Some questions to Mrs May and Mr Hunt

I wrote shortly after the Gibraltar authorities seized the Iranian oil tanker about the need for the UK to protect other vessels going through the Straits from retaliatory attack, and asked about the possible prosecution of the Captain and senior officers of the vessel who had been detained with allegations of EU sanctions busting.

We now see a British flagged tanker has been detained by the Iranians with allegations of a collision with a fishing vessel which is denied by those on the tanker, and see that the Captain and officers of the Iranian tanker have been released on  bail.

This gives rise to  various questions for the UK government


1. Given the very public threat made by Iran to UK shipping in  the area, what measures were taken to give protection  to British flagged vessels?

2. It is said there are four minesweepers and an amphibious armed naval vessel as well as HMS Montrose in  the area, with a destroyer on the way.  What if anything can these vessels do to help?

3. What support will the UK receive from the carrier group and amphibious assault ship group the US navy has in the region?

4. When will the Captain and officers of the Iranian tanker  be charged?  What more can be published concerning the allegations against the Iranian tanker?

5. As we were told this seizure was made to enforce EU sanctions over oil to Syria, what support is the EU offering? Has the EU proposed a joint naval initiative to protect western shipping in the Straits?

6. Why is the advice now given to avoid the Straits for commercial shipping, when this advice was not given so clearly   before the tanker seizure?


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Lifelogic
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Good questions indeed. Will we get the anwers?

    I watched Ed Davey and Jo Swinson on the Politics Live special. What a dire choice Ed David seems to want to regulate banks, stock markets and pension fund to stop them investing in fossil fuels and to ban domestic flights? Why just domestic we have a channel tunnel after all? What complete dopes they are. Indeed what a dire choice we have had (until next week) between Corbyn’s magic money tree Labour, the idiot green crap policies of the Libdims (and the Greens) and socialist tax to death, Brexit in name only fools May & Hammond.

    Also an excellent podcast on Delingpod (James Delingpole) interviewing Matt Ridley. Matt explains very well what sensible scientists/engineers all agree about the green crap agenda. Chemotherapy to cure a cold as he puts it. The cure does not work and is clearly doing more damage than the problem. A very much exaggerated problem anyway.

    Alas the BBC continues to ignore the science and the engineering facts and just keeps endlessly pumping out the religious, alarmist propaganda and non solutions.

    • Nigl
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      What has this got to do with today’s topic? We all know your views poured out endlessly, obsessively and repetitiously.

      • AlmostDead
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink


        • Hope
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          JR, it is astonishing how Maurdant, Hunt, Liddington and Mayhab could have blinded followed an EU instruction without considering the consequences! Yet your govt happy to, again, to slam Trump over Iran who protects us!

          Suggest your cabinet visit Portsmouth and see the lack of naval vessels to either support aircraft carriers, warships etc. There are not enough. I saw the pathetic state of our fleet recently. It is clear the UK policy was/is to act as part of an EU army where commissars get to decide without question, debate or reference to national govts.

          JR, is our military strategy and capability actually decided independently as a nation,state or secretly as part of the EU! Hence Mayhabs stated position to give unconditional cooperation to EU security, defence and intelligence?

          Once more the most poignant question is: Has your Tory govt sold the nation out again without public consent or knowledge?

          Remind us how the EU kept peace in the Balkans? How many died, murdered souls were there, where was the EU to stop it?

          • Toffeeboy
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            Trump supports us? That’s a joke. He and Bolton, without any friends in the world are trying to drag the UK into a war with Iran for no good reason. How short peoples’ memories are. Do you not recall the swamp that was Iraq?

        • Hope
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          IDS states on TV today the US offered to help escort UK shipping and it was declined! Were they still virtue signalling and being hostile to Trump at the exspence of our national interest and potential danger to U.K. Citizens? If true should Mayhab and Hunt resign now? Where is the useless Mordaunt?

          Incident graphically and clearly shows Hunt notmfit for any high office.

          • Hipe
            Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            Toffeeboy, your comment is as inaccurate as stupid. Protect us not support us. Iraq, Libya and if allowed Syria were all issues the FCO and govt should be ashamed of. I have made that clear several times.

            Do not let your dislike for Trump cloud your judgement on what the US provides for the world’s safety. Think of the office of president for US not solely the person.

      • L Jones
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Since it’s in Sir John’s gift to allow or disallow comments, if HE thinks acceptable then we’ve no right to complain. No-one HAS to read what LL has to say, on or off topic.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Hear, hear L Jones. I always find L/L posts full of sensible content and very informative. As you say, its our hosts business what gets included.

          • John Hatfield
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            Agreed FUS.

    • Barbara C
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      The issue with the green agenda is that no matter what steps are taken, it will never, ever be enough to satisfy the judgemental environmental evangelists. Of course, we’ll be the ones paying the true price of their ideology, because we’ll be “compensating” big business for making the changes needed to comply.

      I do wonder whether environmentalists realise just how tiny our country is, and how relatively little we contribute to alleged climate change. I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t do better where we can.

      • bigneil
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Our country definitely is tiny, but look how many people our govt, the UN, the EU etc are trying to shove in here. Road congestion causes wasted energy. The UK will soon be the same as we see in India.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        They do not care it is a religion logic, science and facts do not count.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Soon they bring in laws to make stating Climate Realist view illegal. Or the courts will decide that it is illegal to sack some employees who for reasons of their “Climate Alarmist Religion’ refuse to do all or part of their jobs!

      • IanT
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        The math of carbon dioxide is certainly interesting.

        0.04% – CO2 as a percentage of Earths’ total atmosphere
        3% – Man Made CO2 as a percent of all atmospheric CO2
        1.3% (ish) UKs current CO2 emissions as percentage of all global emissions

        So that makes our current CO2 ‘contribution’ to the total atmosphere about 0.0000156%

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          Indeed and the renewables that we use (at great cost) make virtually no difference at all to C)2 anyway. Also the sensitivity to C02 concentrations does not seem to be a real problem. C02 is making plants grow rather better and greening the planet, generating more food for people, insects, plants and animals in general.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink


    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      …and yet another MP representing a Scottish constituency to be a party leader? The West Lothian question still goes unanswered and is almost as big an indictment on the Westminster elite as giving away our sovereignty to the EU over the decades.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      What an dreadful man Hammond is on Marr Today. He says he want to be able to support the next Conservative Government. Well if he is supporting it it clearly would not be remotely Conservative and not a party real Conservative would vote for. Nor one that could win an election. I know he is not very numerate (or he would have lower tax rates than 100%+) but what part of the 9% vote did he not get?

      Marr did not even ask him about his appallingly high and absurdly complex tax rates. Nor about all the thousands of operations cancelled and delayed as a result of his idiotic pensions mugging taxes. Or his appalling failure to allow preparations for a no deal Brexit which resulted in no sensible deal being offered.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Or his absurd stamp duty rates of up to 15% that are killing job mobility. Or his endless unsustainable attack on landlords and this tenants taxing profits they have not even made.

      • hefner
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Well, the present Chancellor has been numerate enough to become a millionaire before entering Parliament in 1997.

        And LL, you are a bit of a clown, if you expect us to believe that your properties ‘enjoying’ a 15% stamp duty rates are used by workers needing to move around for their job.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          Up to 15% I said!

    • James1
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully Mr Johnson and his new cabinet will get round to doing something about the nanny state laws that are increasing impinging upon our personal freedoms

    • Antoinetta III
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Just quit enforcing US/EU sanctions against Iran or Syria, or for that matter, anyone else. Threats to British shipping will end forthwith.

      Antoinetta III

  2. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    We don’t have sufficient ships to patrol the Gulf thanks to Cameron and Clegg.
    Our forces have been emasculated and especially the Army veteran’s being treated like terrorists.
    All this under a Tory government whilst bunging £15 billion to the corrupt EU and a similar amount on foreign aid.
    Your party really is a disgrace and the sooner it disbands the better.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      And billions on HS2, Hinckley C and endless other waste everywhere you look in the state sector! Plus endless waste in the private sector too due to daft over regulation of everything. Like the kipper ice pillows that Boris referred too, the gender pay reporting, the daft employment laws. The BBC keep going on about the Isle of Man not being in the EU (and so Boris got it wrong ha ha).

      But this is not relevant at all as the kipper man was exporting to the EU and he had to satisfy these idiotic rules (be they EU ones or just British ones). The rules still waste billions every single day and divert staff and directors from productive activity.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        HS2 is the only serious project at moving a little of the four centres (transport hubs, political, financial, cultural) out of London/SE. It is obviously needs to be delivered quicker and possibly with more support in Birmingham and Manchester (Inc airports) to ensure transport hub growth, but continual broad sweep critiques of it are dubious. I certainly wouldn’t want to think of UK as a place that can’t even get a train line built. (Obviously there are specific questions on early management, the need for Old Oak Common to Euston in first phase, potentially over green protecting adding vastly to costs). If PM Johnson/Hunt stop or slow Hs2 and maintain Heathrow 3 it will be an immediate confirmation that London eccentricity still dominates and the Conservatives not care about rebalancing.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          A runway at Gatwick would be better first and quicker too. One at each is needed and a fast train shuttle link to make a five runway hub airport.

          • Caterpillar
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            An equally SE centric confirmation. UK needs to get GVA per capita up in other regions, this needs more than one city/ conurbation at scale which means Birmingham and Manchester scale need to increase and be connected. HS2 is a first and minor move on transport, moving the political centre should be easy via an English Parliament in central England and all senior civil servants out of London. (Obviously the highest performing sector in GVA per capita terms is finance, and although some of this is regionalising it is clear that London will remain the centre. Effort has to be made to spread cultural centre from London since many high risk – high reward entrepreneurs locate in culturally rich areas; shifting the high ranking civil servants may consequently shift such development, though conscious effort would help. It should not be forgotten that after WW2 central government intentionally shrunk Birmingham and grew London. It should not be forgotten that Osborne essentially spoke for Manchester and against Birmingham, which was really dodging the issue. Future PM Johnson would probably have to change constituencies to rebalance the country).

          • Original Richard
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think it is sensible to expand an airport which is to the south of London which means even more traffic on the M25 and even further everyone living north of London has to travel.

            Far better to expand an airport to the north of London such as Luton.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          An out of date railway, 30 years too late, built for 10,000 businessmen to travel 100 miles, costing £54bn without the £10bn rolling stock. Latest confession, by the new HEAD, might be another cost overrun – say £30bn. Come on Boris cancel it, re-study building plans HS3(Birm to Man) etc.

          • Caterpillar
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Fred H,
            1) How is it out of date? People are also still talking about pneumatic tubes with excitement. People defend combustion engines. People defend FM radio.
            2) 30 year too late – so? It is true that this country capacity lags with almost everything, but that is the UK.
            3) With speed comes capacity (Little’s Law). Also separation of some high speed to different tracks allows local stopping to work, and allows local transport plans to develop (with the obvious knock on effects)
            4) 54bn estimate was for HS2 not for just first phase from London to Birmingham.
            5) Birmingham to Manchester is HS2 it is part of phase 2
            (I don’t disagree that Old Oak Common to Birmingham and Birmingham to Manchester should have been built before Old Oak Common to Euston – the cross London stretch when there will be Elizabeth Line and there is Central Line)
            6) Yes estimated Cost overrun is bad, though spread over many years – it should be made publicly clear how much of this is due to each of (i) initial poor management/milking, (ii) the cross London stretch, (iii) the ‘green’ protection stretches and (iv) under estimate of asset purchases due to asset inflation brought about by zero interest rate policy.
            7) Yes HS2 can drive even more value by putting English Parliament in Birmingham area and Central UK Government in Manchester/Leeds with Westminster refurbishment cut to just preservation (or demolition). Putting the high ranking civil servants in Birmingham and Manchester/Leeds would also add drive.

        • Original Richard
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

          As the Spanish found out building HS2 will actually draw more companies into London not the reverse.

          If anything HS2 should have started in the North and worked towards London.

    • Jack Leaver
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      We may not have enough navy assets to protect every British registered ship sailing through the Strait of Hormuz but surely it should be possible to have them protected from boarding by Iranian forces with half a dozen Royal Marines during the most dangerous stage of their passage.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Swedish ship. Where’s their Marines. Where’s the cargoes destination.

  3. agricola
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Yes May and her disfunctional government have been caught with there collective knickers round their ankles. More interested in trying to spike the next UK government than robustly protecting UK and international interests in the Gulf. One could argue that they have run down UK defence capabilities to the point where they cannot protect our interests. Meanwhile the fantasy EU sit there like a blob of indecision doing nothing to support their own sanctions. Time we ceased being their proxy means of enforcement.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Sound words, Agricola.

      Today, run a good article on this: ‘Why is the EU silent, when Iran acts militarily against British assets?
      Remain MPs – Any idea why the EU might want to keep quiet?’

      There take on it is: ‘….It might be argued that the decisions made in Brussels regarding foreign policy towards Iran have been those of appeasement. In any event we consider the Government’s responses to have been an abrogation of UK decision-making in favour of the policies of the EU…..
      The Iranian ‘deal’, JCPOA, was agreed back in the heady days of the EU’s love-in with the USA’s President Obama, when the EU was hoping to agree a trade deal with the world’s largest economy. This deal was known as TTIP – the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”.
      TTIP is no longer mentioned in polite circles in Brussels,…
      … etc ed
      At least Sir John is asking questions – as for the rest?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink


    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Your metaphor rather implies a readiness for action.

  4. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Another good reason to end our membership of the EU. Where are they indeed? Do we have enough naval capacity to protect shipping against this current threat? It would only need the problems with Argentina to arise again and we would be in real trouble.

    • Nigel
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget who continued supplying Exocet missiles to Galtieri’s forces during the Falklands conflict.

      • Andy
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        That was nearly 40 years ago what possible relevance does it have to today?

        Incidentally, you know they once burned a young woman to death on a stake?

        How evil are these froggies?

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Wake up! We were in the EEC at the time. So much for solidarity. They were happy to supply weapons to be used against us then and would do now.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

          Oh Andy what a naïve individual you are. Are you even old enough to remember it all? I am as I had a family member involved so took more notice of events before and after compared to many. Sir Joe is right.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          Good people died as a result andy
          Have some respect.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            no chance.

        • NigelE
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Words are wind but actions speak volumes.

          It’s called track record, Andy.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Its not our responsibility to “protect shipping”, we are not the worlds policeman. The jobs is already filled.

      • eeyore
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        It certainly is our job, and the job of every maritime nation. Freedom of the seas is fundamental to the peace and prosperity of all.

  5. Mark B
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Point 5′ needs to be answered by the Remainers here and elsewhere, although, as always, they will Remain tight lipped about it as always. After all, it is their EU and it is something that they should be more familiar with. 😉

    Point 6′ would have been mosts people’s minds right from the start. I remember UK RN personal being kidnapped by IRG’s in the Gulf and traded for an Iranian official(s) held by the Americans. So this incident should not have come as a surprise.

    If Iran has stopped these vessels in international waters for no reason, then the IRG has committed an act of piracy. If this is the case then this deserves an international response and further measure to be taken on an international scale, including the policing of the waterways there.

    But a poor job by the Foreign Office and the man running it. 😉

  6. Pominoz
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    It is difficult to be sure precisely what happened in the gulf, but it is easy to conclude that the detention of the British flagged tanker, on what may be trumped-up charges, might be thought, by the Iranians, to give them some leverage over their detained crew and tanker.

    It is perhaps, ironic, that it is the British who are involved in attempting to uphold EU sanctions and the British who may now be facing the consequences. Where is the EU in all of this? It is perhaps a further example, such as failure to properly contribute to the UN, of the various European countries being happy to rely on countries who actually honour defence and international law obligations to protect them and their interests at no actual cost to the EU.

    After we are out, let the great EU spend their own money and expose their own people to the risks of their own protection and law enforcement.

    Yet another example of the many reason whys a clean, quick Brexit is essential.

    • Barbara C
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      The EU won’t be able to afford its military ambitions, as they’ll be hit with a double whammy when we Brexit. Not only will they lose our membership fees, but if tariffs do become due, they could only be applied on actual trade.

      As non-EU goods going through Rotterdam are currently classed as EU trade, I suspect genuine UK/EU is considerably less than is claimed so associated tariff revenues would be severely affected. I also suspect the 20% increase in fees relates to this Rotterdam Effect.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Indeed it will be rather less and most companies can alway switch to supply product to home or other markets if the EU want to be a pain and hurt themselves rather more in the process.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      We are involved, because we can’t keep our nose out of other peoples business. I’m not aware that the EU asked us to do anything. Just once, I would like the UK to stay out of these types of affairs. We are not the worlds policeman and our enforcement capabilities are limited at best and should be used sparingly.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        The anglo-american interest in Iran over c150 years is geopolitical.

        Lord Curzon-Chessboard-Brzezinski.

        Engage your favourite search engine.

    • Pominoz
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      For UN read NATO. Brain freeze!

    • HardyB
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      One a Swedish owned tanker and a Russian Captain with a British flag, the other an Iranian owned Russian managed tanker with an Indian Captain and a Panamanian flag. the cargoes in both cases owned by charterers or in other words- persons unknown.

    • Toffeeboy
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      A bit like the EU is having to foot the bill for the refugee crisis on its doorstep caused in large part by the US/UK’s illegal war in Iraq. Where are the reparations? Why have those two nations wiped their hands of the problem they caused?

  7. Honest Dude
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Britain and / or Gibraltar’s justification for seizing Iran’s oil tanker Grace 1 seems dodgy. The justification was that Iran was breaching EU sanctions against Syria.

    But why should Iran obey EU sanctions against Syria? Iran is not a member of the EU so not subject to its jurisdiction.

    • J Bush
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      I agree. Why should Iran pay any attention to the EU?
      The EU have dropped a floppy woollen mitt and Iran have thrown back a gauntlet.

      Why are May and Hunt so keen to pick up the EU’s floppy mitt, when we are leaving the EU and no other EU State is getting involved?

      Could it be because they just want to create issues for the next government?

      • Pete S
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Simple, keep out of UK waters and you won’t get stopped. Curious as the tanker was coming from the south atlantic. Also why did the Iranians put it into a tanker, too large to go through the Suez canal.

    • Fed up with the bull
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Honest Dude. Yes, agree and let’s hope we won’t be for much longer.

    • cornishstu
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I have been asking the same question what gives us the right to stop legitimate trade between nations who are not signatories to the sanctions. We are not at war with Syria, and to stop other nation ships delivering their cargo amounts to a blockade. Or was it done to wind them up to legitimise further actions on Iran.

    • Dennis
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Yes and where is the Iran navy to protect its shipping from dodgy seizing?

      These sanctions are targeted not on military targets but on civilians which is terrorism and perhaps even war crimes. And the UK is complicit. Yes it is sometimes very useful to be allied to a bully and to corrupt regimes for protection but we all should know that.

      If a country could effectively put sanctions on the USA how many minutes do you think it would take for the president to declare war on that country? 10 minutes?

  8. formula57
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    7. Why have you let this situation arise at all, to damage British interests?

    (The replacement prime minister might do well to propose to the Iranians a mutual, contemporaneous, unconditional release of tankers. What has the U.K. to gain from some different course of action?)

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Another solution might be to offload the oil on the Gibralter tanker at some EU port, and give the Iranians a credit note on it, payable when sanctions are fully lifted?

      Note: The above comment of mine could be nonsense? I have not been following this story closely – and it seems that the Foreign Office hasn’t either – they and the Conservative Party too wrapped up in stopping Brexit – and, as Mr Corbyn somewhat hypocritically suggests, have taken their eye off the ball.

    • A different Simon
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Looks like straight forward provocation by the West .

      I can’t believe J.R. is actually defending H.M. Govts actions and actually calling for the Captain to be prosecuted , no doubt in a show trial in a kangaroo court .

      Reply I am asking why they arrested them and when will they produce evidence to warrant a prosecution

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Indeed do they have evidence to charge them or not?

        • Richard Evans
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          A lot of False Flags flying here. Trump has stopped the “IRAN DEAL’ put up by the previous Deep State admin and Remember France Germany UK signed up to this deal. There is no love lost between USA and UK. Why did Trump visit in June? Why did Maybot resign?
          N Z looks interesting at the moment.

  9. J Bush
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    May is implementing a scorched earth policy to add to her poisoned chalice.

    Hunt, or May in trousers, would prefer the UK remain in the EU, is happy to oblige May and help fill this chalice, as he probably knows he is unlikely to be the next PM.

    I expect some time in the near future Hunt will reveal his true colours and a lot of voters will feel justified in not voting for him.

    Apart from leaving the EU, Johnson has two other very important priorities.

    1. Selection and de-selection of MP’s must be returned to the local constituent parties.
    2. Postal voting must revert back to the original rules.

    • J Bush
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Also, under 2. MP’s leaving the party must go to a by-election.

      Time to fight fire with fire.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Given the proximity of a GE, these points are really urgent.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Postal voting – it did for Peterborough. It has been a catastrophe. It badly needs reform. the electoral Commission should stop fiddling and deal with it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Indeed on postal voting and MP’s deselection. They are going to all deselect themselves anyway – should they fail to deliver a real Brexit and fail to do a deal with the Brexit Party.

    • GilesB
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      The first priority of any Party Leader has to be to keep control of the party. Without that the title is meaningless and they are powerless to do anything else.

      Thus the first act, before going to the Palace to take on the additional role of Prime Minister, should be to reconfirm the Party’s commitment to the 2017 manifesto. The second act should be to command that all Conservative MPs must either commit to the manifesto or resign their Westminster seat and Party membership.

      After that he can go the Palace.

      • J Bush
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        But what happens if the undemocratic troublemakers resign and merely move to another party, or go independent? Instantly, the new government loses its majority.

        The by-elections rule needs to be in place first. That way the party leader keeps control. A case of either respect the manifesto you were voted in on, or run the risk of losing your place at the trough. Nor would they be able to simply move across the floor and continue causing trouble. Know your enemy and self interest rules these unscrupulous people.

    • Original Richard
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      There should also be the power of recall when MPs are not voting in Parliament in accordance with their election promises.

  10. Shirley
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Why would an individual EU country spend a fortune to build up an asset (defence capability) when it is clear that the EU are going to take control of it … if we remain in the EU.

    Maybe the EU’s plans actually deter individual countries from spending on defence? There is no parity on defence spending. Germany spends less than Greece, for example.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      I’ve often thought Germany is getting a free ride under NATO. The problem is nations’ spend on their own military, under NATO, not contribute to a ‘NATO Force’. So, do we really want Germany to spend heavily and re-arm? Twice bitten!

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Guess who was in charge of the decaying and inefficient German military until she was “elected” to be President of the EU Commission?…

  11. Dominic
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    This ripple of an incident pales into insignificance when compared to the horror and barbarity unleashed by the previous POTUS’s proxy intervention in Syria.

    We have more important issues to confront

  12. Javelin
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Let’s see what the countries in the Eu do now.

    If the UK/US end up escorting EU tankers we need to charge them a large fee.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      There should be no support of EU tankers. We are not their policemen any longer. They can deal with flying their federal flag themselves.

      • AlmostDead
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        There is nothing for the EU to do? I had to laugh at Javelin saying “If the UK/US end up escorting EU tankers we need to charge them a large fee”. He makes it sound like the entire operation is dependent on the one UK ship…gotta laugh. To be clear it will be the US that does the work if its needed. You guys need to get over yourselves.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        I’m right with you Fred!

        I resent UK forces being used this way, and Javelin’s points are valid too. The EU needs to live with the consequences of their own decisions and be prepared to pay for them.

        What sickens me most is the cringeworthy way the UK government fawns over the EU like good little Europeans (as once typified by John Major and his sickening deference to his nemesis ‘Commissioner Kinnock’ in the house of commons). I’m afraid these politicians are out of step with most people. In my experience, all but liberal softies hate the EU and want no part of it, including providing naval cover.

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    A bungled diplomatic activity by British ministers who were still thinking we as part of the EU would get real support from the EU – What a bunch of clowns this makes them.

    The EU would prefer we got a bloody nose on our own without them showing us any support, but our government is so far up the backside of the EU they cannot see this.

    • Fed up with the bull
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Great post Bryan. Shame our politicians cannot see further than the nose on their face..

    • Frank
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris- regret to say but it was all our own work- nothing to do with Spain or France they were not even invited

  14. George Brooks
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    What little brain power that this present government ever had has completely ebbed away and they have absolutely no forward vision as Brian Harris has aptly stated.

    The EU should buy the oil, compensate the ship owner for any loss and exchange the empty Grace I for the Swedish owned British flagged empty tanker.

    What on earth were we doing getting involved on behalf of the EU within the last 3 months of our membership? Answer, May setting up a minefield for Boris! A woman scorned can be very dangerous so I wonder how many more ‘traps’ will emerge after Wednesday?

    Off topic. Gauke has announced to the media that he cannot serve under Boris! This illustrates the total conceit of the man to even think he might be asked.

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      George Brooks

      “May setting up a minefield for Boris! A woman scorned can be very dangerous so I wonder how many more ‘traps’ will emerge after Wednesday?”

      This is why as soon as she resigned she should have been physically removed from Westminster and not allowed anywhere near it. The interim period could have been covered by a caretaker PM.

      No doubt secret deals will come to light when she’s gone, they will have to be ripped up.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I agree George,

      There was a clue in Gauke’s retention by one Theresa May. We already knew what he was, and that should have told us what she was!

      Gauke is a leading crew member aboard May’s ship of fools, and having incompetents in a position of responsibility can only lead to disaster. Let’s hope Boris takes over the helm and surrounds himself with Brexiteers, for the remainers have done such an awful job.

    • HardyB
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Is that right George? well I’m afraid the it is UK is going to be the one in the dock when all of this unfolds- and as I’ve said elsewhere- none of this had anything to do with the EU

  15. Richard1
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Talk quietly and carry a big stick said some US president – Theodore Roosevelt? I’ve forgotten. Since the Blair – & unfortunately to some extent Cameron – eras, the UK’s style has been to talk loudly and carry a twig.

  16. Nigl
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Where is Lord Palmerston when you want him? Send a bloody gunboat. Whoops we don’t have any!

    • Fred H
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Nigl…, but we SHOULD. That £4bn cost carrier would have funded an awful lot of traditional craft with state of the art weapons. Armed drones, top radar, fast asault craft etc. And build them round England.

      • graham1946
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Defence was the last thing building the floating bombs called aircraft carriers was about. It was just to provide expensive work for Brown’s backyard in Scotland.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          graham … can’t possibly mean that….Ha Ha.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Iranian forces(selectively) have been trained by Russia and are battle-hardened in Syria.You would get a different response than the one received when the British Empire attacked Qing China in the 19th century opium wars.

      The video of their special forces supplied by Iran TV made them look just like Spetznaz.

  17. JoolsB
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The boat is Swedish owned and not one member of the crew are British. Why was it flying a British flag/registered in Britain and why are the Swedish Goverment keeping so quiet? As for the EU, surely all those remainers must now recognise what a complete and utter waste of space they are. We are doing their bidding and yet they can’t even muster up a word of support for us. The sooner we are out and leave them to it the better.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      I’m ignorant of these things – but why indeed should a ship be flying OUR flag? I suppose it’s customary when a ship isn’t registered in its own country of origin. But
      still our flag should be sacrosanct, not for display by any other nation’s vessels, even if they are registered in our country for convenience’ sake.
      You’d think, then, that Sweden would feel honour bound to make some gesture, at least.

    • HardyB
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB- none of this had anything to do with the EU- they were not even consulted- the whole thing was concocted between the US and Mr Hunt/ Mrs May who sent out the Royal Marines- otherwise the Spanish government could have done the job just as well and saved Gibraltar the trouble

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Not true. Iran have been threatening to seize a British tanker following the capture by marines of Iranian vessel Grace 1 on July 4th when it entered waters off Gibraltar. The vessel was suspected of carrying oil destined for Syria in breach of EU SANCTIONS.

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          But neither Iran or Syria is in the EU.And the EU does not impose extraterritorial secondary sanctions.The Spanish Foreign Minister has asserted that the UK did this at the behest of the USA.

    • Pete S
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      We are waiting for the Czech and Slovakian navies to help us. No point waiting for the German Navy, nothing works since Leyen got to work.

  18. Jack Falstaff
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Apparently Mrs May turned down an offer from the United States of deploying a joint UK/US protection force for shipping on the grounds that she didn’t want to provoke the Iranians.
    As usual, she is the friend of everybody else except the UK and its interests.
    I very much look forward to her going next week and an end to her reign of pusillanimity and sabotage.

  19. Alex
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I can think of some other questions.
    1. Why is Britain applying EU sanctions to a ship from a country not in the EU travelling to a country also not in the EU?
    2. Why is the British government attempting to provoke Iran?
    3. Why is Iran wrong to apply it’s own laws to ships yet Britain correct?
    4. How long do you think Royal Navy ships would last in a virtually landlocked sea within a couple of minutes flying time for anti ship missiles if US and UK provocations succeed in starting a shooting war? Going by WW2 experience of dive bombing by very slow Stuka’s I estimate 10 minutes. Have you any evidence to the contrary?
    5. Exactly what use is an amphibious landing ship and a carrier group with no effective operational fighters?
    6. Do you still think Britain is a maritime super power and when you are proved very wrong what will you say to the famillies of all the dead sailors you used as bait?

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink


      Royal Navy warships may be small in number but are extremely powerful. The main defence of the Falklands is provided by one Daring class destroyer.

      Re carrier group; our host refers to the US carrier group, which does have aircraft.

      However you are correct to question why we were enforcing EU sanctions in the first place. I don’t think we should be.

      Stukas – actually they were useless against Hurricanes and anything that could shoot back. Stukas were a terror weapon intended to clear populated areas by causing panic.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        ‘Royal Navy warships may be small in number but are extremely powerful.’

        Depends what sort of threat we are dealing with, and where!

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      How much of the nuclear capacity, which we fear, has Iran actually got?
      How many planes and ships has Iran actually got?
      How near is the Iranian economy to collapse – I mean serious food shortages?
      How much power have the religious leaders got over the Revolutionary Guard?
      How determined are the Revolutionary Guard to provoke war?
      How near are the ordinary Iranians to reverting to type and installing a democracy based on a parliament and sensible discussion?

    • Christine
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink


    • sm
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Alex, one might gently ponder why the current Foreign Secretary has not been focussing his apparently mighty brain and self-proclaimed formidable expertise on the very real issues you have noted?

      • steve
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink


        Because he [Hunt] is a remainer at heart, and foolishly trusted the ungrateful EU to be right there with us during a conflict.

        You’d have thought the guy would be savvy enough to know better.

        The Europeans, particularly the French like to chuck their weight about, but when it hits the fan always prefer the body count to be someone else’s, usually ours or America’s.

        • Toffeeboy
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          What absolute garbage. They just aren’t prepared to be Trump’s lap dog. Not sure why Britain is so desperate to be. There’s nothing good a out war.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to which we are a signatory, Iran is entitled to sell its oil; however, “On 17 May 2019, the [European] Council extended EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime until 1 June 2020. In line with the EU strategy on Syria, the EU decided to maintain its restrictive measures against the Syrian regime and its supporters as the repression of civilian population continues.” “More broadly, sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo”. These measures are aimed at members of the EU and nowhere does it state that members of the EU are required to interfere in transactions between Syria and a non-EU state or any mechanism of how that could be achieved.

      Apart from being a blatant act of piracy , it is a deliberate provocation of Iran and whether Hunt understood this or not is yet unclear; however, there has to be a suspicion that he was acting under instructions from Pompeo and the ‘EU sanctions’ were used as a fig-leaf to cloak this act of war whose ultimate instigators are the most malevolent and destructive people on the planet.

      When we leave the EU, I hope we can have a foreign policy whose main aim is to promote British interests which includes not shutting down a shipping choke point though which 30-40% world traded oil passes and thereby provoking a world recession.

  20. steve
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    As regards point 5, why on earth are we enforcing EU sanctions ?

    We do not need to do the EU’s bidding, we’ll be out in a matter of weeks anyway.

    If we’re to contribute to enforcing sanctions, it should be alongside our partners the US.

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    1. Grace 1 entered BGTW (EU) waters having had a notice served on it. Admittedly Gibraltar seemed to tweak its laws on close proximity to the seizure, but notice was issued, Grace 1 did enter EU waters and EU sanctions are in place. The EU needs to be clear on its stance, particularly with the Spanish giving the impression that it is not the EU acting but an act on request of the USA. Either the EU has the policing or it does not. (The UK also needs to be clear whether it will continue with aligned sanctions when it leaves EU at end of October).

    2. The repercussions for a country, in this case Iran, acting outside its territorial waters on passage of shipping needs to be seen to be high at an international level. If this is not the case further confidence will be given to other countries e.g. In the South China (East Vietnam, West Philippine) sea.

    3. The UK needs sufficient platforms and rules of engagement to protect its interests.

    4. UK needs to increase energy security, (i) good relationship with USA and (ii) easing of restrictions on fracking might be a start, but more needed.

    2. The UK needs to.our in place energy security measures

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


      “BGTW (EU) waters”


      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think this contradictory. Gibraltar may not be in CU but is considered in EU, hence when a ship is in Gibraltar waters it is necessarily in EU and therefore, I presume, subject to EU sanctions.

    • HardyB
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Caterpillat- what notice are you talking about? a call up by VHF radio or was it an Aldis signalling lamp? FYI Gibraltar territorial waters do no extend to the other side of the straits- which was the side the Iranian tanker was passing, ie nearer to the Moroccan coast.
      Secondly the EU does not have the policing capability on anything- it is not a sovereign government. The whole thing was carried out at the behest of the US and now we are left with the problem of how to disassociate ourselves from this whole mess without the Americans first starting WW3.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it matters whether it was at the behest of the USA. I think your point on location is what legally matters. I had taken it as ‘honest’ that Grace 1 was not boarded until tracking data showed it was in Gibraltar waters, but having now looked at chart of Moroccan, Spanish and Gibraltan waters I see that we need to know exactly where it was boarded. If it was in Spanish waters then Spain should have done the job.

    • James Bertram
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Just out of interest, can anyone tell me why the Iranian tanker did not use the Suez canal to get to Syria?

      • Jagman84
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Too big for passage through, apparently.

      • DanF
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        length at 330meters is quite long but should not have been a problem. it could be the Draft is too much.,ie the vessel is too deep in the water to pass certain points in the canal

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Off topic, I have just sent this letter to the Maidenhead Advertiser:

    “Hugh Lansley challenges me to produce data to support my claim that the great majority of Britons do not want to be subjugated in a pan-European federation.

    The objective stated in the 1950 Schuman Declaration which the EU takes as its starting point, which geopolitical objective is to be achieved through the process of “ever closer union” prescribed in the EU treaties.

    (Viewpoint, July 18, “Economic decline and unemployment on way”)

    I have collected far more polling data on this subject than can be covered in a short letter, but to be helpful I recommend that he googles for:

    “Regarding the development of the EU, which of these statements comes closest to your view?”

    which should bring up a series of charts of some opinion poll results between 2010 and 2013.

    In those charts, the proportion of Britons who chose:

    “A fully integrated Europe with all major decisions taken by a European Government”

    never came to more than a few percent, while even adding on those who wanted a bit more integration only made that up to about ten percent.

    Dwarfed by the numbers who wanted the EU to revert to being just a trading area, or who wanted to leave altogether, together often adding up to nearly two thirds of voters.

    Which raises an interesting question: if the great majority of the British public was so opposed to the EU in general terms, as repeatedly shown in such opinion polls, why was the referendum result so close?

    Well, the answer to that lies not in the pretend “renegotiation” conducted by Prime Minister David Cameron but in the dishonest “Project Fear” campaign instigated by Chancellor George Osborne.

    According to whom we should have plunged into recession the day after we were silly enough to vote to leave the EU, as Mr Lansley may recall.”

  23. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Allow me to remind everyone that the First World War started like this:

    The Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince was foully murdered in Sarajevo so the Austrians were definitely in the right when they got angry with the Serbs. (cp the provocation by the Revolutionary Guard of the British oil lifeline.)
    The German Emperor, bombastic, popular, at the head of a fast growing economy, was steered into supporting his close ally into war by his advisers who were determined to put their military Schlieffen plan into operation. (cp Donald Trump, impulsive, master of the Tweet, CinC of US military and surrounded by hawkish advisers.)
    It was almost a spur of the moment decision by the Germans to support Austria-Hungary… (Donald Trump is impulsive too and he is a man who takes appalling risks.)
    After that, the rest of the dominoes fell neatly into place…
    (The British government were busy with Ireland just as now they are distracted by Brexit.)

  24. hefner
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Possibly relevant, a slightly different take on the Gibraltar incident by Simon Tisdall in yesterday’s Guardian.

  25. Everhopeful
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    To engage in gunboat diplomacy one prob needs a few gunboats?
    We just aren’t a credible threat any more!
    So what on earth are we up to? A bit more ritual humiliation?
    ( Apparently Ursula as German “defence” minister had no seaworthy submarines!).
    But then the EU is not too keen on the sabre rattling against Iran since it might affect their trade with them.

  26. Wayward
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    1/ Very little

    2/ Very little

    3/ very little

    4/ Very little – charged with what? for trading according to WTO rules?

    5/ Sanctions do not amount to an embargo – the EU is not a government

    6/ Good question

  27. APL
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    JR: questions 1 – 6,

    7. Why is Mrs May making reckless actions in the closing hours of her tenure as Prime Minister.
    Why, with her administrations reckless record of aggravating Russia, the false flag Skripal incident the outrageous Christopher Steel meddling in American Domestic politics. The now ridiculous former ambassador to the US. Isn’t it time somebody in the Commons hauled this gullible woman in front of a committee and asked her why and who she has been allowing to pull her governments puppet strings.

    Somebody is unable to provoke a war between Trump US government and Iran, so somebody is trying to drag the allies into a conflict with Iran.

    Cui bono?

  28. mickc
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The UK did not have a dog in the US/Iran fight.

    By seizing the Iran tanker the UK unnecessarily involved itself and Iran duly, and foreseeably, retaliated.

    The next UK move can only result in the UK being made to look ridiculous.

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Mick C

      “Iran duly, and foreseeably, retaliated.”

      Iran started it –

      May 12 – Four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, are attacked in the Gulf just outside the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route.

      June 13 – Two tankers are attacked south of the Strait of Hormuz.

      • mickc
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        Really? No possibility that Saudi Arabia orchestrated the attacks to give the USA a reason to intervene?

        And none of the ships were UK registered…

  29. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Why are we now acting in accordance with EU foreign policy when we are about to leave?

  30. Davek6
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Just heard Mr Hunt our foreign secretary peddling more of his lies and spin- he says the Iranian ship passing through the Gibraltar straits was passing through Gibraltar waters. This is a complete untruth because anyone who knows anything about these things know that ships entering the straits from the Atlantic pass on the Moroccan coast side, through the shipping lanes, ie well in International waters, according to IMO rules. IMO being part of the UN, so makes me wonder what exactly are they going to charge this captain with?

  31. roconnor
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The Royal Navy in 2019 consists of approximately 19 fighting ships,which excludes an aircraft carrier which is not yet fully operational. For a large island economy like ours,this is truely pathetic. Years ago,this would have constitued a large carrier battle group,not a navy!!

    • Fred H
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Not just the Navy, what about the Airforce and Army. Planes bug-ridden, can only fly when USA allows, intended to be used off our 1 carrier. Army, vehicles not fit for worldwide use, comms out of date, clothing second-rate, carried weapons not fit for purpose, quarters often near uninhabitable. Depend on USA GPS, EU threatening to exclude us from development.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink


    • Dave Andrews
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes but we have 41 admirals. We have a substantial navy, just not one reflected in the number of ships.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Your figure excludes 11 submarines, amphibious shipping and light forces. But I would agree that 19 frigates and destroyers are too few.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Sea W….any idea how many of 11 submarines are ever at sea at any point in time? How many could make it into the Med, or the northern Baltic without breaking down?

  32. Ian!
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    The EU is good at making threats.

    The seizing of the tanker in Gibraltar at the behest of our EU masters is strange, what jurisdiction does the EU have over Iran. Then you have to ask what was the EU going to do as a follow up.

    While the tanker in the Gulf was sailing under the UK flag, it was EU owned and with a foreign crew. Where is the EU now.

    As for the US, according to the MSM Mrs May turned down coordination and cooperation with the US in the Gulf – there is a surprise .

    For many years now the Royal Navy has bee deliberately depleted so as not to have the capability to support UK shipping – EU Navy then? Given we have Aircraft Carriers with no planes and barely enough RN Ships to act as a Carrier protection force, it would appear Government is in direct neglect of its duty to ensure the protection of the UK shows and its wellbeing.

    The Royal Navy has just 19 ships, at any onetime 30% of those will be in dock being refurbished, or on work up training. So you have to be surprised it was possible to deploy 2 in the Gulf

    You have to assume that the UK not being a country but a State in a Country called the European Union, those that control what we do have a plan?

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Remind me as to how many Admirals we have?

      • Ian!
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        More than we have ships

        • Fred H
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          but they have long holidays, and leave for sea-sickness.

    • hardlymatters
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      No Ian, the capture of the Iranian tanker was at the behest of the Americans, john Bolton to be exact

      • Ian!
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Bolton pressured the EU – possibly. But the Gibraltar Parliament stated it was for breaking EU sanctions.

        Not forgetting May’s position is not to support the US in this but she will support the EU’s position.

        As the Swedish PM stated, when did Iran become a member of the EU.

        • Jagman84
          Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          EU sanctions should only apply to EU member states attempting to supply prohibited goods to Syria. Iran is not a member yet but possibly after Turkey, I’d presume!

    • DanF
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Bolton did not pressure the EU- he pressured the UK- If Bolton had pressured the EU and they agreed they would have asked the Spanish to do the job instead and not the Royal Marines based in Britain

      The Gibraltar government knows zilch- they only know and say what the British government told them to say

  33. Fred H
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    How are we going to celebrate May’s removal van, Hammond creeping out stage left, a dozen (minimum I hope) remainers resigning, and Gove being left out of the Cabinet?
    A nice cold beer, lager, pinot grigio, cup of tea, pure malt, G& T?

    Hopefully there will be days of wonderful resignation news.
    Stock up and fill that fridge, before the supermarket runs dry!

  34. Marcus
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    My questions to the government

    1/ why are there ships that have absolutely nothing to do with UK sailing around the world flying the UK flag- these same ships have no UK people on board and give very little to the British economy? So why do we allow this?

    2/ As per 1 above, why should we send the Royal Navy to protect such vessels?

    3/ Surely EU sanctions against trading with Syria has more to do with stopping EU member countries from trading with Syria and has nothing to do with Iran- the EU is not a government. Therefore what right had we or any other EU member state to send armed soldiers to arrest this vessel Grace 1 on the high seas- she was not in EU waters. Will the UK government be now brought before the ICC and charged with piracy?

    4/ names and nationalities of crew members for both vessels are being withheld , especially the Captains have not been released- so what else are we not been told about?

  35. miami.mode
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Following rescues such as the Altmark affair, Dunkirk, and HMS Cumberland in Libya in 2011 along with many other situations, it seems successive UK governments have been keen to expunge from the English language the phrase “the Navy’s here”.

  36. TheyWontCrushBrexit
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Here’s hoping ‘Geography Expert’, Jeremy Hunt, can work out where the ‘crisis’ is happening.

    Top Tips for Jeremy:

    Your wife is Chinese, not Japanese.

    Iran has seized the ship…not Iraq.

    Hope that helps.

  37. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A1) I have heard there was a radio instruction from HMS Montrose to not turn into Iranian waters. This clearly shows she was aware, however it also underlines the poor numbers of Naval ships available. We knew there was a problem but could not act and did not evenconstitute convoys.

    A2) It is clear we did not attempt to use our vessels to help, but I also question the effectiveness of a minesweeper vs multiple speedboats.

    A3) It appears UK policy is “orange man bad” hence we stupidly refused to team up with US forces who could have helped.

    A4) Here we ourselves would be sanctioned if we did not obey EU sanctions, I am curious why Iran was unable to use Suez, clearly they are in trouble.

    A5) Here we should call the EU out, either they support us by tightening sanctions or sending in military support. If it is neither then we must let tanker go as it has not violated UK law.

    A6) The fact that we were publically told about Iranian threats and they announced their intentions is a clear sign of incompetence from Mays government. They failed in their duty to protect British shipping.

    Eventually I suspect the Iranian tanker will be let go, personally I believe the incident should be used to highlight the woeful state of European navies.

    I, the US and everyone else does not want war with Iran, however I do wonder how many NATO nations would come to our aid? In terms of navies I suspect Germany would offer nothing.

    Why is the advice now given to avoid the Straits for commercial shipping, when this advice was not given so clearly before the tanker seizure?

    • steve
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink


      “I, the US and everyone else does not want war with Iran”

      Excuse me, I do.

      • Gareth Warren
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Noted, I believe it is a thoroughly regressive regime, but knocking it over without going on a civilising mission (we last went on a civilising mission WW2, the Victrians are the only ones to perform it successfully outside Europe) will result in an even worse regime popping up.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Iran is a strategic partner of both China and Russia;be careful what you wish for.

  38. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    7. Why was the tanker taken onto the British register? Does its flying the Red Ensign confer any advantages on the UK or does it just impose another set of obligations?

    I hesitate to solutioneer problems but as a former sea warrior in the Gulf, perhaps I can be allowed to. After years of savage cuts to the surface escort force, the MoD is unable to modulate sea power in the Gulf quickly enough. We need a small force of escorts – fast attack craft will do – kept at high-readiness in our new base in Bahrain. There is no reason why most of the crews can’t be either RNR reservists or dual-hatted personnel in shore appointments back in the UK. Then, when the Royal Navy next needs to ‘modulate’ it can do so in a matter of days. The ‘accompanying’ task DOESN’T require additional billion-pound frigates that can only be in one place at a time. And when things are quiet, the MoD needs to resist Treasury pressure to sell off the ships.

  39. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    This is all very odd – we have been told repeatedly what a brilliant Foreign Secretary Hunt is compared to the hopeless Boris – now this where it looks suspiciously like Hunt is a total incompetent. To be fair we were also told how brilliant and competent he was with detail compared to the hopeless Boris just before he failed to supporte the government in a key vote because he mistakenly thought he was paired.

    I see Hammond doesn’t accept the result of the Conservative leadership election. Is there any sort of democratic vote he’s prepared to accept ?

  40. Helen Smith
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The answer to point 5 is a big fat zero.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Off topic again, this morning when Stephen Barclay was on the Sophy Ridge programme he explained that the much publicised estimate that a no deal Brexit would cost us £90 billion actually referred to some Treasury estimate for 2035, and assuming that the government had taken no corrective measures. So I thought it might be interesting to check the Twitter feed of his Brexit department:

    to see whether there had been any attempts to rebut the misleading media reports.

    Well, of course there haven’t been, and I see that anti-Brexit rubbish is still being allowed to circulate completely unchallenged by the Brexit department under Stephen Barclay just as it was under Dominic Raab and under David Davis.

    This is from July 5th 2017, nearly two years ago:

    “Off-topic, JR, I’ve finally come to the end of my patience with David Davis and his now massive department and so I’ve have just send this email to the so-called “media unit”, copied to him and to the “correspondence unit” in the Cabinet Office:

    “Hello, anybody at home?”

    “Day after day, week after week, I see pro-EU, anti-Brexit propaganda flooding into the mass media, but I never see any response from you lot.

    This morning the BBC had that old euromaniac Peter Hain on its breakfast “news” spouting rubbish about Ireland, and did they also have somebody from your department there to rebut what he was saying? Of course not, there never is.

    It is official government policy that the UK shall leave the EU, and leave the EU Customs Union, and leave the EU Single Market, so why as a media office are you not actively, publicly, defending that government policy at every turn?”

    Well, of course some would question whether any of that really is the official government policy or it is just a pretence to string the voters along, and that is why they are happy to stand by and hopefully see public support for Brexit fading away.”

  42. steve
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The answer to this is simple; each country who’s vessels pass through the gulf should class their vessels as armed merchantmen.

    In the case of ours, Royal Marines Commandos presence on the vessels should easily stop any Iranian attempt at seizure. Particularly by vulnerable helicopter assault.

    I belive we can learn from the Israelis here. They maintain that so much as one finger laid on their people or assets will be met with a very heavy response.

    The Israelis vehemently believe in themselves as a righteous and sovereign people, we need to start doing the same.

    If you show these medieval religious rulers any weakness, they’ll take the piss.

    Surely its time to put an end to their taking advantage of our diplomatic nature, by hitting them damned hard with a bloody big stick…’s the only language they understand.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Wholly agree. I’m sick to the back teeth of our leadership wanting to be liked by all and sundry and being frightened to stand up for its own people against our obvious rivals and enemies.

    • Ian!
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      A wonderful idea…

      Not possible though, there are not enough Royal Marines to enable the task to be carried out.

      Our armed forces punch above their weight as such give the impression we are numerically well served.

      If you take all our front line armed forces you couldn’t fill Wembley Stadium.

      • steve
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink


        Assuming that to be the case, then those responsible for depleting our armed forces should be located, arrested, and prosecuted for capital offence.

  43. BillM
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Very valid questions indeed, SJ. So what answers can we expect from the hopeless Government we are lumbered with?
    Nothing but “Silence” of course because they have not a clue on how to respond nor what to say. Neither do their puppet masters in the Civil service.
    They bring shame upon OUR Nation. AGAIN! And we shall be well rid of them a couple of days. I hope!

    • BillM
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      I would point out that there is a doubt that it is an Iranian Tanker because of its Panamanian registration. However, it is believed to be carrying Iranian Oil to Syria against EU embargoes. And as is the case, how much funding are the RN and Gibraltar going to receive from Brussels, to cover the obvious costs?

      • steve
        Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Bill M

        “And as is the case, how much funding are the RN and Gibraltar going to receive from Brussels, to cover the obvious costs?”

        No it doesn’t work like that. We pay the EU.

        • BillM
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          I know. It was a statement made in sarcastic jest. However, some fell on stony ground.

  44. steve
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    Hammond says he’ll resign if Boris gets the job. Aww diddums. Off you go mate, ta ta.

    Boris would probably have sacked him anyway.

    • graham1946
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      As President Trump said when that US football woman stated she would not go to the White House to meet the President – ‘You haven’t been invited yet’.

      Hammond is like the barber’s cat – full of p*** and importance.

    • APL
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      steve: “Hammond says he’ll resign if Boris gets the job.”

      Good thing about BREXIT, it’s clearly showing us how many conservatives there are in the Tory party. Yer might just need two hands to count ’em on.

      The whole Party has been infiltrated to the extent that it’s a complete an utter millstone around Conservative voters necks.

  45. BR
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    May. What a disaster. Roll on next week when we can be rid of it. All these crises just had to happen as she’s leaving… tankers, EU selections etc.

  46. Fred H
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    A burning question (at least in my mind).
    When and IF any Conservative MPs resign from posts or the whip in the coming days, surely Central Office should immediately remove them from being PPC for their constituency in the next GE? I formal letter should be sent to each explaining the result of their action, and advising them if they wish, to stand against the new PPC in due course.

  47. hefner
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, congratulations for a wonderful and successful piece of astroturfing. Well done.

    • Jagman84
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your predictable sarcasm. You can set your watch by it, daily.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 21, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Proving how remain fans cannot ever accept or enjoy anything outside their sphere of belief without needing to get all sarcastic and insulting.
      Well done yet again hefner.

  48. Iain Gill
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    US has apparently offered to assist and mount military action to recover the ship, but our politicians have declined as supposedly they want to “de-escalate” (appease more like)

    Apart from the fact our aircraft carrier HMS Elizabeth has a leak, and its planes are full of software bugs, what is to stop us using our very expensive military kit?

    Anyways hopefully some boys in Hereford have been moved forward to figure out what can be done and how

    Sounds like it needs political will and the basics of a clue more than anything else

    • APL
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

      Iain Gill: “Anyways hopefully some boys in Hereford have been moved forward to figure out what can be done and how”

      Stenna Imperio is owned by Stenna Bulk AB, a Swedish company and only registered in the UK. According to Sky News it’s crew are from the Philippines, Russia, Latvia and India.

      What possible justification could you have for British forces to liberate a Swedish owned vessel with a foreign crew aboard?

      Has everyone gone insane?

      • Iain Gill
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        If you don’t keep international shipping lanes open for oil to pass our economy would soon grind to a halt, not to mention the nuclear weapons capabilities Iran is building, no fake dossier here real world

  49. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    I read
    German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has indicated European leaders are desperately
    trying to prevent “uncontrollable military escalation.”

    What the hell does the above mean? Didn’t he realise that sanctions have consequences.  And would any part of his adversion to military action have something to do with the fact Germany and much of the EU has not been paying for a military for decades?

    If the UK lets the Iranian ship through then the EU will apply sanctions to the UK.  If we apply the sanctions then people run around in circles in the EU.

    I see no benefit in supporting EU sanctions if the EU does not support the UK when it carries them out.   Looks like prime minister Boris has a real mess to clean up on day one. And he can give the British economy a good bost by rebuilding the Royal navy, perhaps with another 20 ships available one could have been on station to avoid this sort of mess.

  50. John S
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    This hijacking was bound to happen and very little, if anything was done to protect our ships. Heads should roll.

  51. APL
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    JR: “Given the very public threat made by Iran to UK shipping in the area, what measures were taken to give protection to British flagged vessels?”

    Stenna Imperio ( owned by Stenna Bulk AB – CEO Erik Hanell ) maybe registered in the UK, but it’s Swedish owned.

    According to Sky news – “The crew from India, Latvia, Russia and the Philippines”

    Are we actually going to use a foreign owned tanker which the owners were too tight to crew with a British crew as a pretext to use British forces to attack Iran?

    Somebody, somewhere desperately wants the West to attack Iran.

    Nothing to do with Britain, I’d say.

  52. Edwardm
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Very serious points for which May and Hunt hold grave responsibility and have no answers, especially as they were warned.
    I was seething on hearing reports that Mrs May rejected US offers of support.
    May is a terrible being and her resignation is the only right thing she’s ever done.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page