. The Government failed to do it and they are still procrastinating over our leave dates, which in this WA, sound as though they are going to be postponed forever.
    We have waited three long messy years already and we want OUT and OUT right now, not maybe out in four years time. I am sick of this anti-Brexit movement within Government and in Parliament and I note from the Local election results and the EU polls I am not alone. If Mrs May and her gang of EU sycophants do not do as we decided when we were specifically asked, they shall take a beating in all of the next elections and rightly so. 1300+ councillors down so how many Tory MEPs will be packing their bags in Brussels?

  56. Chris
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I still think your Brexiter MPs are underestimating the anger of the public, and that is why they have still not moved to get rid of May. In Coffeehouse, Katy Balls quotes a Tory Brexiter MP illustrating this naivety. They believe that they can get things “back on track” if they have a new leader.

    I believe they are wrong and do not realise how damaged the Party is. What is more, they have allowed Theresa May to do this. The public has had enough and they now want the cleaning of the Augean stables, aka H of C, with real overhaul of the “inhabitants”, and change to our political system:
    “Tory Eurosceptics are grumpy that the Brexit Party has been allowed to flourish – a fact they blame on May for failing to listen to their advice on the need for a cleaner Brexit. ‘He’s a cheeky chappy but there’s no reason he should be doing this well. We’ve done all the work,’ complains one dedicated Tory Eurosceptic, referring to Nigel Farage. But they believe the damage is repairable. ‘Once we have a new leader we will be able to get things back on track.’….”

    Reply Conservative Eurosceptics are in minority in the party when it comes to voting down the draft stay in Treaty or when late last year there was a vote to get rid of Mrs May. We have to play the hand that is dealt when we cannot choose the cards.

  57. miami.mode
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    We realise that you don’t parade your knighthood, but you would think that a formal letter from Dexeu would get your title correct, notwithstanding the fact that it is understandable that a forename is used to start a letter between MPs.

    Sloppiness on their and his part which seems indicative of their whole approach.

  58. Tony Sharp
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Sir Johhn,
    You surely can see now, from this response, that the entire Cabinet and a majority of the Payroll MPs in your party seek only to remaIN EU and ‘Leave’ in formal name only.
    The time has long passed by when you and those MPs who support a simple clean break and to respect the Referendum of 2016 to Vote No Confidence in May’s excuse for a Governement, with no actual policies other than this PWA, and/or split off and form a True Conservatives with the national local associations.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Tony Sharp

      If I may :

      Yes, they’re all in it together up to their necks.

      There is little point any Conservative MP going independent or defecting. If an MP has the taint of this government no one will touch them after this.

      From unpopularity to toxicity in one easy move. Total shysters.

  59. Everhopeful
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    That letter!
    Off the Christmas card list I’d suggest.

  60. iain
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    The time is now 13.44 and clicking on ” Here” in your first line produces nothing. Have the gremlins got at you Sir John.

    • Steve
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink


      Link works now, Wed 18:00.

  61. Off Topic I am sorry
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    John, today Theresa May is in her element as she springs to life enthusiatically to ban stuff and censor the internet. Now as our very way of life is at stake, (can we have some plain speaking?) The event she is using to justify her evil intent has been proven faked and staged. The video she is using to justify internet censorship has also been proven faked and staged (is this the real reason it was so quickly banned?). What I want you to tell us John is who is pulling Mays strings everytime she so enthusiatically rushes to censor and ban based on the fake news from the MSM?

    • rose
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      The Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service is also her Security Adviser. She appointed him to all three posts. He was photographed recently “leading a delegation” of civil servant heads of departments to China, shaking hands with their foreign minister as if he were ours.

  62. Chris
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Well, well, sometimes things can happen quickly:
    Brexit Party formed in Welsh Assembly ‘with IMMEDIATE effect’ – Tory and Ukip members QUIT

    “FOUR Welsh assembly members (AMs) have sensationally joined the Brexit Party “with immediate effect” to give Nigel Farage’s party their first political representation at a national level.

    The Conservatives’ Mark Reckless, and Ukip’s David Rowlands have joined up with independents Mandy Jones and Caroline Jones to form the group in the Welsh Assembly. In a letter the four AMs said: “We wish to form a Brexit Party political group, with immediate effect. “We confirm that Mark Reckless has resigned from the Conservative Group, and that David Rowlands hereby resigns from the Ukip group.”……..

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Mark Reckless jumped ship AGAIN?

      • Chris
        Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        He has always wanted Brexit and worked very hard for Brexit in the past, and has followed the Party he thought was truly committed to Brexit. A conviction politician. Better than sticking with the Party of a PM who made false promises and is on course to complete her betrayal of this country, its people and Brexit. At least he has acted.

  63. Lester Beedell
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh how I wish that we had had the Internet and social media when Heath took us into the Common Market, it’s very plain now to see what the plan was!

    I was extremely naive then and believed all the utterances coming from Westminster, after a lifetime of voting Conservative enough is enough, I’m scarcely able to believe the current scenario, more like a 3rd world banana republic than the Mother of Parliaments
    The Brexit Party for me, I sent off £100 and I’m about to go and deliver my second batch of leaflets

    Nigel Farage is inspirational, and the way he demolished Andrew Marr last Sunday was truly a masterpiece, I cannot watch or listen to any Brussels broadcasting corporation output, once the envy of the `World and now….

  64. ian
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the rise of the independents just breathtaking, independent counsellors in councils and now independent people wanting to stand for the Brexit party or on their own to change democracy in this country forever?

    The independents’ counsellors nearly beat the Lib Dems the other week in local elections.

    When you think about it, the independents do not have the army of people the Lib Dems have for knocking on the doors or the local media support and money for leaflets and adds and the LDs have been building support for years and very active in the last 4 years when in parliament their support went down to 8 MPs from nearly 60 MPs, they throw everything they had at the local elections, even had the green party working for them

  65. ukretired123
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what Emily Pankhurst would say after our second female Prime Minister voting to stay in servitude to old men unelected in Brussels 100 years on:
    “I would rather be a rebel than a slave.” Unless you are Theresa May…. Sold out!

    Also voting after 2016 has become Hobson’s choice and reminded me of pointless voting in banana republics where there was only one party to vote for – and still people could not see its futility.

    • Captain Peacock
      Posted May 15, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Did you see the Lib Dims favourite EU commissar Verhofstadt is saying the veto should go making the EU………. a true dictatorship.

  66. BillMayes
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Do these Brexit “Negotiators” actually believe the EU would honour any of these weak utterances? Like the ambiguously termed “Duty of Good faith”? I can see the ECJ making mincemeat of that one if Britain ever tried to implement it.
    Barclay, also forgets that everything in this WA is subject to ECJ jurisdiction and as has been made perfectly clear by our Rt Hon Sir here, we shall be at their mercy until 2022 if not beyond.
    His reference to Article 50, which states we will Leave the EU, is odd. How can we rely upon it when its terms have already been broken, along with the Prime Minister repeated promise to leave the EU by March 29th?
    This letter must have been drafted by a pro-EU Mandarin and the Minister obediently signs it off as it contains too much whitehallspeak and not enough personal comments.
    The May agreement does not assure us that WE shall be free of the EU anytime soon. We voted to leave the EU in 2016 and expected to be out of it before the end of that year. We should have immediately enacted Article 24 of the WTO rules and maintained the status quo for zero tariff trade for two years, while going about our own Business. The Government failed to do this and are still procrastinating over our leave dates. In this WA, that sound as though they are going to be postponed forever.
    We have waited three long messy years already and we want OUT and OUT right now, not maybe out in four years time. I note from the Local election results and the EU polls, terrible results for the procrastinators. Consequently the Conservative Party is under serious threat only because their Remainer Government has not abided by OUR 2016 decision.

  67. Steve
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


    Well at least you got somewhere with your letter.

    However it comes across to me that the AG is simply passing the buck to the Brexit Secretary, and from the response I do wonder if the Brexit Secretary is biased in favour of the Capitulation Agreement, or in the very least sitting on the fence with more concern for his own interests.

    None the less I do feel all this will become irrelevant, May is going to pull some extremely childish spiteful stunt to shaft brexit.

    It’s gone beyond brexit now, it’s about revenge, and draining the swamp. For betraying the people and selling out the country, the establishment is going to be taken down.

  68. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I see Osborne’s rag took aim at you saying the Brexit secretary’s response devastated your original letter and was agreed with by the Attorney General.

    Never a reference to the worries of your original letter or your reply of course. One sided

  69. David Maples
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune! The city of London financial houses fund EU overspending, especially that of France(with a debt ratio approaching 120%). They are under no obligation to do so. Were HMG to tax these transactions, the city would be forced to raise their commission charges, resulting in the £16.7 bn being recouped pretty soon afterwards. Such a threat would concentrate minds in Brussels methinks. Of course, the political will to carry this through is a sine qua non.

  70. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I do not comprehend how something like this is allowed to be open to interpretation.

    It should read. The UK will…….

    The EU will…….

    Both parties will……

    No money in that though?

  71. agricola
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    If the PM unilaterally has the power to create the chaos she has over Brexit, without reference to her party at large, her MPs, and for that matter a majority of the electorate; is it logical to assume that an incoming PM of leave persuasion can say we are going to leave on WTO terms at the end of the extension of Art 50. Can a meddling HoC under a three line whip, ignore the party , manifesto declarations, etc, and bloc it. If they are minded to, it would mean we have a GE and a subsequently desimated conservative party. If it is spelt out in stark terms to the HoC tory party that the alternative to WTO terms is a Corbyn Marxist government, are they bright enough to get in line.

  72. Gary
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    In his letter the Brexit Secretary urges you to correct whatever errors you have been putting about in your public pronouncements so that those who circulate your spin might have accuratw facts on which to base their judgements. Sound advice from the Minister

    Reply The Minister Confirms most of what I say about the way the UK will be a member without vote and voice reproducing all other aspects of our current memebrship

  73. Yorkie
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    “Again!” You know how kids are when you say give them one swing at the park or when like me you have a really big sharp nose, you get “beaky”, duck face, the webbed man, pecker, quakers, hen peck, No Stril every day, for 10 years. Overdone.
    Mrs May and her ” If you wish to leave then agree to my deal” is much like that. Just shout “Again!” to her and “Again!” until it finally sinks in and she resigns and leaves the nation in peace.

  74. Cis
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    “The Attorney General has seen this letter and will be replying separately to confirm that he agrees with its content.”

    Would M. Barnier and the Commission Legal Service agree with its content too?

  75. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Will the political correspondents ever ask Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell what cross party agreement means?

    Is it the Anna Soubry / Chukka Umuna type of agreement where you have to agree with them because they know best or is it some other form of moveable feast that must be what they demand.

  76. APL
    Posted May 15, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir Redwood.

    Do you think the leader of your party is so determined to get the withdrawal treaty ratified is because she has already signed the document with Angela Merkel and other EU heads of state?

  77. Jonny
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I am amazed that I found myself generally agreeing with your point of view. I note you did not respond on any of the detail provided by the SoS and just talked in broad brush terms but your general argument appeared to strongly support revoking article 50 or a confirmatory referendum.
    I could not agree more that ‘The splitting of the Withdrawal issues from the future partnership issues is against our Manifesto and full of negotiating danger.’. Additionally it is contrary to ‘the easiest deal in history’ promised before the referendum.
    Unless you are moronic enough to now believe that a ‘managed no-deal’ is not an oxymoron (for it would also be full of negotiating danger but undertaken in a tumultuous , uncertain period) and that it is somehow justified by the referendum victory and c33% current support in the country then we must either revoke A50 and re-apply with a clear, parliamentary agreed negotiating mandate or put the 3 options (no/WTO deal, WA+PD, revoke & remain) to a public vote.
    I thank you for your support

  78. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    And still:-

    1) MV1, MV2, MV3, possibly MV4 …and nobody knows the breakdown of the £39 billion (as a minimum).

    2 ) No Full Legal Advice Text published, for the WA…despite Parliament having demandied it. How are they getting away with that? Answer – no pressure is being applied.

  79. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Another day, another threat of May leaving, or being forced out.

    It’s a joke.

    As regular as the weather forecast, now.

    Brexit Party Recruiting Sergeant May and that Guy V-NoseyParker from the EU, are driving up Brexit Party funds and support by the hour.

    I ‘ve given the Brexit Party £50 now – never donated that much money to any political Party before.

    It actually feels good, and like I am taking some action against the Brexit Thieves.

    Long may the great Theresa remain!…she is a Remainer after all!

    • Jonny
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      In a period of increasing food bank use, increasing homelessness and increasing numbers struggling with dementia in the midst of a care-funding crisis you decide to donate £50 to a party that offers no solutions to these issues. It doesn’t even have any policies for the single issue it is campaigning on beyond a (falsely described) simple first-step to a complex problem
      Brexit will not provide any solutions to the real problems this country faces.

      • TheyWontCrushBrexit
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink


        You win today’s prize for the best Virtue Signalling!

        Well done.

        The Brexit Party is the Party that will honour the biggest vote in UK history and defend democracy.
        Those are the biggest problems the UK currently faces.

        I’ll spend my money how I chose.
        You do likewise.

        The difference being, I won’t try to lecture you.

        Have to go now.

        You’ve convinced me to donate to the Brexit Party again!
        Thanks for that!

        • Jonny
          Posted May 17, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          The intention was not to virtue signal, it was to try and understand.
          I now acknowledge that you view Brexit and democracy as the biggest problems this country faces.
          In regard to Brexit you support the Brexit Party that talks only of the process (No / WTO deal) & nothing of the destination (no manifesto). A single-issue political party, sorry limited company, that has nothing to say on it’s single-issue beyond repeating betrayal / democracy / WTO / FTA and refuses to provide any transparency on its funding or policies does not appear democratic to me.
          However you say that democracy is a major issue for this country and perhaps, like me, you also have views on,
          – 52% of people voted for centre-left parties in the 2017 GE but this is NOT the will of the people. Democracy clearly dictates a right-wing Tory government propped up by climate-change deniers
          – A white, privately-educated, former broker (and son of a stock-broker) who has lived his life between London & Brussels, been an MEP for 20 years, regularly stood for parliament and is a member of a St James gentleman’s club is a man of the people and NOT a member of the London political elite
          – The only representation in Parliament that matters is the split between those who voted remain and those who voted leave. The conservative party representation of c94% white, c79% male & c45% privately educated is NOT a democratic issue
          – Democracy is broken because of MPs such as Yvette Cooper who spend their time heading select committees to interrogate the future security implications of any arrangement to exit the EU. This holding to account is the swamp that needs to be drained and NOT MEPs with terrible attendance records & questionable expenses
          – Hereditary monarchy is obviously democratic.
          – Appointed second chamber of donors, party tag alongs and an hereditary rump is democracy personified.
          – Oh, and joining Iran as the only country with reserved theocratic seats in parliament is just fine and dandy democracy wise.
          – The 1922 committee can change their rules on no confidence votes and vote again in 6 months rather than a year. The PM can bring back her deal for the 4th time to be voted on again (during which many Tory MPs have changed their mind) but we cannot countenance that the public may have change their mind in 3 years now what Brexit can be achieved is clearer
          – And finally, never (or at least barely ever) mentioning no/WTO deal during the referendum and only around a third of the population accepting this route is clearly fulfilling the democratic will of the 52-48 referendum result

          Perhaps you are right and this is the biggest issue

          • Patrick Moore
            Posted May 20, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

            83% of voters voted for manifestos which committed Conservative, Labour and UKIP parties to honour the result of the Referendum.

            Your remark that 52% of the vote at the 20217 GE was for centre left parties is meaningless

  80. skiggy
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Hi, you forget that she also agreed to forefit the £6.6Billion profit we have made investing in the ECB & the £8.5Billion she has agreed to pay for eu commision pensions so we will be paying the pensions of Junkers,Verhofstadt,Selmayer,Waylin,Weber,Tusk,Mogerini etc,etc. A really bitter pill. Nor did you raise the fact that ALL eu commision employees working in the UK must be A) Exempt from ALL UK taxation, even for pensions. B) All eu commision employees working in the UK must be TOTALLY IMUNE to ANY UK Law abd cannot be prosecuted for anything. I have the withdrawal Agreement and have read it and all what you complain about and all what I complain about is a small fraction of what is bad about the WA. It is TOXIC. One question I would like you to ask the PM or Barclay or Cox is to name 1 thing in the WA that benefits the UK. 2)Why WTO is so called bad for the Country. In 3yrs I have not had an answer from the 1000s of remainers who have uttered it.

  81. skiggy
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi again, you should also ask why she agreed to take ownership of Eurotom and to pay for all its disposals which will cost £3Billion A YEAR? She also agreed:
    We cannot change any Anti Trade Measures without eu permission.
    We Must adopt ALL eu rules in Social and Employment Law. She agreed –
    Access to our fisheries.
    To hand over all out Armed Forces and Security Structure to the eu with NO leadership from the UK.
    ALL NoN eu imports are to be shipped through Rotterdam so that the eu can take the Tarrif money.
    The eu can do deals with 3rd World Countries and give access to the UK but the UK is not allowed to sell to that 3rd World Country ourselves.
    We are not allowed to make ANY law if it conflicts with eu law.
    UK not allowed to give State Aid.
    They are even trying to get us to sign an Oath Of Allegence.
    Tell me, where does any of this agree with the Brexit Vote?

  82. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted May 17, 2019 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    To repeat the bleeding obvious:

    – If the UK allows goods from the Irish Republic to enter the UK tariff free and ensures that its regulatory regime is less onerous than that of the EU, then we have no need to control or inspect imports from the Republic at the border.

    – Whether and how the EU and the Irish Republic impose tariffs and regulations on our exports to the Irish Republic is up to them. Introducing a trusted trader system would go a long way to avoiding unnecessary inspections. (I am told that only 1.5% of containers imported from America are inspected at Rotterdam).

    Even without new technology, it’s a non-problem.


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    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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