Gulf tensions

Mr Hunt tells us we need more warships. He needs to concentrate on our relationship with Iran. UK forces helped the Gibraltar authorities seize an Iranian tanker on the grounds that it was taking oil to Syria against EU sanctions. In response Iran threatened to take a UK tanker. Iran or associated groups had already made unprovoked attacks on other tankers in the area. This week we saw a possible threat to a UK tanker in the Straits of Hormuz, repelled by HMS Montrose.

The first thing we need is the evidence from the Iranian tanker to demonstrate the legitimacy of the seizure, with appropriate treatment of the Captain and crew members who have been detained. Presumably a case will be brought against them. The second thing we need is confirmation of the arrangements for future UK tanker security near to Iran. The US is indicating their forces might be part of a general response to any Iranian threats. The UK normally has four minesweepers and an amphibious landing ship based at Bahrain, and clearly the frigate HMS Montrose is also available. All these ships have weaponry that could warn off smaller Iranian naval vessels of the types being deployed. If the UK works with other allies led by the USA, then there is the Abraham Lincoln carrier group in the area as well.

As the USA and the UK says, defending the rights of all to passage in international shipping lanes is important to world trade and to peaceful co existence between countries. Oil sanctions have helped drive up the price of oil internationally, but not excessively. The rapid expansion of US oil and gas output continues to offset the losses of OPEC production through sanctions against Iran and through governmental incompetence in Venezuela. We need to hear more from Mr Hunt of how the UK is going to seek resolution of this conflict in the context of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the division between the EU and the USA on this matter.

The US strategy is to force policy change on Iran by sanctions. Iran responds with military provocation. The UK should do what it needs to do to defend our shipping, seeking to avoid being drawn into any wider military conflict.

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  1. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    What Cameron and Clegg did to the armed forces was nothing short of treason.
    We have 19 warships and on average only 6 fit for deployment due to maintainance and training. We need double that number.
    We can’t even make a squadron to protect the Carriers.

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

      The whole point behind it was to use other nations ships to form a EU Carrier Battle Group.

      Remember, these people thought on a European scale and not a national one.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Mark B

        Indeed so what exactly are the EU doing to support this cause, if they are part of the sanction implementation group.

        Seems like Spain always has enough warships to act with provocative manoeuvres in Gibraltar waters, so why cannot the EU use those to support international shipping, or would that be far too dangerous for their sailors.

        Then of course we have the refugee Navy ferry service who cannot even stop unarmed people in rubber dinghies, let alone an armed force.

        As usual when it comes the the crunch, call in the British and the Americans

        International co-operation, do not make me laugh.

        • Hope
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          The news was eager to claim the U.K. Military acted upon EU sanctions. Who gave our military the order to act? Did our military actually take action, was it from our govt acting alone or the EU directly or indirectly telling our govt to act? Please let us know JR.

          Will we be free from the EU in respect of intelligence, security and military when we leave? No questions to leaders around this despite Mayhab and Duncan doing their best to tie our country to the EU far after we leave!

          A hullabaloo this week over Johnson, who is just an MP not member of cabinet, about unsubstantiated intemperate language made by Durroch this week while it was quietly announced that disgraceful minister Brokenshire at last sent a letter of apology to Sir Roger Scruton.

          No investigation, no evidence and not even allowed to discuss the issue before Brokenshire sacked and replaced him! This is Mayhabs compassionate Tories is it? Tugendhat and Mercer mouthed off without knowing the full facts and jumped on the ill fated band wagon. Now Scruton has received an apology from the article why has Brokenshire not resigned or been sacked? His conduct disgraceful and not befitting a minister of state or any employer. Brokenshire did not stand up for his man he was the minister responsible the injudicial sacking. Why is he still in place? Why are the likes of Alan Duncan not shouting his mouth off how minister Brokenshire through him under a bus, because he literally did by sacking him without speaking to him! Same for Tugendhat and Mercer?

          I did not hear Andrew Neil ask these questions last night or put Hunt on the spot for failing to stand up for Sir Roger as a member of the cabinet.

          • Richard1
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Interesting I hadn’t noticed that. Scruton was treated disgracefully. He should be reinstated

          • Hope
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            Sir Roger Scruton sacked by cabinet minister Brokenshire for nothing, failing to gather any evidence not even speaking to him to let him give his account. The left wing militia shouted and the fake Tory cabinet jumped left.

            A diplomat paid £184,000 has a grace in favour residence plus perks Durroch resigned for insulting the US and a US president with intemperate, inflammatory language. Not even wise enough to write in a balanced temperate way knowing others would read his report, not necessarily the public. Having been scurriosly made public the govt had to take responsibility for the process of its leak and was required to take action. Doing nothing was not an option it would not further UK interests. Even if that meant removing Durroch through no fault of his own for the leak. Candidates Hunt and Johnson standing up for Durroch without knowing what else is to follow or the possible unprofessional use of language would be stupid. Hunt failed. Pouring hot water on a scold. Hardly diplomatic as FCO minister to add further insults. He failed the test of the issue the same as he failed to stand up for Sir Roger Scruton where leadership was required to challenge the left wing cabal and a disgraceful minister Junior to him.

        • acorn
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          Who needs trade wars when we have sanction wars, courtesy of the global sanctioner-in-chief, Trump! Along with the US being the self appointed global chief of police. Have you ever wondered how much safer this planet would be if the Americans just went home?

          In 2015, the United States still maintained nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad—from giant “Little Americas” to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined.

          At that time US bases and troops in war zones, were costing $160 to $200 billion a year. The US will spend $719 billion on its military in fiscal 2019 (UK $48 billion equivalent). Three times more than China and more than China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and Germany combined. As a consequence, the US is forcing them to play catch-up in bigger and better wiz-bangs.

          • Anonymous
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Trump is turning out to be more peaceful than any US president in my considerable lifetime.

            America is not forcing any nation to do anything as regards catch-up. If they were inclined to destroy nations they could have done it by now.

          • Mitchel
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

            The Sino-Russian bloc controls Eurasia and “he who controls Eurasia controls the world”;they do not need to spend at US levels just enough to keep the US and it’s lapdogs at bay,particularly as intra-Eurasia trade is developing faster than the transatlantic or transpacific varieties.

          • L Jones
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

            I wonder how much ”safer” it would be if America decided to pull up its drawbridge, as Acorn would like. I’m sure that North Korea would be pleased for a start. And there are probably other nascent dictatorships who’d be only too glad to be rid of the threat of the USA’s might as far as their own aspirations are concerned. (Can we think of any?)

            (By the way, it’s ”whizz bang”.)

          • margaret howard
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink


            “America is not forcing any nation to do anything as regards catch-up. If they were inclined to destroy nations they could have done it by now.”

            They are fracking now so don’t need to make war and destroy countries like Iraq.

          • acorn
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            It appears the arrest of the Grace 1 Tanker off Gibraltar, by British Royal Marines, was at the request of the US State Department. Did someone mention the UK becoming; post Brexit, a “vassal state” of the USA?
            Reply It was athe request of Gib to enforce EU sanctions

      • Alan Joyce
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Dear Mr. Redwood,

        @Mark B
        I agree. It looks like the EU plan was always for the UK to build and run two aircraft carriers and for these to be supported by EU vessels. Where would the UK get the warships from to form a carrier battle-group without decimating the rest of the fleet? The EU wants a Navy as well as an Army and an Air Force. One of the reasons why it was so horrified by the UK decision to leave as it could see its global ambitions holed below the waterline – but I suppose it will blunder on anyway under Mrs. von der Leyen.

        I have to watch May, Hammond, Gauke, Rudd, Clark, Lidington, Hunt and others every time I switch my TV on. It’s no good anybody telling me to change channels or turn it off. It’s too late. My human rights have been violated and I have been offended. I want my £10,000 quid!

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        You mean they thought in terms of reducing UK to a mere component of EU defence and showed no understanding of geopolitics, strategy and defence of the UK. They do not even recognise the primary responsibiltu of government for national defence. All national capabilities are to be pooled and placed under the political control of the EU.

    • Andy
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      We don’t need a navy. We are an increasingly irrelevant little island off the coast of Europe. Like an oversized Malta.

      Seriously, as a country we have barely half the population of the Philippines and Ethiopia. Less than a quarter of the population of Indonesia. A third of the population of Nigeria and Pakistan.

      All of these countries are developing fast and within a handful of decades will be far more important global players than us. Let alone the real global powers – China, the US, Russia and the EU. Which is why Brexit is such a dumb idea – our best stage for having our rather petulant voice heard has now gone.

      The UK is the world’s Preston North End.

      When the football league first launched in the late 1800s – Preston were champions. Twice in a row. Last season they finished in the bottom half of the championship. Preston once were the very best – now they are far from it. Supporters still dream of glory. It ain’t ever going to come. Brexiteers are like deluded Preston North End supporters. Dreaming of beating the best in the world – unaware that your glory days have past and that you’re now a middle level irrelevance.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        “We are an increasingly irrelevant little island off the coast of Europe. Like an oversized Malta.”

        Started in 2016 no doubt.


      • Richard1
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Norway has an excellent navy. It has a population of 5m and isn’t in the EU.

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 15, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          One of it’s frigates sank after a collision with a tanker during NATO exercises earlier this year.Supposedly it was equipped wth the most advanced navigation system.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        I don’t understand why you live in the UK if that is how you feel about our nation Andy.
        The contempt and hatred pours from you.
        Find somewhere else to live that you prefer.

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink


          For goodness sake, Edward, address the argument and stop your silly little personal attacks.

          • J Bush
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

            “Do a little research before spouting such arrant DExpress/Mail copied nonsense.”

            That was your comment to me on 1 July, because you assumed I got my data from tabloids. You may recall I supplied the evidence that refuted your accusation.

            I believe the expression is ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

          • M Davis
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            Oh dear, why don’t you and Andy fly into the night together?

          • Edward2
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Coming from you margaret I find your response hilarious considering the bile you regularly spread with your posts.
            The comment from andy here was a complete rant which richly deserved my comment.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        It’s you Andy who is an irrelevance.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink


        According to the UN the UK is the worlds second most powerful nation

        We are the 5th largest in global trade

        If you knew anything about the real world you would know that most of the worlds most successful countries are ALL small .

        Being big is actually what makes you uncompetitive, undemocratic, poor economic performance and lacking in innovation and creativity

        In fact thats a perfect description of the EU

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:00 pm | Permalink


          “Being big is actually what makes you uncompetitive, undemocratic, poor economic performance and lacking in innovation and creativity

          In fact thats a perfect description of the EU”

          The EU is a trading bloc, not a country, albeit the world’s most successful.

          The US is big but you couldn’t really describe it as “uncompetitive, undemocratic, poor economic performance and lacking in innovation and creativity”

          • Edward2
            Posted July 14, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            What simple trading bloc has an anthem, a flag, a President and soon an army?

        • Newmania
          Posted July 14, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

          Libertarian –
          Global GDP 84.7 trillion USD.US- $20tr, EU about $19t, UK under $3tr. Being the 5th/6th largest economy is like being the 5th largest island in the British Isles; Shetland.
          On your latest ummmm..contribution …
          Continuity agreements are in goods, you cannot trade on EEA terms outside the EEA –
          Passporting is equivalence.
          Lloyds is not moving office it is capitalising a fronting Insurers on-shore to be automatically reinsured and written in London.
          Passporting is not being saved, press rumours only surface because so many people desperately wish it was. The FCA have confirmed inward equivalence will be recognised for a period unilaterally but the UK has zero access to the EU.
          It means you have to find the capital again.
          Anyhoo I wish to be mean to you. Why not get off that computer and get out in the sun, we are off to the beach and ..I am going to take my own advice and pack a picnic. Relax a little .

      • Bill
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        I’m surprised you remain here in this little insignificant Country of OURS. Dover and Brussels are down South and to the East – have a better time in big EU Country – its full of zombies.

      • L Jones
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Andy – are you for real? Or are you actually that agent provocateur/euse that we sometimes suspect you are? It’s hard to imagine anyone can really be so blithely prepared to display their ignorance, bias and plain, unashamed bigotry.

        Perhaps if the UK is such a poor place to live, you should consider moving well inside your much-admired EU. Don’t forget, ”freedom of movement” doesn’t ONLY mean you don’t have to have a green card or a visa if you want to go to Spain on holiday. It means that at the moment you can actually go and live there!
        So why don’t you?

      • JohnK
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink


        Good news. Mrs May has reviewed your application to become the next Ambassador to Washington. You are clearly in tune with Foreign Office thinking on this matter. When can you start?

      • graham1946
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Why do you have Russia down as one of the best in the world, with an economy not even in the top 10, despite more than double our population. We are 5th. Nineteen of 27 EU countries added together smaller than us. Our economy will soon not be counted in the EU figures anyway. We are loss making in our trade with the EU and in profit with the world.

    • bigneil
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Calm down Ian – use your blood pressure monitor.

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      The ’19’ refers to the numbers of frigates and destroyers. But we do need more of them. Cameron’s savage reduction of the armed forces was a disgrace.

  2. Mark B
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I think it is fair to say that this is a USA and EU matter as, UK Foreign policy is now a competence of the EU. So it is not the Foreign Secretaries job but the job of the EU’s High Representative.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I don’t think the EU has any competence on military matters, no doubt they would love too though.
      I think deployment of UK assets is down to the UK government.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Ian…..I read that examining the various military assets and abilities of the EU countries( minus UK) shows very very little of the land based machinery, weapons and training is compatible one to another. Similarly in the air, the aircraft are not the same, the weapons are not compatible, the technology is at various stages of advancement.
        In summary the whole set of forces need replanning to organise into an effective set of joint forces. Like in other things the total is a basket case for expecting any joint action.

        • Nicholas Murphy
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          There is a high degree of compatability between the military equipments of EU nations – but it comes from the fact that most of them are members f NATO, which sets common standards for compatability in a great many areas. The problem for the EU will be when it wants to do military operations involving NATO and non-NATO nations. Then things like data-link operations become difficult.

  3. Prigger
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The British are not surprised to learn Ministers have gone into Sleep.

    • bigneil
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I’d have put Hibernate myself.

  4. Pominoz
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink


    And what May, Robbins and others have tried to do to the UK is even greater treachery.

    The following is an excellent 15 point summary by the website of the 585 pages of May’s putrid WA and the 26 page PD. That site invites anyone wishing to use the summary to download it. I do hope, therefore, Sir John, that you will permit reproduction on your site.

    It should be read by all MPs and those avid ‘Remainers’ who visit your site, just to highlight the treachery of those recommending the documents as the basis for future involvement with the EU. Please forgive the undue length of this submission – but easier to read and understand that the full, disgraceful, surrender treaty.


    1. This ‘Agreement’ would have put the UK under the de facto jurisdiction of a group of 27 foreign powers, with no ability to veto laws or procedures affecting the UK and its citizens
    2. The EU27 could have made decisions in Council behind closed doors, with no published minutes, which would have profoundly affected British businesses, citizens, and the economy
    3. The EU27 could even have imposed new taxes on the UK, and Parliament could do nothing about it
    4. The EU27 could have crippled the vitally-important UK financial sector, with new taxes and regulations
    5. One part of the Agreement (the Northern Ireland Protocol) locked the UK into a permanent customs union with the EU, with no unilateral right of the UK to terminate
    6. The Northern Ireland Protocol required the Province to obey existing and new Single Market rules, with no say over them, and it effectively split off Northern Ireland into being a colony of the EU and the Republic, thereby breaking the United Kingdom in two
    7. The UK would have had no right to do international free trade deals – a key economic benefit of Brexit – because it must stick to protectionist EU tariffs. The British public could not have benefited from an independent trade policy resulting in cheaper imported goods, nor could our exporters have thrived
    8. Any new EU free trade agreements with other countries would have required the UK to match the new lower tariffs, but the countries involved would not have been required to reciprocate in respect of the UK
    9. The UK would have remained under the jurisdiction of the ECJ until at least the end of 2020 and the agreement makes provision to extend this until 2022
    10. In some parts of the law, British courts would have had to obey the ECJ for over 100 years – the lifetimes of as yet unborn children
    11. The UK would not be a truly sovereign nation in the lifetimes of all reading this
    12. The Agreement would have meant the UK paying at least £39 billion, despite there being no legal obligation to pay anything like that amount, and with no new UK-EU trade deal guaranteed in return
    13. The final amount taken from British taxpayers would be decided by the EU, and the UK would have had no say because the ECJ would rule on this
    14. Other aspects of the Agreement and Political Declaration would have adversely affected the UK’s autonomy in fishing, defence, foreign policy, competition law, state aid and many other areas of life
    15. The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration together locked the UK into a continuing and subservient relationship with the EU, agreeing to match and “build upon” current arrangements, giving away money, sovereignty, laws, and even decisions on the very composition of the United Kingdom itself.
    © Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 12 Jul 2019

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      It is indeed an abomination even without the backstop. That is why Hunt (continuation May) is the very last thing needed. Even Boris will need to be held to the fire or he will not deliver. Hopefully the Brexit Party, the ERG and May’s fifth place on 9% will concentrate his mind.

      • Nigl
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Yes. Maybe Sir J R can enlighten us in who in the ERG or similar is logging this line by line stuff to keep in front of Boris/his negotiator because similarly I don’t trust him, especially on the detail.

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink



      • Andy
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

        The withdrawal agreement is the inevitable consequences of what you voted for in 2016, within the constraints of the red lines set out by Theresa May in her Lancaster House speech.

        Most of you have still not figured out yet that the withdrawal agreement as it is – or something very similar to it – is Brexit. It is the reality of what Brexit means. You all voted for it and yet you don’t like it. Ah well, never mind you are not allowed to reconsider anyway.

        Reply Not so. Just leaving is Brexit, no new binding Treaties to recreate much of what we want to leave

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          WA was not what David Cameron told us Brexit was in his leaflet to every household. Nor what Nicola Sturgeon et al told us it was during the debates.

        • Andy
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          And yet Vote Leave – the winning campaign – promised a new treaty.

          “We will negotiate a new UK-EU Treaty and end the legal supremacy of EU law and the European Court before the 2020 election.”

          So were they lying?

          • graham1946
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

            No just naive. They thought the EU was a sensible organisation and gave them more credit than history shows justifiable.

          • Nicholas Murphy
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            The WA is not the end-game, is it?

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          How many times, Andy, have you repeated this same nonsense? 50? And how many times have you been corrected? 50. You must have been a very slow learner in your school

        • Bill
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          We actually voted to leave the EU. There were no binding conditions attached to the wording and the precise meaning of “Leave” was detailed by PM Cameron as well as the other Party Leaders.
          ‘Leave’ means ‘To depart PERMANENTLY’!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

          It’s the inevitable consequence of the Tory party producing one Prime Minister who said that if we voted to leave the EU he would stay on to guide us out, but promptly ratted on that promise, and then producing a replacement Prime Minister who told us that Brexit meant Brexit and she would make a success of it but later ratted on that. You may like to consider, Andy, that you would not be making this kind of comment if it were not for those leading a political party you detest.

        • J Bush
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          So by your understanding of leave, I can half leave the house for work, or a woman can even be half pregnant.

          Various English dictionaries provide a definition of what the word Leave means:

          “If you leave your husband, wife, or some other person with whom you have had a close relationship, you stop living with them or you finish the relationship.”

          “If you leave an institution, group, or job, you permanently stop attending that institution, being a member of that group, or doing that job.”

          • margaret howard
            Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

            J Bush

            “So by your understanding of leave, I can half leave the house for work,”

            But that’s exactly what happened – nearly half the country voted remain.

    • agricola
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Yes, the Treaty of Versailles to the power of ten. May and her cohorts in Cabinet and the civil service have indulged in treasonable behaviour. I would also question the motives of the media in not highlighting the reality of the WA. Nor can Parliament point to any comprehensive exposee of this dreadful document. I would be willing to bet that only a handful have actually read and understood it, despite being only too eager to mouth off on the subject to all and sundry at every opportunity. Thank God for the internet and political media within it that has exposed us to the truth. Our host apart on this subject, I question whether we actually need politicians acting on our behalf when they fail to do so in our interests or with integrity.

      • L Jones
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        I still believe that many MPs did not read the WA for themselves, but merely relied on their civil servants to ‘interpret’ it for them. It would be easy enough for someone with their own agenda to obfuscate such a complex document, without actually lying.

    • Christine
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      And, where is the legal advice on the whole of the WA that we were promised?

      I’ve voted for Boris on the basis that he is the best of the two candidates but any attempt to reopen this binding treaty and my trust in the Conservatives will be finished for good.

    • cornishstu
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      It is treason in my book, and May her co remainers try to push it as honouring the referendum and leaving the EU. I just hope the EU stands its ground and who ever takes over as PM is told that there is no renegotiation then there can be no fudging and muddying of the waters. We can then leave on WTO terms, preferably immediately as there is no point in waiting. Offer them a free trade deal, If they do not accept then it will be their loss.

      • L Jones
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Looking at the website ‘standup4brexit’ and the list of MPs there who have stood up to be counted – it is astounding how few of them voted AGAINST Mrs May’s surrender treaty all three times. Most voted for it at least once.

        Why has it suddenly become anathema to them? What WAS so acceptable about it at the third time of presentation that they changed their minds? It makes their howls of protest now ring rather hollow.
        (Our host excepted, of course.)

    • Sharon Jsgger
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Breakdown of the withdrawal agreement etc has been available on Lawyers for Britain and Briefings for Brexit too, for months and months.

      It is the most treasonous trap! Very clever really!

    • old salt
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Barnier in 2016 as quoted in the French magazine Le Point.
      ‘I shall have succeeded in my task if the final deal is so hard on the British that they’ll end up preferring to stay.’

  5. Prigger
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Ships may act as a deterrent.Any ship the Iranians can acquire would not be a match for one of our aircraft. They have the ability in firing deterrent warning shots.
    We never have had enough ships. Only the other day I was drinking with Sir Francis Drake, he agrees with Mr Hunt but intends to vote for Boris as he has a greater historical perspective.

    • Prigger
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Mr Hunt does not have it in him to reach the ears of the many.

      • steve
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink


        “Mr Hunt does not have it in him to reach the ears of the many.”

        Well he does, it’s just that no one wants to take any notice, because he’s a very rude individual who thinks a debate is settled by continually interrupting.

        A loud, ill-mannered person. Not the man for the top job, or any ministerial role for that matter.

        It is my opinion that he would be best employed as a fruit & veg salesman at one of the east end markets, or as a Heckler for the SNP if accent wasn’t an issue.

        • A.Sedgwick
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          His personality has been a revelation, low profile gone and fantasy now personified. Like May at the Home Office, his time at the NHS was a failure. “Junior” doctors were treated abominably and no progress was made on the structural problems or even addressed. GPs and other consultants disappearing over the horizon into early retirement, a few I know did it with heavy hearts.

          • Mark B
            Posted July 14, 2019 at 4:52 am | Permalink

            Both Mrs.May and Mr.Hunt remind me of people who are just merely employed to mind the shop while the owners are out – Just sit there and do nothing.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Sorry Prigger but I think you are badly mistaken .

      Iran’s nuclear option is closing the Straits of Hormuz . Oil prices would rocket to somewhere between 200 and 1000USD/bbl . The worlds financial system would destruct due to triggering of derivative contracts .

      The U.S.’s nuclear option was threatening to bar countries from the worlds preeminent accessing automated payment system . The threat backfired when other countries (Germany , China etc) decided they had to take action to develop an alternative non-US controlled payment system ,

      – U.S. submarines are too large to operate in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Hormuz .

      – The AEGIS defence system is ineffective against Russian built S-400 , S-500 missiles purchased by Iran .

      – The Iranians can down/sink any Nato/EU surface vessel or conventional aircraft in the Gulf of Hormuz at will with S-400’s and S-500’s .

      – Surface vessels and conventional aircraft have been rendered obsolete by Russian missile technology , even quite old S-400 missiles . Witness reluctance to purchase F35-B’s ; 20 years from conception to birth and warfare has moved on .

      – Being unable to act as the worlds policeman has forced the U.S. to pursue economic warfare , cyber warfare and hybrid warfare (where everything becomes a weapon) .

      – No country surrounding Iran will allow a concentration of U.S. military personnel and equipment on it’s soil .

      • steve
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


        “The Iranians can down/sink any Nato/EU surface vessel or conventional aircraft in the Gulf of Hormuz at will with S-400’s and S-500’s”

        They can also get clobbered back to the stone age.

    • ian wragg
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      We never have had enough ships. ……………..
      During the cold war when I served we had over 300 ships and submarines. That’s what kept communism at bay together with a fully equipped army and airforce.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      The Iranians have lined their gulf coast with anti-ship missile batteries apparently.They have also been trying to get Russia to sell them the S400 air defence system-to-date without success as Russia wants to maintain good relations with Israel;but the possibility is always there,particularly as Iran gets sucked into a deeper relationship with Russia,see also Turkey.

      When Mike Pompeo flew to Sochi to meet separately with Sergey Lavrov and Vladimir Putin a couple of months ago he was kept waiting for three hours after the Lavrov meeting as Mr Putin pointedly decided to watch the test firing of one of their new hypersonic anti-ship missiles nearby!

  6. Butties
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Can you enquire, Sir John, why this empty tanker turned off its AIS for 24 hours in this hotbed area of the Persian Gulf? see MoA website for full details. The word provocation comes to mind.

    Reply I do not think this was a deliberate provocation by the UK tanker. It was just going about its business.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    What is the lead time for more ships, given general government incompetence and total indecision? Ten years perhaps at best?

    • steve
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink


      Depends to what extent Blair destroyed UK ship building capacity.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Cameron terminated warship building in England to appease the Scots.

        • steve
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink


          More like appeasing the EU and their little friends the SNP.

          The average Scot would welcome the shipyard contracts.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink


      10 years ?

      It will take them that long to make a decision, let alone implement it.

      Our latest Naval ships had to have the sides cut out of them to be re engined because they could not operate in warm waters, the carriers leak sea water from time time, and have no aircraft as yet, although they are promised for next year.
      We sack our most experienced carrier captain because he drove the wrong car for a couple of journeys’ even though he paid for the fuel himself.

      We have a total of 4 fishery protection vessels for thousands of miles of coastline.

      Do we still have more admirals than ships JR ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, we are so lucky we have all these PPE graduates, politicians, “experts”, defence “professionals” and the civil service bureaucrats to organise and co-ordinate our defence forces and defence equipment so wonderfully well.

        Ensuring that we get superb value for money is, I am quite sure, their very top priority. I am quite sure 2 new (leaking) aircraft carriers without aircraft must have been wonderful idea at the time for some reason or other.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    10,000 compensation for a civil servant for the upset of having to walk past pictures of the queen I read in the Mail today. What a wonderful cash cow for lawyers and others the human rights act can be. Alas not for other tax payers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Also Killer deemed no risk one day before the stabbing by some ‘expert’ or other. Just how many very dangerous people with mental health issues are kept on the streets just to save a bit of money? How many innocent people are killed or injured by them each year. Or pushed in front of tube trains. Does it actually save any money in the end anyway given the damage they can do.

      We have the usual ‘he was not taking his medication’ pathetic excuse. I suppose the civil servants just see it as a price worth paying so long as it is not their son, husband, wife or daughter.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink


        Yep the soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime attitude of UK politicians is another reflection of how the lives of the many are valued about as much as their democratically expressed views. Why are people with multiple convictions walking around?
        LL, you are right on the cost argument with a prisoner costing between £25k and £80k p.a. due to variation in risk and whether prison was pfi funded. The obsession with rehabilitating/reintroducing those who commit inhuman crime into society is misplaced. I suspect a small cage and a large lock could be provided for less. (Though I do think many prison officers and those teaching in prisons are heroes).
        Another oddity about rehabilitation is the culpability argument for essentially letting the non-adult off. Of course the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed on average until 25 years of age, so there might be something to the argument but not the conclusion – feedback will need longer to act (to achieve behavioural competence) and the ability to fully comprehend won’t occur until later. The conclusion should be that the young need tougher/longer sentences not shorter.
        Mr Gauke, whose logic is that those on short sentences tend to reoffend so let them out rather than keep them in for longer is again not fully reasoned. At one end someone locked up forever does not reoffend, at the other end, if community service and suspended sentences reduce reoffending more than short sentences then make the community service longer and use it to clean up areas and of course make the suspended sentences much higher – on the face of it Gauke seems to wish to choose the best of two bad options but not to optimise/improve.
        Finally for now, the psychology of behavioural spillovers is used in marketing and beginning to be considered to modify pro-environment behaviour of people (at least in some countries). In UK indiscipline at school and ‘minor’ crime (fly tipping, shoplifting, driving in phone) are largely forgiven with zero consideration of the accumulating negative behavioural spillovers. There is no longer any nipping in the bud.

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Those who approve their release should stand as guarantor for their subsequent behaviour. That should sharpen their perception.

        • Mark B
          Posted July 14, 2019 at 5:05 am | Permalink


      • sm
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        LL – it’s not really cheaper to keep mentally sick people ‘in the community’, it’s done because the psychiatric profession steadfastly believes it is better and refuse to consider the consequences of their decision.

        Most of us (including those of us who have had to provide care in some way for such afflicted people) know it’s wickedly and sadly wrong.

      • bigneil
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Or the “asylum seeker” who got to Germany, sexually abused then raped a young girl, then fled back home ( the place he claimed he needed asylum from) and now been brought back to Germany to be jailed at great expense to the German taxpayer.

      • cornishstu
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        Yes, it’s amazing when it comes to taxing or reducing freedoms the precautionary principle comes into play, but not when there is a genuine possibility of harm to others.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Indeed if money can be raised. One minute over on a parking meter or put a tyre in an (empty for miles) bus lane then the £80+ fines are enforced very efficiently indeed.

          It is all a question of the government’s priorities.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Can we assume they will all want £10k now and is that per years or a one off lifetime offer?

  9. J Bush
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    10 years ago we had approximately 40 Type 22, 23 and 42 frigates, 2 aircraft carriers and various other support naval platforms.

    But Cameron decided to sell them off cheap to make into tin cans because he wanted the UK to be subservient to the EU.

    It time for the UK to rebuild its fleet USING BRITISH SHIPBUILDERS. Imagine all the employment along with the support manufacturing this would create.

    However, I would not like to think our naval strength would be created solely for gunho ‘blairites’ declaring ‘war’ all over the place.

    It should only be for defence of our Nation. We need it to turnaround illegals entering our waters and that includes the european fishing factories. Think Icelandic Cod War. Iceland is a small country, but they got the message across. It is time our politicians did what they are supposed to do. Defend our country.

  10. Dominic
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Hunt. There’s nothing to say about the man. His opinion on UK warship numbers or our scrape with Iran is of supreme unimportance to me. He’s just another Remain robot doing the bidding of the EU.

    The man is not the future, he’s the past and that’s where he needs to stay.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Indeed. He spent five years elegantly apologising for the endless deaths, incompetence, maltreatment, rationing, delay and ‘life shortening’ as they called it, that is the dire NHS. Yet he did nothing to change the system to one that could actually work. One that was not one of the worst in the world for a wealthy developed nation.

      What is needed is more freedom and choice in the system. Let people spent their own money instead of taking it all off them and leaving them the dire state monopoly or nothing.

      I see that the a French have finally stopped state funding for homeopathic treatments why on earth does the NHS not do so? Too many MP acting as consultants to this ‘industry’ perhaps? Or just not my money so what do I care mate?

      • L Jones
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        I doubt that there are many people in our Government who actually use the NHS. I don’t know it for a fact, but I’d imagine there are perks involving private health insurance for many of those who inhabit the marble halls.
        I can’t see Mr Hancock or his ilk waiting in some crowded doctor’s waiting room, or hanging on the telephone for hours, trying to get an appointment in the first place. Or putting their lives on hold while they await urgent surgery.

        Perhaps it should be a requirement for anyone working in the Department of Health to use the National system.

        Reply There are no private health perks for MPs or Ministers. If they want private health care they have to pay for it out of taxed income.

        • Dominic
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          State employees don’t pay tax, they have deductions from their gross salary which isn’t the same thing. These State entities are not self-financing and therefore produce almost zero income. Therefore an income tax imposed on zero income is meaningless

          Their taxes have already been paid from private sector taxation, sovereign debt issuances (private sector as the guarantor) and the printing press (currency dilution)

          It’s double counting and that confuses even the most intelligent of State employees

          The Exchequer could easily pay all state employees directly a net salary but State bureaucratic profiteering dictates the creation of complex layers to expand their operating budgets

          It’s a con as the tax has already been paid as per income tax, CGT and VAT etc

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          The way to lighten the load on the NHS (and get more money, efficiency and facilities into health care) is to encourage more people to pay (or to take insurance). Start by abolishing Hammonds appalling 12% insurance tax and giving tax breaks and treatment vouchers (when the NHS fails to supply the service) that can be topped up to go privately.

          Why should people going privately have pay four times over?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Now that Boris is likely to be leader TBP have gone into free fall in some polls. This will reverse if Hunt gets in.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      B.T.W. , Hunt’s daddy was a British Navy admiral ….

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but he prefers to say ‘Naval officer’ rather than Admiral. I think he might be ashamed to admit that he comes from a privileged background. This seems to be a disease that afflicts many of a libdem persuasion

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        yes and he clearly has the imperial reflex action of the old establishment-still thinking they can play the Great Game with Russia-if only vicariously through the US neo-cons.

        • A different Simon
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          It’s amazing how many politicians think the U.S. can still control the World Island .

          As Germany has shown , when push comes to shove , Europe will side with it’s energy supplier Russia rather than waning power America – and rightfully so .

          Thankfully Russian’s are clinging on to their cultural heritage and social conservatism and are unlikely to want to join the E.U.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Does that mean the taxpayer picked up the large bills for his school fees (Charter House and the others)?

  11. George Brooks
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Hunt has neither the intellect nor the vision to handle these delicate situations and would make a very weak PM. It appears that he likes being just ” a nice chap”!!!!

    • Oldrightie
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Nicely and accurately put. However that is an appearance. He’s not very nice at all. Successful personally only thanks to the hushed up closeness to his cousin, Virginia.

    • robert lewy
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      In the Andrew Neil interview with Hunt yesterday, it was staggering to hear from
      him that in negotiating a new deal he would settle for the elimination of the Irish Backstop.

      This is a man or should I say , in his words, an entrepreneur, who claims that he is an qualified and experienced negotiator.

      That’s it, give the EU your bottom line so that you have zero chance of achieving anything else and in no way increase the probability of achieving that objective.

      Boris was right to deflect questions which he believed weakened his bargaining power with EU in any way. Why would he not support the ambassador to US?
      He would not say because he knew that to do so would create friction with US at a time when Trump is in a position to strengthen our hand in Europe. To have caved in to demands for supporting Kim without a proper investigation as to how the leak occurred would have been reckless.

      BJ is correct in sending out a message to EU that No Deal will be the consequence of continued obduracy from the EU in failing to entertain the possibility of a new trading relationship without the abominable WA.

      • Dominic
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        There is no bottom line. We leave irrespective of what the EU does or doesn’t do. The EU’s actions are of zero significance.

        Forget this tosh about deal or no deal Brexit. That’s a meaningless pile of tosh

        We leave and then enter into negotiations with the EU on a FTA. That’s it, in simple terms.

        And then we de-regulate, slash corporate tax, kneecap the unions, reform the public sector and sign a FTA with the US

        Let the EU do their best

        Fingers crossed Italy defaults on its debts with the Bundesbank and puts the cat amongst the pigeons

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        In that interview Jeremy Hunt continued with his pretence that it would inevitably be a slow process for Parliament to pass the Act to approve a withdrawal deal and so more time might be needed, beyond October 31st, when in principle the necessary Act could be pushed through both Houses in a day or two, and if necessary the government could even use the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to tide us over for a period:

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      He would make a very good foreign secretary to Boris though!

    • L Jones
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      He’s not coming across as ”a nice chap” at the moment. He should have stuck to his guns and not listened to his handlers about being aggressive. At least Mr Johnson appears to be his own man – let’s hope that’s to our advantage!

  12. steve
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I don’t see why we should be doing the EU’s bidding, especially as we’ll be out in twelve weeks.

    Also I don’t see what business the EU has to sanction Iran in the first place…’s the Middle East not Europe.

    That said, recent comments from Iranian leadership suggest they want a scrap. Well in that case we should oblige.

    • Longinus
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Let the EU oblige. We could all do with a laugh.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      We are not doing the EU’s bidding-much more likely the US’s bidding,Sources in the EU have questioned why we detained that tanker as neither Iran or Syria is in the EU and the EU doesn’t normally apply secondary sanctions.

      I suggest you would not really want to have a scrap with Iran;the whole Middle East could go up in flames.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        The Iranian Foreign Minister yesterday:

        “….they(the British) should officially announce they are the servants of America and that they act on American instructions.America has returned this favour well by insulting their ambassador and Prime Minister.”

        • L Jones
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

  13. Alex
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    What a litany of half truths and distortions. The seizure of the tanker is an act of piracy and amounts to blockade of Syria and Iran which is an act of war and would be treated as such by Britain, America or almost any other country. Hunt is an idiot. No UK warship is capable of surviving for more than a few hours if a real shooting war started in the Gulf. Some minesweepers and an assault landing ship (for which there is no purpose at all) merely provide nice targets. Military provocations i.e. false flags are very much the province of the US and UK. So far there is zero evidence of Iran doing anything. If Britain were actually justified in seizing ships in international waters near Gibraltar on the pretence of sanctions why is it not reasonable for Iran to announce sanctions on us and seize British ships in the Strait of Hormuz? I’ll answer that myself- it’s because the British, American and other western governments think themselves superior to others and that laws should not be equally applied. If Washington and their poodle Hunt manage to start a war I suspect that things would spiral very, very quickly beyond their control and we’d all get a, well justified, lesson in reality with $1000 oil and financial collapse.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

      “What a litany of half truths and distortions.”

      It’s a repeat of the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ lies against Iraq all over again. We managed to destroy their country and destabilise the whole Middle East sending millions of desperate refugees flooding into Europe.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 14, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Tens of thousands of Kurds who died know for sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

  14. larryK
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    It remains unclear yet as to whether the Gibraltar authorities were correct in taking the action they did. The Gibraltar straits shipping lanes are in international waters under IMO regulation and as such, are a part of a UN charter. It is unclear if this vessel Grace 1 which was passing on the Moraccan coast side of the straits was therefore in breach of EU sanctions- Secondly we still don’t know for sure where this ship was bound?- US and UK news outlets says it was to Syria, but in that case I don’t know what sanctions it was in breach of as the shipment deal was between Iran and Syria, supposedly, and nothing to do with the EU. Seems to me it is a question of ‘might is right’ and we can now forget about Int Regs when it suits, especially when it suits a Government in deep trouble trying to curry favour with Washington. But now the question arises about what we are going to do with this ship, in itself it is nearly as big as the Rock? We have to mind it with gunboats, police, and Navy frogmen patrolling 24/7 to make sure fanatics do not get near enough to attach limpet mines. Just another example of how we don’t think things through properly. One thing we do know however is that the EU did not know in advance that this action was going to be taken in its name- it is clear it was done on a whim to please the Americans, and then see how they thanked us only a few days later, so I wonder where we are going with all of this.

    Then there’s the Straits of Hormuz, another bottleneck, with shipping lanes and the Iranians starting to behave in a similar fashion as the western powers- ‘might is right’- and in the end the only ones rubbing their hands, Jarad Kushner, Bibi Netanyahu, and John Bolton- enough said

    The bottom line now is that every British merchant ship and their British crews trading worldwide are in great danger. stupid stupid

    • Norman
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Well, as long as we have a world where there is right and wrong, freedom and oppression, good and evil – and what is right, free and good are so fragile – might is indeed right. Diplomacy is ineffectual without it.

  15. formula57
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    “Mr Hunt tells us we need more warships” – I was impressed with how quickly Mr. Hunt came to that view, one that had hitherto eluded him through all those years he sat in cabinet approving winding down of the Royal Navy.

    What he did not make clear, but perhaps we should just assume, is if he was keen on new ships being built in Spanish yards or at least not in the U.K..

    • Mark B
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      His father was an Admiral you know.

  16. majorfrustration
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    and then of course there is the payment of £10k to a NI civil servant cos he did not like the photo of the Queen. Human Rights gone mad again.

    • Mark B
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      But I bet he has no qualms about the Queens image on all those notes he will be getting ?


  17. Caterpillar
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Clearly the number of platforms, whether sea or air, gives more flexibility. From the outside it looks like the air focus on bleeding edge and the sea focus on leading edge has meant a large reduction in number of trailing edge platforms. Mr Hunt’s comments and future increased defence spending commitment need to be clarified in terms of strategy and future flexibility. One’s instinct agreed with him, but more detail is needed.

    Is it true that the R. Fleet Auxiliary are going to have to strike to match pay increase with R. Navy?

  18. Richard1
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Very disappointing, hectoring and uninformative interviews by Andrew Neil with Boris and Hunt. A big let down considering how effective Neil normally is. What’s the point of this constant relentless gotcha style of interviewing? We wanted a measured discussion about EU negotiation tactics, whether the £39bn is owed, how trade arrangements around the world might look, what tax policy might look like. Instead it was on and on about whether Boris is somehow responsible, rather than her Iranian kidnappers, for the poor innocent woman in gaol, and responsible for the resignation of the ambassador to the US rather than the ambassador himself due to the leak of his ill-advised messages. Same with Hunt – who’s interview was just boring.

    No wonder politicians don’t go on these programmes. Where’s the new Brian Walden?!

  19. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I have some senior contacts in the oil industry. I asked one of them whether fracking was dangerous and caused earthquakes.
    He looked at me as if I were mad.
    “We do it every day.”
    So will someone kindly tell me why we (like the USA) can’t join in the fracking bonanza please?

    • Fed up with the bull
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Yes, Mike, I would like to know that too. This country is heading for oblivion regarding energy.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Effective propaganda from the green blob which has now been accepted uncritically by the political left and unfortunately, by the virtue-signalling element of the right.

    • Duyfken
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Much as I agree with your sentiment, it may also be said that the more slowly we use the frackable deposits the later they will eventually be exhausted, and they could be a worthwhile reserve for a possible time when overseas supplies are endangered or cut off.

    • Mark
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      It seems fracking is only permitted for geothermal resources. Exactly the same process. Natascha Engel is entirely right about the nonsense of regulation.

    • old salt
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps those in favour of fracking might care to peruse the following-

      If you are happy to contaminate the planet for ever and a day then go ahead.
      Besides, accidents can and do happen.
      Better left in reserve until other fuels ending.

  20. Martin
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Manpower is still an issue, even with the present treduced-strength navy. This from the savetheroyalnavy web site:

    ‘With HMS Queen Elizabeth due to go on operational deployment in 2021, the demand for escorts has never been greater. The announcement that the practice of having two ships laid up as ‘harbour training ships’ for lack of crews can be ended is timely and welcome. Precisely when this will be achieved may be hard to pinpoint due to the complex cycle of refits. In the longer term, both the Type 31e and Type 26 frigates will need a smaller ships company than the Type 23s they replace, helping reduce manning pressures.
    Many already lean-manned ships still deploy with some billets ‘gapped’ and there are also significant ‘pinch points’, ie. shortages of particular trades or skills that are a critical requirement for a ship or submarine to operate. Keeping hold of its trained and experienced people for longer remains the biggest challenge the RN must overcome before manning is no longer a concern. It is certainly good news that overall numbers are going in the right direction and there are signs of recovery but there is still a very long way to go before the RN can be content it has enough sailors.’

  21. bigneil
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I think it far more likely the ships would be used to transport thousands weekly, from the North African coast straight to England, where they would be took to their brand new housing estates which will have been built – and paid for – by us, of course.

  22. Andy
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    In other news I am delighted to hear that the police are going after the Kim Darroch leaker. A Tory Brexiteer – somewhere – is quaking in their boots. It is important because the resulting by election will eliminate the Conservative majority.

    Vote Brexit, get Corbyn. Genuinely funny.

    Reply MPs are not on the Ambassador’s circulation list unless they are selected senior Ministers.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      The leak is the last thing we Brexiters wanted. Correction. The diplomat’s use of intemperate language is the last thing we Brexiters wanted.

      A Remainer probably did this.

      Scorched earth.

    • formula57
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      So what the police are looking for is not one amongst many hundreds of recipients in and beyond the FCO but, thanks to Andy’s forensic skill, a selected senior Minister who is, overtly or covertly, a Brexiteer and on the circulation list! Arrests must be imminent.

      • Pud
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        I fear Andy’s forensic powers are weakening. A few days ago he was convinced he knew who the leaker was (although not quite convinced enough to name them), today he’s a lot vaguer.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      To find the guilty party, don’t waste your time looking at Brexiteers. All you need is someone who is anti Trump. Plenty of these in the Foreign Office!

    • J Bush
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I think it more likely it was a remainer trying to scupper the possibility of getting a trade deal with the US. Scorched earth policy springs to mind.

      If it turns out to be a remainer senior minister, will you still think it is “genuinely funny” should Corbyn’s commies end up in No10 & 11?

      • L Jones
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Or someone prepared to be the remain camp’s sacrificial lamb so that a new remain creature could be put in place (by Mrs May) before the next PM comes into office.

        (Andy becomes positively gleeful when he salivates about the UK suffering in some way. Pitiful.)

  23. Bob
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Why on Earth is the UK enforcing EU sanctions against Syria? We left the EU on 29th March, although obviously the Establishment and the compliant MSM are trying to overlook this fact.

    Jeremy Hunt is a [“self censored” ].

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Shouldn’t the Spanish have been invited to take the risk of doing the takedown? They are, after all, usually infringing the integrity of the Gibraltar’s waters.

  24. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Here I have no trouble with the royal navy either enforcing sanctions or especially defending shipping, such actions underline the need for a larger navy.

    I hope though that naval officers are not held to account by human rights legislation or other such nonsense before or after acting, here I trust the navies own board of control to decide.

    However, I do question what the government is thinking in instructing her majestys forces to enforce a blockade on Iranian allies and the contributing to efforts to offer a fincial alternative that allows sanctions to be avoided. Here the EU is even more compilicit since our other partners are Germany and France.

    The fact they take no notice of Irans public announcements of death and destruction to another state is scandelous, but entirely keeping with the EU’s reputation.

  25. A different Simon
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    A bit rich for the U.K. to complain about a tit-for-tat response when it impounds an Iranian vessel .

    Our country is stooping lower than the U.S. vulture fund which got a Ghanian court to impound an Argentinian vessel in order to force Argentina to pay debt the vulture fund had purchased .

    Really sick of Western bullying around the world . Target countries are likely to have long memories and exact revenge of future generations ….

  26. Ian Wilson
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Isn’t it time we stopped strangling fracking with preposterous legal tremor limits, so we become less reliant on Middle East supplies?

    Greg Clark and Claire Perry have been allowed to obstruct this industry for far too long – we must hope a new prime minister removes them fast. Owen Paterson would be an ideal energy minister (to some an ideal prime minister but that seems not to be).

  27. Peter D Gardner
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    It is ironic that the record of the modern Conservative Party on defence is one of shameful ignorance and incompetence. It has been entirely subservient to the EU in its approach since Cameron became PM. Mrs May viewed UK’d capabilities as assets to be pooled and placed under the control of the EU. In exchange for what we never found out

    • Mark B
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

      Our subservience to the EU goes back way further than you think and over vast policy areas.

  28. Tim the Coder
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    “As the USA and the UK says, defending the rights of all to passage in international shipping lanes is important to world trade and to peaceful co existence between countries. “

    Such as Iranian tankers entering the Mediterranean?

    Can the Government tell us under what UN sanction the Iranian tanker was stopped?
    Or was this just another case of white-man’s law against the natives?
    I thought that went out of fashion 80 years ago.

    Since when did Iran join the EU and become subejct to EU santions against Syria?

    Without a UN ruling, the British forces would seem to have engaged in piracy, and the Iranians have legitimate concerns to stop such illegal actions against them.
    ( I am no defender of the Iran regime, but the rule of law applies to all)

    • graham1946
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Is it all right for Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats to approach British ships in international waters? For what purpose do you think they did this? Is it all right for Iranians to attach limpet mines to commercial tankers and blow holes in them and set them on fire? The sanctions are EU ones against supplying oil to Syria and the ship was stopped from delivering it as any would be. Iran does not need to be an EU member, it just needs to act as a normal government, not promote terrorist activities and not be the foul regime in place there.

      • martinC
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Good man graham1946- making it up as you go along

        Nothing wrong about guard boats approaching any vessel for ID purposes

        How do you know it was the Iranians who attached the mines- Cui Bono- to whom is it a benefit- methinks the Saudis or the Israelis would probably benefit? they would like to draw America into a war with Iran? but in the murky world of the Middle East nobody knows

        Lastly the EU can only put sanctions on its own members- not on Syria or Iran. For the EU to go further it would need a UN Security Council directive

        • graham1946
          Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Not making it up. I can only go on news reports, but no doubt you have direct access to all the facts without resort to news agencies. Twitter is very goof for conspiracy theories I hear, though I have never been there.
          Iran do not need to approach our ships in international waters for ID. Tankers are damned great big things and all registered shipping is visible to all nations, unless of course your impeccable sources say otherwise. As regards limpets, the Americans released satellite images of them doing it and fragments from the explosions were ‘remarkably similar’ to Iranian manufactured mines, it was reported.
          Lastly, the EU can put any sanctions on anyone it likes as a matter of security to prevent conflicts etc. There are currently at least 14 countries sanctioned including Iran,North Korea etc. several African countries which when I last looked do not belong to the EU. It’s not me making things up. Why support Iran anyway, against our own government?

  29. agricola
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The EU and others do not wish to see Iran as a nuclear weapon producing country. The EU does not want them as a supporter of terrorism. They all apply sanctions, one of which is to stop Iran from supplying oil to Syria. Hence the arrest of the tanker. All I ask is why is it the Brits who have to take action. Why not the Italians, Spanish, Portugese, or French.

    Then there is the USA who think the treaty is inadequate re nuclear proliferation, not to mention Iran’s worldwide involvement with terrorism and their destabilisation of the Middle East. They are intent on really putting the screws on to make Iran think again. If Iran persists I can anticipate that the US will give them an even more forcefull demonstration of real power. At the moment it does not look good.


    • mickc
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      If Iran persists in….what? It has complied with the Treaty until it was broken by the USA.

      And I have yet to see credible evidence of terrorism.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The orthodox view that Iran has to produce it’s own nuclear weapons is a naïve fallacy/fantasy .

      There are countries/parties out there which would sell Iran nukes for the right price .

  30. ADAMS
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Sanctions against Syria should be abandoned . Why not ? Because Trump says we must have them . An independent Foreign Policy to the USA seems to be not on our UK table .
    Therefore Iran is now an enemy and the Gulf of Hormuz is a very expensive and dangerous cost .
    Iran has always been a major power in that area formerly Persia and will always be so .
    Iran will become a nuclear power sooner or later . New plans and new directions are much needed . I see no chance of that happening .

  31. mickc
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    So…Iran complies with the Treaty it signed with regard to its nuclear industry. The USA unilaterally abnegates that Treaty and declares “sanctions ” against Iran. The UK then does the USA’s bidding by illegally seizing a ship on unproven grounds. In other words, the UK has subserviently committed an act of piracy at the behest of the USA. Utterly disgraceful and pathetic; how this benefits the UK is difficult to see.

    The sanctions against Iran have merely served to help the current hardline Iranian government and undermine the moderates who were responsible for getting Iran to sign the Treaty in the first place.

    Iran is unlike other Middle Eastern states in having a large educated, cultured middle class which opposes the current government and which seeks interaction with the West. To undermine the moderates they support is entirely counterproductive, especially when done at the behest of Saudi Arabia which seeks the destruction of Iran.

    A further point to make is that Iranians of whatever religion, and it is a state with other religions than Islam, are intensely patriotic. When Iran is attacked they all support their country, no matter what colour the government. The Western backed Iraq attack on Iran proved that, much to Western surprise.

    • agricola
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Sorry sunshine, the ship was siezed by the UK because it was in breach of EU sanctions, designed to halt the supply of oil to Syria. It has now moved on with the arrest of the ships master because on investigation evidence suggesting the original suspicion was true has come to light. Examination will find that the USA will have had little involvement in this event. No doubt you will get your chance to mouth off in support of terrorism on some future occassion. You do not support moderates in Iran by giving the imoderates in Iran free reign to blow holes in tankers or support the terrorism that Iran is proven to be guilty of. Who do you think arms and encourages all the proxy attacks ln Israel from Gaza and elsewhere. You need to get real.

      • Norman
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        From what I know, you’re quite correct, Agricola. I’m rather appalled at the hand-washing going on here.

  32. Alan Joyce
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Newspapers are suggesting that Boris Johnson’s team has begun contacting disgruntled Labour MP’s, unhappy with Corbyn’s lurch to Remain, in order to gain their support for his Brexit deal. The number is said to be about 40 which, if I am not mistaken, is greater than the number of diehard Brexiteers.

    This leads me to think that Mr. Johnson is going for the absolute minimum of changes to May’s Withdrawal Agreement in order to get it through Parliament on the back of Labour MP’s. Perhaps, even just tinkering with the backstop.

    I hope that Mr. Johnson is not thinking in such terms as he will quickly lose the goodwill and support of voters who, I believe, are expecting a much cleaner Brexit.

    You may detect from the tone of my post a certain amount of paranoia! However, the parliamentary antics of MP’s in the last 3 years have left me with no confidence in most MP’s at all. Mr. Johnson, himself, voted for the Withdrawal Agreement on the third meaningful vote.

    In the absence of any detail on his actual Brexit ambitions and as a Johnson supporter, are you able to offer anything that would render my concerns groundless?

    • Bob
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 12:19 am | Permalink

      @Alan Joyce

      “…are you able to offer anything that would render my concerns groundless?”

      Your concerns are very well grounded. The Tories are the party of the EU and have no intention of restoring UK self rule, their rhetoric is designed to see off BP and UKIP, and just like May BJ will deliver nothing but disappointment to supporters of independence. As I have said on numerous occasions, if you want independence you will need to support a party that has UK independence as its raison d’être, that’s the bottom line.

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Rather more difficult is how much we need to invest in ships to protect our fishing rights within our own waters once we have finally left the EU. I think that it will involve a suitable ship building programme in Belfast (to prevent Northern Ireland being a complete basket case) to protect our fleet.

  34. Sue Doughty
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The tanker seized off Gibraltar is an unregistered ship, it has no owner or home port, its transponder, locator and ID were all switched off. Iran has not admitted to it being theirs.

    Behaving as if it is their without actually admitting it is the important point to be aware of. Who owns it, who commands it and who owns the oil on board? Presently nobody does so the shop and cargo is legally confiscated.
    It is also suspected of breaking embargos but since nobody is owning up there can be no prosecution.
    Iran is affronted but fails to explain why, citing the unknown ship without claiming ownership and liability.

    • martinC
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Sue Doughty- the Grace 1 is very much registered, it has an owner, a charterer and a manager, it has a Flag- Panama. What was switched off was its AIS, his is an ID system, and not against any law to switch it off in International Waters. You can google all about Grace 1 – completely above board. I don’t know anything about embargoes? but I do know that ships sometimes switch off AIS on the High Seas if it gives them some competitive or other advantage. We are not exactly cleaner than white when it comes to this.

  35. Kevin
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    That the authorities need evidence to demonstrate the legitimacy
    of the seizure would indeed be a principled approach. I take that to
    mean that, if there is no such evidence, the authorities should
    make their apologies rather than trying to find an alternative charge. Perhaps
    you could ask Geoffrey Cox for his opinion on that.

  36. Bill
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I do not think Mr Hunt can tell us anything. He is Foreign Secretary in name only and must now be lacking the same sense of responsibility as were Mr Davis and Mr Raab when they were Brexit Secretaries.
    When it is proven than Iran were behind they captured tanker in Gibraltar, what then? Should we expect their apology? What should we do?
    The current fanatical regime in control of Iran do not accept rational argument when it goes against themselves and they will only react to a firm challenge.
    When we are dealing with any non-westernised Nation we should remind ourselves that their ways are not our ways and our Centuries old Civil Service protocols are meaningless, dead to them.
    Compliance is seen as a weakness as is any demonstration of compassion. Such regimes will only respect power and strength. Diplomacy does not feature in their rule book.
    Short of direct confrontation, sanctions and embargoes are the only alternatives.

  37. Halfway
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    The whole Gibraltar thing stinks to high heaven

  38. steve
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink


    As respectfully as I can put it;

    Each time you delete a perfectly reasonable and frank post for ‘political correctness’ there will be less votes for the conservatives and more for Mr Farage.

    I’m sure you must have figured out that PC is something we loathe, and that the majority will have it abolished at the next general election.

    Reply I do not give in to threats. If you wish to have your views posted here write in a civilised way which respects others living legally in our country.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Hear Hear. I’m surprised you allowed some of his more extreme, unpleasant postings here.

      • Mark B
        Posted July 14, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        Pot, kettle, black !

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      “Pot, kettle, black !”

      My sentiments exactly.

    • steve
      Posted July 14, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


      “I do not give in to threats”

      Sure you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be frightened of political correctness.

      “write in a civilised way which respects others living legally in our country.”

      Quite what you’re on about here I don’t know.

  39. Alan Joyce
    Posted July 13, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Mr. Hunt also tells us that he is an entrepreneur.

    Did everybody know that!?

    • Nicholas Murphy
      Posted July 13, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      It shows that he is in awe of all things French!!!

      • mancunius
        Posted July 13, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        And yet, as George W. Bush famously pointed out the French don’t actually have a word for ‘entrepreneur’…:-)

  • 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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