Update on leadership election

I have now heard from  members of the Wokingham Conservatives about the leadership by email and through my meeting on Friday with members at a party reception. I will continue to consult.

I  will now rule out voting for those candidates who want to delay our exit, and who have unrealistic plans to re open the Withdrawal Agreement and renegotiate bits of it, when the EU has said they will not do so.

I have heard enough to know Mr Stewart’s positions do not offer us a way forward that is likely to work. He was one of the three  foremost advocates of the Withdrawal Agreement which went down to the most spectacular defeat the Conservative party has ever experienced in the Euro elections, when it was the only proposition the official Conservative machine put forward. The failure with Mrs May  to sell it to more than 90% of the public should rule him out as a future leader of the party. His stubborn belief that a variant of the Agreement has to go ahead shows he is  completely out of touch with the electorate.

This Agreement is toxic, hated by both Leave and Remain voters. The Cabinet made a mighty mistake in going along with it, with some Cabinet members trying  trying the hard sell on it for weeks on end long after it was clear the public did not want it.

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  1. Dominic
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    It was the agreement (WA) that was toxic but the people who negotiated the agreement (WA).

    May, Robbins and Merkel

    Robbins himself was president of the Oxford Reform Group. The ORG is a body supporting and promoting a Federal EU. In effect a EU superstate.

    May knew exactly what she was doing when appointing Robbins.

    The betrayal, the deliberation with intent to betray and the sheer arrogance of this woman’s treachery and her continual attempts to nobble the future Tory leader is without question the most despicable behaviour I have seen from a British politician in my life-time

    An abhorrence on a scale even greater than Blair

    • Dominic
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Erratum :

      ‘It wasn’t the agreement (WA)’

      • JPM
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        It was also the agreement…

        The idea that a cabal of remainers, in association with a defensive and vindictive EU, cooked up a balanced or reasonable Withdrawal Agreement is simply not tenable.

        • Hope
          Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          Mayhab’s extension is a massive betrayal in itself, yet your party does not recognize this is the case!

          Hunt supporting Lee after a vote of no confidence, wanting to delay further and he wants to be leader! You might ask him leader of what, because your party will be routed from office. Same for Gove wanting delay! Javid talking about tax cuts when he put up our community charge taxes by 5 percent with taxation at a 50 year high and responsible for worse crime figures in forty years! None of those in cabinet should put their names forward. None of them will be trusted by the public.

          Widdicombe is right, your party has gone mad! They all supported and voluntarily voted for Mayhab’s servitude treaty and all preferred to remain in the EU as a vassal state until further notice rather than leave on 31/03/2019! They all should hang their heads in shame.

    • NickC
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Olly Robbins is regarded as arrogant and obnoxious even by some in the EU-loving FCO.

      • zorro
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        He might be needing that Belgian passport soon!


      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Oxford PPE yet again. Do they brainwash all the people taking this degree, or is it just the rather dodgy types who apply to study it (Ann Widdecombe and Tony Abbott excepted of course).

    • Steve
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


      “Robbins himself was president of the Oxford Reform Group. The ORG is a body supporting and promoting a Federal EU. In effect a EU superstate.”

      May knew exactly what she was doing when appointing Robbins.

      There is only one word to explain that…….CORRUPTION !

    • Yossarion
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Watching the program on the subterfuge leading up to D Day landings I could not hesitate to compare what the civil service have been doing since June 2016. How often was one thing put around the media for the complete opposite to be done a few days later time and time again.

    • L Jones
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      It really is quite breathtaking that these people like Oily Robbins can swan around with such arrogance, knowing that their antecedents are freely available to view in the public domain.
      Unless, of course, they feel invincible, having their EU masters at their backs.

  2. Everhopeful
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    We didn’t want it because it appears to be a brand new Treaty..to turn us into the first EU colony.
    Also it was used in a very nasty ruse to try to make the public believe that those MPs who opposed it were “blocking Brexit”. Nasty, nasty, lefty playground tactics.
    Fine tooth comb, background checks, voting history. Be utterly ruthless in choice of new leader.
    And then ..hold whomsoever to account.

    • NickC
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      There is a video clip (in the Express) of Barnier discussing how to leverage the Eire/UK border issue to gain advantage in the negotiations. Why didn’t our negotiators (including Theresa May) spot that? Why do they and most of our MPs fail to understand that, in any negotiation, you must be prepared to walk away?

      It is all of a part – our establishment has this twisted notion that Jonny Foreigner’s job is to support us, so our elite don’t have to bother with anything as sordid as promoting ourselves. It’s a sort of inverted nationalism. And it’s why we’ve always been taken to the cleaners by the EU.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Agree..utterly amazing. So naive ( or scheming?).
        After all the years of handing govt piecemeal over to the EU…do they even know HOW to negotiate?
        Some people said the day after the referendum that this would happen. Well we’d all seen it in Ireland …carbon copy. So there again why wasn’t our govt more prepared??
        I think your theory of “ inverted nationalism” is 100% correct!

  3. Henry Carter
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    You are 100% correct the EU will not renegotiate the WA. And if you have us leave without signing the WA, then at about 7 o clock the next morning, as the traffic jams from Dover clog up Kent and tail back to London, whoever is PM will ask Brussels for negotations, and Brussels will say “come back when you have signed the WA”. That is how bad our negotiating position is. That is what a calamity Brexit is. Or are you still trusting the German carmakers to come riding to our rescue?

    Reply All project fear nonsense

    • jerry
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      @Henry Carter; Oh for goodness sake, go read up on the UN’s TIR Convention (used by 76 parties [1]), the origin of which pre-dates even the old ESCS treaty of 1951.


      [1] meaning 103 countries

      • libertarian
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Henry Carter

        Jerry is absolutely right

        Oh and as a Kent resident the Operation stack we’ve had to endure for the last 25 years with 2015 being an especially calamitous year elicited no response at all from the UK Govt, Highways England, The French government or the EU.

        The German car makers and the German economy are in trouble so they are probably more intent on rescuing themselves

        • margaret howard
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink


          “The German car makers and the German economy are in trouble so they are probably more intent on rescuing themselves”

          In 2016, Germany recorded the highest trade surplus in the world worth $310 billion, making it the biggest capital exporter globally.

          Germany is the third largest exporter in the world with 1.21 trillion euros ($1.27 trillion) in goods and services exported in 2016.

          And so forth.

          Ahh, we can but dream…………..!

          • jerry
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            @margaret howard; “Diesel-Gate” changed all that, also do not forget that some of that surplus will be from overseas operations, not just German or even EU2* operations – how much profit does BMW make from their Rolls-Royce Motor Cars division here in the UK, like wise VW with their Bentley marque…

          • NickC
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, Yes but the German car industry became so big whilst the UK was in the EU. And the issue raised by Libertarian is that irrespective of the size of it, they probably don’t want to shrink. Or have you special dispensation to assure us they don’t care about losing 10%, or more, of their market?

    • acorn
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I had my bag x rayed for the first time ever sailing out of Portsmouth two weeks back. Not that customs actually looked at what was in it. I pushed it through and picked it up again in two strides. Coming back into Portsmouth last week, customs and immigration were taking two to three times longer.

      I think they are going through the motions to see how long it will take and how many staff they will need. My group reckoned, at that time, they could only unpack and inspect one car in twenty at best.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink


        Really? Every time Ive left the country to go anywhere my bag has been X rayed and I’ve been searched . Whats been going on in Portsmouth ?

        • acorn
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          Er … Portsmouth has boats sailing between two EU member states, not flying machines libby! If I can be bothered, I will explain the subtle security risk differences between the two modes of transport.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I’m almost at the point I feel we just need to do it to show what rubbish project fear is.

      It will be like the 364 economists moment in March 81. The whole of academic economics in the UK (with a few great exceptions – like Patrick Minford) assured thatcher she was heading for recession and slump if she didn’t change policy. She didn’t, and with exquisite irony the longest running growth period started in q2 81! ‘Keynesian’ academic economics in the UK has never recovered (and got ignored again, rightly but more mildly, by Cameron and Osborne).

      The confidence boost to the Nation when we turn round and see that the cliff edge was 2 or 3 ft high will be huge & will last generations.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Queues will not be in Kent, rather the rotting Spanish and French fruit and veg stuck in Calais.

      That will not go down well…

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      henry…..yes I am expecting the German car workers, the Italian white-goods workers, the French wine & cheese workers, the majority of the EU tourism staff, the owners of the hotels, the directors of the railways, the museums, the visitor centres, the chocolatiers, the pastry chefs, the restaurant workers, and perhaps the key ones, the Budget bean counters to be ‘shocked to their senses’. Quite a few will want it sorted.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      With the prospect of huge queues in Dover, everyone will avoid it if they possibly can – port traffic will be light, consisting only of urgent freight.
      Any queues this side will be matched with queuse the other side, which everyone will want to do something about pretty quick.

    • Tony Henry
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Henry you are a credulous fool. I assume you are in the pay of your EU masters.

    • NickC
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Henry Carter, I am really interested in why there will be a traffic jam starting from Dover and tailing all the way back to London (80 miles) by 7am the morning after we leave the EU treaties. Can you describe how that will happen? Bear in mind that if there are no ferry sailings most truckers and car owners won’t attempt to drive to Dover.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        NickC….I think we should grasp the opportunity. Imagine the possible sales as you walk along the miles and miles of punters ( sorry..valued customers). They will want sandwiches, ice-creams, burgers, tea&coffee, think of the margin on fizzy drinks and sweets for the bored to death kids. Suntan cream, battery fans for those with no air-con. Ordnance survey maps of Kent for those wanting to find an exit. Sounds to good to be true.

    • agricola
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      What a load of cobblers. On the plus side, should your plague of frogs materialise, their back legs are delightful sauted in butter with garlic.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Most things taste quite good when drenched in butter, garlic and pinch of salt bread, snails, frogs legs, squid, mussels, rubber bands ….

        • agricola
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

          If your Calamari taste like rubber bands you have overcooked them. Perhaps we should lighten up this diary and turn it into a recipe exchange. On second thoughts I prefer to leave that to James Martin.

    • Arthur Wrightiss
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      You forgot to mention the plague of locusts and the deluge of hellfire and brimstone.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Henry Carter.
      Your latest drivel is the ‘copy and paste’nonsense that we’ve come to expect from you. We operate under WTO conditions with numerous countries, as do the EU. The chaos that you predict is purely the wishful thinking of an undemocratic loser. If you wish the UK to have an enhanced trading relationship with the EU then the UK must exit ASAP. Serious discussions can then commence.

    • Bardirect
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      IF you were right about those traffic jams, then think about the traffic problems on the other side of the channel where 26 of the other countries in the EU as well as other international traffic from Turkey and beyond, will all be queuing. Back down the A16 and A6 perhaps down to the Arc de Triomph and across Belgium and into the toll free German autobahn’s because they export more to us than we sell to them. And of course the net tariff income will be a big boost to UK Treasury coffers. So who will be begging? If they have the strength it will be the EU. Because they wont have any fish on the table, will they.

    • Steve
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Henry Carter

      So your response is simply to give in. Lucky for you we are not at war, you’d face internment.

    • L Jones
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      I find it hard to believe that there are gullible people like this one still prepared to put their heads above the parapet.
      I’m not sure if they’re to be pitied or applauded for not being ashamed to display their ignorance!

    • libertarian
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Henry Carter

      Hmmm EU running scared again

      Speaking to Nick Robinson on The Today Programme this morning, EU Commissioner Věra Jourová gave a strong hint that the Withdrawal Agreement could be altered in the future. Saying she would be “very careful” in her answer, she said the decision whether or not to alter the deal in order to avoid a ‘No Deal’ scenario that would hurt both sides

  4. Peter
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Seems a fair and sensible approach. You will have to rule out a lot of candidates though, not just Rory Stewart.

    There is also the problem that they will all equivocate. So trustworthiness is a big issue too.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      My thought also; I recall Mr Gove was one of the strongest supporters of the WA, has he changed his support again? Gove reminds me of Blair, will argue in support on any proposition that helps him personally. Not one to rely on to do what’s right methinks.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Except Blair unlike Gove did not want to tax to death or kill private schools. If anything he is well to the left of Blair.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Elsewhere Gove is talking about delaying “Brexit” to the end of 2020 in order (to secure a deal). which of course is totally unacceptable.

      • NickC
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Peter Wood, Since the majority of Tory MPs are Remains, and still have not learned from the thrashing at the locals and what Mrs May termed a “bad night” at the Euros, they will offer the poisoned chalice to their members of Gove (as the supposed “Leave” candidate), or a Remain. I think they hate Boris because he’s the one most likely to get us out of the EU treaties.

  5. Caterpillar
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Does it remain the case that all candidates so far have voted for the WA at least once? If this is the case none of them can be suitable, the country cannot rely on them.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      That’s exactly my concern too .

      Boris will come under huge pressure from his own family and I read that his new partner is a determined environmentalist , just like father Stanley .
      So no respite from lefty views in that quarter .

      Why did he vote for the WA third time round ?
      I like to think he was trying to ingratiate himself with the Remainer MPs in order to be voted on to the final two .
      We members would far prefer to see a consistent line on the over-riding issue of the day – the same for JRM – what a disappointment they were .
      Thank goodness for our host and the solid Spartans who held the whole thing together .
      It looks like we will have a battle of the last two between who has the fewer perceived imperfections, rather than a stand out inspirational leader .

      • NickC
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Man of Kent, Anyone who reads Theresa May’s draft WA can see that it makes us subject to the majority of EU policies and rules: from single market alignment, to the “single customs territory” to military and security subjugation. The WA was just a different treaty, achieving nearly the same result as Lisbon, so obviously not Leave.

        It seems that Boris, like Rees-Mogg, could see no way out. I suspect that was lack of perspective and lack of resilience, rather than lack of principle. We all make mistakes, and regarding the WA as Leave is so. The issue is whether they continue to make mistakes, and whether they will be as honest as Richard Drax MP.

    • Richard Tracey
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Esther McVey and Steve Baker have never voted in favour of the May capitulation to Merkel and the EU. Nor have Mark Francois, Owen Paterson or Bill Cash and, of course, John Redwood.

      • Jagman84
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Esther McVey did vote for the WA /new treaty, saying that she ‘didn’t want to lose Brexit’. Passing it would lose us the UK as a sovereign state.

      • Thomas
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        McVey voted for it the third time round and the others you mentioned have not put themselves forward as candidates so far.

        • Bardirect
          Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          3rd time around was on the WA alone, excluding the PD not a “meaningful vote” under s13 the 2018 Act so legally not relevant as a step to the necessary ratification process. Those who succumbed then can perhaps rely on that distinction. It’s a little unclear what Theresa May was up to with that vote. Perhaps she wanted a “win” or she wanted an indicative vote on it as leverage for changing the PD. Another misjudgment.

      • Simeon
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        Surprised this wasn’t corrected. McVey DID vote for the WA third time round. Also, Steve Baker has not yet declared a candidacy. But clearly, voting for the WA, whatever the circumstances, demands an explanation, and raises the crucial question of whether or not that candidate can be trusted.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Richard Tracey,

        McVey voted for the WA as an “insurance policy”. Baker hasn’t yet formally announced he will run, but he doesn’t yet have enough experience to immediately become PM. His presumed support for ABCT might make him an interesting person to contribute at a lower level in the Treasury, he is unproven.

        As an individual I think Priti Patel, who has not declared, might be viable. Even then the Conservatives still need to lose their bias towards London/SE//golden triangle to have any future existence – they won’t do this.

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Except for a couple of candidates, they all for tweeking the Merkel agreement which is an EU treaty.
    Gove wants to delay until nextt year. No doubt to allow time to organise a 3 way loaded referendum splitting the leave vote.
    Only Farage can save us from this unholy mess.
    I fear the Tories will be wiped out at the next election.

    • Peter
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I also believe that ‘the Tories will be wiped out at the next election’.

      However, it would still be better if they elected a half decent leader in the meantime.

    • ChrisS
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      McVey and Raab are both for leaving without signing the withdrawal agreement.
      Leadsom is suggesting a “managed” WTO Brexit. Those three get my support.

      I’ve ruled out Boris : he amply demonstrated that he would be a hopeless PM because he made such a pig’s ear of the top job at the FCO. He’ll always be a far better journalist than Minister.

      I would like the job to go to Esther but I fear it’s far too soon for her. Raab would be my first choice with Andrea staying as Leader of the House in order to ensure no backsliding – and to p**s off Bercow.

      Redwood for Chancellor and Hunt to stay where he is. Not sure whether we could trust Gove to negotiate the forthcoming Trade Deal with Europe while Fox deals with the rest of the world ?

      Rudd and Hammond to the back benches, of course.

      • L Jones
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        So why did McVey and Raab vote for the WA at the third time of asking? Leadsom voted for it three times.

        How can they be trusted not to resurrect it if they thought it was good once? As for the others you mention, it’s only our host that stands out as being honourable and steadfast.

      • NickC
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        Chris S, Boris certainly did not make “a pig’s ear of the top job at the FCO”. He was operating with both hands tied behind his back: a Remain oriented FCO, corrupted by the EU; and a PM who backstabbed and sidelined him.

  7. libertarian
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Hey Newmania

    As an insurance expert I’m surprised you haven’t bought this up

    MiFID II, together with MiFIR (Regulation (EU) No 600/2014), was intended to create a more transparent, competitive and integrated financial market in the EU by reducing trading outside regulated markets, increasing protection for investors and consumers, and improving financial stability. The Directive harmonises the EU regulatory regime

    However, one year on, many practitioners’ initial fears about MiFID II appear to have been realised, especially with regard to unbundled research causing a reduction in the amount of research available on smaller companies. Fears that new firms would be discouraged from starting in the UK due to excessive EU regulation have also proved to be well founded. A particular problem for new market entrants in the insurance industry.

    So Andy

    Thats two more EU regulations to be added to the long list of EU regulations to be revoked when we leave

  8. libertarian
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    The problem here is that leadership contenders are chosen by the Parliamentary Party , you know the very people who have completely trashed the Tory party by being so detached from their members, supporters, voters and the general population

    They are lining up to pick the next failure

    If you keep on doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got . If you want a different result, do something different

    Just as an aside, some are now using TBP doesn’t have a manifesto as one kind of attack line. When will people wake up. Thats is PRECISELY why they are popular , people are sick of pork barrel, boondoggle politics, they are sick of manifestos that are NEVER implemented. They are fed up with politicians trying to run every facet of our lives

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Well Said Libertarian.

      Nigel Farage has said that he won’t use the word “manifesto” as he believes it has been made worthless by the frequency with which they have ignored and dishonoured by the party that published.
      Apparently he prefers the term “Policy Programme” and he says they will publish it in due course, in readiness for the next general election.
      I’m not a member of the Tory Party and so cannot vote on a future leader but for the sake of our Country, I hope it is not anyone who serves currently in the Cabinet.

  9. J Bush
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Stewart is definitely out despite MSM blatantly touting him. Methinks MSM haven’t realised their captive audience is dwindling fast.

    I understand Gove is touting the idea of delaying until 2020! Why? Is he mad? Does he think he can renegotiate May’s toxic agreement, which he voted for every time. Or negotiate another just as toxic?

    • Richard1
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      It is a sensible idea. There is no value whatsoever to being in the transition period and not in the EU, so the best plan is to extend membership – which means at least 1/2 the £39bn gets paid anyway, go back to the drawing board and propose a comprehensive FTA from jan 21. Wto Brexit if they say no.

      • rose
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Why not WTO now and propose an FTA afterwards? If they say no, then we still have our money and our independence.

        • NickC
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          Rose, Spot on.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      J Bush

      Gove has just successfully lost support from anyone who wants a rapid and successful resolution to Brexit.
      Yet another policy excuse to kick the can down the road for another 18 months of uncertainty.

      Hope he has now blown his chances, even if he was in with a chance in the first place.

      • NickC
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Alan Jutson, No, that will make Gove more popular with Remain Tory MPs.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


          But not with the Party members.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      He does indeed seem to have gone potty. This with his kill private schools agenda, misc. green crap and having photo ops with Greta Thunberg.

      People who seem to support groups that want eco and economic terrorism and threats to block Heathrow.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Gove seems to have learnt nothing from the recent elections , where the dither and delay parties got hammered

    • Freeborn John
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Gove needs to be asked what is so special about 2020? If he blinks this October 31 and asks for delay the EU will believe he will do it in 2020 as well. And what fate will befall his party if he delays until the next GE?

    • Stred
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      He is touting MPs who are afraid of losing their seats and they are hoping that the BP will have melted away by the next election. He is the candidate for politicians like himself ie Mr Bendys.

  10. jerry
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I do not agree with your maths, with 63% of eligible voters missing from the EP results how do you arrive at 90%, but I do agree with your conclusions!

    Stewart along with other WA fence sitters, are singularly unsuitable, as Tony Benn might have said, weather vanes rather than sign posts.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      With article 50 still activated and a leaving date those 63% must be content with leaving the EU otherwise they would have voted to try to stop it.

      • jerry
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous; The EP elections can not change anything, only Westminster can do that, the EP elections are an irrelevance – unlike, say, the 2017 GE.

        Assumptions often lead you down paths better not followed!..

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Jerry, Well, JR might have meant the 9% who voted for the Conservatives at the Euros, and the “90%” figure was a typo. Or maybe, what JR had in mind was that 90% of those that voted clearly did not support Mrs May’s dWA. Of course his assumption is that the 63% who didn’t vote, didn’t support Mrs May’s dWA either. But then you are assuming that some, or all, did, in order to argue with JR’s maths. We should all be careful about our assumptions, shouldn’t we, Jerry?

      Reply Yes, only 9% voted for the Agreement so more than 90% oppose it

      • jerry
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        @NickC; JR reply; No, No, No, 36% of the electorate did not vote, they cast no vote, thus they voted neither or nor against the EP, WA or what ever else you might try and spin.

        Do not start trying to attribute votes that were not cast, otherwise Remain might start doing like wise with the missing 27.85% who did not vote in the 2016 referendum – 48.11 + 27.85 anyone…

        • NickC
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, If the rule is that I cannot attribute the 63% non voters to oppose May’s WA then, by the same principle, you cannot attribute those non voters to support it. Therefore we are back to the fact that 90% of those that voted, did not vote for May’s WA. So your original criticism of JR’s maths is unfounded.

          Moreover I did not attribute votes that were not cast, as you claim I did. I was criticising you for doing so.

          • jerry
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Try actually reading my comments…

            I am NOT trying to attribute (non-)votes to anyone, I am pointing out the danger in trying to assume that (non-)voters support a single specific issue one way or another when other considerations apply.

            I was listening to the radio a day or so after the EP declarations, discussing the results, they had a listener on who said he voted for Brexit in 2016 but voted Green in the 2019 EP elections because he consider environmental issues very important, dose he support the WA? Who knows…

        • Fred H
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          jerry….but surely the people who didn’t vote can’t be bothered either way? Therefore it is not unreasonable to think they might have voted 50% for a single issue, 50% against.

          • jerry
            Posted June 4, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

            @Fred H; Perhaps you are correct, they believe the EP elections are irrelevant. That tells us nothing though about their wider views as expressed in a Westminster election or how they might vote should their be another referendum etc.

            Likewise, those who voted TBP or indeed Green (see by recent reply to NickC) in the EP elections may well vote another way at a GE, having used the EP ballot in the same way as some use both local and by-elections – a ‘safe’ opportunity to protest.

  11. Steve Pitts
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Gove and others won’t even be MP let alone PM if they get their way after the next election . Sir John Curtice says only Boris can win back the voters . Although Raab and Esther McVey might be sounder and he Boris may only be a Brexiteer to support his career and is a one nation conservative and not sound on the economy, you might have to support Boris to have a chance of survival as a party. But there are lots of moves to stop Boris it appears.

  12. Simon
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    No need to pretend Sir John. We all know you are a No Dealer. What you have never done is explain what the implications of that would be.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Well he has actually.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Could you explain the implications of remaining in the EU? If we did, how will the establishment of a Federal structure for the EU affect British sovereignty?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      If you have been reading John’s blog for the past 3 years or more, you would discover that he’s not a no-dealer, he prefers a FTA with the EU.

      • Longinus
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Simon is a remainer.

      • Helena
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        But Dave, the EU has made clear – over and over again – that an FTA will be discussed ONLY once the UK has signed off the Withdrawal Agreement. It’s no use having a plan which is ruled out by the other side

        • Edward2
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          You think Eurooean industry will refuse an offer by the UK of free trade instead of having tariffs?
          It will interesting to see the unelected Commissioners having to listen to European global businesses and climb down from their current position.

        • NickC
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Helena, Do try to overcome your knee-jerk desire to be dominated by the EU all the time. This is a negotiation – the UK does not have to blindly obey the EU any more.

          • Ken Gray
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

            Nick, the negotiation is over. The EU team has been disbanded! Anyone telling you they will renegotiate Mrs Mays deal is a fraudster

          • NickC
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

            Ken Gray, What negotiation is that, then? For a WA? Or for an RTA? Do you even know the difference? The negotiation for an RTA hasn’t even started. And anyone telling you the EU will not negotiate a new WA is a fraudster. However, my position is we should not (re)negotiate a WA, and not (at least for some years) negotiate an RTA: we should leave the EU treaties without either.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink


          Oh really, so they aren’t running scared that we might leave with no deal then?

          Speaking to Nick Robinson on The Today Programme this morning, EU Commissioner Věra Jourová gave a strong hint that the Withdrawal Agreement could be altered in the future. Saying she would be “very careful” in her answer, she said the decision whether or not to alter the deal in order to avoid a ‘No Deal’ scenario that would hurt both sides would be for the next EU Commission president

          You just can’t rely on them can you Helena

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink


      Please explain how long it will be before all of the proposals in the Five Presidents Report (published before the Brexit Vote) will become EU Law.

      I assume of Course you have read the Five Presidents Report which outlines the Political direction the EU want to go with its unification programme, EU Laws, a Common single Tax and Budget system, together with its slow abolition of Nation State Status for all members.

      Then of course we have the EU defence plan with its own armed forces drawn from member states.

      A remain Vote is NOT for the EU as it is now, but support for what it will become !!!

      • Helena
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        Alan, I read it. It is all about the Eurozone. It has no relevance to the UK at all. As for the defence plan, we have a veto. As long as we are in the EU. Outside the EU we will of course lose our influence

        • Edward2
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          The reduction in veto powers stated in the Lisbon treaty means our ability to stop the EU from having it’s own defence force is going to be ended in a few years time.
          First you helena, just like Clegg, said there were no plans for a defence force now you say oh yes actually there is a plan but we could veto it.

          • NickC
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, Well spotted – the usual europhile/Remain hoodwink trope: there are no plans; well yes there are plans but they will come to nothing; there is a new law proposed but don’t worry we can veto it; too late, you’ll have to pay and obey. We’ve been had before Helena.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink


          Indeed it is about the Euro Zone, thus any country within the EU but outside the Eurozone will hold second class status, except of course for their contributions.

          Thus all new laws and policies will be made to suit the Eurozone members (not us at present) Interestingly they are also looking at making all members new and present join the Euro.

          No point in having a veto (which are slowly being removed) if all laws regulations taxes and the like are going to be made made for the benefit of the majority, The Eurozone members, thus even if we were still inside the EU, our influence will be draining away to zero, so what is the point of us being a member at huge cost, no say, and at a disadvantage.

        • NickC
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          Helena, Are you guaranteeing that if we Remain we would not at some future date be compelled to adopt the Euro? Oh hahaha! Defence and security is part of Lisbon which your Mr Brown signed us up to, so if we Remain, we could not escape it. Moreover control is more worthwhile and powerful than mere “influence”.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink


          Wow that is so naive

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Simon, The term “No deal” refers to no comprehensive trade deal. We already have numerous “deals” with other countries covering aspects as diverse as double taxation and driving licences. That includes “deals” with other European nations. And international “deals” such as the Chicago Convention (for flying).

      Those minor convenience deals will continue – they make life easier without shifting our government to another nation. Unfortunately the EU is besotted with extending its power and dirigiste centralised control. That makes a general trade treaty with the EU very dangerous because the EU will try the same trick of offering trade for control over us. So I don’t want either a WA or a general trade treaty with the EU.

  13. William Long
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Why does Gove think the EU would countenance a further delay?

    • formula57
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Why does Gove think we will?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      he’s trying to sit on the fence, but is likely to annoy both sides.

  14. Julie Dyson
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Gove has to be the next one to bite the dust as a serious candidate, surely? This idea of yet another extension (if even agreed to by the EU) until probably the back end of 2020 is just ludicrous: has he understood nothing about Mrs May’s many failures to date?

    If Gove becomes PM with that strategy in play, the current dismal polling of the Conservative Party will — come the next General Election and the benefit of hindsight — be seen to have been wildly optimistic.

    There is now no alternative other than a clean break Brexit — both for the country and for the future, if any, of the Conservative Party in this country. Public opinion — disgusted, frustrated, and often enraged — has now swung too far to settle for anything less.

    If anyone still doubts this we need only look at the polling of the Brexit Party, still less than two months old and now actually leading in some polls for GE voting intention.

    It really is make or break time for the Tories. It’s time to remove those old party blinkers and face the cold, hard facts of modern Britain. We’ve had enough.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Julie Dyson, As Rose has put it elsewhere, there is no sense in waiting to go WTO, we might as well exit the EU with the WTO deal now.

  15. Dominic
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Javid’s lost it completely now. He doesn’t want to strip away the ‘backstop’ (which isn’t Brexit but betrayal) but renegotiate it which isn’t possible anyway. Just the sheer, blatant,shameless lies again and again without any hint of insincerity in his eyes

    Another clueless Europhile that’s been infected by Robbins and the CBI

    Go away Javid and lay down in a dark room

    • rose
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      He has also lost control of our Southern border when he declared a less acute situation a crisis.

      The fact is, since the Windrush business they have all lost their nerve about keeping control in any way.

  16. Simeon
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Sounds like you’re leaning towards McVey. She may well be the best of the candidates thus far declared, and she seems to have some good instincts, but she did vote for the WA. Such a foolish act requires an explanation. I’m not sure what would constitute a satisfactory explanation. Point is, the Conservative party needs a better candidate than those so far declared.

  17. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    That’s Michael Gove out, then, if the Sunday Telegraph has it right:


    “Michael Gove tells Cabinet ministers he is prepared to delay Brexit until late 2020”

    “The Environment Secretary has told colleagues that a no-deal Brexit in October risks triggering a General Election that will put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.”

    There would only be an early general election if disloyal Tory MPs like Philip Hammond decided to bring down the government, and the best deterrent for that would be a leader who could bring supporters of the Brexit Party on board to defeat Labour. By caving in to the threats of renegade Tory MPs whose primary loyalty is to the EU, not the UK, Michael Gove would actually have the opposite effect.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, No, Gove isn’t “out”. Most Tory MPs are Remains so Gove is very much “in” as a result of his can-kicking and his rejection of the misnamed “No deal”. Of course I have predicted (27 May, here) that Gove will be one of the two offered to the CP members by the majority Remain Tory MPs as the supposed Leave candidate. Let’s hope I’m wrong, but most Tory MPs are still in denial.

  18. glen cullen
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    General election 2010 (+97 seats)
    Local election 2013 (–335 seat –10 councils)
    General election 2015 (+24 seats) – (took UKIP votes and guaranteed a referendum)
    Referendum 2016 leave vote won
    General election 2017 (–13 seats) – (supply and confidence with DUP)
    Local election 2019 (–1330 seat –40 councils)
    European election 2019 (–15 seats)

    The trend is obvious, a dead duck unless the party goes full out for an immediate WTO exit…..the people just don’t trust the party anymore with party MPs still talking about a deal with the EU on the media today???

    • John Hatfield
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein. Seems particularly applicable to the Tory party at the moment.

  19. Mark B
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Good afternoon

    It is good that you consult both with your party members and your constituents. Pitty the outgoing PM could not be bothered to consult her fellow MP’s and Cabinet colleagues. Had she done so we would not be in the mess we are in.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    It is clear now – whatever the smug metropolitan Remain faction thinks – that people have not changed their minds about the EU and that the impact of The Brexit Party is particularly bad for the Tories.

    Only Boris can save your party now. A poll showing the LibDems in the lead (misleadingly as it happens) will only go to free keep-Corbyn-out Tory voters to place an ‘X’ by Brexit Party at the next general election.

    “Brexit Party won’t have a manifesto”

    NO party has a manifesto of any worth at all, we’ve seen that time and again.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      “We don’t believe you.”

      Great book btw.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        The Channel refugee crisis to add to knife crime etc. The Tory party has totally lost its USP.

  21. John Probert
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Yes I agree
    I don’t like political protocol and I agree with President Trumps comments
    he seems to strengthen our future outside the EU

  22. Dave Andrews
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I see a thirteenth candidate has put himself up for the leadership.
    Can those candidates who receive few votes in the first round sensibly retire themselves from the race, otherwise the voting will be unnecessarily protracted?

    • L Jones
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      ”Unnecessarily protracted.” Perhaps that’s the idea.

  23. BR
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Yes, no-one who was in favour of the WA or is a Remainer is eligible.

    Stewart is a chancer, trying to raise his profile, clearly after another Cabinet role.

    In the modern world of politics, he does not seem to realise that traditional actions are no longer seen as they were – this can raise his profile while actually lower his standing.

    Since he is a Cabinet minister, isn’t he getting paid to manage a department rather than walking around (his favourite pastime) during office hours? Hardly an advert for British productivity. And presumably wasting the time of a number of security personnel who don;t feature in his inane videos.

    He seemed sensible at first when he was on his areas of specialism, now he seems just weird and out of touch in the wider world.

    No to him in the Cabinet as well – apart from anything else, that team needs to be 100% Leavers.

  24. Anna K.
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    I look on in despair and disbelief at the antics of the Conservative Party which was once a serious political force. There is not one candidate that I would trust to deliver a clean, properly managed Brexit. When Mrs May presented the WA to the Cabinet, having deceived them for months, they should have resigned en masse at such blatant contempt for her colleagues and betrayal of a democratic vote. Instead, most of them clung on, backed her squalid ‘deal’ and now ask us to trust them. I cannot see a future for this discredited and incompetent bunch, or their party. I am not alone in my view; the Conservative Party faces extinction. My only regret is for Sir John, who has provided authoritative and lucid information on our dealings with the EU and has proved a stalwart champion of democracy. We owe him a great deal.

    With regard to a second referendum: will the Remain side be asked several questions on their ballot paper about what kind of Remain they want – total integration and federalisation? Or a bit more integration without the Euro? Maybe they want Schengen plus or minus the Euro? In or out of the EU Army?…………

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Funny how it’s always a ‘nation divided’ when a certain BBC type loses a vote. It happened with Thatcher “a nation divided.”

      When Blair came in they said we were a “nation united”

      So a second referendum delivering 52:48 for Remain. I imagine they’d say that’s a “nation united. ”


      It’s that we on the non-BBC type side accept a vote when it doesn’t go our way.

    • ChrisS
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Your last paragraph makes a very good point, Anna.

      Of course, if the BBC had any real interest in impartiality they would be asking these questions of the LibDems and every other Remainer they interview.

      Starmer is the first that comes to mind.

      No need to ask Change UK, they are about to disappear without trace.
      Good riddance !

  25. Lester Beedell
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative Party has lost the trust of the voters and no matter who is selected for Prime Minister the whole bunch are irredeemably tainted and the largely Remain supporting MPs are not going to go away, Democracy is finished if the losers won’t accept the result
    I’m sorry to keep repeating myself but our only hope is to vote for the Brexit Party, there won’t be any confusion about what their policy is with regard to the EU.
    For the first time in my life I voted for a party other than the Conservatives
    The number of candidates putting themselves forward is just laughable

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Lester….its not the number of candidates that is just laughable, its the candidates.

  26. agricola
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    It is relatively simple. If the HoC conservative party get the choice of leadership wrong then the conservative party becomes unelectable. They have to present the party at large with a choice of two candidates, both of whom are acceptable. Failure abd compromise is not an option.

  27. Jack Leaver
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who says they can renegotiate the WA before 31st October is self deluded and dishonest because the European Council (Art. 50) guidelines for Brexit negotiations (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/631744/EPRS_BRI(2019)631744_EN.pdf) specifically states that “However, the decision preclude any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement”.

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Jack Leaver, Anyone who says the EU cannot renegotiate Theresa May’s dWA is self deluded and dishonest. The EU certainly can, and if it wanted to certainly would. Nor do we have to accept what the EU says – which is just their negotiating ploy anyway. However I hope Remains like you persuade the EU to corner itself, for I had far rather leave the EU treaties without a WA and without a “trade deal” (RTA).

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    The potential, would be, Conservative leaders really still do not understand do they. Or at least 10 out of the 13 do not.

    The country desperately wants (and needs) a real pro Brexit, small government, Conservative not minor variations on “continuation Theresa in trousers”.

    What did they not get about their 9.1% vote in the recent elections. Perhaps they need to be told again in the by-election.

  29. Nickyroberts
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Dominic. Yes there was some incompetence, but for the most part it seems May and Robbins colluded to keep us in the EU through their deceit. They must face up to their betrayal. We will not forget this wickedness.

  30. ChrisS
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Now we have the Home Secretary saying that he will go and renegotiate just the backstop and will pay for all of the setup costs for Ireland and the UK AND the ongoing running costs !
    That will do nothing towards us being a fully independent Nation, we would still be a subservient rule taker.

    Presumably he will still pay the £39bn which in reality is almost certainly going to be more like £80bn, (after all it was only a Treasury estimate) as well as this extra money for Ireland.

    Hopeless, He just isn’t listening.

    Varadkar has done us immense harm and I wouldn’t give him a single penny.

    • Mitchel
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      This may something or nothing but I have picked up a marked increase in the level of diplomatic activity between Ireland and the Kremlin over the past year.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      If we leave on WTO terms then the Irish Republic might lose 8% of its GDP.

      It would not be the UK that was hit that hard, contrary to the lies spread by George Osborne and Philip Hammond, it would be Ireland:


      That potential 8% loss of the GDP if the UK leaves the customs union and single market is why Leo Varadkar has been making a mountain out of a molehill on the border to try to keep us under the economic thumb of the EU; and as the cost to the Irish Republic of “digitising” the border would be a very small fraction of that 8% of GDP it would be very small compensation if the UK paid it, and I doubt that he would be tempted by the offer.

      • Helena
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

        Yes Denis, but please note that Varadkar has been SUCCESSFULLY making a mountain out of a molehill. Why? Because he has the EU and the Irish-American lobby at his back. And who does the UK have? No one. That’s Brexit for you – losing power and influence. It is what you voted for!

        • Edward2
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Varadka hasn’t actually been successful.
          His government have said they will not build a hard border.
          The UK has said it will not build a hard border.
          So do you think the EU will invade and build a Trump style wall helena?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          As I said in another comment, which unfortunately is still awaiting moderation at the time of writing:


          “On the Andrew Marr programme Sajid Javid correctly described Ireland as:

          “the tail that wags the dog”

          – goods exported across the border amount to about 0.1% of UK GDP – but that has only been allowed to happen because Theresa May decided to use the problem as a pretext to give the CBI, and also the Irish government, much of what they both wanted.”

          Otherwise she could have done what I recommended on this blog on November 1st 2017, by which time it could have become clear to the general public that the new Irish government was determined to be uncooperative, in fact obstructive, over the border:


          “So we should now say that rather than kowtow to the stupid destructive intransigence of the EU we will fall back on WTO trade rules and only seek agreements on the practical or technical aspects of continuing trade.”

          It would have become clear to the UK government much earlier, but for some reason JR declines to publish that reference.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            November 26th 2017.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 3, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink


          Lol hilarious , The President of the USA seems to be quite keen on us , The Commonwealth seem quite keen on us

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted June 4, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          We have lost power and influence in Northern Ireland because we were stupid enough to sign the Good Friday Agreement. Enoch had the right idea – give Irish Republicans NOTHING and ride out the storm. He also had the right idea in wanting to abolish Stormont.

          We have an easy answer to the Irish border problem on trade: admit goods from the Irish Republic tariff free, with no border checks. Any problems with exports from Northern Ireland to the Republic are THEIR problems.

      • ChrisS
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        It might be an insignificant amount but Varadkar would no doubt sell it as a major victory over the UK to his voters and to other leaders in the 27.

        After the way he’s behaved towards the UK, that’s the last thing we want to see.

  31. Jack Falstaff
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    It is quite unbelievable how there are so many candidates for the Tory leadership and yet how few of them are on the same wavelength as their traditional voters.
    Take the number of candidates, then subtract from that number both those among them who voted for any “versions” of Mrs May’s deal and those who voted to Remain in the referendum and you have virtually none left who survive this little test.
    It seems to us voters that the Tory leadership believes that we have some divine obligation to keep the Tory party alive which outweighs the implementation of Brexit we were promised.
    I’m very sorry, but as far as Brexit is concerned, Mr Farage is the man and anything else is but a pathetic side-show of little relevance at this point in the long term.

  32. Steve
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


    You allege politicians are ‘out of touch’.

    I don’t think they are, actually I believe they’re fully aware of what the voters think of them, but they’re so up themselves as to believe they’ll get away with ignoring us. They are wrong.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      They serve different masters. Their fixation with trade shows that. The electorate doesn’t factor at all in their thinking. How many will be attending the current Bilderberg event in Montreux and for what purpose?

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Steve….lots have always been ‘up themselves’ as you put it. For years the local party membership has endorsed the sitting one, and in any case CCHQ has a habit of refusing those losing votes of confidence. So where does the fault lie?

    • Dominic
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely correct. of them most couldn’t give a rat’s what we say or indeed think.

      It is the Con-Lab Commons duopoly that needs smashing to pieces to destroy their arrogance and their feelings of invincibility

      I am afraid only the BP can achieve after today’s parade of Tory leadership fools

  33. Thomas
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink


    You say, in your second paragraph, that you will now rule out voting for those candidates who want to delay our exit etc.

    Surely, shouldn’t you be saying that you will be ruling out any candidate who has voted for the Withdrawal Agreement which, of course, would mean the whole damn lot of them?

    If nobody comes forward who has rejected the agreement each and every time, and one of the present thirteen becomes the leader, then the last rites on your Party will not be far away.

  34. Tad Davison
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Gove will deceive everyone with a cold expressionless face. Don’t ever trust such a person. We’re in the process of getting rid of one like that, we don’t want two of them in a row!

  35. Woody
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    The moment I read that one of Stewarts backers is no less than Clarke .. he of the “I’d better read the maastricht treaty now I’ve signed it” … was when it become more than obvious he was not the one to take the uk forward. Gove, the backstabber, is only marginally better and he’s a delayer / can kicker like May but even more devious. I like Leadsom then I realised she had actually voted 3 times for the Withdrawal / Capitulation agreement and she’s off my recommended list. Eliminating the non entities who are just getting their names on headlines it leaves Rabb, Hunt and of course Boris maybe Javid.

    • L Jones
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      But, Woody – both Hunt and Javid voted for the surrender treaty THREE TIMES, and Raab and Johnson once. So what makes them any better than Ms Leadsom if voting for the WA is the yardstick?

  36. BR
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Looking at today’s developments with Gove saying that he is prepared to delay until 2020 it seems that his strategy is to appear to give both sides some of what they want. Remainers believe that the longer they delay the exit, the better their case for calling the democratic mandate ‘too old to honour’.

    Gove will try to give them the impression that he is actually a Remainer in Leave colours. The trouble is, it may well be true (nobody seems to know what Gove is actually trying to bring about).

    Remainers will also see him as acceptable to Leavers, since he led the Vote Leave campaign. Their cunning plan will be to try to make the final ballot Gove vs a Remainer (or a supposed convert to Leave) and will try to spin this as having a true Leaver in the final two.

    This plan needs to be thwarted. Gove may be the cunning Leave PM we might need, but God alone knows if that’s what he is.

    Basically: only people who have consistently voted against the WA need apply. My only doubt is if those who voted for it only the 3rd time should get a pass on that. It does rather show a lack of nerve and a lack of understanding that it is worse than Remain – at best they put party above country (just another form of ‘not good’).

  37. Jack Falstaff
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    It is quite unbelievable how there are so many candidates for the Tory leadership and yet how few of them are on the same wavelength as their traditional voters.
    Take the number of candidates, then subtract from that number both those among them who voted for any “versions” of Mrs May’s deal and those who voted to Remain in the referendum and you have virtually none left who survive this little test.
    It seems to us voters that the Tory leadership believes that we have some divine obligation to keep the Tory party alive which outweighs the implementation of Brexit we were promised.
    I’m very sorry, but as far as Brexit is concerned, Mr Farage is the man and anything else is but a pathetic side-show of little relevance at this point in the long term.

  38. Captain Peacock
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    There is only one party that can save us becoming a slave-colony satellite-state of the new European empire. That party is the Brexit party all we are hearing from the candidates is waffle like lets put off leaving till after Oct.

  39. Freeborn John
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The only prospect of getting a no-deal through Parliament is for the next PM to make it a vote of no-confidence. Yes no candidate has said they are prepared to make it a confidence matter that would lead to the deselection of any Tory MP that votes to bring the government down. When no candidate outlines that they are prepared to do this it makes me think that not even Johnson or Raab or McVey are truly serious about taking us out. Why is no candidate talking about about making Brexit a confidence vote?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Well, as it stands the law says we leave on October 31st, without any qualification that it must be with a deal or it will not happen. So it is down to those who are determined that we will not leave without a deal to get the existing law amended, which is when the threat of a confidence vote could come in.

  40. Mark
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I would hope that a new leader would clear the air by explaining the truth behind the WA formally and publicly in Parliament. It is drafted entirely by the EU to suit themselves, on the assumption that a weak leadership would acquiesce to it. Our “negotiators” encouraged the process in the hope that the public would opt to remain in the EU instead of leaving in accordance with the referendum result. They betrayed the country and the public – they did not negotiate, but invited the EU to roll all over us instead.

    Any leader who is not prepared to disavow the May Remain tactics has no hope of uniting the country. Polling is moving in the direction of a TBP majority government (only 20 short on one poll last night) which clearly would do just that. The Mail reports opinion is swinging behind a no deal exit.

    • Steve
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink


      “It [WA] is drafted entirely by the EU to suit themselves”

      Indeed so, and as you say the next PM needs to get this out into the open. However in time it will come out anyway, and will reveal how the ungrateful EU tried to do us like a kipper. Aided and abetted of course by their quislings in the British establishment.

      Sedition and treason laws ought to be reinstated in my opinion, as those responsible should be imprisoned.

  41. Stephen Reay
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Michael Gove said he would consider pushing out Brexit until late 2020, he might just pull if off. The electorate would punish the con party at the next general election regardless for his arrogance . We’ve waited long enough.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      The EU have always maintained that WA cannot be reneg’d, they also said there will not be another ext. granted. Their own dirty divvying up of positions after the EU elections, plus the Budget needed as they already decided who was going to get the handouts will keep their attention. I doubt they will want anymore to do with us, confident that we are going to hand over £39bn + for years to come.

  42. The Quiet Man
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    This leadership contest is akin to senior officers on board the Titanic squabbling to take over as captain an hour after the mighty vessel had hit the ice-berg.

  43. Jack Falstaff
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I would like to offer my apologies for posting the same message twice.
    This was unintentional as I thought I would be tested as to if were a a robot or not.

  44. David Price
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Gove has just announced he is “ready to lead”. This from someone who is incapable of taking instruction and continues to support May’s anti-UK damage limitation/pro-EU strategy and tactics. My response is that I am “not prepared to follow” the likes of Gove.

    However, Gove and the rest of the clowns vying to lead the Westminster circus have motivated me so much that as I am no longer eligible to vote on Conservative Party matters I just sent another donation to The Brexit Party instead.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      but to lead us where?

      • David Price
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        Quite so Fred.

  45. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    You’ve more or less ruled out everyone who is likely to make the final two John, given that what Boris says and what he does may well be at odds. The quickest way to exit the EU would be for you to allow Rod “Rory” Stewart and Gove to go forward to the members, vote against them in an immediate confidence vote, then let the Brexit Party win the election. At this point leaving the EU is best served by the Tory party being clearly identifiable as a Remainer party (which they are) and to split the Remainer vote further.

  46. Caterpillar
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with David Davis’s backing of Raab, but his call for release of all no deal prep is valid.

    PM May needs to release two things to the public now – (1) All no deal prep and plans, and (2) all the AG advice on WA.

    Without both of these the Conservative leadership battle will.continue to be seen as part of a cover up.

  47. rose
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t rule out candidates who want to reopen the DWA talks because the EU has said it doesn’t want to, but because the DWA should be torn up, regardless of whether the EU want to reopen talks on it. It cannot be improved; it can only be repudiated.

    • rose
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Today an EU Commissioner told us the DWA could not be reopened FOR THE MOMENT. Sounds as if they are worried we are going to escape and want to detain us by reopening after all. Whoever wins must not fall for this. We must leave on 31 October in one piece, with what is left of our money, and without signing a new treaty.

  48. R
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    It will be Gove and Stewart.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      Yep !

      Ken Clarke MP said he would be PM one day.

  49. R
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Rory is being promoted via Bilderburg through the MSM. He has been their plan for many years now.

  50. R
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Sir John Redwood, you are 500-1 to be the next PM, will you now please make your move.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 2, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      R – — hold on Sir John….please give us a sign that you are in the frame for Chancellor, might be good odds to be had at the bookies.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

      Only he has just put a bet on you to win


      Joke !

  51. R
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    They will put someone the membership hates against Stewart, you wait and see.

  52. Tweeter_L
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    One rarely hears a positive case made for remaining in the EU. What do Sir John and anyone on here think about Blair’s insistence that we need to be part of the EU because it’s vital to be part of something big in order to face up to other large blocs like China, the USA &India?

  53. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I see a poll of voting intentions in the next GE gives the Tories 20 seats in Parliament. TWENTY! A whole 20! Surely that is too many!

    I would have thought it’s about time every Tory MP got together in one room and started telling Clarke, Grieve and co. that they are going to sacrifice the party on the altar of the EU. The very thing they fear most – a right wing, hard Brexit government – is going to be precipitated by them! Not they won’t see that, of course.

  54. Prigger
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Up periscope from my position well, just somewhere or other, I heard Mrs Leadsom putting her menu on TV with her one, two, three bullet points which immediately recalled Mrs May’s one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, bite the bullet pointlessnesses. Same script writer?
    She had jumped ship just hours before Mrs May’s vessel sank. Her position did not impress. Saying you are going to do this and that with just a wish that Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is pureed from 10 to 3 and named Mrs Leadsom’s Withdrawal Agreement is still tasteless.

    Mr Javid, pointed out by Marr has fundamentally changed his position in just a few months. Both those positions are unsavoury anyway.

    To say they don’t get it is probably wrong as they are too intelligent and mature for that.
    They are against the democratic will of the people. An intelligent decision but rotten to the core.

  55. Yorkie
    Posted June 2, 2019 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    Most candidates are on Project Delay. Most know they could never be PM without a plague
    on many of the others . Viruses are people too. But 3 months off the work of choosing Mrs. May’s replacement is a nasty attack on our people by the time-consuming vote of 150,000 Tory Party members.

  56. margaret howard
    Posted June 3, 2019 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    So it’s started – the US ambassador has just told Marr that the NHS is up for grabs. Happy Brexit.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      He didn’t say that Margaret.
      He was asked if a trade deal would cover every area of trade.
      He said yes he hoped it would.
      If America could provide the NHS with much cheaper drugs or medical equipment or other products would you refuse to allow that saving to happen?

    • NickC
      Posted June 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Margaret Howard, Strawman – the NHS is not “up for grabs” by the USA. But our entire country is up for grabs by the EU.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 3, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        NickC…. ‘APPLAUSE’

  57. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 3, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Full agreement on that…

    Let’s tart to talk about those positive about a real Brexit – your view on that would be most welcome

  58. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure why this is being held in moderation.

  59. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 4, 2019 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Several of the contenders believe that there is a deal (not Mrs May’s) that would satisfy both the House of Commons and the European Union. They should publish summaries of their treaty ideas before the Conservative Party leadership election has been completed. Some at least of these ideas will be seen to be threadbare.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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